[Warning: The following article contains major spoilers about Thursday's fall finale of The Blacklist. Read at your own risk!]
A tense episode in which Kirk had Liz and then Red in his custody came down to a final showdown between the two paternal figures in Liz's life. After torturing Red with chemicals, Kirk obtained the truth once and for all (or is it?): Red is Liz's father. And then, just as Kirk was about to kill Red by plunging a needle into his neck, Red managed to turn the tables on Kirk and escape from his grasp by whispering something in his ear that stopped Kirk's hand dead in its track.
What did Red whisper? And did he kill Kirk? It's unclear, as Red explains to Liz at the end of the episode that Kirk is "gone" for good, but stops short of confirming her query as to whether he's dead. Interesting that Red and Kirk were discussing Liz's mother at length right before all this went down. Could Red have told Kirk something about Katarina... like, maybe that she's alive? Hmmm.
And Red wasn't the only person who managed to escape from a captor in the finale. After sort of bonding with her new woods friend (who, as it turns out, was really just trying to keep his secret hideaway a secret and wasn't ever going to really harm her), Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) leaves the cabin and is last seen hitchin' a ride from a truck driver on a backwoods road. Let's hope she has better luck with this random stranger than she did with the last one.
So, needless to say, the finale leaves us with more questions than answers. TVGuide.com turned to Blacklist showrunner Jon Bokenkamp for some clarification on what we just saw, as well as teases about what's ahead when the show returns in the new year.
TVGuide.com: Is Kirk really dead? If he's not dead, will we be seeing him again?
Jon Bokenkamp: Kirk is either dead or, perhaps, Red saved Kirk's life using Dr. Adrian Shaw's cutting edge medical technology. Either way, we have no plan to see him again.
After going back and forth on whether she should trust Red for the first part of this season, Liz seems to believe everything he says at the end of the episode. Is that an accurate assessment, and is that going to come back to haunt her?
Bokenkamp: Should she trust him? Well, Red has told Liz he has "never lied to her." He also told her, "I'm a criminal, everything about me is a lie." I don't blame Liz. It's hard to know what to believe about Raymond Reddington.
Red tells Kirk that he is Liz's father, but in a later scene with her, sticks to his story that her father died when she was young. Which is the truth?
Bokenkamp: Hmm. I think it's best to let the show speak for itself.
Where is Mr. Kaplan going when she gets into that car?
Bokenkamp: Mr. Kaplan is going far, far away.
Will we see Mr. Kaplan and Red reunite when the show returns? How shocked is Red going to be when he discovers that she's alive?
Bokenkamp: Well, I don't know that Red will discover she's alive. Mr. Kaplan barely escapes with her life and she's just lucky to be alive. I think she has every intention to disappear into the night.
Whatever Red whispered in Kirk's ear, did that give Kirk some sort of new information about Red?
Bokenkamp: Yes. That whisper was incredibly important. Whatever Red told Kirk was significant enough to convince Kirk to spare Red's life. So... yes.
Is Liz happy to have Kirk out of her life, or does she feel like there's more information that she needs from him? If it's the former, at what point did she go from wanting to save his life to wanting nothing to do with him?
Bokenkamp: Not only did the DNA testing proved Kirk is not Liz's father, but remember — this guy shot up her wedding, tried to kill her husband. He nearly dropped her baby from a rooftop. I'd say Liz is thrilled to have Kirk gone. With him gone we now get to enter a new chapter in the life of Elizabeth Keen.
Does any part of this storyline tie into Tom's eventual transition to The Blacklist: Redemption? On how many more episodes of The Blacklist will we see him this season?
Bokenkamp: To be honest, we're still figuring that out.
In last week's episode, Tom told Liz about Scottie. Does that conversation come up again between them?
Bokenkamp: Tom brought up Scottie Hargrave in order to make a point — he's not interested in the past, he's interested in his future with Liz. Tom is hoping Liz can get in that same mindset and look ahead to building a family now that Kirk is gone.
Is there anything else you can share about The Blacklist: Redemption launch?
Bokenkamp: Well, we're breaking stories now and I can tell you this: it's going to be a wildly fun ride.
The Blacklist returns with new episodes in January.