I was going to start doing week-by-week reviews of 9-1-1 with this episode, but it turns out that it’s the midseason finale. Never mind; it’s a good one. In fact, it’s been an excellent season so far. I was worried about how the loss of Unpopcult royalty Connie Britton might affect the show, but if anything it’s got better; it may be that the strong ensemble cast is getting a little more attention. The additions of Jennifer Love Hewitt as Buck’s sister Maddie, now a 911 operator, and Ryan Guzman as #hotdad firefighter Eddie, haven’t hurt either.
Anyway, as ever this episode is divided into Emergencies and Personal Stuff. Emergencies first, all loosely Christmas-themed. A neighbourhood rivalry about Christmas lights leads to a man being knocked off his own roof by a huge inflatable Santa, then put in an ambulance with a Christmas wreath on the back doors, which I’m guessing isn’t actually a thing. Brandon, who works in a despatch centre, is knocked into a packing box on a conveyor belt, then recovers consciousness to find himself shrinkwrapped and in the cargo hold of a Milwaukee-bound plane. Two waiters are arguing about their relationship when one has her nose sliced off by their restaurant’s Mistle-drone. And a marine is on his way home to surprise his daughter by turning up to her choir’s performance. The bus he’s on is hit by a truck, and he helps to keep one of the passengers alive until the first responders arrive, which means that he won’t make it to his daughter’s school in time. Except he will, of course, because he’s shoved into a fire truck and driven there at top speed. “Soldier reunion videos on YouTube always get me”, observes Buck. Me too, dude. Me too.
It’s all good, and there’s plenty happening on the personal side of the ledger as well. Athena suggests to Bobby that they might move in together, and he seems somewhat startled: is this the end for #Bathena? He gets a pep-talk from Athena’s husband, which I know is a Good Thing but which still feels a little weird. Eddie and his estranged wife Shannon are doing it every chance they get, but Eddie is reluctant to let Shannon back into Christopher’s life. Until, that is, Christopher asks Santa to find his mom for Christmas. There ain’t no way Eddie can resist that. And Chimney, playing the long game with just-not-ready-yet Maddie, is trying to raise her spirits. He buys a tree, which she doesn’t really want, then a DVD (?) of Die Hard, both times being assisted by mysterious stranger Jason Bailey (Brian Hallisay, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s IRL husband). I thought Bailey was going to be some sort of magical-spirit-of-Christmas, revealed to have been killed years before in a toy shop fire, or something. I was wrong.
I thought this one of the best episodes of the season, but 9-1-1 has been on generally excellent form recently. And, crucially, it’s largely a show about decent people doing their best. In these cynical times, we need a bit of that.