This wasn’t a horrible point for an early-season cliffhanger.
Red racked up a body count on The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 2 that may forever change his relationship with Liz.
Or maybe not, despite what the trailer for the eventual next episode in late January seemed to suggest.
First, let’s address why bother launching a new season for two episodes, only to go on a holiday hiatus for two months? What was the point?
That would feel a whole lot less disjointed than NBC’s actual approach.
Next, let’s give the show’s powers that be credit for writing off Dominic as absolutely soon as possible.
Dom has been dying a slow death even by TV standards, seemingly for seasons.
Dom unfortunately couldn’t have been written off with Brian Dennehy’s death earlier this year. Dom had to pass on what he knew to Katarina.
The interrogation by Liz and then Katarina played a role in Dom’s death, putting too much stress on his failing body.
At the same time, Dom doomed Katarina when he told her everything he knew about M-13 and the Sikorsky Archive. Red did the only thing he could do to protect his secrets.
Raymond hasn’t gotten where he has in life by not being able to make the hard call. He just had the bad timing to shoot Katarina right in front of Liz.
That’s gonna be hard for her to get past.
I felt worst for Ressler. He let his affection for Liz overwhelm his professional judgment and both Liz and Red took advantage of that.
Now Ressler was in trouble with Cooper for sneaking off to meet with fugitive Liz.
All the time, he was just trying to do the right thing for everybody. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work when everyone was working at cross-purposes.
Liz and Katarina wanted answers from Dom. Red wanted just the opposite, to recover Dom before the two women could learn anything.
And Cooper and the task force just wanted to get Liz back, alive, before she did anything more criminal than taking her grandfather out for an unsanctioned drive.
It’s hard to fault Liz for wanting to know who she is. That’s been a huge chunk for the series’ narrative.
It’s her approach that’s been ill-chosen.
This episode, she blasted Red for the deaths of everyone she cared about: Her father, her husband, her grandfather. Now’s let add Katarina to the list.
But Liz certainly played her part putting all those people in harm’s way in her obsessive pursuit of answers about her past.
Little wonder that Liz sided with Katarina, who also wanted answers regardless of who got hurt in the process.
Plus Reddington gave Liz precious little of the information she sought. In a sense, he drove her to Katarina. So a good part of what subsequently happened was on him.
Liz quickly learned that she couldn’t manipulate her mother any more than she could Raymond. They both gave her as little information as they could get away with.
So she called in Ressler and they both ended up getting captured by Red as a result.
When will Liz realize that both Raymond and Katarina have been keeping secrets a lot longer than she’s been alive? She’s in way over her head.
I also felt badly for Dembe, another kindhearted soul caught in the crossfire. He’s got an affection for LIz but his allegiance first and foremost is to Red.
In the end, Dembe let Liz go when she stole his car. But he didn’t do her any favors as she arrived just in time to see her mother gunned down.
Liz really should learn from Katarina’s bad example.
Katarina lived in the shadows for years. But she left that relative safety behind because she had to have answers as to why Dom had betrayed her.
She ultimately got all the answers she sought, by playing on Dom’s dementia. But she ended up only having those answers for a few hours before her death.
So what good did that do her?
Likewise, what good has Liz’s dogged pursuit of the truth done her? Tom and Dom are dead and her relationships with Reddington, Dembe, and the task force may be damaged behind repair.
Sure, she’s learned about the Townsend Organization, M-13, and the Sikorsky Archive, but without the juice she had with her former connections, what can she do with that information?
There’s got to be an end game in sight for The Blacklist.
Liz has worn out her welcome with too many viewers.
Red is a charming rogue. On the other hand, Liz is infused with a bitterness beyond her years and keeps making bad choices.
Will the task force welcome her back one more time, despite her transgressions? For that matter, will there still be a task force with the bond between Reddington and Liz ripped asunder?
Eventually, Liz will have to come crawling back to Red, because he is the only person who has the answers she is so desperately seeking. Only he’s not likely to give up any more than he has previously.
To revisit their complex relationship, watch The Blacklist online.
Are you sorry to see Katarina go? How about Dom?
How many episodes will it take for Liz to get over what Red did?
How long before the task force welcomes back Liz?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.