Spoilers ahead for Episode 18 of The Blacklist Season 5.
The second half of The Blacklist Season 5 has been one of the most intense runs of the entire series to date, and that's saying something. The death of Tom Keen set Liz on a dangerous path for revenge and Red's ongoing search for the duffel bag has only made things messier. Now, The Blacklist has served up what could be the messiest twist to date for Liz and Red with a huge Reddington family bombshell in the latest episode. The hour ended with Liz chatting with a woman, seemingly named Lilly, who had been seen hugging Ian Garvey, who murdered Tom. Liz got more than she bargained for out of the chat when Lilly revealed that Garvey put her in witness protection to keep her from her dangerous father: Raymond Reddington.
Liz was not expecting that the woman who had been seen hugging her husband's murderer was her own sister, and the episode ended before she had much time to process the bombshell dropped by Lilly. Since this is The Blacklist we're talking about, we shouldn't necessarily take the bombshell as 100% the truth without some assurance. Fortunately, The Blacklist executive producer Jon Bokenkamp weighed in on the reveal and whether or not we should take it with a grain of salt:
It is most likely the truth. Viewers might remember that as far back as season 2, we had introduced a character whose name was Jennifer Reddington and who was MIA. Reddington was looking for her. The woman's mother, Naomi Hyland, played by Mary-Louise Parker, was protecting her and wanted nothing to do with Reddington. Reddington had no access, no way to contact her and couldn't find her. And so there is a character out there who we know to be Reddington's daughter and this woman, it seems that her foot may fit the slipper.
According to Jon Bokenkamp's comments, we can be reasonably sure that Lilly is the Jennifer Reddington who was mentioned way back in Season 2. Given that there are still several episodes left in Season 5, it's not all that shocking that Bokenkamp isn't ready to be entirely candid about who this woman is and how she's related to the main characters. It does seem rather late in the game for The Blacklist to introduce a fake daughter for Red/sister for Liz. There's enough going on in this final arc of Season 5 without throwing a fake long-lost family member into the mix; it would make sense for the series for her to be the real deal.
In case you've forgotten about Jennifer Reddington, she's the product of Reddington's relationship with his wife, Naomi Hyland, whereas Liz is the daughter of Katarina Rostova. At this point, the big question we should be asking may be more of what Ian Garvey wants with Jennifer than whether or not she's the real deal. Jon Bokenkamp went on in his talk with EW to tease what's going on with Ian Garvey:
One of the things that's interesting about Ian Garvey's character, and what's gonna be worth tuning in for the next episode, is that we know Ian Garvey is a dirty cop. He's a U.S. Marshal. The U.S. Marshals run the Witness Protection Program and he's in bed with some fairly nefarious folks, including the Nash Cartel and their suppliers. And so the question I think is: What is his agenda? Ian Garvey found out in episode 8, or shortly thereafter, the identity of the bones in this duffle bag. So why has he not gone to the FBI? Why has he not gone to the press? Why hasn't he leveraged Reddington in some incredibly powerful way? For some reason, he's been sitting on this bag and is trying to unlock or understand something deeper. And that, I think, is the reason to stay tuned, because his relationship with Jennifer, his relationship with Tom Keen, who he murdered, his relationship with Liz, all of those are going to sort of snap into focus in the next episode.
We can only wait and see what happens next. Liz won't rest until she gets her revenge, Red wants that duffel bag of bones, and there are still a bunch of variables in play.
New episodes of The Blacklist air on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. For more viewing options, check out our midseason TV premiere guide and our summer TV premiere schedule. The Blacklist's future is uncertain at this point, but some shows' fates have been decided. Swing by our rundown of network TV renewals and cancellations for what you need to know.