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The Blacklist “Berlin: Conclusion” 

Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Let’s get a couple of things straight: When Red Reddington tells Elizabeth Keen that her father is dead, that he absolutely died in that fire all those years ago, I believe, in his heart, he is telling her the truth. Because in that fire, Raymond Reddington, upstanding citizen, Naval officer and family man, died when someone set his house on fire, killed his wife, almost killed his daughter and set Raymond on the run. That day, and in that fire, Raymond Reddington died and Red Reddington, international criminal, fixer-for-hire and dashing hat wearer was born. Because, I’ll tell you what, right now, if you tell me that there are two different fires, and Red lost his family in one, and Lizzie in another, I am just going to be mad. My patience? Is done.

Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

If Lizzie isn’t his daughter, then he must have been involved in her existence somehow, in some weird Orphan Black clone experiment shit, to generate this sort of loyalty, because I have children of my own, and some days it’s too much for me to get them to curling practice or go watch their damn football games. Solitary confinement for life? Maaaaaaaaaybe. But only if they’d made me tea that morning. Unasked.

At this point, after this whole season and all the clues and Red killing Sam to stop him from telling Lizzie his secret and everything else that has happened, if Red really isn’t Lizzie’s bio dad, then I am just going to be some pissed off. What? He’s her uncle? Godfather? Happened to be Sam’s best friend? He coincidentally has a back full of scars that could have come from a fire? He happened to lose his family in a fire, too? He’s willing to give up his whole life for her and she’s not his daughter? I don’t know what NBC thinks about the patience of its average viewer, but trust me, it doesn’t stretch that far.

Red was telling the truth about one thing, when he said Lizzie’s father was dead. He is. Sam Keen was Elizabeth Keen’s father. He was her dad. He raised her. He loved her. He protected her. He was there for her. He was proud of her. He watched her grow up. And even though her husband turned into a duplicitous ratbag, It was Sam Keen who watched her fall in love, and he would have been the one to walk her down the aisle when she got married. Sam was the one at the graduations and skating lessons and waiting up late after the dances, turning off the lights on the porch to tell high school Lizzie it was well after midnight and doesn’t that boy have a home to go to? Time to come inside. That was your father, Lizzie.

In an example of what fathers will do for their daughters, we have Berlin (Peter Stormare: Prison Break, Psych) finally identified as a former Russian Colonel in the Russian Army and KGB whose daughter fell in love with a dissident, and after he helped her escape the country, he was sent to the work camps in Siberia to suffer alongside the criminals he had put away for so many years. Eventually, pieces of her started showing up in his cell (cinematic Russians are always so dramatic) and he escaped after making a knife out of one of her bones. I, personally, would have used a femur.

Berlin was on the plane that crashed last episode and he’s now on the loose and taking apart the Reddington task force, one by one. Meera is dead and Cooper is in the hospital. For some reason Berlin is really pissed at Red – like I’m pissed at NBC over this paternity issue – and crazy enough to cut off his own hand, so God knows what else he’s capable of. Red seems to have a photo of Berlin’s daughter, the same photo that is in the pocket watch Berlin carries with him, the watch that was returned to him in the Siberian gulag that started the influx of ‘presents’ to his cell, the pieces of his deceased daughter.

In the picture, Berlin’s daughter looks very, very dead. In the copy Red has, there’s a number at the bottom, indicating what? That Berlin’s daughter was a number on Red’s Blacklist? Or, more likely, was the victim of a member of the Blacklist and that’s the correlating number.

Either way, if Berlin is after Red because he thinks Reddington had something to do with his daughter’s death, he’s not going to stop until Red is in a great many pieces, which is great for us as viewers because Peter Stormare is amazing and as a recurring nemesis would give the show a great lift.

For Red, though, it’s not so great because he knows better than anyone what a man is willing to do for his daughter. For his sake, I really hope he had nothing to do with hurting that girl. It’s after midnight. Turn off the porch light. Time to send that boy home.

Season 2 of The Blacklist returns this fall on NBC.

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  1. Jack

    In an earlier episode when Red saved Elizabeth from the Stewmaker, Red went into the Stewmaker’s book full of pictures of his victims, and pulled out that picture.

  2. Felix

    I agree, if Red is Keen’s father the network is allowing it to be dragged out insanely long. However, maybe Red just pulled her out and doesn’t want to tell her that her real dad is on the Black List? Also, remember the episode of The Stew Maker? Red killed him and took a Polaroid from the album, I believe she’s who the was in the photo. Red always knows more than he’s telling and is usually 2 steps ahead.

  3. FLos

    you realize Keen can’t be Sam’s last name b/c that is Lizzie’s married last name, right? Also is Tom dead??? In that episode where Red wanted to finish him off and Lizzie wanted answers, he tells her that her father is not dead and then humps over as if dead. However, when we see the scene later with the cops assessing what happened, Tom is not there. Did anyone notice?

  4. Amanda

    I believe that Red is Liz’s bio father – the story that Red tells Madeline as well as the one that he tells Liz as Sam’s story sounds much too personal for it not to be his, the pause before he says no and the scars on his back are too coincidental. I believe that his definition of a father is the person who raised her and cared for her for most of her life – and that he has not been that person because he couldn’t be that person. The person who he was died in that fire and turned him into the person he became.

    I want to know why, if she had suspicions, she didn’t just run his blood for a paternity test – now, the Alchemist could have falsified it, but there’s still a chance.

    The picture Red took from the Stewmaker was the same picture as in Berlin’s pocket watch.
    All of the pictures have a number – The Stewmaker was a collector, it would only seem to fit his profile that he would number his kills as I believe they were also labeled on the jars.

  5. Tara

    I think Red is the “dissident” Berlins daughter fell in love with…
    And I think Tom is alive and going to cause some trouble in season 2.

  6. Robert

    The scars on Red’s back would seem to tell us that Red is Keen’s father. However, assume that at the time of the fire Red was perhaps visiting Keen’s bio family or happened upon the fire in some other context. It could be that the scars came from the fire as Red tried to rescue the family. Perhaps red is Keen’s older brother, uncle, or just a really loyal associate of her bio Dad. Hollywood writers are predictable in that the obvious is never the truth in these long term plot secrets. As an aside; wouldn’t you be ticked off with Keen if you were Red? Twice she has let Tom get away. If I ever get arrested by an FBI agent, I hope it’s Agent Elizabeth Keen cuz she seems rather hapless when it comes to keeping people in custody.

  7. Laura Manning

    In the first episode we learn that her father left her, her mother died when she was young and she practically reared herself. This does not match her later story that Red left her with Sam.

    If Red is her father, it was not from his wife – she and her daughter escaped and got into witness protection, though the daughter has now disappeared – as an adult. If she and Elizabeth were the same person, then the mother would have recognized her. Maybe his illegitimate daughter, but I do not think so.

  8. Antonio

    Ray is an agent infiltrated and no one knows he is an agent, he works from the shadows to try to combat the highest evil in the world.or that he had to become a criminal to be apart of government organizations and not be discovered.

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