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Fake Magicians and Imaginary Families: ‘9-1-1’ Watch, Week 4

This week on the wildest show on television, a plane with people having sex in it crashes, and Angela Bassett harasses a teen

Ringer illustration

Welcome to the second week of 9-1-1 Watch, a recurring blog in which this humble writer breaks down all the wild stuff that happens on Fox’s new emergency-responder procedural from the irreverent mind of Ryan Murphy. How crazy is this show? To recap the first three weeks: someone flushed a baby down a toilet, a python was beheaded while strangling a woman, folks were thrown off a roller coaster, a main character was impaled through the skull with a metal spike (and survived!), and a bouncy castle with people inside it went AWOL after a gust of wind.

I’m relatively confident the writing staff for this show is just a sentient, half-empty can of Red Bull and that teen who vaped a Tide Pod.

How can 9-1-1 keep topping itself from week to week if it’s burning through ridiculous scenarios at this pace? That question keeps me up at night, but Week 4 proved that the show has it covered.

The Wildest Shit That Happened on 9-1-1 This Week

I knew wild stuff was going to go down this week because the episode is seriously called “Worst Day Ever.” I mean, that’s saying something. Our main characters just saw their coworker, Chimney (a terrible nickname for a firefighter), with a spike lodged in his skull and that’s not their worst day ever? What could possibly be wor—

Oh crap, a plane crash!! That poor glass of cranberry juice! OK, this might actually be the “Worst Day Ever.”

Thankfully, our firefighter heroes Bobby (Peter Krause), Buck (Oliver Stark), and Hen (Aisha Hinds) are on the scene, but not before some ineffective attempts at character development. They’ve pretty much already fleshed out Buck: He’s a sex addict and he’s good at saving lives. Now, it’s Bobby’s turn. Hen and Buck (and in previous weeks, dearest Chimney, who’s still in the hospital because of the whole steel rod thing) have admitted they don’t know much about Bobby except for the fact he’s a “family man.” This is from my notes for Wednesday’s episode: “Bobby definitely doesn’t have a family for some fucked-up reason.” Let’s revisit that later.

At the scene of the crash, it’s not looking good when the heroes arrive to the slowly sinking plane. One of the passengers had his seatbelt lodged in his skin, and Hen literally rips it out of him. It is really, truly disgusting, and I never want to see it again. Elsewhere, Bobby is making a desperate attempt to save this woman who’s stuck to her seat, and she has a cute little kid who’s really bad at magic tricks who’s already been rescued, so you really want her to survive.

Right—you don’t know about the magic tricks. Let me back it up for a second. Before the plane crash happens, 9-1-1 shows one of the stewardesses making her rounds when she stops by this mom and her kid, and the kid’s all like “Wanna see some magic?” The stewardess picks a card out of the kid’s hand and he guesses it’s a jack of spades. He’s correct! Why is he correct? Every card in his deck is a jack of spades.

This is an affront to the real magicians out there; I bet Criss Angel is boycotting.

Bobby almost drowns saving the mom while pulling every trick in the Irrational Emergency Hero Stereotype—such as telling everyone else to leave without him, and telling said woman he’s not leaving her sight—but fortunately, the mom is saved and reunited with her bad magician son. Also somewhat funny: When Bobby’s bringing her to shore, it looks like he’s just saved E.T.

Bobby stares at the reunited mother and son longingly; long enough that, again, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have a family for some messed-up reason.

Meanwhile, police officer Athena Grant (Angela Bassett) is going through some emotional turmoil of her own. A brief recap on Athena’s existence on 9-1-1 so far: She found out her husband is gay and is dating another man, and her daughter tried to take her own life after being bullied mercilessly at school. I really feel for Athena.

Her “Worst Day Ever” is, in reality, a really entertaining day. She shows up at the house of the girl who bullied her daughter to essentially talk shit and arrest her for weed possession, telling the girl she received a noise complaint from her neighbors. (She did not.) “They called to say some skanky teenage hoe living up in here, bringing a real stank to the neighborhood,” Athena says. “Bringing down the property values and such. Imma have to guess that’ll be you.” Is this an irresponsible use of her public authority? Absolutely. Am I living for it? ABSOLUTELY!

Unfortunately, Athena’s ballsy arrest gets her in trouble after her sergeant figures out zero neighbors actually filed a noise complaint. As punishment, she’s placed on restrictive duty—“on the desk,” as they describe it in the biz. However, considering this show knows only one speed for its story lines—that is, baby-stuck-in-a-pipe speed—I doubt Athena will be on desk duty for longer than five minutes.

Finally, we return to the question: Does Bobby the firefighter have a normal home life, or is he a weirdo loner who eats dinner in the dark and talks to an imaginary family?

[Pretends to be shocked.]

And now, some weekly 9-1-1 awards:

Worst Airline Passenger: This is actually a four-way tie!

  1. The aforementioned magician kid
  2. The guy who says to the stewardess, “Babe, can I get another 7 and 7?”
  3. The guy who, immediately after, says to the stewardess: “On behalf of all men, I’d like to apologize.”
  4. The couple who decides right before the crash that they want to join the Mile High Club in the bathroom. (Regular planes don’t crash on 9-1-1. Only the planes with exhibitionists fucking on them crash on 9-1-1.)

Worst Emergency Responder:

Having had to call 9-1-1 before, I can say that this may be the most realistic moment on the show so far.

Best Passenger Rescue: When Buck saves the Mile High Club couple, who were trapped in the bathroom because some debris had jammed the door shut. Buck wisely attaches that debris to one of the emergency-responder dinghies to yank it free.

Buck yeah.

Best Angela Bassett Live-Tweet:

Come back next week as a dance floor collapses at an Indian wedding. (This is not a joke, I will never joke about these things.)