The Blacklist: Berlin, Conclusion
May 14, 2014 7:26 AM - Season 1, Episode 22 - Subscribe

People are shot! Elizabeth learns she cannot learn things. Tom is somewhat upset over their separation. People in New York are very chill about a crashed plane and terrorists. Alan Alda doesn't do a good job.
posted by viggorlijah (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Since the beginning, I've been thinking/saying this to anyone who will listen, but her father is NOT dead.
That shirt removal scene might prove me a genius.
Or just very gullible.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 10:38 AM on May 14, 2014

I find the mystery of Reddington's connection to Lizzie somewhat perplexing. I mean, there are abundant clues/hints/implications that he is her father, so I don't see how they would ever outright confirm it without being anti-climactic. But then it also seems that what happened to his family is a mystery to him, from the episode where whats-her-name was revealed as the mole, and there was that scene about him getting a private performance every year of the ballet his daughter once performed. I have no idea if the writers actually know the solutions to the mysteries they're teasing or if they're just making it up as they go along and doing whatever seemed cool in the writers' room and continuity be damned.

But, I'm not watching this show for the mystery, I'm watching for Spader and he has been delightful.
posted by oh yeah! at 12:35 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Totally agree. Everyone else is forgettable, but he IS a delight.
Definitely worth the price of admission.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 2:50 PM on May 14, 2014

Halfway through the season I really got tired of the whole Elizabeth/Tom story line, but Spader pulled me through.
posted by Pendragon at 2:56 PM on May 14, 2014

Some of the stories have been interesting, like the courier who couldn't feel pain, but mostly it's been Spader carrying the whole thing.
posted by homunculus at 5:34 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a theory! Based on both narrative demands and that Blacklist is confirmed renewed for season two, and will almost certainly get a third season as well.

There is a Third Man.

Based on timeline, Berlin's daughter could not have been murdered and mailed back to her dad in Russian prison by Reddington. Red is in his 50s, and the dead daughter was old enough to have a love affair (but too young to be Elizabeth's mother unless she was a teenager, and they make Berlin in his 70s as Elizabeth is about 30+). Red became a career criminal in his 20s at the earliest, and there is no way he managed to have enough clout to order a hit like that at time. Now, he could organise something like that, but back then he would have been at most and up-and-coming criminal.

Yet, Berlin links Red in some way for his daughter's death. And his daughter's death - the #79 photograph from the Stewmaker's album - is known to Red who kept that photograph specifically.

Tom knows Berlin, and knows who Elizabeth's father is, or at least that he's alive. It makes no sense for him to be coy with his 'dying' words, unless they are different people.

Narratively, they can't stretch Berlin past another season without having him turn into a much more powerful villain than a man with a vendetta. They will need to create a new Big Bad for a third season. Also, narratively having Red as Elizabeth's biological father is just too easy to disprove with DNA and too obvious. It's dull.

So enter the Third Man.

Someone who killed Berlin's daughter gruesomely, who also killed Red's wife and two children gruesomely. Someone truly vile and horrific. Someone who has been doing evil things for a very long time.

My theory is that the Third Man was an especially psychotic criminal mastermind who targeted Red and Berlin (and that Berlin believes the Third Man is unreachable or has separate plans for him), and that Berlin was brought into the Third Man's orbit by Red, hence the revenge for him too.

And that Third Man is Elizabeth's biological father. Her biological mother is either very dead or (more likely) being kept out for season four as a sudden discovery, but she's not in play.

30 years ago, fresh from the murder of his family, a revenge-crazed Red tracks down the Third Man and sets his house on fire with his child inside. But - as he warns the Teutonic FBI Dude, revenge will transform you in terrible ways - something makes him go into the fire and rescue that girl. Maybe the Third Man tried to save his little girl - or left her to die - and Red fought him, and somehow ended up with a tiny burned Elizabeth, while the Third Man escaped, horribly injured.

And as Red tells her, a friend turned up at Sam's door (Sam knows who the Third Man is) with this terrified tiny girl and Sam took her in, committing to a life constantly on the run, with a fake identity to keep her hidden from the Third Man.

So for season two, we will get the Berlin showdown, and we will also find out hints about the Third Man (not Alan Alda - it has to be someone much scarier) setting up for season three. We'll also find out more about Beirut.

Elizabeth is Red's anchor to sanity, replacing his dead family in one innocent person he has kept safe and hidden from the monstrous Third Man. By keeping her safe and having her forgive him, that's as close as he can come to being sane and not completely driven by revenge and hate.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:25 PM on May 14, 2014 [8 favorites]

All I know at this point is that they've telegraphed and backed off from "Red is Elizabeth's real father!" so many times that if he is, I'm immediately going to stop watching the show and purge ever having watched it from my memory, and I'm not remotely watching it for that arc either.
posted by Etrigan at 8:12 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

. for Meera.
posted by crankylex at 8:56 AM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just watched this tonight, and I have to admit, I still have no idea what the fuck is going on with any of the big Berlin/father/Tom/backstory arc, and I'm really not sure I care. Like others, I'm mostly just enjoying watching Spader chew scenery, and I've been good with the mysteries of the week.

Either the big arc will come to a truly astounding, everything makes sense conclusion at some point in the future, and I will have to go back to the beginning and watch all of this again to try to piece together how the clues were built into the show, or it will come together poorly and haphazardly when the writers finally figure out what they want it to be and I will be super annoyed that I wasted even this much time thinking about it. At this point, I'm leaning toward the latter as more likely.

And if this continues for 6 seasons with a bunch of fake resolutions sprinkled throughout (*cough*The Mentalist*cough*) I'll probably have given up before it ever gets to either ending.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:48 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

So far I think the mysteries of the week are more interesting than the big arc appears to be. Grimm is like that too.
posted by homunculus at 8:59 PM on May 17, 2014

I am slowly catching up with the series. Red mentions a story, and "hasn't been in a pool since. "

It would have been extraordinary for Red to graduate from Annapolis without swimming. And Red is the kind of guy who would have little endearing stories for any occasion.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:26 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Was he talking to Liz? He's made it clear that he lies to everyone except her. He refuses to answer or partially answers her questions. If the writers are keeping that, Blacklist is a good narrative puzzle.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:44 PM on May 21, 2014

Spader's scene in the car with Liz, when he talks about killing her father, is some of the best acting I've ever seen on a major network primetime series.
posted by cribcage at 8:45 PM on May 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just finished the first season last night on Netflix, and I'm loving the hell out of it. It's pure cheese so you can't take it too seriously, but loads of fun. It's obvious they wanted to do something like Breaking Bad without the difficult elements that turn off people like my Mom - I mean, the bald guy who dissolves bodies in a bathtub was a dead giveaway. But at this point I'm willing to just turn off my brain and go along for the ride.
posted by InfidelZombie at 8:13 AM on October 22, 2014

I don't think writers responsible for the "cut off his hand" clunkiness would be able to finish the arc in anything other than an anti-climax.
posted by fullerine at 7:02 AM on March 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just finished season 1, they do seem to have a problem that they have a decently famous guest star who is then the baddy. So 'Peter Stormare' pops up in the credits at the beginning, and really, who else is going to be the baddy in this episode?
posted by biffa at 1:59 AM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

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