You win this round, NBC marketing department.
Promos for Thursday’s The Blacklist warned viewers not to miss the last five minutes — but the hour’s climactic twist had nothing to do with the Great Elizabeth Keen Rescue Mission of 2016, as we were led to believe.
In fact, as the episode neared its conclusion, Liz and Tom actually reunited, with baby Agnes on her way to safety. It was — spoiler alert! — Mr. Kaplan, Red’s longtime confidant and fixer, who didn’t survive the outing. Or… did she?
Mr. Kaplan’s demise was hinted at throughout the episode, as she and Red exchanged terse words about her plan to fake Liz’s death. “I’m not sorry for what I did,” she admitted. “I betrayed you… to keep Elizabeth safe. Just like you asked me to all those years ago, when you first put her in my arms as a baby girl.”
But her attempts to justify her actions had no effect on Red; at the end of the episode, after Liz had successfully been rescued from Alexander Kirk, Red took Mr. Kaplan to a remote acre of land he’d acquired years ago and shot her.
“You presumed to decide what was best for me,” Red told his onetime friend. “Even if I resolved the anger, the pain you caused, I can’t trust you. Ever. I’m standing before a stranger.”
With that, he gunned her down, seemingly with a bullet to the head — but after Red had walked away and left Mr. Kaplan in the middle of the woods, the final frame of the hour lingered on her hand, which suddenly curled into a fist and grabbed a patch of grass.
Regardless of what Mr. Kaplan’s real fate is, Blacklist creator Jon Bokenkamp did warn us that Season 4 wouldn’t be kind to the character.
“Red has her number in a way that’s going to be tough to deal with,” Bokenkamp told us last month, when asked if Mr. Kaplan’s backstory would ever unfold on the NBC drama. “In Red’s eyes, she betrayed him. You’ve seen how he’s handled betrayals in the past. It does not sit well. We’ve got a really difficult, and yet compelling, run of episodes for Red and Mr. Kaplan that are going to be hard.”
So, what do you think will become of Mr. Kaplan? Are you hoping she’ll pull through — or is her death warranted? Hit the comments with all of your thoughts on Thursday’s episode.