‘The Blacklist’ Recap: Season 8, Episode 21 “Nachalo”

16 Min Read
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If you missed last episode’s recap, check it out here.

Reddington brings Liz inside the epicenter and Liz realizes that the Sikorsky Archive is where it all began. Reddington explains that in order to gain more of everything, he traded, sold, and leveraged the archives. Liz asks what happens to the information gathered here, and he says it’s sent to him; smuggled and packaged to New York. She asks Reddington why she’s here, and he wants her to grasp the infrastructure that will one day be hers, but she says she’s only interested in her mother. Reddington tells her to forget everything she thinks she knows as time stands still around Liz. Simultaneously, Reddington and a young Katarina tell Liz, that in order to understand why he came into her life, she needs to understand Katarina’s story. Suddenly, the audience and Liz, is left in grey.

Katarina explains to Liz how her father, Dom, made her an asset from a very young age. Katarina continues that her handler, Ivan Stepanov, gave her jobs at the direction of Dom. She tells Liz that Dom had chosen her husband, and even chose the man she would with whom she’d become unfaithful to her husband with, Raymond Reddington. The real Reddington appears behind Liz and tells the story of how he met Katarina, and how he should’ve known from the beginning that she was lying. Liz remembers he had a family at home, and he says he knew it was a mistake to be involved with Katarina, until something happened — Liz did.

In a flashback, Katarina tells Stepanov that Dom’s already made up his mind: having a baby will keep Reddington invested. Stepanov tells her to lie to her husband, Constantine, that it’s his baby and Katarina does just that. In another flashback, Katarina tells Raymond she doesn’t want to be responsible for destroying his family or career, so Raymond explains to Liz that Katarina took her from him. On the day of Liz’s birth, Katarina explains she vowed to do whatever it took to protect Liz.

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Raymond explains that it was an incredible double life, which was why it was so difficult for him to figure it out. Katarina is taking pictures of paperwork in Raymond’s briefcase, and as he comes in to see her, she closes the briefcase. As she leaves to wake up Masha, he sees that the code on his briefcase has been shifted.

Suddenly, the environment around Liz comes alive again, but the Reddington we know tells her to stick with the story. Back in gray, Liz’s father tells her he knew he had to report Katarina, but he needed evidence, so he decided to keep seeing her. He found that she was not only spying for the KGB, on the KGB, on the Americans, etc., he discovered she was involved in a much bigger, global network — The Cabal. He explains he let her steal from him so that he could steal from her. He continues to tell Liz that he knew he had to get Liz to America so he could expose Katarina, and keep Liz safe, but Katarina says she couldn’t let him do that because she knew that he had proof to expose her.

Liz remembers her father took her to the beach house around Christmas, and he tells her that her mother came and brought people of her own. In a flashback, Raymond tells Masha to hide in the closet and he grabs his gun from a drawer as Katarina, Ilya Koslov and other men bust in the door. Katarina wants Masha and The Fulcrum, while Ilya finds Masha. Katarina tells Raymond they have assurances, and they’ve been gaining leverage against him, hiding money in accounts under his name, making him a traitor. The two struggle as young Masha watches. Ilya tries to get Raymond off of Katarina, but Raymond pushes him and Ilya knocks over Masha’s Christmas house with lit candles. Suddenly, a fire begins and Masha yells for Raymond to let go of her mother as she grabs Raymond’s gun and fires. Ilya takes Masha outside while Katarina begs Raymond to tell her where The Fulcrum is. Katarina tries to save Reddington, and she tells her men to continue searching for The Fulcrum. Katarina says that they were about to leave, but Liz remembers going back into the house to get her stuffed bunny. Katarina went inside after Liz, but they both were burned; Katarina wanted to protect Liz from that night, so she had Liz’s memory erased. We see Katarina calling Kate (Mr. Kaplan) who was watching Masha and instructs her to leave Masha with someone unconnected. Katarina tells Liz that the only way to protect her was to give her up.

Liz feels abandoned, but Katarina says it was to protect her. Katarina needed to hide, not only from the KGB, but from The Cabal, as we see Katarina at Cape May (season 3 episode). She divulges that The Cabal wanted her to steal back The Fulcrum, but she couldn’t find it. She tells Liz that she didn’t want to survive, but she made a promise to Liz to protect her. Although she couldn’t be in her life, she could watch over her. She needed a plan to disappear and she called Ilya Koslov, as he appears in front of Liz to help the story continue to unfold.

Ilya tells Liz that he and Katarina grew up together, they were chosen by the KGB, and they both decided to betray their country together by joining The Cabal. Liz stops him because she’s heard this story from Dom, but Katarina and Ilya explain that Dom lied to her about who actually became Reddington. Most of Dom’s story that detailed Ilya was true, especially about framing Reddington as a traitor. Ilya decided to use it to his advantage, and use the money Katarina framed Reddington with. In the flashback, Ilya tells Katarina that they can use that money to get ahead of the others, but she said that Reddington himself has picked up the money. Ilya suggests that he become Reddington, and we see a man disguised as Reddington going to withdrawal money. Ilya and Katarina explain that Ilya did impersonate Liz’s father for a few days, and Katarina realized how valuable creating a new Reddington was. Liz is skeptical because if her mother had created Reddington, then she would’ve told Liz his identity. Suddenly, the present Katarina appears and tells Liz that she didn’t know Reddington’s true identity because she isn’t really Katarina Rostova.

Liz asks who she is, and the woman explains she was an operative chosen to be Katarina Rostova. It became her job, until it became a death sentence, courtesy of Dom, who appears next to Katarina’s imposter. Dom doesn’t regret his choices, and Ilya tells Dom that he destroyed this woman’s life, but Dom defends his choices and made a calculated decision to value Liz and Katarina’s life over this woman’s. Everyone was still looking for Katarina but by then, Katarina was already in hiding and Liz was safe. Unfortunately, no one believed Katarina was really dead and they would keep looking for her, so Dom asked Ilya to Belgrade. In a flashback, a younger Dom and Ilya discuss the bounty on Katarina’s head by Neville Townsend and Dom’s plan. Katarina’s imposter, named Tatiana Petrova was their plan. Ilya had called her and Tatiana explains that her assignment was simple: she was to drive into the city and deliver a package to Dom. Ilya and Dom explain that Dom had leaked intel of “Katarina’s” location, and knew people would be watching. If they saw the explosion and saw her die, then the real Katarina would be safe. In the flashback, we see Tatiana’s husband come outside to talk to Tatiana, and goes to her car, but it explodes. When the new Reddington found out what Dom had done to Tatiana, he had financed her life in hiding, and she was grateful until she discovered that this Reddington was also hiding Katarina or knew her whereabouts. So she came for Reddington because if Katarina’s whereabouts were revealed, she could have her life back. She continues that Liz’s questions and hope brought her back to life and gave her a second chance to stop running. She used Liz to get close to Reddington, but Liz realizes that Reddington killed Tatiana because Dom revealed where to find Katarina.

Katarina tells Liz she would never abandon her, and she knew she couldn’t be around her, so she created someone who could .. Raymond Reddington. Her mother knows the identity of Reddington, but Katarina says Liz needs to understand the why first. Katarina describes her putting Liz in the care of Sam Milhoan, but knew that it wasn’t enough. The world didn’t know that the real Reddington was dead, and everyone was chasing a man they thought betrayed his country. If that persona of Reddington did exist, Katarina could use it to protect her daughter, so she constructed him. They needed to turn to criminals to create this persona and to implement a complete transformation.

A new Reddington emerges, but what this new Reddington needed was intelligence, so Katarina called Ivan Stepanov. Ivan appears before Liz to explain that he had backdated the breach of data that would be blamed on Katarina, but she was already hidden. In a flashback, Stepanov hands Reddington the Sikorsky Archives, which Stepanov explains could be used for blackmail and leverage, and eventually created an intelligence network that was created to keep Liz safe. Liz adds that her safety came at the price of people she loved, and people she didn’t know, Katarina adds. She said that Reddington provided for her, but Liz began asking questions about her mother being alive, which led Tatiana to Dom. Dom tells Liz he revealed Katarina’s location to Tatiana, and Liz realizes that Reddington killed Tatiana so she couldn’t reveal Katarina’s location to Townsend. He knew that if Townsend found out, Liz and Agnes would both be in danger, which is exactly what happened once Stepanov told Townsend the truth. Katarina illustrates that this story is all about protecting Liz and Agnes, but now Liz wants the identity of Reddington and where has her mother been all these years. She pleads with her mother as gunfire is heard in the background. Reddington tells Liz they need to leave because Townsend has arrived and as soon as Liz comes back to reality, Liz is shot and the shootout continues as Reddington grabs Liz. Reddington tells Dembe they need to get to the Nest, but Neville Towsend appears in the epicenter.

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Neville tells Reddington that it’s ironic how he created all of this to protect Liz, but she would end up betraying him by using the very chip used to try and track Neville down. Reddington focuses on Liz as Neville gets a call from Vandyke about sending reinforcements. Neville is impressed by how Reddington gathered intelligence over the years, and Reddington tells Neville that it can be his if he helps Liz. Liz looks at a nearby gun to shoot Neville as Reddington pleads with Neville that he’ll give him anything he wants, but Neville just wants him to watch Liz die. Suddenly, Liz grabs the gun and shoots Neville, while Dembe shoots the surrounding men to be able to reach the Nest safely.

Inside the Nest, they lie Liz down on the bed, as Reddington decides to use the intercom as Neville’s men try and infiltrate the Nest. Reddington tells a wounded Neville that he is right to blame him for the death of his family, but Neville tells him that his deathbed confessions won’t change his mind. Reddington tells Neville that the intelligence packets weren’t all he acquired from Ivan, as Neville’s men work to place a bomb on the entrance to the Nest. Reddington continues that his appetite for intelligence grew, and he wanted everything- including a nest in Latvia. He reveals to Neville that the Nest is capable of withstanding a huge explosion, and that buying a Soviet Nest comes equipped with highly flammable chlorine trifluoride. Suddenly, tubes come out of the ceiling and Neville asks if Reddington is willing to destroy all his intel and the source of his power, but Reddington tells him that it’s Liz who is the source, and she won’t be destroyed by him. Reddington activates the gas and flames engulf the room.

Check out next week’s promo below!

Catch The Blacklist season finale on Wednesday, June 23 at 10 P.M. EST on NBC.

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By Kailey
Kailey has been a writer for Nerds and Beyond since 2018. She received her bachelors degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in May of 2020. Some of her favorite TV shows are The Blacklist, Supernatural, and Prodigal Son, to name a few. She also loves all things Disney! You can check her out on social media @kaileygross.
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