Monday, February 15, 2021

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - A Massive Family Secret Forces Buck to Analysis His Behavior in Everything He Has Ever Done in 'Buck Begins'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 4.05 "Buck Begins"

The 118 race to save the lives of workers trapped in a five-alarm factory fire. Meanwhile, Maddie reveals a painful family secret that causes Buck to confront his childhood and answer why he is the daredevil he is today.

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.

"Buck Begins" was written by Juan Carlos Coto and directed by Jann Turner

Buck's existence was never one defined by love and family. He always believed that his presence in this world is what annoyed his parents and forced them to push him away because of his reckless behavior. In reality, that behavior grew because it was the only way for him to get their attention. He was born in service of his brother. He never knew that before. That mission was never explained to him. And yet, it defined entirely how his parents view him and love him. They want him to be fragile and considerate. They were simply withholding of affection because of the devastation they previously experienced with Daniel. They don't want any reminders of that pain and suffering either. Unfortunately, Buck's entire existence does that to them. Maddie understands that. She has memories of life with a happy family. That changed when Daniel was diagnosed with cancer. That informed Buck's entrance into this world. He doesn't remember any of this. He could only rely on Maddie as he grew up. She was always there for him. She offered protection when their parents were incapable of allowing him to be his own individual person. They could never grow beyond what this loss limited them to be. That completely destroyed this family unit. It created distance. It all suddenly falls into place for Buck. He understands how the actions done by his family actually inform how he turned out to be. And yet, this revelation also means he falls back into these destructive patterns. He is reckless once more. He absolutely found his place in the world. He found a family at the 118. He is loved by his friends. They serve proudly as firefighters. This is exactly where he needs to be. But he doesn't always listen to orders. That is very dangerous. This is a life in which the wrong action can quickly lead to death. That is amplified further when the crew responds to a five-alarm fire. This is one of the most precarious emergencies the crew has responded to so far. It's not the opportune time for Buck to be having this existential crisis that makes him a bit careless and dangerous. He refuses to leave anyone behind. He splits off from his crew believing that's the best way to help. He isn't wrong for doing so either. This factory just happens to be a maze that is disorienting to all of the firefighters once they get inside. It's still important and necessary to find the last missing worker. That is Buck's mission now. He is willing to sacrifice his life to ensure another is saved. That has been the life he has always known. That clarity offers more of a profound impact to the life he has now chosen to embrace. It also highlights the pain that has defined his family as well. Maddie always believed she needed to keep the truth from him. She too was navigating her grief and trying to manage expectations. Holding this secret caused more pain though. Buck is resilient. He survives because he has a family willing to come rushing in to save him. The 118 was immediately welcoming to him. When all hope is lost, they arrive to ensure he is found and saved. They may have greater awareness of who he is and just how powerful that can be on this job. Sure, he can be frustrating with his willingness to disobey orders. He saves a life though. He refused to give up. He has that strength and determination on the job. He has the capacity to carry that forward through every other aspect of his life. It's just going to be difficult. That's why he has to rely on those who love him to always find that clarity. The Buckley family drama doesn't have to define him. When he is firm in his identity, he can help others when they are struggling outside of work as well. The show offers all the ways in which he has already done that. His new family have provided him with the unconditional love and support as well. Yes, Maddie's betrayal hit much deeper than his parents'. It's still easy for him to forgive all of them. Maddie has always wanted him as a part of her life. He provided her with strength even in her darkest moments. That hope shined brightly even when Buck was uncertain in himself. He survives all the brutal damage that could be done to his body and psyche here. It's impressive actually. He risks it all to save lives. People acknowledge that and are proud of him for doing so. It makes for a very rewarding story. One that takes all the various pieces of his behavior from throughout the series and adds them up to something even more compelling now. That's very difficult to do. It works effortlessly here. It rewards the viewer for always paying attention and hoping for the best despite the difficult circumstances these first responders face. And now, Buck can embrace all that life has in store for him. This barrier has been addressed. He has overcome it. It was a perilous journey. He arrives at the other end of it here still grateful for the family he has at the 118 and with Maddie.