How 'The Blacklist' Will Pick Up Liz's Defining Season 8 In 2021

The Blacklist Elizabeth Liz Keen Megan Boone NBC
Will Hart / NBC

It has been a wild season for Liz on “The Blacklist,” and Season 8 is only two episodes into its run. How will the NBC crime drama pick up when it returns in 2021? The series’ creator, Jon Bokenkamp, has provided insight into what lies ahead for the show’s embittered and embattled heroine following the holiday hiatus next year.

While that may seem like an eternity from now, technically speaking, it is next month. To be specific, “The Blacklist” will return with new Season 8 episodes starting on January 22, 2021. Not that anyone is excitedly counting down the days or anything. (Looks around nervously while eying a calendar.) Regardless, Liz is heading towards a watershed moment on the level of learning Katarina Rostova is her mom.

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Alert! Spoilers for where “The Blacklist” Season 8 left off will get discussed below.

When “The Blacklist” left off, Liz had just witnessed Red shoot and killed her mom after Katarina had taunted Red. She claimed to know his true identity, although she failed to disclose it to the agency hunting her down. Nevertheless, Red made mincemeat of Liz’s pleas to spare her mother. On how Liz will pick up the pieces in Season 8, “The Blacklist’s” creator Jon Bokenkamp told TheWrap:

How Liz handles this moment is going to define her. On one hand, she’s an FBI agent and we should expect her to do the right thing. On the other hand, she’s spent seven years learning from Reddington. The big question to me is: How much of Reddington’s darkness has rubbed off on her? How strong is that pull? How far will she sink and can she rise above this? These are all really juicy questions that we immediately explore.

What are you going to do, Liz? “The Blacklist” has unleashed another moral conflict for Liz to sift through when it returns. Her mother was no saint. Her ruthless pursuit of Red’s secrets included kidnapping and threatening to kill Dembe’s Imam. For Liz to go full darkness over a mother that she barely knew upon her death, and whose moral compass itself was twisted would personally be sad.

In the end, Liz heading to the “dark side” (to borrow from “Star Wars”) would be tragic in that her mother is not deserving of that kind of loyalty, in my opinion. Add in the taunt that Katarina made about Liz to Red and how I think she may not be the real Katarina, and you have a recipe for a royal mess on “The Blacklist.”

On a related note, it would fit Liz’s narrative in blaming and hating on Red. It has always bothered me that Liz has blamed Red for Tom’s vicious murder. Sorry, Liz. That was the nutjob, Garvey. Tom did himself no favors pursuing a dangerous truth. However, I understood his motivations. He wanted to rid his and Liz’s life of Red.

Sadly, he ended his own life with Liz. Likewise, Katarina could not leave it alone. In Katarina’s case, it was to save her own life because she was convinced that Red is N-13. To recap, the Russian spy who framed her for stealing top-secret Russian files. “The Blacklist” has set up a far clearer cut reason for Liz to be furious with Red, and yet I cannot get behind her devotion to maybe-Katarina.

If Liz managed to find the light again after Tom’s murder, she should be able to discover it again following her villainous mother’s demise. At this point, my hope is that Red killed a Katarina imposter and faked Tom’s death. Thus, Tom eventually reuniting with Liz and his daughter Agnes. Probably at the end of “The Blacklist,” which is bittersweet in that I am in no hurry for the show to end.

That said, (as an original viewer) I miss Tom, his romance with Liz, his relationship with Red, and his overall impact on the show. Thankfully, Ryan Eggold is on another NBC series. As for “The Blacklist,” the drama will continue with Liz fighting this internal battle. She almost killed Red via the death penalty before realizing her folly. Will something stop her this time too?

The Katarina storyline has put Red into a tight corner. I do not see a way out for him with Liz unless her faith in Katarina is shaken, and she sees her mother in a different light. Or it turns out that Red killed an imposter Katarina and not the real one. Stay tuned. “The Blacklist” returns Friday, January 22, 2021, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.