Well, that was better.
9-1-1 Season 1 Episode 2 provided some real character development and tender moments rather than only focusing on big, flashy rescues.
Sure, those were still there, but 9-1-1 is already learning to find a balance.
9-1-1 Season 1 Episode 1 was trying too hard to go big and be action-packed. That works if you're watching a two-hour action movie and want mindless entertainment, but to sustain a TV show, we need more than that.
We need to slow down and focus on the characters so that we can become invested in their lives. Buck's vulnerability makes us care about him, even when he makes dumbfounded, impulsive decisions like sleeping with his therapist.
Honestly, the guy is like a yo-yo. One moment we see him display real emotions with Bobby, and then the next he's back to the horndog who can't keep it in his pants.
Just for the record, I'm not putting it all on him. The therapist should have known better and shown some restraint, but she's not the main character here, so I don't feel the need to spend too much time discussing how she should probably lose her license.
Back to Buck though; I'm not saying he should transform overnight. That would be unrealistic. While it is frustrating that we have to endure his stereotypical immaturity, that's the way he was introduced, so he can't just become a different person one episode later.
At least we can clearly see that he has a good heart and truly wants to help people. He has plenty of room to grow. He could easily become the series' most interesting character if he's not already.
They wanted machines. People who could flip a switch in their head and turn off every natural human instinctive emotion in their body, and I cannot do that. I don't want to do that. I love this job because I get to be the tough guy, but I also get to help people.Buck
One thing is for sure, he would never have made it as a Navy Seal with his very limited self-control.
He exercised that limited control with Abby though, so at least he's shown that over the phone, he has some restraint. He knows himself; if he'd agreed to that date, he would have probably ruined any chance they could have a real relationship someday.
That someday is a long way off because he needs a lot more therapy (preferably with a male therapist) before he'll be ready for any type of stable relationship.
A romance between Abby and Buck could be how the groundwork is being laid for her to eventually get out of the call center and interacting with the rest of the cast. That was a big concern for me, so I like that they seem to already be addressing it.
I already love her new nurse, Carla, and the budding friendship they are developing. Abby needs more people than just her mom in her life.
Athena's family situation is heartbreaking and doesn't appear to be getting better any time soon.
It was bad enough that she made herself vulnerable by telling her husband she would be willing to stay together in a sexless marriage just to have the bomb dropped on her that he's already met someone new.
We've already been left with our first major cliffhanger. Will Athena's daughter survive?
It feels far too soon for the stakes to be this high and for a main character to lose a child. It feels too soon to even have her life hanging in the balance. We barely know these people, and this type of thing is usually held for mid-season or season finale.
Losing her daughter to an overdose would be a devastating blow, one I'm not sure from which Athena could recover, so I don't imagine it's something that will play out this soon into a new series. I don't think it's ready to go that dark this early.
Still, she's going to have a lot on her plate with her husband and now her daughter's suicide attempt (assuming that is what actually happened).
The writing has definitely improved.
Yes, there were still some cheesy one-liners, but that might become a fun staple of the show that we come to expect and maybe even love. They're laying it on pretty thick with the drama, so we need something to help lighten the mood, even if it isn't exactly the best dialogue in the world.
Howie: Five bucks says that guy's getting laid tonight.
Hen: A guy ready to kill himself, and you think his girlfriend is turned on?
Carla was legitimately hilarious, and the look on Abby's mom's face in the coffee shop was priceless.
Abby: I'm not asking out that fireman. He's way too young for me.
Carla: Girl, you're a hot spiced pumpkin latte. You're sitting around getting cool when there is a big ol' hunk of man that would love to burn his tongue on you.
All in all, this was a vast improvement to the premiere, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes. I think they need to find the right balance between the daring rescues, the intense drama, and the attempt at humor because it still feels like it's having a bit of an identity crisis, but it'll get there.
Do you guys agree? Will you stick around to see if the series continues to improve?
If you need to catch up, you can always watch 9-1-1 online.
Stacy Glanzman is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.