Red Reddington (James Spader) and Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) are still at war with each other on The Blacklist — but they may find themselves having to unite against a common enemy in next week's two-hour finale.
That would be Julian Gale (Enrique Murciano), the FBI agent who's spent most of his career tracking Red, and finally gets a clear shot at him — literally — in the final minutes of Thursday's episode. Fortunately, he misses. And his trigger finger allows both Red and Mr. Kaplan to escape, just as the FBI is poised to arrest Mr. Kaplan for her role in Red's criminal empire.
Unfortunately, for the task force, their game is up at this point, as Gale sees with his own eyes Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff), whose loyalty he was beginning to question anyway, and Semhar (Mozhan Marno) arrive on the scene with obvious prior knowledge that that's where Red and Liz (Megan Boone) were going to be.
But what brings them there in the first place? A mysterious Blacklister known as "The Debt Collector" — a revenge killer — is after Liz, hired by a mysterious person. While Red's busy trying to get his affairs back in order after the untimely demise of his accountant, he alerts Kaplan to the fact that Liz is in danger and says they need to put aside their differences for the time being in order to protect her.
However, as it turns out, the person who hired The Debt Collector was none other than Red himself, knowing that putting Liz in harm's way (or at least making it seem like she's in harm's way) is the only way to lure Kaplan out of hiding. Unsurprisingly, he executes the idea perfectly — forcing the FBI to work with Kaplan to identify The Debt Collector, making it seem as though the real culprit is a man Liz helped put behind bars years ago who was recently released, and finally leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to bring Kaplan and her men to a secluded cabin in the woods.
Once Liz realizes what's going on, she's sickened by the assumption that Red is preparing to kill Kaplan, and cries out to warn her former nanny before she can enter the cabin. But that's actually not Red's goal at all. As he tells Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) earlier in the episode, he's willing to declare peace with Kaplan, but the final decision is hers. However, if she decides that one of them is going to have to die, Red acknowledges that it's going to have to be her. Dembe, on the other hand, is more pragmatic and insists that there's no going back and Kate needs to be stopped.
And it seems like she's made up her mind. When Red comes out of the cabin to greet Mr. Kaplan, Liz runs out as well, and attempts to broker a truce. Red extends an olive branch, but Kaplan's having none of it. She reminds Red about the bullet he put in her head and says she doesn't believe they can co-exist. And right then is when Ressler and Semhar show up and Gale, who's watching the whole thing, puts Red in his crosshairs.
But with Gale getting ever closer to his white whale, it appears as though Kaplan and Red are going to have to co-exist at least long enough to evade capture, or the consequences could be disastrous. Perhaps Mr. Kaplan could benefit from hearing the quote Red tells The Debt Collector moments before fatally shooting him: when you embark on a revenge mission, you should always dig two graves.
The Blacklist's Season 4 finale airs Thursday, May 18 at 9/8c on NBC.