So it finally happened. We now know Red’s true identity and why he’s been keeping it from Liz for all these years. The Red we’ve always known is really a man named Ilya, Katarina Rostova’s lover. Ilya changed his identity to that of Raymond Reddington in order to keep Katarina safe. The real Raymond Reddington really did die when Liz shot him as a little girl, so there’s no longer a possibility that the Red we know killed him and stole his identity.
Now why would Ilya completely change his entire body to become Raymond Reddington? Well it’s all about money. The real Reddington and Katarina had millions of dollars put away in a bank, but only Red could access it in person. So that’s what Ilya did. He became Reddington so Katarina would have enough money to go into hiding for good.
So why is Red so angry at Liz for pushing to discover this truth? (other than her putting him on death row to do it of course) Well that part is still up in the air, but it seems pretty likely that Katarina is still alive, and Red is worried that this many people learning this secret will lead them straight to Katarina and put her in danger.
Remember when everyone was debating whether or not Red had a good reason for hiding his true identity? This seems like a pretty good reason to me.
This brings us to the fallout from the truth being revealed. Two major relationships are pretty seriously damaged, one between Red and Liz, and the other between Red and Dembe. The broken relationship between Red and Dembe is entirely Liz’s fault, but we’ll get more into that later.
First lets talk about the broken relationship between Red and Liz. After all of Liz’s prying and everything she’s done to him, Red really seems like he wants nothing to do with her anymore. Towards the end of the second hour, Liz met Red for dinner to tell him that she finally knew the truth. Red let her know that all her digging for his secret had cost him his relationship with Dembe and there was no love left behind his eyes when he looked at her. Seriously he looked at her like he would anyone else in his vast criminal organization, like she was now an enemy that he had to deal with before further damage was caused.
— The Blacklist (@NBCBlacklist) April 27, 2019
Now we get to the relationship between Red and Dembe. After taking some time to think about how he felt about Dembe keeping Liz’s betrayal a secret, Red came back to tell Dembe what he was going to do. This moment between Red and Dembe was the most open, vulnerable, and emotional Red has ever been. Red confessed to Dembe that he would never need his forgiveness because their relationship was an eternal bond and his love for Dembe was undying. I genuinely teared up because it was such a tender moment between the two. I would seriously give James Spader an Emmy just for this scene alone, and then the writers pulled the rug out from under us by having Dembe say that HE was the one who couldn’t forgive Red. This came completely out of nowhere and makes absolutely no sense.
— The Blacklist (@NBCBlacklist) April 27, 2019
As it stands right now there is nothing Red has done to Dembe that he needs forgiveness for. It seems like Dembe is upset because he thought Liz deserved to know the truth about Red’s identity, but why would he take this so personally and why would his loyalty to Liz suddenly overcome his loyalty to Red and everything they’ve been through together?
Unless we’re missing something that hasn’t been revealed yet, this is one of the biggest writing blunders The Blacklist has ever made. The relationship between Red and Dembe has always been the moral center of the show. Tearing them apart to make Dembe more loyal to Liz for no reason is just incredibly frustrating. Red was the victim in this situation. He was the one who almost died in prison from Liz’s betrayal and now he’s the one ending up alone and being blamed for what happened? I call b.s.
Never in a million years did I think Dembe would be the one to hurt Red like this, especially after Red poured his heart out to him, but here we are.
Next week looks like the Task Force is back to business as usual, albeit with Red being much more icy and indifferent towards Liz. For the near future it looks like Red will have a strictly professional relationship with Liz and I am absolutely here for it. I’ve been waiting for Red to finally realize that Liz doesn’t deserve his love and protection, and I think that moment is finally here.
There is one slight difference next week however. For the final three episodes of the season (yes we’re really that close already) The Blacklist is moving up to 8:00 pm instead of 9:00, so get ready to watch an hour earlier and check out the synopsis and trailer for next week below.
When multiple children are abducted under similar circumstances, the task force rushes to find the kidnapper. Red goes on the hunt for a man who can find anything; Liz considers a big change.
The Blacklist airs at 8/7c on NBC.