Monday, May 11, 2020

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - A Massive Train Derailment Holds Personal Complications for Buck in 'What's Next?'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 3.18 "What's Next?"

The 118 rush to save lives in the aftermath of a massive train derailment.

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 season finale of FOX's 9-1-1.

"What's Next?" was written by Juan Carlos Coto & Kristen Reidel and directed by Jennifer Lynch

Buck and Abby's relationship marked a significant turning point in their lives. It offered a sense of emotional development and realizations that they both needed. Of course, it was a romance during the first season of the show. That meant the audience only had a few episodes to understand how stuck Buck and Abby were with their patterns in life before those romantic notes started to be played. Moreover, it ended abruptly and largely offscreen in the second season because Connie Britton got an opportunity to star in and produce another show. The audience has been yearning for more with this central couple that was once propped up with such prominence. As such, it was rewarding to see the return of Abby at the end of the previous episode. It meant that Buck could finally confront what happened with their bond. And yes, that emotional conversation is nuanced and complicated. Buck is shocked to realize that Abby is back in town and at the center of a mass casualty event. Moreover, she has a fiancé whom she has started a family with. It's a lot of information to process. The audience is left to wonder if he will have the proper and mature approach to the decisions that need to be made. He is more than confident putting himself in harm's way. He has such a cavalier approach to life. He is reckless. He makes bold decisions in the hopes of saving as many lives as he can. It works out for him over and over again. He saves Sam's life because of his willingness to mount a dangerous maneuver on the outside of the derailed train. It's a thrilling set piece. One that is essentially centered around his heroism. He may have a personal attachment to the outcome. He doesn't want to be the reason why Abby's new life completely implodes. He is able to give her the future that she deserves. It's still painful that it isn't with him though. He saw a world full of possibilities when he was with her. He understood that he no longer had to be the same man he was before. After she left, he held onto those feelings. He compared every potential romantic connection to what he had with her. It was an unfair standard. He had these lingering feelings. The audience may even want a romantic reunion between them. It isn't destined though because Connie Britton isn't returning to the series full time. It's a blessing that she came back to offer this resolution now. It's surprising but still heartfelt and moving. Buck deserves these answers. He needs to know that there was nothing he did that was wrong. It's simply a reaction Abby had to the life she was living in Los Angeles. She hopes that she isn't making the same mistakes as before. Buck helped her realize that she was living for other people. She had to prioritize herself. She just did so in a journey that took her away from Buck. Meanwhile, he is seemingly in the same exact position in life. He isn't. He is still just figuring out what the future holds for him. That may actually be a lifelong journey. It may always be evolving. Hen and Karen succeeded in expanding their family this season. Michael gets the good news that his cancer has shrunk. Maddie and Chimney realize they are pregnant. Josh finds the perfect words to define the crimes done against him with the strength and resilience to read them on the record. There is cause for celebration throughout this finale. The future may be uncertain. May seems to have different college plans than what Athena expects of her. Athena may not be as eager to return to the force as Bobby assumes she is. These doubts and concerns are legitimate. Letting go of those emotions may not be the solution either. It takes strong will and courage to confront them and process them. That acceptance is powerful and necessary too. It comes with the support of loved ones and the freedom to explore everything that defines a person. These characters are heroes. They are human too. They make mistakes and are trying to figure out the best path forward. They are constantly learning as the world changes. But the friendships they have will help them get through any obstacle that comes in their way even if things seem scary and tense for a moment.