The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 22 Review: Marvin Gerard: Conclusion Part II

Nine seasons in and we're still just scratching the surface of Red's criminal empire on The Blacklist.

THE BLACKLIST -- "Marvin Gerard (#80) Conclusion Pt 2" Episode 922 -- Pictured: (l-r) Hisham Tawfiq as Dembe Zuma, Amir Arison as Aram Mojtabai
Photo: Virginia Sherwood | NBC

This The Blacklist review contains spoilers.

The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 22

The hardest loss of The Blacklist season 9 finale was not Marvin Gerard’s death, but the graveside announcements of Agents Aram Mojtabai and Alina Park that their characters’ journeys are leading them away from the Task Force. Aram plans to bike around Brooklyn, take a needed break and see some Broadway shows while Alina manages her ongoing migraines, grows a new life and builds a family. These bombshell departures are tough to process! The characters, and certainly the actors who brought them to life, Amir Arison and Laura Sohn, will be deeply missed. Fans can anticipate guest appearances in Season 10, which all reports suggest are a real possibility.

Aram’s interest in the theater is our first “full circle” of this episode. Of course, it is Amir Arison who will be playing the lead in The Kite Runner, which opens this summer on Broadway. As sad as Aram’s goodbye felt, the silver lining is that the beloved and talented-beyond-measure, Amir Arison, will be fulfilling a life dream in taking that stage. Without doubt, many fans will be in that audience to bear witness to his success!

Our next full circle also belongs to Aram (he deserves a few, I think we can all agree). The re-emergence of Wujing in this episode is a full circle to season 1 episode 3 when we first met Wujing…and Agent Aram Mojtabai joined the Task Force in that same episode! Wujing will prove to be a difficult enemy for Red, especially without Aram around to decipher the cyber knots which will surely need untangled in season 10.

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Marvin Gerard’s final act against Red is giving Wujing the blacklist of criminals that Red and the Task Force have worked together to stop. As formidable as Wujing already is…Marvin’s list is a powder keg and wields the opportunity to deliver a plethora of power to the one who possesses it. There is one glimmer of hope that Red might not get blindsided by Marvin’s last act of revenge. Let’s hope that the security guard who helped Wujing escape is a talker because, for some not-so-smart reason, Wujing tells the guard that he is not going to Beijing, he’s going to stay in America in order to take down Raymond Reddington. Surely this slip of hubris and information has the potential to come full circle and bite Wujing on the other end.

We also learn some new things in this finale. Dembe’s story about spending time with Raymond and Liz when she was very young and his reminiscing about the day in the park before Liz’s death led him to reveal that Raymond, Liz, and Agnes all share the same boisterous, wild laugh. In fact, Dembe says, it is so similar that if one isn’t looking at who’s laughing, all three could easily be mistaken, one for the other, in the laugh department. Perhaps this is not life imitating one’s environment because Liz and Agnes likely never spent enough day-in-day-out time with Red to develop this similarity through exposure. This laugh they share may be born from shared genetic traits. #Redarina fans are rejoicing tonight!

We also learned that Raymond Reddington’s criminal empire is bigger and more complex than we ever imagined. Marvin said that what we have seen is 1% of all that exists and thrives under Red’s purview. Not only should we be shocked at the scale, we also hear Red and Marvin talk about how what they built together over decades is, and has always been, about influencing the criminal realm and keeping the worst of human actions in check. The goal did not suddenly become criminal control when Red turned himself in and became the Task Force’s informant. This goal existed from the beginning. Thirty years’ worth of Marvin and Red trying to function as demi-angels in an otherwise obvious Hell. Red’s connection with the FBI must’ve made this goal easier to achieve over the past nine years, but we know now that this altruism has always been in Red’s veins. For exactly this reason, when Red finds himself off the Task Force and back on the FBI’s most-wanted list, he is able to quip: “It’s good to be wanted.”

Red is powerful. But we should be careful not to read power and might alone into the suicide of Marvin. Like Mr, Kaplan before him, both were loved by Red, both betrayed him in ways that Red deemed unforgivable, and both committed suicide. It’s not that Red is so powerful that people are willing to off themselves rather than cause him the trouble or discomfort of doing it himself. And maybe as we watched the season closer tonight, we might have preferred to see Red shoot Marvin between the eyes at close range. In Red’s world of power, death and dignity, falling on one’s own sword is a matter of respect granted to enemies strong enough not to be simply “taken down like a dog.”

Raymond Reddington’s purpose, who he is and how he came to be, may remain a mystery that fans want to know more about, but one thing we can rest assured knowing as this season ends and the long wait for season 10 commences: Raymond Reddington is an assemblance of good and evil with a focus. Season 10 will provide plenty of chances for him to live that purpose in the way that only Raymond Reddington can do…and The Blacklist fans want only to be right by his side as he charges fearlessly into the next epic battle.