Monday, April 29, 2019

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - Bobby Puts in the Work to Start Over in Los Angeles But Struggles Accepting Grace in 'Bobby Begins Again'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 2.16 "Bobby Begins Again"

After his devastating family tragedy in Minnesota, Bobby Nash moves to Los Angeles to start over, where he becomes Captain of the 118, and meets Athena Grant for the first time.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of FOX's 9-1-1.

"Bobby Begins Again" was written by Christopher Monfette and directed by Jennifer Lynch

This season carefully crafted origin story episodes for three of its main characters. In these episodes, the narrative essentially handed everything over to one particular character in order to further flesh out their backstory and show how they came to work at the firehouse. It was very effective and surprising when it came to Hen's episode. Chimney's hour came with the fear that he was potentially dying. And now, Bobby has his history explored a little bit more. Of course, this may be the least effective of the origin story episodes simply because so much of his past in Minnesota is information the audience has already known. The show really shouldn't have spent time revisiting that trauma and the role Bobby played in it. In fact, it revises history a little bit by saying that his wife didn't die in the apartment building fire like his children did. Instead, she survived long enough to briefly regain consciousness in the hospital. She still ultimately dies. But the show wants to articulate once more that all of this is tragic and Bobby has tremendous guilt about it. And yet, those are emotions that were already adequately explored through the first season. That means this entire hour runs the risk of simply being too repetitive. Sure, it tells a compelling story about the evolution of this firehouse. When Chimney and Hen first started working here, it was in disarray. They were led by a captain who didn't have much care or consideration for the newcomers to his crew. After he left, it meant the captain vacancy was filled by a bunch of people who would quickly move on to new opportunities. There is the overwhelming sense that Bobby will play out the exact same way. Instead, he learns how to navigate the new city and the new emergencies he has to respond to. In fact, it's a little cheeky how the show seems to explain that all of the ridiculous emergencies that have been seen through two seasons now are unique to Los Angeles. It's not something that Bobby has dealt with before or knows immediately how to respond to. When it comes to buildings on fire or cars in major accidents, he leads with confidence. He does so knowing that he needs to atone for the lives he has taken. But again, it doesn't matter what console his priest or sponsor gives to him because the audience already understands the trajectory of this thinking. It leads to him relapsing and breaking down before sharing the truth about his past with the crew. Right now, it's just suppose to be inspirational that he starts the tradition of family meals. He wants the crew to feel connected in that way. It allows him to feel excited and passionate about the job once more. But again, the entire story is laced with the irony that all of this hard work doesn't last because he doesn't have the right mindset yet. The present-day storyline is only briefly featured here as well. It comes with the news that Bobby will be suspended as captain until an investigation over how he got hired is complete. The crew sees the tragedy in Minnesota as a part of the past. It doesn't need to be revisited now. And yet, the top brass understand that it was a glaring omission that should have played a role in their decision to hire him as a captain. It creates a vacancy in the firehouse. This hour plays around with the idea that Bobby was needed in order to bring everyone together in a fair and loving way. In that sense, it is beneficial to know everything we now know about Bobby as a leader. He has come such a long way. For it to all be taken away because of his past is tragic. But it also ensures that everyone has something to fight for during the conclusion of the season.