“Animal Instincts” is an episode focused on growth as Christopher tries to assert his independence, Buck is approached about a major opportunity, and Hen revisits becoming a doctor.


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“Animal Instincts” is an episode focused on growth as Christopher tries to assert his independence, Buck is approached about a major opportunity, and Hen revisits becoming a doctor.

Aired (FOX) 10/10/2022
Director(s) Michael Medico
Writer(s) Stacey R. Rose
Introduced This Episode
Connor Colin McCalla
Kameron Chelsea Kane
Stephen Uncredited
Claribelle Keslee Blalock
Lourdes Uncredited
Professor Patrice Kingston Angela K. Thomas

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Recap

They All Gotta Grow Up Sometime – Christopher, Eddie, Ramon

Christopher entering his teen years means, while he still loves his dad, he doesn’t have the desire to be up under him and have his father be his best friend. Christopher wants to hang out with friends his own age, quit things like science club, and begin crafting his identity. Eddie, naturally, wants to hold onto that sweet kid he raised, but as his father reminds him, the more you try to control your kid, the more pushback and rebellion you’ll get. And while Ramon knows part of Eddie’s parenting comes from what he, Ramon, did and did not do, he has to take an individualized path with Christopher.

So, taking note of what his father and others have said, while Christopher still gets punished for lying to Eddie, as he pursues his independence, it seems Eddie is prepping for his son to come of age.

Me, A Father? – Buck, Connor, Hen, Kameron

Connor (Colin McCalla) and Kameron (Chelesa Kane) asking Buck to be their sperm donor
“Connor (Colin McCalla) and Kameron (Chelesa Kane) asking Buck to be their sperm donor,” 9-1-1, “Animal Instincts,” directed by Michael Medico, 2022, (FOX)

Buck is approached by his old roommate, Connor, to be a sperm donor for him and his wife Kameron. The idea is quite intense for Buck since it would be a major decision for him. So he checks in with Hen, who is going through her own thing, and over some drinks, Hen questions if Buck could donate sperm and essentially walk away? For while he will be uncle Buck to another child, this time it would be different.

Add in Connor just reappeared in Buck’s life after a notable absence, and there is no communication about what role Buck could play, beyond the assumption of playing uncle, as he does for Christopher? Strangely, that doesn’t complicate Buck’s decision to donate his sperm.

Trying To Not Let The Past Dictate The Future – Maddie, Stephen, Claribelle, Lourdes, Hen, Professor Kingston, Bobby, Buck

With Bobby’s return from Florida comes an immediate apology about Hen bombing her test due to allowing her to become captain, knowing she overwhelmed herself trying to take on two full-time tasks alongside everything else she has going on. But, Hen is fine or at least says she is. Still, with the amount of work she has been doing and with failing her exam, Bobby coerces Hen to take time off, and being idle doesn’t work for her. She cleans and then asks herself what is next?

Professor Patrice Kingston (Angela K. Thomas) listening to Hen's impassioned speech
“Professor Patrice Kingston (Angela K. Thomas) listening to Hen’s impassioned speech,” 9-1-1, “Animal Instincts,” directed by Michael Medico, 2022, (FOX)

This makes Buck coming over asking for advice a godsend, even if he came by unannounced. For that gives a distraction. But while drinking and talking to Buck, Bobby calls asking for advice on what dosage a dog should get, so it doesn’t overdose, and Hen doing the math in her head, while drunk, is impressive. Thus leading to a renewed push to see with her professor what, if anything, could be done, and the professor decides to give Hen a chance to prove her bombing of the test was a fluke. As opposed to repeating the year, which is something Hen and seemingly the professor, are trying to avoid.

Thus leaving us with perhaps the most notable call Maddie has gotten in a long time. A little girl, Clairabelle, daughter of an undocumented immigrant, calls 9-1-1 due to her father, Stephen, an abuser, trying to snatch her up, as she is leverage used to control Claribelle’s mother, Lourdes. Maddie working with Clairabelleis triggering, but she works through it, and together, Clairabelledoesn’t end up kidnapped by her father. Also, later that day, Maddie visits Clairabelleand her mom and provides Lourdes with assistance to become a US citizen.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Was it ethical for Maddie to use what she knew to visit someone who called into 9-1-1?
  2. Is Lucy coming back anytime soon?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Hen going back on the doctor track, and maybe that setting up a spin-off
  2. Buck and Eddie grow closer as Buck expects to have a child, and he has second thoughts as he sees a very pregnant Kameron. If not Buck questioning if this might be his only chance at having a child considering his dating history.

Review

Highlights

Hen Back To Becoming A Doctor

Hen’s an intellectual. Doing accurate calculations while drunk, and multiple people trusting you and thinking you are right? Granted, the procedure was to revive a dog, not a human, so the stakes were lower, but still. That is beyond a honed talent there.

But, there still is the need to question what’s the long-term plan here? Hen eventually has to do a residency, so will she quit being part of Bobby’s team, do it part-time, or what? “9-1-1” does have a spin-off with “9-1-1: Lone Star,” but will it give one to Hen so she can fully pursue her dreams, or just talk about her occasionally, have Hen show up on occasion, and let the actress pursue other ventures?

Buck’s Next Chapter

Buck is relationship-oriented at this point in his life, but being a father hasn’t really been part of the conversation. So even if this isn’t his kid, you can see how just knowing a kid with his DNA is running around is going to present a major shift. Right now, Buck is still boyish in a way, with a constant need for reassurance when it comes to his decisions. But as his mind shifts to what it would mean to be a father, especially considering his relationship with his parents, we may get a Buck who is faking it till he makes it, at first, but may truly become the man everyone at the 118 has been molding Buck to be.

Eddie Having To Let Go

Having a child who is different is a challenge. But what makes things more difficult for Eddie is that Christopher, while able-bodied in a different way, isn’t dependent on him. Christopher can think critically, make his own decisions, and take care of himself, thanks to Eddie. But, at the same time, Eddie is so used to the caretaker/ advocate role that he has to adjust to the idea of no longer being needed, emergency phone calls, and things like that.

In our mind, that is going to create some guilt and also free time for Eddie. Guilt in the form of wishing he had done more, especially as Christopher deals with obstacles Eddie could have prepped him for earlier. Yet, also the kind of free time where Eddie may find himself dating again, or at least tempted to since, with therapy, Christopher hanging out with his friends, and early onset empty nest syndrome coming about, Eddie has to do something.

Maddie and Claribelle

Generally, we skip over 9-1-1 calls because they are forgettable. However, Claribelle’s call had us emotional. Assumingly not because of Maddie, as her being a survivor is the core of her character. But something else, be it the child actor’s performance or there being a rare intense moment in which you don’t know what may happen, snagged us. For after the Athena episodes, there was the need to question if we could have gotten another multi-episode situation. An episode to show us that, while calling 9-1-1 is the first thing you should do, it doesn’t always mean you will be saved.

Which could have led to Maddie, with Noah, dealing with the few times operators fail and how to process the weight of that. Especially when the person is a child and their story familiar. But, even without going down that dark road, “9-1-1” gives us the rare call which seems less of a time filler and a reminder of the importance of the 9-1-1 operator in coordinating a response for the best result.

[ninja_tables id=”46830″]

Hen asking Buck if he is ready to be a sperm donor
9-1-1: Season 6/ Episode 4 “Animal Instincts” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
“9-1-1” presents its strongest episode, focused on series regulars, in ages as it moves Buck, Hen, and Eddie’s storylines forward and somehow taps into Maddie’s past without you feeling like it is trying to milk her tragedies for all they are worth.
Highlights
Maddie and Claribelle
Eddie Having To Let Go
Buck’s Next Chapter
Hen Back To Becoming A Doctor
Disputable
80

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