'The Blacklist' Season 7 Episode 19: Live-action and animation combine to reinvent an abrupt season finale

In a sea of procedurals announcing mid-season episodes as their finales amidst the ongoing lockdown, trust 'The Blacklist' to revolutionize things by going animated

                            'The Blacklist' Season 7 Episode 19: Live-action and animation combine to reinvent an abrupt season finale

Spoilers for Season 7 Episode 18 'Roy Cain'

The coronavirus lockdown has hit every industry across the planet — specifically the entertainment niche suffering stalled productions and abrupt cutting down of seasons when it comes to TV shows.

While most procedurals have decided to label a midseason episode as their season finale for this year's run, NBC's 'The Blacklist' has revolutionized the game by continuing to film the remaining half of its supposed finale — Episode 19 — in an animated format.

As announced by Entertainment Weekly earlier this week, the procedural surrounding James Spader's Raymond "Red" Reddington and his FBI agents will be wrapping up this season in a partially shot Episode 19 with a combination of live-action bits that have already been filmed and the remaining half in a graphic-novel-esque animation.

Titled 'The Kazanijan Brothers,' the episode will arrive as the season finale for this ongoing run which was initially intended to be 22 episodes long. According to the outlet, the episode was completed by series regulars Spader, Megan Boone and their fellow castmates recording audio at home.

This will combine with the rest of the episode which has been animated and edited remotely. So what can be expected from this game-changing finale?

For starters, we know Katarina Rostova (Laila Robins) has made her grand return with an abduction so intense that it almost caused Red to have a major health scare.

After an entire episode of wondering whether Red is dead or alive as we saw Donald Ressler's (Diego Klattenhoff) backstory unravel we finally know he's safe. But for how long with Elizabeth Keene (Boone) teaming up with his scheming, conniving mother Katarina to dig up dirt on Red?

Red and Liz in the animated episode (NBC)

The latest Episode 18, titled 'Roy Cain', shows Katerina holding Dembe's (Hisham Tawfiq) Imam hostage, and amid their back and forth repertoire about faith and safety, she addresses that her life is at stake.

The Imam is quick to pick up on the threat against her being Red, but with Liz's waning allegiance and trust in Red, made obvious by her tailing him using a PI, is it clearly Red is under the biggest threat right now.

Red's only ally in the whole debacle is Dembe, who comes quite close to losing his own life in an attempt to rescue the Imam. But even after all the hunt and chase, Dembe doesn't give out the information on Red that Katarina so desperately seeks.

As Episode 18 ends. Red is safe and sound apart from the health crisis that he really should check up on.  With Katarina having to flee before she could get the information out of Dembe, it becomes obvious that she will return for a second round.

And no amount of confrontation from her daughter's end is going to make her see things any differently. As of now, the stakes for Episode 19 are high with threats against Red's real identity running rife.

Who is he? What are his true intentions? Is he really worth trusting over Katarina? These are some of the questions plaguing not only Liz but the entire fandom in general as we step into the upcoming season finale. And the graphic animation isn't going to be the only X-factor it delivers, clearly.

'The Blacklist' Season 7 finale airs on May 15 at 8 pm ET/PT on NBC.

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