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Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Blacklist's season finale.
When Blacklist creator Jon Bokenkamp promised a huge cliffhanger for the Season 5 finale, he was not kidding. The Blacklist ended its fifth season with a series-shattering reveal that has changed everything fans may have thought they knew. As it turns out, the Red Reddington we were introduced to in the pilot is actually an imposter, a fact that Liz now knows, while the bag of bones that cost her husband his life actually contains the original Red's skeletal remains. Bokenkamp promises the reveal will lead to an even stronger Liz in Season 6, saying:
That's part of the promise of Season 6 -- taking this bombshell, stepping back, looking at every possible angle and trying to figure out the best, most clever way forward. To the extent that that involves Jennifer, to the extent that that involves the task force and what they might know, and how much [she] uses and bends the law to get what she needs, she's in a position to become a strong and formidable character. That's something Reddington should be concerned about. And if I can just mention, you had said Fake Red before. It's worth pointing out, this is the same guy we met in the pilot, the same character, the same charisma, the same strange sense of humor. In a way, nothing changes and yet, it all changes. I think that's important for the audience to know. I don't think James Spader is going anywhere. It's only going to get more interesting.
It is a lot to absorb, and yet Liz will have to do just that, and very quickly, if she plans to bring down Red Reddington's imposter. Jon Bokenkamp's hints about Liz's evolution to ET line up with an arc that has been seasons in the making, as Liz has endured all manner of tragedies and triumphs because of James Spader's character. While fans have gotten one of their biggest answers surrounding Imposter Red's origins, many questions remain. For instance, is "Red" related to Real Red?
How Imposter Red managed to entirely assume Real Red's identity required more than acquiring the guy's social security number. When the show began, the FBI confirmed Imposter Red's identity by matching his fingerprints with the ones kept on file. Having the fingerprint file switched out could resolve that particular mystery. But another question for Season 6 is why Imposter Red wouldn't have just cremated Real Red's bones at some point, which would have made this reveal next-to-impossible. And another larger mystery looms. Is "Red" actually related to Liz or not? Bokenkamp did bring up that "Red" was telling the truth when he first told Liz that he wasn't her father, but that's just one family member.
There is certainly a lot to sift through after this reveal, and all of the puzzle pieces will eventually fit. Thank goodness, NBC renewed the series, so that the show can piece them together in Season 6. Unlike many twists on other shows, The Blacklist's will continue having implications for the rest of the series' run. In his interview, Jon Bokenkamp assures fans that the reveal will find Liz putting everything she's learned to use, saying:
What this reveal does and what's exciting about season six is it snaps into focus so many of the tools that Elizabeth Keen has been acquiring over the past five years, not only from Reddington, who she certainly has been influenced by and learned from, but also from Tom Keen, her husband who was also not only an impostor but a spy. What she's learned from both of these men in her life will influence how she handles this truth and what she does to move forward. I wouldn't expect it to be super squeaky clean. She has some skills that are a little bit on the dark side. That excites me. That's a very interesting character to explore and to follow into the next season.
It sounds like "Red" will have his hands and his mind full. If you are more than a little crushed that Imposter Red's complicated-but-sweet relationship with Liz has been obliterated, you are not alone. He did seem to struggle acknowledging his role as her dad earlier in the season, which makes a little more sense now. At the same time, the twist also makes Imposter Red's affection for Liz all the more curious. Why was he so devastated by her "death," and that she had betrayed him by faking it? Yes, he had gotten to know and care for her, but his reaction was extreme. It is hard to understand -- especially if Imposter Red is just some brutal criminal -- who woke up one day deciding to take over a stranger's life. For now, we will have to wait for Season 6 to learn more of the answers.
There is no air date for when The Blacklist will return to NBC, only that it will happen eventually. For what you can watch awaiting the crime drama's return, check out our summer premiere schedule. Want to know what other shows were renewed besides The Blacklist? Then check out our 2018 network TV rundown.