Monday, February 8, 2021

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - Chimney Stresses Out Over the Burden of Keeping a Secret From Buck in '9-1-1, What's Your Grievance?'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 4.04 "9-1-1, What's Your Grievance?"

Athena investigates a mysterious murder during a neighborhood block party and the 118 rush to save lives endangered by a bomb threat. Meanwhile, Chimney has a hard time keeping secrets when Maddie and Buck's parents come to town.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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.

"9-1-1, What's Your Grievance?" was written by Nadia Abass-Madden and directed by Brenna Malloy

A large portion of this episode features Chimney talking around the big secret that Maddie has told him about her family. It's annoying for a significant part of that as well. It's only really amusing to be purposely left in the dark when Chimney uses this secret to disarm Stan while he plans on bombing his former workplace. In that instance, it's fun to see Chimney succeed in confiding this secret that has only been building in pressure within him. Until that moment, it was a burden that presented itself in ways that are symbolic of a television show instead of how the pressure would actually build in a human being. All of that buildup made the eventual reveal crucial. The Buckley family drama explodes before the secret is actually revealed though. Meeting the parents should be seen as very informative of why Maddie and Buck are who they are. The characters note that the siblings have always been different from one another. Of course, the story has also showcased just how loving their bond as brother and sister has always been. Maddie saw the benefit of keeping this secret. And yet, she is breaking as a result of it as well. It wasn't fair that her parents asked her to carry this along with them. She was a child when they made that decision. And now, it's clear that they have more outward love towards her. They have precious memories of her childhood. Meanwhile, Buck has always felt distance with them. On the surface, he has always felt it. He didn't know that it masked some kind of deep, dark secret within this family. He always saw himself as the volatile individual in the middle. He was always getting into drama because his parents didn't know how to love him. That stress can be directly linked to the decision made decades ago to keep this secret from him. Now, the audience was probably guessing what this could have possibly been. The build up may not have satisfied the eventual reveal that Maddie and Buck had a brother who died. That death forever shaped this family. Buck has only known that one reality though. Maddie has some understanding of a happier time in her parents' lives. That may explain why she is more willing to give them some leeway. It's been years since she has experienced that firsthand though. Now, she only receives side comments that sound positive but are actually biting criticisms of the life she has lived up to this point. Her life is healthy now. Everything with her pregnancy is going well and Chimney supports her no matter what. She has been stymied by keeping this secret as well. She doesn't share it willingly either. Buck stumbles upon the evidence. That will send him spinning more than what this visit with the parents already does. The show will have to make sure it does so in an interesting way. It can't simply be a repeat of him needing to punch things or get injured while out on an emergency. Those stories have been told. This is a massive reveal that should change everything in the dynamic between Buck and Maddie. It can also inform who they want to be in the future as well. It may be freeing eventually. These characters are capable of coming out on the other side of the drama in their lives. That has always been the case. Right now, that is evidenced in what is happening between May and Athena. May wanted to work at the 911 call center to protect her mother. Meanwhile, Athena was worried her daughter was throwing her life away in service of something that wasn't necessary. A daughter shouldn't sacrifice her life to care for her mother. Athena doesn't believe she needs that help. It takes her awhile to see the positive impact May can make in this job. She saves lives here. That is prominent evidence of her continuing to mature and have responsibility in the world. May is also afraid to talk about the stress of the job with her mother. Instead, she has to rely on support and guidance from Michael and Bobby. That's her life. Athena is the last person to know. She was called to investigate this murder that May responded to initially. Athena figures out the mystery. It's absolutely absurd. It's one of the weirder cases she has worked. It brings the family back together in celebration. It's potentially too easy now that Athena sees the light about the greatness May can achieve. And yet, it's still inspiring to see May get all this praise while facing the complexities of this job. That nuanced storytelling actually folds her into this world in a way that validates her life on equal footing with the other members of the core ensemble.