Monday, September 30, 2019

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - Buck and Christopher Seek Refuge as a Tsunami Hits Los Angeles in 'Sink or Swim'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 3.02 "Sink or Swim"

A massive tsunami hits the Santa Monica Pier, placing Buck and Christopher's lives in danger.

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.

"Sink or Swim" was written by Juan Carlos Coto and directed by Bradley Buecker

Last season, the city of Los Angeles was struck with a massive earthquake that did an incredible amount of damage and put the first responders through the ringer. And now, the third season features the city being hit with a major tsunami. The city dealing with these major events back-to-back could seem a little ridiculous. And yet, there are plenty of cities around the world now that have to brace for more destructive weather patterns. That is the brutal reality of the world at the moment. These are the human stories of those affected by natural disasters. The first responders are there to try their best to help all of these people in their times of need. However, there are so many stories like Maddie trying to help the man break out of his attic to get to safety on his roof. He tries his best but the rising water is simply too overwhelming. The line goes dead and she has to move on to the next call to see if she can save a life there. She may get a semi-promotion here by triaging the call center employees to see how everyone is holding up with all of this tragedy. And yet, it is very overwhelming. Athena is dealing with the aftermath far away from the water at first. In her area of the city, it's simply a multi-car pileup. It's not the most urgent concern for the first responders. However, lives are at stake here as well. Plus, the water is rising. It's backing up from the sewer. Power lines are down throughout the city. There are so many potential consequences to weather events like this. Cities have to be prepared for so much. Here, Athena has to rely on her own connections in order to get assistance to the people who need it the most. Meanwhile, her daughter, May, is left trying to keep a woman alive. Earlier, she was complaining about how she didn't have a story to write about for her college applications. And now, she is responsible for a life. Her mother knows that she can handle the pressure. There is just more urgency once the flooding occurs while an electrical current is still flowing. At one point, May is devastated by the apparent loss. And yet, her efforts kept this woman alive long enough for help to arrive. That is a miracle. It's a joyous celebration in a dark hour. But again, the water is still rising. Multiple waves hit the coast and wipe out the pier. The audience is right there in the moment with Buck and Christopher. Those two characters and the relationship they have are emotionally grounded in this tragic situation. They need to save each other. Eddie can't deal with any more tragedy in his life. Buck also gets to be a hero again despite his recent health setbacks. Sure, that comes with the suspicion that any moment could knock him out of commission because he isn't as strong as he wants to be. He is constantly looking out for ways that he can help. He won't let people drift by when they need assistance. He and Christopher find salvation on top of a fire truck. But Buck dives back in over and over again to offer as much help as he can. It's just his one street in this mass tragedy though. The rest of the firehouse doesn't even know that Buck and Christopher are in harm's way. They believe they were off the pier once all of this happened. Buck and Christopher may be out on their own but there is the comfort knowing that help is on the way. The 118 is quick to act. But again, the response is just getting set up. People remain in precarious situations. The waves keep hitting as well. And then, the hour ends on the very ominous note of the water changing direction. Now, everyone is at risk of being pushed out to sea. That's when the show decides to have Christopher go missing again. That's such a highly intense cliffhanger. There is reason to be hopeful because Gavin McHugh is a series regular this season. But the devastation in Buck's voice as he calls out for Christopher is such a powerful moment full of distraught and terror.