11
Dec
18

🔴 Beyond Lizzington by By Φαιη

 

🔴 Beyond Lizzington

 
Note: This enthusiastic analysis delves into the depths of Liz and Red’s relationship, examining its evolution and various dimensions. In a way, it is unsparing. I think it is quite astute and insightful. This article covers S1 to S3 of the show. – LizzieB90

By Φαιη Βλαχογιαννη
Edited by LizzieB90
December 11, 2018
 
Dear Lizzie,
 
Maybe I should introduce myself first of all. My name is Fay, and I am from Greece, so please try to be patient with my spelling and grammar mistakes. English is not my native language.

I am guessing that you are wondering why I am writing this to you, LizzieB90. (I suppose your name is Lizzie? Anyway, since I don’t know, please allow me to adress you like this.)

Well, here’s the thing. I don’t like American TV series – at all. I don’t watch them because I hate the fact that they don’t have a clear ‘start-middle-end’, because the creators never know how many seasons a series might last. It may have 20 or 150 episodes and even be cut off mid-season, depending on the ratings.

This doubt deprives the writers of a clear scenario for how the series will evolve, and in many cases, how it will end, since it is possible for a series to last, let’s say five seasons, and suddenly not be renewed for a sixth. The poor viewers either may not see a finale at all, or they may end up watching just a sloppy, disappointing, quickly-constructed finale, leaving open many loose ends. I despise that, so I prefer to watch Greek series and series from other countries that have a clear number of episodes, known right from the start, regardless of viewer popularity.

This is the key point of my problem. After many – and I mean many – years, I stumbled upon an American series that struck me in my mind, and heart. It was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. From the Pilot on. With the story, at second sight. Because the first sight was James Spader. Oh my God. I fell in love ~ I have a HUGE fan crush here.

I will try to restain myself, or else I will end up writing a whole page on all the reasons I fell in love with him. Let me just say this: In my opinion, although the story is very intriguing, the series would not have lasted more than two seasons with any other leading man. James Spader is the reason that the series has had such an impact in America for six years, and on the new viewers in other countries like myself. Since the first episodes, I have had the feeling that, as Reddington, James Spader plays himself (with all the requisite extravagance). I will say more on his Reddington character below.

 

⭕ Let’s go on to the story

 

Compelling, mysterious, crime/police centered, mind-blowing in each and every episode. And around all this mess, the relationship between a man and a woman, Lizzie and Red.

After I watched Liz and Red’s first meeting, I knew without any doubt that I had a new series-crush. This is something I have experienced very rarely in my 35 years old life, leading to a powerful need to share my thoughts with others who have the same obsession. Then I found your awesome blog, and I am a loyal reader of your posts. I found myself agreeing almost totally with you in every aspect, and enjoying your thoughts very much. So many times I said to you with my mind, “I agree so much with you, girl, I wish I could share my thoughts wih you.”

So, after some thought, I took the liberty of sending you this email, hoping that you’d be affirmative on reading a fellow “crusher” thoughts… I truly hope this is the case, because this is going to be a lengthy post… Maybe you should grab a snack? :)

I need to warn everyone that this is a mainly a pro-Lizzington post, so be prepared! Also, I must note that in Greece Episode 3.21 is on air right now, so this is as far I have watched, although I know roughly what will happen up until the S5 finale (through your blog). I know that Lizzie is alive and well in S4, and Red is not the real Red at the S5 finale. I didn’t read details though, because I don’t want to deprive myself from the anticipation of “what happens next?”

Maybe you have come to realise by now that I am a fan of police/crime/mystery series, with a hint of romance. If a series has these ingredients, I will watch and like it. In this case, I fell in love with The Blacklist, so much that I don’t miss any episode, every night. Not a single one. What’s not to like? Crimes, agents, mystery, Red and Lizzie.

Red (Raymond “Red” Reddington), a brilliant sociopath, with the appearance of an old school dandy, with a selective taste in food, wine and beautiful women, owner of tons of entrancement and allure, all wrapped in an aura of mystique and a dark sensuality that draws females from the age of 18 to 88. It drew me, by the way.

Red is a hedonist, (I suspect James is also) and this was apparent to me from the Pilot. Everything he does, literally everything, has a touch of hedonism, and this fact only adds to his magnificent charm. He has an hypnotic effect on everyone around him, Lizzie and the (female) viewers included, something that makes the mystery around him even more alluring.

Lizzie (Elizabeth Scott Keen), a beautiful, young, idealistic FBI profiler who (in her own words) tends to be narcissist. She is introverted and seclusive deep down inside. Criminal minds fascinate her. Lizzie became a profiler agent trying to beat her own inner demons, trying to deny her own inclinations to criminality. Taking this into consideration, what chance did Liz have not to be drawn into Red’s web? Zero, I would say. Lizzie subconsciously wanted someone like Red in her life, and Red being aware of that (“what if I were to tell you that everything you believe about yourself is a lie?” has a double meaning), he easily stepped in to fill this vacuum.

In every series, of whatever country, viewers tend not to pay full attention (or forget the hints of) the Pilot episode. Big mistake. These I watch with pretty much complete attention, because usually the writers gives us many answers in this very first episode as to how the series will proceed and end.

But first, please allow me to describe my personal angle on understanding the relationship between Lizzie and Red. Their first meeting reminded me of three other couples, whom I adore.
 

    1. Clarise and Hannibal (in Silence of the Lambs)
    2. The myth of Pygmalion
    3. Meggie and Ralph (in The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough )
     

I trust that you can understand the reasons, especially with the first two. Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal is in my personal Pantheon of exceptional “criminal psychopath” performances. Comparing him to Spader’s Reddington amounts to my awarding a personal Oscar to James. Clarise and Hannibal. Lizzie and Reddington. The moment I made that connection, I knew I wouldn’t fail to be mesmerized by these two. I felt the tingle in my spine immediately! The psychopath and his protégé once again!

Pygmalion? I trust that you know the myth, even if you are not as familiar as I am with mythology… Great parallelism, which began with “I’m gonna make you famous, Lizzie.”

But the decisive element for me to fall in love with those two was their similarity to Ralph and Meggie in The Thorn Birds. My favorite couple of all time ~ one of my favorite books until the day I die, one that I have read too many times. If you haven’t read it, you should. This couple will carve its way into your heart and never leave. The epitome of a “forbidden love” – it is so beautiful, so destructive, so passionate, so absolute.

Oh yes, from their first exchange of words it hit me: “They will be like Ralph and Meggie.” So, yes, I was lost – and hooked!

Red is a sociopath. We know that. The one thing we often forget as viewers is that the main feature of a sociopath is of being very talented ~ and pathological liars. Red admits his true nature only to Lizzie:

“I’m a criminal. Criminals are notorious liars. Everything about me is a lie.”

The moment I heard that line, just minutes into the Pilot, I thought “Ok, that’s it. THAT. IS. IT. So this man is not who he says he is. He IS NOT Reddington. Then, who is he?? Wow, I think this is going to be very interesting.”

Oddly enough, few others seemed to realize that, at that time at least, and the conversation went on …

So no, (even though I watched up to 3.21 as I said) it is not a surprise to me to learn that in the S5 finale Red is not the real Red. He already told us at the beginning of the series, boys and girls!

Even from their first meeting, I was certain that this man is not a father to this woman. The indications are so many, I don’t know where to start, plus to mention every single clue leading to this conclusion would led me to write 50 pages.

Come on, this would be the most common thing about those two, it would be ridiculously easy to be her father, since this is the first thing almost everyone thought when he asked for Liz. Watching the Pilot, I was certain that the writers respected the viewers enough to not give the easiest and most expected answer to them. Now, after I watched 3 seasons (with 3 more to go) I can only marvel at those who insist that they have a blood relationship, even now. The writers told us, directly and indirectly thousands of times. I will mention just some that come into my mind right know.

“I’m a criminal. Criminals are notorious liars. Everything about me is a lie.”

That exact line, is the reason Red emphasizes to Lizzie that “I have never lied to you” (of course he means a direct lie, not partial truths. I mean let’s not expect from him to alienate from himself completely!! :)

To everyone else, he did, he does, and he will until the day he dies.

So, in view of the fact (also confirmed by the writers in a relevant discussion) that Red never lies to Lizzie, what had he said to her regarding the “father” matter?

“Are you my father??” 
“No”.

Plus his remarks in S3, Ep14: “As much as it pains me to say it, he was probably… the only man she ever really loved. ”

His haunted facial expression when Lizzie remembered she killed her father.

Again, S3 Ep14: Red: “Your mother was never the same after that. The man she loved killed by the child she adored– it was… just too much. 
Liz: So, that night, I killed both my parents.
Red: You were a child. There should never have been a gun for you to grab”

So, end of discussion about F/D.

“But if anyone can give me a second chance, it’s you” (A second chance to reborn, aka take his real identity again, after 20+ years of pretending to be someone else?)

So, he owes something to Lizzie, something important enough to expose himself to the FBI.

But let’s go back to “Everything about me is a lie.”

In S1 Ep 8, Liz and Red go to a plastic surgeon.

“Dr. Maltz is not on the blacklist. He’s an asset I need to protect”
“Ray, look at you. You look great. I mean, the elasticity is amazing. You been juicing?”

Back when I watched this dialogue, I realized that this was another “hidden proof” that Red is not real Red. Our Red had an operation to change his facial feautures, thus he protects the doctor, and the doctor’s line about his elasticity wasn’t just a random comment about his good skin, but a doctor’s interest on how Red’s new face is. And yes, the doctor is happy, the new face is as good as a real one.

These are some examples that the clues were there from the very beginning. So yeah, I was certain from the very beginning that Red is not Reddington.

Thus, the Series’ big questions are: who is Red, and what was his initial relationship with Lizzie.

I’ll try to give you my own perspective on those questions.

My answer is : I know they are not blood related, and as for the real answers… Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Those answers are not the most important thing in the series. The evolution of their relationship is. It’s complexity, it’s variety. It doesn’t matter what happened when Lizzie was 12, it does matter what their relationship will be now they are adults, since their first meeting in FBI, up to this day. Their relationship is it’s not one-dimensional, it’s multiform, multidimensional.

Just like Meggie’s and Ralph in The Thorn Birds.

Just some quick key points for The Thorn birds, in order to help the reader to understand my references.

Ralph was a 28 years old priest and met Meggie when she was 6 years old, so they had a 22 year age gap. He felt an instant affection for the little girl, so he took her under his wings, he educated her, cared for her, like a guardian. Please note that Ralph and Maggie never were apart. I mean he was there and watched her grow, up until her 18 birthday. Then he realized that his little Meggie was a woman now, a woman he was attracted to, so he left her, and chased his one and only dream, to become a Cardinal. You see Ralph was ambitious. He loved power more than anything in his life… except for his Meggie, his one and only weakness, the thorn into his rib. His forbitten love for Meggie followed him, destroyed him, and gave him rebirth.

Meggie was a very lonely, introverted woman who had one love: Father Ralph. Her whole world revolved around him. He was her sun, her moon, her nemesis, the man she hated most, her beloved. I could speak of the two for hours, but this is not the time, so I will say just that their relationship was multiform, multidimensional, just like Red’s and Lizzie’s. It started when she was a very small girl, and it lasted all of their lives. He was her r guardian, her beloved friend, her first love, her hated enemy, her lover, her last love. She was his ward, his little protégée, his temptation, his only sin, the one and only love of his life. Ralph and Meggie were fond of each other, despise on another, hate one another, hurt each other, love each other to their death. Literally. Just like Red and Lizzie.

I read some comments in your blog that criticize the age difference between Red and Liz, and the fact that he has known her since she was 4 years old. I find those comments hard to understand, really. Age gap? Really? From the beginning of time, men were often quite older than the women they married. Twenty-three years is asignificant age difference, yes, but not an insurmountable gap.

A gap means of a completely another generation, a difference so big, that the sexual attraction is out of the auestion, If Lizzie were 35 and Red 70, well yes, I would say that is quite unusual, but in free societies, every person is free to feel attracted to whoever he/she chooses, with the prerequisite that they are both adults, and they have given consent.

Liz and Red are 23 years apart, yes, but why on earth someone feel this is “creepy”? I know that some people may not like for a couple to have any significant age difference, so they don’t want Red and Lizzie as couple, and I find this understandable and acceptable.

The thing I don’t find acceptable is the use of adjectives like creepy, horrific and similar, to address their disagreement over two fictional characters to becoming a couple. That kind of adjectives refer to something that is abnormal. Being a couple with someone older may not appeal to some people, but it is NOT abnormal, and no one has the right to present it as such, not only regarding a tv series, but in real life also.

Many women out there like older men, and want to have an age difference, myself included. In my case it is 15 years, and he is the passion of my life. I will speak nothing further on the matter, because I think the “age difference” thing is comical. AND insulting for the millions of woman out there that prefer older men as partners.

In addition to this, in the 20th and 21th century man and woman usually don’t get married and have children at such a young age. This happens often in their thirties, even in their forties.

Another matter I feel the need to comment about, is the argument made by some people that Red is not supposed to feel any sexual attraction to Lizzie, because he “raised her” or knew her from her childhood. I find this argument even more difficult to comprehend than the “age difference”.

For one thing, he didn’t raise her. Sam did. Sam. Sam performed the role of “father”. Maybe he paid for her food and education, but he hasn’t seen or even met Lizzie except from that time in the fire, until she reached 35 years old. And he met her just once when she was 4. They are essentially two strangers who don’t know each other (seeing pictures of birthdays and providing financial support isn’t “knowing” and certainly isn’t raising her or having a father/daughter relationship, even if it’s a surrogate one).

In Thorn Birds, one of the greatest love stories of all time, Ralph was totally involved with Meggie’s growing up. He was there every day, as her guardian. That didn’t stop either of them from falling in love with the other, and gave us a one-in-a-million love story. I don’t know anyone who has read the book or watched the series who has felt shocked or scandalized by this fact because what mattered for the audience was that Meggie and Ralph had no blood relationship. So, be my guest. Regarding those who opened those two topics, I will say, read The Thorn Birds. You’ll find all the answers you seek in there.

I could write thousands of examples regarding Red’s and Lizzie’s feelings and the evolution of their relationship, but first this means I would have to keep writing indefinitely, and second you made excellent post about Lizzington. I am very upset that you stopped describing the “Lizzington scenes” (in “For the Love of Lizzington”) at the S2 finale. Please consider continuing. S3 has so many, I don’t even recall them. I am certain S4 and S5 have many also, and I am looking forward to watching them.

I will write just a few things about our couple, including some lines I took directly from your wonderful and so useful script posts. I am grateful for your work. Without you I wouldn’t be able to find the exact lines, and the numbers of the episodes.

So.

⭕ What is Lizzie to Red?

Some make the mistake of thinking that only a father (or a father figure) can protect and care for a woman. The answer is no. The father is not the only one to do that.

No matter what happened when she was young or who exactly Red is, he appeared in her life to protect and to tutor her, to be a central part of her life. The most central, I would say. And of course, to know her. Because she is his Achilles’ heel.

“You understand that tight bonds can make you vulnerable, so you’re careful not to have any.And that’s why you’re so conflicted about me. You need me. And you hate that about yourself, because it makes you vulnerable”

Bingo, Lizzie, you got it right from Episode 2.

Towards Lizzie, he acts as a guardian, a mentor, a protector, who has the right, and who furthermore demands to be the first one in the heart of his protégée. Who can feel jealousy, the fear of losing her, or despair beyond any measure when he thinks she is dead, or in grave danger.

As their relationship deepens in time, Lizzie is not the only one that has conflicted emotions about Red…

Red has them also, even more strongly than her, because he knows their connection.

At some point Red (the fake Red) allowed Lizzie to get into his real self. To affect his actions and purposes, to penetrate his feelings, to clutch his heart, and eventually to awaken his desires. This happened quite unintentionally, I believe.

It’s like he started playing a role (the role of Reddington) with a crystal clear purpose and a very carefully planned execution, believing that everything would go as he planned. But he got affected. Lizzie stopped being a vogue pic, an unknown woman, and became his partner in almost everything. So the real man who remained hidden for too many years, got affected. By her.

As I said at the beginning of my post, Red is also a hedonist. From the very first moment he and Lizzie met, there was a hint of sexual atrraction between them. In their eyes, their words, and as the series progressed, in their body language.

I am sure he had no intention of feeling desire for her, but that’s the thing. When someone inserts themself into someone else’s life by compulsion, he inevitably becomes affected too, no matter how carefully he had planned everything out.

This is a guardian/ward romance. A perpetual foreplay.

But, as in all guardian/ward romances, there protectiveness is central. And anger. And hostility. Even hatred occasionally. But there is also tenderness. A constant need to see and to be with that person, to confess your problems, ask for advice. The desire comes last, after a harsh inner battle. For both of them.

There are too many examples for the “guardian/ward romance” they have, ( The “Lizzie” he said before he almost died, the “don’t you ever do that again,” his frantic reaction when Solomon put his hands on Lizzie right in front of him at 3.05, and Solomon’s lines:

“What is the deal with you two anyways? It’s what everybody wants to know. Some say it’s a daddy/daughter thing. Others swear it’s May-September. I prefer to believe it’s a little of both.”

… and so many others) but I will mention just the last three I recall from the last episodes I have seen.

I think that Red’s notion and behavior regarding Lizzie’s affair with Tom has changed quite drastically in the third season. In the first 2 seasons… well, Red surely wasn’t fond of him and tried to warn Lizzie many times to leave him, but his behavior was kind of… detached.

Like a friend who tries to warn someone he cares about that her spouse is a prick, but nevertheless, the matter doesn’t affect him personally… Emotionally, it is detached.

When Lizzie got pregnant, his behavior began to change. When Liz tells him that she is with a baby, he admits he has noticed, even before she herself realized it, with a harsh voice, and a stiffness in his features. He is disappointed to her, almost angry, thus he implies that to keep this baby is a disaster.

Why? Because Liz is pregnant. By Tom. Thus, she has sex with him. Maybe you’ll say “No big deal. They were married, Red knows they are having affairs.” That is true.

But now is different. A pregnancy is the living and continuous proof that someone else is touching his Lizzie. Not some vague thought that Lizzie has made love to another man, but the constant reminder of that fact, right before his eyes…every time he looks at her. Proof that someone else has had Lizzie’s body and own a piece of her heart. In Lizzie’s child there won’t be any part of himself… but Tom’s DNA.

Red realizes that, at the same moment he realizes that this affects him and he gets angry with her. Oh, sweet Jealousy. I think that this is the first time we see Red express this sentiment, even if it’s covered up quite well. Quickly though, he takes his words back. She has to keep the baby and have the life she dreamed off.

Exactly the “guardian” to his “ward” style behavior I was expecting. His protective instinct towards her prevails over his jealousy. He loves her enough to want her happiness, leaving behind his personal feelings. Well done, Raymond.

If Red made the first step of leaving his ego behind when he accepted the fact she will have the baby, he jumped to the finish line, when he learned that Lizzie is going to marry Tom again.
Wow. Is this really the notorious egocentric Red ? I don’t think so.

All we see is someone who tries to control his emotions when Lizzie tells him she will get married (God, his intense tic in his eye and cheek tells stories about his inner turmoil, in contrast with his wooden expression… James Spader, I can’t thank you enough) and loses the battle with himself gloriously, when he makes the ultimate effort to stop her from getting married.

“Liz: Then you’re here for the wedding?
Red: No, Lizzy. I’m here to ask you, to implore you, please, don’t do this.”

Red at this scene is metaphorically on bended knees, begging her not to marry. He may be standing at the door, but his words and facial expression shows that he is actually a beseecher, who is putting his entire soul into her hands.

If I am not missing something, this is the very first time that Red is completely at Lizzie’s mercy. He actually begs her to be merciful. To him. And to her own self. Because they both know very well that if Tom enters her life again, Red will be shut out. There is no space for both of them in Lizzie’s life. Red believes that if Lizzie marries Tom now, he will lose her forever. For good. He cannot stand this possibility. Remember, Red had asserted himself as the most central part of her life from their first meeting,. Not just as a small part of her life, but as the Leading Man. Now, he understands that he could lose her, and he had NEVER accepted that this would happen eventually.

 
The Long Play

“Newton: The right question, and we could’ve made the world tremble. Finally found our adversary. Why did you waste it on the girl?
Red: Not “wasted,” my friend. Circumstances are far more complex than we ever imagined.
I’m betting on the long play. The future.
Newton: Your future’s arriving now.” (Lizzie enters)

While Red had the opportunity to solve the mystery and find his unknown enemy, he chose consciously not to, because even from back then (S1 Ep 5) he wanted Lizzie more than he wanted to know his enemy. If he had the answers he is seeking, he would be out from her life.
He didn’t want that. He chose the long way, the hard way, in order to have the chance to be with her, to know her, making himself central part to her life. Lizzie was his future, and he tells us that he is determined to win Lizzie wih patience.

Her mind, her soul, and yes ultimately her love – though back then he wanted her love in a broad sense (not in a sexual/erotic way. It didn’t matter if there was Tom in her life back then. He was ready for the long play. He could wait for years, but Lizzie would be his, eventually. And I don’t mean in a erotic way. Back then he wasn’t seeing Lizzie in this light, but he wanted to be the one and only in her life, nevertheless.

Now, seeing her marrying Tom again, the realization that he might lose the long play, hits him hard. He might lose the future he wants: Lizzie’s heart. That notion brings his ego to the bottom, and his heart to his knees.

Then Lizzie refuses to comply and sends him away… Not just away from her marriage, but out of her life. Oh God, his devastated face. He is defeated completely.

Red is the “other man” trying to win her over, and he finds himself losing his long play. This is a man who had started to realize that he has growing feelings for Lizzie, feelings that he had no intention to have when he first started this charade. To protect and guard, yes. To mentor, oh yes. “His” Lizzie. But when exactly did Lizzie become, from being a simple instrumentality to his own plans, to a woman who moves him so deeply? I don’t think that even Red himself even knows the answer. It happened gradually, because as I said above, their relathionship changes forms all the time; it evolves. It is multiform, multidimensional.

There was a very similar scene in The Thorn Birds, when Ralph learns that Meggie has gotten married… He is down on his knees, literally unable to breath and all sweaty, gripped by an emotional pain so big, that it became carnal… He only then realized that his Meggie would be another man’s Meggie, including her heart, and her body. A devastating scene, as Ralph realises too late that he loves Meggie.

This scene between Red and Lizzie has the same vibe. I LOVE IT.

But! Even though he’s hurt (as Dembe observes), his protectiveness takes the lead once more, and wonders why that woman didn’t leave with Solomon… Finding the answer means he will grab his gun and run to save his damsel in distress. A true guardian-ward romance, as I said above.

And then, when Lizzie was about to give birth. I loved the contrast of the scene. The two men in her life, fighting for her heart. One, the legitimate one, beside her. The other, the semi-dark one, outside, behind the curtain. Always by her side, nevertheless. Holding his breath, as the legitimate one holds her hand. Red penetrates the wall that separates them with his gaze, his heart is revealed in his eyes, as her heart tries to keep beating. In that room a tragedy unfolds, equal to the tragedy that hits that man. Lizzie gives birth, the baby breathes and Lizzie takes her into her arms.

A sigh and a smile appears on Red’s face, only to disappear almost immediatelly. Look closely to this exact scene. The expression on James’ face is priceless. It’s the smallest of changes, but it’s there. The moment Lizzie holds her baby in her arms, look at Red’s expression. (It’s at 20:04 min of the S3 ep 18) Relief, and happiness for a second…and then…emptiness.

At that moment Red realizes beyond any doubt that he has lost Lizzie. He sees Lizzie and baby…
with Tom. Tom is the father. Tom has the right to be in there, sharing this moment of utter happiness with her. The baby is now the eternal link between Lizzie and Tom, a bond can not be broken. Tom will be always in Lizzie’s life, through their baby. He cannot make Tom disappear from her life… Lizzie is lost to Red. There is nothing he can do. That realization, the feeling that he will always be an outcast to Lizzie and from her baby’s life (just like he is right now, standing outside Lizzie’s room, not having the right to enter) leads to that expression of emptiness. One of the best scenes in the whole series up to that point, and it lasted only three seconds.

That awful feeling of emptiness, of being an outcast, is magnified when he pokes his head into the room trying to see tha baby. Lizzie’s reaction is instant and intense. She literally kicks him out.

The shock he feels, the feeling of rejection and the devastating pain are apparent in his expression. Lizzie ~ his Lizzie ~ acts as if he will hurt her baby! She doesn’t even wants him to see or get close to the baby. This was the first time, up to that moment, that I felt sorry for him. Brace yourself, Red. You’re about to experience a lot more pain in a minute, and in the next episode.

This scene is almost identical to one in Thorn Birds. Ralph is there when she gaves birth, but when he tries to touch the baby, Meggie goes ballistic. All past years’ anger, pain, guilts, hate, love, flow out of her mouth with tremendous intensity, like a vast waterfall. She kicks him out screaming, like Lizzie did. And he is so devastated, that he runs out. Like Red. Oh yes, the similarities between Meggie/Ralph and Lizzie/Red are many.

I don’t even have to comment on the scene where Lizzie is “dead,” and Red puts her cold hand against his face, as though she were a caressing him. Or the fact that he stumbles when getting into the car, being in shock. Even now I want to cry. The fact the the whole scene is silent only magnifies his pain. Words are inadequate to describe what he has lost, and how much he hurts. The only thing that matters is to imprint her touch upon his skin. To capture the feeling of her touch forever.

If anyone out there questions his undying love for Lizzie, they can watch his state (of mind and body) in the following episode after Lizzie’s death, “Cape May.” Even more that the caressing scene at her death bed, what shocked me was Red in the filthy opium den, lying on a bed almost unconscious. Lord knows how many days he was in that condition. This is not the powerful Red we have all grown to know, the man who who never lets his feelings prevail or his weaknesses take the upper hand. This is a man broken. A living dead. I could never forget this scene in the opiun den, or his weak stumbling onto the road afterward.

Red has lost his Lizzie, and in doing so, he has lost his compass. The purpose of his life. His second chance.

“But if anyone can give me a second chance, it’s you”

Red, with Lizzie’s death, has lost his self as well. His authentic self. Thus, in a desperate attempt to find himself again, he goes back to the place where it all started, Katarina’s suicide.

I am certain that, Whoever he is, he became “Red” after Katarina’s suicide. It all started there, thus, in that moment as he tries to find himself again, he goes back there. Not to the house of the fire.

The Cape May gives us many clues… for everything. Mostly because Red decides to be honest with his own self, his emotions, feelings, guilts. The whole episode is Red’s introspection, a self examination, a self confession, since we see that Katarina is only a ghost in his mind. We get into Red’s heart and mind. That is why this episode is one of the best.

“It’s not that he died. It’s not even the way he died. It’s in the things I said to him… just before he died.”

Katarina appears to be talking about Liz’s father, so here is more proof that Red, whoever he is, isn’t her father.

“You’ve been here before.
Red: Once, a long time ago. I was a very different person then.”

One more hint that Red is not the real Red, and a confirmation of my theory that it all started in that house, with Katarina’s death. After that event, Red changed his identity.

“Have you ever spared someone who deserved to die?

Red: There was a woman I loved. She was… my life. My heart. And she died. She left behind a little girl. One last, precious piece of herself.”

Here Red confesses to himself how absolute his love for Lizzie is. This is the ultimate proof for me that Red loves Lizzie as a man loves a woman. The choice of those spesific words “There was a woman I loved” is one that a lover makes. Only a lover. Not a father. If any father were to use these words regarding his own blood, well… That would be abnormal.

It is a context that if we were to hear it in any other case, knowing nothing else, everyone would say “this is a lover’s confession.” The rest of his words only serve the purpose of explaining to us (and himself!) how much he loves Lizzie. Utterly. Wholly. She died. He died.

The baby. The only thing he can have of her right now. But… There is Tom.

“Red: I would give anything to be a part of that child’s life, but a man made it clear I would never see her… hold her… watch her grow. And I knew in that moment, I would never be any part of that beautiful little girl’s life. Because…
Woman: He was her father.
Red: And to harm him would be to harm her. A mortal sin. Her mother is gone. The father is what she has left in the world.
Woman: Her father.
Red: …Yes.”

I previously addressed Red’s feelings regarding Tom, himself and baby, so I wouldn’t do that again. But. I do need to say this: He is confessing his intense jealousy of Tom. He hates him, deeply.

The extent of his jealousy (and hatred) of Tom is revealed to us by the words I bolded in the dialogue above.

Please observe the contrast in using the word “father” by Red and Katarina. It is so revealing!

Red at first hesitates to mention why this little baby wouldn’t be a part of his life.

Katarina pushes him, speaking the word herself :“He was her father”

Even then, Red insists on not speaking out loud the adjective, regarding Tom.

“Her mother….The father…”

Lizzie is someone. His heart, and life. The mother of Agnes. Tom is no one. Well, this isn’t quite accurate. Tom is the one who had sex with his Lizzie, and that despised bastard that combined a part of himself with Lizzie in order to create a being that is “a precious piece of herself,” quoting Red. Tom has now a piece of her, to go on living. Something that Red will never have from Lizzie (since they have never had a love affair, nor they will in the future, because she is dead).

In addition to the fact he knows he cannot have a child from Lizzie, Tom has forbidden him to have any contact with that “precious piece of herself.” Why? Because HE is the father. There is no “long plan” anymore. Tom wins. He had Liz. Now he has her daughter. Nothing for Red.
He didn’t even have the chance to share a kiss with her. Tom got a lot more from her. A daughter. Damn him.

“Woman: Her father.
Red: …Yes.”

Yes. Lizzie’s daughter has a father. And it is not Red. He has no right to be in that child’s life. He has nothing left of Lizzie. Damn him.

Yes.Tom is the father. But Red prefers to die rather than to admits that truth even to himself (as Katarina actually is his inner thoughts) That would be Tom’s ultimate victory. But this is Red. Even if he is a wretched Red, he is still… the Red we all know.

I wrote so much about what is Lizzie to Red..and I said almost everything I wanted to say.

I also said a lot about Lizzie’s and Red’s connection and Lizzie’s perspective, but I feel the need to say some additional things about Lizzie..

 

⭕ What is Red to Lizzie?

As I said at the beginning of my post, Lizzie being a seclusive person who has channeled her own inclinations to criminality into a fascination with criminal minds and a career as an FBI profiler. Subconsciously she wanted someone like Red into her life, and Red is aware of that,(“what if I tell you that everything you believe about yourself is a lie?” has a double meaning).

What’s important, is not who Lizzie is to Red, but the complexity, and evolution of their relationship. Red acts towards Lizzie like a guardian, a mentor, a protector. Albeit an uninvited one.

As their relationship deepens, Lizzie has conflicted emotions towards Red. There are many examples of Lizzie’s “go to hell, Red” or “Get out of my life.”

S1, Ep 7.
“Liz: I don’t want you in my personal life. I don’t know how to make that clear.
Red: You know the problem with drawing lines in the sand? With a breath of air, they disappear. You may not like me. You may not understand how or why I do what I do. But I’m here because you want answers to questions you haven’t even thought of yet.”

This for Lizzie, is an unwanted “guardian/ward” romance. A sociopath came into her well-organized life, and messed it up. She was furious. She was screaming to him to leave her alone, ignored him, called him names. She was furious alright. And excited. Deep, deep down inside.

This brilliant sociopath can do whatever he wants. He is rich, captivating, and uncaught. And he chose to be beside her. In order to do that, he surrendered himself. He is there, to offer advice and to protect her. All the time. Even when she tells him to go away. He is stuck with her, seems fascinated by her, without offering any explanation. He makes her feel that she is the center of his universe. Repeatedly. As a consequence, Lizzie feels excited deep down inside. (I mean, what woman wouldn’t?)

So deep down, she didn’t even come to realize it, not up until Red asks her directly:

“Liz: You’re offering to walk away?
Red: I’m not going to beg you to allow me the privilege of helping you. So, say the word, and I’m gone. Tell me to go, Lizzy.
Liz:……
Red: Then I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Red understands Liz much better than she does herself. He knows Lizzie wants him to be there, right behind her, like a shadow. She is excited to feel his dark presence, because, although semi-ominous, he gives her a certain feel of security. Security is something she didn’t have, so she struggles to have it, through her beloved Tom. Then Red comes along, and her good old “life with Tom” security, goes out of the window, for a very different sense of security to take its place: Red’s overbearing presence.

Red demands to have a complete control over her life, so she struggles to send him away. So, tired of her attitude, Red obligates her to confront her true wishes and desires.

“Tell me to go, Lizzy.”

Her silence is the starting point of their twisted romance.

The fact that she didn’t want him out of her life, doesn’t mean she was okay with his overly protective behavior though.

As the series has progressed, Red has became her Guardian, her beloved friend, her hateful adversary, her subconscious desire. Lizzie not just wants, but moreover needs to have control over Red. To have a certain control over such a self-reliant man, gives the woman a sense of domination over him.

A domination that is possessive and demanding.

S2,EP5.
“Samar: You know everyone talks about it, right? They don’t want to bring it up with you. Why you? Who is he to you?
Liz: [ Inhales sharply ] Reddington is. The bane of my existence. And yet, here he is, trying to reconnect with his daughter? Trying to find her? And I find myself feeling possessive.…
Samar: Mm.
Liz: … Possessive of him, jealous of the girl he’s trying to protect. And if that’s not embarrassing enough, that’s exactly how he predicted I’d feel.

Lizzie’s reaction to the mere possibility of sharing (not losing – just sharing) Red’s affection, love and full attention, speaks volumes about her feelings towards her overbearing guardian.

He domineers her, but she cannot let him go. She hates him, but she loves him. She wants him out of her life, but she cannot leave him to die.

S2 EP14
“Liz: [ To Red ] You. You’re talking about you. Wow. You are so damaged. You can’t accept help from anyone. Has anyone ever helped you? Is that why you are the way you are? Because you don’t feel deserving of it? Is that why you can’t be vulnerable for a second?
I risked my life for you because I care about you. Deal with that.”

Yes, Lizzie cares for him. What does this means? What are her feelings for Tom?

You know, all people don’t experience love (I mean love between a man and a woman) in the same way. There are so many different kinds of people out there, who experience very different aspects of “love”.

Some, experience love as a sunny day, with a calm breeze on face… a calm sea, that no harsh waves will disturb. And they are happy and content with this kind of love.

Others experience love as a huge turmoil, a constant battle of wills, a glorious tempest, that takes the breath away, and gives the heart a rapid rhythm… This tempest makes them feel alive, to the very core of their existence. They ride this tempest, feeling a mix of fear and exhilaration tangled up with tremendous happiness. And they want it in no other way.

Tom and Red represent those two aspects of love for Lizzie.

The way I see it, Lizzie loves Tom. He represents a love that is quiet, peaceful, and familiar to her. Yes, they had a very hard time when she knew that he was a secret spy, but the core of their relationship has never changed.

Tom has been her safe haven… A love that is like a calm sea. She may not have known Tom’s real name, but she knew him as a person, from the moment they met. The reason is quite simple:

They were both outcasts of life, lonely creatures, desperate to create a normal life, peace, a family. A normal family has been Lizzie’s dream, and subconsciously she and Tom recognized one another, because they are of the same kind: The “I want a normal, quiet life” kind. Tom is the sun.

Loving Red is an entirely different story. Lizzie is irrevocably drawn to Red because there is some darkness in her, too. She knows that, and has tried to deny her own inclination by joining the FBI as a profiler. That little dark side of her remained peacefully asleep until the time Red came into the picture. His domineering presence shocked Lizzie to the core, and woke up those latent aspects of her soul. Red draws her into his alluring darkness ~ utterly appealing and entirely terrifying at the same time. Like the butterfly is drawn to the fire, which charms her but may well be her death as well.

That is the reason Lizzie’s behavior towards Red is so contradictory. She is experiencing an inner battle, a turmoil, just like Red does.

She has conflicted emotions about him. She is fond of him, while at the same time despising him. She wants to hurt him even while she cares about him. She hates and loves him, at the same time.

Most important? She does not “know” him, unlike Tom. Not his name (she didn’t knew Tom’s either) but WHO is he as a person, his qualities and characteristics. She “recognized” him, the moment they met, just like when she met Tom, but the difference is that in Red’s case, she doesn’t know the reason why.

They are not of the same kind of person, as is the case with Tom. She does not know ANYTHING about him, except his name, his fascination with her, and some very basic qualities of him: He is capable of great tenderness to those he loves (herself and Dembe) and also of unbelievable cruelty to those that are a threat to him.

Red, even after all this time they have spend in such proximity, is still unknown to her. The glorious tempest, that takes her breath away, and gives her heart a rapid heartbeat. Mesmerizing, and deadly, at the same time.

Her feelings for him have changed so much since they met, but he has remained the same unknown man for her. This situation is unbearable for Lizzie, and leads to emotional turmoil.

In that context, let’s see the pregnancy, the marriage and the birth of Agnes through Lizzie’s eyes this time.

When Lizzie decides to enter Red’s world (end of S2) she makes love with Tom. Why? Because this is her own desperate way to hold on to that part of her life that represents peace, family and normality, to bridge the gap between the life she knew, and the unknown path she is about to take, in order to feel that something familiar awaits back there, before she makes the first irrovocable step into a dark world: Red’s world.

And… she got pregnant. Lizzie saw the baby as a chance for the normal life she always wanted. Tom is the devil she knows, so no surprises there. A happy familly. The sunshine. That’s the reason she wants to marry Tom. He is security, warmth, family. The one who can protect her from Red’s influence, and in a way to protect her from own self.

So, what’s with the contradiction of asking Red twice to come to her wedding, the moment she ought to try like hell to avoid him? One might expect her even to hide the fact that she is getting married, since she is doing this partially to get away from his grip!

Just before the wedding, when she saw him standing there, her voice was full of hope “Are you here for the wedding?” and her eyes are moist… A silent plea of hers to him to be there, to stand by her, against his own plea to abort the wedding.

A battle of wills, once more.

When Red understands that he will not change her mind, he breaks silently into pieces, and leaves. When Lizzie understands that he will not change his mind, she sends him away, agitated.

BOTH had tearful faces. A lose-lose situation.

“I am attempting to build a life with the father of my child. A normal life with two parents who love one another. With everything you know about me, can’t you see that? Can’t you see how important that is to me? To my child?”

Yes, she does love Tom, her sunshine and safety, but she also loves Red, her tempest and turmoil. She had hoped she can have both, an erroneous assumption. A turmoil excludes the sunshine, and vice versa.

At this moment both know this is the end. There is no room for both of them in Lizzie’s life, and that hurts her very much (when Harold arrives she is awfully pale and in tears) but above all in her mind is the safety of her child.

The moment she cradles Agnes, her maternal instinct prevails totally. The safety of her child prevails over everything. There is nothing else. That is the reason she verbally kicks Red out of the birth suite. That is the reason she is furious. Red’s darkness, even though appealing to her, is a mortal danger to her daughter. No one can put her child in danger. Not even Red.

Let me say that again.The safety of her child is above everything. Above her life and wishes. Above Red’s needs and desires. So I suspect after watching 3.18, that she accepts Mr Kaplan’s plan to “disappear” her, Tom and the infant from Red’s life, once and for all, using her faked death, is because in Red’s world there could be no safety for her daughter.

So, this will be the end. For good.

At such definitive moments as this, those involved speak out of the most fundamental truths, mostly because these are life-threatening situations, and it’s almost certain that there will not be another chance. At the ultimate moment of your life, there is no room for deceit and lies. Only truths from the heart.

When Red thought he was about to die, when no one was there to listen, he calls out “Lizzie.”
No matter who he is, Lizzie is the woman he loves, his life and his heart (as he said in 3.19).

For Lizzie, this is the moment. The moment she “dies” to Red, the moment she determines she will not see him or speak to him ever again (at least this is what she thinks, at that time).

So, Lizzie’s reaction to that fact is the most important. Too many times she has sent him away, too many times she has called him a monster or thought him “the bane of her existence.”
Remember, only seconds before, she kicked him out like a dog; she addressed him almost with hate.

Accordingly, the expected behavior when she learned of the “dying plan” was to sigh with relief, and forget Raymond completely. He had already gone, with no intention of approaching her, at least until after his walk. Raymond was at the door, ready to leave. If Lizzie wanted it, Raymond could come back after a while, and she would be “dead” already.

I stress the above, because I want to emphasize that at this critical moment, she has a free choice. To let him leave, or call him back.

She chooses the second.

“[ Liz beckons to Red. Red enters ]
Liz: I’m sorry I kicked you out. It wasn’t fair after all you’ve done for me.”
“Red: I’ve done nothing for you, Lizzy.
Liz: I’m scared for my little girl.”

I adored that line. Really, as far as I am concerned is almost as important as the “I love you” part that followed.

This line is Lizzie’s explanation to Red regarding the reason she made her decision to be gone from his life forever. This is also an apology to Red for going on without him, for choosing a life with Tom, for leaving him behind, alone.

What she really is saying to him is “Forgive me, please. I need to leave you alone, because I am scared for her life. I am scared for my little girl.”

She feels the need to offer an explanation and an apology despite the fact that Red will never know that Lizzie left him by choice, because he will never know she is alive – if everything goes as planned.

That is the reason Lizzie’s need is so important. Because she does that to sooth, not only Red’s pain, but her own’s heart pain, for leaving him. She is desperate. She doesn’t want to leave him, but she must, because there is someone else that matters most.

“Red: It’s the children whom the world almost breaks who grow up to save it.
Liz: I don’t want that for her.
Red: I wasn’t talking about her. I was talking about you, Elizabeth.
Liz: Oh, Raymond. I do love…”

Oh, her ultimate line… Do I have to comment? It is so damn clear!
Lizzie realizes that she is going to sleep, there is no time, no time for anything else, except her deepest thought, her deepest truth regarding the man that holds her hand.

The use of his first name for the very first time, is not without meaning.

“Red” is just a nickname for a notorious faceless criminal. Using it up until now has served the purpose of helping her keep an emotional distance from him.

She is a person, aka Lizzie. He is nothing but a nickname for one more criminal. Red, not a person, is just once more statistic for the FBI.

So, no sentimental complications there. Using “Red” (or “Reddington”) when addressing him, is one of the (many) protective shields she has put into her heart, trying to keep him at a distance. It has worked just fine, but now, there will be no other time for her to speak to him.

So, she decides to break all her heart’s protective shields, and let him have a one and only glance inside her heart and feelings. Lizzie adresses not faceless “Red” but “Raymond.” The Man, with all his faults and darkness, yet with his good qualities and smoothness and appeal.

She tries to say that she loves him. She almost does, cruel writers! But that’s okay, we know that she wanted to say “You” so all is well, and poor Lizzington heart bursts out of joy! [Note: Daniel Cerone, the episode writer, affirmed this. – LB]

I don’t think Red realized that Lizzie was referring to him. I have the feeling that he thought that Lizzie wasn’t really aware of what she was saying because she was sedated.

Raymond cannot believe that Lizzie could love him, because he thinks he is unworthy of love.

S2 EP14
“Liz: [ To Red ] You. You’re talking about you. Wow. You are so damaged. You can’t accept help from anyone. Has anyone ever helped you? Is that why you are the way you are? Because you don’t feel deserving of it? Is that why you can’t be vulnerable for a second? “

Remember?

The idea he has, that he is unworthy of love will be magnified in S4 I think, because I watched Ep 3.23 a while ago and his haunted glance when he realised what Lizzie did:

“Had it really come to that? ??” (to run away, to escape from me? Why? Have I hurt her that much? Tormented her so badly that she staged her own death?) These are Raymond’s inner thoughts.

He was sorrowful, moist-eyed, devastated. Deeply hurt.

Watching this scene, I am certain that their relationship will change in S4. Lizzie gave Raymond a very strong blow to his heart that will affect him and their relationship, deeply. That is pretty obvious.

I think that Red will be the one to withdraw from Lizzie now, putting a emotional distance between them.

I am perfectly ok with that. As I said above, taking answers are not the most important thing in the series. The evolution of their relationship is. It’s complexity, it’s variety. Their relationship has evolved since the Pilot, and it will continue to evolve, up to the final conclusion.

Lizzie had come a long way regarding her feelings towards Red… from his being ‘the bane of her existence,’ continued to “I care about you” and culminating in “Oh Raymond, I do love..(you)” but I have to leave you.

The same goes for Red. What started as a very carefully executed plan, continiued as a huge turmoil which affected both of them. A change of mind, a change of wishes and desires, and a change of hearts as time goes by. What was a mentor/ protegé game at the beginning, now affects his feelings also, feelings that he had no intention to have, when he started this charade.

When did Lizzie start to gain his attention also as a woman (apart from being a ward, protegé) exactly? I think that even Red himself doesn’t know the answer. It happens gradually, because as I said above, their relationship changes forms all the time. It evolves. It is multiform, multidimensional.

Also, I saw some posts on the internet regarding Lizzie being a (possible) vengeance seeker towards Red, when she learns that he is an imposter in S5 finale. I just finished S3, so I don’t know exactly what will happen, but I want to comment on the subject, just a little.

I find Lizzie’s possible frantic reaction very consistent with all I have said, in this very long analysis of mine, regarding their relationship and personal features. Lizzie is a narcissist and a seclusive person, with a certain dark side, that remained asleep for too long ~ up until the arrival of Red’s overbearing presence.

As the series has progressed, Red has been a guardian, a friend, an adversary, a subconscious desire. As a narcissist, Lizzie not only wants, but needs to have control upon Red, just as he has almost total control upon her. She has a compelling need to gain her a sense of domination over him, to balance the situation.

Liz: [ Inhales sharply ] Reddington is. The bane of my existence. And yet, here he is, trying to reconnect with his daughter? Trying to find her? And I find myself feeling possessive.…
Samar: Mm.
Liz: … Possessive of him, jealous of the girl he’s trying to protect. And if that’s not embarrassing enough, that’s exactly how he predicted I’d feel.

Lizzie’s reaction to the mere possibility of sharing (not losing ~ just sharing) Red’s affection, love and full attention, speaks volumes about her feelings, and her compelling need to have control over him.

In addition to all the above, she has not known ANYTHING about him, except his name and his fascination with her. Those two elements that she knows about Raymond are the only consistency she has had in their relationship.

Up until then, she didn’t knew who he was to her, but at least she knew he was Red. Now, suddenly, this is a lie.

Suddenly, even that one basic pillar of their relationship falls to the ground.. Unfortunately, it is a certainty that the second pillar of their relationship will also rock, violently (best case scenario).

For this reason Lizzie probably will think that if this is not Red, then his love for her isn’t real either. This man swept into her life without being asked, and made her accept him, care about him, and love him. So, Red had and has continued to have almost total control over her, but she just lost her own sense of domination about him, and the situation between those two now is as unbalanced as it can be.

 
What lies before her is the ultimate treason.

Lizzie is hurt, deeply heart by Red treachery, and when hurt, seclusive narcissists with dark sides can be extremely dangerous, as Tom’s “three months of torture” experience taught us.

God help Red. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’ll tries to kill him, slowly and painfully. I hope he has a good explanation, if he has the opportunity to explain at all, that is.

If Lizzie hunts him down, she’ll do it because she is devastated. Due to her love for him. The more you love someone, the more you hate him, when you think he has betrayed you. The more you’re hurt, the more you want to make him hurt deeper.

S1 EP7
“Red: I’m sorry you’re upset with me.
Liz: That would imply I care enough to be angry.”

Remember?

Lizzie (even in S3,) is no longer the naive young woman who Red first met. She has become more and more like her mother… A clever, talented, very capable agent, determined to win this war. Using all her weapons, legal or illegal, whenever she needs to use them! More and more Lizzie, has become an equal to Red, in cruelty, determination, devotion. Whoever betrays must die. That is Red’s motto, and Lizzie’s time to implement it has come.

I have the feeling, that in S6, Red and Lizzie will stand one opposite to another, as equals. Enemies, but equals in any case. Equals in the ability to lie, to deceive, to hurt, in the determination to win over one another. And maybe, during that lethal battle between them, they will come to understand they are equals to one more thing: Love.

If that happens, if they stand opposite one another in S6, I am happy. This is a good sign. I’ll say again that their relationship is just like Meggie and Ralph in Thorn Birds. Ralph and Meggie were fond of each other, yet despise one another, hate one another, hurt each other, love each other ~ to their death.

After all, “Circumstances are far more complex than we ever imagined.
I’m betting on the long play. The future.”

Tom was her first love, but Raymond will be her last one. The Long Play.

And I think that we are entitled one passionate kiss after six seasons, for God’s sake!

Ok, I am almost done!

 

⭕ Just a few thoughts about Katarina and Red

Here’s what I get regarding Katarina’s and Red’s relathionship, watching ep 3.19.

When Red met Katarina, he was about 18-22 years old, (given the fact that he knew Katarina before she meets her husband and gave birth to Lizzie [due to his line “As much as it pains me to say it, he was probably… the only man she ever really loved. ”] and the Red/Liz age difference of 23 years) and Katarina was about 35 years old when she died of drowning. (in 3.19 Katarina’s ghost – her image in Red’s mind – is of a woman 35-36 years old.

Thus, Katarina was 13 or so years older than Red. I think that Red was a young agent in the office of Russian affairs when he met Katarina Rostova, and he was infatuated with her. Maybe she was his first love? I don’t believe they had a sexual affair. Red admired her abilities very much. She was very beautiful, he tried to win her over, but she was in love with Lizzie’s father, so they remained friends, and when Katarina needed his help she asked for it.

Their scene in 3.19, when Red holds her in front of the fire place, is not a scene between two past lovers. She was detached (clearly no sexual attraction by her side) and Red was like a lost young man who seeked comfort and warmth beside her. There was no sexual tension between them, although they were in each other’s arms.

The same absence of sexual attraction is apparent when she is bathing. Red is there to protect her. Not once does he try to peek at her. If they were lovers in the past, I don’t think that Red would have a problem looking at her during their conversation, even if she is bathing. No. The scene is like some gallant young knight who protects the mistress of the castle, not his own lover. I think Red had an infatuation with her, but most of all, admired her deeply. When she refused to reciprocate his feelings and married Liz’s father, he may have been hurt, but his admiration prevailed in the end, and he became a loyal friend to her.

There is something else we learn in 3.19. That he met Lizzie once more, after the fire. He chose to save her, and not Katarina, when she was drowning. Given the fact that her death happens some time after the fire, (and Katarina’s fear that men are there to kill her, so she must die to save her daughter, who was in Sam’s care that time), Red chose to leave Katarina to commit suicide, in order to prevent Lizzie from getting hurt.

“Red: It was a Hobson’s choice. There was a woman and her child. Both were doomed. Both would die. I could either save one or lose both. I chose the child.
Woman: You had no choice. It was me or Masha.
Red: I’m sorry.
Woman: Raymond, you did save me. Through her. It was the only way. You chose well.”

I think that means that Red saved Lizzie’s life, twice. Once in the fire, and once when he chose to save her, and left to Katarina drown.

I also believe that Katarina’s death is his greater guilt and remorse. This is his bond to Katarina, not some love affair. That is why he sees her after Lizzie’s death. It’s his sin. He let her die, so he deprived Lizzie of her mother. That’s the reason he feels that he owes Lizzie so much. That is the reason he has protected her and provided for her from the very beginning. He feels he ought to, because he left Katarina to die.

Remember what he said to Liz.

S2.Ep16
“Red: Pull strings, call in favors to discreetly smooth the path. And for the first few years, it may work. You’ll draw some measure of virtue from being her invisible benefactor. … But that won’t last. It’s all a fraud. That it’s really not about her at all. That it’s all about you. And you’re just going through the motions to salve your own guilt. Look, all the money, all the time and effort, all the favors in the world cannot possibly equal what you took away from her. Everything else is just a nice gesture.”

He was referring to himself. He deprived her… not of her father (as I thought back then), but of her mother. Also, that is the reason he could not kill Tom, when Tom forbids him to be part of Agne’s life. Red said, in effect, “it would be a mortal sin, so I let Tom live.”

He commited that sin once, when he let Katarina die, and Lizzie became an orphan. To do that once more to Lizzie’s daughter would be a mortal, unforgivable sin. [Note: Interestingly, Daniel Knauf who wrote “Cape May” tweeted he took the view that Red had been educated by Jesuits. – LB]

Red’s friendship with Katarina provides a plausible explanation for him knowing Lizzie’s grandfather Dom, and of Dom’s words to Reddington:

S3, Ep20
“Dom: No, not just like me. She’s gone because of choices you made for both of them. First Katarina and then Masha. As far as I’m concerned, you killed my entire family! No, you’re not like me.”
Dom: There was nothing complicated about it. We had to back out of Masha’s life to keep her safe, after you made a colossal mess of everything. Only you couldn’t stay well enough away, could you? Now you… you come to my house with this sorry tale of loss, like you’re the only one affected by this. You’re the only one whose feelings matter. Well, guess what, Raymond? Masha was my granddaughter, and now she’s dead without even knowing I existed! (Sighs) All my sacrifices shot to hell. I could’ve spent the last 30 years just being her grandfather… You selfish prick.
Red: She had your temper.
Dom: I loved that girl enough to let her go, which is more than you can say”

This implies that, yes, Red left Katarina die in order to save Lizzie – and now Lizzie is dead. It also can explain that Red was Lizzie’s secret benefactor out of guilt for letting her mother die, only that he couldn’t let her go. Dom wanted to be reunited with her. And now she is dead too. That’s why he is furious with Red.

Regarding the fire, given the fact that the doctor said to Lizzie that someone tampered with her memories (later Red admits that he did this) I believe that Lizzie’s memories of the fire are incorrect.

Yes, I think she did shoot her father, but I think that her father was trying to catch her, while he was on fire, mortally wounded (so Lizzie got her burn); or that after the gunshot she was encircled by fire and could’t escape on her own (so she got the burn) and Red burst into the fire to pull her away, fell down and hugged her to protect her, and that’s how he got his hideous burn in his back.

Then he tampered with Lizzie’s memory so she would forget she had shot her dad (she has recall that) and that someone fought with the flames to get her out. Instead, Liz “remembers” simply being led out of the house, untouched by the fire, or a burning man trying to save her. I believe that Red got his hideous burn when he saved Liz from the fire, but she doesn’t recall that, not yet. If that’s the case, Red is truly my hero.

 
 
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