Let’s begin with the bad news first: Monday night’s episode of 9-1-1 was the last installment of 2018. Tragic, I know—it seems like it was only yesterday that the wildest procedural on television came back into our lives with an inebriated woman getting her head stuck in a pickup truck tailpipe and Los Angeles’s finest firefighters inadvertently ingesting LSD-laced brownies. The show will be missed, and I will not be able to look at a Christmas tree this year and not imagine a thousand ways it might cause an accident—so deeply has 9-1-1 affected me.
The good news is that 9-1-1 ended its year with a bang. Monday night’s midseason finale, “Merry Ex-Mas,” featured a huge helping of Christmas music, decorations, and other festivities required for an entirely Christmas-themed week. It also featured several ridiculous, Christmas-specific emergencies for our firefighter heroes to jump into—including a factory worker who got wrapped in a giant present and Mistletoe drones. 9-1-1 is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Grab the strongest eggnog you can find: The last 9-1-1 Watch of the year is going to be a doozy.
The Wildest Shit That Happened on 9-1-1 This Week
If I’m to judge suburban Christmases solely based on how network dramas (and Christmas With the Kranks) treat them, every household is very petty and very competitive about their Christmas decorations. 9-1-1 introduced us to this dude, John, who is absolutely livid that his (admittedly solid) decorative Christmas spread is being overshadowed by his neighbor—again!—just because the neighbor is bribing people with warm drinks. “Christmas isn’t about competition. Just be grateful for what we have,” John’s wife tells him—but this is 9-1-1, so of course he does not heed her advice.
Please note that I don’t approve of what John does next, but I do understand his frustrations. He wanted to give his roof some Big Snowman Energy. It was just a bit more than he bargained for:
This directly leads into what might be my favorite 9-1-1 emergency call on this show to date, which, as 9-1-1 viewers know, is a very high bar to clear. But I mean—just look at this!
Thankfully, Christmas did not kill her husband. All things considered, John is actually in pretty good shape—and, as firefighter Chimney (Kenneth Choi) notes, a baby Jesus figure on the lawn helped break his fall. (9-1-1 loves it some divine intervention.) What’s more: People finally admire the house’s Christmas decorations, thanks to all this extra attention. “This is the best Christmas ever,” John declares on his way to the hospital—which says more about the sad state of his home life than he realizes.
Meanwhile, Santa’s elves—read: warehouse workers—are hard at work getting presents packaged to travel across the country. But one malfunctioning crane sends a poor worker right into a giant cardboard box. Once again, something breaks the fall: Instead of baby Jesus, it’s a whole box of packing peanuts.
When he eventually regains consciousness—fully in a package, shrink-wrapped and everything, on the back of a truck—he calls 9-1-1, and we are once again treated to an elite opening line to an emergency dispatcher.
Question: How did the worker know where he was being shipped to? He was knocked unconscious into a random box! Was that entire production line a bunch of presents going from Los Angeles to Milwaukee? How much more does he—you know what, nevermind. I’m thinking too hard about this, which is the cardinal sin of watching 9-1-1.
The worker is rescued just after the flight heading to Milwaukee takes off, and he’s stable enough to joke that he looked like a Christmas ornament (nice). But the low-key best part of that rescue is when responders teared open the box and removed the item he was being shipped with, which is a huge teddy bear.
You haven’t lived until you’ve heard a bunch of firefighters running on the natural adrenaline of the job dramatically yelling, “Get the bear out! Get the bear out!” before carrying a giant bear across a plane’s cargo section. Never change, 9-1-1.
Yet somehow, neither of these emergencies lived up to the Mistletoe drone. That’s right: Somewhere in the 9-1-1 Universe’s version of Los Angeles, there is a tiki bar that has mistletoe attached to a drone. And if you think that a drone operating inside a restaurant packed with people is a bad idea—especially in the world of 9-1-1, where any innocuous thing can suddenly become a giant death trap—well, you are correct.
This poor waitress loses part of her nose. (Apparently the hospital can just attach it back, thank god.) And look, I know I just chastised myself for overthinking 9-1-1, but what is the logic of a RESTAURANT DRONE? Is there one employee who spends the entire day flying the thing? How often do drone accidents occur? Is the drone usage at the tiki bar reserved only for Christmas, or do they adorn the drone with different things for different seasonal events? During Halloween, does the drone fly around the tiki bar with a small bucket of candy? (I guess I should direct my questions to the TGI Friday’s in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, THAT ACTUALLY DID THIS.)
I think my head is about to explode—or maybe I was just clipped by drone propellers. Let’s just move on to the weekly awards.
Worst Roommate: While it’s great that firefighter Buck (Oliver Stark) is finally willing to move on from Abby, the dude is treating Chimney’s living room like a freshman dorm room.
Chimney kicks him out and really, who can blame him?
Worst Christmas Pun:
Buck is having a really rough week.
Most Overt ’Shipping of Eddie and Buck: Buck tagged along with firefighter Eddie (Ryan Guzman) while Eddie’s adorable son Christopher go to one of those Santa meet-and-greets. Upon seeing this, I wrote down in my notes that they looked like an adorable couple. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who noticed.
I’m glad Buck doesn’t correct this old lady—he says, “uh, thank you” somewhat awkwardly—but he could’ve gone a step further, as this one excellent tweet from a 9-1-1 viewer suggests:
if i directed that scene, we'd have buck looking at eddie & christopher at a distance, a soft smile creeping up on his face with realization, then look at the woman and say "i know" #911onFOX— michelle☁️ (@jakej0rtles) November 27, 2018
Oliver Stark gave this idea his stamp of awkward approval, for what it’s worth.
Best Proposal: Firefighter Bobby (Peter Krause) and policewoman Athena (Angela Bassett) make me nervous. Not because there’s anything wrong with them as a couple—they’re great—but because 9-1-1’s protagonists run into dangerous situations on the regular. I don’t want anything to happen to either of them, but I also want them to be happy, and that sort of thing just won’t stand in a show like this. But when Bobby proposes at the end of the episode, you damn well know I cheered like it was a stoppage time goal at the end of a soccer match.
Know this, sadistic writers of 9-1-1: If you do anything to tragically break apart this loving couple, I will have no choice but rev up my drone.
And that, unfortunately, wraps up—get it, because Christmas?—9-1-1 this year. The show returns for the second half of its second season in March, so we’ll be reunited with its perpetually ridiculous mayhem and lovable firefighters before too long. In the meantime, if you miss the series over the holidays, I suggest revisiting some of the old classics—like that time a naked woman halted traffic on the freeway because she was pissed at her husband, or when that dude cemented his face inside a microwave. You know, classic 9-1-1 stuff.