Monday, May 3, 2021

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - Josh Must Step Up at the Call Center After Sue Is Involved in a Brutal Attack in 'First Responders'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 4.11 "First Responders"

The members of the 118 rush to the site of a hit-and-run that leaves a familiar face in critical condition. With Buck's help, Athena investigates the case of a missing woman last seen in a casino. Josh recalls an emergency in 2006 that led him to become a 9-1-1 operator.

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.

"First Responders" was written by Kristen Reidel & Nadia Abass-Madden and directed by Tasha Smith

This show has had great success in the past when it comes to producing episodes centered entirely around how these characters became the first responders they are today. Now, this episode doesn't completely focus on Josh's journey. However, part of it does detail a time in 2006 when Sue saved his life when he was in a burning building. And now, he is left in charge of the 911 call center while having to figure out the logistical nightmare of trying to track a dangerous criminal. The backstory of it all is a little thin. But it's still nice to see these glimpses of internal lives for the people who work alongside Maddie and May. Those two characters are frequently the entry point when it comes to stories at the call center. Josh and Sue have been familiar faces for awhile now. They have agency in their lives as well. Most of the time it is defined by their dedication to the job. Josh has been unlucky in love in the past. However, this episode allows him to truly shine as a dispatcher. He saves lives. That cannot be questioned. He is just as heroic as everyone out in the field. In the past, he was that person calling 911 in need of help. He discovered something within him that gave him the strength to save a woman in distress. He found his calling. Before that, he was simply notable for being a fast typer. He had work. It wasn't consistent. Nor was it fulfilling. Now, he has a family at the call center. It's all because of the environment Sue has set up. She encourages all of these people to be the best versions of themselves. They have to be solid during every shift to help those in crisis. They must be the calming voice of clarity on the other end of the phone. Some cases don't have easy or happy endings. Other times, it's rewarding to see this peak behind the curtain and realize the extraordinary lengths everyone goes to in order to save lives. Everyone rallies around Sue when she is struck in a hit-and-run. It's a traumatic scene. One that seems personal. In reality, she is trying to stop a crime in progress. She sees a girl being taken against her will. She throws herself into the situation knowing that she must speak up and do something. Athena and Hen lament the fact that this girl has been missing for days and no one knew it. The system just didn't put in the work. No one cared. Athena took an interest. In doing so, she solves this case. Buck brings attention to what happened to Sue. This story is about finding justice for so many people though. It's not just for the people the first responders have a personal connection with. It's about saving as many lives as possible. This heinous man has a pattern of drugging girls and doing whatever he wants with them. He refuses to allow Sue to stand in his way. He is armed with his vehicle. He isn't afraid to use it. Sue survives this attack. Her injuries are already mostly healed by the end of the episode. That's a relief when her fate was uncertain for a long time. The job is her life. She passes on clues to help the other first responders do their jobs. She has trained others how to excel in this profession as well. That's a huge blessing to her. Everyone being grateful for all that she has done is bonus sentimentality. It's true though. She deserves to be celebrated. Her story and sacrifice should be known. It's not something people reflect on after she is gone. They acknowledge and appreciate her while she is still alive. Josh is uncertain how to lead and inspire. At the end of the day though, he knows how to track this criminal and give everyone else the proper tools to handle the situation despite how dire it becomes. Of course, a lot of tragic and brutal things happen in this world. Athena sees that every single day. However, she can't protect May by keeping her close at all times. May is developing more independence in her life. She wants the responsibility of finding her own place to live. Athena isn't against the idea like everyone assumes she would be. She has specific requirements for May taking this next step. She is still encouraging at the end of the day. That comes from her expanding her perspective to see what the other person needs. She hasn't always operated with that clarity. She has it now though. She plans on using that to make her relationship with May even stronger. That too is a vital component of trusting the bonds that have developed while still giving them space to grow over time.