Monday, November 11, 2019

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - A Tragic Accident Destroys Hen and May Do More Damage to the 118 Team in 'Malfunction'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 3.08 "Malfunction"

Emergencies include a skating mishap at an ice show, an accident involving a self-driving car and a fulfillment warehouse robot going rogue. Meanwhile, Eddie's after-hours fight club gets out-of-control and Hen struggles in her relationship with Karen.

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.

"Malfunction" was written by Tonya Kong and directed by Joaquín Sedillo

How many of the characters are mentally fit to deal with the demands of the job right now? That is an extreme and pointed question. The season so far has spent a lot of time focusing on the physical injuries that Buck has. He had to overcome those issues and continue to prove his worth to the fire department. He had a willingness to serve but sometimes that isn't enough to do well in this profession. These first responders may be prone to turnover simply because of how emotionally draining the job can actually be. They have to give so much to the world around them. It can be exhausting especially when they are dealing with their own concerns. There is the hope that they can set aside all of their personal baggage in order to save lives in the field. However, that is easy to say in theory and much harder to do in practice. The mental stability of the characters is influx at the moment. Maddie is forced to see a therapist because of her recent stalking behavior. She doesn't want to view it as a big deal even though she tells Buck what's going on after realizing the 118 tells each other everything. Meanwhile, Athena has been suspended for solving her fiancé's murder case. It may be unreasonable to some because she was the one who did all of the work to finally bring justice to the family. But she went against the rules that are in place for a reason. There had to be consequences for that. That may simply make her emotionally available for some of the other characters who are in full blown crises this week. It's important that Athena arrives at the scene of Hen's accident just as quickly as the rest of the 118 does. She has to be there to protect Hen when she is emotionally devastated over what has happened. That is such a harrowing wallop the show delivers as well. It is so accustomed to physically doing damage in the hopes of creating entertaining drama. That's what informs Eddie's story at the moment. He feels the need to fight in order to express the emotions he still has over the death of Christopher's mother. It's a way for him to feel in control. That just eventually leads to him breaking a man's nose and sending the bone into his brain cavity. That too is absolutely horrifying. It's chilling to watch as no one offers any additional support to help this man in his time of need. Even Eddie has to be in hiding when the first responders arrive. He continues to have Lena's support. However, that could be fleeting as well. She does whatever it takes to ensure that Eddie isn't judged too harshly for his actions. But she wasn't fully aware of just how far he had taken these fights. He was scouted by a promoter who was making bets on the fights and cutting him in on the action. He buys a new truck with the money he makes. It almost costs him everything. He needs the stability that comes from getting these emotions out. And yet, these fights haven't been the answer. He needs therapy. That's what's required and he has to be strong enough to admit it. Meanwhile, Hen is zoned out at work because she is worried about the depression Karen is in following the failure of the embryos to produce a viable pregnancy. It's dangerous for her to be going through the motions in this job though because everything is life-or-death all the time. Yes, the 118 may have a good collective laugh at Bobby's expense because of his figure skating past. And yet, there is a looming sense of tragedy that comes from Hen being distracted. She can't afford to be that way even though she wants to be fighting for her family. She wants Karen to get better. She just doesn't know how. And now, she'll have a new scandal to navigate. The ambulance is involved in a car accident that kills the other passenger. A precious life is taken. This hour has contempt for technology and the way automation comes at the expense of human life. That may be boldly stated in the final action but it's also so effectively devastating as well. The emotional distraught all over Hen's face signals that this will be a major turning point in her life and possibly for the 118 overall as well.