For an episode about a serial bomber targeting one of the 118’s finest, Monday’s 9-1-1 season finale ended on a surprisingly hopeful note. Not only did Bobby and Athena tie the knot in a private, spur-of-the-moment wedding ceremony, but Maddie decided she was ready to start something “new” with Chimney, and Hen’s wife Karen floated the idea of expanding their little family.
(Speaking of little families, raise your hand if you got a little weepy when Christopher brought Eddie his firefighter hat during his induction ceremony. Oh, everyone?)
Unfortunately, the hour didn’t end spectacularly for everyone. The person targeting Bobby planted a bomb in one of the firetrucks, which nearly crushed Buck to death in the wake of the explosion. Were it not for the strength of a hundred strangers, he might not have survived.
Below, showrunner Tim Minear discusses the episode’s many surprised — romantic and otherwise — and teases Buck’s road to recovery…
TVLINE | I was also glad to see Charisma Carpenter in this episode. I know she was supposed to be on earlier this season.
Yes, exactly. She was supposed to be in the premiere, but the censors wouldn’t let me shoot that scene. I’m actually glad, because I think this character was a lot more fun than the original one was.
TVLINE | That’s a couple I want to see more of. I’d actually watch an episode about any of this week’s calls.
That’s good. That’s the goal — face maggots and all.
TVLINE | Oh, that one was gross. But I did laugh at the messages on her live stream about how Buck and Eddie make a cute couple.
[Laughs] That was definitely a shoutout to the Twitterverse.
TVLINE | Not that I’m anti-joy, but what made you decide to give everybody a relatively happy ending?
It’s what I would have wanted as a fan. I wanted to go out on a hopeful note. I wanted to get rewarded with some of the things that were promised to me. If you look back at the end of Season 1, it’s not dissimilar. In fact, it’s a bookend. Bobby throws that book away and finally goes on a date — and holy God, it’s Athena! So this is the natural continuation of that, as well as a continuation of the way he proposed to her at Christmas. That all made sense to me. I also wanted to see Maddie come back to Chimney, and I wanted Eddie and his son to have a moment together. But it can’t all be roses, so we left Buck having an existential crisis.
TVLINE | At least you left him in an incredible apartment.
An incredible apartment!
TVLINE | Do you think Bobby and Athena’s friends will be mad that they weren’t invited to the wedding?
I don’t. And that was a calculated decision on our part. It felt like the right way to do it, because it felt like a continuation of the mission statement of the show: First responders realize that life can change in a dime, and you can’t always plan for it — so why plan for it? Just do it. The new configuration of the family is Bobby and Athena and Harry and May. Michael’s definitely part of that extended family, but it was most important for those four people to be there.
TVLINE | That makes sense. I also really like Buck with Ali, but I feel like he needs someone who understands his passion for his job.
With Ali, what was important — at least in this episode, which was about “this life we choose” — was to have someone who doesn’t choose that life, who’s outside of that and seeing it from a different point of view. It’s not like Abby leaving Buck in the first season finale; this is still just the beginning of a relationship. It’s a very grown-up woman choosing to face something honestly, and she really doesn’t know how she feels about it right now. So that’s where they’re at.
TVLINE | And I’m glad that Eddie isn’t going back to El Paso, but what made you decide to kill off Shannon last week?
Here’s the honest truth: A lot of the audience had trouble accepting her because of Eddie’s origin story, of how he came into this world with Christopher. [Ryan Guzman] and [Gavin McHugh] are magical on screen, so anyone who would walk away from that little boy — even if we hadn’t met her yet — was going to be facing an uphill battle with the audience. I saw a lot of fan reaction to the character. I did it make Eddie’s character more interesting and give him something to react against. He’s this single dad, a war hero, he doesn’t have that toxic masculinity — he was almost too perfect of a character. … But I do love Devon Kelly, who plays Shannon. She’s a great actor who reminds me of every ‘70s movie star I ever loved. And I can’t wait to work with her again.
Your thoughts on Monday’s 9-1-1 finale? Hopes for Season 3? Grade the episode below, then drop a comment with your full review.