Monday, November 26, 2018

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - The Holidays Prompt Some Huge Changes for Bobby and Athena in 'Merry Ex-Mas'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 2.10 "Merry Ex-Mas"

The holidays are naughty and nice for the first responders, who must deal with a stampede at a toy store, a mistletoe stunt gone awry and neighbors competing in a Christmas-light showdown. Bobby contemplates his future with Athena. Chimney and Buck attempt to lift Maddie's spirits. Eddie must decide if he wants to give his son what he really wants for Christmas - a visit with his mom.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of FOX's 9-1-1.

"Merry Ex-Mas" was written by Christopher Monfette and directed by Bradley Buecker

It was always inevitable that Maddie's abusive husband would show up at some point this season. That just seemed like the perfect melodramatic story that the show would be tempted to tell sooner rather than later. It has already covered a lot of emotional ground in that regard too whenever the narrative is focused on Maddie and her struggles. It runs the risk of defining too much of who she is as a character. And yet, it's still a big deal that should be treated as such. Of course, the show is probably a little too cute with how it decides to do this introduction. Chimney interacts with Doug as Jason Bailey, a potential guardian angel who always shows up at the right time to seemingly offer the perfect advice for how to respect his friendship with Maddie. There was always going to be a twist with that story. It seemed possible that the show was going for a more Christmas spirit angle that would make no grounded sense whatsoever. Instead, it shows the horror that lurks beyond the surface. Chimney doesn't know who this guy is or how dangerous he can be. It just means that Doug has found Maddie in Los Angeles and she is right to be afraid of what might happen. Plus, it's also notable that Doug is played by Brian Hallisay, who is Jennifer Love Hewitt's real-life husband and former Client List co-star. All of this is mostly setup for the future though. Elsewhere, Bobby decides to impulsively ask Athena to marry him. At first, he freaked out after she asked him to move in with her and her family. That would be a big step forward in their relationship. It's what the rest of their stories talk about throughout the remainder of the hour. And then, Bobby just decides to take it one step further with a proposal. Now, this has been a show in which many proposals have gone terribly and 911 needed to be call. This doesn't have the same outcome. It still leads to Athena saying yes. And yet, it wouldn't be too out of the question for the audience to be at least a little concerned about the two of them moving too quickly with this relationship. It wasn't that long ago that they were dealing with some heavy issues from their previous relationships. But it's still a cause for celebration here. That's the kind of energy that one wants around the holidays as well. It leads to everyone coming together at Athena's house to celebrate together. That's special too. Sure, there are notable absences from that dinner table. That's mostly to reflect on who else has important stories throughout this hour. Eddie is also faced with a decision on whether his wife should come back into Christopher's life. This family unit has gotten so complicated this season. It's been a little difficult to track why there are issues that cause these two to be upset with each other. It's always about them feeling like they aren't seen and heard while also running away to avoid dealing with their problems. That has gotten a little repetitive. So, it's a good thing that this family is back together by the end of this hour. Plus, it's just so sweet to watch the bond that Buck and Eddie have quickly developed. Plus, Christopher is a really cute child who deserves so much happiness at this moment in time. And finally, the emergency on the assembly line has to be one of the most outrageous things to happen on this show so far. It's so absolutely ridiculous and hilarious. The show still strives for more tonal consistency. That probably won't change any time soon. But this story at least had some heart and perspective to it. So did the family reunion that came from the firefighters being able to get a soldier to his daughter's recital on time.