The Blacklist had a seriously intense first half of Season 5. The premiere episode ended on a flash-forward that seemed to indicate the death of Tom Keen sooner rather than later, and the midseason finale revealed that Tom indeed was doomed to die. That midseason finale ended on the tragic reveal that Liz was comatose for ten months after her husband's death, and she had to learn that he was gone from her hospital bed. The second half of the season has yet to start and show fans the aftermath of Tom's death, but executive producer Jon Bokenkamp has already revealed how Season 5 is going to end:
We have a great cliffhanger, and a big ending for the season in mind that I think is going to be really compelling. It's not what we imagine the end of the series to be.
Season 5 will evidently end on a big cliffhanger, and the folks behind the scenes at The Blacklist already know how they're going to handle it. While some series have been known to end forever on cliffhangers, it seems that Season 5 is not being written as the final season of the show.
At this point, it's difficult to imagine how The Blacklist could outdo the midseason finale cliffhanger. That episode saw the death of a character who was around from the very beginning and had been deemed strong enough to carry a spinoff, even if the ratings saw that spinoff get the axe. On top of Tom's death, the midseason finale served up an unexpected time jump that will force Liz to mourn her husband's death nearly a year after everybody else had to process what happened to him. She also lost valuable time with her daughter.
Given that she'll cope with her new circumstances by going on a mission for revenge, we can probably expect even more intensity in the second half of Season 5. It should be interesting to see if Red tries to assist or stop Liz from trying to avenge Tom. Throw in all the strings still attached to that suitcase, and there are a lot of issues to be addressed.
Unfortunately, The Blacklist has not yet received a renewal order for Season 6, and the show doesn't score high enough ratings for fans to be 100% confident that NBC will give it another batch of episodes after the end of Season 5. Jon Bokenkamp went on in his chat with EW to explain how it feels to write for a cliffhanger without knowing if they'll have to chance to pay off on it:
It's interesting to not know, and how you write toward that. We've decided that we love the characters enough that if, for whatever reason, we didn't have an opportunity to come back, we just have to find another way to do it, but we're not going to rush to some ending out of fear that we're not coming back. We have a story that we're telling that we really like, and it's going to take the time it takes to tell it.
It sounds like the Blacklist team is willing to tweak the planned cliffhanger if they find out that the show will be cancelled after the end of Season 5. Some shows are unlucky enough to only find out about a cancellation until after the finale has aired; hopefully that won't be the case for The Blacklist. As long as the show delivers justice for the characters who will have been developing through highs and lows for half a decade, fans should probably be able to enjoy the ride.
We'll have to wait and see. The Blacklist will return to NBC for the second half of Season 5 on Wednesday, January 3 at 8 p.m. ET. Swing by our midseason TV premiere guide and our 2018 Netflix premiere schedule for the other dates you'll need for shows in the new year. For the shows that won't be back in the new year, swing by our rundown of 2017 TV cancellations.