At the moment, The Blacklist has us over a barrel — it has many of its viewers over a barrel. It’s hard to not be in this position after all of the mind-bending reveals of the past two episodes on NBC. We’re left with this show to constantly wonder many questions, but the primary one remains the same: Who is this imposter Raymond Reddington?
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There have long been theories out there about Reddington’s identity and for a while, the Imposter Theory was among the most substantial. That was validated leading out of season 5, but others persist. This brings us to the Katarina Theory — otherwise known as Rederina in some circles. It’s a fascinating, divisive theory that is all over the internet and one that is certainly worth pondering on the other side of the trial from last night. “Reddington” bandied about the name of Katarina while speaking to the jury about his own supposedly-treasonous ways, and while he was telling the narrative with himself in the third person, you could almost view this as him detaching himself from the Reddington in the past. You could see him viewing this all from a distant, and he did not speak of Katarina with a heart full of disdain. Instead, it felt more forlorn and longing. There is pain there.
There are arguments as to why Reddington could be Katarina in disguise — Katarina apparently was involved in reaching out to Hans Koehler, she had the incentive to disappear, and there is a substantial, meaningful reason why Reddington cares for Liz Keen so. If he is not her father, could Reddington really be her mother? There are tiny nods, Easter eggs, and all sorts of evidence out there to support this notion. One of the most intriguing players in all of this is Katarina’s father Dom, who Reddington has some element of a relationship with and we’ve seen that play out. Does Dom know more and understand so much more than he’s ever let on? You can also go back to what Reddington whispered to Alexander Kirk — it seemed to surprise him, and there may only be a few ways in which Reddington could surprise him.
Then, there are arguments to the contrary, even still — biologically, it’s still hard to believe that Reddington would be able to keep this secret under wraps given his history in both FBI and police custody. It also doesn’t seem supported by characters within the story who knew Katarina — it’s never come under suspicion unless select characters from the past like Mr. Kaplan were very good liars. Would an Imposter Reddington really be able to hide from Kate their true identity as Katarina — and if Mr. Kaplan were to figure that out, why didn’t she unleash that particular reveal as blackmail?
It’s possible that Reddington is actually Katarina, and the inconsistencies within the story just get ironed out and/or justified as the sort of thing that happens within a primetime television show that lasts for years. Yet, the audience reaction would prove polarizing, with one critique already being that this twist is too much out of a daytime soap than a complicated crime show.
This is the one to us that is the most appealing — the Imposter Reddington is a secret sibling to either the original Raymond or Katarina, someone who knows and understands their secrets. If he was Katarina’s brother, for example, it would still explain the scenes in “Cape May” — something has to. That episode is a fulcrum for this entire debate. They validate that whoever this Reddington was, they knew Katarina unless it is meant to be a blatant misdirect, one that would feel tragically disappointing. You could also argue that maybe the imposter is a different Reddington, as well, one who knew Katarina and loved her perhaps more than even the real version ever did. He could be the one who was so desperate he would be found out that he underwent an operation to become his late brother, to learn his truth, and move forward with his life.
The end conclusion
No matter who Raymond Reddington truly is, there needs to a be a tangible connection to Liz Keen. Having it be some random person, not related to her either by a deep family connection or some sort of specific sense of duty, would feel utterly implausible. No matter what the reveal is, Rederina or otherwise, it would be preferable to spend time on the other side, to see and understand better why the writers went this route.
As for whether or not that happens, all we can do is take optimism on the current state of the ratings — smaller in percentage to season 5, but certainly consistent throughout the year.
What is your theory?
Who do you think this Reddington truly is? Let us know your assorted thoughts/theories in the comments. (Photo: NBC.)