It was how this was always going to end.
The Raymond Reddington task force was now not what it was when it was started long ago on The Blacklist Season 1.
They were a group of people with almost nothing in common chosen to pursue a common goal in one of the opaquest operations ever.
They had grown, evolved, made mistakes, learned, and formed bonds throughout the years.
Yet, if one was to compare and contrast the Task Force from ten years ago and how it is currently, one would notice that these people had changed. This change displeased Arthur Hudson, and he pursued it with everything he had.
It is my finding that task force 836 has reached a point where they are no longer working with Raymond Reddington but for Raymond Reddington. I truly believe you don’t know which way is up anymore.
The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 20 saw much happen as Arthur presented his case to the current Attorney General, while Raymond’s future was hinted at.
I’m off to chase the moon around the world.
The Attorney General did not think much of Arthur and Agent Nickson’s case when they first presented their case before him.
The very nature of confidential informants is not that of the regular upstanding citizen, but they are usually the worst of the worst. Telling the Attorney General that the Task Force worked with a criminal was like telling him chicken cluck.
But in using the angel he’d been working with of saying that the Task Force had changed and was now working for Raymond, he could bring the Attorney General on his side.
Harold Cooper knew that this day would come. Whenever some government official would summon Cooper to some office in Washington, he was half convinced that this was it. Yet it never materialized until Arthur Hudson.
In all those meetings, he always came prepared with a speech about how much good they were doing, but repeating the same thing over and over got old at some point.
I can’t justify the actions of my team to the very people who sanctioned that team, to begin with. If you want my badge, take my badge. I’m done apologizing.
And so, he spoke from the heart.
He spoke about his feelings, and even Arthur, who was prepared to take anyone on, was taken back.
Raymond had been planning something for most of The Blacklist Season 10, and we speculated much about what that might be. We toyed with the possibilities of Raymond Reddington dying or making a clean break.
The latter seemed to be true.
Saying goodbye to friends is the last thing someone planning on going away for good does. He had been lucky to have people who worked for him become some of his closest friends.
Heddie had remained loyal to him even when outside forces were trying to pull her in another direction. And for that, she was handsomely rewarded.
Raymond visited the man who had gotten secrets out of people for him for decades and tried to convince him to move on to other things.
Weecha returned, and Raymond proposed they run away together.
Saying goodbye to Agnes was one of the hardest things, even if he did not show it. They enjoyed their ice cream, but Agnes noticed that something was off.
She was intuitive that girl, and Raymond thought she might take the path of law enforcement like her mother before her.
But in all these goodbyes, none was harder than that of Harold Cooper. They had been through thick and thin, and were it not for Harold going out on a bat for the Task Force, Raymond might have been arrested long ago.
They also had a mutual love for Agnes.
It was why he couldn’t stay put on hearing that the Attorney General was grilling Cooper at Arthur’s behest.
Tadashi came through with his hacking skills, and in no time, Raymond exchanged words with everyone in the room, giving one of the best The Blacklist quotes ever.
I am what I am! You made a devil’s bargain. Did you really expect me to stop being the devil?
Something must have been in the air that day because people were really feeling like opening up. Speeches were made from the heart with a bit of sass.
Hudson: It’s clear to me by this intrusion that you have more power than any CI should.
Reddington: It’s funny; it seems to me you have more power than any congressman should.
We have seen Raymond give great monologues but never have seen him go head-to-head arguing with people. It really was something majestic to watch.
Hudson: I need to put you behind bars!
Reddington: I’ve been. Several times. It didn’t stick.
In trying to plead Cooper’s case, he might have made it worse because the Attorney General ordered the Task Force shut down.
To those who watch The Blacklist online, that didn’t come as a surprise because it was always what would happen. Everything with a beginning must have an end, and that was it for the Raymond Reddington Task Force.
They didn’t go down without a fight, and even someone like Siya, who usually has her head screwed on straight, went out on a limb to defend Raymond and the Task Force.
What Ressler had told her before was coming true. If you are in Raymond Reddington’s debt, it’s a slippery slope and your opinions about him change.
Herbie got in a few words here and there, and the shutting down of Task Force is one of the most iconic things ever.
The Attorney General proposed a proposition for the Task Force, offering them a second chance and the possibility of staying out of jail.
It was almost poetic that the people Raymond had used to hunt his enemies and bad players would be the ones to hunt him down.
Ressler had spent most of his career before joining the Task Force hunting Raymond down. Now a second chance had appeared.
Will they succeed?
Reddington: Don’t look so glum, Harold. It’s just cops and robbers. It has been all these years. Is Ressler on the chase? Let’s have fun on the way out.
Cooper: What would you have me do?
Reddington: Catch me if you can.
Red has always been one step ahead of them every time, and this time was no different. He blew up his jet to throw them off the scent.
They thought he’d left but was still around.
He’d said goodbye to all his friends but saved the final goodbye for the greatest friend. Even if circumstances drove them on the opposite end, Harold Cooper had been a great friend but was not in the same league as Raymond.
He will have no option but to hunt Raymond down, but no one catches Raymond Reddington if he doesn’t want to be caught.
“Arthur Hudson” was a great setup for the two-hour series finale coming on The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 21, “Raymond Reddington,” and The Blacklist Season 10 Episode 22, “Raymond Reddington: Goodnight.”
Will they catch him? Will Red emerge out of this with his life, if not unscathed?
There are many questions on how this will play out, and we can’t wait to discover it with you all. Catch the series finale of The Blacklist next week on Thursday, July 13, on NBC.
Before that, we will have some The Blacklist Spoilers for you. In the meantime, comment on your thoughts about this episode and the upcoming series finale.
Denis Kimathi is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He has watched more dramas and comedies than he cares to remember. Catch him on social media obsessing over [excellent] past, current, and upcoming shows or going off about the politics of representation on TV. Follow him on Twitter.