Monday, March 1, 2021

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - Michael Starts a Creepy New Hobby as Hen Deals with Her Mother's Sudden Visit in 'There Goes the Neighborhood'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 4.07 "There Goes the Neighborhood"

The 118 rush to save a man pinned under a Humvee, and a garage band that rocks out too hard. Enlisting Bobby and Athena's help, Michael installs a new "rear window," and turns into an amateur detective after noticing strange behavior at a nearby apartment. Hen's mother unexpectedly arrives and announces she is moving to LA. Buck's re-entry into the dating pool ends in disaster.

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.

"There Goes the Neighborhood" was written by Stacey Rose and directed by Sharat Raju

Michael became the president of his building's homeowners association mostly because he wanted to make some renovations to his apartment. They wouldn't have gotten the approval otherwise. It's a cynical approach to seeking out a position of authority. Moreover, Michael is spying on his neighbors. Now, they don't happen to be in the same building as he is. As such, he doesn't have any power to enforce any kind of rules. He explains that it's a way to entertain himself considering he is stuck in the apartment all day long. He isn't able to explore the world or do all the things he wanted to do after gaining another chance at life. He doesn't have any relationships with the people he is spying on. However, he is concerned about the strange activities of one man. For the majority of this story, it's unclear how the audience should be reacting to all of this. Is this story going to build into one big misunderstanding? Or will Michael be right in viewing this guy with suspicion because he happens to take out a lot of trash bags? The episode ultimately justifies his behavior. However, Michael is still reckless. This time it can't be explained by a tumor either. Sure, some people will probably fear that that is the case once more. He proclaims that he is still healthy. Plus, Henry actually thinks it's cool that his father gets to be a hero. Bobby and David get caught up in this as well. Bobby is probably more encouraging because he too sees it as some tantalizing mystery. It needs to be solved even if that includes jumping through the dumpster to examine the trash. Michael takes it much further than anyone else though. He actually breaks into the apartment. He sees the horrors truly happening there. As such, he is given the ability to save a life who would otherwise go completely unnoticed in this apartment building. That means this story ultimately has the seal of approval. Every action is fundamentally supported. Athena just has to given a stern lecture about no more amateur detective work from anyone in her family. That doesn't quite feel like enough. It's such a strange story. Again, it's hard to gauge the proper response to it while it is happening. Once it eventually reveals a direction, the show commits to it. And yet, it's still difficult to find that engaging. It's mostly just an excuse to give Michael a major story in a season that has only had him in a few moments so far. Several of the other characters are also given small moments that fit into the overall theme of being neighborly even though the stories themselves don't have much depth to them. Buck has a bad date only to discover that she is his new neighbor. In his attempts to avoid her constantly, Albert gets close and romance ensues. It's a situation that can possibly be compelling moving forward. Albert is a character the show also wants to build up in a more prominent way. It's still searching for that purpose though. This is the first attempt to make it stick in a meaningful way. Meanwhile, Maddie and Chimney just want to apologize in advance to their neighbors about the noise their baby will be making soon. That's the full extent of the plot. It takes up only a few minutes. But again, it comes off as an excuse to give the characters something to do when the overall episode is rather thin with story details. Now, Hen's complicated relationship with her mother has more depth and nuance to it. It's a story about generations clashing because pride stands in the way of them being honest with one another. It means the Wilson household will welcome yet another person into it. Hen's life is overflowing. She isn't overwhelmed though. People may be concerned about that. She could burn out if she continues pressing these things for an extended amount of time. That never feels like a genuine worry though. Hen is the best. That is still true. She can conquer whatever she sets her mind to. She just needs her mother to be open about being evicted and needing a place to stay. After that, she is more understanding and willing to open her door for her. That's the effective story in an episode really struggling to find purpose.