‘9-1-1’ 5×13 Review: “Fear-o-Phobia”

**Spoilers Ahead**

This week’s episode of  9-1-1 turned the fear up to the maximum. Reunions were had and new additions to the 118…didn’t really get a lot of screen time. Some of this episode worked, some of it didn’t. Choices were definitely made along the way. 

Chim (Kenneth Choi) and Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) are back home from Boston. Shockingly, it’s revealed that they’ve decided to break up. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it’s unclear if this is an issue of either actor wanting less screen time or potentially leaving the show. It’s also possible that this is temporary for these characters. After everything these two have been through, it would be unwise to definitively say that this is the end of the road for them as a couple.

Viewers with an aversion to any kind of creepy crawlies should watch this episode with caution. In particular, those with arachnophobia should turn away for…well, a lot of the story this week. Bobby (Peter Krause) running in the opposite direction when confronted with the house of eight-legged horrors was such a mood. He knows he can lead the team without getting crawled all over by these terrifying monsters. 

9-1-1: L-R: Aisha Hinds and guest star Erica Gimpel in the “Fear-O-Phobia” episode of 9-1-1 airing Monday, April 11 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: FOX © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX.

The Buck (Oliver Stark) and Taylor (Megan West) saga continues. If there’s anything positive to be said about the way the relationship was handled in this episode, it’s that Buck came clean of his own accord. It took a lot of effort to portray Taylor in a sympathetic, after essentially giving this character nothing to do during her entire tenure. It’s an unfortunate position the show has left her in. There are few worse feelings than being so trapped. As we approach the end of the season, maybe something good can come out of this story. 

Hen (Aisha Hinds) has been given precious little time on screen this season. The stories she’s been given have mostly regulated to being a supporting act to other characters. Although she completely owns every story she’s given, it’s a shame we don’t get to see more of her journey to being a doctor, for example. This episode featured some amazing Hen moments, but there was still a sense that there’s a lot more to this character than we’re allowed to see. 

The new characters didn’t make much of an impact this episode. Lucy (Arielle Kebbel) was dismissed as a ‘random’ woman Buck kissed…even though, they work together? Hardly a random relationship. Jonah (Bryce Durfee) got a brief moment to help in a medical emergency before promptly never being heard from for the rest of the episode. Perhaps as the series comes to an end and other characters fade into the background, these characters will be given a more prominent role with stories of their own. This was not the episode to give them the spotlight. 

9-1-1: L-R: Guest star Anirudh Pisharody and Oliver Stark in the “Fear-O-Phobia” episode of 9-1-1 airing Monday, April 11 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: FOX © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX.

Finally, there were the choices the show made about Eddie (Ryan Guzman). He’s still very much on the sidelines, and that’s definitely not a bad thing. It remains to be seen how the series will handle this story. While it’s certainly commendable that the show is addressing the PTSD a character like Eddie would be suffering from, it’s too bad it may ultimately be the venue with which to dismiss the character from the show, or continue to have him fade into the background.

The latest episode of 9-1-1 was a throwback to earlier days of the series. This show is arguably at its best when it embraces what it is; a campy, over-the-top procedural with characters we can love. This episode tried its hardest to get us back there, with varying levels of success. While this episode may not have been perfect, it was by no means among the weakest of this series so far. 

9-1-1 airs Mondays 8/7c on Fox.

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