'The Blacklist' Season 9 Finale: Why I Haven't Watched It (Yet)

The Blacklist Raymond Red Reddington James Spader NBC
Zach Dilgard / NBC

“The Blacklist” Season 9 finale has come and gone, and yours truly has not watched it. It is nothing a binge cannot fix. However, I am greatly behind on the latest happenings with Red and company with little motivation to change that, and you may be wondering. Why?

Well, it is actually pretty simple. “The Blacklist” broke my heart during its last season finale, and before Season 9’s premiere could arrive, the series absolutely crushed it into a million little pieces. In the devastating final seconds of last season, “The Blacklist” appeared to kill off Liz Keen. Regardless, I held onto hope it was a fake-out, and Liz would ultimately be revealed to be alive, albeit in a coma or an adjacent condition.

In my mind, Red would be behind the elaborate hoax to keep her safe, leading to tension as a tenacious (and a love-struck) Ressler worked to uncover the truth. From there, “The Blacklist” would slightly rehash the bones of its story. That Red would deceive anyone if it meant protecting Liz. Nothing of the sort came to fruition in Season 9.

“The Blacklist” doubled down instead of leaving Liz’s fate a mystery so that Megan Boone could eventually return to wrap up Liz’s story. Why not leave the possibility for some form of a happy ending when the series ultimately ends? When Season 9 confirmed beyond any realistic shadow of a doubt that Liz is dead, “The Blacklist” died all over again.

Now, I know and agree that the series has more going for it than solely Liz. However, even her biggest detractors have to admit that if “The Blacklist” were a Red-hot inferno, Liz was the oxygen supply behind its hottest storylines. Liz is the one who has kept Red burning and the core of “The Blacklist” mythos’ most pivotal mystery. Who is Liz to Red

The real answer, however obvious at this point, remains formally unconfirmed. At least, from what I can tell. Without Liz around to challenge, prod, and exhaustively pursue the truth, there is no force keeping that crucial plot point alive with any emotional significance. Ressler and company still do not know who Red really is, and none of them seem too worried about it. And who can blame them?

I love “The Blacklist” and have literally watched it from day one. It is fair to say that I have stuck by it in good and bad times, and I loathe TV divorces. This feels more like a widow-ish situation. “The Blacklist,” as we all knew it, died last season. I tried to give it a chance. See where they would take Liz’s legacy. They insist she is dead, and I accept it. I just cannot accept the show with it.

We are at a painful crossroads. After watching every season finale, the night that Season 9’s aired on NBC, I watched a Hallmark movie instead. It is too painful to know what was and see what is. Liz remains the heart and Red the head of “The Blacklist.” You cannot survive long without a pulse.