The Blacklist Review: Mr. Kaplan is Back!!

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Mr. Kaplan’s back, and she’s not pulling any punches.

Ultimately, the fact that she’s been after Red wasn’t a surprise, but that didn’t make the buildup or the reveal any less exciting.

At the same time, it was a smart move to put The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 16 and The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 17 back to back rather than waiting a week in between.

Mr. Ketch looks concerned - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 17

Because while the second part of the two-hour event filled in a lot of holes and revealed Kate’s past, the present-day aspect of the story was really about the punchline ending.

So I could understand people being frustrated if they had to wait a week after the reveal only to see that current storyline does not move forward a ton.

And really, the two episodes almost work better as a whole, making the “event” all about Kate’s return and fantastically kicking off the final stretch of episodes.

Mr. Ketch looks happy - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 17

I do wonder what the outcome could possibly be. There’s no way they just squash the beef and go their separate ways, right?

And if not, it’s probably not going to be Red getting killed off seeing as he really makes the show what it is. So is death the only fate for Kate?

Pitting these two former allies together has me very invested in seeing where it all goes.

Red looks cool - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 17

Though, Kate’s backstory did reveal why she began working for Red and how all that time made her lose sight of what she was doing it for in the first place.

That was a fascinating discovery.

Kate and Katarina - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 17

Some of the interactions with young Kate and Katarina felt a bit off, almost stilted, but what incredible casting. Kudos to actress Joanna P. Adler for making her feel pretty much like the same character that Susan Blommaert has been playing.

I almost had to do a double-take they look so similar.

It was perhaps a bit of letdown that it was just shadows and lighting when Kate met the younger Red, but I can also see it being tough to pull off Red with a different actor, too.

Mr. Ketch works a computer - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 17

Still, there was something compelling in seeing the two believe in what they were doing was best for Liz.

And did anyone else notice the comment about the “American” thinking the child is his but Katarina allegedly having no clue who the father is?

At this point, I’m over Liz’s true father whoever he is, Red or not, so those types of mentions wind up being more annoying than intriguing.

Red relaxes - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 17

Instead, it was seeing Kate become the cleaner, seeing her interact with young Liz, and seeing her devotion to helping Liz.

It certainly fit with her decision to help Liz fake her death, though can you blame Red for not remembering what Kate said years and years ago that would back up her actions?

The return of an associate - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 17

Also, how cool was it to see names and little callbacks or people that we’ve seen before get colored in a bit more with Kate’s story? Even the return of actor Charles Baker was a cool little full circle nod as the story caught up to The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 1 before jumping back to the present.

If anything, it adds some further weight to the battle between Red and Kate, especially making Kate much more dangerous considering she wasn’t ever really Red’s “friend” to begin with.

I just hope Dembe doesn’t become collateral damage in the war.

Dembe looks around - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 17

It certainly was a bit of a shock to find out that Dembe didn’t actually try and kill Red, which changed the whole storyline.

But that made him running crystal clear seeing as he knew exactly what Red would do if someone betrayed him. After all, look at what Red did to Kate.

Dembe hears a sound - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 16

That first episode really amped things up, drawing on the anticipation strings, knowing that there was a reveal in store. And it was actually great to see Dembe doing whatever he could to try and prove his innocence and talk about his connection to Red.

It’s also such a difference in the relationship with Kate, which added to the clarity that while Dembe has been concerned about Red’s recent antics, he never went rogue.

Aram is held hostage - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 16

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out Aram’s relationship love triangle, which can easily be forgotten with all the big storyline stuff going down.

But wow what a cold shoulder he got from Samar.

Aram goes hacking - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 16

I totally get where he’s coming from, too, on being worried about his relationship with Samar. At the same time, I liked seeing him back with his computer hacker girlfriend.

She’s certainly got no problem expressing her thoughts.

Get in the trunk - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 16

It’s just too bad that Aram’s stuck dealing with emotional drama instead of getting to have a happy relationship. When he’s not being kidnapped by Dembe either.

So will he and Samar ever be a thing?

Either way, it was good to see some character moments from someone like Aram in such heavily focused episodes on Red and Kate.

Red makes an entrance - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 16

This was a truly engaging return from hiatus, finally putting both opponents on the board for some real battle. There were some great character moments, some neat reveals, some answers, fantastic use of music again, and some killer endings for both hours.

Now that’s how you bring The Blacklist Season 4 back at full steam.

Dembe doesn't look happy - The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 16

Were you surprised by the reveal of Kate? What did you think of Kate's backstory? Are you excited for the battle going forward?

Sound off below, and be sure to watch The Blacklist online at TV Fanatic!

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Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Blacklist Season 4 Episode 16 Quotes

Red: My dark forces had a name, a person I entrusted with the most heinous offenses of my life. My confessor, who doth now condemn me.
Liz: What are you talking about?
Red: A name that came to represent my darkest hours. My friend, Mr. Kaplan.

Dembe's timing is impeccable; his most deadly attribute, his patience.

Red