9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18 Review: Pay It Forward

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Well, that was certainly a stressful season finale.

9-1-1 Season 6 didn't open with a big, high-stakes emergency like it did in seasons past and decided instead to end their sixth effort with a full-on bridge collapse that saw nearly every member of the 118 in grave peril.

9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18 was a somewhat different kind of finale, as it swayed heavily on the action and chose to shy away from the personal. And depending on your preference, you either loved it or were left feeling a little underwhelmed.

Buck Surveys The Scene - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

As far as emergencies go, this one felt like the 9-1-1 of old, which often seemed to spare no expense when it came to going full throttle with their biggest rescues.

The bridge collapse came about reasonably quickly from when we met Mallory and Jo to when everything went downhill, literally.

Dusty Hen & Eddie - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

9-1-1 has always taken advantage of every opportunity to connect things, so the sleepy guy from the diner being the truck driver to cause the collapse wasn't much of a surprise. Nor was the guy at the diner who paid it forward, looking to also help at the scene.

And the 118 needed the help.

We have seen tsunamis, earthquakes, and zoo animals walking down the streets of Hollywood. We've seen Buck die. We've seen Chimney die. We've seen Eddie trapped underground.

But we've never seen all the members of the core 118 group in danger at the same time in this kind of setting.

The brutality of the collapse was next level and a reminder of how brilliant 9-1-1 can be. It's devastating in its intensity, as you see everyone whacked around, and in the moment, it's almost like you can't believe what you're watching.

Buck Helps - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

It's a brilliant disaster movie-esque scene that lasts just long enough to drive the point home; the 118 may not all be walking away from this one.

They devote a large chunk of the hour to dealing with the aftermath of the collapse, which works because the time they usually need to clear up personal storylines doesn't really exist this season.

But that's a topic for later.

The bulk of the emergency was Buck stepping in to lead the scene, which was a nice callback to 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 1 when Buck lamented Bobby's choice not to consider him for Interim Captain.

He wasn't even Interim Captain here, but he stepped up to be the person in charge when the team needed someone to take the reigns.

Leading The Way - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

He was flying all over that scene, wherever he was needed, whenever he was needed, and getting stuff done. I firmly kept expecting something to go wrong in typical 9-1-1 fashion, and while it did when the ambulance slid, for the most part, they were able to make the rescues they needed to make smoothly.

Chimney was by far in the worst shape, but he used his time inside that ambulance to help Jo and ensure the team cared for her before Hen even looked in his direction.

Poor Chimney and Hen always having to be front and center when the other is at risk.

Adding to the tension throughout was the unease everyone felt, knowing Bobby was missing. And though at various points you could see just how crushing that was for everybody, the show had to go on.

How often do we see Bobby stay firmly in his role as Captain, even when you know it's eating him up inside that something could happen to one of his people?

Getting To The Scene - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

Think about Buck's accident during 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 10, and how Bobby had to hold his emotions deep down in his gut and ensure that scene was still being tended to and had a leader to get everyone in the correct spot.

Hen: Where's Cap? Where's Bobby?
Buck: He's MIA.

It's a difficult thing to do because we're all human. We all have emotions that spill over at the worst of times. But surrounded by so much instability, the 118 worked on what they could control in the present, and that was making sure everyone who could be accounted for was safe so they could go after Bobby together.

Athena also had to keep her emotions in check and help secure the scene, even with her husband missing. But luckily, Jeff was there to help.

Bless 9-1-1 for keeping their world small and bringing people back, but I will not lie; I did not remember Jeff. And neither did Bobby, so I don't feel as bad.

Jeff was the literal embodiment of what it means to pay it forward. Bobby saved his life, and he knew what it was like to be scared, helpless, and thinking you were living through your last moments on Earth.

Calling Out Orders - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

And Jeff wasn't going to stand on the sidelines when he could lend a hand and be there for someone in their lowest moment.

He didn't know that helping would lead him to Bobby, but life has a funny way of coming full circle and making the one-in-a-million come true.

Bobby's rescue capped the emergency off nicely, and it's always cool when rescues are presented in a way in which it's not just the 118 helping but others as well because sometimes you can't do it all on your own.

With the emergency rightfully taking up much of the hour, the remaining time tried its best to wrap up all the personal stories, and it felt very rushed.

If you think about it, Buck was the only one with an arc that lasted the entire season. From saying yes, to the meaning of happiness, becoming a sperm donor, and dying, he's had significant arcs that have followed him all season.

Looking At Disaster - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

And if you were looking for closure on all these fronts, you may have to squint a little to see it.

Buck decided to become a sperm donor because it was something he could do, and that was enough for him. Giving someone the gift of a child was a selfless and endearing act, and the culmination of this part of the story was actually quite moving.

This is television, and if the opportunity for an unorthodox birth presents itself, then that's exactly what you'll get.

And once again, Buck went into full-on firefighter mode and was ready to deliver that baby come hell or high water.

There was more talk amongst the audience than on the show about what this decision could ultimately mean for Buck and if he would struggle to understand that he was just the donor and not the dad.

Things Look Grim - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

But the series never delved too far into that. We never even had an honest conversation between Buck and Maddie about it, which would have been nice since she would have added a unique perspective as someone who knows him so well.

Part of Buck's series story arc has revolved around him wanting a family, so it wouldn't have been crazy to see some inner struggles with knowing there would be a piece of him in the world. But the show went away from that completely, and instead, Buck was very much aware of his role and what was expected of him.

A lot was placed on Oliver Stark's shoulders this season, and he put in some fantastic work throughout. But perhaps his best moment was when he delivered the baby, eyes shiny with unshed tears and mouth curved into a smile that radiated pure happiness at what he'd been able to help make happen.

It's a wonderfully shot scene, with a touch of comedy, drama, and heart, with Stark again doing a lot with just his facial expressions in those closing moments.

As soon as Kameron went into labor, I expected Connor to be the one unexpectedly showing up at his door to plead for forgiveness at the most convenient moment, but it ended up being Natalia. And from there, it was crystal clear where they were going with this story.

Hurt Chimney - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

If you read my thoughts after 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 17, you already know how I feel about the direction they decided to take Buck to close things out. And making things "official" between the two did very little to change my mind.

Natalia appeared at the tail end here to apologize, and that's fine. She took her time to process, but it would have been a better moment to see Buck push back a little, considering this was their first conversation since then, instead of just turning it into a cutesy hospital moment.

Natalia didn't commit some egregious crime when she left Buck's loft, but they probably should have talked a little more, especially considering Buck's history of placating people.

It's framed as Natalia stepping right into Buck's "wacky" life firsthand and choosing to stay, but it's rushed and underdeveloped. At least when a VERY similar scenario happened with Taylor at the end of 9-1-1 Season 4, they'd developed the Buck and Taylor dynamic enough that there was at least a passive interest in the pairing.

Even if you didn't care for it, not liking it was an emotion.

Buck Works Hard - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

This was Natalia's third appearance, and yet again, we didn't get to know her any better. It's hard to say whether you like or dislike the pairing because we need to learn more about it.

They connected over death, but since then, it's just been ex-girlfriends and births. But what is drawing them to one another? Essentially, why are we meant to care? Pushing this angle at the very end was indeed a choice.

Has Buck truly found happiness?

Buck asking Natalia to help him pick his next couch certainly felt like them teeing us up for the inevitably of these two entering into something serious, but there will need to be a lot more work put into building them up in a season 7.

And that makes me nervous because love interests who aren't regulars don't get a lot of exploration by nature of there not being enough time. But it does such a disservice to Natalia and even Buck to craft this relationship with such little substance.

Buck Pleads - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

Natalia becomes just another love interest who only exists to be that.

And if Buck's relationship becomes his primary out-of-work story, much like what happened with Taylor, then it removes him from so much of everything else, and that's never a good thing.

Heading into the next season, we're left with Buck and Natalia canoodling and Eddie and Marisol awkwardly planning a date, which again was a choice.

Outside of the emergency in 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 5, Marisol has only had two brief conversations with Eddie, and much like the other couple, we're left wondering what about this pairing is supposed to appeal to us as it's currently constructed.

Whichever way these relationships head in the future, here's hoping they find a way to integrate the relationships in a way they haven't been able to. Otherwise, this will truly be a case of 'I've seen this movie already, and I know how it ends.'

Doubled Over - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

Hen's final moments were spent with her love deciding they were open to adoption!

Henren are THAT couple, but their two scenes here felt a little confusing because they haven't discussed fostering or adoption since much earlier in the season.

When we first saw all those kids running around the house, I didn't even understand what was happening, and I thought Denny was having a sleepover.

But a potential new baby adds a new layer to their family and would be neat to explore. Denny is older now, and how would he react to a new sibling?

Henren may thrive in chaos, but nothing can prepare you for the hurricane that is a little baby!

In Distress - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

Both Madney and Bathena ended the season in love, enjoying their love, and if that isn't the perfect place to end an hour, then I don't know what is.

9-1-1 likes a tidy finale, with loose ends clipped and new horizons coming into view. And that leaves the door open for a continuation or a blank slate.

Whichever way they go, we'll still be here.

Loose Ends

  • I love suspending disbelief. It's one of my favorite things to do. But you're telling me Bobby Nash survived that tumble, and Buck had nary a headache after his whole face busted up a windshield?
Chimney Ponders - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 17
  • The aftermath of the emergency was so…lackluster? Everyone just went to the hospital. Hen damn near passed out, and then it was done? We just fast-forwarded to everyone healed and meditating. Okay, then.
  • Maddie 100% should not have worked that call, but I'm glad she did! Could you imagine knowing your loved ones were in danger, having the capacity to help, but being told you can't?
  • Where was Ravi’s end-of-season moment? WHERE WAS IT?
  • Athena and Maddie getting a few seconds to cheers those lovable, goofy men they love so much that give them gray hair was such a cute little scene. Let's invite Maddie to the Grant-Nash for wine and cheese next season!
  • Christopher just roasting the hell out of Eddie was amazing, and he had every right to do so because that phone call was cringe.
Hen Lends A Hand - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 17
  • Athena and Bobby hopping on a boat and not telling anyone is a top-ten Bathena moment. They deserve it!
  • Mallory and Jo's relationship felt a lot like something I could see Buck and Christopher doing one day. Traveling around and remembering the missing piece of their family. Though we root for Eddie Diz to live forever in this house.

That's all she wrote on this one!

I'll be back soon with my colleague, Jasmine Blu, to break down the season's highs and lows, so be on the lookout for that article coming soon! But in the meantime, take to the comments to let it all out!

Shocked 118 - 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18

What did you think about the emergency?

How do you feel about the conclusion to Buck's arc?

What are your biggest wishes for season 7?

Let me know all your thoughts, and remember you can watch 9-1-1 online right now via TV Fanatic! Until we meet again!

Pay It Forward Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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Rating: 2.9 / 5.0 (286 Votes)

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18 Quotes

Lucy: Can't get rid of me, can you, Buckley?
Buck: Great to see you again. For real, this time.

Ravi: Uh, Cap? Can I just say if Buck needs to get the pregnant lady out of his apartment, I do have a two-bedroom that's about to be on the market. So...
Bobby: Thank you, Ravi. Maybe a discussion for another time.