When 9-1-1 decides to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks, you get an hour like 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 8.
That's not to say it was a slog because the hour actually moves pretty quickly with so many moving parts. But with an overabundance of stories comes limited time to flesh everything out in a cohesive manner.
So while the hour is palatable enough, it could have been something else if the stories had a little more room to breathe.
May's decision to go off to college and give up her dispatch job was one that she agonized over, and while we haven't gotten a chance to really check in with her and explore her college life, when she shows up here, you can tell that she's in good spirits and doing well.
She's hanging out with Darius, a blast from the past we haven't seen in quite some time. And like most college students, she's just doing her best and trying to find her way. But life has a funny way of always bringing things full circle.
Erik is a troubled young man with a warped perception of the world and a deadly manifesto. May happens to come upon it, and while she could have easily put that notebook right where she found it and walked away, she took it and brought her concerns to the one person she knew would know what to do.
I think what's important about this storyline is May's decision to step up and help, even though it's technically not her job anymore. But that instinct never leaves you.
May sees something, and she says something. And then, when it all starts to fall apart, she's right there to help pick up the pieces, even with a cavalcade of police officers all around her, because she knows this part. She knows how to de-escalate and keep people talking so the authorities can put the pieces in place to save lives.
Hen: May's had a different experience than her friends. Two years of dealing with life-or-death emergencies. She's grown up because of that.
Athena: Yeah, I'm still waiting for her to realize that. That her life experiences don't just make her different, they are actually her superpower.
This felt like a storyline that could have gone even deeper, but there just wasn't enough time. But every second devoted to it is compelling as you try to figure out why Erik is behaving this way and then, ultimately, how fortunate everyone is that May was there to truly save the day in many ways.
It was good to have May back, and it was very good to see her happy in her personal life. It's nice to see her doing teenage things and being young and in love, even if things quickly dovetailed into the life or death of it all once again.
Elsewhere during this hour, we got a sprinkle of mini-plots, along with the emergencies, and everything revolved around fantasies. We all have them, but while some stay firmly in the fantastical camp, sometimes our fantasies come true. Or we force them to come true.
Since Maddie and Chimney got back together during 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 1, we haven't checked in much with them regarding their relationship. They briefly hired a nanny, but outside of that, what's been happening with their relationship? Are they getting counseling? How are they communicating now that they're back together?
We don't get the answers to any of those questions, but we find out they're looking to move!
There hits a point when your baby isn't such a baby anymore, and you need to give them more of their own space. And that's what Maddie and Chimney are looking for, but when things don't go their way, plopping the baby in the living room will never be the solution.
I'm sure everything in that apartment is babyproofed, but still. Did anyone else get major anxiety thinking about Jee-Yun out there by herself so close to the open kitchen? Kids have a way of running into trouble on purpose and by accident.
The thought was there, as giving Jee-Yun space allows them all to benefit, but that apartment is not set up in a way that makes sense for a young child to be out in all that open space.
I'm a big fan of any time we get to spend with Jee-Yun, who could not be any cuter. And we finally got some Uncle Buck!
The whole Buck watches his niece story is played for laughs, a way for us to see Jee-Yun wreck that pristine loft while an exasperated Buck trails behind her.
But considering Buck's main plot this year involves him being a sperm donor and rushing into the decision, you'd think they could have found a way to have his adventure in babysitting tie back into his overarching story. But alas, it was not meant to be.
Instead, it's just a cute little Uncle Buck segment; you can't complain about that.
The most effective of the mini-plots goes to Eddie, which isn't a shock, as his stories are often some of the stronger ones when the series allows him to have them.
Thus far, Eddie's personal life has revolved around figuring out what it means to parent a pre-teen. And it's not easy.
Aside from just that inherent need to seek independence, this can also be when you pull away from your parents. Not in a bad way, but in a different way. You turn to your friends with some of your pressing issues, as opposed to your parents, and that's okay.
Eddie sees Christopher spreading his wings, and it's not easy because you look at your children, and you always see them as those doe-eyed babies that depended on you for everything. They couldn't eat or go to the bathroom without you, and now they suddenly can't even be bothered to tell you about their schoolyard crush!
But seriously, Christopher has an amazing father in Eddie, who adores him and is trying to give Christopher the space to navigate this time in a way where he doesn't feel too stifled by him.
Truck rides with the 118 are always some of the best moments of an episode, and that was very true here when the 118 discussed first kisses. The team loves to kid, and they get their little jokes in, but it's also good for Eddie to be reminded that it's all just a part of growing up.
And I love that Eddie watches from afar as Christopher achieves another milestone but sits his butt in the parking lot to be there right when that dance is over. It's like I will let you fly free, but not too free. Not yet. You're still my little boy for a bit longer.
The emergencies ranged from bees to potentially poisoned coffee, and finally, a couple whose biggest fantasy was getting freaky on top of a moving vehicle. What?
Eddie: There aren't any tall buildings around here.
Buck: Right. And unless that song was based in truth, I don't think it's ever actually raining men.
Talk about absolutely asinine on every single level, especially considering they weren't even trying to hold onto anything or thinking about an indecent exposure charge or where that truck would go next.
It was just an insane idea, but I have to give it up to 9-1-1 for continuously thinking outside the box to come up with these off-the-wall emergencies that I would have never dreamed of.
And the musical choice during this scene was top-tier.
- Are Hen and Buck becoming the new besties? I'm all for switching up the outside-of-work dynamics now and then, but I also miss some of those OG friendships. When are Hen and Chimney going to commiserate about something at one of their homes? When is the next Buckley-Diaz hangout?
- The guy imagining different scenarios in which his boss violently died was a lot.
- Food is a staple of time spent at the Grant-Nash household, and it's so relatable.
- Buck's first crush being in kindergarten is the most Evan Buckley thing.
- I'll always be a fan of an episode that showcases women being the heroes we are.
- Athena and Bobby are the cutest couple, and I'm so glad they're feeding us with all these little Bathena moments every week.
There is only one more episode before the dreaded midseason finale, and I honestly have no idea what 9-1-1 will throw at us! The midseason finale from 9-1-1 Season 5 saw Eddie leaving the 118. Will we get a cliffhanger like that? Or something even worse?
While we wait for the answer, let's discuss this hour and look ahead to what's next.
Drop a line in the comments with all your thoughts, and don't forget to watch 9-1-1 online so you're all caught up!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.