'The Blacklist' Season 9 Episode 7 Recap, 'Between Sleep & Awake'

The Blacklist Season 9 returns from the holiday break with episode 7, “Between Sleep & Awake.” Those closest to Liz Keen remember her on the two-year anniversary of her death. Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) recalls his experiences in a small town called Liberty Falls.

[Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers for The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 7.]

‘The Blacklist’ Season 9 Episode 7 flashes back to the aftermath of Liz Keen’s death

The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 7 begins with a flashback to the fateful night Liz was killed, but this time the events are seen through Ressler’s point of view. After Liz is shot, Ressler highjacks a car in pursuit of Red. Over the phone, Cooper (Harry Lennix) tells a distressed Ressler he’s in no condition to drive before Ressler crashes the car.

Still, in a flashback, Ressler wakes up in the hospital. After he is discharged, his doctor prescribes him oxycodone to manage the pain. Ressler initially tries to refuse the drugs, but his doctor insists that he use them for pain management. Later over the phone, Ressler gives Cooper his resignation.

Disheveled and again addicted to pain medication, Ressler travels to a small town called Liberty Falls. He rents a motel room from a woman named Lauren (Kimberli Flores) and meets her son Theodore (Dean Scott Vasquez). Ressler is shown crushing the oxycodone in his hotel room. Later he goes to a bar to drink and attempt to pick up more painkillers, but the shady characters at the bar end up beating and robbing him.

Ressler wakes up when Theodore finds him unconscious on the floor. Later Lauren scolds Ressler for letting her son see him like that. However, when Ressler tells her he was robbed, she advises him to try to get a job at a nearby mechanic shop. Ressler also sees a doctor, from whom he gets more pain medication.

Ressler helps a mother and son in a small town

While at the motel, a police car shows up and a cop steps out. Lauren and Theodore hide and Lauren asks Ressler to cover for them. Later, Lauren explains that the cop is her husband who physically abused her and even hit Theodore.

Theodore rides his bike to where Ressler is working as a mechanic. Eventually, the two bond over their shared losses when Theodore reveals his dad died. Theodore tells Ressler he still visits his dad at the place “between sleep and awake.”

Later Theodore invites Ressler to his birthday party. Though he initially refuses, Ressler shows up just in time to save Lauren from her husband who has returned. In the ensuing scuffle, the cop is shot and killed. The police show up and confirm Ressler’s actions were in self-defense, revealing to Lauren that Ressler is a former FBI agent.

Lauren suggests that she and Ressler could look for a fresh start together, but Ressler explains that it’s not something he can do and leaves town.

Ressler visits Liz’s grave for the first time

In the present day, Cooper invites Ressler to a celebration of Liz’s life on the two-year anniversary of her death. Ressler declines and asks for the day off. Cooper accepts and gives him a photo of him and Liz that Agnes wanted him to have.

Ressler visits the barber for a shave and haircut. He also stops by a flower store to pick up purple carnations. At Liz’s grave, Ressler fills her in on everything that has been happening with him and the task force. “Did I mention I fell apart? I hit rock bottom,” he says.

He tells Liz the story of Lauren and Theodore in Liberty Falls. He also tells her there are good people in the world, but he can’t connect with them yet. Before leaving Liz’s grave, he suggests that maybe they can meet sometime in the place between sleep and awake.

New episodes of The Blacklist premiere Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

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