One of the best aspects of 9-1-1 is the strength of its ensemble. The main characters are people you enjoy seeing navigate the crazy streets of LA together.
Taking away much of the core cast during an episode is risky, no matter what the show, but one thing no other show has right now is the power of Aisha Hinds.
9-1-1 Season 2 Episode 9 works on every possible level because of her commitment to telling us the story of Henrietta Wilson. And in a season full of marvelous storytelling, this show continues to raise the bar.
Hen is the backbone of Station 118. Would the station work and exist without her? I'm sure it would. But would they be at a huge disservice without her knowledge, warmth, and passion? Absolutely.
Seeing Hen as a pharma rep was jarring because that seems so far from the person we have come to know. And clearly, the Hen of old felt the same way, as she quit in the most badass way possible.
Hen: Do I like this job? Hell no. I hate it. This is not me. None of this is me.
Steven: So, what are you trying to say?
Hen: I quit.
A reality of life, particularly adulthood, is that we often times find ourselves in careers that we didn't expect. And in some cases careers that we don't want.
It's nice to hear the stories of people who knew from the age of six that they wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer and see them achieve those goals later in life. But that is not the reality for a lot of people.
And being a paramedic wasn't something Hen had always dreamed about, it was something that just felt right after she was tasked with a situation that allowed her to use her natural instincts and abilities.
Hen's ascent to paramedic was marked with some adversity, mostly from the one person you'd expect that from at this point, Eva, but once she made it into the station, things got rough.
It's hard to loathe someone at first sight but between the scowl plastered on his face and the first words out of his mouth, it was clear the type of man Captain Gerrard was.
When Hen gave her big speech to the firehouse, it was hard not to take notice of the sea of faces that came to listen to her. It was a parade of men, with very limited diversity. Outside of Chimney, I couldn't spot another non-caucasian face.
Gerrard immediately placed Hen into the other category and never allowed himself to see her as anything other than that. She was an outsider, a person put in place to fill a quota, not someone who could possibly ever do her job as well as the men, even after she proved herself.
The saddest part of this story is that the Gerrard's of the world still exist.
Chimney: Okay, so that was kind of ugly. Listen, the captain's just old-school. It's...
Hen: "Old" isn't the only word that comes to mind. Look, I get what you're trying to do but, I don't need anybody carrying my load.
Chimney: Hell, I'm smart enough to know that just by looking at you. I just wanted to make sure you knew you weren't alone here.
Hen: Thank you.
Chimney of the past was just like the Chimney of the present; a gem. He was the one person who looked at Hen and saw a human being who not only deserved respect but also deserved the right to be seen as an equal.
I didn't think it was possible to adore Chimney anymore than I already did, yet here I am.
Of all the thought-provoking commentary this episode produced, the best may have been the subtle exchange between Hen and Chimney in the kitchen.
Chim has his own experiences with being a minority in this world that can never be taken away from him, but Hen has her own experiences too that can't be compared.
What ended up helping her to stand up for herself was a night out with Athena, who was just as fun then as she is now.
The best part of her speech was how real it was. She was powerful, yet nervous and strong, but vulnerable. In real life, hands shake and voices crack when we put ourselves out there. And that's what Hen does.
She makes sure that every single man in that firehouse takes a nice long look at her, for perhaps the first time. But definitely not the last.
- What happened to Athena's friends? They were so fun and I want them back!
- Imagine going from a boss like Gerrard to Bobby.
- So Eva was annoying even when she was sort of being supportive. I'm biased because I dislike her, but it was frustrating to see her so dismissive of Hen when she was so excited for her future.
- Both rescues tonight showed how smart Hen is and what an asset she is to have on your team.
- Oh, and Aisha Hinds for all the awards!
I keep lauding this season but it really has been a treat, with this episode being one of the best of the series to date! With the fall finale next week, I can't wait to see where they take us.
What did you guys think of this week's installment? Do you want to see more episodes like this with other characters?
As always, leave your comments below and watch 9-1-1 online so you're all caught up before next week!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.