I say this knowing full well the enormous weight of the statement: Wednesday night’s episode of 9–1–1 was the wildest one yet. Those who have been watching Fox’s ridiculous emergency-responder procedural know how high the bar is. Last week was a “slow” episode by the show’s standards, but that still meant an Indian wedding erupting into deadly chaos when the dance floor collapsed, sex-addict firefighter Buck (Oliver Stark) considering using a pool floatie to rescue a child trapped on another floatie in a pool surging with electricity, and Connie Britton’s emergency dispatcher, Abby, having phone sex with Buck after even more reminders that she is extremely single and lonely.
But Wednesday night’s episode, “Heartbreaker,” used the backdrop of Valentine’s Day for a colossal shitstorm of love-related catastrophes — the episode began with a tiny plane doing an emergency landing on a golf course, and, on my life, it only got more ridiculous from there. I hope your schedule is open; it’s going to take a while to break this all down.
The Wildest Shit That Happened on 9–1–1 This Week
You know a 9–1–1 episode is going to be hardcore when it begins with a plane — Week 4 saw a giant airliner crash into the Pacific Ocean after being introduced to an eye-roll-worthy collection of passenger stereotypes. It was just a small, two-passenger plane this week; a couple flying over Los Angeles and revisiting some of their early dating memories in the sky.
It’s cute for about 60 seconds until the engine peters out and the pilot asks his girlfriend to turn the emergency manual to the last page. She is, understandably, freaking the fuck out, but as she’s going through the instructions, her boyfriend’s gambit becomes clear. “Confirm the pilot is head over heels for the passenger,” she says with a bewildered smile. Hell yes: This is a fake-plane-crash proposal. “Will you be my copilot?” the guy says, oozing with cheese as he takes out a ring.
Unfortunately, this man created such a shocking, high stress environment that his fiance-to-be had a heart attack mid-engagement-flight.
Who can blame her? Imagine thinking the engine of your plane just died and you’re probably going to crash! And die! And then a dude is like, “Oh JK, now please make this other life-altering decision immediately.”
At least the heart attack leads to perhaps the best 9–1–1 call in 9–1–1 so far.
Abby suggests that it’ll take too long to fly to a regular airport and asks if he can pull off an emergency landing somewhere. Naturally, there’s a golf course just below where the plane is hovering. Try to imagine for a second what this experience would be like for a golfer on the ground just trying to get in a quick nine before lunch.
When the firefighters arrive on the scene, they learn it wasn’t a heart attack but broken heart syndrome — it’s a real thing — caused by the combination of the emergency-landing fake-out and the woman’s thyroid medication. She wakes up just in time to both accept the proposal and slap her now-fiancé hard across the face. “Love hurts,” Golden Globe–nominated actress Connie Britton says with a straight face over the phone.
Back at the fire station, a familiar face has returned to work: Chimney! I assumed Kenneth Choi’s character would be out of commission for a while — or maybe, like, forever — after a metal spike went through his head in Episode 3. But it turns out that the metal spike went through a perfect place in Chimney’s head, as if that’s possible. All that’s left is a gnarly scar.
To celebrate Chimney’s return, the gang got a cake and — well, see for yourself.
Let’s compare that with the real-life version, shall we?
Is that the most tasteless “Welcome back!” cake ever made? Chimney seems chill about the whole thing, but there’s gotta be a small part of him that’s bothered by the fact there’s a cake reliving what is, surely, the most traumatic experience of his life. What if you lost your leg in a car accident and your coworkers were like, “Look, an ice cream cake that’s a stump! We’re going to cut off slices and eat them.” At one point Chimney says, “I need you people like I need a hole in the head,” which, to me, reads less like a joke and more an admission that he’s aware he has some seriously twisted peers.
Because this is the Valentine’s Day episode of 9–1–1, Buck and Abby finally decide to go on a date — a relief for all viewers who were uncomfortable with Connie Britton phone sex and/or wanted her character to just live a little. Buck takes her to a fancy Italian restaurant. Italian food is relatively pretty easy to digest; it’s mostly soft pastas and sauces, not a lot of bones. And yet, wouldn’t you know it, Buck found one of the only foods in the restaurant that you can choke on: a piece of bread. No, really.
I did not expect a python-beheading, sex-addicted, adrenaline-fueled badass to be bested by complimentary bread — and, clearly, neither did Abby. This is where her experience as an emergency dispatcher came in handy. Knowing the paramedics wouldn’t arrive in time, she got on the phone with another dispatcher to walk her through an emergency tracheotomy; in other words, she went from zero to “I’m gonna make an incision in this man’s windpipe so he can breathe again” real quick.
I will refrain from showing this — no surprise, it’s kinda disgusting — but props to Abby for being so calm about having to cut open her hot date’s neck. She saved his life. Buck needs to take Abby on another date and also take smaller bites.
However, Abby didn’t even have the wildest Valentine’s Day experience; that honor goes to Angela Bassett’s policewoman, Athena. Athena decided to work the Valentine’s Day shift because she’s dealing with trouble at home. She recently found out her husband is gay and dating another man, and her daughter tried to kill herself after being bullied in school. One of Athena’s calls brings her to the home of Melora (Megan Ferguson), after a neighbor reported hearing some distressing stuff from inside the house.
Now, as the viewer, we know that Melora just had an extremely awkward dinner with her shitty boyfriend, Ted (Ian Reed Kesler), who simultaneously insulted her cooking (“a little salty for my taste”) and tried to leave early so he could see his other girl. It looked like Melora was going to snap before Athena comes in. However, since Athena’s going through her own relationship troubles, she offers Melora advice that boils down to: Get a better man, you deserve better than this. Athena leaves, and Melora takes this advice to heart and butchers Ted.
This cannot be what Athena meant!
After the murder, Melora invites Athena back to the house — which is suddenly lit by a thousand candles, to give off extreme “I have a dead body somewhere” vibes — and Athena quickly realizes something is amiss when she finds blood stains in the bathroom. Sifting through the house she finds what’s become of Ted.
This is the moment of Peak 9–1–1. Melora explains that she wished Ted had a good heart, because then he’d be a perfect boyfriend. Believing that Athena has a good heart, Melora says she plans to remove Athena’s heart and put it into Ted’s body. “If I can take your heart and put it in Ted’s all my dreams can come true,” Melora says, at which point we should realize Melora is … not doing too hot. She also called up and kidnapped Ted’s other girl, who is now trapped in the basement.
No joke, it isn’t until Ted’s third girlfriend knocks on the door that Melora is distracted enough for Athena to free herself and subdue Melora. “You’re his third date of the evening,” Athena bluntly tells girlfriend no. 3. “None of which he’s going to make because he’s dead.” Nailed it.
Like I said, “Heartbreak” was the wildest 9–1–1 episode ever — and it’s not close. Now, time for some weekly awards:
Worst Valentine’s Day Quote: No surprise, it goes to Ted after Melora says, “You told me you loved me!”
Ted, the consummate gentleman who kinda-sorta asked to be murdered, replies: “I tell that to everyone.”
Best Valentine’s Day Quote: Courtesy of Abby: “It was all going great until I had to cut a hole in his throat.”
Harshest Dig Directed at Abby for No Apparent Reason: When Abby is getting ready for her date with Buck, her mom, who is living with Abby full-time and has Alzheimer’s, tells Abby that she doesn’t “look like a whore at all.” Uh, thanks mom?
Best Angela Bassett Live-Tweet:
9–1–1 is taking a hiatus for the next two weeks, which, after everything that’s happened in the first six episodes, is probably best for our health.