‘The Blacklist’ 4×16 and 4×17 Review: ‘Dembe Zuma’ ‘Requiem’

The Blacklist finally returned last night, and oh man, they did not hold back. The first hour of the Blacklist event “Dembe Zuma” answered our two biggest burning questions from the 4×15 cliffhanger, and “Requiem” just took off from there. As we all thought, Dembe was not the one who poisoned Red. He just happened to have the misfortune of handing Red the drink that someone else had poisoned.

Later in the episode we found out that Kate had done it. After all this time hiding out in the woods recovering from the bullet that Red put in her head, she’s back and she’s making him pay. In my opinion, Red deserves everything that’s coming to him and I’m on Kate’s side 100%.

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Poisoning Red wasn’t the only thing that Kate did however. When Dembe kidnapped Aram in order to take advantage of his skills with technology and hacking, they found  a name during the mission, Kathryn Nemec, which was Kate’s name before she became Mr. Kaplan. She was the one behind all of the attacks on Red and his criminal empire. Who better to take him down than the woman who had been at the heart of his organization for years?

Kate knows his darkest secrets. She knows where all of the bodies are buried, literally. At the end of “Requiem” we found out that the bodies of all the people Red has ever killed while Kate has been in his employment were hidden at one ice skating rink. Her job as Red’s cleaner was to dispose of all the evidence, so now she’s put all of that evidence out in the open. The bodies have been dug up, and she can use them against Red however she wants. All I can say is, go get him Kate.

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Besides answering our burning questions from the episodes before the hiatus, “Requiem” also gave us an incredible amount of Kate’s backstory, which was a wonderful unexpected surprise. Kate was raised to be completely comfortable around dead bodies, explaining why she’s such an efficient cleaner for Red. Dead people don’t alarm her in the slightest. Then, they revealed perhaps the biggest surprise of “Requiem”. Katarina hired Kate to be Lizzie’s nanny when she was a baby.

Kate was there the night of the fire, the night that Katarina had to disappear. In order to keep Lizzie out of danger Kate couldn’t stay with her either, which is when she was placed with Sam who was a family friend and became Liz’s adopted dad. This connection to Liz explains why Kate has done everything that she has. She loves Lizzie like her own daughter and will stop at nothing to keep her safe. As she first told Red when she accepted his offer to work with him:

If you ever put me in a position where I have to choose between what’s best for you and what’s best for her, I will choose Elizabeth every time.

Red’s response makes his actions towards Kate since that time all the more puzzling:

Yes. I would insist on that.”

So If he would insist on that, why did he shoot Kate in the head for doing exactly what she said she would do? Keeping Liz safe, choosing her over him. Kate said that she helped Liz disappear because it was what she needed to do to keep her safe, and all Red keeps coming back to is the fact that she betrayed him. I don’t agree with what they did anymore than he does, but he should at least be able to see WHY they did it.

Yes, it was a betrayal of trust, but it didn’t deserve a bullet to the head, and no excuses Red could ever come up with will justify it. But again, Red is sending so many mixed signals. He says he doesn’t regret what he did to her, but he’s almost in tears every time he talks about it, and Red is usually a master at hiding his emotions. He can say it as many times as he wants, but I don’t believe for one second that somewhere in his heart he doesn’t know that what he did was wrong and that he regrets it.

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Another moment in “Requiem” that really pulled at the heartstrings was also from Kate’s backstory when they revealed the origin of her alias, “Mr. Kaplan”. After she had to leave Liz with Sam, she moved to Texas with a woman named Annie who she had met at a bar. They fell in love, but Annie was tragically killed in front of her eyes by a man who was angry at Annie’s boss. Right before she was killed, the man asked Annie her name. When she replied with “Annie Kaplan” he said to Kate:

I guess that makes you Mr. Kaplan.”

So now we know why she goes by Mr. Kaplan, she uses the name to remember the women she loved.

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Oh, and I forgot to mention, Kate got shot in the head when Annie was killed too, so this makes it twice now that she’s gotten shot in the head and survived.

Next week, now that everything has been revealed, Kate is coming after Red full force, but she’s not just going after Red. She’s going after everyone in his support system, which means the task force. No one is safe now. I swear if she harms one hair on Ressler’s head, I’m going to fight her myself.

Check out the trailer for next week’s episode “Philomena” below and I’ll see you all back here on Thursday night, hopefully with everyone on the task force still intact. Fingers crossed!

The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.

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