‘The Blacklist 4×21 & 22 Review: ‘Mr. Kaplan’ & ‘Mr. Kaplan: Conclusion’

As The Blacklist does best, last night’s two part finale, “Mr. Kaplan” and “Mr. Kaplan: Conclusion” gave us answers without completely giving us answers. In “Conclusion” it seemed like they had finally answered if Red is Liz’s father or not, and then they just had to throw in a line delivered by Dembe that made the whole thing seem up in the air again. Cooper ran a DNA test using blood from one of Red’s shirts that was locked in evidence from an operation many years ago. Red had been working for the FBI as an undercover agent in Russia, but his target found out that he was an informant and tortured him for 10 days until the FBI could rescue him. That’s where the blood on his shirt came from. The DNA test came back, and at the end of “Mr. Kaplan: Conclusion” Liz read the test results and found that Red’s blood matched hers. Finally we knew for sure that he was her father, but do we? After Liz showed him the results and they had a heart to heart family talk, once Red left her apartment Dembe asked him:

“Did you deny it?” 

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And Red said no. So what does that mean? Why would Dembe ask him him that if he really was her father and the question had been answered for good? The most popular theory going around right now is that the real Raymond Reddington WAS Liz’s father, and that’s why her blood matches his, but the Red we know is an imposter, pretending to be the real Raymond Reddington. Perhaps, the blood on the shirt is from the real Raymond Reddington, but the Red we know killed him and took his identity. If true, this would be quite the plot twist, but there are a few holes in the theory. First of all, Cooper acted like he worked with Red when they were younger, so he would know what he looked like, and if Red isn’t the real Red, Cooper would be able to tell the difference. It seems really unlikely that the “imposter” Red would be able to change his entire appearance to match that of the real Red.

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Of course, this all could have been answered without a doubt, if Liz had just read the results of the test that she did on one of Red’s scotch glasses when they were on the run. Instead, she threw the results away, and now we have a DNA test from the blood on a shirt that’s 30+ years old that may or may not be Red’s. Dembe’s comment makes it seem really suspicious, and we’re back to square one. This is one part of the show that they really don’t need to keep an air of mystery around. It’s been going on for so long that no one really cares anymore, it would just be nice to finally have a solid answer so we could move on. I’m sure there’s lots of other mysteries in Red’s past that would be interesting to focus on that would give new life to the show.

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It seems though, that Kate might have all of the answers to this mystery that we’ll finally get to see next season. During her final confrontation with Red, Kate told him that she was sending a suitcase to Liz that would tell her everything she would need to know to finally answer the questions of her past. The signal to deliver the suitcase was Kate’s death. Kate was under the impression that Red would kill her, thus giving the signal, but he didn’t want to kill her. He finally apologized for shooting her and said that he should never have pulled the trigger because she was just trying to protect Liz (too little too late don’t you think?) he just wanted to send her to jail, so she finished the job herself. She jumped off the bridge and the suitcase was picked up by Tom who was instructed to bring it to Liz. I still have no idea why Kate picked Tom to deliver it and why he agreed, but I guess we’ll find out later.

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We know that there are bones in this suitcase, but we don’t know who’s they are. It seemed like they were Katarina’s bones, because in the scene where Dembe asked Red if he denied being Liz’s father, he also said:

“Raymond, I’m not sure Liz will ever be ready to learn about what you did to Katarina.” 

So what does THAT mean? Did Red kill Katarina? Or are those bones someone else’s entirely? Again, the most popular theory is that the bones are actually those of the real Reddington, proving that the Red we know is an imposter. Just like the rest of the theory though, there isn’t enough evidence yet to support this. Hopefully all of this will be answered immediately next season, so we can finally move on from that part of the story and go back to the task force solving cases together.

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However, this revelation wasn’t the biggest shocking moment of “Conclusion”. In order to make the grand jury that was investigating the task force and their connection with Red disappear, Red helped Ressler to blackmail Laurel Hitchen into using her power as national security adviser to stop it. The blackmail material? Reven Wright’s body with the bullet from Hitchen’s gun still inside it. She had employed the services of a sort of clean up man named Henry Prescott. Red got to him and persuaded him to divulge the location of Reven’s Wright’s body. Finally, Ressler had his answers and the proof to arrest Hitchen for Reven Wright’s murder, but he had to give that up in order to save the task force. Hitchen agreed to the deal with the condition that the evidence they had found couldn’t be used against her and Ressler gave her his word. At the end of “Mr. Kaplan: Conclusion” he met with Hitchen to get his status of FBI agent restored as Hitchen had dropped the charges against him. As he was turning to leave, Hitchen said this: 

“I also want to make sure you understand your place in this marriage. You do what I want, when I want it.

Ressler: “Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.”

Hitchen then grabbed his arm and said:

That’s exactly what’s gonna happen.”

With justified rage, Ressler threw her off, but it was so forceful that she tripped on one of the chair legs at the table in her kitchen, and slammed her head against the sharp edge of the kitchen counter cracking her head open and bleeding out all over the floor. Ya, that happened.

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So she got the punishment she deserved, just not in a way that’s safe for Ressler. In an ironic turn of events, he called Henry Prescott to get rid of her body, the same man that Hitchen had used to dispose of Reven Wright’s body. For the immediate future this solution puts Ressler in the clear, but sooner or later someone is going to discover that he was the last person seen at her apartment before she disappeared. When they do, Ressler doesn’t have a single witness to confirm that her death was an accident. How is he going to defend himself against that? I’m still in shock from this turn of events, and extremely worried about the consequences of it for Ressler. I just hope he doesn’t keep this to himself like he does everything else, and actually lets Liz and the others help him deal with this. I don’t really see how he could keep it a secret. It’s going to be all over the news that the President’s national security adviser is missing, and everyone on the task force will know that Ressler is the most likely person to have been involved. As awful  a situation as this is, at least it means that Ressler will have a big part to play next season as they deal with the fallout from her accidental death.

I think it would be really interesting to see Ressler have to get help from Red to sweep all of this under the rug, and see the dynamic of their relationship change as Ressler realizes there may be a part of him that is closer to Red than he wants to believe.

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All of this insanity aside, let’s end on a happy note! After seasons of “will they, won’t they” drama playing out between Samar and Aram, they finally cemented their relationship at the end of “Conclusion”. Aram’s girlfriend was brought in to testify against the task force with the promise that her criminal record would be expunged. She jumped at the opportunity and gave up Aram in the process. Samar was there to support him, and they finally realized that they were both right for each other.

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There are plenty of questions left to be answered in season 5, actually more than we started season 4 with, as most of the new questions popped up at the end of “Conclusion”, so it’s going to be an excruciating hiatus. I hope all of you enjoyed watching and discussing this season with me, through all of the ups and downs, and I’ll see you when The Blacklist returns in the fall!

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