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The Reality Behind '9-1-1', Season Finale Edition: Bloated Bodies, Fake Brits, And Goodbye Connie Britton?

By Tori Preston | TV | March 22, 2018 |

By Tori Preston | TV | March 22, 2018 |


Last night 9-1-1 served up a seriously satisfying season finale. I’m not saying this show suddenly right-turned into being The Wire or anything (though can you imagine if that happened?!), but it managed to balance interesting emergencies with solid, not-forced personal growth on the part of the responders. Maybe it’s precisely because it was the season finale that all of the personal stuff seemed to gel for once — this wasn’t the time to inject more senseless drama into their lives, but to resolve the drama that had already been thrust upon them. And to its credit, the show did that gracefully. Perhaps not realistically (it’s still a Ryan Murphy joint, after all), but like I said: it was satisfying.

So in honor of that, I’m gonna kick things off by talking about the most exciting personal developments, and then we’ll dig into the wackadoo calls-of-the-week. Ready?

Bobby’s On The Prowl, Buck’s An Adult, And Abby’s Taking A Vacay
To be fair, it feels like we haven’t gotten a whole lot of personal stuff on the Bobby front recently. We found out about his family, and his guilt, and then about his magic baby-saving blood, which gave him a reason to live. So his abrupt interest in dipping his toe into the dating pool may seem a little sudden, but I’ll allow it because the whole thing starts with him taking dating profile selfies in the men’s room.

CHEESY KRAUSE SELFIES IS MY NEW SEXUALITY. I laughed so hard during this scene that my dog sat up on the other side of the couch and judged me. Which, like, fuck you, Taco — you bark at traffic lights and stiff winds. You keep your judgment to yourself.

Because Bobby is the least subtle motherfucker in the room, his fellow firepeople quickly figure out that something is up with their captain — and then they gather ‘round to critique the poor man’s also-cheesy dating profile. In their defense, though, Bobby did write things in his profile like “I’m a lifesaver not a heartbreaker” and that he likes flan, so they were really doing him a favor. Not that there’s anything wrong with flan, I just feel like flan is so delicious that there’s no need to bother even talking about it. If you HATE flan, then that might be notable enough to mention. But ANYWAY. The conversation takes a fascinating turn when Buck points out that he’s the most stable dater at the table. And… he’s not wrong. He’s grown up and is making it work with Abby, through some seriously tough times (remember, her mom just passed away). Meanwhile, Bobby is, you know, still dealing with the fact that he’s the reason his family died, and hasn’t been on a date since he was in his 20s. Chimney had a piece of fucking rebar through his skull not too long ago, which ended his relationship. And Hen cheated on her wife.

If you asked me after the season premiere whether Buck would be a stable and mature-ish character on this show, I’d have given you the Taco judgy-face. In fact, I ended my review of the premiere by saying of Buck: “Here’s hoping he grows the fuck up, sooner rather than later.” And here we are! What I’m saying is, I totally willed this into being.

But sadly, it might not last. The episode ends with Abby deciding to take a long trip to Dublin in honor of her mother, but also to find herself. Buck takes the news like a champ, saying with tears in his eyes, “I am excited for you… almost as much as I am sad for me” — a sentiment that’s so perfectly expressed, only a TV writer would realistically come up with it. And when he drops her off at the airport, he tells her he’ll wait for her.

But here’s the thing: Connie Britton might not be returning for Season Two, as she only signed up to do one season of the series as a favor to Ryan Murphy. In an interview with TV Line, Murphy says:

“We’re in the process of renegotiating her deal so she can come in and do a couple of episodes to keep her character alive. She really loves the cast and crew and she’s very hopeful that that can happen.” [A spokesperson for Britton confirms that the actress is in talks to potentially return as a guest star.] “And, in the interim, we will be casting other parts in that call center. We’re going after big names.”

So we’ll have to see next season whether Buck’s newfound maturity lasts.

But back to Bobby… who ends the episode on a date with motherfuckin’ ATHENA! I don’t care if it’s blatant fan-baiting to have Peter Krause and Angela Bassett dress up and make googly eyes at each other. I don’t care if their characters have barely connected all season, and the whole thing seemed a bit rushed just for a happy finale ending. I don’t care because that shit just flat-out WORKED. I am here for it. I want them both to be happy together with their ageless beauty and defined biceps. And if Connie Britton’s Hair won’t be back next season, at least I’ll have this to look forward to.

And just to round things out, Hen makes it up to her wife, and Chim maybe sorta bags a new lady. Everybody wins! Except for all the people who died or almost died this episode. Oh right, about that:

She’s Not British, She’s Stroking Out

The first call of the episode involves a woman hiding in a bathroom from her husband (played by the eyebrow kid from Nip/Tuck!). But what appears to be a domestic disturbance at first glance is actually a very concerned husband, whose Brooklyn-born wife suddenly woke up that day with a bad case of hiccups, chest pains, and a posh British accent. Sure enough, she’s having a stroke — a clot is blocking the oxygen from reaching her brain, which is having a very weird impact on her personality.

And that checks out. Severe hiccups are in fact a symptom of a stroke, and there are cases of stroke victims developing Foreign Accent Syndrom as the result of neurological damage.

What Is Dead Might Not Actually Be Dead

The next case starts with a man found dead at a psychic. Only it’s extra spooky because we, the audience, can hear the man speaking in voiceover, freaking out about how he isn’t actually dead. By the time he’s at the morgue about to be autopsied, the disembodied voice is even MORE frantic… until he finally manages to lift his arm and alert the coroner that he’s not so dead after all. The poor coroner, by the way, faints immediate and seriously cuts himself with his own bone saw, so the first thing the not-dead dude has to do upon waking up is call 9-1-1 himself.

Turns out the patient has narcolepsy with cataplexy, a potent combination of uncontrollably falling asleep while also losing control of muscles to the point of paralysis. And it’s a very real combination — there is one woman who has mistakenly been sent to the morgue three times because of it!


We all tend to laugh at mid-life crises, those obvious bouts of existential dissatisfaction that only the purchase of an expensive new toy seems to cure. But the thing about expensive toys is that they can be deadly if you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing! And that’s what happens to the 50-year-old man who buys himself a bright red motorcycle against his wife’s wishes. He’s so excited to get home and show his son what a badass he is that he doesn’t even realize he’s been t-boned by a truck and literally cut in half. By the time Bobby’s crew arrives, the man is still talking while his torso bleeds out and his legs are still wrapped around his new purchase on the other side of the road. He calls his son to apologize for being late, tells him he loves him… and then dies.

And, uh, look. It happens. I found fucking videos of this shit on YouTube, which I will NOT be embedding because I like you all and nobody needs to see that shit. Instead, let me tell you about Truman Duncan, a man who somehow miraculously survived being ALMOST entirely cut in two after a train ran over him. He had enough time to call 9-1-1 and his family, and yet he pulled through even after losing more than half the blood in his body and undergoing 23 surgeries. So let’s focus on the happy outcome for once.

Catfishing’ll Kill Ya

So what started as a minor b-plot in the episode — women approaching Buck to scream at him, accusing him of connecting with them online and then ghosting them — takes a serious turn when Buck and Chimney realize that someone has been impersonating Buck online. So they track the catfisher down to a trailer park… where they find him dead, bloated and forgotten after lying undiscovered for, like, 10 days. And when I say bloated, I mean he had ballooned up to twice his actual size. Buck then feels bad for the poor guy and wants to remove him from the trailer without causing a spectacle in front of the onlookers. So he tries to pop him.

I shit you not. Buck stabs the body, in front of the coroner, thinking it’ll just, like, deflate. Oh, Buck. That’s not how that works, dear boy. So now the coroner needs to start draining the body on the spot using large tubes, and OMG is there a lot of foul squirting going on. IT’S SO GROSS.

And oddly enough, this is the one case I can’t find a real world correlation to — though perhaps that’s because searching any combination of the words “dead man” and “bloated” turns up reviews of the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie or Daniel Radcliff’s Swiss Army Man. But I’ve seen Se7en and I think it’s safe to say that dead bodies bloat, and if you poke them they’ll squirt. That’s my takeaway.

And that concludes the first season of 9-1-1! I hope you enjoyed the weird, wild, absolutely kind of real cases behind the sensational emergencies that the same handful of attractive Los Angelenos had to tackle each week at the behest of Ryan Murphy. We’ll see you next season, when Peter Krause and Angela Bassett save humanity with their arms and hotness.

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Tori Preston is the managing editor of Pajiba. She tweets here. You can also listen to her weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.