The Blacklist: Red Isn't Doing Well, And It Could Be Connected To A Major Return

The Blacklist James Spader Raymond Red Reddington NBC
(Image credit: Will Hart / NBC)

Warning: Spoilers for the April 24 episode of The Blacklist entitled “Nyle Hatcher” are disclosed below.

The Blacklist did not hold back with two last-minute shockers in the enthralling episode, “Nyle Hatcher,” and they had to do with Red and Katarina. In the closing minutes, it was revealed that Katarina was the one who took Dembe’s imam, Sadiq Asmal. Yes, Katarina is back from the “dead.”

It marked the first time that she had been seen since Season 7’s 2020 return. Katarina is now holding Sadiq Asmal captive and, just as Red figured out that the abduction was meant to get to him through Dembe, he collapsed. As a concerned Dembe rushed to Red’s side, it was clear that The Blacklist may finally be ready to confront Red’s health crisis.

Fans will recall that hints of Red’s troubled health have been going on for a while. Back in Season 6, The Blacklist first hinted that Red was facing something when he wanted to get his hands on “The Pharmacist,” a Blacklister capable of some extreme medical feats. The storyline grew quiet until it was brought up again later last season.

Cut to Season 7, and The Blacklist has now confirmed that Red is dying, and The Pharmacist had not been able to cure him. After Ressler learned about it, Red swore him to secrecy, Liz doesn't know anything about Red’s seemingly fatal ailment. Though, she is well aware of other things, such as Red not being Ilya.

So far, The Blacklist has been playing coy about Red's specific illness and whether or not it can be cured. It's also unclear if Katarina has played some role in whatever is going on with Red. I still think it is possible that she's behind what ails him. Perhaps Katarina injected him with a nerve toxin without him knowing about it?

Whatever the case, it seems like the renewed crime drama may finally be readying to bring this off-and-on story to some sort of climax. Will a cure be found for Red before it is too late? Well, he is the star of the show, so I would hope so. Still, with so much build-up for this story, fans like myself are more than likely ready for the payoff.

I would say that Katarina has incidentally brought on her foe’s temporary collapse, as the stress of the realization seemed to cause Red’s episode. Even though we can't say this for sure yet, you can imagine that it didn't help matters. Between Red’s fragile health and Katarina’s latest terrible deed, I hope Liz will finally stop supporting her mother.

I think it is pretty clear that Katarina is not the hero in this story, though, if that's even who she really is. Again, I have my doubts about her identity, given everything that Red has said. The Blacklist may have previously hinted that he is not the trustworthy one, but Katarina’s actions have me wondering about that.

So now that Katarina is back in the picture, who is ready for that big family fight? That is assuming that fans get to see it in light of production on Season 7 ending early.

I'm ready for Red and Dembe to rescue Sadiq Asmal and for Katarina to finally face a reckoning. It merits saying that all of this could have been prevented if Liz had arrested her mother. Instead, Liz disappointingly went along with her mother’s fake death. Despite my earlier empathy, it is indefensible at this point. If something happens to Dembe’s imam or Red, it's on Liz.

You'll have to stay tuned to find out how Red survives and to see how these other plot threads are resolved. New episodes of The Blacklist air Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, with the new and impromptu season finale airing on May 15. Also, be sure check out past shockers on The Blacklist, you can watch previous seasons on Netflix alongside content arriving in 2020. Hopefully, Red’s status will not be one of the cliffhangers to consider while anticipating this summer’s premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.