Red made sure to end The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 2 with a bang.
Despite Mr. Kaplan’s earlier acknowledgment of what she guessed Red had in store for her and later seeing Red walk Mr. Kaplan to a quiet space and saying it was pretty much his only option, I couldn’t help but find it hard to believe that Red would kill her.
And yet he was perfectly fine with pulling the trigger... but he did kill her, right?
Red may have not checked Mr. Kaplan's pulse at the end, but he was feet away from her when he shot her, and there was blood splatter. Or did Red's bullet merely clip her and she's still alive?
Does that mean she might come back as a scarred adversary later on in the season or was her clutching the grass at the end more of just a final shot for the ending of a character that's made a name for herself on the show?
My initial thoughts were that Mr. Kaplan is indeed dead, however disappointing that may be, but then again, Liz managed to come back, and how many shows have we seen characters we thought were gone wind up returning as a surprise twist? Or am I looking too deep into things?
Either way, it was tough to watch Red make his decision to want to end things for Mr. Kaplan. Was that really his only choice to make?
She even called Red out on his decision before he shot her, and she explained helping Liz fake her own death was technically still in line with Red’s wishes. And after all the assistance (including hurting her friend during the hour and helping get Mato) and history over the years, Red was still willing to get rid of her. He just couldn’t trust her.
But then, didn’t Liz betray Red, too? How could Red still trust her?
I know Red has technically teetered into more of the “bad guy” sphere when it comes to his actions, and we’ve seen him kill countless people that get in his way. He even killed his aide Newton Phillips (I still see him as Skinny Pete from Breaking Bad) on The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 11 after it was revealed he betrayed Red and was the mole.
So maybe offing Mr. Kaplan wasn't out of character for him?
Still, we’ve gotten to know Mr. Kaplan for some time now, especially with all the good she has done, all the help she's provided for Red. Would Red do the same to someone like Dembe? Both have been rather dedicated to Red. Is there anyone other than Liz and Agnes that Red would hesitate on killing?
Red may have rationalized killing Mr. Kaplan, but it still doesn’t feel like that was the only choice he had.
And combining Red’s decision with Alexander Kirk’s reveal about Red’s lies, The Blacklist Season 4 is certainly putting the fedora-loving criminal in a much more negative light.
Can Liz even trust Red anymore?
The question of trust was clearly a top topic during the hour, but it was interesting to see Liz brush Alexander’s comments aside to later slowly taking in his statements as truths as she explored the "summer palace."
Being around Red so much probably helped her make the decision to crash the plane (which seemed really dumb) and even letting Alexander die.
Don’t get me wrong, Alexander’s way of getting Liz to believe in him didn’t really lend itself to “I’m the good guy you should trust,” but after exploring the “summer palace,” it was like some puzzle pieces were clicking together for Liz.
Memories of her past seemed to come back to her, and put Alexander's truths into a much greater possibility.
Though, I can’t help but recall when some of Liz’s memories were recovered on The Blacklist Season 2 Episode 10. She remembered her parents fighting and a fire, but Alexander said Red created stories to manipulate Liz.
So were those even real memories back then? Or just distorted ones? And what of the flashback Liz had of her mother during the hour?
If anything, it feels like Alexander can at least offer up a different side to Liz’s past, but there’s still so much that feels unclear. And with Alexander escaping, he’s bound to pop up again and offer some more information that Liz might be much more interested in hearing about.
I’m curious to see Liz and Red’s relationship going forward. She had a much more affectionate reunion with Ressler and Tom. Whereas Red just watched her in his car from afar, which was kind of surprising. No hug between them?
It may be a good thing that Liz was "saved," but the path going forward doesn't look like it will be resetting to before she faked her death. It's not going to be all puppies and rainbows again, especially with an Alexander vs. Red struggle mixed with various truths. Let's just hope Agnes isn't collateral damage in the process.
For an episode that began somewhat slowly, things really went on a roller coaster tilt toward an unsettling end. And with Agnes still needing rescue, some new hints at Liz’s past, plus major trust issues being explored, The Blacklist Season 4 is starting off strong.
Farewell, Mr. Kaplan... or have we yet to see the last of her?
Do you agree with Red's decision that killing Mr. Kaplan was the only choice? Is she actually dead? Do you trust Alexander Kirk now? Sound off below, and be sure to watch The Blacklist online right here at TV Fanatic!
NOTE: The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 3, "Miles McGrath," airs Thursday Oct. 6 at 10 p.m.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.