The heartwarming exchange was captured in Season 4, Episode 18 of The Blacklist. In the scene, the otherwise taciturn Red told Dembe that he values him greatly as a person, not just a co-worker, before handing over the box. What's in the box?
The contents of the seemingly unpretentious box have long baffled 'The Blacklist' fans. So, what's in it?
Described as a parting gift, the box is supposed to mark the end of Red's professional relationship with Dembe. Having been through good and bad over the years — including the frenzy surrounding Dembe's supposed betrayal back in Season 7 of The Blacklist — the dreamy duo more or less agreed on an exit strategy quite a while ago.
The contents of the box remain the subject of fervent speculation, but most fans agree that its emergence is hardly the best sign.
"Let's be realistic ... Dembe must finally open the box. For several chapters, we have been wondering what might be in the box, and one day we will have to find the answer," tweeted @iran1R.
"The closer we get to The Blacklist episode, the more I wanna throw up! I can’t take the stress of not knowing if Dembe and Red's relationship is over and if he opened that stupid box," tweeted @PoisonGirl_616.
The enigmatic box has sparked numerous fan theories over the years.
The Pulp Fiction-esque construct gave way to many fan theories.
A Redditor named Bruce_Wayne8887 seems to believe that the box is relatively unsentimental, only containing the essentials allowing Dembe to thrive long after his collaboration with Red ends.
"Great catch. If I had to guess it would be a letter on what he meant to him and bank account details to support him for the rest of his life," Bruce_Wayne8887 wrote.
Another Redditor claimed that the box is more similar to its distant cousin depicted in The Shawshank Redemption. Echoing Bruce_Wayne8887's reasoning, patriotraitor wrote that it likely consists of a letter, a few directions setting Dembe on the right path, and money.
"Most likely a letter of thanks and love, with directions of where to go, and money set aside for him, also to perhaps wait for him one day ... Think The Shawshank Redemption."
A Redditor named popsiclemobiusstrip·argued that the occasion calls for a Robert Frost poem.
"My wish is that is something really meaningful for both of them, like a poem that talks about Dembe's salvation of Red (something like Robert Frost's, "The woods are lovely, dark and deep ..."). The reality is that it might be another island? I have no idea but I wondered the same thing as you when I watched him out the door this season," popsiclemobiusstrip wrote.
Is Dembe leaving 'The Blacklist'?
Dembe has threatened to leave before. But in Season 9, Episode 5, tensions reached fever pitch, with Red firmly telling Dembe to decide on which side he stands. In the very last scene of the episode, the conflict reaches an unprecedented height, with Dembe vindictively opening the box.
Is this really the end? Catch new episodes of The Blacklist every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST on NBC to find out.