9-1-1: Season 3, Episode 8 “Malfunction” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Hen crying and Athena trying to console her.
60.1% (2)

As Karen struggles with getting pregnant, Hen finds her focus off, and this leads to deadly consequences. Also, Eddie’s fight career takes a turn.


Network
FOX
Director(s) Joaquin Sedillo
Writer(s) Tonya Kong
Air Date 11/11/2019
Introduced This Episode
Evelyn Annie Thurman

Recap

Trying To Regain Control: Eddie, Lena, Bobby

Eddie’s role as an underground fighter is leading to him finding himself gaining quite the reputation. One that is becoming not just stress relieving but also lucrative. However, in one fight, he takes things too far and is forced to call an ambulance. Something that, for underground fighting, is taboo and may mean the end of his career there.

But, what Eddie perhaps didn’t fully factor is how that may affect his day job as well. For with Lena’s crew showing up on the scene, Eddie gets reported to Bobby, who is understanding, but can’t necessarily allow one of his people to be doing harm and then calling 911 to fix what he caused.

The Trouble At Home: Karen, Athena, Denny, Hen

With Karen losing, sometimes, an egg a day, it has thrown her into the troughs of depression. Something that Hen is trying to be supportive of, but not to the standard Karen needs her to be. This causes yelling, including at Denny, and Hen sort of clamming up a bit. At least until Hen opens up to one person, and so begins the chain of passing along other people’s business until it hits Athena.

At that point, Athena uses her relationship with Hen to push her to open up, and this gives Hen some release. Not enough to prevent what comes next but in lieu of a psych doctor, it helps.

I Need You Fully Here: Hen, Athena, Bobby, Chim, Evelyn

Evelyn (Annie Thurman) on her phone, walking to her car.
Evelyn (Annie Thurman)

While driving a patient to the hospital, Hen hits a young woman named Evelyn’s car. Now, she had her siren on, and technically doesn’t seem entirely at fault since Evelyn was distracted. However, with Hen possibly killing the girl, naturally this is a big issue. The kind that leads Bobby, when he gets on the scene, to know he needs to call Athena for Chim has to work on the girl and thus can’t calm down Hen.

Someone who is already admitting guilt and doesn’t seem ready to answer questions at all. The kind of questions that could get her suspended, fired, or with everyone filming what is happening, liable for a lawsuit.

Review

Highlights

Karen’s Breakdown

For many women, the difficulty of having a child seems like a personal hell. One which their spouse can’t fully appreciate, or rather understand, for they aren’t the one who suffered a loss in the same way. Making Karen’s explanation, which has the spin of her talking to her wife, poignant in a way. For while they are both women, queer women of color at that, Karen pushes us to remember that pains such as that are difficult to share, experience, and to move past. And 9-1-1 honestly deserves some applause for keeping up with this story and showing Karen’s difficult journey.

Karen and Hen talking.

Hen and Athena’s Relationship

Honestly, they could build this entire show around Hen and Athena’s relationship, and sometimes I wish they did. As shown during their two conversations this episode, Angela Bassett and Aisha Hinds are at their best when they get to play off one another. I’d say their chemistry is so good that they need to work with one another outside of 9-1-1 to really challenge their chemistry and craft. Be it in a movie, another show, or maybe even on stage.

On The Fence

Eddie’s Breakdown

Eddie explaining why he has been so committed to his underground fighting career.

Despite Eddie being with us so long, and what he has gone through since his introduction, there remains this disconnect. He still feels like this character thrust onto us with the expectation of us, eventually, seeing him in the same vein as the original crew. Thing is, he doesn’t, and I don’t think ever will. His story seems way too geared for quick and easy sympathy between the death of his wife and his son’s condition. And while, like with Karen’s struggle, you have to appreciate seeing a working, and single, father take care of his son who has special needs, there is this lack of depth there that keeps Eddie from feeling like a person instead of a character.

 

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