The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21 Review: Nachalo

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That actually did a pretty impressive job of tying things up.

Red and, what, virtual reality took Liz on a walk down Memory Lane on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21.

And once again Raymond proclaimed, "One day this will all be yours" and Liz again rudely rejected it.

The Epicenter -- Tall - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21

Some things never change. Just be glad we're finally getting some closure.

Granted, that closure was likely forced by Megan Boone's decision to leave her role as Liz at the end of The Blacklist Season 8.

Her Mother's Voice - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21

The public just found out. But producers have known for months about Boone's planned departure.

Suddenly, Liz's wildly out-of-character behavior makes sense, her turning on Reddington in favor of a mother she barely knew.

That was just TPTB creating a runway for Liz from which she could take off. How will be revealed in next week's finale, along with who actually took her father's place as Raymond Reddington.

But first came this much-need perspective for those who could locate it behind NBC's endless promotion of the Tokyo Olympics.

Elder Katarina - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21

That's how to encourage viewership on these crucial last two episodes: take them off of Friday, where the series has aired for the past three seasons, and hide them on Wednesday.

That's why we all stream now, isn't it, to watch series at our convenience that the networks shuffle around willy nilly.

Those who found it got to enjoy one classy clip show, full of vaguely recalled scenes from seasons past. The use of black-and-white for much of the episode only added to the eeriness.

The upshot of the episode appeared to be "It's all Dom's fault," which rings true.

Deceptive Signage - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21

If Dom hadn't forced Katarina into the family business of spying, Liz's life wouldn't be the mess it is now.

Although a global intelligence network was developed for the sole purpose of keeping Liz safe, so some of what has happened subsequently, especially this season, has to fall on her shoulders.

She just had to keep poking and prodding, undoing decades of work. But no, she just couldn't accept the explanation that everything was for her own good.

And once Raymond said that he would give her the answers she sought, she didn't think to turn off the chip so Townsend couldn't track them?

In Trouble - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21

It was confusing how Liz was interacting with the holograms of the people explaining her history. But once you dismissed that headscratcher and let it roll, there was a lot to be learned here.

Scenes from throughout the series were resurrected but with context to give them new meaning. Liz has a burn on her arm from a fire she partially remembers during her childhood. But now it was explained why there was a fire and what Liz's role in it was.

One result of this is that scenes vaguely remembered were brought back and took on new relevance as pieces in an elaborate puzzle that still is missing a big chunk.

It was reassuring that although Red was Agent N13, he wasn't a Russian spy. He was just a guy who fell into a sweet deal with only one major requirement: Keep Masha safe.

Returning Ally  - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21

Probably the most startling revelation was that the older woman that Red did really shoot and kill wasn't Katarina.

Instead, she was an operative named Tatiana Petrova who had the bad luck to be ordered by Dom to stand in for Katarina while Katarina disappeared.

A plan by Dom to kill off this fake Katarina failed and Tatiana was stuck portraying one of the world's most wanted women for decades. To get her life back, she cozied up to Liz in hopes of finding where the real Katarina was hiding.

One thing that doesn't make sense (just one?) is if the idea was to keep Liz safe, what did Stepanov whisper to Townsend that turned him against her, and why?

Big Bad Boss - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21

Liz got a lot of her answers but she has only herself to blame for not getting more, as she inadvertently led Townsend right to them. She should have chucked that tracker at the airport.

The showdown with Townsend did make for a refreshing ending, even if it did interrupt Liz's history. Again, why did Liz choose to partner with this nutjob?

It was simple enough for Reddington to distract Townsend with a little begging for Liz to retrieve a dropped gun and kneecap him.

Then Red simply used the defensive capabilities of his Russian nest to eliminate a man that he had been running from for years. That was an abrupt ending for a long-running storyline.

A Quick Shot - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21

The Task Force was missed this episode but since they don't often visit Latvia, that was understandable. They're bound to return for Liz's farewell.

There are still a few obvious questions to be answered.

One would be who became the second Raymond Reddington, resurrecting the name of Liz's biological father? Where is Katarina hiding?

Finally, how will Liz's exit be handled? Will she take Reddington up on his offer to fly her and Agnes off into the sunset? Will she go into witness protection? What other possibility would there be?

Lessons Learned - The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21

To revisit this answer-packed episode, watch The Blacklist online.

What surprised you the most about this episode?

Has Liz come back to Red's side?

How do you think she will depart?

Comment below.

Nachalo Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (30 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 21 Quotes

Elizabeth, stay with the story. Stay with the story.

Red [to Liz]

I vowed I would do whatever it took to protect you.

Katarina [to Liz]