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The Blacklist Raymond Red Reddington NBC

Who is ready for The Blacklist’s Season 7 finale, but also not wanting the season to come to an end? Same. The crime drama will be coming to an early close due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent quarantine for the cast and crew. There is some excellent news, though. The Blacklist is going to end with what may be its most ambitious finale -- and certainly its craziest -- to date.

Diego Klattenhoff previously teased that The Blacklist’s Season 7 finale would totally work as a season-ender despite not being the one originally planned for the show. There is just one thing: Production on that episode was not completed when filming ended. So, what has The Blacklist done about that? As seen in the promo photo above, the NBC drama got incredibly creative.

NBC has announced that that the hit show will combine live-action footage with “graphic novel-style animation” (seen above) to wrap up Season 7. Yes, The Blacklist is getting animated. In fact, the Season 7 finale was only halfway through filming when production ended. Instead of ending with Episode 18, The Blacklist went another route.

Producers ingeniously (in my opinion) decided to utilize animation to flesh out the episode and have the actors record their dialogue from home. In an impressive sign of how far modern technology has come, editors and animators finished their work on the Season 7 finale remotely. And you thought Red had all the best twists up his sleeve.

In the Season 7 finale, the Task Force will work to locate an accountant for criminals in the search for the hour’s titular “Kazanjian Brothers.” Meanwhile, Liz is said to face a “momentous decision.” Could this connect to what James Spader teased about how The Blacklist closes out the season? Or that big family fight? While you think about that, check out an animated Liz and Red squaring off below:

The Blacklist Raymond Red Reddington Elizabeth Liz Keen NBC

One of the many interesting things about this reveal is what has previously been teased about the Season 7 finale. One of those things being that late actor Brian Dennehy, who played Liz’s grandpa Dom Rostov, would return to the show. The Blacklist’s creator, Jon Bokenkamp, confirmed that fans would see him in the season-ender. This could be a lot easier in this format.

At the time, Jon Bokenkamp mentioned using already-shot footage with previously filmed material to complete things. Does this mean that Dom’s scenes will not get the animated treatment? Stay tuned. Based on the promotional photos from The Blacklist finale’s animated portion, Dom’s granddaughter Liz and his friend (of sorts) Red, will.

Regardless of how the episode plays out, The Blacklist is clearly finding an inventive way to complete Season 7 ahead of Season 8. On a related note, I think choosing to finish the season with animation is a beyond ambitious twist that the already renewed series will easily be able to pull off.

It totally fits with The Blacklist. The show had a comic book back in 2015, per THR. So, I welcome the chance for it to bring a comic book feel to its Season 7 finale. It is classic Blacklist to go all-out with a finale, anyway and this seems like a pretty over-the-top way to go. Hopefully, fans will edge a little closer to the reveal of Red’s real identity and getting an answer in animated form would be a fun way to learn that vital info.

Tune in to the animation-infused Season 7 finale of The Blacklist when it airs Friday, May 15, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. In the meantime, check out past Blacklist finales streaming on Netflix, along with lots of 2020 arrivals. After Season 7 finishes, this summer’s premieres will be available to keep fans’ minds occupied.

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