Monday, March 16, 2020

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - Chimney Doesn't Respond Well When His Half Brother Shows Up Unexpectedly in 'Seize the Day'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 3.11 "Seize the Day"

The 118 responds to a skydiving trip gone wrong, a bank rep injured in a home repossession and a lovestruck assistant whose lunch run ends in disaster. Meanwhile, Athena and the family come to terms with Michael's difficult health decision and Chimney's half-brother from Korea unexpectedly shows up at his doorstep.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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.

"Seize the Day" was written by Lyndsey Beaulieu and directed by Sarah Boyd

This episode aggressively hits the audience over the head again and again with its core theme of seizing the day. That specific phrase is said well over a dozen times. When the overall point of the story is that blatantly obvious, it can have the side effect of seeming like the show is dumbing things down in order for the audience to get it. That isn't beneficial to anyone. This show has done a phenomenal job incorporating procedural elements with personal melodrama. It's actually rewarding that Chimney's personal story right now isn't defined by another near fatal injury. That would have made him seem injury prone in a job where fatal outcomes could happen at any point. But again, that specific storyline has to be weaved into the episode's overall mentality on this specific belief. The same pattern extends to Michael's ongoing fight with cancer. He believes that having surgery after months of radiation failed to shrink the tumor is the only option he has. It's certainly the choice that the rest of the family can understand. They too see the logic behind it. When he later decides to cancel the surgery in order to live each day to the fullest, it's almost baffling. It's unclear what he is hoping to achieve from that moment and even if he will continue to seek treatment for this disease. Every action he makes right now comes with a fair amount of risk to it. That puts him in close company with the rest of the characters on this show. They put their lives on the line all the time. They do so to save others when they need it the most. Michael wants to believe he is making the same kind of personal sacrifice for his children. However, it may come across as selfish if he doesn't offer up a better explanation for what's going on. The audience never has a ton of fear that any of the main characters could die during a call that grows increasingly dire. That same luxury may not extend to Michael though because he isn't a first responder. This just happens to be a story that allows these life or death stakes to play out in a different way. The effort is appreciated. It's just clear the show is fixated on one idea and must frame all of the stories of this hour through that perspective. And yes, each individual story has solid beats to it. The mother-daughter skydiving duo take different lessons from their instructor being knocked unconscious and dangling outside the plane. The daughter sees it as proof that her mother should stop meddling in her life. The mother sees it as reason why she needs to be even more aggressive and forward in trying to find happiness and companionship for her daughter. They seize the day as a result. After being driven over, a bank employee trying to evict a homeowner in foreclosure realizes he hates his job and he should probably change professions. A blow to the windpipe doesn't have to stop a man from expressing his feelings to his café crush who happens to reciprocate those feelings. There is a lot of positive connotations within these stories. All together though it overwhelms the narrative and diminishes the impact each of them can make. And then, Chimney is given this big emotional burden of having to explain why he is so distant from his half brother Albert when he shows up at his doorstep needing a place to crash. Yes, it eventually allows Chimney to better open up his world and be grateful for the family members who have always offered him unconditional love and support. He even has this new family connection that can be fruitful should he put the effort in to connect with Albert. His father remains a very domineering presence in Korea. That may loom over him for the foreseeable future. But again, this is a story that offers a sense of new perspective for Chimney that allows him to be more than the guy alway on the brink of death and defeating the odds of surviving. He is so much more than that and it's always rewarding to be reminded of that. He has so much love to give. He just has to break down some barriers standing in his way first.