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The Blacklist Ilya Koslov Brett Cullen Peter Bradbury Berdy NBC

Spoilers for the November 22 episode of The Blacklist Season 7 entitled, “The Hawaladar (#162)” are discussed below.

Hold the phone! The Blacklist introduced yet another memory-related twist into the mystery of Ilya Koslov. First up, it does appear that The Stranger/Frank is in fact Ilya Koslov after all. This despite Katarina acting like she never heard of the guy earlier in Season 7. Well, a single episode can change everything.

After taking Ilya captive in The Blacklist’s previous episode, Katarina pressured Ilya to reveal something he would rather not. Apparently, in a bid to protect Red. At first, it seemed that Katarina would torture the bitter truth out of him. That is until she brought in a memory extractor to get it from him. I am guessing/hoping this will be a pain-free alternative?

The Blacklist had teased an upcoming episode about memory manipulation, which would relate back to that big Liz reveal three seasons ago. In short, a doctor claimed to have been hired to take away a memory from Liz after she supposedly learned a truth about “Raymond Reddington.” The quotes being there because, since then, Liz has learned Red is not Reddington.

As for Katarina, she continues to rage about being betrayed by Ilya Koslov, Red, and Dom after some incident in Belgrade. A situation that The Blacklist strongly alluded to earlier in Season 7. Does that have to do with this memory? Ilya did not want to give whatever it is up, despite Katarina’s rather moving pleas. Whatever this information is, it seems to be precarious for Red.

At this point, Dom’s Ilya Koslov equals Red story seems to be somewhat out the window. Ilya Koslov exists, and he is clearly not running around pretending to be Raymond Reddington. Hence, The Blacklist has sent fans back to square one. Or has it? Does the memory that Katarina wants to have extracted have to do with who Red really is?

How much does Katarina even know about Red not being Raymond Reddington? The Blacklist has not exactly made it clear. At least, not to the point I can distinctly recall an obvious answer. Red has been protecting his identity with tremendous ferocity. It would seem he is shielding whatever Katarina wants to know with the same determination.

Does it all come back to his real identity? Or is it a separate issue, he feels just as passionately about keeping secret? Reading between the lines is only getting this Blacklist viewer so far! Another mystery is why Red and Ilya have seemingly turned against Katarina. The Blacklist has spoken of her as a major big bad, so she is apparently not an anti-heroine.

Still, there are so many questions. Katarina seems desperate, and her agenda is no more clear-cut than Red’s at this point. I am as torn as Liz will apparently come to be as The Blacklist continues in Season 7. My guess is that Ilya knows something about who is after Katarina, and that person is somehow related to Red and Ilya.

They apparently feel so strongly about them that they are willing to die to protect them. Who on earth could that be? I have no idea. It does seem that the Red is Ilya Koslov’s twin brother theory may still be alive. Albeit, hanging by a pretty tenuous thread.

New episodes of The Blacklist are airing this winter on Fridays, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. You can refresh your memory on The Blacklist season that introduced Ilya Koslov on Netflix, along with lots of upcoming content.

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