The Blacklist's Aram Just Made A Big Decision, But What's Happening With Ressler?

Spoilers ahead for the third episode of The Blacklist Season 9, called “The SPK.”

The Blacklist is still settling into a new status quo without Megan Boone as Liz Keen and no chance of her turning up alive, and “The SPK” was a big one for both Aram and Ressler. Aram was facing making a decision about his future with the FBI vs. the lucrative private sector, while Ressler continued trying to move forward while struggling with his grief… and apparently going about recovery in the wrong way. 

There was good news and bad news with “The SPK,” so let’s get into what Aram decided and what the future might hold – or not hold – for Ressler with his new addiction. 

Aram Decided To Stay With The FBI

Despite Aram’s confidence early in the episode about an angel investor funding his security software (in a hilarious scene between Aram and his parents), working on the FBI case of the week instilled him with more and more doubts, and he has fallen right back into his role with the task force in a way that Ressler hasn’t been able to. In the middle of a drug test, he got the news that he and his business partner received the massive amount of money they needed for their company and was going to be a very rich man. 

But after being key to the task force stopping a church from being blown up, and saving a lot of lives, Aram wasn’t so sure about going private. He eventually decided to stay with the team, letting his partner buy him out, spending some money on his parents, and – in true Aram fashion – setting up a space camp scholarship. Aram gave up a lot for a job that isn’t always going to have a happy ending, as he experienced with Liz’s death not that long ago. 

The decision wasn’t altogether shocking, since Amir Arison didn’t seem likely to be leaving the show, but what happened for him to take such decisive action that he can’t come back from sets him up for what could be a pretty intriguing storyline moving forward in Season 9. And Aram is certainly doing better than Ressler. 

Ressler Is Addicted To Drugs

It was clear even before “The SPK” that Ressler wasn’t doing well following Liz’s death, and not just because of his grief beard. In this episode, it was revealed that Ressler is addicted to some kind of drug, likely prescription drugs. His drug use has escalated to the point that he was researching ways to beat a drug test that he had to take to get his badge back. 

And he did manage to beat the test by guzzling water beforehand and then putting eyedrops into his sample, but it was a “diluted” negative that meant it wasn’t entirely conclusive and he needs to retake it. Park is onto him, knowing the steps he’d taken to dilute his sample and calling him out. She didn’t tell Cooper that Ressler is using, but that doesn’t mean she’s letting him off the hook. Park said:

I didn’t [tell Cooper] because I think you need this job. You’re good at it, and it keeps you on the straight and narrow. I want you to have your badge back, but now I have the power to make sure that never happens, and I’ll use it unless you clean up.

Ressler certainly has the motivation to clean up now, but will he? Or can he? He wasn’t on his best behavior in “The SPK” even beyond the drug use, as he kept harping on Dembe and doubting his loyalties, even as Dembe proved himself time and time again. A lot may depend on whether Park will be somebody that Ressler could lean on. Even the best motivation might be hard for him to follow if he doesn’t have anybody he can talk to, especially since he’s still hurting.

See what happens next with new episodes of The Blacklist on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, ahead of Law & Order: SVU. The Blacklist is up against some stiff competition in its new time slot, so it’ll be worth keeping an eye on the ratings as Season 9 continues. For more TV options, check out our 2021 fall TV premiere schedule!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).