‘The Blacklist’ Finale: What Did You Think of Liz’s Ending? (POLL)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Blacklist Season 8 Finale, “Konets.”]
Farewell Elizabeth Keen!
After eight seasons, The Blacklist bid adieu to the rookie FBI agent-turned-criminal in the June 23 season finale of the series, just over a week after it was announced that Megan Boone would be leaving as a series regular after Season 8. Though the announcement shouldn’t have come as a major surprise — Boone was offscreen for a large portion of the season while Liz was on the lam as a fugitive — news of the co-lead’s (alongside James Spader) exit still caused shockwaves.
But as sudden as the departure might feel to viewers, it sounds like the writers had plenty of time to plan the conclusion of Liz’s story, with Deadline reporting that the (mutual) decision was made early on in the eighth season for Boone to leave after the final episode.
So how did Blacklist handle Agent Keen’s final chapter? “Konets” picks up after the penultimate episode, “Nachalo,” dropped some major bombshells — namely that Liz’s mother Katarina Rostova is still alive (and in hiding), and the woman she believed to be her mother is actually a spy. Also, the real Raymond Reddington was Liz’s father, whom she shot and killed as a child, spurring Katarina to send her to live with her adoptive father. Because no one was aware of Reddington’s death, Katarina created a new “Red” (Spader) to watch over Liz.
So who is Red really? Before Raymond will reveal that via a letter from Liz’s mother, he has one “condition” — he wants her to take his life, “literally and metaphorically.” By taking Red out, she’ll prove to other criminals that she is “a force to be reckoned with” and head up his empire, taking over the blacklist.
Liz turns him down, but he’s not the only one who wants her to take over the blacklist. Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) agrees that the list could help keep Liz safe, allowing her to get immunity with the FBI (though he doesn’t know about Red’s plans for execution just yet). Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) — who is doing much better and shares a kiss with Liz in the hospital — and Aram (Amir Arison) disagree, telling Liz that she’s no criminal.
As viewers wait to see what Liz will do, the writers begin dropping hints about where things might be headed for the character. In a callback to the pilot episode, Liz runs into Beth Ryker, the daughter of General Ryker and the young girl whom she saved by defusing a bomb all of those years ago. Beth reminds Liz that through her bravery she saved thousands of lives.
This reminder spurs Liz to reconsider Red’s offer and she meets with him in New York to talk it over. She wants to know why he thinks she as his “heir” would work, why people would accept that, and he explains that “they’ll accept it because you’re a criminal.”
“Is that what I am? Or is that what I am because of you?” she asks.
“I’ve considered that question so many times, how things might’ve been different if I had never re-entered your life,” he muses. “Would you be safer? Happier? Was it my presence alone that brought you to this crossroads? Or maybe none of that ever mattered. Maybe you were born to this, out of a lie, the daughter of a spy, genetically predisposed to deception and danger. I don’t know.
“Whether it’s chance or karma, DNA or fate or just bad luck, this is where you are now. This is who you’ve become. A criminal, a fugitive. And taking my life is a way forward,” he concludes.
Red then lays out the plan: He’s hosting a private party at his restaurant Pascal’s the next night. She’ll wait outside of the restaurant, and when everyone leaves, she’ll shoot him on the sidewalk in front of CCTV cameras. The footage will then be leaked and word will get out internationally that she’s the new criminal in charge.
While Liz mulls over the decision, there’s another wrapping-up of sorts for her and Red, as the two, along with Agnes, share a nice afternoon in Central Park. He also talks about her mother, admitting that he knew her “better than anyone.” The reason he can’t reveal his identity before she kills him? “If you knew beforehand, you’d never agree to kill me.”
Ultimately, Liz decides she’ll do it, and the pieces start to fall into place as she has small, special moments with other important people in her life. She calls up Aram and asks him to forgive her in advance for “what she’s done and what she will do.” She also calls Agnes, who tells her she “feels blessed” having her as a mother. This can’t end well, right?
Soon enough, Ressler, Cooper, and Aram figured out what’s going to happen with Red and Liz and they rush to the restaurant to intervene, but they don’t make it in time. Instead, Liz approaches Raymond but she can’t shoot him. As she stands there frozen, gun in hand, she’s suddenly shot in the back by an unidentified criminal. Red pursues him and takes him out, but it’s too late. Liz’s life is flashing before her eyes: her childhood, her life with Tom, joining Cooper’s team, her friendship with Aram, her relationship with Ressler, watching Agnes grow up, and finally, her journey with Red.
And then, the big moment: Red kisses Liz on the head just as we get a flashback to Liz’s mom holding her as a baby and kissing her. (Is this the final confirmation that Red is Liz’s mom, Katarina?!) The episode then ends with Dembe pulling Red away, as Liz lays bleeding on the ground and the task force runs in.
What a finale! And while we’re not 100 percent certain that Liz is dead, given all of the hints at her demise throughout the episode (her final moments with loved ones, the callback to her early case, the making peace with Red) and the large pool of blood around her body, we don’t have high hopes. Of course, Liz could survive and just be off-camera going forward, but given that series creator Jon Bokenkamp told TV Insider that the finale is “very much the ending of a story we’ve been telling for eight years,” we don’t think Elizabeth Keen is long for this world.
So there you have it: Rest in peace (maybe?) Liz. May we learn more about your (maybe?) mother in Season 9, because as we mentioned, even though Boone is gone, Spader isn’t hanging up his fedora just yet. The Blacklist was renewed back in January, so we can assume Red’s story will carry on, along with those of Ressler, Aram, and Harold Cooper.
So what did you think of how Liz’s tale concluded? Vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments.