It's the season finale of "The Blacklist" and that only means one thing: we probably won't get the answers to any of the important questions we've been hoping to get all season.
The episode opens with an airplane crash that sort of looks like an outtake from "Lost." Until you notice the bridge and city rising above the still-smoldering wreckage. And if there's any doubt, there's a clip of "Today Show" host Matt Lauer pimping himself out by doing a faux news report of a plane crash on the bank of the East River. There are reports the military might have shot down the plane and all we know right now is what we get from a few snippets of interviews with the survivors - all who seem to be Russian/Ukranian. They claim the plane's pilot went crazy and started shooting people. Then he cut off the hand of one of the other passengers. He's probably the same handless guy who see stumbling into a nearby hospital E.R. entrance (what, don't the NYPD do barricades anymore?)
Red is having a pretty bad day as well. He's been arrested by the FBI and as he's been imprisoned he's told he'll never see trial because he's just going to disappear. The lead agent asks if "the girl was worth it," and Red admits that it was. Yes, but WHY?!?!?
Despite the impending shutdown of the unit, Liz and her FBI squad work on the plane crash. It's being reported that it's a "prison transport," but no one knows from where and who was responsible. They track the plane's origin to Bogata and manage to figure out that it was flying under the radar and through a series of surveillance dead spots across the U.S. Several of the prisoners are captured and tell authorities they were kidnapped off the streets in Columbia and Brazil. They all tell the story of a hooded man who was handcuffed to a guard. The hooded man was giving the pilot orders, but no one knows his identity. In another part of the city, Tom visits a man who I'm guessing is an assassin, given his attitude and frugal lifestyle. He gives the man a list with the names of the FBI unit on it, including Liz. He asks the man if "we're still going through with it?" and the man just stares at Tom.
Liz tries to get access to Red, hoping he can help with the plane crash. But the new FBI agent in charge refuses and seems to have his own agenda for the prisoner. One part of that agenda becomes clear when he visits Reddington and tells him that he has a visitor. The visitor turns out to be the mysterious man played by Alan Alda who heads some mysterious organization with government intelligence connections. He tells Red that the government hasn't been able to identify the plane or who was responsible for the prisoners. He suspects it has something to do with "Berlin," and warns Red that he and the task force are being targeted. He tells Reddington that he can't get him released, but he can get him transferred and Red tells him that is enough. He wishes Reddington "good luck" as he leaves and he seems sincerely worried about his adversary.
It's time for the transfer and as Red climbs into the SUV, the new lead FBI agent is already seated in the back. He tells Red he has been ordered to do this, but he hopes that Reddington is shot in the attempt. He also warns Red that he's giving him the chance to punch him twice in the jaw, but that if he isn't knocked unconcious, he's going to kill Reddington. Red punches him once and then wraps his handcuffs around the throat of the driver. Once he escapes, he calls Liz and warns her the entire task force is in danger. He tells her to pull the entire squad out of the field, which is a problem, since Ressler and Mira are at a club where an asset might be hiding. Mira spots a man and it looks to be the assassin Tom was talking to about the list. He slashes Mira's tthroat and disappears into the crowd.
Liz meets with Reddington and tells him about Mira's death. He says the task force is in danger because of him, but that one of the reasons he originally surrendered was because of Berlin. She wants answers and Red tells her that until she's seen more, it's just bits of the story and what he could tell her won't make sense. But from the way Red is talking, it seems that Berlin was the hooded guy on the plane. And Red says that their top priority is to discover who is responsible for the plane and the reasons why they wanted Berlin.
The task force suspects the plane was an operation run by the Russian intelligence service and Cooper suggests that Red pay a visit to the Russian Ambassador in search of answers. Red uses a knife and his power of persuasion to get a manifest of the plane's occupants. There were three guards: two are dead and the other is in critical condition in the ICU (no doubt the handless guy we saw earlier). There were ten prisoners. Four are confirmed dead and three others are in custody. They have photos of the final three but when they question the surviving guard, he tells Liza and Ressler that Berlin isn't one of the three and was never on the manifest.
He also tells them a story he heard about Berlin. Supposedly the man was a Colonel in the Red Army and later worked for the KGB. He was notorious for sending his enemies to Siberia and dealing with them in a ruthless way. But as the Cold War drew to a close, his daughter fell in love with dissident and was arrested. He arranged for her escape but was arrested afterwards and sent to a Siberian Gulag. While he was being held prisoner, someone sent him a series of packages, each one with a piece of his daughter's body inside. He then sharpened one of her bones into a knife, killed the guards and escaped vowing to kill the people responsible for her death.
Cooper meets in secret with the FBI leader who let Reddington escape. He tells Cooper that due to events beyond his control, if Liz is willing to continue working with Red, the FBI will keep the task force together. Cooper tells the man he knows he wanted Reddington to escape. He tells Cooper that "No, but people did." And walks away from the meeting. Cooper gets into his car, sees his driver is dead and is attacked from behind with a garrot. As he is being killed, we see the mysterious assassin seated on nearby park bench, crossing Cooper's name off of Tom's list.
Cooper's death sends Red and the remaining members of the task force into a frenzy. Ressler tortures one of the prisoners until he coughs up (literally) Berlin's true identity. Reddington then visits the mysterious U.S. intelligence agent and tells him the name. He asks for the man's resources to find Berlin and "I'll take care of the rest."
Liz meets with Reddington and tells him that Cooper is in the hospital and not expected to make it through the night. She asks him again about her father Sam and Red reluctantly tells her a story. That one night a friend of his arrived at his doorstep and asked him for a favor. He said there had been a fire and wanted Sam to take care of his daughter. Sam raised her as his own and while he wouldn't reveal her real father's name, he insists that knowing his identity would put her life in danger. He tells her he killed her father because he was in pain, but also because he would have told Liz the identity of her father. That killing was the hardest thing he's ever had to do and because of that, he certainly won't reveal the identity to her now.
Red then gets a call with the current location of Berlin. He lies to Liz about the call, then visits the location. He shoots his way silently through a number of guards and confronts the assassin with the words "So you must be the one they call 'Berlin.'" Red interrogates Berlin, wanting to know who he is and why he hates him so much. He tells Berlin that he has been successful because he remembers everyone - not just his enemies, but their families and everyone they know. Berlin doesn't offer up any clues, other than to say that he had searched for years to find Red's weakness and was surprised to find out about Liz. Despite Red's assurances, it sounds more and more like Liz might be his daughter.
Berlin refuses to talk and Red begins shooting him. First in the hand, then in the hip. Berlin simply says "Beirut. 2010." But before he can say more, the door opens and Tom walks in with Liz as his prisoner. Tom asks Red to lower his weapon, but he refuses. Berlin begins yelling at Tom to kill Liz. He screams that Red has taken everything from him and he did it for money. He continues screaming and Red shoots him, looks at Tom and says "this simplifies things. Put down your gun before I do something we'll regret."
Tom shoots at Red and seems to hit him. But as he does, Liz overpowers Tom and in the struggle shoots him several times. Red moves to kill Tom, but Liz says that it's between the two of them. Red warns her that he can't leave Tom alive and waits for her outside. Liz kneels next to Tom and he tells her he's sorry. He then whispers something to her as he dies.
They think the danger from Berlin is over until the FBI gets back DNA results that prove one of the dead men on the flight was the third guard. Berlin was the hospitalized man pretending to be the injured guard and of course when they get to the hospital Berlin has killed his guard and escaped. Liz tells Reddington that he killed the wrong man and he admits that he already know that. The attacks against him began before Beirut, so the assassin could not have been Berlin. But he also tells her that having Berlin believe they think he's dead gives them an advantage.
The episode (and the season) ends with a lengthy montage. We see Berlin getting cleaned up and looking at a pocket watch that has a tattered photo of his daughter. We see Cooper recovering and that Tom (or his body) seem to be missing from the spot where he supposedly died. We see Liz decide to work again with Red as she tells him what Tom told her. He told her that her father was alive and Red tells her that he is absolutely 100% sure her father died in that fire. Then we see Red undressing. First he looks at a small photo of what appears to be Berlin's daughter, with the number "69" written on the bottom. Then he takes off his shirt to reveal a recent gunshot and extensive burns. So as the camera fades to black it appears Red is Liz's father after all.