Monday, March 23, 2015

The Blacklist Support Group Poll - Is Red Lizzy's Daddy?

We're three-quarters of the way through season 2, but are we any closer to knowing what the relationship is between Red and Liz? I think a poll is in order to see where we currently stand. If your primary theory is not listed, enter it under the other option.


Cedric C. said...

A possible solution to the Red/Liz puzzle is that Red IS her father--he had to disappear to protect her--which deprived her of her father--even when her mother 'died', he failed to come back. He did the Darth Vader killed' Anakin Skywalker thing. He was hoping that with him 'dead' they would not figure out she had the Fulcrum, and he would protect her from afar to keep it and her safe. The reason he turned himself in was 1. To take out the threats to him and people who have screwed him; and 2. To try to get to know his daughter without her knowing who he is, because his guilt is eating at him.

Admin note: this comment was redirected here by Chompstick

Tabasko said...

Is that a coincidence that is says "" at the bottom? Haha.

Chompstick said...

Haha! I didn't catch that. It's just the name of the polling company I've always used. Subliminal, maybe?

fangirl said...

This is just my opinion, of course, but I think "the" definitive answer to the question, "Is Red the biological father of Liz?" can be found in Bokencamp's original pilot script.

Some of the fans (I'm sorry I don't remember who, specifically) found a copy of that script online last year, or the year before.

In that script (in the scene where Red is in the PO, and Liz arrives to chat with him for the first time) is a bit of direction for Red's delivery of a line of dialogue. That direction -- and keep in mind that it was written by Bokencamp, the show's creator -- makes it clear, beyond any shadow of doubt, that Red is not Liz's biological father.

According to press surrounding that pilot script, James Spader refused to follow the direction in the script regarding the delivery of that line. Spader's delivery was nuanced and ambiguous, and is a big part of the reason there's been so much conflicting opinion of Red's relationship to Liz.

The fact remains that -- as originally written by the show's creator -- Red is not Liz's biological father.

In light of the apparently snowballing ret-conning that's been going on (see "retroactive continuity" at Wikipedia), it's entirely possible that Bokencamp has decided to turn Red into Liz's biological father.

But, fwiw, and due to the fact that I object to the ret-conning, I'm going to stick with my since-day-one opinion and write-in vote for this poll:

Red is an unrelated criminal who killed Liz's biological father and saved Liz from the fire.

Tabasko said...

Chompstick #3: Subliminal, it is! Ha!

Chompstick said...

Fangirl said: The fact remains that -- as originally written by the show's creator -- Red is not Liz's biological father.

I've read the original script dozens of times and refer to it frequently enough that readers probably skip right over my comments now, but I'm not clear on what you're talking about. Are you referring to the sexual overtones? I wasn't aware that it was ever addressed by Spader or Bokenkamp since the script was not largely publicized or circulated. It would be like bring attention to an issue that only 1% of the viewers were aware of anyway.

From the unused pilot script, p.18

RED - "Oh, I think you’re very special." He says it in an weirdly erotic way. Liz flicks a glance at the agents behind the glass. Her discomfort betrays her.

...Red’s lewd smile ...

I don't remember if there are other parts.

Unused Pilot Script PDF

This link can also be found on BSG's Reference and Online Links Page where you can find a lot of links to, um, reference and online articles, interviews, social media, Wikipedia, etc.

Since this was pulled from the script sometime before production began (as was the golden retriever, I feel compelled to mention ;p ) Red may have been written to be Liz's father many months before filming began.

Why do you see this as definitive?

Chompstick said...

I am not challenging or discrediting your interpretation, fangirl, and I hope I don't appear disrespectful. I would genuinely like to gain insight from your viewpoint.

fangirl said...

Dearie, you don't appear disrespectful at all, but thanks for caring. And thanks for finding the link to the pilot script!

Definitely "weirdly erotic" and "lewd" in the script rule out -- in my opinion, anyway -- any possibility -- to repeat, any possibility -- that, as originally written, Red is Liz's father.

Maybe I used the word "definitively" incorrectly? I mean incontrovertibly, demonstratably, etc.

Basically, there's just no way that a TV series on one of the "big three" networks in the U.S. in this time period (or any other time period that I would want to imagine) would feature a hero who knowingly, willfully, and blatantly lusts after his own daughter.

From the original pilot script, we know that Red was written to express knowing, willful, and blatant lust toward Liz. Therefore, Liz cannot be his daughter.

Ipso facto, cogit, ergo sum, et cetera :) (I don't really know if my argument is a valid example of ipso facto, but it sounds good :)

Chompstick said...

"Other" votes so far:

1. Unrelated Man (not criminal) that Saved Liz From Fire

2. Unrelated criminal who killed Liz's biological father AND saved Liz from the fir

Harry said...

Chompstick/Fangirl #4-8: I think the source of that "he's not her daddy" premise comes not from the original script, but from a purported photograph of the writers' (original) storyboards that supposedly had a note card referencing a date that " Red and his partner" killed Liz's father.

First of all, I won't believe it until I see it. I have no idea who first reported this, and have never seen the alleged evidence. It couid very well be a hoax. After all, you can't believe everything you read on the internet.

Second, no matter what thei creators' original intent may have been, they've probably retreated from it and decided to keep the question open and unresolved. They tease us one way, than the other. There's enough "evidence" to support or rebut any of the various theories. Since they've shown no hesitation in re-writing the past history by inserting ex post facto, backdated "reveals" [i think "retconning" is the term used], they can always come up with some twist to (yet to) explain away inconsistencies.

Third, I'm convinced they've already significantly altered the originally conceived backstory. Alive-and-well Naomi/Carla and MIA Jennifer is just one example in my view.

I wish they had the confidence to give us a definitive answer about Red 's relationship to Liz, and then develop the story from there. Stringing it out, and going back and forth with clues and hints one way, then the other, is going to get old real soon if if hadn't already.
Surely, there must be more stories they could tell after answering this lingering question.

Finally, they have not even touched on Liz's mom. (Isn't Liz the slightest bit curious about that?) Whether Red's denial that he's her father was meant literally or figuratively, and whether she believes her father definitely died (acc to Red) or is alive (acc to T-m), knowing something about who actually gave birth to her would be the logical first step in discovering who impregnated that woman thirty years ago. I wonder why she is not at all inquisitive about her mommy, especially after Red has been giving her the runaround about her father's identity. (Yeah right. It'll put her in. "grave danger" if she knew. What, was she Jon Snow's twin sister and a secret Targaryan too? Is there some big bad Blacklister out there who hated her father so much he'd kill any of his offspring ?)

Sorry. I'm rambling again. I'm just reluctant to cast a vote when I have little confidence that the showrunners have settled on an answer yet. But I'll take a shot anyway in a day or so.

Harry said...

Correction #10, para. 3: "try to", not "yet to".

Harry said...

And yes, there aren't enough pejoratives in the dictionary to describe the "romantic couple " notion. "Blech!" and "yuk!" come to mind, though they're not adjectives. (Are they "exclamations" meant to simulate wretching or gagging? I think there's a grammatical term for them. Forgot what it is...)

Harry said...

Re: #12: "Onomatopoeia" - the creation of words thst imitate natural sounds. (Examples: "hiss" and "buzz").

Harry said...

Chompstick: About the Poll - I've postulated that Bubble Girl was Red's little sister and Liz's mom, based in part on the antiquity of the Super8 film and reel-to-reel projector Red used to watch the home movie. That would plant me in the Uncle Camp, but wouldn't explain non-matching DNA -- unless his little sister -- or big brother Red -- was adopted.

Question: Does the Poll contemplate biological familial relationships only? Or does it include adoptive children and parents?

Chompstick said...

Harry, I just added Adoptive Father to the options.

Harry said...

Chompstick #15: This gets confusing. If Red's parents adopted Bubble Girl (Liz's mom?), would Red be Liz's uncle or adoptive uncle ? Not sure how that works. Similarly, if Red was adopted and Bubble Girl was his adoptive parents' biological daughter, would Red be Liz's uncle or adoptive uncle ?
Again, I'm probably grasping at straws here. I'm just trying to account for the absence of matching DNA between Red and Liz, along with Red's emotional reactions when he watches the Bubble Girl film.

Chompstick said...

How about you pick uncle and the post a comment with the parameters that you think apply, including if he's a biological or adoptive relative. Such as, "I chose Uncle because ..... but .... and only if ..." It's just for fun; we won't hold it over your head 3 years from now if you're wrong!

Tabasko said...

As far as the unused pilot script goes, there could be at least a couple of possibilities. First, of course, that fangirl is right and there is just no way Red is Liz's father. A second (and what I thought when I read the pilot script for the first time quite recently) is that it was just intentional subterfuge to keep viewers from thinking they knew the true nature of the relationship between Red and Liz early on.

One thing that always bothered me was that Red made out with Luli in front of Liz. I don't think a father or uncle would do that. But there is an awful lot of evidence in the "He's Her Daddy" camp, too.

There is no way I can think of that explains the lack of DNA testing in any case, dad or uncle or stranger or whatever.

I went with Harry's idea of uncle. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Tabasko said...

#10 Harry: I have wondered about why Liz's other has never come up! I remember talking about it on another page.

Sorry this is on the father page, but what does she dies when Liz was "young" mean? That could mean a lot of things.

Paragraph 5: Me, too. They could even stretch it out for awhile if we knew a little and Liz didn't yet. It's a story device that can work.

Paragraph 6: Haha! She is Jon Snow's sister. That would explain it. I think she was described as "some woman."

Harry said...

Chompstick #17: If we don't find out the answer until "three years from now", I'm not sure I'll care anymore. How many more cryptic conversations can they script before viewers get beyond impatient and get really fed up?

In the BL world, three people close to Red have advised him to tell Liz the truth (paraphrasing):

1. Sam: "She deserves to know the truth."
2. Naomi: "When are you going to tell her the truth?"
3. Dembe: "You tell her the truth by telling her everything."

The writers ought to apply the same words they've written for Sam, Naomi and Dembe to their own evasions and delays in telling US the "truth."

Harry said...

Re: The cropped off photo with the red arrow pointing to "Agent Keen's Father"? In the calculus book Red intercepted from Tom's courier and gave to Liz, didn't she find a cropped photograph of herself as a young girl with a smiling Sam to her left, and to her right, red arrow with the words "Agent Keen's Father" pointing to where a msn's image had been cut from the photograph ?

Chompstick said...

Yes, we need more info on that pic. Earlier tonight I was trying to figure out what episode that photograph was from. I need it for the Unexplained Objects/plots page which I'm almost done

Tabasko said...

I think that photo was in Berlin, the first part? There were two photos, maybe.

It does appear to be cropped and points to the cut off person.

Tom must have taken it from Liz and either knew or was guessing it was Liz's biological dad?

Harry said...

Tabasko 23: I also gleaned from "smiling Sam" in the photograph that the cropped-off man (Agent Keen's Father") had to be a very close friend. People generally don't gather round and say cheese for a group photo with a sinister villain or archenemy.
Or maybe the cropped off photo is another Red herring or purposeful misdirection.

Laocoon said...

I suppose it's possible that the showrunners are pushing the misdirection to allow for multiple possible outcomes. (I'm thinking of the film, The French Lieutenant's Woman with Meryl Streep where there were two endings.)

Depending on how long the show runs and what the zeitgeist of the time is, the ambiguity could allow for an ending that is shocking but acceptable in the time.

I really don't know any more. I think either she is the daughter of his enemy or Red is her mother.

Chompstick said...

Laocoon, are you joking or are you really on the mother bandwagon??

Tabasko said...

He's her father's brothers nephew's cousin's former roommate.

I stole that from "Spaceballs," but still funny

Laocoon said...

Chomps - I can see the mother idea. When Red went missing for four years, anything could have happened. What better disguise? "Everything about me is a lie."

It's less likely that the show will go there in the big reveal, though, as a large popular audience wouldn't be comfortable with it, even in several years' time.

What vexes me more is, what is so special about Liz? Since the early 1990s, so much has changed and power is more spread out. Ergo I don't know why revealing her parentage at any time would be such a huge driver for the story. Oh sorry, trying to tie it to the real world.

Chompstick said...

Laocoon, I'm certainly open to the idea but it seems incredibly unlikely given your point about the broad viewership finding the concept unacceptable.

I'm glad to hear that not-a-bot is behaving more kindly toward you.

I'm thankful that my auto-correct has stopped subbing raccoon for your name!

Richard said...

I am just checking in and saw the poll results. Seriously, over half think Red is the Dad. Wow, I am obviously out of step. He tells us he's not the Dad and the show runners have said they've answered that question. So, to me it's likely he's not, particularly after the last ep ending monologue.

But, I've always been open to any possibility on that issue

Chompstick said...

Richard, maybe some of the 'Red is Liz's Dad' votes are wishful thinking. I chose Dad for several reasons:

1. I have no idea who he is, but I currently would like him to be her dad. That will probably change 7 times or so.

2. It's meaningless to me if anyone working on the show says Red's not her dad. I trust nothing from the showrunners.

3. There have been a number of scenes recently that portray Red with paternal feelings toward Liz.

4. When Red told Liz he's not her father, he could have been using semantics to justify to himself that he wasn't lying. In the telephone scene when she asks him, he said no after a long, jaw clenching pause. He might have thought, "I've been such a terrible parent that I can't possibly be worthy of being called Liz's father." Or, "I gave up my rights to be her father when I gave her to Sam".That type of thing.

Is this grasping at straws? Yes. Do I have any solid evidence? No, but neither does any other option.

What answer did you choose, Richard?

Tabasko said...

Chompstick #27: I definitely want Red to be Liz's father. In fact, I was kind of sad with that ending speech in "Tom Keen" as I felt he was saying he isn't.

At the moment, I don't think he is her father, but I still want him to be. Pretty straightforward, haha. I've changes my mind a good 6 or 7 times, so who knows?

Red had also said her real father died in the fire, so being more descriptive than a no. I think even when they were on the phone in the scene you're referring to, he said that. Certainly could be allegorical, however.

Richard said...

I chose Other. Basically a man who was there on some time of official business and saw some bad things happening which he may or may not have caused.

For a long time I wanted Red to be the Dad. But to me it's increasingly not likely. And at this point it's not as interesting of a story as it used be.

So, I'm currently Dad agnostic--LOL

Chompstick said...

Richard/Dad Agnostic - lol

Your theory on Red and Liz's relationship is feasible. Are you thinking Red was in his Navy "grooming for Admiral" stage? And then he saved Liz from the fire, gave her to Sam because something happened to her parents.

I was solidly in the not-her-dad camp up until the second half of this season. It seemed too obvious. But now it seems Red is becoming more paternal toward Liz.

Richard said...

I am thinking the fire with Liz and/or the bloody mess with Red's family at Christmas resulted in Red leaving the Navy. But am concerned that the writers may make something up with a better explanation.

One reason I say this is that Liz didn't kill the harbourmaster and Red's monologue seemed to be some type of comparison. But who knows?

Also, something caused Red to go from the Navy to what he is today. Something traumatic I think.

Harry said...

Laocoon #28, para 3, re: revealing her parentage. I was being half facetious in my Post #10 (6th para, last 4 lines) when I was comparing her to Jon Snow , ie, a secret Targaryan. His parentage was kept secret from him because new King Robert, who conquered the Targaryan dynasty, wanted to kill all remaining Targaryans; Tywin Lannister had the Crown Prince 's wife and two children murdered to suck up to the new king. So maybe there really is some Big Bad Blacklister out there who hated Liz's father so much that he'd kill any offspring.

The other possibility - which I've posited before -- parallels the plot and big reveal of the movie "The Zero Effect." I don't want to give away the details if you haven't seen it. It is one of my favorite movies.

Harry said...

Hey, why did my post get duplicated #36 + 37) and call me "Anonymous" in the second one? That's weird.

Chompstick said...

I do not know. The BSG Blacklister likes to stalk you, apparently! I removed the anon one.

Harry said...

I haven't voted yet, because I'm wary that the showrunners themselves don't know what the answer's going to be. I'm worried that two years from now they'll have an episode with a flashback scene of the Stewmaker breaking into the FBI's DNA testing lab and switching out Liz's or Red's blood samples and DNA profiles.

Having said that, I'm leaning towards "Uncle" (Bubble Girl = Liz's mom = Red 's natural or adoptive sister) because:

1. Right now it's the only thing that fits the timeline. I've detailed in prior posts how the Super8 film and reel to reel projector Red was using dates the Bubble Girl home movie to somewhere between 1975 and 1985.* (I'll use 1975 for the sake of argument.) She looks to be about 8-10 years old in the home movie. The film looks washed out and faded.
(a) Assuming Liz was born in 1985 (she said she's now 30), and Bubble Girl was born between 1965 and 1967, she would've been 18-20 in 1985: the appropriate age to give birth to Liz.
(b) Based on the BSG Blacklist Timeline (Red's DOB = Feb., 1960), Red would've been 5-7 years old in 1965-1967 when Bubble Girl was born. So maybe as her big brother - if their parents died young -- Bubbke Girl was part of the family he "raised" in the house he blew up.
(c) Suffice it to say there is no way Bubble Girl couid be Liz, even if the home movie was filmed in 1985, ten years later than I've speculated.
(d) The absence of a DNA match could be explained if Bubble Girl was adopted as a baby, or if Red was adopted and Bubble Girl was their parents' biological child. (It's not that uncommon.)
(e) Red got very emotional -- wistful, happy and sad -- watching that film. It could not have been from watching a movie of someone else's kid.
(f) Even if the home movie was filmed in 1985 - ten years later than I've speculated, Red would've been 15-17 when Bubble Girl was born. (Assuming she was 8-10 years old in 1985.) Sure, it's possible he'd be old enough to impregnate someone when he was 14-16, but it's unlikely he'd be a teen father and still go off to attend the Naval Academy.
(g). Unless Liz's mom shows up alive and well in an upcoming episode, I'm guessing that she died in 1989 or 1990 when she was about 25 and Liz was 5, and Red blames himself for her death. (Under the Dr. Orchard role reversal/memory scrambling scenario, the father could've been the evil home invader looking to retrieve "Masha", and the mother who had tried to secrete her.)

* According to what I've read, Super8 became obsolete in 1985 ith the introduction of Betamax, and VHS a year later.

2. I'm also swayed because I have a little sister and I can imagine how I'd feel if something happened to her because of my stupidity, selfishness or carelessness. I'd feel guilty as hell and torment myself. I'd also lavish her daughter/my niece with all of the affection and material comforts I couid. I'd probably dread telling her when she was old enough to understand that I was the idiot who was responsible for her mother's death.

To be continued/concluded in later post due to technical difficulties.

fangirl said...

Tabasko said..."what I thought when I read the pilot script for the first time quite recently) is that it was just intentional subterfuge to keep viewers from thinking they knew the true nature of the relationship between Red and Liz early on."

Hey that's interesting, and certainly could be a possibility. Laoccon mentioned a canary trap -- that's exactly what the known pilot script could be.

hmmm ... ok so the situation isn't as clear-cut as I thought it was. Interesting!

Harry said...

If the showrunners burst my bubble, and Bubble Girl (Liz's mom?) shows up alive and well in a few weeks, my nominees for actresses to play her include:

1. Linda Fiorentino: So good in "The Last Seduction", "Men in Black", "Dogma", and "Where the Money Is" [a little-seen movie co-starring Paul Newman]. Linda F is 55 now, and looks strikingly like she could be Megan Boone's mother.

2. Debra Winger: "An Officer and a Gentleman", "Terns of Enderment", "Urban Cowboy." I rest my case.

3. Kim Richards - if she's sober and can undo some of that horrific plastic surgery that makes her unrecognizable as JS's wrong-side-of-the-tracks love interest in "Tuff Turf" (1985). She'd need a wig. They can recycle Liz's Season 1 atrocity.

4. Mili Avital - May be a bit young at 43 to play 30-year old Liz's mom, but she's my sentimental choice from her co-starring role with JS in "Stargate" (1994).

Anyone else have any nominees?

Laocoon said...

Harry - that's very interesting. Since we don't know anything about Red's parents, is it possible that they were in the spy business also? That would explain why Red was brought in so young. While one could say that any student at USNA is "being groomed for Admiral," the emphasis implies that there was something special about him. I suppose it's possible that Red was dragged into this game because of what his family was doing, and that he wasn't just a genius prodigy of some sort. I commented a while ago that it seemed in a way that Fitch treated Red like a son-in-law in some ways (a mild, snarky sort of love/hate thing).

Tabasko said...

Why I Believe Red Could Be Liz's Uncle:

1. All of the timelines and explanations for events from Harry #39 fit.

2. If something was indeed up with Liz's father (Russian spy/criminal/general jerk) and Red had a close relationship with his sister, Red could easily have been like a second or substitute father to Liz, hence all of the paternal feelings that have been demonstrated in the show.

Liz's real father could have been absentee or even not around due to being unable to find Liz. It seems from the fire night conversation that at the least Liz was taken away from the other person at some point.

3. It would explain the scenes Liz had with Naomi. Naomi and Red were married and I don't think Naomi is Liz's mother at all. She did not seem to be happy to see Liz, but definitely knew who she was. I think she would have had to know her a little in order to strike whatever "bargain" she made with Red about keeping things a secret. So she knew her as a niece.

Naomi seemed to even have some animosity towards Liz, which I think could be explained by some jealousy and anger that Liz's situation caused the eventual breakup of her own family.

Lastly, in my scenario, I will give a shout-out to the people who want Ressler to be be related to Red and say that Ressler is Red's actual son, thus the matching blood types, haha. This is why he and Liz have more of a brother-sister vibe or cousin vibe, at least to me. Sorry to the Keenslers, but when Ressler says things like, "What is he, your boyfriend??" it reminds me more of sibling or cousin ribbing. They wouldn't know this themselves, of course, yet.

Honestly, I think the blood type thing was more of a device to have Red save Ressler's life very dramatically and give him more of a bond to the task force, but that would be fun if they were related.

Harry said...

I still haven't voted yet. I'm trying to come up with a logical solution that doesn't involve The Stewmaker going back in time in Doc Brown's DeLorean.

I haven't been able to conclude my Comment #39. I will. Part of me is paranoid that as soon as I arrive at a decision, the showrunners will do something to undermine it.

I'm still trying to make sense out of Red 's statement to Liz in the pilot: "If anyone can give me a second chance, it's you." I wonder how that fits into their history.

Tabasko said...

Harry #44 para. 3: Red gave Liz a second chance at life by saving her from the fire. Maybe she is the only one who can do the same for him.

It could be both literally if The Alliance would truly kill him for the Fulcrum/Bazinga and in a figurative sense as in the Hideous Fish story.

Tabasko said...

Reasons I Think I Am Wrong and Red is Liz's Father

!. I want him to be.

2. He is extremely paternal in his interactions with her and it is hard to ignore.

3. If Liz isn't his daughter, why isn't Red worried more about Jennifer who would likely be his actual daughter, or even mention her?

4. He knows too much about Liz (for example, the music box.)

Barb J said...


Harry said...

I belatedly vote "Uncle", with strong reservations. It's the only option that makes sense -- fort now (remisdd on Bubble Girl = Red's natural or adoptive little sister = Liz/Masha's mom = house fire casualty). Once an alive -and-kicking mom shows up, my theory goes out the window.

If Red = Transgendered Mom, I go out the window too. That'd be worse than Space Agent UD-4561= Liz's daddy.

Anonymous said...

Hi most excellent Blacklist fans. New here tonight and this site is excellent. Just wanted to say I LOVE the theory that Red is her biological mother. A week ago I despised this theory because I was so ensconced in the he's her daddy camp. Either way, I just can't imagine any other reveal being satisfying with that level of emotional investment in James Spader portrayal. Either way, the only theory that I can believe is that the Real Red died that night, and Liz's real, biological mother, or father, assumed his identity over the next four years, through plastic surgery and DNA tampering, and then resurfaced.