The first season of 9-1-1 ended on Wednesday night—I know, I’m heartbroken too. It feels like only yesterday that my editor asked, “Can you check out that ridiculous Ryan Murphy show?” to which I obviously responded, “Wait … which one?”
I figured the Fox emergency-responder procedural would go off the walls in the way most Murphy shows do. But I didn’t expect a baby getting stuck in a pipe during the pilot to be, maybe, the 20th wildest thing to happen on this show’s first season. That’s not an exaggeration—we’ve seen multiple women go into labor at a yoga class, a Valentine’s Day killer with plans to carve out Angela Bassett’s beating heart, an escaped zoo tiger eating a lion-killing dentist, and several harsh reminders that Connie Britton’s emergency dispatcher, Abby, has been single for a very long time.
At this point, the question isn’t whether 9-1-1 can continue to be this bonkers in Season 2—it’s when this second season is coming, because I’m not sure a good doctor or a magician detective will be able to fill the so-bad-it’s-good void in my heart (which no one has yet tried to carve out) after 9-1-1’s departure.
But before we turn to mourning 9-1-1’s post-season hiatus, let’s break down the wildest stuff from the finale, “A Whole New You,” revisit some of the most ridiculous moments of the freshman season, and reflect on some lessons learned from recapping the most absurd show on television.
The Wildest Shit That Happened on 9-1-1 This Week
Oy, mate, you are now reading this 9-1-1 finale recap. Cheers, bruv! This show is all sixes and sevens all the time, innit?
Ah, sorry, I accidentally slipped into the British version of myself. “But that’s not possible, and quite annoying,” you might say. Well, according to the first emergency on the 9-1-1 finale—in which a couple both called the police separately and said their significant other was acting strange—sometimes your accent and idioms can just become British one morning under very precarious circumstances.
This woman is not British. “She was born in Brooklyn,” her husband, David, deadpanned. She just woke up that morning with a bad migraine, some hiccups, and a brand new accent. As policewoman Athena (Angela Bassett) deduced, she actually had a bizarre reaction to a stroke. If that doesn’t sound like typical post-stroke behavior to you, well, that’s because it isn’t—but Bobby (Peter Krause) had his own theory for the woman’s suddenly British mannerisms.
Wow. “The brain is still the great unknown.” That’s such a great thing to say whenever you do something really dumb and need a quick excuse. Late to work because you missed your stop on the subway? The brain is still the great unknown. Forgot to pick up your aunt, who’s been waiting at the airport for hours? The brain is still the great unknown. Want to speak in a British accent for a day? The brain is still the great unknown. Cheers, mate!
Next up, Hen (Aisha Hinds) and Chimney (Kenneth Choi) visited a psychic—not for a palm reading, but rather, because one of her clients dropped dead. A relatively routine emergency for 9-1-1 standards, but here’s the thing: The guy was not actually dead! You know what’s a scary but seemingly unrealistic thought? Being pronounced dead when you’re not actually dead, and being put on a table so a coroner can carve you open for an autopsy.
Thanks 9-1-1, now I have to deal with this irrational fear—this is way less fun than pretending to be British! Snap out of it, comatose fake Damian Lewis!
The good news? The guy woke up! The bad news? The poor morgue worker fainted and sliced his leg open. Coma guy had the best 9-1-1 call of the season, though, saying only “Uhh …” before the show cut to commercial break. (I mean, how would you explain that?!)
Here’s how 9-1-1 explained this whole thing: Fake Damian Lewis had “narcolepsy with cataplexy,” which means he can both fall asleep at random intervals and remain conscious while paralyzed. I assumed it was some psychic voodoo magic, but this makes about as much sense. I’m not a doctor (I know, you’re shocked) but is it even possible for someone to have both conditions? (Yes.) Is there a small community of people in the world who can be pronounced dead at any time? Do they stage pranks? And of course, if you have this condition, can’t you wear, like, a bracelet or something so that you don’t have to nearly scare someone to death in a morgue? (Yes, you can.)
Anyway, once Chimney and Hen arrived at the morgue—don’t worry, the morgue worker was fine—they had a similar question for Fake Damian Lewis. “Each time, I’m reminded of how precious life is,” he replied. Again, that’s such a great, random excuse for doing something really dumb. Ordering Popeyes at midnight on a Friday? Each time, I’m reminded of how precious life is. DMing your ex? Each time, I’m reminded of how precious life is.
Sometimes in life, however, you do really dumb shit. Like this dude—to be more specific, DAVID WALLACE FROM THE OFFICE—who wanted to buy a motorcycle because he was having the same midlife crisis as virtually every other dad in America. David Wallace, when did you move to Los Angeles, and why are you buying a motorcycle?
Right. Unfortunately, you know where this is going—David Wallace bought a sweet Harley, hit the road, and got distracted by an attractive driver in another vehicle.
The accident was really, really bad—like, “completely sliced in half” bad. When Bobby and Athena arrived at the scene, he was still alive—but not for long. Despite how unrealistic that would be, I genuinely mean this: The sequence was quite moving.
The biker dad was able to talk to his son, who was waiting at home to check out the cool Harley, one last time. “I would have felt just as good if I was on a 10-speed bike, ’cause I knew I was coming home to you,” he said over the phone. “I love you, son.” Bike-related metaphors aside, the moment touched me—as well as Bobby, who had a rare display of emotion on the job and needed to be comforted by Athena. [Clears throat] That last part will be important later.
Finally, we check in with 9-1-1’s resident couple: sex-addict firefighter Buck (Oliver Stark) and Abby, who is not single anymore! Unfortunately, Abby’s mom, who lived with Abby all season and had Alzheimer’s, died, and Abby was understandably distraught. Adding more to the drama was the multiple women who approached Buck claiming that he was hitting them up online and then ignoring them.
Considering he is a self-professed sex addict, this is bad news! Did his thirst get the better of him?
Thankfully, Buck had been a good boy. There was someone using his likeness online—as Chimney posited, because he was seen on the news saving lives and is, ahem, a snack—and was catfishing women online. Buck and Chimney tracked down the guy’s address (of course it was in a trailer park) and discovered that the man didn’t just suddenly ghost these women: he died.
He must’ve been dead for several days, because his body was bloated AF. Buck felt bad for the man, so he suggested they embalm him on the spot so he could be less of a blob and die with some respect. Suffice to say, this was disgusting.
But hey, Buck did not cheat on Abby! Unfortunately, Abby is going away for a while—she wants to travel to Dublin, which her mom always dreamed of doing, and also because Connie Britton’s 9-1-1 contract was for only one season. “I’m hoping she’ll come back, and I think she wants to because a hit is a hit is a hit,” Murphy assured on Wednesday.
A hit is a hit, the brain is still the great unknown, and each episode of 9-1-1 reminds me of how precious life is. And now, some final weekly awards:
Most Unexpected Coupling: You know how Athena comforted Bobby in his time of need? That was sweet. Athena’s had a rough season—dealing with her divorce chief among them—and Bobby’s just had a rough life. Lest we forget, the guy was an alcoholic who started a fire that killed hundreds of people—including his entire family. He’s a firefighter because it’s his penance.
Well, perhaps because these are two tortured souls in need of companionship, Peter Krause and Angela Bassett kinda look great together, 9-1-1 just wanted to spice things up, or a combination of the three, this happened:
If Abby’s going to be MIA for a while, we needed a new 9-1-1 couple to root for. I was previously shipping Chimney and Bobby, but you know what? I’ll stan for Athena and Bobby—can we call them “Bena”?
Best British Slang:
Most Outdated Reference: The guy who was catfishing women as Buck was doing so … on Myspace. WHO IS STILL USING MYSPACE? 9-1-1, are you actually taking place in 2004?
Best Angela Bassett Live-Tweet:
And now, because we have ended our 9-1-1 journey for the season, let’s hand out some year-end awards—and impart a few lessons learned from recapping this wild show.
Best 9-1-1 Call: The guy in the Valentine’s Day episode whose girlfriend had a heart attack mid-proposal—on an airplane!
Wildest Emergency: There were so, so, so many good candidates, but I’m going to have to go with the bouncy castle that took off during strong winds with two kids and an adult inside.
Best Connie Britton 9-1-1 Call Reaction: When someone was being choked to death by a Burmese python in the series premiere.
Three Lessons Learned From Recapping 9-1-1:
1. Don’t ever question if the show can top its own absurdities.
2. If real emergency responders deal with at least 5 percent of the stuff the 9-1-1 crew handles every week, we don’t give them nearly enough credit.
3. The actor who plays Buck was not punched in the face and/or does not have facial herpes—that’s just a birthmark.