Spoiler warning: this post reveals plot details of the season 5 finale of The Blacklist.
In last night’s episode it was revealed that the bones in the duffle bag belongs to Raymond Reddington, which implies that the man we’ve all come to know throughout the last five years is not who he says he is. This twist was shocking to me. I have made a prediction since the end of last season that the bones must surely belong to Katarina Rostova, and that the secret that Red has been keeping from Liz is that he killed Katerina in order to pacify her enemies, so that they would not find their way to Liz as a means to get to Katarina. This turns out not to be the case.
This begs the question: who is the man we know as Raymond Reddington, who is now known to be a fraud? My guess is that ‘Raymond Reddington’ is in fact Katarina Rostova, after a gender reassignment to become a man.
While somewhat far fetched, this theory is seemingly consistent with the events so far. We first return to the 4th season episode ‘Dr. Adrian Shaw: Conclusion’, where Red whispered something to Alexander Kirk’s (Constantin Rostov) ear which somehow absolutely convinced him that he could not possibly be Liz’s biological father. Presumably, the only person who would know the truth is Raymond Reddington, the actual biological father of Liz… but it seems strange that Alexander Kirk would take his word so easily, with no further proof. Indeed, the only person who would really know the true parentage of Liz would be her mother, and so it makes sense that when ‘Red’ revealed himself to actually be a transformed Katarina, Constantin would instantly be convinced of the truth.
Next, given that we now know that ‘Red’ is not actually Raymond Reddington, one must interpret the episodes Cape May and all the other flashback episodes involving Katarina differently. In all of these episodes, ‘Red’ makes it absolutely certain that ‘Katarina’ is dead. However, now that we know that the bones do not belong to Katarina and even that ‘Red’ is not Raymond Reddington, a highly plausible explanation then is that ‘Red’ knows Katarina is ‘dead’, because he no longer has that identity and that he is now living as ‘Raymond Reddington’.
Finally, the episode ‘Requiem’ takes on a whole new meaning when viewed through the lens of our post-season 5 finale knowledge. The cryptic way that ‘Red’ spoke to Mr. Kaplan in their ‘first’ meeting now seem to carry the implication that he knows her. There is essentially no way that he would know if he was an actual random impostor… the most plausible explanation is that he is Katarina. Further, in this episode it was revealed that it was Katarina who rescued Liz from the burning house, and recall that in an early episode (either in season one or two) it was revealed that ‘Red’ had burn scars all over his body, presumably from having rescued Elizabeth from the fire. This strongly implies that ‘Red’ and Katarina are the same person.
In an earlier post I made the prediction that Elizabeth Keen did not in fact die in child birth, and it seemed correct. Of course, that was much less of a long shot compared to the prediction above. Let’s wait until next season to see whether my guess pans out.