Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Thursday’s episode of The Blacklist. Read at your own risk!
Just when Liz Keen (Megan Boone) finally got her life back, the former FBI agent got some life-changing news during Thursday’s episode of The Blacklist.
As Liz adjusted to life as a civilian, she was faced with public scrutiny — like nearly getting turned down for an apartment, and worse, a man beating her senseless in the parking lot outside of a grocery store. It’s when Liz is in the hospital recovering that the doctor reveals that she’s pregnant. Good thing Tom (Ryan Eggold) proposed earlier in the hour, though it’s a bad thing that Red (James Spader) did not give his blessing. What’s next for Liz? And did that final scene finally confirm what we’ve all suspected since the show’s debut? EW caught up with executive producer Jon Bokenkamp to get the scoop:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We’ll get to the pregnancy in a moment, but does that final scene confirm that Red is her father?
JON BOKENKAMP: I don’t think it confirms that. It might push things in that direction, but I don’t know that I would consider that a solid confirmation. Look, that’s interesting that you pick up on that. No, that is not a confirmation, I don’t think. Not quite.
How will the news that she’s pregnant affect Liz?
It’s going to snap her world into focus incredibly quickly. She’s already dealing with a lot — going from a fugitive and losing her badge, and now a child. It gives us a lot of great, dramatic questions. For someone who really doesn’t know who her parents are and where she came from, the idea of becoming a parent feels like a great story to tell. She’s going to have to confront decisions about Tom, about her job, about her career. She’s going to continue to undergo this really difficult transformation.
Is it safe to assume that this is Tom Keen’s baby?
I don’t think it’s safe to assume that. I think it’s good to anticipate that. She and Tom did have an evening together on a boat last season. The timing of that evening may add up to the exact math of where we are today. Tom is the likely suspect, yes.
This was obviously born out of Megan Boone’s real-life pregnancy. Would you have taken Liz Keen on this same journey if the actress wasn’t actually pregnant?
In hindsight, knowing what we know now, probably. It was a weird thing to try to figure out: Do we embrace it or not? We knew from very early in the season, so we had time to think about how we were going to handle it. Clearly one version is she’s carrying a lot of moving boxes and standing behind lamps and stuff. But with the idea that she has so many questions about where she comes from, and the idea that Liz and Tom were trying to adopt in the very first episode, that they wanted nothing more than a child — it wasn’t because neither of them could have a child, she just felt there were so many children out there in the world who were not loved or wanted, so she wanted to adopt — just the idea of that felt like a blessing in disguise that we had a real opportunity to embrace that. Ultimately, I think selfishly we realized the pregnancy was the perfect way to push us toward a much larger turn that we have planned for the back part of the season. We didn’t know how we were going to get there and now we do. It feels, to me, incredibly organic to the show.
How much will this pregnancy sideline Liz, and how much does that affect her as a character?
She does not like to be sidelined. I was watching dailies just yesterday of her fight with some guy, pulling a gun away from him on the ground. Clearly it will make her a bit less physical, but at the same time, the show is what the show is. Part of the fun of the idea of her being pregnant, and being confronted with what that means, is putting that in juxtaposition with how physical the show is and how muscular it is and how dark it is. I personally really like that contrast. It’s another big grenade in the oatmeal bowl that throws everything off kilter a little bit. I think that’s when the show is at its best.
Given her status with the FBI, will Liz be forthcoming about her pregnancy? Will she even tell Tom?
That’s a great question. We’re going to embrace just that. How or what does she tell Tom? What does she tell the people that she’s working with? It even caught her by surprise because she’s been on the run, she’s been a fugitive, she’s been in these incredibly stressful circumstances, which eclipsed the idea of being pregnant. It never even occurred to her. I don’t think we’re the show that is going to have everyone in the Post Office popping open boxes of cigars and celebrating immediately. We’re going to approach it in a very difficult and hopefully grounded way. She’s got some big decisions to make in her life. The one thing I will promise is that the show is not going to become Tom and Liz: The Fluff and Fold Years. We aren’t really interested in it being a show about a woman, the man in her life and their child. That’s a little too simple, I think.
Red tells Tom that he can’t marry Liz again. How does that throw a wrench in their relationship? And will Tom tell Elizabeth about that conversation?
One of the fun things about that strange triangle of Liz, Tom and Red is that Tom is like Kryptonite to Red. Because Liz cares about Tom, it renders Red powerless against Tom. Red has made quite clear that he has zero interest in having Tom be in her life or his life, or being around at all. He probably would’ve killed the man had Liz not cared so deeply for him. It’s a very complex relationship and this helps both cement them together and also puts a big divide between them.
Tom has said that they should go away and start over. Red gave Liz a pretty convincing reason as to why she should stay, but will Liz consider Tom’s offer at any point this season?
Yeah. That’s something Tom is certainly advocating for desperately. As somebody who can become anybody and is used to starting over, that’s probably very natural for him to go away and start another life. It is something that she’s considering or will consider. One of the things that’s interesting is the idea that Liz has such a desire for a normal, quiet life. She’s had it since the beginning — a husband, a dog, a regular job and a normal life. This storyline is going to help snap into focus the idea of the possibility of a normal life versus the reality of a life with Reddington.
Reddington basically said that Liz will never be safe because now the public knows she’s the daughter of Katerina Rostova. I’m sure a part of that is true, but is that also a way for Red to keep her in his orbit?
I think it’s both. Reddington is terrified of losing her. He clearly cares deeply for her. The idea of losing her would crush him. Yes, I think he’s manipulative enough to probably come up with situations and scenarios — while he might not be conscious of it — that would be things to keep her close. And yet, the threat is incredibly real. What he has essentially told Liz is she’s seen the tip of the iceberg, what is under the surface is far more dangerous, and we’re much more entrenched in than you can imagine. It’s simplistic to think that she can just walk away. Also, you mention Katerina Rostova. He’s warned her in this episode that the world knows that she is the daughter of a renowned spy. That could come back to haunt her. That raises a lot of questions within Liz about who she is, where she came from, who her mother was. She’s going to become a mother now herself, and she has never known her mother or her father. Those questions feel really organic and really central to what the show is about, these big questions about identity.
Is there a possibility that Liz’s mother could still be alive?
Yes, there is. We are going to explore that.
What can you tease of why Red met with the Cabal in last week’s episode? What is he really after?
In the most general sense, he’s after power. The Cabal still exists. The Cabal is incredibly powerful and he now has a seat at the table. That’s one of the fun things about the character and how he operates, it’s always a barter system. It’s also very gray. It’s not as simple as a winner and a loser. He has expanded his power by taking down people who were opposing him. He now has even greater resources. Might he need to come back to Laurel Hitchen (Christine Lahti) or to the power that is the Cabal? Most certainly. This goes back to what he told Liz: The war that they are fighting is bigger than just the Cabal.
The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
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