It seems like after two seasons, 9-1-1 has carved out Halloween as its highly-anticipated holiday episode and that makes sense what with people crawling out of graves and such. But after “Merry Ex-Mas,” I think the show should really embrace Christmas as its holiday. You’ll probably laugh, you’ll definitely cry, and you will scream into the abyss once you realize that yes, the ghost of Christmas Past is in Los Angeles and no one wants to see him — especially not Maddie.
But let’s talk about the fun stuff first. Of course, there are some excellent holiday-themed rescues: A neighborly Christmas light fight ends with one man being thrown from his roof after inflating a giant snowman too quickly (don’t worry, the inflatable baby Jesus below breaks his fall); one man at a packaging plant gets inadvertently knocked into a box that gets packed and shipped off to Milwaukee until Maddie helps lead the team to a cargo plane and they cut him out of the box; a Marine trying to surprise his daughter at her Christmas concert is on a bus that gets slammed by a truck, he ends up unscathed and the firefighters get him on their truck and rush him to the concert where he reunites with his daughter while she sings “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” — both Buck and I sob; and yes, of course, a “Mistletoe Drone” at a restaurant ends up taking a waitress’s nose off. Because why not?
You guys, holiday rescues are both exhausting and adorable! Rescues aside, a lot goes down with our regulars.
Eddie and his estranged wife are most definitely not estranged anymore, by which of course I mean, they are having a ton of sex. Yet still, with as much fun as they’re having, Eddie isn’t ready to let Christopher know that his mom is back in town. When Christopher gets home early and Eddie and his wife are still in bed, Eddie makes her sneak out the side. That does not sit well with Shannon. She confronts Eddie at the firehouse (one place where they can’t end up in bed together…that feels like a challenge, doesn’t it?). She knows that he has the power in this situation since she’s the one who left, but he needs to figure out what he wants.
Poor Eddie, you Sad Hunk (they’re the best hunks, aren’t they?). He is battling with the idea of trusting Shannon again and it takes a little Christmas magic to help him see clearly. He admits to Buck that Shannon wasn’t the only one who ran away from this family. When Christopher was diagnosed, Eddie decided to re-enlist. He said it was about patriotism and duty, but really it was about getting out of his home situation. That confession, along with seeing the military family reunited at the Christmas concert, has Eddie rethinking things. What pushes him over the edge though is when Christopher tells him that he asked Santa Claus to find his mom. You think this kid can’t be any cuter and then he does something like this.
Christopher wakes up on Christmas morning and follows an arrow made out of wrapping paper on the floor directing him outside to a giant Christmas tree (he always wants trees too big to fit inside the house) and yes, his mom is there. The Diaz family reunites and the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes.
BUT YOU GUYS: They are not the only family coming together on Christmas. Okay, so the FOX promo department kind of blew the big surprise but it is exciting nonetheless: Um, Bobby and Athena are engaged!
Most of the episode, it feels like things are headed in the opposite direction, but our boy Bobby comes through. Athena kicks things off by asking Bobby to move in with her. She’s happy when he’s there and she’s lonely when he’s not — why not just be there all the time? The look of panic on Bobby’s face is immediate. Athena tries to explain that she’s only letting him know that she’s open to taking the next step with him, but it is too late. Bobby is freaked out.
Thank goodness for Hen, right? I mean, we’re always thankful for Hen, but especially for her role in making Bobby and Athena get over their issues. She comes upon a paralyzed-with-fear Bobby. He doesn’t know what to do after the shift is over because if he goes to Athena’s, she’ll want an answer from him — if he doesn’t go, well, he’s basically giving that answer. Hen informs Bobby for neither the first nor last time, that he deserves to be happy. Later, she makes sure both Bobby and Athena understand that the scariest thing is not knowing how things will turn out and because of that, giving yourself to another person is a big freaking deal. Say no more, Hen. Bobby has been moved.
You know what our boy Bobby does? He visits Athena on Christmas Eve and gives her a gift in a jewelry box—a gift that he cannot wait any longer to give her. It’s a key! Of course, they should live together! As she is looking at the key in the box, Bobby gets down on one knee and flashes her a ring. He doesn’t want to just take the “next step,” he wants to take every step. He loves her, damnit! And there is no hesitation in her answer: Yes, she’ll marry him. Definitely. Duh.
How are you feeling, dear reader? Warm and fuzzy and full of the Christmas spirit? Great, because it’s time to crush your heart a little.
Chimney is trying his best to make Christmas fun for Maddie this year. Buck says that she loves the holiday, but for some reason hasn’t decorated or even got a tree yet! How insane! Here’s the thing boys, if a woman who typically loves a certain thing suddenly stops doing that certain thing, it’s probably not because she forgot about it. There is probably a very good, most likely intensely personal reason for her stopping that certain thing. What I’m saying is: Don’t just bombard a lady who recently ran away from her abusive husband with a giant tree and bags full of decorations. Your heart is in the right place, but no.
Still, Chimney gets some tree advice from a rando at the tree farm, who introduces himself as “Jason Bailey” and offers up a lot of information about trees, and then vanishes into the night like some sort of very tall tree elf. When Chim and Buck show up at Maddie’s with the tree and fixings, she basically throws them out. She doesn’t want any of this.
Chimney tries to make things right. He visits the only movie rental store still in existence in search of Die Hard (we get it, it’s a Christmas movie). Oddly, he runs into Jason Bailey again. He’s glad to see him because he suddenly realizes that he’s without his wallet and Jason offers to pay for his rental. (I still can’t believe Chim is renting a movie.) On Christmas Day, he shows up at Maddie’s with Die Hard and takeout, offering her a quiet holiday. When he walks inside, he sees that she’s gotten herself a tree and finally, she explains things a bit: Christmas brings up a lot of stuff regarding her husband. She spent Christmases with him pretending to be a happy, perfect couple and she was tired of pretending. Last Christmas, she decided to run away. But she tells Chim that she’s not going to let her husband take the joy of Christmas from her — he’s taken so much already.
And then we get a flashback to that last horrible Christmas Maddie had with her husband. If you haven’t guessed it by now, yes, Jason Bailey is actually Maddie’s abusive husband. And then in the present, we find him in his car outside of Maddie’s apartment. He stole Chimney’s wallet in the rental place and now he knows exactly where Maddie is.
Maddie’s past has caught up with her — bah humbug, indeed.