Monday, February 22, 2021

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - The Firefighters Fear a Curse When They Endure a Shift of Endless Calls with Bizarre Emergencies in 'Jinx'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 4.06 "Jinx"

The 118 believes their fabled firehouse superstition has come true when they have the day from hell with a never-ending series of bizarre emergency calls - Athena is in hot pursuit of a 118 firetruck; a man who duct-taped himself to a freeway billboard; a garage full of fireworks and a restaurant manager destroying his own business. Meanwhile, Eddie feels a spark with Christopher's former teacher, but admits to Bobby he may not be ready to move on in his personal life just yet.

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.

"Jinx" was written by Taylor Wong and directed by Jann Turner

The last few episodes have been wrought with intense family drama. It has been very effective. Buck has even used the revelations about his past to change his perspective on life. He states that to the crew early in this episode. However, this hour is fundamentally focused on the high-stakes comedy that can inform this world as well. It's important to spend time with this kind of levity too. The show built its audience initially because of the absurd emergencies that the 118 would always respond to. It was an inventive format that proved that this series was different than other procedurals out there. Sure, it offered some jarring moments for the overall tone. However, the show has largely figured out those issues over time. This hour succeeds with the comedy while still ultimately pivoting around the conversation over heroism. The crew believes that they are cursed because another firefighter says it's quiet in the firehouse. They endure a shift that seems absolutely exhausting and insane. It's easier for them to blame it all on this superstition as well. It surrenders the power of the moment to it. It still fosters a conversation about what people can control in their lives. It's not bad for people to hold onto their beliefs in the hope that it will always guide them to a safe and healthy path. Bobby makes the argument that Eddie holding Christopher to his heart always ensures that he comes home to him at the end of each shift. That's the side of the argument that Bobby is willing to make when he wades into this conversation as well. To the other firefighters, they believe in the curse completely. In fact, they argue over whether it is a curse or jinx. That too is amusing. But again, the show remains grounded in the emotions of this experience. It's baffling to Eddie. He can't control what kind of day they will have on the job. This just happens to be a rough shift. There is no explanation for it. It's simply something they must embrace because there are people in need of their help. That's comforting to him. Others try to persuade him to their argument. Even the 911 operators worry that it is suddenly a full moon again. To them, that makes the most rational sense. Again, none of this is done to be perceived as crazy. It's simply a notion of people trying to make sense of the world when there is no easy explanation. It's still effective comedy too. The opening montage set to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" is particularly an inspired moment. This show continues to have a solid music licensing budget. That comes from it being a massive success for the network. The focus is never lost that it is an intimate showcase of the ins and outs of life as a first responder. The viewer knows that this is going to peak with the firetruck being stolen with Athena in hot pursuit. That visceral moment is offered at the very beginning. In media res openings have become such a tired trope though. It can only add a little bit of excitement to the proceedings. Moreover, it sets expectations for the audience of what's to come. It mostly suggests that the creative team figured it had to start from a place of excitement because what would have typically started things off wasn't all that engaging. That's not quite true here. The show is very focused with what it wants to do here. It was simply tying a couple threads together to reveal that a wannabe hero has also been responding to these calls. That ties in nicely to Eddie's existential plot about moving on with his life. Shannon died awhile ago. However, that tragedy still threatens to keep his life on pause. This difficult shift may serve in value by helping Eddie address this issue and overcome it. He can help someone else in the process as well. None of this is particularly deep. It's still very entertaining. The chase sequence is another well executed moment. It truly takes Eddie reaching out to convince Brian to stop. The police try various maneuvers. Brian is determined to be of service. He's addicted to that rush when he isn't qualified to serve. He creates a lot of turmoil and chaos. That should serve as a warning for the perils of being stuck in a certain mentality for too long. The first responders know how to do this job. They know how to ease the pain of those suffering. Brian hasn't graduated to that. Instead, he is arrested. It's a fitting ending. One that highlights the pain people can inflict on others with their reckless actions. It was still done in an effective and comedic way that further enhanced the story for Eddie. That makes this a successful episode in the end.