Buck's gonna Buck.
That should have been the title of 9-1-1 Season 4 Episode 14 because while it was an installment that touched on a little bit of everything and tied things up, it felt like Evan Buckley's hour.
Which is fitting because Buck truly is the heart and soul of 9-1-1.
Things picked up right where 9-1-1 Season 4 Episode 13 left off, except when we last saw Buck, he was pretty frozen. But as shots rang out everywhere, he jumped into action, and he was the one who pulled Eddie to safety.
Buck proceeds to then spend much of the rest of the time having an existential crisis about his expendability, which may seem extreme, but it's not for someone like Buck, who has a ton of trauma he is still actively dealing with and working through.
He's always felt like he wasn't valued or loved, and even finding a found family at the 118 doesn't just make those kinds of feelings disappear overnight.
Looking at Christopher, he sees a child who has suffered so much loss in his young life, and he immediately thinks that a lesser burden for him would be losing him and not his father. And the same action drives him to climb that ladder and present himself to a sniper on a silver platter.
If the sniper takes him out this time, who would miss him? It's devastating to think that's how Buck views himself, but it will be a continuous work in progress for him to see and truly understand the depths to which he is loved and revered.
And it's why that conversation with Eddie is such an important one and one of the best moments of the season.
It's simple enough with the two men sitting on the bed, Eddie ready to return home after ANOTHER brush with death. But it dovetails into a beautiful moment between two people with deep affection for one another, who understand their importance to one another.
Buck went practically catatonic when Eddie was shot, not unlike his panicked state when Eddie was trapped in the well during 9-1-1 Season 3. Eddie is a huge part of Buck's life and vice versa.
Eddie not only cares about Buck and their friendship, but he trusts Buck explicitly. He knows that he is the one person in the entire world who would do right by his son if something ever happened to him.
Do you understand how massive that is? Buck rightfully points out there are many people who could take care of Christopher and would want to. But he knows that Buck will lay his life down to do right by Christopher.
Because Buck's gonna Buck, and that is not a bad thing.
Side note on both Buck and Eddie and their romantic journeys this season. They both end the season with significant others in Taylor and Ana, who are perfectly fine and everything, but neither relationship really packs a punch.
Taylor as a character has improved dramatically since she was first introduced, but it would have been a much bolder move to have them develop a strong friendship, then having them be friends for an episode or two before turning it romantic yet again.
And we haven't seen nearly enough of Eddie and Ana to be invested in what happens with them. She seems nice enough, but the chemistry isn't there, and they've already had Carla plant the seed of doubt in Eddie's head about why they're even together.
Basically, neither relationship did much for either man, and if they're going to carry over into the new season, they're going to have to do a lot more to endear them to the audience.
One relationship that does have all the chemistry in the world is Bobby and Athena, who pretty quickly moved past their rough patch and found themselves back on the same page.
Athena broke down a few of her walls and talked to Bobby. Now granted, it was about situations that had already happened, but you've got to start somewhere.
All Bobby has ever wanted was to be her partner, but Athena is so stuck in her ways that it was hard for her to even notice that she wasn't much of a partner back.
But they love each other, and they want their marriage to work, and it was lovely to see Athena taking those steps for Bobby to make sure he knew that she was always going to be there for him.
It's not as if he doubted that, but seeing someone walk through literal fire to come to your rescue pretty much confirms .it
Hopefully, their communication improves, and they use what they've learned through Athena's attack and now Bobby's shooting to be more open with one another and not feel like they have to hide. At the end of the day, all they want for each other is happiness.
For Maddie, she's been struggling for a minute. And she's been so strong, but it's okay to recognize your mental health is winning the battle and needs to be addressed.
Quitting the call center was just a tiny step, though, and talking to Chimney and being vulnerable enough to admit you need help is one of the hardest things to do. Especially for someone like Maddie, who is such a warrior. And a person who has been dealt a lot and always comes out thriving.
But post-partum depression doesn't care about that. It's relentless, and it hits physically and emotionally, and Maddie will need the support of Chimney as she moves forward.
It's a shame we have to wait longer to see Maddie's journey, but it's good that it wasn't shoe-horned into the final episodes and then glossed over or sped through. This is a delicate topic and one that will hopefully be given the time and space it needs to be covered.
I have all the faith they will do it justice.
Odds and Ends
- The powers that be must have listened to the masses who wanted Albert to be more involved in the show as a whole. Now that he's a firefighter, it will be much easier to incorporate him into storylines and get him more integrated with the rest of the cast.
- The chance park meeting with Nia and her mother was a lovely way to bring that story full circle. The mother got to thank Hen and Karen, and they got to see Nia and see that she was being taken care of, which is all they ever wanted.
- Hey Ryan Dorsey, as the deranged former SWAT member wreaking havoc on the city. And also, hello Dawnn Lewis as the detective who helped break the case alongside Athena. They've always been able to get great guest stars over the years.
And just like that, we've reached the end of the road on another 9-1-1 season.
There were a lot of highs and very few lows, to be honest. For a shortened season, they used every hour appropriately and gave us a lot to love. There were a lot of tears, but there were a lot of smiles as well.
And they incorporated the pandemic well, during a year where some shows have been all over the place.
Thanks for taking another ride with me on this crazy train, and make sure you stop by the comments to give me your thoughts on both the finale and what you would like to see when the show returns!
As always, watch 9-1-1 online via TV Fanatic during the hiatus, so you're ready for the show's return!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.