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9-1-1 Season 7 Report Card: A Solid Character-Driven Effort

Byadmin

Jun 14, 2024
9-1-1 Season 7 Report Card Collage

Ten episodes were not enough for the enormity of 9-1-1 Season 7.

Ten episodes were not enough time to spend with Athena, Maddie, and the 118.

But ten episodes is what we got, and we’re going to dive into the season as a whole, which started hot, with a multi-episode emergency that put two mains in serious jeopardy, and then barrelled into the finale equally as hot…with those same two main in serious jeopardy.

Even though things started with a big emergency, the emergencies felt like they were left on the backburner more than ever during this shortened season, with more time spent on character development.

That made for a thoroughly enjoyable season, with the characters always being the heart and soul of the action procedural.

That’s not to say the emergencies were non-existent. However, with their limited time, there did seem to be a conscious effort to almost re-introduce the characters to the new ABC audience and bring a lot of older storylines back to the forefront.

Related: What Losers in Love Could Learn from These Succesful TV Couples

If you scour the interwebs, you will find a very mixed reaction to the season, but when you break it down, it was far from bad or lackluster, though it was also far from perfect.

Join me as I discuss the season’s details, and as always, let me know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts in the comments section!

Best Episode – 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 9

To be fair, there were a lot of good episodes during this season, so it wasn’t easy to single out one hour when there were a few that you could easily make a case for.

But the penultimate episode was a game-changer. It was the one hour that was truly shocking and filled with difficult emotions.

We opened with the 118 and their families celebrating their medals, earned by their heroic efforts during the cruise ship rescue, and somehow, we ended with Bobby on death’s door, and the beloved Grant-Nash house burned to a crisp.

It was a devastating conclusion with a cliffhanger we hadn’t experienced in a while. There was serious doubt about Bobby’s well-being; the stakes had never felt higher than during that final frame.

In between the happier beginning and the heartbreaking end, there was some powerful storytelling.

Bobby continued to struggle in the aftermath of meeting Amir and memories of his childhood and the apartment fire, as well as Eddie’s continued relationship with his deceased wife’s lookalike which hit a fever pitch.

Eddie’s story went from zero to one hundred as he grappled with the consequences of his actions after a vulnerable and eye-opening conversation between him and Buck to doppelganger Kim trying to provide him with closure in the most inappropriate of ways.

When Christopher and Marisol walked through the door, and Christopher chillingly said, “Mom?” I imagine you could hear many gasps from the over 4 million viewers who watched the episode live.

Related: 9-1-1 Post-Mortem: Ryan Guzman Talks Eddie Relying on Buck & Eddie’s Season 7 Journey

And the hits kept coming in the hour; though Councilwoman Ortiz’s stopping of Henren’s adoption wasn’t the greatest storyline (more on that later), it still added something to the emotionally charged hour that felt like 9-1-1 at its very best.

Passionate? Check. Devastating? Double-check. Breakdown worthy? Triple check.

Best Character – Bobby Nash

This wasn’t easy, considering the number of characters on this series and the complex storylines they engage in.

But this felt like Bobby’s season from beginning to end, even if he went a little MIA in the middle.

All the characters had times when it felt like they were missing, but when they put Bobby front and center, his stories were among the best in a season that crammed a lot in.

The season began with Bobby and Athena’s struggles on the cruise; even before it sank in the Pacific, the two were at a bit of a crossroads as they set out on what should have been a stress-free vacation, but it was anything but.

Bobby, as we’ve come to know and love him, was patient with both Athena and himself, and Peter Krause (and Angela Bassett, too) gave an outstanding performance during 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 2, as Bobby and Athena raced against time to help save the ship and themselves.

That storyline alone could have been enough for Bobby and Athena, but it was only the start, as Amir’s presence opened up old wounds for Bobby that had never healed.

9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8 was Bobby’s hour, and the flashbacks to his childhood interspersed with him and Amir scratching and crawling their way through the desert was another standout hour.

We’ve known Bobby Nash for over one hundred episodes, and we have never known him better than throughout this season.

Best Storyline – Buck’s Journey

Okay, hear me out on this one because I know it ultimately fell a little flat for some, as Buck was essentially pushed a bit to the background once he and Tommy mended fences after their disastrous first date during 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 5.

Related: 9-1-1 Chronicles: A Look Back at the Series’ Most Impactful Moments

But this was a significant and influential storyline for Buck, who has spent years searching for something in his life and never entirely understood what was missing.

In discovering his sexuality, he unlocked a piece of himself, and you could see the weight lifting off his shoulders as he exhaled and started to understand himself all the better.

Buck’s journey was generally met with positivity from fans, many of whom felt even more connected to the kindhearted and generous firefighter. Representation is so important, and seeing Buck on-screen embrace himself and his truth was inspiring.

I’m not ignoring the fact that Buck’s story started to stall toward the end of the season, but we can be hopeful that this is only the beginning for Buck, as we have a 9-1-1 Season 8 to look forward to.

Worst Storyline – Councilwoman Stalls Henren’s Adoption

While Bathena were fighting for their lives, Hen was Interim Captain of the 118, and she found herself in a bit of trouble when a man died after a car accident, in which he appeared to be intoxicated and refused medical care.

It was a complicated situation, made all the more complex by the deceased’s mother being a Councilwoman in the city.

Hen was investigated and eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, but after receiving a medal for her brave actions during the cruise ship rescue, she met the Councilwoman for the first time, and things promptly went downhill.

Hen and Karen’s road to expanding their family has been fraught with problems, and Councilwoman Ortiz stepping in at the 11th hour to stop their adoption of Mara was very nasty business.

It felt like the obstacle was just thrown in to give them another hurdle, and frankly, I’m tired of seeing the couple struggle. Mara belonged with them, and everything about the storyline felt wildly unnecessary and left a sour taste in the mouths of many.

Best Emergency – Cruise Ship Rescue

Again, to be fair, there weren’t a lot of emergencies to choose from this season.

Related: Did 9-1-1’s Three Episode Ship Disaster Sink or Swim?

There weren’t as many rescues as we’re used to seeing in a typical season, but they went balls to the wall with the capsized cruise ship and nailed it.

The set pieces were extravagant, and they truly captured the feeling of the ship in its enormity. They treated those opening hours like a movie, and it did feel like you were watching something much bigger than a primetime network drama.

9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 3, which took place while the boat was upside down, was an incredible feat. It was also incredible to watch Bobby scale the ship to help lower poor Norman, who was hanging upside down with a hole in his stomach.

While the characters will always be at the heart of 9-1-1, the emergencies are just as essential and often the backbone for many hours.

The cruise ship was a killer opening emergency (probably second or third if I was in a ranking mood) and very much lived up to the promotional hype.

Best Romance – Tie – Bathena & Madney

Season 7 was a season for romance.

The season started with Bathena on their long-delayed honeymoon, and even though things started a little rocky for them as far as their marriage, by the time they were safely rescued from that ship, they’d never been more in love.

Love and respect have always been at the core of that dynamic. And as we saw, they hit another bump toward the end of the season, but that deep-rooted love was forever present.

We also got two adorably sweet reunions between the pair!

But Bathena wasn’t the only one with a super cute reunion. Maddie and Chimney found their way back to one another (a recurring theme in their union), as Chimney’s illness separated them on their wedding day.

Related: Love Is In The Air For These TV Couples

While their wedding was heavily derailed and highly emotional, their hospital wedding, while a little cliché, truly encapsulated their relationship. It was a little fitting, even if I wish they’d gotten the beautiful wedding they also deserve.

Hearing Chimney refer to himself as a husband and hearing the words ‘Maddie Han’ for the first time were two of the brightest spots of the season.

Worst Romance – Eddie & Marisol

I’ll follow in the series’ footsteps and not spend much time on Eddie and Marisol, whose relationship flamed out by the end of the season.

Marisol was fine as far as love interests go, but as we’ve seen over the years, 9-1-1 struggles with love interests that aren’t main characters.

They don’t know how to incorporate them into the larger plot, and they largely spend the majority of their screen time in their significant other’s homes and nowhere else.

Eddie and Marisol ended 9-1-1 Season 6 with an awkward phone call, and when Season 7 premiered, they were still going strong, but we had no other information about their relationship besides that fact.

Then they moved in together. Then Eddie found out she was almost a nun. Then she moved out. Then Eddie began an emotional affair with his dead wife’s lookalike, and she walked in on them in a passionate embrace after she took his son out for the day.

Marisol did nothing wrong, but she and Eddie were doomed from the start, and little to no time was spent exploring their dynamic.

Related: 9-1-1 Post-Mortem: Malcolm-Jamal Warner Talks Amir’s Decisions & Where Bobby and Amir Go From Here

In retrospect, it would have been better for Eddie to remain single, as his relationship did nothing to enhance his story.

They could have still gotten to the same endpoint without dragging that relationship along all season.

Best Guest Star – Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Best and Malcolm-Jamal Warner just goes together.

Amir came aboard at the end of the season, a man from Bobby’s past who came along, and things got pretty chaotic quickly.

Amir was a compassionate man who had suffered a lot in life, but he was still filled with anger when he encountered Bobby Nash.

He didn’t ask Bobby to follow him to the desert to make amends.

Still, that encounter ended up syncing their lives even further, whether they wanted it to or not. Warner played Amir so beautifully as a man conflicted with the warring emotions inside him.

Think about this for a second. We got to see Malcolm-Jamal Warner act alongside Peter Krause AND Angela Bassett. HOW LUCKY ARE WE?

Amir’s story wrapped up nicely during 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 10, but if he showed up again sometime, you would not see any complaints from me.

Overall Season Score – B

If A is stellar, C is average, and F is the worst thing you’ve ever seen, this season could be summed up as being slightly above average.

Hence the B grade.

Related: When Going Off the Rails Makes Excellent TV

There were many things to love about the season, which featured quite a few above-average hours and helped bring a spark back to the series that seemed to lose its way quite often in some of the more recent seasons.

The tight focus on the characters was excellent, though a few more emergencies would have also been fun.

There’s room for improvement and growth, and this season should leave you feeling hopeful, more than anything else, about what’s to come next.  

Whitney Evans is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lover of all things TV. Follow her on X.

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