As NBC's The Blacklist enters it’s last two episodes of season five, we have some theories we want to voice. Not all of these come from us but from the fandom because fans of this show have been picking it apart piece by piece for clues for the last five years. The season’s main villain, Ian Garvey (Jonny Coyne) is dead at the hands of James Spader’s Raymond Reddington, but it only unearthed more mystery. We also still don’t know whose bones are inside the duffle bag that Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) dug up in the season four finale. So, we’ll try our best to connect the dots and after the season five finale airs, we’ll see how we did.
The Blacklist, created by Jon Bokenkamp, has been shrouded in mystery since the first episode aired with the primary question being, who is Raymond Reddington to Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone)? The show answered, or most likely did, that inquiry with the season four finale DNA test reveal that showed Reddington is Elizabeth’s Father, which has been some of the fan bases theory all along. We believe this is true as well, but we understand why holes are poked in it. The DNA sample was thirty years old which leaves room for doubt, not to mention the showrunners denial that he was her Father for the first three season of the show. Bokenkamp has stated, after that episode aired, that he is her Father and that part of the mystery is closed, but the bigger question becomes, why did he turn himself in at that moment? What caused him to enter her life? Also, in the same episode Mr. Kaplan dug up a suitcase of bones which she gave access to Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold), Liz’s husband, to ensure Liz would get the answers those bones hold.
Here we are, at the end of season five, and we are about to find out whose bones are in the bag, but according to Bokenkamp, the reveal will only begin a bigger question within the show’s mythology, this dependent on the show’s renewal, which seems likely. The most obvious thought regarding the identity of the bones is Liz’s mother, Katarina. Reddington has always stated she died and when Mr. Kaplan dug up the bones, she said, “I’m sorry Katarina.” Liz had a memory that she shot her Father during the night of the fire, but it’s possible she shot her Mother, and Reddington had her memories changed to prevent her from having that heartbreaking knowledge. This also aligns with Kaplan’s apology because Katarina loved Liz and wouldn’t want to be apart of any plan that would cause her pain. Who else could be in the suitcase? Some fans believe the real Raymond Reddington is in the suitcase, now duffle bag, and that is very possible as well. Reddington has stated, multiple times, throughout the show that ‘Everything about him is a lie’ among other clues to support, what is known as, the imposter theory. For another example, when Tom learns the identity, before being murdered before he can share, he seems to know how all the pieces fit together suddenly, and a reveal of the real Reddington seems more likely to cause this reaction then Katarina. Others speculate that the bones are those of a child and the real Masha is in the bag, meaning Liz could be Reddington’s real daughter but not Masha Rostova as she thought. This revelation would also explain why her DNA didn’t match season four’s, Alexander Kirk (Ulrich Thomsen), because his daughter was Masha Rostova and Liz is not her.
What do all these different ideas lead us to believe? That, we never really know what’s going on in The Blacklist. We want to lean toward Katarina as the owner of the bones because it’s the most obvious choice, and this show has been known to think they have us extremely confused when the answer is right in front of us. What’s the best example of this, you may ask? Remember in season two, when Liz had Tom as her captive to find out what he really knew? Well, the promos for that confirmation went on for weeks, with the big question constantly being, “Who's behind the door?” It was Tom, we knew it was Tom, but they built it up over a three to four episode arc, only to reveal we were right, all along. Had the door not opened to reveal Tom, we would have been very impressed and always expecting to be wrong about what was coming next on the show. For this reason and the fact that Bokenkamp reveals that he changes his plans, like Kaplan’s involvement in Liz’s childhood, after everything has already begun, lead me to believe that while we want to believe the answer is hidden in a giant mystery that we’ll never figure out, it’s really always the most obvious choice out there.
If you watch The Blacklist, what do you think of our breakdown? Do you have a theory that you cling to as the only truth? Do you agree regarding our evaluation on the show’s constant promise of a big reveal only to do the expected? Sound off and we’ll finally see who’s right when the finale airs in two weeks.