From The Blacklist
Gif: NBC (Twitter)

The Blacklist, a TV show on NBC, aired its season 7 finale on Friday night. Due to COVID-19, the final episode wasn’t finished and the production team had to use animation to complete the final episode. The results are both impressive and silly. The episode looks like a forgotten PS2 game.

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After only four days of shooting The Blacklist finale, production was halted because of the pandemic. This was a problem as it meant the story was left incomplete for the current season. So a creative solution was found: Animate all the scenes that they weren’t able to film normally. The end result is something that is strange to watch.

The whole thing looks almost like some never released PS2 game starring James Spader.

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Animation isn’t cheap, easy, or fast. So the show’s production team turned to a non-traditional animation studio to finish the episode. Proof normally does pre-visualization work, planning out movies or TV shows using CG animation. This stuff is important work and helps directors and producers put together large films or episodes, but rarely is this animation meant to be seen by audiences.

However, for The Blacklist this would be different. Proof had five weeks to complete 20 minutes of animation. According to an interview on Indiewire, normally Proof will work for months on a single scene. So this was a rushed job. And while I find their work impressive, when mixed with real-life actors it becomes incredibly jarring to watch.

This wasn’t an ideal situation and what was produced is something that will probably be mocked and I get it. It looks rough. Like a weird cutscene from a mid-2000s arcade game. But considering the alternative was to just sit around for months and not release anything, I guess I get the decision to create an animated finale.

Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for Gamecritics, USgamer, Killscreen and Entertainment Fuse.

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