Get ready to learn more about Liz Keen's Russian roots.
The Blacklist is flipping its script for its Season 2 finale on Thursday (9/8c, NBC) for the episode titled "Masha Rostova." Traditionally, the series has named its episodes after the Blacklist criminal whom Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader) is targeting that week, but in this instance, he is certainly not out to get Masha Rostova.
"The Blacklister of this episode is actually Tom Connelly (Reed Birney)," creator Jon Bokenkamp tells TVGuide.com. "There was an earlier incarnation where it was Masha Rostova, which in fact is Elizabeth Keen's (Megan Boone) name. But the truth of the matter is that Red is not putting Masha Rostova on the Blacklist. He is not pitted against her in a way. It's an episode that feels like Liz is a Blacklister because the full forces of the FBI are coming for her, but in fact she is more aligned with Red than she has been in the past several episodes. This episode is where Tom Connelly comes front and center, and his plan, along with the Director (David Strathairn) really all comes together."
In the last episode, the Cabal framed Liz for murdering a senator and for blowing up a CIA secret site. Not only that, but the newly discovered knowledge that her mom Katerina Rostova was a KGB agent appeared to confirm Liz's secret criminal agenda. "The Cabal is using the secrets about Liz's past to present her as a traitor, as a mole," Bokenkamp says. "There have been whispers of a Russian plant, a Russian spy within the FBI. And they are now presenting that Liz is in fact that spy and she's been working with Red, she's been doing his bidding, she's been helping him build his empire and take down the competition. It's really an argument that she's having a very hard time making for her innocence. In the classic thriller fashion, she's going to have to go out and try to find the truth and present it to the authorities."
Check out what else Bokenkamp had to say about The Blacklist finale:
Who will be helping Liz while she's on the lam? She can't do this alone.
Jon Bokenkamp: She's going to borrow help from a little bit of everyone. There are a number of people out there she can turn to. There's Red, Tom is still out there, she trusts Cooper implicitly. But she really is alone. She finds herself operating in the dark and on her own. The resources she typically has within the FBI and contacts and associates and so forth are gone. So she immediately finds herself on the other side of the law.
Does being a criminal profiler help her at all evading the law?
Bokenkamp: The profiling is a key part of who she is, but one of the things she's going to have to depend on or recognize within herself is something that Red taught her in the pilot of the show. He says, "Think like a criminal." I think what she has learned over the course of these two seasons and what she has to rely on tonight has to go back to not thinking like a cop, not seeing things in a good versus bad or black-and-white way. In a very gray way. To get out of this, she's going to have to embrace a darkness within her.
Will we learn more about Liz's mother and her past?
Bokenkamp: Within in the landscape of the mythology of the show, we have a incredibly significant discovery that Liz makes, much to the dismay of Red. He has erased memories from her. There are things about the past, about the night of the fire that she has been trying to access, secrets about her mother and about her father and where she came from and what exactly happened. That is going to snap into incredibly sharp focus in this last episode. It's a really satisfying answer that we've been working toward a long time.
What more will we learn about her lost memories?
Bokenkamp: There are exciting things about the finale. One is that Liz is going to be confronted with the truth that she didn't even know she was looking for. There is a truth about who she is and her connection to her family that is going to spring up and confront her in a completely unexpected way. And then two, the way in which this episode ends tells you everything you need to know about Season 3 and where it's going. It's something that takes the series and pivots it in a bit of a different direction.
How involved will Tom (Ryan Eggold) be in the finale?
Bokenkamp: Tom has been trying desperately to court Liz, to redeem himself in her eyes. Tom is critical to the episode, he plays a big role in it. That's all I should really say about that. Any kind of intimacy or anger or love or hatred that they've been feeling really comes to a head in this episode.
Now that Tom Connelly has revealed himself as a Cabal member, is Cooper (Harry Lennix) going to go after him?
Bokenkamp: Very early in the episode, the stakes are set between Cooper and Connelly and Liz. Connelly has been holding these treatments for Cooper, he's sort of hijacked Cooper's health and his life really and has used Cooper to compromise him in a way that is disappointing. He traded his ethics for his health. This is a story line that will be wrapped up when the season ends. Those two characters, Cooper and Connelly — who are dear friends, who are two guys who have a shared history — that will be blown up by the time the episode is over.
Will anyone die?
Bokenkamp: I would always brace for unexpected deaths in the show. We have characters in about as great a peril as they find themselves; death is certain to follow. It gets messy.
The Blacklist finale airs Thursday at 9/8c on NBC.
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