Los Angeles can't seem to catch a break.
It wouldn't be 9-1-1 without a high stakes disaster raining down on the city, and this season comes with earthquakes, dam breaks, and a little landslide action for good measure. But honestly, that's just another day for the folks at the 118 and the LAPD at this point.
9-1-1 Season 4 Episode 1 was a gripping premiere and a solid welcome back to our favorite first responders.
We don't need to tell you what life was like in 2020; we all lived it together. And we're still living it now.
Instead of shying away from the happenings of this past year, 9-1-1 decided to lean into and incorporate the virus's realities into the series.
There were masks, social distancing guidelines, quarantines, and many facetime calls throughout the episode.
Albert: Hey, hey, hey. Don't worry. Howard will be home soon he's just, um, scared.
Maddie: Isn't everybody?
Athena has taken her time in quarantine to recuperate from the events of 9-1-1 Season 3, and it's her first day on the job when we meet up with her. Athena puts on a brave face as always because that's who she is, but you can tell from the opening moments she's on-screen that she's not okay.
There is no timetable for trauma. There is no timetable for sadness and grief. And while six months away may have been enough time to heal physically, the emotional wounds of what happened to Athena are still very much present.
It feels like she goes back to work because it's what's expected of her. She's powerful and courageous, and she puts one foot in front of the other every day, even when it would be okay for her to step aside for a bit.
But because no one on this show can catch a break, Athena ends the hour getting trapped in a house that's slowly cascading down the Hollywood Hills. Having her trapped with an agoraphobe will be an interesting dynamic as the two will be fighting to survive whatever is thrown at them next.
Who is ready to sign the petition for Athena to get some rest after this? No more bad things are allowed to happen to Athena Grant anymore!
The central rescues were split between a bus crashing into a high rise and a biker who gets trapped in the debris and washes up in a storm drain.
Janell's storyline was heartbreaking, as the timeline of months showed just how aggressive and debilitating this virus has been. As the months in quarantine went on and restrictions tightened, she lost her husband to the virus, and she wasn't even in there to say goodbye in person.
She grieved him alone for months but finally decided to reclaim her life and do something to honor him on the day all hell decided to break loose.
Maddie, as always, does her best to instill faith into anyone she speaks with, and it's genuinely her special gift. She's been blessed with a level of empathy that not everyone possesses, along with intelligence and a fierce determination.
It often feels like she can almost will those qualities into whoever calls in and gets her line. She will be a fabulous mentor to May. And these qualities will also make her a wonderful mother.
Chimney and Maddie are going to be parents, and we can all rejoice! It's totally in line with Chimney to be living separately from Maddie with the virus looming and him being an essential worker. Still, hopefully, they're able to reside under the same roof soon.
There's so much going on throughout the hour. We don't get too much of a personal check-in with everyone, but if Maddie's sullen attitude is any indication, she needs much more from Chimney than their regular facetime chats.
Bobby: You did it, CJ.
CJ: I'm working on my eye contact.
The rest of the 118 was rocking and rolling like a well-oiled machine during the bus rescue. However, the real star of the show and the MVP was CJ.
Can he come back in the future? He was lovely, and the whole scene with Bobby was perfect.
The whole rescue was nerve-wracking, and if your heart didn't jump every time the bus wavered a bit, then you're better than I am. But the 118 does what the 118 does, which is make an insanely hard mission look like a walk in the park.
Things are off to a fast start, and the Hollywood sign hasn't even come down yet!
- Buck found himself a quarantine buddy, and we need A LOT more information about this. Namely, who is she, and is she going to treat Buck, right?
- Albert is back and helping take care of Maddie, which is the kind of wholesome content we didn't know we needed. He was a very welcome addition last season, and hopefully, they figure out a way to incorporate him more this season.
- Why is Athena so anti-May working at the call center? As a parent, perhaps it's normal to be a little upset about May not going to college right away, but she's using her gap year to help people, and that's never a bad thing.
- Michael and the adorable ER doctor are a couple and potentially quarantining together. We need a double date with Athena and Bobby stat!
What happened to the man who was checking the dam? Is it naïve to think maybe he will be okay?
It's been an extra lengthy hiatus, but boy, was it good to have this show back. Premieres are wild and crazy, especially on this show, and while this wasn't a tsunami (thanks for the reminder, Eddie), this is one insane disaster that's going to leave a lot of carnage in its wake.
We'll be here to see what happens next, and we'll be along for the ride all season!
What did you guys think about the season premiere?
Which storylines are you most excited about moving forward?
Please drop all your comments down below, and remember to watch 9-1-1 online to join the conversation this season!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.