Tuesday, April 14, 2020

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - The 911 Dispatchers Must Be Creative After the Call Center Is Taken Hostage in 'The Taking of Dispatch 9-1-1'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 3.14 "The Taking of Dispatch 9-1-1"

Maddie fears for herself and her co-workers when the call center is taken hostage.

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.

"The Taking of Dispatch 9-1-1" was written by Nadia Abass-Madden & Andrew Meyers and directed by Marshall Tyler

This show loves a good heist premise. It's a classic Hollywood story of cops and robbers. The series highlights just how capable and creative criminals have become. But it also highlights the intelligence and heroism of the first responders who save the day. It works amazingly well with that simple core premise too. It also does so much to better inform the characters. Maddie may be the only character at the 911 call center with much dimension. However, Josh and Sue are just as integral to that setting. They too are given moments of quick and heroic thinking. That helps further enrich this world. It's terrifying to watch them all become hostages. At first, it presents as a strange idea because there is nothing of inherent value in this building. It's just whatever money or jewelry the employees happen to have on them. The true purpose is to prevent the authorities from being notified as the team prepares to rob a museum. That is the true target. As such, it's clear that the brains of the operation understand just how interconnected the world has become. One has to put this much effort into the plan in order to potentially pull it off. It means a team is necessary. That means there is an Ocean's Eleven style intro depicting the skills of this team of criminals. Sure, most of them are absolutely forgettable. The story also further amplifies the hate crime that was committed against Josh. At first, it was horrifying because it was a depiction of violence that comes out of homophobic people throughout the world. And now, it's clear that he was targeted because he was seen as gullible and unlikely to report the crime in detail. The criminals are counting on him to be afraid for his life and confined in his world because that's what they believe he has been conditioned into accepting for himself. That is so terrifying and destructive. These people want to belittle Josh down as if he isn't a real person who has feelings and is deserving of love just as much as everyone else. The criminals actually get swept up in the romance of it all. At first, the security guard at the call center was the target for infiltration. And then, he became complicit in the crime because he fell in love with the brains. She was out for revenge against the team that left her father behind to die. It's all insanely complicated and built around betrayals and shocking reveals. It can easily grow quite chaotic. That does fuel the story to an extent. It makes it unpredictable because the audience doesn't quite know what will happen next. It means Maddie once again has to fight for her life in order to escape a grueling situation. She almost kills a man again. This time though Josh fights to keep him alive so that he can face justice for all the crimes committed. He should never be written off as a joke. These people are heroes who save lives every single day. They should never be discounted. It's because of their ingenuity that they get multiple messages out to the rest of the world. Maddie plants the seed of concern with Chimney. Then, Josh sends a police response to Chimney's apartment. And then, Sue saves Athena from getting shot with the precise code warning that an ambush has taken place. Those heroes outside the call center do so much work on their own to ensure a safe and secure outcome. Chimney could easily be perceived as crazy because he is worried about Maddie saying "I love you." To Buck, that's what Chimney wanted. But Chimney knows it's not something that Maddie could say and actually mean. As such, him being concerned because of those words means that she was heard and understood. That strengthens this bond incredibly. It means that he will be the one who will always come running whenever she is in trouble. She will do the same. That is a beautiful partnership. There is absolutely reason to be concerned throughout this hour that something tragic is about to occur. But ultimately, it's a premise built around the inventive format and the certainty that the criminals will be apprehended despite how much they planned for this heist. That is incredibly rewarding while also being so strong for the individual characters the audience knows.