After last week’s less than stellar episode, 9-1-1 returns for episode 5 of the season with great character moments, and lots of drama. 9-1-1 is back to playing to its strengths, focusing on giving the characters opportunities to grow, and there were plenty in this week’s episode.
The main emergency this episode for the 118 was a car running into a local homecoming parade. Finally, we get to see Hen (Aisha Hinds) at her best. She delivered heartbreaking news in a case of mistaken identity that seems like it is all too likely to happen in a mass-casualty event. Hen navigates this event with the grace and empathy that makes her character so compelling. Although the plot twist itself may have been obvious, it was handled with such care and empathy and our hearts are totally broken.
It was a good choice to have Athena (Angela Bassett), Michael (Rockmond Dunbar), and Harry (Marcanthonee Reis) still wrestle with the events of the last two episodes. A lot of criticism online has centered around the fact that Athena had seemed fairly closed off and non-reactive to her son’s kidnapping. This episode had a direct response to that. It was so realistic to see Athena try to stay “strong” for her son especially, but then have the events of not only the last two episodes, but the entire saga involving serial rapist Jeffery Hudson (Noah Bean), completely catch up to her.
The new character of returning 9-1-1 dispatcher, Claudette Collins (Vanessa Williams) is such a wonderful addition to the cast. Right out of the gate in her first episode, she establishes herself as such a compelling character that we can’t wait to get to know better. Her and May (Corinne Massiah) have phenomenal chemistry and tension, and it seems like this is going to be a coming-of-age moment for May, fighting to be treated as an adult by someone determined to look down on her. Hopefully Josh (Bryan Saffi) takes May seriously going forward, but this conflict seems like it’s going to come down to two brilliantly written characters, and we can’t wait.
It was also a great character beat to see Eddie (Ryan Guzman) supporting Buck (Oliver Stark), since Buck has been doing so much of the supporting work as part of his journey. 9-1-1 is at its strongest when it focuses on the mutual love and respect the characters have for one another. What was especially moving, though, was seeing Buck support Chim (Kenneth Choi) in his time of crisis.
This leads to the real gut-punch of the story, Chim’s storyline. It was heart-rending to see Chim as a desperate father, trying to find out what happened to Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt). It culminated in an emotional confrontation between Chim and the doctor who treated his infant daughter, Jee-Yun. It was so relatable to see Chim hurting so much in the face of being blindsided by Maddie’s departure, and feeling guilty that he wasn’t there for her while she was struggling with postpartum depression.
The episode’s end gave us a moving moment between Hen and Chim, and it always tugs on the heartstrings to see their friendship in action. It was so poignant to see Chim shine in his role as a father and wanting to be the best husband he can be. We hope that Chim won’t be away for long as he searches for Maddie, and we look forward to welcoming both Chim and Maddie back to 9-1-1 to carry on their stories.
9-1-1 airs Mondays 8/7c on Fox.