“Who’s Your Daddy” Reexamining The Blacklist’s Central Mystery
This latest entry to The Blacklist Fan Site’s Conspiracy Corner comes to you courtesy of Clearing the Red Tape Group member, Chuck Towns.
A number of interesting ads have popped up on the NBC Blacklist website leading me to do some reviewing of several episodes including both of the Alexander Kirk episodes that ended Season 3. A couple of days back, Julie Blowski posted an interesting comment asking who Red’s new love interest might be. I responded that it was not out of the realm of possibility that it would be Katarina Rostova since Lotte Verbeek is going to be reprising her role beginning the second week of the new season. Now most seem to take Red’s statements that Katarina is dead at face value. Since we know Cape May to be a drug induced hallucination, I tend to view that as unreliable in proving her death. It may well have been her intent to include him among those who thought her to be dead. In fact, it makes sense if we consider Red and Katarina to have had a close relationship as demonstrated in his hallucination about sleeping with her next to the fireplace.
So, back to the question about Lizzie’s paternal parent. Is it Rostov/Kirk, Red or someone else? Let’s take a look through some of the details seen in the series pertaining to Liz/Masha’s father.
Let’s begin with Alexander/Konstantin. He is the one who put himself forward to Lizzie as being her father in the closing moments of Season Three. Beginning with the first Kirk episode, we do remember Red briefing the Task Force about the man. He refers to Kirk as a Russian oligarch who took advantage of the fall of the USSR to acquire mines and oil fields for pennies on the dollar. In 2002, Kirk fell out of favor with the Kremlin.
It is of interest to note that Vladimir Putin was the leader during that time and ever since except for a four year period from 2008-2012. As a result, Kirk had to go into hiding. Red states that Kirk’s wealth is split between The Caymans and the Swiss. One is known as a British territory in the Caribbean famous for their offshore accounts and the other is known for their strict laws regarding the confidentiality of Swiss bank accounts. Altogether, both would be good places to stash ill gotten gains. Kirk is known to have huge political leverage as the bankroller of numerous powerful politicians.
In The Blacklist, he is portrayed as controlling a 501-C-4 super PAC (political action committee) set up to fund the presidential campaign of Senator Robert Diaz, chair of the Senate Energy Committee. He has transferred $300 million into the super PAC for Diaz. If Diaz is elected, Kirk would have a major influence over the next White House thanks to his “generosity.” This leads to the plan to hijack the funds in order to draw Kirk to the US. Which, coincidently will allow Red to be the recipient of the next president’s goodwill. After all is said and done, Red informs Kirk of his losses via a phone call trying to draw him to the US. Kirk’s comment to Red is “that house by the water, holding that gun in your mouth, I should have pulled the trigger.” Unstated in Red’s briefing, but seen in the episode is Kirk’s need for blood transfusions due to an unspecified condition. Further pressure from Diaz brings Kirk to the US on a private flight from his hidey hole in the United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf.
Next we have Raymond “Red” Reddington as the next defendant in our paternity case. Near the end of the Wujing episode in the first season, Liz takes advantage of the agreement she gained from Red to ask “Why me?” Red responded “because of your father” to which she responds asking “did you know my father?” Red replies that it is not as simple as that. During his phone call while hiding during the mole hunt at the end of Anslo Garrick 2, Red said that he would always be there for Liz when she needed him. She asked if he were her father and after a long pause he simply said “no”. In Berlin 2, after Liz shoots Tom, he tells her “your father is still alive.” When she told that to Red, he said “I am telling you with no uncertainty, your father is dead. He died in that fire.” In the Second season, when Liz finally tracks down Naomi Hyland, Naomi tells Liz that “he is not who you think he is.” Later when Red talks to Naomi, she mentions keeping her part of the bargain and not telling Elizabeth about him. Then we fall headlong into Liz’s memories in Luther Braxton 2. She gets enough information from that to know that Red was there and that they left her father to die on the floor of a burning house. Somehow, perhaps triggered by the memories, Liz was led to the Fulcrum hidden inside the stuffed rabbit.
The doctor who later met with Liz told her that her memories might be unreliable because she saw evidence that Liz’s memories had already been altered in the past. While Red was recovering from being shot, Liz found his hidden apartment full of memorabilia including a picture of Liz with her mother. At the end of Season two, Liz recovers her memory of shooting her father the night of the fire as a flashback triggered by shooting Tom
Connolly. Note that when Liz told Red on the park bench that she remembered, he was very cautious to say “Remember what?” Before Liz almost suffocated in the Box, she was taunted by the Director for not knowing Red’s connection to her. After the Director was abducted by Red and on the plane to the Netherlands, his last dig at Red was that he knew who Red really was to Elizabeth. Of course, not long after, the Director sadly stumbled getting out of the plane. In Solomon 2, Red begs Liz to stay when it appears she is dying and later, after her “death”, he collapses and is caught by Dembe as he tries to get into his car. In the final episode of Season three, Kaplan tells Red “I am sorry you weren’t more honest with Elizabeth from the beginning. I’m sorry you wanted to know her so desperately that you convinced yourself we could keep her safe. I couldn’t sit back and watch you make the same mistake with Agnes. I didn’t betray you. I did what I always have done. Protected you. This time from yourself.”
So, between all the ads from NBC and the Sneak Peek for Season Four we have a pretty good idea that the issue of Liz’s twisted past is about to be settled once and for all. But, how will it be answered?
Option 1 is that Konstantin Rostov is really who he claims to be, Liz’s father.
Option 2 is that Red lied to Liz and the writers led us down a bunny hole away from the fact that Red is truly her father.
Option 3 is that her father is dead as Red told Liz.
Option 4 is that someone else is truly Liz’s father.
So, is she the daughter of an evil Russian oligarch and an infamous KGB spy? Is she the daughter of said spy by someone other than Rostov? I think that the answer will be totally twisted and more complex than we understand. In addition, another question arises. If Red is not Liz’s father, then what is his relationship to her? Make no mistake about it. There is a reason why Red is so attached to Liz. I can just hope that the relationship is not Lizzington, which is the slang term for a romance between the two of them. To me, that would be a bit creepy and adversely affect my interest in the series.
So, here is my thinking on a possible solution to the dilemma they face in the coming season:
1) Alexander Kirk/Constantin Rostov is indeed the biological father of Masha/Liz. Sperm donor, if you will. I see no potential relationship there. He is very like those that Liz has helped to apprehend as a member of the Task Force. He did not seem to look for her. He did not know she was alive until the Cabal frame-up of Liz and the subsequent fake death in the airport hanger. Mr. Kaplan checked that Red really wanted to release the pictures of Liz with fake blood in the shape of her scar. Perhaps, he did brand her with the scar, hoping to be able to identify her if she went missing again. He did not come to her personally, but sent a mercenary group to abduct her. From Mr. Kaplan’s reaction when she heard that Kirk was flying to Cuba, I would say that “daddy” is the real reason that Masha/Liz had to be hidden away in the first place and then to be moved again after the night of the fire. He has no good track record in this case.
Katarina had her hidden away from him (more about that in a minute.) When he found the hiding place, he was hurting Katarina to get Liz. This was bad enough that Liz/Masha shot him. Katarina was able to take Masha away again and fled. Eventually, she allowed Red to take and hide her and she was so afraid that she either killed herself or staged fake suicide in order to end Rostov’s connection to Masha through her.
2) Red is not the biological father of Liz/Masha, but he is in a parental sort of relationship with Liz. Almost a godfather, if you will. Now, I have never thought that Liz had an easy down-home-country sort of life with Sam in Nebraska. I think that they had a good relationship, but Liz seems to have a set of skills that you would not think to find with her background. If she has the warrior gene, then she would have a risk taking personality. She alludes to grifting, has pickpocketing skills and other things that have always seemed at odds with the girl with a hankering for a happy family with kids. Did all that happen by chance, or were there more memory adjustments along the way? Maybe that would explain the four-fourteen discrepancy in her age when she got the scar. Has she been groomed and manipulated throughout her life towards a yet unstated goal? The show has definitely had a thread of episodes showing different problems that can/will occur with dysfunctional families. Perhaps, the selection of Blacklisters is not a random thing, but more in the nature of additional programming by Red to get her to “think like a criminal.”
So, who is Red Reddington? Is he even alive?
Red has denied being the father of Liz. He has said that his involvement in her life is because of her father. So, there are several ways to go.
FAKE RED – This one gains strength all the time. He may not be the real Red. Here is how that might have gone down. Real Red was the one chosen to guard Masha at the “house by the water” because he really was her illegitimate father. They were ambushed by Kirk and his men. Red hid Liz with the bunny in the closet. Enter Katarina and her backup and a battle ensues. Real Red is shot and killed. Masha shoots her legal father and Katerina takes Masha and flees with her people.
One of those people is Katarina’s brother. He was close to Red and knew him well. After Dom relocated his family to America, the family were associated with Red as their point of contact with Naval Intelligence. He thought of Red as the brother he never had. He was an asset attached to Red’s team. The night of the fire, he tried to rescue Red, suffering burns on his back, and was unable to save him. He volunteered to be the one to build up the family assets and businesses and to keep Masha safe. He adopted the alias of Reddington and made the transition in order to be able to utilize Red’s contacts within American intel. This is why he cares for Liz. She was/is his only remaining connection to Katarina. It also explains why when Red is critical of the American system, he refers to it as “your country.” He and Kirk hated each other as Kirk had only married Katarina hoping to be able to “acquire” her family’s assets and wealth.
REAL RED – He was a part of a Naval Intel team assigned to covert work in Russia. One of his assets was Katarina Rostova. He attempted to protect Katarina and Masha from Konstantin due to his abusive nature. He was the one who helped track down the hideaway where Konstanstin had Masha tashed. He suffered severe burns getting out of the fire.
The rest of the night was pretty much as Liz’s memories showed. He provided for Liz because of her father, just not in the way we thought. It wasn’t out of friendship or debts of honor, but because he was an abusive man also connected with the Cabal.
I probably haven’t even come close to what really will happen as explanation in Season four, just not twisted enough. But it was interesting trying to tie together all the inconsistencies that I have noticed over the years. If nothing else, it gives you something to read and think about as the last month of the summer break dwindles down to the first day of autumn: September 22nd. Thanks for reading, supporting and commenting.
— Professor trying to get back in the groove.