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The Blacklist season finale recap: Season 1 finale

One major character’s dead, two are critically injured — but Liz and Red finally find out who Berlin is

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Virginia Sherwood/NBC

The Blacklist

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
James Spader

Like many of you, I was a bit skeptical that The Blacklist was going to be able to pull off the whole Berlin reveal — but I was wrong. Jon Bokenkamp was not bluffing. He laid down his hand, and it was better than a royal flush: Berlin is none other than the inimitable Peter Stormare. Stormare, the nihilist with the “nice marmot” from The Big Lebowski. Stormare, the white-suited Satan from Constantine. The Peter Stormare — and his backstory is a Greek tragedy of horror. Berlin is a Russian expat who was sent to Siberia when his daughter was found in the arms of a dissident during the Cold War. As punishment, her body was sent to him piece by piece, and for reasons we don’t know, he blames Reddington for her death. What an excellent addition to an already stacked cast. I can’t wait for next season.

But before we get to season 2, we had to get through quite a bloodbath. We opened the show with bodies on the ground. When the dust had settled, Malik was dead, Cooper was in critical condition, Tom was presumed dead — but his body was missing, so I hope he’s alive — plus there was a ton of carnage among the extras. In the midst of this grisly death, the writers kept their sly humor; I threw the funniest moments in as “shout outs” in cased you missed any.

The curtain rises on the wreckage of the prison transport plane that was carrying Berlin and a bunch of other convicts. (It’s safe to assume every extra on this show is a criminal.) We are treated to a gratuitous scene of a survivor heavy stepping on the chest of a freshly dead body, followed closely by a shot of the fresh-faced Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today. Lauer reports that the plane crash has resulted in a wave of escaped prisoners infiltrating New York City. We see video footage of the FBI interviewing captured prisoners who all witnessed Berlin escape the plane by cutting the hand off the guard that he was handcuffed to. We then see the guard fall to his knees in a hospital, gripping the bloody stump of his wrist. Only one minute in, and we’re already bathing in blood.

By now, Scary Gary’s gotten his paws on Red, and he’s pleased as punch they’re locking him up forever. Gary gloats over Red as they cuff him to the bars of his cell. “You are going to disappear. The girl, Agent Keen, was she was worth all this?” Gary asks. “She’s worth it,” Red replies, after making a snide crack about Gary’s hair product. Of course, Keen’s in a tizzy because now she realizes the fatal mistake she made by swearing off Reddington and getting him thrown in jail. The FBI task force is piecing together intel on the crash. So far, they know that the plane was coming from Bogota, Colombia and flew through radar dead zones to land undetected in New York. The prisoners say the plane was Russian, and the Feds need some way of getting the list of passengers so they can figure out which one was Berlin. Naturally, the Russians don’t want to cop to this fiasco, so they’re claiming to know nothing about the plane.

Meanwhile, some horrific looking Russian with no eyebrows is doing calisthenics in his gulag of a bedroom. (Shout out: he’s watching the Today show. Because hello, NBC’s Today is for everyone.) A knock on the door reveals none other than our man Tom Keen, who looks like a sweet little fourth grade teacher again next to this dragon. Tom hands over a list to the Russian that has the name of every member of the FBI task force. “Are we still going ahead with this?” Tom asks hesitantly. The Russian just leers.

NEXT: Red gets a visit from Fitch