Monday, May 24, 2021

REVIEW: '9-1-1' - A Shooter Targeting Firefighters Invigorates Athena to Act Before the 118 Suffers More Harm in 'Survivors'

FOX's 9-1-1 - Episode 4.14 "Survivors"

In the aftermath of the shooting, Athena and the 118 are on high alter when a sniper is targeting members of the LAFD. Maddie makes a life decision.

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 season finale of FOX's 9-1-1.

"Survivors" was written by Kristen Reidel and directed by Robert M. Williams Jr.

The job is dangerous for everyone who chooses to serve. It's a calling because these first responders are compelled to help people in dire emergencies. It's simply who they are. They carry these risks every time they go to work. It doesn't prevent them from having full and rewarding lives elsewhere. It also forges these strong bonds within the profession. The 118 is a family too. One of their own has been shot. This finale escalates the danger significantly. Firefighters are being targeted by a sniper. It's completely indiscriminate too. It's not a specific person being targeted. Instead, it's those who serve in this job. Eddie was first. He isn't the only victim. And yet, everyone survives their injuries. It looked dire for Eddie at the conclusion of the previous episode with the amount of blood he lost. He seemed lost while Buck couldn't do anything. Of course, this episode creates the circumstance for Buck to help. He gets Eddie to safety so that he can survive these injuries. The episode isn't defined by Eddie teetering between life or death though. His friends and family are simply waiting for him to recover after the surgery is a success. They still have a job to do. It's a job that has gotten more dangerous. Any moment could turn into a lethal situation. They may not make it home to their families. This threat puts everything into perspective once more about the dire stakes of this job. They never truly forget that. This is simply a powerful reminder. As such, it's silly for Bobby and Athena to be fighting. The previous episode suggested that they were on the brink of collapse. Their marriage could be done because they failed to communicate with each other about serious life choices they've made. They are each devoted to this job. Nothing is ever going to stop them. They will continue to be of service to their community for as long as they can. Athena helps identify and track down the shooter. Her expertise is necessary. And in the end, the roles are reversed from when she was attacked and her life was in danger last season. That moment set up a lot of story this season. Some of it was purely melodramatic. Some of it was more earned than other moments. But the story likes the narrative symmetry of having Athena run into a burning building to save her husband. They are always fighting to return to each other. That is who they are at their core. Nothing can break this marriage. That is abundantly clear. The situation that forces this realization isn't all that compelling though. Yes, it's intense because a threat looms over absolutely everything. It's a human threat as well. When the show offers the explanation for why this is happening though, it's simply a former SWAT officer upset with firefighters for always saving lives. It's a bit ridiculous. The show has no time for nuance. It's a man who believes his job is to end lives. That's the burden he carries as law enforcement. That's a horrible worldview. One that shouldn't be rewarded with this position. It's pleasant to know that he was pushed out after his partner showed morals after a deadly mistake. Meanwhile, Ethan was nothing but furious. That's the extent of this story. And so, happiness reigns down on the team throughout a closing montage. Eddie survives being shot. He informs Buck that he changed his will to make him the official guardian of Christopher should the worse happen. The show cements the romantic strength of Buck with Taylor and Eddie with Ana. Of course, the dynamic Buck and Eddie share is much more engaging and emotionally rewarding. Meanwhile, Maddie confesses that she needs help as she is not doing well with her emotional health. Her story seemed to peak when she gave birth to Ji. Afterwards, the show has highlighted her postpartum depression. However, it didn't really have the time to flesh it out in a meaningful way. It simply stated this was happening. She confesses the truth to Chimney. He reacts perfectly. That's about it. It's mostly going through the motions. And finally, Hen and Karen reunite with Nia and her birth mother. That moment was unexpected. They grappled with this loss. They coped with it and found the strength to continue serving as foster parents. Their world expands. The firehouse does as well with Albert becoming a firefighter. That moment is unexpected. But it also promises to bring him into the natural storytelling in a more seamless way. He had an erratic journey this season. It leading up to this career change wasn't really foretold. It was simply apparent now that he has fully healed from his own tragic injuries. As such, he showcases the same courageousness that is on display amongst the other core characters. That means he too must now serve in this way.