'The Blacklist' Season 8 Finale Reveal: Is Red Really Katarina Rostova?

The Blacklist Raymond Red Reddington James Spader NBC
Will Hart / NBC

It is the question on the mind of every fan of “The Blacklist” leading into the Season 8 finale. Is Raymond “Red” Reddington’s true identity that of Katarina Rostova? In other words, are Red and Katarina the same person? It is a question dating back to the very beginning of the series as fan theories surmising that Red is actually Liz’s mother have frequently simmered.

Following last week’s episode, “The Blacklist” seemed closer than ever to confirming the fan theory known as “Redstova.” It all seems to be lining up with tons of clues hinting at the reveal. Red has yet to say the words, while Katarina “told” Liz last week that she had to understand the “why” to understand the “who.” Katarina indicated the “who” would be a bombshell.

Related: Did ‘The Blacklist’ Season 9 Double Down on Red Being Katarina?

The Redstova Theory

As it stands and according to the Redstova theory, Katarina, with nowhere else to turn, got extensive plastic surgery to physically present as her ex, Raymond Reddington. Katarina succeeded and built the extraordinary information network that supplied “The Blacklist.” Hence, Red would be Liz’s parent, after all. Just not her father rather her mother.

What The Fans Are Saying

Fans took to Twitter to share their feelings, and from what I could tell, they were fairly split. Many viewers praised the decision to move the story forward in such a “bold” direction. Meanwhile, some expressed skepticism and frustration with the potential plot choice, questioning its realism. Eclectic Pop took a 24-hour poll to find out which way fans were leaning, and this was the result:

The majority of those responding to “The Blacklist” poll believe that Katarina is Red. As you can see, it was not a landslide decision. Only 4.4% more people voted “yes” to Red being Katarina than “no” to it. A healthy amount of the show’s viewers (17.4%) said they were undecided after the penultimate episode of Season 8. Tonight, they will know for certain.

What I Think

I am not 100% sold that Red is Katarina. “The Blacklist” deals in illusions working as one giant magic trick a lot of the time. Part of that is subverting expectations and leaning into what it wants the audience to think will happen. Red being Katarina seems like the obvious choice now, which makes me doubt it will be the rightful outcome.

Never Miss A Post!

One thing making me think Red is Katarina is how “The Blacklist” producers have never entirely dismissed it. In an interview with TVLine following the faux reveal that Katarina was alive in the form of Laila Robins’ portrayer, producers skirted around confirming Red is not Katarina. I found that odd and still do. It makes me think there is something to it.

What’s Next

Fans are only hours away from learning the truth, once and for all, and on the edge of a huge departure. Ahead of the Season 8 finale, Deadline reported that Megan Boone (Liz) would be exiting “The Blacklist” as a series regular after this season. Boone’s exit could make the season-ender Liz’s swan song.

If Red is Katarina, I do not understand why Liz would leave the show. I definitely think she will survive the events of the Season 8 finale. If Red is Katarina, Liz leaving would mean her missing a chance to get to know her mother. After all of the questions that she has had, now would not seem like the time to leave, even though she is on the outs with the Task Force.

Final Thoughts

Whatever happens, it is my hope that the show skips forward a few years. At least enough that Agnes would be a teenager. Whoever Red is, it would be interesting to see him protect her. Without Megan Boone and the secret of Red’s origins, “The Blacklist” will need to reinvent itself, and a time-jump could be just the ticket for the already-renewed series.

Find out if Red is Katarina when “The Blacklist” Season 8 finale airs tonight, June 23 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. Please note it will not air on Friday, which is its usual time. I would not want you to miss it. There is going to be a lot to dig into regardless of what is revealed.