‘9-1-1’ 5×10 Review: “Wrapped in Red”

**Spoilers Ahead**

The 118 for one more outing of 2021, and it left fans feeling…conflicted. The 118 is about to be shaken up in a big way, and some choices being made just have fans shaking our heads.

An elevator rescue, two wronged women, and an elderly woman constantly calling 911 were among the shenanigans the 118 had to handle in this mid-season finale. Being the Christmas episode, fans knew we were in for the drama to be dialed up to the maximum. The capstone emergency involved a house caving in on a man, and an apartment building needing to be evacuated on Christmas Eve. The 118 was certainly up to the challenge, and we definitely got the heart stopping emergency moments that 9-1-1 does so well when it’s at it’s best. 

The holiday spirit was on full display in this episode, with the 118 collecting Christmas gifts at their fire station. The dispatch centre was also decked out for the holidays, and May (Corrine Massiah) got a chance to experience the holiday spirit while not being able to be with her family. It’s still disappointing that fans were set up to see dispatcher Claudette Collins (Vanessa Williams) and May be rivals. This storyline has been all but dropped since episode 8, ‘Defend in Place’ where there was a faint semblance of a resolution.

9-1-1: L-R: Aisha Hinds and Oliver Stark in “Wrapped In Red” . CR: Jack Zeman / FOX.CR: © 2022 FOX Media LLC.

Bobby (Peter Krause) and Athena (Angela Bassett) are still our favourite TV parents to their fans. Anyone with distant family members will certainly relate to Bobby and Athena’s struggle to want to maintain business as usual especially over the holidays, with the sadness of not having as many loved ones in person. It’s a struggle we’ve no doubt all experienced especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their decision to channel their sadness at not having family around to celebrate the holidays was channeled perfectly into their decision to host a community Christmas Day for those who had just lost their homes.

The situation with Buck (Oliver Stark) and Taylor (Megan West) is honestly getting ridiculous at this point. The actors’ chemistry is more akin to brother and sister, and it just seems like such an odd choice to continue to develop this storyline that clearly has nowhere else to go. There are just so many richer relationships that this show has established or that have potential (*cough* Buck and Eddie *cough*), that to stay hung up on a dead-end relationship makes absolutely no sense at all.

9-1-1 continues to give Hen (Aisha Hinds) so little to do. We couldn’t even have her wife Karen (Tracie Thoms) appear on camera for the Christmas episode. These two have such phenomenal chemistry that fans don’t see nearly enough. It has been so frustrating, seeing Hen have all the setup of training to be an amazing doctor only to see her take a back seat for all of this season. Hen is one of 9-1-1’s best characters with one of the most engaging stories, and it’s well past time this season that the show started acknowledging this.

9-1-1: Peter Krause. “Wrapped In Red” . CR: Jack Zeman / FOX.CR: © 2022 FOX Media LLC.

The emotional heart of this episode, however, was hands down Christopher (Gavin McHugh) and the revelation that he may be suffering from a combination of PTSD from losing his mother, and anxiety at seeing his father put in danger every day. We haven’t seen a lot of Christopher this season, but fans always know we are in for some amazing 9-1-1 moments anytime he’s on screen, and his chemistry with his co-stars looks contagious.

Eddie (Ryan Guzman) had to be at his best as a father as he faces this new challenge. What a strange way to end the episode, though, having Eddie announce that he’s “leaving the 118”. What does that even mean? Is he taking time off? Will he work dispatch? There’s no indication that Guzman is leaving the show. If they were going to write him out of the show either permanently or temporarily, the least they can do is give his character a proper send-off, not a smoke-and-mirrors show to misdirect fans.

There is still no sign of Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) or Chim (Kenneth Choi), and the 118 is losing staff faster than Buck runs from healthy relationships (or has in the past). With all of the strange choices made in the season’s first half, hopefully 9-1-1 can return to form in the second half and give us more of the first responders we’ve all grown to love.

9-1-1 will return to Fox in 2022.

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