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A season’s worth of tension on The Blacklist led to Liz making her choice between Red and Katarina. In the end, she chose to side with her mother in an animated/live-action Season 7 finale that left viewers with a lot to drop their jaws over. It also left them with one of the most epic questions of all – why did Liz choose Katarina?
In the Season 7 finale’s last moments, Liz made a speech explaining her turn to the darkness as she embraced her alliance with her mother. The Blacklist did not leave it there, either. In a chilling monologue, Liz declared that she would not let her ailing grandfather, Dom, nor an also-sick Red stand in her way.
The implication was pretty clear in my mind. If Red or Dom get in Katarina’s way, they are in jeopardy, and I am not talking about competing on the famous trivia show, either. When The Blacklist returns, Liz and Katarina will be a united force that could threaten the very core of Red and all of his secrets.
So, if you are still trying to process where Katarina bested Red in Liz’s good graces, The Blacklist’s executive producers have provided insight. Did all of Katarina’s priorly sewed seeds of distrust give her the edge with her daughter? Or was it Red’s secret-keeping that proved to be his undoing? Asked about Liz and Katarina’s partnership moving forward, Blacklist executive producer John Eisendrath told EW:
Liz understands that Katarina is a very dangerous spy and someone who is not the most trustworthy person. However, in the final episode, she did something that genuinely moved Liz and I think motivated her to align herself with Katarina in a very real way. She in some way sacrificed herself for Liz by giving Red information that allows him to track her down. The reason she did it was because she wanted to protect Liz. Katarina didn't want Red to know that Liz had betrayed him for her and that is a very maternal thing to do and it is something that I think more than any other thing that had happened prior convinced Liz to put her eggs in Katarina's basket.
I wonder how different things would have been if instead of unceremoniously kidnapping and torturing Red, Katarina had been grateful for his warning. She created this entire situation, in my opinion. But, just how major was Katarina's decision to protect Liz so that Red wouldn't find out that Liz had betrayed him (yet again) on The Blacklist? Was Liz in mortal danger?
Red forgave Liz for getting him sentenced to death and coming within seconds of getting the lethal injection. If Red could get past that and Liz’s indefatigable pursuit of his true identity, would he really hurt Liz over siding with her mother? He gets that there is a mother/daughter draw between them. Saving her daughter from Red was not Katarina’s only major point-getter with Liz during The Blacklist’s Season 7 finale.
Jon Bokenkamp revealed that it was Katarina aiding Red when he collapsed from his mystery illness that gave Katarina the winning points. The Blacklist’s creator explained that it was Katarina’s seeming act of compassion that made Liz reconsider. Bokenkamp said:
I would just add to that Katarina also put herself in an incredibly vulnerable place by saving Reddington when he collapses, from whatever happened to him. Katarina didn't know what would come from that, she actually saved the person that is trying to kill her.
Also, Katarina has come back from her sort of walkabout with new information about Reddington that she can provide to Liz. We heard whispers tonight of The Sikorsky Archive, which will come back, is incredibly important and is part of the deep mythology that goes back to the beginning of the show.
It was not just Katarina’s Red-hot save that helped bolster her case with her daughter. It was also the info she had to offer Liz that gave her another edge in The Blacklist’s Season 7 ender. Hopefully, Liz and viewers will learn more about the knowledge that Katarina possesses next season. It should be a doozy!