9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1 Review: Abandon 'Ships

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New network, same old problems for the 118 family.

After 9-1-1's unceremonious cancellation after six seasons on FOX, the ambitious drama landed at ABC for season seven. And even though this was the first new hour in ten months, the series returned like it never left.

9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1 was prime 9-1-1 in all the ways that matter. From the emergencies to the laughs to the angst to the heartbreak and everything in between. 9-1-1's new run got off to a blazing hot start.

Vacation Hang Out - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

When we last left Los Angeles, the 118, Athena, and Maddie were dealing with the aftermath of an overpass collapse and various personal struggles. But 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 18 wrapped in a way that left everyone hopeful about the future.

Bathena were going on their much-delayed honeymoon, while Madney was preparing to wed, and Henren was ready to expand their family.

Bathena Dances - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

And not to be left out of the romance parade, Buck and Eddie both found themselves on the cusp of something with two women they'd met on calls during 9-1-1 Season 6.

Everything was copacetic. Tied up with a neat little bow.

But this is 9-1-1. You knew things were never meant to stay that way.

Bobby and Athena have been through their fair share of issues since they began dating and subsequently got married, but it's been a while since we've seen signs of any struggles within their marriage.

So, it's a little surprising to see Athena so anxious and concerned about the cruise during her sessions with Frank, resident everyone-on-911's personal therapist.

Cruise Bobby - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

Frank wasn't buying what she was selling about a '70s viewing of The Poseidon Adventure having her so rattled, and it didn't take long seeing Bobby and Athena on that boat to realize that Athena's totally in her head about spending so much unfettered time with her husband.

The storyline felt abrupt in the sense that this was the first time we'd heard Athena's fears said out loud, but when you dive beyond the initial shock, Athena's concerns make sense. But her communication skills need some work. 

Bobby and Athena both lead incredibly stressful and time-consuming lives, with shifts and cases that would leave them with a lot of time spent away from each other. But that's their normal.

And it's been their normal for many years.

So, suddenly dropping them into an environment with no turmoil, no set schedule, and an array of leisurely choices would be difficult for someone like Athena to adjust to. It's something that's out of her comfort zone.

Bathena Journey - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

Bobby seems to be more a casualty of the apprehension surrounding an elongated time free of structure, but isn't it also normal to have some reservations about spending so much time with anyone?

On the surface, yes, but your husband should be one of the people who doesn't make you feel like there will be awkward lulls in conversation or stilted moments when your brain is free from worry. It's unfortunate the talk they desperately need will have to wait until AFTER they dodge a sinking ship. 

Introducing these marital woes as a lead-in to a pirate takeover and subsequent cruise disaster was clever, and while Athena will be fighting for survival and not necessarily worried about much else, it will be another reminder of the fragility of life and the bond and love she and Bobby share.

Speaking of the cruise disaster, Norman and Lola showing up should have been a clue that something was about to go dangerously wrong.

While it was played comedically, with Norman being a little too much and then suddenly a little too sullen and Athena launching into investigation mode because it's the mode she knows best, never did I think Norman murdered his wife.

Athena Stuns - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

However, they were doing a decent job of making me doubt it.

Norman's tale about Lola's kidnapping was a little more complicated than expected, but the bottom line remains the bottom line moving forward: a very big boat is under siege, and a storm is brewing.

Those two things together are lining up to bring us an emergency unlike anything we've seen on 9-1-1 to this point, and isn't that saying something when we saw a tsunami take out the Santa Monica Pier once upon a time?

While Athena was contemplating her life and then ignoring it all in favor of a good old-fashioned mystery, the 118 was back in Los Angeles doing their thing in the field and dealing with some romantic issues, some their own and some others.

How is Christopher Diaz old enough to date? How is that a thing currently playing out, and how old am I now?

Christopher At Home - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

Christopher's dating woes were causing Eddie to go through it, and when Eddie's going through it, there's really only one person best equipped to help him, and we all know who that person is.

There was a heavy emphasis on the Buck and Eddie relationship throughout this hour, which felt like as much as an excuse to get potential new viewers up to speed on their relationship while also reminding longtime viewers how fundamentally important and intertwined their lives are.

Many, myself included, have lamented some of the distance that can exist between the pair at times when their dynamic is not only a fan-favorite but as essential to the series as firetrucks and dispatch calls.

In particular, their playful chat while closing up shop on a car fire was a brilliant display of their banter and how well-attuned they are to each other, which also played out in another scene.

It made all the sense in the world for Eddie to confide in Buck about Christopher's upcoming date, slight anxiety lacing his words, and for Buck to readily jump in with a soft joke and genuine concern.

Buck: Whoa, so Christopher is a player?
Eddie: I don't know where he gets it from. Not from me. I married the first girl I dated.
Buck: Think you might mean slept with.

Spending Time With Chris - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

While the hour did reinforce the pair's connection, Buck breaking up with Natalia and keeping it to himself for however long felt weird, but it's also not totally clear how much of a time jump we're working with here from when we last saw them together.

Last we saw Buck, he appeared to be all-in with Natalia, but now we know Buck was merely infatuated with a death doula coming off the heels of, you know, death, and once the dust settled a bit, he realized there was no foundation for a future.

At least he realized sooner rather than later because we've seen Buck in relationships that have long past eclipsed their expiration dates. At this point in his journey, it feels right for him to recognize something is failing and abort much sooner than he used to.

Eddie, on the other hand, seemed to be happy with Marisol, who was already invited to Diaz family dinners.

Father & Son Talk - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

It's tough to gauge what's going on here with them, and maybe we weren't meant to during this hour because Marisol wasn't given much to do besides literally just be at the house to remind us Eddie had a lady friend.

The focus was on Christopher, who was hitting his teenage boy era hard and playing the field a little bit. It's not exactly a crazy storyline, but the reasoning behind it was pretty heartbreaking, and all harkened back to his complicated feelings surrounding Shannon.

Buck was taken aback by Christopher's blasé attitude when trying to talk to Christopher about the importance of respecting people's feelings, but Christopher's feelings came from a genuine sense of hurt that he's been harboring for a long time.

And those feelings were more than valid.

Shannon's leaving, even if he was too young to fully comprehend at the time, will always stay with him, even as he grows.

Buck At Work - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

He can have fond memories of his mother, love her and all of those things, but still resent the time they didn't spend together for reasons out of his control. And during a pivotal time in his adolescence.

It was heartbreaking to see Christopher acknowledge everyone eventually leaves, Buck understanding Christopher's pain, and Eddie realizing his son had been suffering seemingly in silence.

Whatever your feelings toward Shannon, bringing her back and having her sit over Christopher's shoulder while he read the letter was brilliant. It was easy to imagine Christopher could remember his mother's voice again and have a better understanding of her actions.

That one letter won't erase the pain, nor will it change the past, but Christopher should always know that even though she left, he was still loved.

Father & Son Moment - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

And he's still forever loved by Eddie and Buck, and they're not going anywhere.

Chimney and Maddie's love also isn't going anywhere, and it was nice to see them in a peaceful place as opposed to a lot of the upheaval we've gotten from them. Well, it was most peaceful outside of Chimney's worries.

A new network hasn't changed the core of 9-1-1, which will always lay in emergencies that directly correlate to something in the main characters' lives.

Except in this case, Chimney and Maddie weren't actively dealing with a decaying relationship, but Chimney was motivated to make sure it never got to that point.

Leave it to Chimney to make a spreadsheet for their dating forever adventure. Chimney is nothing if not committed when he sets his mind to something.

Chimney: How do you suppose that happens?
Hen: I assume something broke.
Chimney: No, I mean, how do two people live together in the same roof for thirty years and end up full of resentment and disdain?
Hen: I believe you just answered your own questions.

Maddie At Dispatch - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

Chimney's worries kind of paralleled what was going on for Athena, except she was already feeling the pangs of decay, and Chimney was terrified of them.

The thing is, neither the jet fighter couple nor the hot tub couple are Madney. They don't have their history and likely haven't been to hell and back and come out the other side.

They can't predict the future, but they also have to be secure in their love for one another. You can't live life or function in a relationship anticipating the worst. It's a vicious cycle that can leave you feeling anything but fulfilled.

As we presumably watch them get closer and closer to walking down the aisle, it's nice to get these lighthearted stories still rooted in real relationship issues. Please give me more of that and less heavy drama.

Madney has been through enough!

A Jet Emergency - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

There wasn't a lot of Hen this hour outside of her being back in the captain's chair where she belonged, but this is only the beginning of what's looking like a return to form for the venerable drama.

9-1-1, we missed you! Never leave again!

Loose Ends

  • The hot tub emergency was a thing that happened during this hour. Eddie's jello relaxation technique was also a thing that happened. But supreme kudos to Eddie for stepping in and using his own coping skills to help without thinking twice.

Buck: You know, I don't think I've ever seen a man turn a woman off with such skill.
Eddie: It's a gift.

  • Julian was so shady! And did anyone catch that super awkward moment between Lola and Julian in the ballroom? Athena certainly did.
Buck & Eddie Work Together - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1
  • 9-1-1 always leans heavily on the comedy, sometimes more than others, but there were some truly laugh-out-loud moments on that boat. Angela Bassett and Peter Krause romantic comedy major motion picture when?
  • Even if I can sympathize with Athena's plight, you couldn't help but feel awful for Bobby, who was just devastated his wife suddenly thought he had the plague and would rather be anywhere he wasn't.
  • 9-1-1, you are NOT slick for having Athena mention Shelley Winters didn't win the Best Supporting Actress for The Poseidon Adventure! That was a little too on the nose for someone like me who is still mourning Angela Bassett not winning last year.
  • During this exclusive Ryan Guzman interview, he mentioned he and Buck both not being great at relationships, but you could tell he still went to Buck because that's his person when it comes to Christopher. And it always will be.
  • Athena calling Hen while on her honeymoon to start an investigation was peak Athena Grant-Nash.
Checking Out A Victim - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1

How is everyone feeling after that epic return? There's much to discuss and much to look forward to this season.

If the premiere indicates what to expect moving forward, we could be for a top-tier 9-1-1 Season 7. Even with the reduced episode count, there's no stopping 9-1-1 when it's in a groove.

It's one of the top series on all of television for a reason.

Make sure to leave a comment below with all your thoughts about the premiere and what you're looking forward to seeing this season! 

Abandon 'Ships Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (115 Votes)

Whitney Evans is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lover of all things TV. Follow her on X.

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9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 1 Quotes

Chimney: How do you suppose that happens?
Hen: I assume something broke.
Chimney: No, I mean, how do two people live together in the same roof for thirty years and end up full of resentment and disdain?
Hen: I believe you just answered your own questions.

Athena: What?
Frank: So, you're saying you're traumatized by a TV movie you saw when you were a child?
Athena: A major motion picture. Shelley Winters was even nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars that year.
Frank: Did she win?
Athena: No, she did not.