9-1-1: Season 2, Episode 12 “Chimney Begins” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Howie going to greet a mother and baby he saved.

As Hen did earlier this season, Howard Han aka Chimney, gets his due by having an episode dedicated to his backstory.

As Hen did earlier this season, Howard Han aka Chimney, gets his due by having an episode dedicated to his backstory.

Director(s) Jennifer Lynch
Writer(s) Erica L. Anderson
Air Date 3/25/2019
Introduced This Episode
Kevin Lee James Chen
John Lee Kelvin Han Yee
Ann Lee Freda Foh Shen
Eli Mac Brandt

Finding Purpose: Kevin, John, Ann, Chimney

Chimney talking to Kevin about not making it yet.
Chimney: I’ve been hustling since I was 16

We jump back to 2005 back before Chimney was part of the 118 and was trying to be an entrepreneur. Needless to say, like Hen in sales, it wasn’t a match. However, unlike Hen, Chimney, Howard, wasn’t good at his job. Between child fitness centers and sleeved blankets, he wasn’t getting anywhere. Yet, while at Kevin’s karaoke bar a bartender causes a fire and with Chimney’s instincts kicking in, he feels like he found his calling.

Now, to back up a bit, Kevin is like a little brother to Chimney since his parents, John and Ann, took Howard in after his mom died. Something Chimney is grateful for since his dad, which financially supportive, isn’t really good for much else. Especially since he has a new son he dotes all his time and attention to. Thus making the love of John and Ann the closest thing to a mom and dad he has known. Though there is a notable difference.

How? Well, when Chimney talks about being a firefighter it is treated as a noble pursuit but when Kevin, their biological son goes for it? Totally different thing.

The Outsider: Gerrard, Chimney

Luckily for his adoptive parents though, Chimney doesn’t get much action starting off. Kevin does, but Chimney basically is coerced to clean since the same ass**** who discriminated against Hen is chief. However, while sexist he seems not to be racist. At least, there aren’t any comments from him and the team, beyond when one first meets Howard, while eating food from an Asian restaurant, and asking if someone forgot to pay.

Hand It Off: Eli, Chimney, Kevin

Eli (Mac Brandt) warning Chimney the pain won't just be physical in their line of work.
Eli (Mac Brandt): You’re gonna get hurt in this business.

But, after paying his dues a bit, Chimney gets his chance out on the road thanks to Eli, a paramedic. Someone who helps mold Chimney and try to push him away from a hero complex. Particularly because their lives are dangerous enough and, as often seen in superhero movies, heroes are as destructive as they are courageous. Plus, without powers or some form of Rambo like imperviousness, they die. Case in point: Kevin.

In the pursuit of saving a life, he loses his, and this weighs on Chimney since he inspired Kevin to become a firefighter. Leading to Eli teaching him the principle of handing it off. What he means by that is acknowledging you can’t do it all and have to just do your part and hand the situation off. For example, as a firefighter, Chimney’s job is to save the body and Eli’s would be to keep them alive until a doctor can see them. From there, the doctor focuses on getting that person as close to 100% as possible, and if they are losing them, they hand it off to karma, fate, or a higher power.

Basically, the idea here is that you can’t hold on or that’ll be the thing which kills you. For you are only human. Leaving us to wonder, as we end things with Chimney bleeding out thanks to Doug, will he be handed off all the way up to a higher power or miraculously survive once more?

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Have we ever seen or heard from Chimney’s little brother in the future?
  2. Is Athena connected to nearly everyone’s turning point moment or a catalyst for it?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

The things that can’t be treated with ointment and a splint are the things that’ll kill us. The guilt, the loss, the images, we can’t drink or sniff or screw them away.
— Eli


Chimney Got His Due

Chimney crying as Kevin falls through a roof.

With Chimney being an essential part in Bobby ending his suicide pact with himself, there has long been the question of who was he? What was Chimney’s story? Especially after he nearly died in season 1. Yet, he has been a supporting character who, arguably, began to fade towards the back, especially as Eddie came on board. Yet, with Hen getting pushed to the forefront, reminding you she is a badass, it seems Chimney got to follow suit.

Now, let me say, while it produced some teary-eyed moments, Chimney’s backstory wasn’t on the level of Hen’s. It wasn’t series premiere worthy. However, it gave us what we long needed and deserved. It explained why Chimney sometimes needed to feel like a hero, what began him lying to his ex, and why perhaps he is often single.

Part of it is, unfortunately, due to being an Asian man who isn’t rich. Also, while he does a noble thing, he isn’t thin, trim, and looks like an action star. However, it also is due to him dealing with compensating as a child I think. Taking note his mother died, his dad was passive, and he may have always felt like the loved, but still not biological, second child, there was probably a pursuit of finding something which is his. To be claimed without the sense of pity being involved.

I mean, it explains the hero complex, doesn’t it? Someone wanting him because of what he can offer and not his story. Perhaps helping to justify why it was so long before seeing his story. They wanted you to value Chimney not because of some sob story but because what he offers the team. Making it so, when you do get the missing pieces of his life’s mosaic, it hits harder since you didn’t really know. For while Chimney has hinted and occasionally noted he is from Seoul and his relationship with his family, it didn’t stick since out of sight out of mind.

But not the question is, will this mean Chimney gets equal footing with the rest or will he just drift to the back after Maddie’s situation with Doug is over?

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