9-1-1 returned for the back half of its second season on Monday in the most 9-1-1 way possible, delivering a facelift gone wrong, an out-of-water shark attack and a (potentially) fatal final twist.
Let’s begin with a quick summary of the night’s events: Athena and Maddie worked together to reunite two kidnapped children with their parents, though both had bigger drama awaiting them at home. In Athena’s case, her parents were visiting — one of whom is not a fan of her being engaged to
a white man Bobby.
Meanwhile, Maddie was supposed to have her first date with Chimney, but Doug’s unexpected arrival complicated things. Not only is Chimney now bleeding out on the front walkway, but Maddie is once again living her nightmare as Doug’s captive.
Below, 9-1-1 showrunner Tim Minear breaks down the premiere’s biggest twists, offering a taste (pun absolutely intended) of what’s to come for poor Chimney…
TVLINE | First you impale Chimney in the head, now you leave him bleeding out. Do you all just get together and think of new ways to torture this poor guy?
It’s not lost on us, let’s put it that way. And we do reference it later in the season. The characters notice it, too. [Laughs]
TVLINE | As long as they don’t give him another tasteful cake…
Oh, God, you’re so ahead of the game. We reference that in an episode, and they decide instead to get … actually, maybe I shouldn’t say give that away. Let’s just say that whether it’s at his wake or at his welcome-back party, there is another cake in Chimney’s future.
TVLINE | This episode ended on such an insane note. What can we expect from next week?
We will not be forgetting where we are in the narrative, but we will be taking a slight left turn and doing the “Chimney Begins” episode in between the time he gets stabbed and the resolution as to what happens. Episode 12 is a tour de force Kenneth Choi origin story for Chimney that explains how he became a firefighter/paramedic, who he was before that, and really digs into his past and his story and how he came to this particular calling.
TVLINE | Well, I do love me a good origin story.
I think this one is really outstanding. It was directed by Jennifer Lynch, and there are things about it that are — dare I say it — rather Lynchian. She was very much not just a TV director. She’s an artist. We collaborated on something that’s very visual and puts you right into Chimney’s head. I can’t wait for people to see this big serving of Kenneth Choi, because he does everything.
TVLINE | You’ve told me that Jennifer Love Hewitt and Brian Hallisay’s real-life marriage adds additional chemistry to their scenes together. Is that still true even when those scenes are more violent and less romantic?
Weirdly, I think it is. It could be because they know each other so well. They bring that chemistry to every scene, whether it’s intense or even romantic. And you will see romantic moments between them. I don’t think Jennifer has ever been better. She’s so good in the upcoming episodes.
TVLINE | How will Buck react to all of this?
He will react in exactly the way you would expect. He’ll move heaven and earth to help his friend and his sister. He’s going to want to go rogue, so he’ll need someone to put that impulse in check, and that person will be Athena. So we get a great team-up between Buck and Athena while they go out and look for Maddie.
TVLINE | This episode was such a great peek into Athena’s psyche. Where did the inspiration come from?
The first inspiration came from having Angela Bassett on my TV show. The vocabulary of the show is large. In this episode, we have those great Athena moments, but we also have the crew rescuing a shark and returning it to the water. We can do all kinds of tones on this show. I wanted to find something that could sustain Angela and give her some real meaty screen time. The actual case was inspired by a few real-life cases that interested me. I also wanted to show more characters that exist outside of the frame of the show, like her parents. While she and her mom might go at it, and there’s some real tension there, we see the tiger mom-ness Beverly Todd’s character has instilled in Athena.
TVLINE | Athena’s mom is strongly opposed to her and Bobby’s engagement. Will her words affect that relationship moving forward?
I don’t think she’s going to have her mom’s voice in her head, but there are plenty of other things that will complicate Bobby and Athena’s relationship going forward. It isn’t always your mom. Sometimes it’s the crazed, insane villain who’s out in the world who’s after you.
TVLINE | We didn’t see much of Eddie this week. What’s he up to?
We’ll continue to explore Eddie and his wife’s reconciliation, as well as their co-parenting with Christopher. That will reach a flashpoint before the end of the season.
TVLINE | Fine, but I’m still pulling for Buck and Eddie.
You and Twitter.
TVLINE | What can we expect from Buck in the coming weeks?
For the back eight, the things occupying Buck will be his job, potentially saving his sister and one of his best friends, and finding a place in the world for himself. He’s been living in Maddie’s dining room — a dining room Maddie won’t be super excited to go back to after her potential first date was stabbed on the patio.