Fox’s original 9-1-1 returned last night, after its 9-1-1: Lone Star-shaped hiatus, and GOSH was it a relief. It felt like walking into the comforting embrace of your best friend after spending three months with strangers who kinda look like them, if someone ran your best friend through an old, grainy Xerox machine a few times. Speaking of poor facsimiles, we never did talk about last week’s two-part Lone Star finale, did we? Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. By far the best part of the night was when Judd mentioned that he’d heard about a firefighter in LA who survived getting a piece of rebar shoved through his skull…
… because Chimney’s near-death exploits are so transcendently amazing, they overshadow anything else the spinoff has to offer!
Thankfully 9-1-1 Classic’s mid-season premiere was chock full of Chim drama. It was almost a sequel to last season’s “Chimney Begins” flashback episode, picking up on Chim’s complicated family life and adding a whole new wrinkle in the form of his adorable 20-year-old half brother, Albert (John Harlan Kim) — who shows up on Chim’s doorstep looking for a place to crash, despite the fact that Chim has never even met the kid! Albert has run away from home, hoping for a reprieve from their domineering father. In his eyes, Chim is the mythic unicorn brother who stood up to their father and left the family, so Albert just wants to get to know him (and figure out why everybody calls him “Chimney” — though nobody will tell him). Of course, we all know that Chim didn’t leave his dad — his dad left him, and he’s always been jealous that Albert got the fatherly attention he never did. That jealousy flares further when Albert hits it off with Chim’s chosen family — Hen, Buck, Bobby, and all the firefighters at Station 118 — and Chim finally snaps, kicking Albert out. Ultimately Chim reconciles with his brother and invites him to stay with him, because he’s not a complete monster, though what’s refreshing about this plot is how well it balanced letting Chim be very wrong while also being completely sympathetic. I’m used to seeing his character be The Best, so it was nice to see him act like The Worst for a change (even if I felt for him every step of the way).
As for the rest of the heroes, they were mostly sidelined other than some quick updates. Buck gets a clean bill of health from his doctor, meaning that entire “Buck’s injured and wants to work and shouldn’t work and now he’s gonna sue Bobby” storyline is truly behind us once and for all. Hen and Karen finally meet their new foster daughter, and Athena’s ex-husband, Michael, decides he’s not going to get brain surgery and instead he’ll just… embrace what little time he has left with his family, I guess. I mean, look, the episode was titled “Seize The Day” for a reason (everybody kept saying it, over and over, because 9-1-1 hasn’t yet met a theme it can’t drive into the dirt!), but Michael maybe should aim to seize today AND tomorrow, you know?
Oops, I mentioned the theme, and you know what that means… THEMATICALLY RELEVANT EMERGENCIES! Thankfully, there were plenty to enjoy last night, and they were all pretty great. The cold open involved a mother/daughter skydiving excursion that ended before it even began… because their instructor was knocked unconscious and fell out of the plane! The good news is, he didn’t hit the ground. The bad news is, that’s only because his parachute was tangled on the plane and he was left dangling in mid-air. To rescue him, Bobby directed the pilot to fly low to the ground while Buck and Eddie SURFED ON TOP OF THE FIRETRUCK underneath it, catching the instructor and cutting him free before the plane touched the ground. It was wild, but no more wild than the multiple real-life instances I found of skydivers getting stuck hung up on their planes. It’s almost like… jumping out of an airplane with nothing more than a giant bag strapped to your back is super dangerous!
Other Carpe Di-emergencies of the night included a fisherman who struck a pose with a baby catfish, only for it to slip through his fingers and straight down his throat (true story!) and a deli counter meet-cute between a shy intern who writes a love poem to the hot guy he sees there every day, but is unable to read it to him because he gets clotheslined by some construction pipe outside (not sure if this one is real, but it’s ADORABLE and ends with a romantic ambulance date!). The best case of the night, however, involves two phrases that will haunt my dreams for the next week: “Fist-Sized Hole” and “Partially Eviscerated.” You ready for this?
A banker arrives to seize the property of a homeowner who defaulted on his loan. The owner refuses to cooperate, and while the banker calls 9-1-1 to report him as a trespasser, the dude hops in his tractor and runs over the banker. Bobby’s team has to first lift the tractor off the victim, then assess his injuries. Luckily he’s conscious and his limbs are responding, so they know his spine is intact. The only problem is that Chim feels something funny on the man’s back. So they roll him over… and discover that his intestines are spilling out of a “Fist-Sized Hole” in his back.
That’s all well and truly gross, but it’s not what makes this the best case of the night. Nope, what sealed the deal was the scene that takes place in the ambulance, after Hen and Chim have pumped the banker full of morphine. He’s loopy, and starts talking about how he hates his soul-sucking job stealing houses from people, so Chim asks him what he’d rather be doing. “I wanted to be a firefighter when I was a kid,” he responds, “but now I don’t think I have the guts for it.” Get it? Because he’s been “Partially Eviscerated”! BA DUM TSH! Anyway, they all share a much-needed chuckle. Morphine is a hell of a drug.