When it comes to The Blacklist, there are a lot of trust issues both for the audience waiting for answers and the show’s seeker of secrets, Liz Keen. In the Season 8 premiere, Liz’s mother Katarina made a bombshell allegation – that Red is N-13, a Russian spy who made off with 13 explosive secret files. Is N-13 really Red, and can Liz really trust Katarina’s latest claims about Red’s identity?
The Blacklist creator Jon Bokenkamp weighed in on Katarina’s wild claim that fits too perfectly (in my opinion) to be true. Liz took the bait and seemed to buy into her mother’s theory readily. Asked if Liz should trust her mom’s contention, Jon Bokenkamp told TheWrap:
Liz has no reason not to trust Katarina. This isn’t a head fake. Liz isn’t using her mom or gaming her in some way. These are very real emotions, and their joint search for answers is just as real. Is Red N-13? Is he using Liz and the task force? If so, for to what end? All these things get to the heart of who Reddington is and why he entered Liz’s life eight years ago. And I hope the answers that lie ahead — the very concrete answers we’re racing toward — will be incredibly satisfying.
The way I see it, Liz may not be playing her mom, but her mother may be playing her. For me, there is nothing trustworthy about the present-day Katarina that viewers have gotten to know so far. I say that while knowing that The Blacklist’s creator has said that viewers can “trust” Katarina, so I am a bit torn on the matter. The “Red is N-13” theory coming from her taints it for me.
Flashback Katarina, on the other hand, I could see Liz buying some breadcrumbs from in Season 8. The villainous-seeming woman that Liz is getting to know seems preoccupied with her own agenda on The Blacklist. Katarina’s viewpoint is heavily troubling as she paints herself as the biggest victim in the known world. It is a narrative that is personally impossible to believe as she solely espouses it.
Katarina’s contention that Red is N-13 serves a self-interested premise, and I am having trouble buying it for that reason alone. Remember, Dom is incredibly wary of his own daughter, and there has to be a legitimate reason for why. Meanwhile, Red has played fast-and-loose with hard truths, but his agenda seems far less problematic, no matter who he really is.
As a viewer, the more I see Katarina on The Blacklist, the more I dislike her, and it has gotten to the point that I am hoping against hope that she is an imposter. Never forget that Katarina threatened to kill an innocent man last season to get what she wanted – Red’s secrets. Would an “innocent” person do those kinds of things? Or would the real N-13?
Whoever Red is, I cannot conceive of him doing that based on everything I can recall about him on the show. Find out if Red and N-13 are one and the same when new episodes of The Blacklist air Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. They will hopefully continue into 2021’s winter/spring schedule. While you wait for more Red truths, you can catch up on past seasons of The Blacklist via Netflix’s releases.