You may think you know how many ridiculous ways a citizen of Los Angeles may find him or herself literally stuck in something, but the powers that be behind 9-1-1 believe that you have no idea.
But they do. Oh, they do.
There are some obvious “I’m stuck” calls, like a woman in a car accident who needs the firefighters to use the jaws of life to set her free. But that’s about as “normal” as it gets. For instance, might you enjoy seeing a drunk girl get her head stuck in the tailpipe of a truck? You get to see that! What about a security guard chase some vandals on a rooftop only to get stuck in between two buildings? You get to see that, too! If that’s not your speed, a man changing money in an ATM vault gets locked inside and starts sending notes on people’s receipts in order to get rescued. That really happens!
I honestly enjoy 9-1-1‘s typical framework in which it tries tying all of one episode’s rescues to a theme — it’s kicky — but do you ever think someone is like, “Hey, isn’t it weird every call on this shift has to do with someone being stuck in something?” Someone should. Meta can be fun, too!
As great as these increasingly insane rescues are, the whole point of this “stuck” theme is to illuminate how many of our main characters are feeling emotionally trapped or stagnant in their own lives. This is television, after all! Bring on the emotional turmoil please and thanks.
Take Chimney, for example. Chim is feeling pretty great after getting another “all-clear” from his neurosurgeon (ah-ha! he hates being “stuck” in that MRI machine, get it?). Thank goodness we’re circling back to the fact that Chim got a piece of rebar shoved into his brain NOT THAT LONG AGO. It felt like we had breezed through his miraculous recovery only to forget it ever happened. On his way out of the hospital, he bumps into his ex-girlfriend, Tatiana. Who is now pregnant. And married. She apologizes for basically ghosting the dude while he had the aforementioned piece of rebar in his brain and tells him that seeing him so close to death really changed her life. She went on a 10-day retreat and found herself. Suddenly, the rebar in the brain is the least ridiculous thing about this entire situation.
Chimney walks away upset from the encounter. He’s the one who had the life-altering experience, but Tatiana is the one who altered her life. His has stayed exactly the same, save for that tiny scar on his forehead. The emotions don’t totally kick in until after a call goes bad. A young man is planning a very twee Ring Pop-based proposal for his girlfriend at the local mall (why, sir, why?), and decides to get down on one knee while still on the escalator and when he gets to the top, he falls through where maintenance had been working the night before. It’s probably penance for using the phrase “I love you to the moon and back” in his proposal. People of Earth, do not do this.
I shouldn’t joke because, well, things get pretty bad. The team comes to his rescue — he’s trapped underneath the escalator with a giant gear shoved into his leg — and all looks well as Chimney works his magic and then pulls him out. But the guy has lost a lot of blood and crashes. Chimney tries to revive him, but Mr. Ring Pop Proposal dies there, in the mall. It’s an insane tonal shift, even for this show.
Anyway, the loss hits Chim hard. Why did he survive and not this guy, someone who had so much to live for? It’s Bobby who finds his firefighter upset and tries to comfort him. Chim has a lot to live for too. He knows Chim doesn’t want to talk about what happened to him, but by pretending that it didn’t happen, he’ll never get past it. If those kind words don’t do the trick, Chim also takes solace in Bobby’s big, capable arms. Seriously, do they get bigger every episode? That’s not a complaint.
So, Chim sees Tatiana one last time. He thanks her for not pretending to want a relationship just because he, you know, had that rebar in his brain. It was harsh, but it was the best thing for him. Chimney is inspired by her, and the two part on good terms. He gives her a copy of his firefighter calendar as a parting gift. It’s time for Chim 2.0!