9-1-1: Season 2/ Episode 3 “Help Is Not Coming” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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We come to the conclusion of the earthquake arc and are left wondering will everyone make it alive and in one piece?

Director(s) Bradley Buecker
Writer(s) Zachary Reiter, Tim Minear
Air Date 10/1/2018

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Trying To Survive: Athena, Michael, May, Harry

Michael trying to reassure his son that Athena is okay.
Michael: We’re gonna have faith that she’s okay.

Survival isn’t just about getting out of a bad situation, like a collapsing building. It’s also about surviving mentally and dealing with emotional trauma. Also finding food and water when electricity is out. Meaning opening a fridge may not be worth it and nothing is pumping water into your home. But, for places like a food store, after major events, survival is about not being looted. Which is the presented problem for one store but the truth is that they decided to price gorge water from about $15 a case to $100 – trying to make a profit.

This is illegal and upon Athena learning the truth, she gives the ultimatum of jail or giving things at half price. The man chooses half prince. Meanwhile, Michael is trying to keep May and Harry distracted. For while it is one thing to be the sister, or spouse, to a first responder, used to what has been going on for years, decades even, it’s different for a kid. Hence Harry flipping out when it seems to him Michael cares more about a bookcase than his mom. Yet, thankfully, through some volunteering, he finds something beyond worrying about his mom. He finds a way to help and be a hero like his mom. Particularly through helping a young man who might have been autistic.


May pointing out they need extra faith and hope after the day they've had and Athena isn't done with yet.
May: But today’s not like every other day, Dad.

It’s nice that the show covered all the bases in regards to the fear and anxiety that comes with having a loved one who is a first responder. I will say though, be it the acting and writing, something just didn’t feel like it packed the punch it should. Maybe it is because the pace and tone of this show is too much like an action movie that it doesn’t really allow emotions to wallow. You know, be anything than something to empower a person and push them forward.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just you get this vibe the show wants to be jam-packed with action yet get an emotional response too. It just stumbles a bit in balancing the two.

Making Our Way Out: Buck, Eddie, Hen, Kat, Bobby, Chimney

With engineers believing the building is going to collapse, an evacuation order is given. Making the fate of Buck, Eddie, and Hen seem in peril. Well, if you allow yourself to believe anything bad could actually happen. However, while none of the main cast die, Hen is unable to save a fellow first responder which does highlight that not everyone makes it. Even with them going in with the best intentions and doing what is called for as part of their duty. Yet, as with Athena’s children fearing the fate of their mom, the impact of the loss is pushed down for that energy has to be made into a driving force to get free.

Which, thanks to Chimney and Bobby using vehicles in the garage Hen is stuck in, as well as Eddie and Buck, as well as the entire first responders, Hen’s setting aside her emotions isn’t in vain. For alongside her getting free, so does Kat. Thus reuniting her with her family.


Hen calling her wife, delivering a final message.
Hen: It’s not looking too good for me right now.

In the first season, Athena notes how the weight of the uniform isn’t just the clothes to protect you, but also the emotions which weigh on you because of your decisions. If not your inability to sometimes make a bad situation better. Which leads to the oddness of how to feel about how emotion is expressed on this show. On one hand, as noted in the first topic, it is like the show doesn’t give enough room for feeling. Yet, on the other hand, what time is there to feel? What good is it for anyone, first responder or family, to wallow in a loss or anxiety when that won’t do anyone any good?

Said thought is what makes this show sometimes hard to judge. For you really do have to try to appreciate the fact everyone has to keep their emotions under control. Yes, considering how dramatic this show can be, sensationalized even, you may expect breakdowns which are expressive and over the top. However, in the time we see Harry do all that, Hen maybe over someone she can’t save, time is wasted. Not just time in terms of saving a life but also time the show doesn’t really have.

After all, there are 5+ first responders on this show. What time do they have to focus squarely on one member of the team and let us fully experience the highs and lows of the situation? This is an ensemble and even though Bobby and Athena may seem like the top dogs, it isn’t all about them. So it is partly our duty, as viewers, to feel what the characters can’t express. Be it anxiety over survival or feeling that rush to make it out alive.

Never Lost, Consistently Found: Buck, Maddie, Athena, Bobby, Michael, Christopher, Eddie

Outside of the first responder whose pelvis was crushed, and those who died in episode 2, everyone makes it out alive. Leading to many reunions filled with tears of joy. Be it Eddie and his son Christopher, who is just fine; Buck and Maddie, as well as Athena and her family. But, to top things off, and move the story forward, Bobby comes to visit his lady and Michael decides to push the clock ahead. Meaning, rather than wait around for Bobby to meet the kids, he pushes it to happen that night. After all, is Bobby would risk another aftershock to see Athena, and they have been together for months, it seems like it is time.


Eddie hugging Christopher.

Here is my thing, how do you follow up an earthquake? We’ve had a plane crash, a baby trapped in a sewer pipe, an earthquake, some final destination rollercoaster situation, and what can be next? That’s kind of the thing you have to worry about with a show like this. There is always going to be that need to escalate and find a storyline which takes things to the next level. The problem is, at what point do you just jump the shark?

Not to imply we are at that point yet, but it is something which has to be addressed. For as said with many new shows, especially those on network TV, there is the question of how will the writers keep you from building up a tolerance? Is a week enough, over approximately 16 episodes, to keep you from feeling the show still has that shock factor?


  1. Addressing how, as much as you may desire to get emotional and freak out, both the first responder and their loved ones can’t dwell on the worse case scenario. If they do, neither may find themselves able to live life without being disabled by fear.

On The Fence

  1. With an earthquake kicking the season off, where to from here?

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