Monday, March 8, 2021

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - Buck Learns How to Be a Good Friend While Maddie and Chimney Discuss Their Birth Plan in 'Breaking Point'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 4.08 "Breaking Point"

The 118 are called to the tarmac when a flight attendant reaches her limit with her flight's passengers. Athena discovers that quarantine has pushed a couple to their breaking point. Eddie worries Christopher will not accept him dating. Buck reconnects with an old flame and finds himself in the middle of Albert's new relationship. Maddie and Chimney make a big decision about their baby.

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.

"Breaking Point" was written by Bob Goodman and directed by David Grossman

This show isn't particularly subtle when it comes to its themes. It knows how to be episodic. It crafts stories that inform and reflect each other. But it also runs into trouble when it feels the pull to spell things out to the audience over and over again. This episode is all about people hitting their breaking points. That is a piece of dialogue in many of the emergencies. Moreover, it's the actual name of the episode. It's not subtle. That's how transparent the show is. That isn't always a good thing. It makes the audience less invested in the big events in the episode. It can all feel like a stunt. And yet, the show can still find moments of redemption by using these themes to naturally share some new developments happening in the lives of the characters. Maddie and Chimney absolutely hit their breaking points when it comes to their birth plan. Maddie wants to be in control of this special day. She doesn't want to resign herself to accepting all of the protocols in place that will take so much of the human connection away. She has always dreamed about this experience. She has expectations. She believes a home birth could better provide that to her now. It's a significant change to what she has envisioned. Chimney will be by her side though. That brings her comfort. However, it only causes him to worry more. He views it as an unnecessary risk. It's her putting her life and their baby's on the line in the hopes of creating this more beautiful moment. He is terrified because he sees the tragedies that happen every day. He doesn't want to rely on the uncertainty of an ambulance ride to the hospital should something go wrong. He doesn't want to prepare for that. He freaks out. He voices those concerns. Maddie understands and recognizes that it's more important for this family to be together and witness all the joy that will come after their daughter's birth. That should remain the focus. It doesn't need to boil up into some huge conflict. It's simply two people adjusting their expectations so that they can remain strong together. It's a story about human connection and compassion. Conflict doesn't have to infer drama or the fear of everything changing either. It's simply an acknowledgement that people have different opinions. Sometimes, it can be put in a clearly defined sense of one person being right and another being wrong. It's not always that easy though. Buck believes that he is deserving of love. He absolutely is. And yet, there is a neediness to him as well. He needs to be liked. He needs people to appreciate and remark on his perspective in the world. That can be exhausting for the people around him. It doesn't necessarily make him a good boyfriend. He complains about that as well without noticing that he is the one causing these conversations to happen. When he is called out on it, he can take action to rectify the situation. In fact, that showcases how systems hitting their breaking point can actually lead to something unexpected and marvelous to behold. Taylor uncovers a story of a broken freezer at the hospital. The vaccines in there only have two hours left of being viable. As such, the first responders rally around to ensure each dose is injected into the arm of someone who needs it. This daunting task suddenly becomes manageable because everyone is working towards a collective goal to provide salvation for a wide range of individuals. It's a joyous celebration. One where Buck doesn't let his ego get in the way. He could be spiteful towards Taylor because she calls him out for his selfish behavior. He still extends empathy to her. He has a willingness to be of service. That's often what makes these characters great. Their stories can sometimes be melodramatic. That is perfectly on display with the last minute twist of Hen and Karen learning that they could lose Nia shortly to her birth mother. That is a devastating blow after they thought their family has successfully expanded for the past year. They too have to set their expectations for this process. They don't know what's going to happen. They bonded with this young girl. She has brought them so much joy. The process of adopting her is more complicated than that. It features more than just their desires. It's about what is fundamentally best for Nia. Hen and Karen are heartbroken. They will still fight for her. That will inform story in the future. At the moment, it's simply a touch of uncertainty after a moment of inspiration pertaining to the vaccine that everyone needs to receive as soon as possible to escape from the peril of the global pandemic. That ensures everything comes together during the climax of this episode. It sets up turmoil for the future. Plus, it reflects the messiness elsewhere pertaining to the simple ambitions of the storytelling's themes. But the balance still works more often than not.