Liz isn’t dark. She’s just drawn that way.
That appeared to be the point of The Blacklist Season 7 Episode 19.
This finale was an innovative way to make the best of a difficult situation.
The coronavirus pandemic forced a production shutdown of The Blacklist, with only about half of this episode shot.
It was great to have the cast, sheltered at home, explain what had transpired, and was about to happen.
So TPTB came up with the genius solution of using graphic-novel style animation to film the remainder of the script.
The animated scenes by Proof Inc., with voices provided by cast members, gave the episode the gritty, noir style which the series requires.
(The series was used as a basis of a Titan Comics series back in 2016.)
Better yet, the transition between live-action and animation scenes was smooth, not jarring.
Granted, the animation was kinder to some characters than others, but that’s the nature of the beast when comic art is based on actual people. It was apparent who was whom.
Best yet, unlike so many “finales” in this coronavirus-ravaged TV season, this felt like a season finale, as Liz was forced to finally choose between her mother Katarina and her surrogate father Red.
The fact that she made that choice based on her gut rather than actual information may prove to be her undoing. Her gut has made too many wrong choices in the past.
How does she choose Katarina over Raymond? Katrina has failed to sufficiently explain why she abandoned Liz for all these years, while Red has been there for Liz for years?
Once again, Red brought a case to the Task Force that seemed worthy on its face, but again, was ultimately geared to benefit him.
There was no doubt the Kazanjian Brothers needed to be taken off the street, especially with all the bodies in their wake.
And their latest protectee, Frank Merwin, had a treasure trove of intel attached to his wrist that could have led to dozens of indictments.
But Liz asked the crucial question that she couldn’t figure out: What’s in it for him?
It took far too long for her to determine that answer: Assessing Liz’s loyalty.
Liz mostly answered that question earlier when she forced Katarina’s associate to bring her back to her mother, but she did absolutely nothing with the information.
Sure, she addressed her dilemma with Ressler, but she already knew what his answer was going to be and disregarded it entirely.
After her fiery showdown with the Kazanjians, Liz knew there was a connection between the brothers and Katarina, one which Red planned to exploit.
Did anyone not see Raymond’s collapse coming during his escalating argument with Liz?
The problem with lying to her coworkers was that Liz couldn’t go through regular channels to get Red to his “personal physician,” using the term loosely.
That’s the only possible explanation for calling Katarina to get him medical assistance.
There was absolutely was no reason for Katarina to show up herself to rescue Raymond, especially if she’s trying to stay dead in his eyes. Her thug, sure, but her?
If nothing else, the Sikorsky Archive, which Ilya had mentioned, was brought up again on that lifesaving ride. So Katarina was in trouble because it’s thought she has it and Red has done nothing to clear her.
So there’s one dangling storyline for The Blacklist Season 8.
What never arose was a diagnosis of Red’s condition. Sure, doctor-patient privilege and all that, but he was seemingly getting worse, so, as the doctor pointed out, Liz deserves to know.
Now that’s another reveal for next season.
Even in his diminished state, Raymond still found time to place Liz in a vice. If she warned Katarina, she became Red’s enemy. If she didn’t, she stayed on his nice list.
Sure, Raymond promised Cooper that she wouldn’t kill Katarina, but what’s that worth?
Liz tipped her hand by warning Katarina, but Katarina kept her safe by having Ott keep his appointment with the Kazanjians.
As she explained to Liz, she could defend against Red as long as she knew he was coming.
Now here’s my problem with Katarina: Dominic did her wrong. Raymond did her wrong. She’s been a misunderstood victim all these years, betrayed by the men in her life.
It could be that simple, but her back story has got to be more complicated than that.
Again, next season. But it appears likely that Liz is betting on the wrong horse.
The best thing about this episode (besides the cool animation) is that Liz finally embraced her inner darkness.
It’s been there through the seasons more and more as she’s gotten involved with Red.
She’s been only fooling herself by being a morally-ambiguous FBI agent. Granted, everyone on the Task Force is somewhat flexible that way. But Liz is in a league of her own.
What happens when she channels that darkness in defense of Katarina, especially if it’s against her current allies?
Also, what happens to Dominic now, since Brian Dennehy passed on April 15?
Does Dominic take a turn for the worse and die, taking his secrets to the grave with him?
Do you understand Liz’s choice?
What’s wrong with Red’s health?
How did you like this season?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.