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Mr. Kaplan, The Conclusion

+ I... still don't buy that Red is Liz's father. I am super frustrated by this! On the one hand, I actively don’t want Red to be Liz’s father. I have gone back-and-forth multiple times over this question but a part of me has never bought it. If it had been revealed in season one than I would have accepted it but not now. Not after everything that has happened and how it has been dragged out. Not when this would make the very basis of their relationship a lie. Plus I don’t like what it says about Red. So the idea that he might not be is something I am super for. But this in turn makes me wonder if I’m being ridiculous and am simply not accepting the truth because it’s not the answer I wanted? On the other hand, aaarrggggghhhhh!!! I am so annoyed that the finale didn’t answer this question to my satisfaction. I just want this uncertainty to be done. Perhaps it is done in the minds of TPTB/the show but if it is I think I’m going to need an “I am your father” moment. An unequivocal Red to Liz father confession (made under no duress.)

So despite the seemingly irrefutable evidence given this episode – a DNA test confirming a match, Liz confronting Red and him saying nothing to gainsay it – I keep getting stuck on all the little things that could hint that things aren’t as they seem. Red didn’t say anything to deny being Liz’s father but he also didn’t say anything to confirm it. Red literally only has two lines during this entire scene. When Liz wonders why he went to such an extremes to protect her but “not tell me you’re my father” he avoids it entirely by commenting on her broke line. When she says she’s terrified by how naturally thinking like a criminal comes to her tells her he says "Elizabeth, if you need to walk away..." which doesn’t actually agree in any way with her conclusion.

Then we fade into Dembe’s "You didn’t deny it?" which... can be taken two ways. One, it’s the truth and Dembe is checking to see that Red hasn’t once again tried to obfuscate the truth from Liz. Two, it’s not the truth and Dembe’s all '???' and checking to see how Red reacted to it. It could be either one. Dembe asking next if Liz "thinks that is Kate’s secret" also doesn’t help tease out the truth.

Finally the fact that Harold got his DNA sample from Red’s time in the military and pre-criminal empire makes me go hmmmm. I feel now like the theory that Red isn't the original Raymond Reddington might actually be true. I've mostly dismissed it previously because of Naomi but let's say it's true. Red is an imposter who stole the real Raymond Reddington's life. But he knew Katarina very well. Did he steal it before 'Raymond' met her? Or perhaps they knew each other before Red took over his life. On Redemption Howard posits the theory that Scottie was actually replaced by a Russian look-alike spy after Christopher's 'death' but then that storyline is dropped. What if that is the truth behind Raymond Reddington? And Katarina knew about it (and perhaps was his handler?) idk. It would explain Red wanting to keep the truth a secret but if the 'real' Red is her father I'm not sure how that goes with Red's assertion that she's in danger because of the identity of her parents. This is going to be something I'll have to think about a lot more and read some others theories.

+ I loved that Liz chose Red over the truth. It surprised me and even though Liz appeared to think she already knew the truth about his secrets I think her choice was still meaningful. I did feel bad for poor Kate.

+ I’m very sad that Mr. Kaplan died. I was expecting it but I was really hoping for there to be some way to keep her around and to reconcile Red and Kate. It makes me feel so bad for both of them especially that there last words really were about their love for each other. Red point out stated his regret for shooting her and refused to do it again and Kate's last words being "I loved you, Raymond." :(

+ The obvious answer to the suitcase of bones is that they are Katarina’s bones. There was a K on the tree, Kate said "I’m sorry Katarina" before digging them up, Red is 100% certain that Katarina is dead and Dembe isn’t certain Liz will forgive Red ‘for what he did to Katarina’. Thus: Katarina’s bones, duh. Except I feel like there has to be some other twist to them and while the mystery could simply be how Katarina died/got there right now my sense is that it’s something else. If those aren’t Katarina’s bones though whose could they be? And what the hell did Red do to Katarina if even Dembe wants it kept it a secret? Dembe who thinks Red should tell Liz everything!

+ Kate appears to have been very successful in tearing apart Red's entire empire and I've very curious about where that's going to go next season. Without his empire how useful will he really be to the Taskforce? So is he going to try rebuilding it and every episode will be him regaining some lost piece? More interestingly are the Taskforce, and specifically Liz, going to actively help him this time instead of being used by him? The idea of Liz helping him rebuild a new criminal empire (especially after her speech about understanding him) is really intriguing and I could really up for that.

+ I loved at the beginning how Liz was once again confronted with something terrible Red had done and again she calmly acknowledged that it was indefensible but this time following it up with her stating her belief in him. It really feels like Liz is 100% on Team Red here. She’s not trying to defend his terrible actions but she’s also not particularly upset or worried about them either.

+ "I’m proud of the work we do with Mr. Reddington." Aww, Aram. He is seriously the sweetest. I really appreciated him standing by the Post Office's record and everything they've done in the name of the greater good. Also his "I told you this was a mistake." as he was dragged away made laugh.

+ By testifying Kate was literally helping to put Liz in jail. How does that help either her or Agnes? I don’t get it. The fact that it took this long for her to realise that she simply needed to tell Liz the truth is… kind of ridiculous. I think this has been the main weak point in Mr. Kaplan’s assault on Red. The way she decided to destroy Red never made sense because it put Liz in danger. I wish they had made more explicit that Kate realised the contradiction between her stated goal and the results of her actions. She almost got Liz arrested! But even on the bridge she doesn’t really acknowledge that. I wanted her to realise that she’d let her anger blind her and lose sight of her goal in her quest to take Red down.

+ I loved the end reveal of Tom picking up the suitcase. I hadn't missed him during the latter half of the season, even though I do like him, so while I believe he is in general a good guy I find myself really wanting the return of shady!Tom and some resolution to why exactly Red has been so adamant that Liz couldn't trust him. How long has Tom been working for Mr. Kaplan? When did she contact him and why is he going along with her instructions instead of immediately going to Liz (unless those are the instructions)?

+ I'm a little disappointed with how Liz’s relationship with Kate has played out in these final episodes. Liz feels a lot of guilt for what happened to Kate, thankfulness for what she did for Liz and sympathy for her reasoning but there’s been no further bond developed between them. I wanted the reveal that Mr. Kaplan was her nanny and that she loved Liz to cause Liz to reach out to her. I wanted Mr Kaplan to become Kate to Liz. I wanted more. I mean we never even really got Liz asking Kate about her mother!

+ I was really hoping that this finale would address in some way the big discrepancies between Mr Kaplan’s memories/flashback and facts that we know that contradict them. Sadly the show didn’t bring it up at all which is making me worried that maybe it all wasn’t on purpose but was instead shabby writing. But some of the inconsistencies were from this season! (Like Kate not having known Red yet when Annie died in the flashback vs they did during a conversation between them in 4x02.) If it was all on purpose one would think it would be brought up between Red and Kate while she was alive, right? So now I'm doubting the writers hard.

+ I love the reveal that Liz ran Red’s DNA two weeks after meeting him because it makes so much sense for her to do that and face-palming over her throwing the results away instead of looking at them because she was afraid of the truth. Even though her whole thing is wanting to learn the truth. Sigh.

+ We’ll finally know if Raymond Reddington is your father. Sigh. Fine. 1) Liz asked him all the way back in early season one, got a no and even with the reveal about Alexander not being her father I never really felt like Liz thought Red could be her dad. Maybe I’m remember wrong but that’s how I see that so it felt weird for Harold to bring it up like it’s something that she’s been agonising over. 2) Why have they never freaking done this before?! There have been many, many times they could have easily gotten a hold of a sample of Red’s blood to test (no evidence tampering needed) and a huge issue with them making ‘is he her dad’ so prominent a question again this season is that it makes them look so dumb for not having done this before. 3) The fact that Harold used a blood sample from Red’s time in the military instead of a current blood sample screamed in neon letters ‘this is important’.

+ The Aram/Samar kiss was nice enough but honestly after the nonsensical turns their relationship ship took this season I find I don't much care. Hopefully they are now together and the angsting is done. I am a little sad to see the end of Aram/Janet because they were cute but also very clearly not meant to be.

+ Oh Ressler. Continued downward spiral it is than. I guess in a way he did get some justice for Revan in that he ended up using the same cleaner to dispose of Laurel that Laurel used to get rid of Revan's body after she murdered her.

+ Red's scene with Agent Gale was fun. I rather enjoyed how amused Red was by him. The way Red said "No I'm going to take take your phone" made me lol.

+ Baz! Hopefully he's okay. I'm going to assume since we get no further mention of him he'll be fine. It looked like she might have got him in the upper arm. I really liked the gentleness in his voice when he asked Kate to get out of the car because they were friends too. I loved that he stayed loyal to Red.

+ I really thought this episode would end with Liz using the key from Red’s mystery box. Since it was clearly meant for her. Now I’m wondering if this is actually foreshadowing for the end of the series but it’s Red who will use the key. Someone has to use that key!
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