In its 3rd season, “9-1-1” presents minor improvements, but due to being a procedural, which leads to some inconsistency, it often feels like more of the same.
|Creator(s)||Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Tim Minear|
|Aired||9/23/2019 – 5/11/2020|
|Genre(s)||Action, Drama, Thriller, Procedural|
|Maddie||Jennifer Love Hewitt|
|Flashback Athena||Pepi Sonuga|
|John “Red” Delacroix||Jack McGee|
|Albert||John Harlan Kim|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Season Plot Synopsis
Season 3 can be summed up in characters wanting to press forward despite what happened in the past. Be it Athena and Bobby having a flourishing relationship, despite how both of their past marriages ended, or Maddie and Chim FINALLY becoming official and shaking off their past relationship trauma. Everyone is venturing towards what’s next, what’s better, and trying to shed the baggage that held them back. Heck, even Buck, with Abby’s appearance at the end of the season, gets to relieve himself from the “What If?” that has perhaps kept him from getting back in the dating game.
Karen’s Pregnancy Storyline – 88
The struggle to get pregnant can’t be understated. From finding the right person to go on the journey with, conceiving, and then the baby developing and making it to term? Each step can be frustrating and bring both the parents and their community to tears. Karen, Hen’s wife, exudes all the emotional stages in dealing with the process from IVF, IUI, and the struggle of dealing with a rush of hormones. Never mind, considering her and Hen’s past troubles, it makes some of the friction between them intensified! Mind you, not to the point of divorce, but it does push you to understand that, while many accidentally get pregnant and it is what it is, for those who actively seek children, the process might be the closest to inflicting pain on oneself as they have ever come. All in hopes their body is able and ready to bring a tiny human into the world.
Athena’s Backstory In Episode 7 – 82
Most characters on “9-1-1” have a “Begin” episode. Last season we got Hen’s momentous re-introduction, and this season has Athena’s. One that dives into her fiancé before Michael and, admittedly, isn’t on the level Hen’s was, but that’s partly due to another actress taking over. However, Sonuga, as Athena, is no slouch and further pushes the idea that Hen and Athena are the true stars of the show and everyone else their supporting act.
Hen and Athena’s Relationship – 86
When it comes to characters on this show, I wouldn’t say most of them are friends. Co-workers who care for each other and rely on each other, yes. However, the only two who present the kind of friendship that is enviable and makes their scenes together must-see moments, it remains Hen and Athena. For each season, since the first, their interactions have continuously been a highlight and not just due to seeing Black women love and support one another. Generally speaking, we’re not fond of procedurals since they are made for people to jump in whenever. But, one thing we do appreciate about “9-1-1” is the consistency of this relationship and its strength, adding yet another reason why Angela Bassett and Aisha Hinds need to have a movie together.
Josh’s Emergence – 83
When it comes to Josh, and the 911 operators in general, we haven’t taken note of them for rarely does anything happen to them or do they do something worth noting. However, in exploring Josh trying to date, be assaulted, and that evolving into a storyline of kidnapping, Josh got to emerge from Maddie’s shadow. And I’d say, through exploring the fears and anxiety a gay man deals with, and the real possibility of being taken advantage of, Safi was given a real platform to be more than Maddie’s gay best friend. Josh, for the first time, showed his character is not only an individual but can be seen as a real person.
Maddie’s Therapy – 81
Therapy and counseling is a challenging thing to experience for many people. From admitting you need it, finding someone, the cost, and sticking to a plan or schedule, it is a real commitment. Hence why we probably don’t see too many shows dealing with first responders dive into that relationship. Considering their comfort partly is in being needed, being strong for others, allowing oneself to be weak, honest, and open must be hard.
So while you can see many either suppress or use their partners for cheap therapy, you have to applaud Maddie for doing the time. Mind you, she was pushed into doing so, as is the usual case for people on shows like this, but any exposure to people going to therapy is a positive thing.
We Got A Few Multi-Episode Cases – 80
Note: most of the multi-episode 911 calls didn’t necessarily pop either due to iffy writing or having to compete with what was done in past seasons. However, from the tsunami episode to Athena finally having a case that required more than one episode to deal with, there was a welcome shift. Hopefully, while honoring the fact this is a procedural show, it will also take note its following is good enough to not have everything wrapped up, with a lace bow, everything that happens. Much less, have Athena do more than show up, say a few lines, arrest someone, and leave.
Humanizing Shannon – 83.5
To be honest, Shannon was an afterthought. Though her death was sudden, being that she didn’t connect with anyone besides Eddie, and her son Chris, her loss was tragic to them but almost felt like cutting the fat in retrospect. Yet, one thing remembered about her is how much she was villainized for leaving and how that was used to prop Eddie up as he was shoved down our throats in season 2. So revisiting her story, and reminding us how Eddie formerly was a better provider than father, it humanized her a bit. Granted, will we think about her in season 4 much? No. However, it was nice to add some details to her story and take Eddie down a few notches from this pedestal he has been on.
Abby Closure – 83.4
With Connie Britton not extending her time on the show, it sort of left Buck in an odd place. Yes, he has dated since her, but you got this vibe he was looking for bits and pieces of Abby in each one. Thus leaving Buck’s personal life, of which there ain’t much to, on pause. So even if it was a one to two-episode stint, which basically notes Abby moved on and so should Buck, it is a welcome goodbye and a hard push for Buck to move on and forward.
Quality Guest Stars & Stories – 85
We’ve increasingly pulled back noting guest stars for procedurals since sometimes it isn’t the easiest to identify who is who. However, between Tara’s storyline, Evelyn’s death, and especially John “Red” Delacroix, it would be a disservice not to bring up these people and their stories. Be it Tara’s and the abuse, Evelyn’s death and its effect on Hen, or Red, who probably was the first character, in a long time, to make me cry on this show. Not just due to him being the ghost of Christmas future for Buck, but because he wasn’t a quick 911 call than thrown out the door.
I’d say, even in comparison to the others named, Red acted as a reminder that, if “9-1-1” wanted to, it could take us there and be a consistently emotional show. It just doesn’t.
On The Fence
Christopher – 75
Here is our issue, we appreciate Christopher’s role in presenting people with cerebral palsy and what it is like to raise a kid who deals with it. However, sometimes Christopher seems like a means to draw sympathy for Eddie more than be his own person. If not, like after Buck’s accident, be a reminder people have it so much worse, so you have no right to complain.
Recovery & Forgiveness On Steroids – 74
Speaking of Buck, his recovery and his lawsuit against the city and Bobby? Yeah, that blew over way too quickly considering how big of a deal that was. He got crushed by a fire truck, aired out so many people’s dirty laundry, and yet was mostly welcomed back.
Mind you, towards the end of the season, when he wanted to celebrate a notable save, no one really wanted to spend time with him. Also, while this could have just been a dropped storyline, at one point, Eddie and he were supposed to go out and maybe get back out there, yet that never happened. So whether or not the story aptly noted what Buck did is debatable.
Speaking of Eddie, after his “Begins” episode, is it wrong to not wonder if he suffers from PTSD? Should that be delved into, or is the point that not all veterans experience that? If not, similar to Bobby dealing with him causing a building to go up in flames, Eddie deals with his trauma by saving people to compensate for those he couldn’t?
New Characters Come And Quickly Go – 70
From Ana to Albert, alongside Lena, multiple characters were introduced and found themselves disappearing by the time the season was over. Mind you, of the three named, only Lena was part of the first half, but her exit made sense. Albert, Chim’s brother? Less so. Then when it came to Ana, her placement seemed perfect for Eddie possibly moving on after Shannon’s death but, that went nowhere. Leaving you to wonder if that might be a season 4 plot?
Eddie Still Feels Like An Outsider – 73
Speaking of Eddie, he still remains an outsider. Maybe it is because he isn’t part of the original crew, and there remains this vibe he is being forced upon us vs. naturally moving back and forth from center stage to the back? Heck, maybe the issue is he comes off like Buck 2.0, if he wasn’t as immature as when we met him? Either way, while we don’t hate Eddie, something about the character still feels like someone who should be seen as much as, let’s say Athena’s kids, is around way too much.
Michael’s Cancer – 71
When we spoke of Eddie, we said he felt like an outsider. Well, when it comes to Michael, he comes off like a character who should have died for a moment of drama. Which is cruel to say, since when a character dies, an actor loses a consistent check. It’s just, what is there left to do with this character? He isn’t a first responder, we barely see Athena’s kids and with her now married to Bobby, Michael’s role has been greatly diminished. Add in he seemingly has the kind of cancer that he doesn’t want operated on, and it seemed like the perfect season to toss him.
Now, granted, we like a lot of the scenes he and Bobby, and also Michael and Hen, had together. But now there is just the question of, is the idea here to give him a happy ending with a new boyfriend before he kicks rocks?
Rating: Positive (Watch This)
Do we have some qualms with “9-1-1?” Yes. However, it is only because we sometimes take this show too seriously and forget that shows like this aren’t built where you can’t jump in the middle of the show and feel like you didn’t miss much. Thus leaving people like us a bit disappointed since, to not alienate new viewers, they don’t go as deep as they could and give long time viewers a real treat.
But, even with that issue, we’re saying you should watch this – even if you haven’t watched since the beginning.
Season 4 of Fox’s 9-1-1
Has Another Season Been Confirmed?
Yes, but with the coronavirus shutting down productions, who knows if enough episode may get made for a fall premiere as usual.
What We Expect/Hope From The Next Season?
I really want them to revisit Bobby talking about having kids. For with both of his children dying young, either I’d like for him to hone in on Harry, or Hen’s kids, or talk about wanting his own. Especially after Michael blew up on him about what happened to his family either this season or last season.
In terms of Buck and Eddie, considering in season 1 or 2 his feats made him famous, and Eddie joined in that, I’d like to see them date. Note, I get many ship them, but that isn’t going to happen – likely. And speaking of dating and kids, I’d like for us to dive a bit more into Karen and Hen’s day to day relationship like we do Athena and Bobby’s. Not to say I want Denny to have dramatic storylines like May used to have, when she was a more notable character, but I’d like to see their dynamic more.
Outside of them, there is Maddie and Chim and, plain and simple, I want to see Chim go through the anxiety and issues of becoming a father when his own biological father didn’t necessarily want him. Also, I’d love to see him bond with Albert more, and for something to come of that.
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