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'The Blacklist' Season 8: Theories that suggest Red Reddington's arc is inevitably going to end in death

Liz's devastating betrayal coupled with Red's ongoing illness is enough to hint at his death but that is not the only reason Red's arc might be coming to an end
UPDATED OCT 23, 2020

With his close comfort Elizabeth Keene's (Megan Boone) final betrayal at the end of Season 7, the leading man of 'The Blacklist' and protagonist Raymond 'Red' Reddington (James Spader) suffered a massive blow. As long as we have known Liz and Red, we have known them to be a tight-knit duo solving the FBI's most notorious black market cases, until Liz's biological mother Katarina Rostova returned and everything went for a toss. Liz had always had ample reason to doubt Red over his identity, and with Katarina's return, the doubts were solidified into something more. That devastating blow doubled with Red's ongoing illness is enough to hint at his death, but that is not the only reason Red's arc might be coming to an end as Season 8 rolls out. Here are some other hints why Red's journey with Liz and co. might be over for good.

Katarina Rostova is back

With tension between Red and Katarina running rife since time immemorial, her return was a big blow to Red's existence in Liz's life. It was a neither can live while the other survives type of situation. The first thing Katarina does after returning is to turn her daughter, Liz against the man who has helped, supported, and mentored her all this time.  Crucial as Red might be to the plot one can't help but wonder if Katarina has been the secret anti-heroine of the story all along? Maybe her return is clear indication of the reign going to some else, and with that shift in power dynamic, it's not hard to deduce that Red's arc is coming to an end.

Liz's betrayal

For the last seven years and running Red and Liz's bond has been an emblem of the dependency they have on each other. Liz is a top-notch FBI agent and Red is her most trusted informant - there is no going wrong between the two. But Season 7 saw the beginning of Liz's distrust in the seasoned former bad guy after some of his lies got busted. With Katarina's return, Liz realized Red could have lied to her about far bigger issues, and thus began her investigation into the real identity of Red. Even though she learned Red was not Ilya Koslov, she chose to side with her mother - thus breaking the trust that has kept their bond alive for years. And with that gone, the betrayal was a sinkhole for Red. 

Terminal illness

Season 7 of 'The Blacklist' came to a shocking close when Red's disease was revealed. Passing out, suffering seizures with foaming at the mouth, and coughing up blood, Red was definitely not in his prime anymore. With both Dember and Red's doctor insisting he take this seriously, he still continued to keep the truth a secret from Liz until it was too late. Also, with Liz choosing her mother over him and betraying him in the end, this decision now looks like a stitch in time

Red is Ilya Koslov

The theory has been debunked for good, but one can't help but wonder was the man who claimed to be the real Ilya, actually the real Ilya? Ilya was Katarina's childhood sweetheart and with the way Red has spoken about her, with that one that got away wistful longing, it always seemed as if the two shared some deep, intense, but irreconcilable history. When Katarina drugged Red and transported him in a van to wherever she did, it was obvious that the two were going to become arch-nemesis. Everybody including Liz feared the reason was that Red is actually Ilya, but then came out the grey-haired man whom Red saved and protected as the real ex-flame of Katarina. What if all of that was a facade Red is putting up, even for Dembe? He looks capable of that. If after all of this, Red does turn out to be Ilya, there's no way he's spending another day alive.

Red is not the real Raymond Reddington, but a twin impostor 

There has been an ongoing theory about Red being the real Redmond Reddington's twin impostor. The real Raymond who was raised with the name died long ago, and our impostor took his place. We know for a fact that the real Raymond is dead, but with the way our current Red fondly remembers his childhood and looks back in anger or otherwise, with details accurate and intact it's hard to not consider the fact that this man is someone who grew up with the actual Raymond as the same time as he did. If a twin of the real Raymond, our current Red wouldn't really need plastic surgery, but just some credentials modified to suit his purpose. And knowing Red's contacts and resources, getting fingerprints changed wouldn't be a problem.

'The Blacklist' Season 8 will premiere on Friday, November 13 at 8/7c only on NBC.