Bobby Nash is The Saddest Man. He’s allowed to be since he’s suffered some unspeakable tragedies, but still, sometimes it’s like, perk up dude — you’re dating Angela Bassett. At the moment though, he’s extra-sad. It is nearing his late daughter Brooke’s birthday — she would’ve been 13 — and it is hitting him hard. He especially feels it while having dinner with Athena and her kids (you guys, they all have dinner together!) and learns that May is getting ready for the upcoming Homecoming dance. He’ll never reach that milestone with his own daughter, and it crushes him. He has to get out of Athena’s house immediately.
So it’s an especially great time for Bobby to have to deal with a nosy traffic reporter trying to make a name for herself and his entire firehouse getting dosed with LSD from “appreciation brownies” left at the station. Yep, that happens. What a world! What a show! Let me explain.
The episode kicks off with a downed traffic chopper. You already know this traffic reporter is terrible before you meet her because she makes a quippy newscaster remark as the helicopter is going down: “Taylor Kelly with your morning traffic update and we are going down!” Why does anyone even want to save this person? I know, I know, it’s their duty, but she is terrible.
She remains terrible even after they save her — there was a crash landing in baseball bleachers, but everyone is totally fine — and she shows up at the firehouse with a camera guy looking to do a story on the unsung heroes of the city. Hen correctly guesses that what Taylor really wants to do is use her new fame as the victim of the helicopter crash to her advantage. Everyone is into it — Buck especially, who can’t stop flirting — except Bobby. He wants nothing to do with her and thinks she’s a distraction. It could be dangerous.
Yet still, Taylor has the permission of the LAFD Chief, so she and her cameraman tag along on actual calls. Like the disgusting one to an exotic animal store where an eating contest is being held and one of the contestants passed out. You’re going to wish they were scarfing down soggy hot dog buns in this contest, but no — it’s bugs. The victim has crickets flying out of his throat. Another contestant passes out once a giant roach-like things start CRAWLING OUT OF HER MOUTH. It is nauseating. Also, please note that this ridiculous call takes place and it is not even the major event of the episode. More important things than gross, giant bugs escaping human mouths happen.
Our intrepid reporter also joins the squad when they get called to a bodybuilding competition. One of the contestants gets stuck in a “double bicep pose” because he’s so dehydrated. He’s basically a human charley horse. And yes, his name is Charlie. Seriously, this show is a treasure.
It’s during this call that Bobby really lets Taylor have it. They need people to trust them, even men with “exploding quads,” and that’s really hard to do when they have a news crew pointing a camera in their faces. Bobby wants nothing to do with Taylor, and so it becomes her new mission to make him talk on camera.
She thinks she has her chance when fresh off stuffing their faces with some fudge brownies delivered to the house — unfortunately (fortunately) Chimney misses out on them — they get a call for paramedics and everyone goes out except for Bobby. Very quickly, it becomes apparent that everyone, except Chim, is high off those brownies. They must have been laced with something. What does Taylor do as she realizes Bobby is out of his mind and hallucinating his dead daughter? SHE HAS HER CAMERAMAN KEEP FILMING. She most certainly does not let someone know that a fire truck just left to go help someone in need and it is full of high firefighters. No, that would be the right thing to do and she is a garbage human.
Thankfully, Athena is already at the call — two pageant moms got into a fight and one ended up with a high heel through her face, also NOT A BIG DEAL — and she sees that Chimney is the only firefighter present who even knows where he is. Although it’s wonderful to see Hen tell Athena that she smells like love, Athena takes charge of the situation.
Unfortunately, there’s no one back at the house looking out for Bobby. He goes on and on with his hallucination in front of Taylor, until finally, he ends up on the roof of the firehouse. Athena gets there in time to talk him down, but not before having a lengthy discussion about how Bobby can see Brooke, a bright light floating in the sky, and how maybe now Bobby can really say goodbye to her. Honestly, why did they have to go so serious with this? The juxtaposition of Buck and Eddie wondering if they’re giants at the tiny tot beauty pageant with Bobby hallucinating his dead daughter is too much, even for this show.
They all come down off their high and aren’t in any trouble since the LSD definitely came from the anonymously gifted brownies. Still, Bobby is worried about Taylor’s piece that’ll be on the news. It could ruin him. Or at the very least, be extremely embarrassing.
Taylor’s piece airs and surprise, surprise, there’s nothing mentioned about the LSD and Bobby is barely in it. It’s a lovely story on the firefighters — it highlights the fact that Hen was hit by a stray bullet at 16 and paramedics saved her life, which is why she decided to become one. Buck thinks that Taylor was so kind to them, and cut the LSD stuff because she has it bad for him (of course). When he goes to talk to her afterward, he learns that she wanted to tell the story about the LSD and humiliate Bobby because that was the better story, but the LAFD lawyers shut it down. So Buck, too, learns how horrid Taylor is and moves on with his life.
When Bobby finally brings himself to watch the story, he pays particularly close attention to the interview with Sandy, the owner of the exotic animal store from their earlier call. Sandy speaks very highly of the firefighters and then begins to talk about how burdened they must be and how she wants to lighten that burden for them, to help them find clarity, etcetera, etcetera. Basically: Bobby knows this is the chick that sent them LSD brownies. It’s a good thing he and Athena go over to her store to confront her (is this a date for them? Not judging, just asking), because they find her tripping her face off on the LSD and realize she’s set all of her animals free. Sandy apologizes — she just wanted to give the firefighters clarity. Athena gives possibly the best response ever given on this show: “In my line of work, that’s called a felony.” And now we know why Athena tagged along on Bobby’s adventure.
With the brownie mystery solved, and avoiding major humiliation from his trip caught on camera, Bobby should be feeling relieved. But he’s not. That LSD trip, regardless of the fact that he didn’t choose to take the drug, means he’s only a few days sober now. He’s struggling. It felt so good to be high, he tells Athena. He wants to feel that good again. Athena, of course, is the strong partner he needs her to be. She reminds him that he doesn’t have to carry all of this pain and guilt by himself. He doesn’t have to struggle alone anymore. She is there for him. It’s all very nice.
And then it gets even nicer. After the talk with Athena, Bobby’s feeling a little better. He decides to be there for the big Homecoming dance send-off. He’s snapping pictures of all four Grants together (Bobby and Michael are like best buds, apparently), when May pulls Bobby in to be in a photo with the family. Obviously, the gesture doesn’t diminish Bobby’s grief over his own daughter, but at least it signals that he might not have to be The Saddest forever.
Oh! It looks like Bobby and Athena won’t be the only 9-1-1 couple for long. Maddie has Buck, Eddie, and Chimney move her into her new apartment and she ends up with a big ol’ crush on Chim. That’s not a typo! Buck assumes she’s into Eddie, but she’s not! Chimney sets up her home security system — he’s protecting her — and they instantly connect.
She’s having a tough time sleeping, worried that her husband could show up at any moment. One call hits particularly close to home, and Maddie ends up telling her very nice boss Sue some of the details regarding her marriage. We see a quick flashback to Maddie looking badly beaten up, hiding in her bathroom, scared out of her mind. Things were really bad. But she’s doing better now! And when Chimney stops by to give her a housewarming gift, she asks him to stay for a movie and some popcorn. How exciting!
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