The Blacklist Review: Pieces of the Puzzle

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Holy mackerel, Batman!

Now that's how you do a finale. 

The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 22 was near perfection. The hour flew by quickly without a moment wasted, the Berlin story made sense, answers were revealed and the conclusion set up season 2 without a major cliffhanger. Brilliant.

The chase to find Berlin was tragic and ultimately unsuccessful. He proved to be at or above Red's level of cunning and manipulation. From the moment the plane went out of control, he set up an elaborate ruse to escape and he had proxies to do his dirty work. His business had been hampered by the task force, so he targeted them first.

Meera Malik had her throat slit and Harold Cooper nearly died. That's a high cost for the operation, but it only make the task force more determined than ever to find Berlin. By cutting off his own hand, he bought himself time by passing himself off as a guard. It was mesmerizing to watch the fake cover play out and then unravel.

Since Tom showed up at the fake Berlin's place, it's possible that even he didn't know that wasn't the real Berlin. If I have a disappointment from the hour, it's that Tom was shot and presumably killed. His story didn't feel like it reached its conclusion. I hope that since his body was missing that maybe he survived the bullet wounds. It would take a miracle, but it's possible. 

The main mystery that's been explored throughout the season was touched upon, but not entirely answered in the finale. Who is Elizabeth Keen? I was satisfied with both the extent of the information revealed, as well as, what remains a secret. There will likely be a debate about how to interpret some of the clues too.

What seems to be undeniable truth is that Liz was saved from a fire, she was taken to Sam by a man, and then her rescuer left. Her father was in house during the fire as well. What remains unclear is who her father is and what happened to him. Red said her father died in the fire, but Tom whispered to Liz that her father is still alive.

Further complicating the issue is that Liz believes that her father saved her from the fire. It's possible he saved her and then went back into the fire for some reason and died. I'm not going to speculate on whether he's alive or dead, because we don't have enough information to really answer that.

While some will undoubtedly claim that Red is Liz's biological father, I still hold firm that he's not. It just doesn't jive with the story of his wife and daughter. His burned back would instead support that he's the one who took Liz from her home and left her with Sam. Those two men have a connection that's still to be revealed and it likely involves Liz's biological father as well.

Red saved Liz and now he's responsible for her as the proverb goes. I was happy to see Liz show up to see Red before he left. She made the tough choice to stay and not run away. She may never trust him, but he holds the answers that she needs and he's also the best asset she has to get payback for Malik and Cooper.

Berlin remains on the loose and he'll likely continue to target the task force and Red. He wants revenge for his daughter's death and payback for getting her remains sent to him piece by piece. Whether Red was involved in her death or not remains unknown, but he did at least know of her. 

On The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 4, Red took the #79 photograph out of the Stewmaker's trophy book. The face on the photograph matches that in Berlin's pocket watch. Berlin's daughter was killed by the Stewmaker. What remains a mystery is why and at who's behest?

Red and Liz have the advantage of knowing that Berlin is still out there while their adversary believes they think he's dead. That may just be enough to make Berlin slip up and give the FBI a lead on finding him and taking him out before he gets them.

There are lots of great questions to think about over the summer. It's also a good time to watch The Blacklist online from the beginning to look for more clues and answers.

Is Red Liz's father?


Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (72 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


The word is "jibe" not "jive".


Agree completely with Sam milkeason except about Berlins daughter's photo and a new crew for next year. I also like Meghan Boone's Liz. Most of Reds file is redacted because Liz looked it. Her file is in the same state because someone looked at it early on but cannot remember who.Did Red once move from his army job to investigating the FBI or did he once work for the CIA in Russia and that brings me to Fitch and maybe just maybe Tom. I do not want DNA or things tied up in ribbons just yet because I think it is a really brilliant drama.


My running theory is that Red was the dissident that Berlin's daughter fell in love with. He probably had an affair with her and may have been leading a sort of double life with his wife and daughter and Lizzie. Because of his dealings, Red's wife and daughter are killed. Sometime afterward, The Stewmaker kills Berlin's daughter. Lizzie and Red's place is burned because Berlin assumes it is Red's fault. He knows he can't keep Lizzie anymore, so he leaves her and stays away for years. Now, he is trying to find retribution by undoing some of his past by putting criminals away and helping her career. He says that her father died int he fire because he truly did. That was the final straw and turned him into the man he is today. And, he doesn't see himself as her father because Sam raised her. I think he has to be her father because otherwise his attachment to her is off. Even if he just saved her from the fire and feels reponsible, I don't see him having that level of obsession with her. If he isn't her father, it just doesn't work for me.

@ Ashley

I too, think that Berlin's daughter may have been in a relationship with Red.... BUT, I cannot be too sure..


GREAT season finale!!! I still DO NOT think Red is Liz's father.............he is, however, who rescued Liz from the fire......... I was shocked at Meera getting her throat slit...................... I think Tom was rescued by someone............perhaps Berlin was watching that little confrontation all along and rescued him..........

@ Terrie

Totally agree about Red. As for Tom, I think he walked out of the building on his own, because the other guy was still there, and I think if Berlin was watching, he would try to destroy the crime scene.

@ Terrie

I think you might be right....
Here is a response from the show's creator,
"Tom appeared to be dead, but then the police didn't find his body. Will he be back next season?
Bokenkamp: I hope so. Honestly, that's one thing that I'm not entirely sure how he will or may or could even weave into her life because it does feel like such a conclusion that this man entered her life, had a role to play and he's now gone. That said, I loved the character and I love Ryan. There's something really compelling about the stories that we've been able to tell with him. I'm hoping we can surprise ourselves with that."


As for Berlin, the season finale, both parts 1 and 2. I liked Meera Malik's death. slit throat? AWESOME! Just wish that they had either killed Ressler, Cooper, or both. Boring that only one person from the task force was killed. Makes Berlin's crew look incompetent. How on earth did Cooper survive that attack? Cooper should have totally bitten the dust. Due to him being only marginally in charge of the task force anyway, his services are no longer required. And Agent Ressler sitting at his bedside like an adopted son? Seriously people? Does Agent Cooper not have a family/wife or girlfriend? And doesn't Agent Ressler have a life outside of his job at the FBI? This current crop of characters have no personality or pzazz to them. They should have killed off more or all of them and started over with a new cast of characters.
The writer is right about one thing important: I am sick and tired of the childlike meltdowns that Lizzie has where she claims to never forgive Reddington and will not speak to him again only to then turn around and make up with Red five-ten minutes later. And unless they are going to bring in a completely new and unknown character, then Red is certainly Lizzie's father, unless Alan Alda or the real Berlin (that would be a nice twist to it, now, wouldn't it?) is Lizzie's father. I like how Alan Alda ordered Red's release. Real politik how that went down. Of course, now that this occured, we shouldn't see any more "how do we bring in Reddington and lock him away forever" moments. But due to the lackluster ending of part 2, I must rate The Blacklist Berlin Parts 1 and 2 as 3.0 stars out of 5.0.

Sarah silva

RIP Meera!
We all know Tom is alive as he was not there at the end. I am sure he called someone to come and get him.
It also looks like Cooper makes it too.
I know we saw the burn scars on Red at the end and tons of people will now be convinced he is her father, however I am still not convinced. I believe he is the one that saved Liz from the fire and that is why he has the scars!
Which makes Tom think that Red is her father,
So the photo Red took from the Stewmaker is Berlin's daughter. Does he thing Red was the one that killed her and send her body parts? Is Red capable of killing a young girl, I would say no and that Berlin think Red did it but is wrong.
I think Liz was smart to move out of her house, she needs a fresh start.

@ Mrs alex o'loughlin

I saw the spot where tom used to be. Lizzie told Red that tom said....'before he died'. He had 3 point blank shots to the abdomen. He would bleed out in minutes at the longest. Where would he be taken for the kind of triage necessary to save him? That place was an active crime scene, so the first people there would have been back up. It would really stretch things for him to be still alive.

@ jameschan

For some reason I think that was all a set up. When he got into the car, he said "Hi Babe", and you don't see anything else until they walk into the room where Red and fake Berlin are, way to easy for my taste. She didn't look terrified or anything. He didn't have the gun pointed at her but at Red, until Red said "I will take that gun away from you". If he was such a great operative, how did he miss Red. To be honest, none of it makes sense..

@ Nisan

That might be how they write their way out of it. There was blood, and I don't think Tom had a splatter pack on him and he was doing his 'dieing' when Red was out of the room. One of the producers was interviewed and he said he hoped Tom would return...too bad.


For those who think Red is Liz' father - I'm pretty sure they did a DNA test earlier which proved that he is not. And one would think those scars on his back from the fire would be part of his FBI record. I'll miss Tom, too - it would have been nice to see him turned and working WITH them. That would have been a very interesting story.


Terrific season finale. I believe that Tom walked out of the building on his own, as "Berlin" was still there when the FBI arrived. As for the scars on Red's back, I think he was the one who saved Liz from the fire.


One final thought, I remember in the pilot Red's tattoos were mentioned as part of the identifying characteristics in knowing they have who he claims to be. Liz knows his file and these tattoos. Shouldn't the scars from the fire be in the file as an identifying characteristic? Since she suspects he is more to her than meets the eye, shouldn't she be questioning where the burn scars came from?

@ RM

What about a simple blood test. They have Red's DNA as well as hers, easy enough to check if he is her father. Also, I remember something from the Pilot episode about why the FBI didn't know about her fathers criminal record. Am I remembering right? Uh-Oh, I have to go back and watch. Never Mind :-)

@ Nisan

I've never believed Red was Liz's father and, as you noted, they most certainly would have already done a DNA test. However, the burns clearly show that he was there the night of the fire. He was emphatic that her father is dead which stands to reason that with those scars he was the one who pulled her out and most likely killed her father. She wants answers -- there are easy questions. Where did the burn scars on your back come from? Did you kill my biological father as well as Sam? Are you the friend who was scared and dropped off the little girl with Sam? Having the scar identifier information would make these basic questions to be asked from day one. Any decent FBI agent worth her salt who really was interested in finding out the truth would have asked these questions already. All of this begs the question, have the creators/writers of the show failed to map out the path the show needs to take from beginning to end? A show like this needs to have been FULLY thought out before the pen hit the paper on the first script and the meandering it takes I think is why we have seen some great episodes mixed with a bunch of after thoughts.

@ RM

Meghan Boone's interview on the Today Show yesterday indicated that they did adhoc changes to the script all of the time. So I don't think that things were thought through from episode 1.


I think Red had a relationship with Berlin's daughter and that relationship got her killed. He doesn't know who Berlin is so there is no reason for him to have pulled the picture from the Stewmaker's book other than his own personal reason and he obviously killed the Stewmaker out of revenge. The writers will have to go a long way in order to make Berlin's hatred of Red over that of the actual killers who tortured him with body parts believable. They should be on the same side. Liz lost some of the childish "tell me!" whining in this episode which helped to improve it. She should have put a bullet in Tom's head if she wasn't going to let Red do it. That is going to be a mistake. She has enough information and knows Red enough that there should be no more of the bi-polar like extremes in her attitude towards Red. Was anyone surprised that Meera was the one killed? I knew when they said a main character was going to die that it would be her. Unfortunately, the writers had a talented actress to work with and failed to give her anything of substance and made her window dressing. Donald is getting more interesting now that he is no longer a boy scout. He has tremendous potential and has gotten better since his moral compass is off kilter. I'm loving the relationship between Red and Fitch. The new guy, Martin, is also a great addition. I think making him a permanent fixture on the show would go a long way to improving it. In fact, bring him in charge of the task force and kill off Cooper -- that would work well. I'm not overly optimistic that this is a precursor of an improved season next year since the writers have shown flashes of great writing, but keeping Liz in the same direction as this episode and, hopefully, spending the summer story boarding the entire season will make next season tighter and more focused. At least, that's what I'm hoping. It's still one of my favorite shows, but right now that is mostly due to Spader's performance.

@ RM

It will be back this fall.......not next year........they will have a hiatus probably around Christmas and be back after the Superbowl on Thursday nights.......

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