Spoilers for the Season 7 premiere of The Blacklist are discussed below.
The Blacklist got things off to a rocking start with a cat-and-mouse opener that toyed with various angles to its sprawling mythos. After watching the Season 7 premiere, I am more confused than ever, but in the best way possible. If you are also a bit perplexed, it's okay. We're in this together.
As always, the best clues were nestled in the dialogue. Red weaponized every word to spin an elaborate meaning. Key details from the past season played into The Blacklist’s Season 7 premiere. Now, it is time to examine the ten things you might have missed in the present.
1. Red Kept The Truth From Dembe
When Dembe reached out to Liz to let her know about Red getting taken, he shared several vital clues. He did go with Red to Paris. However, Red chose to go to his meeting with Katarina alone. That is not the only thing that Red kept from Dembe. He also did not share who he was going to meet with.
That’s right. For whatever reason, Red did not tell Dembe he was going to meet with Katarina. What does it mean? Why would Red keep the fact he was meeting up with Katarina a secret from Dembe? Had Red been honest, he would not be in the position he is now!
2. Katarina Tested Red’s Loyalty
Katarina’s ruse to make Red believe he had been paralyzed by some incident in the Season 7 premiere ended up giving him a chance to prove his loyalty. Asked repeatedly by a phony French detective where Katarina was, Red did not give up any intel. Even though one of his last memories was of Katarina plunging a syringe into him and knocking him unconscious!
Red’s loyalty clearly pained Katarina to see on the monitors. Whatever is going on between them, Red is not so angry about it that he wanted to sell Katarina out. Why does he care so much about her? It is it all of those Ilya feelings? What is The Blacklist getting at?
3. Katarina’s Fake Story To Red
Every “good” lie contains a bit of truth, right? If you take that approach to the story that The Illusionist (aka Louis T. Steinhill) fed Red, then there may be something to it. According to The Illusionist, someone is after Katarina.
There is something that investigators want to know from her. So, they do not want something to happen to Katarina before she can spill. Who would still be after Katarina Rostova, and what could she know after all these years that authorities want? Red did talk about there being danger when he and Katarina met.
4. Red Says That Katarina Is An Illusion
One of the fascinating lines from Red during The Blacklist’s Season 7 premiere called back to deception. This time, Red told Blacklister Louis T. Steinhill that he (Red) seems like an illusion. He followed that up by saying that Katarina Rostova is an illusion and that she can never be found.
Stay with me for a sec. If you take Red at his word, Katarina Rostova is not a real person. She is an amalgam. It is something that The Blacklist has had some characters refer to her as in the past. Red’s claims of her existence, flashbacks, and Dom’s confirmation have indicated she is real, though.
5. Katarina’s Employees Did Not Know She Was Their Employer
Not knowing who is really calling the shots is not a strange thing on The Blacklist. That Katarina was able to keep her employees from finding out who she is strikes me as part of the mystery. Who did they think they were working for? How did she recruit them?
If Katarina is capable of orchestrating such a complex plot, why has she waited until now to do so? What has taken so long to get to this point? Why has the information that she wants from Red become so urgent she is going to these lengths? The Season 7 premiere kept teasing her motive.
6. Katarina Wants Red To Talk About A “Who”
The Blacklist spliced the Task Force’s interview with Katarina’s people together. It was hard to know for sure that the order in which the audience heard it is the accurate version of events. If you take it at face value, it is quite illuminating.
Katarina is not after something. She is after someone, and there are already two pointed clues as to their identity. The person Katarina is after is a woman who, like herself, is Russian. Who could this possibly be? Is she the female version of Ilya Koslov? A character that The Blacklist has never mentioned before now holds the key to so much. Maybe.
7. Katarina Takes No Pleasure in Hurting Red
Katarina did not want to hurt Red. So much for mortal enemies (so far)! She tried to pretend to hurt him, and by the end of the Season 7 premiere, it turned into the real thing. Or so she said. Katarina could be seen appearing conflicted throughout the hour. She wants Red to hand over what he knows about this mystery woman.
That Katarina still cares about Red (whoever he really is) is sort of telling. They are clearly at odds. Not to the point that her go-to plan to get the truth was to torture it out of him. She tried to go about it the soft way. Now she is going more further.
8. Katarina Wanted A Sizable Sample of Red’s Blood
The Blacklist left fans with one of the most dramatic blood drawings television has seen. Red was hooked up to a metal fence and then had his blood drawn through his neck. Now to the obvious question: why on earth does she need such a large sample of Red’s blood?
She may be planning to run multiple tests on it. What kind of tests? Instinct says that this is somehow related to Red’s mystery illness. Remember how Red made such a significant effort to get hold of The Pharmacist last season? The Blacklist sort of let it go for a while, before bringing it back up before the end of the season. Could this be connected?
9. Katarina And Red May Share A Soul Mate
Red’s monologues are always an excellent source for information. Look no further than what he told The Illusionist, a.k.a. Louis T. Steinhill, when he questioned Red about Katarina. Not only did he call her a “figment of the collective imagination” (which stung her), he went on. When asked why he has so much faith in her, Red responded:
Some people in this world are soul mates. Katarina Rostova and I shared one. Betraying her would be like betraying myself.
It is that last part that will undoubtedly keep certain fan theories alive. Did Ilya Koslov/Red’s true self and Katarina Rostova share a soul mate? If so, who was it? Is this the woman that Katarina is trying to find? Why are they in hiding? There is a lot here, but very little to go on.
10. Is “Katarina” Really Katarina?
After The Blacklist’s Season 7 premiere, I am a bit doubtful that the woman introduced as Katarina Rostova is actually the real Katarina Rostova. Some things just do not add up. What if this woman is looking for the real Katarina? Or is there some Russian woman that Red and Katarina shared from their past?
The Season 7 premiere left viewers with the impression that "Katarina" is looking for a woman who sounds an awful lot like herself. Something just does not fit. At first, I was willing to believe she was Katarina, but little things like this have made me doubt it.
Getting to the truth is going to be quite a fun ride. How does all of this tie to Ilya Koslov and the mysterious stranger The Blacklist introduced in last season’s finale? He will be back and with answers. There is hope for fewer secrets this season. Thankfully, Cooper and Aram both know Liz's secret about Red’s imposter status now!