Following Hen’s fatal roadside cliffhanger, Monday’s 9-1-1 revealed whether Aisha Hinds‘ character still has a future with the 118. And because this is 9-1-1, Hen’s nearest and dearest also faced new traumatic nightmares of their own.
Let’s start with the good news: Hen isn’t going anywhere. Not only did the investigation into the accident determine that Hen wasn’t to blame for the young woman’s death (damn you, faulty street lights!), but she also got a new appreciation for life after bumping into Stacey — the life coach who inspired her to become a paramedic in the first place — at a wellness retreat with Karen.
Meanwhile, Tara called Maddie to intervene after shooting her abusive husband in their home, a harrowing event that understandably triggered painful memories of her own fight to the death with Doug; Buck apologized to Eddie for being M.I.A. during his illegal street fighting phase; May wrote a college essay about the pseudo-shame she feels about Athena’s profession; and Bobby inhaled a troubling amount of potentially fatal fumes, though he appears to be OK for the time being.
Below, Aisha Hinds takes TVLine inside Hen’s emotional ordeal, from the process of shooting the initial incident to the hopeful future her character now has with Karen.
TVLINE | First of all, I was very relieved to see that Hen is back on the team.
The people were so worried! Actually, it was split. Some people were worried, and other people were like, “It’s Hen, come on. She’s strong, and she’ll get through this.” I’m glad those fans have so much confidence her, but I’m also glad that she had this opportunity to unravel, because it really showed a deeper layer to her.
TVLINE | It must be gratifying to play a character that so many people love.
It is. A lot of people have coined her as the glue, or “Mother Hen,” someone who brings perspective into the mix. She’s such a great friend, especially in terms of her dynamic with Athena and Chimney. It’s wonderful to get people enamored with her, and also to have them rooting for her when she’s the one in need of a friend. There’s a saying, “check on your strong friends,” and that’s very true for Hen. Even though she’s full of strength, she’s also going to need some support when life hits her hard — or when she hits life hard.
TVLINE | Speaking of which, the end of the last episode was devastating, especially given how little dialogue it involved.
I loved that beautiful imagery of Athena literally holding Hen up. A lot of those beats weren’t planned, actually. There was so much authenticity that needed to bleed through in that moment, and if any moment didn’t ring true, the whole thing would fall apart. It was such an intense moment, but also so fragile — for this young lady, for Hen, for the job, for everything that was going on. It played really beautifully, and I think that speaks to the relationships that we’ve all established, both on and off camera. As I was looking at everyone and seeing how concerned they were for me, the lines blurred a little bit. Like, were they concerned for Hen or for Aisha? It was a beautiful orchestra of events. I was so glad we got to take the audience through that moment, even though everybody on Twitter is always getting mad at the show for making them cry every week. Hopefully, everybody can breathe a sigh of relief now that they know she’s on her way to getting back on her feet.
TVLINE | And how “on her way” is she? Will this continue to weigh on her in future episodes?
[Laughs] You know, things on 9-1-1 move so quickly. I remember when the rebar went through Chimney’s head. We were like, “Oh my God! Is he gone for the season? This is a rebar!” But in the same way he was able to sort of bounce back and return to work in a few episodes, I think you’ll continue to see that Hen is going through a hard time. It carries into the next episode, and I imagine it’s something that will stay with her for the rest of her time on the series, always showing up in different moments. It may not be as overt in the episodes that follow, but that’s a life-changing situation.
TVLINE | I also love Hen and Karen. What has it meant for you and Tracie Thoms to establish and explore that relationship?
Tracie and I were friends before she was even cast, so when I heard that she was going to be play Karen, we were both so happy. We knew that we were safe with each other. And we enjoy getting to peel back the layers of their connection, but we also deal with these very real issues that families go through. We’ve been very happy with the evolution of Hen and Ren, as we call them. Getting to explore our family — and expand our family — is just so wonderful.
TVLINE | Does that mean they’re still trying?
They’re definitely still trying. They’re now realizing the bigger picture, which is that there are many ways to do this. That’s a huge conversation that I’ve been hearing a lot about lately. No one can ever tell you that you can’t have a child in this world. There are so many different ways to do it. They’re exploring those different ways, and it’s really sitting right under their nose.
Your thoughts on this week’s 9-1-1? Drop ’em in a comment below.