(Warning: This post contains spoilers for the “9-1-1” Season 2 finale, “This Life We Choose”)
Ryan Murphy’s “9-1-1” ended its second season Monday night with a bang — a few of them, actually. The serial bomber story that started on last week’s episode of the Fox first-responder drama came to a close on tonight’s finale, “This Life We Choose,” when fans discovered the culprit was the kid whose father was sent to prison years ago for burning down their family restaurant, because Bobby (Peter Krause) and Athena (Angela Bassett) turned him in.
Luckily, the whole thing ended (mostly) OK when Bobby talked the kid down so no one on the team got blown up. But Buck (Oliver Stark) now has a pair of crushed legs to deal with, as he got pinned under the firetruck during the whole ordeal.
TheWrap spoke with “9-1-1” showrunner Tim Minear about the explosive conclusion to Season 2 and what’s next for Chimney (Kenneth Choi) and Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) now that they are finally ready to date, and for Bobby and Athena now that they are married.
Oh, and we also asked about that face maggot emergency because OMG.
See our Q&A with Minear below.
TheWrap: Where did the idea come from for the serial bomber to be the kid whose father Bobby and Athena helped send to prison during Bobby’s origin story episode, “Bobby Begins”?
Tim Minear: We knew we wanted to do kind of a serial bomber story and that we wanted our target to be targeted by the bomber on a personal level. So when we were talking about doing the “Bobby Begins” story, it felt like a great way of having that story end up to be even more. We seeded it into the origin story of who that bomber was and what’s great is you know you’ll have a busy finale with a couple of great rescues and some great moments with the different characters, so it felt like a great way to lay the groundwork and do the homework to set up something as big as a serial bomber without having to do a bunch of exposition in the finale.
Everyone made it out of the serial bomber situation OK, with the exception of Buck. His leg injury looks pretty bad. What can you tell us about his decision to rush into more surgery and if he’ll be back at work any time soon on Season 3?
Buck’s future is in doubt. Buck is having a real existential crisis. You know, this episode is called “This Life We Choose,” and that’s the life he chose. And he doesn’t choose another one. And it might not be possible for him to continue. It’s going to be a real challenge for him in Season 3 — we’re not just going to drop that. It’s gonna be, I’d say of all the characters going out of the finale, Buck’s future is in the most peril, it’s in the most doubt. So he will have some challenges to overcome.
Chimney and Maddie finally got together. Does that mean we’re in store for a real relationship next season?
You will see good things for them. I think what I wanted to see as a fan after all the trauma of Season 2 was to be reassured that the foundations of these relationships were intact. I don’t think it gained us anything to keep Maddie and Chimney apart. I thought it was incredibly honest to have them go through this trauma and not have them just become boyfriend and girlfriend right away. It felt right for her to take a beat and for them to both have time to reflect, but I wanted to go out on a hopeful feeling.
Why did you decide Bobby and Athena should just go to the court house and get married in the closing moments, with just her kids there, instead of carrying on with the wedding they had been planning?
It just felt right. We see that big gathering at the firehouse when Eddie is awarded his shield, and it’s off of that moment of contentment for Bobby that he continues with one of the major themes of the show, which is these people know life can change on a dime and sometimes planning is a fool’s errand. You have to live in the moment, you have to live life in the moment and not wait for it to happen, because you never know what’s around the corner. So it just felt like the right decision for these two people. It kind of, in a lovely way, I think, mirrored the proposal at Christmas, with Bobby coming in and saying, “You don’t wait when you know.” And as a TV writer, I wasn’t all that interested in playing a lot of, you know, the TV characters building up to a big wedding. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to not see the other characters acknowledge what has happened, but it just felt right to go out on this moment of hope. It is also, in a way, the perfect bookend to the end of Season 1, when you see he’s waiting for his date and you think it’s somebody he met online and it’s actually Athena. And they sit across from each other and it’s a whole world of possibility, and it’s kind of what we promised would happen there.
What will Bobby and Athena’s new life as a married couple and a family look like when we come back?
I like having on a show like this the Rock of Gibraltar, the relationship that isn’t in question, the one you aren’t worried about because you know these people are committed to people, and they are grownup people, and whatever problems come their way, they are gonna face together. And that’s Bobby and Athena for us. So I’m not gonna say problems won’t come their way. And I think we saw a little of it in “Broken,” where Harry came to Bobby, and Michael was conflicted about that. So I think there are challenges in any family and particularly in a blended family. So will it be smooth sailing? It will be sailing. Sometimes the waters can be choppy, but that doesn’t mean the ship isn’t steady.
The face maggot that the beauty influencer thinks is a zit she starts popping during a live stream — where the heck did that idea come from?
These cases are hard to come up with, they are hard to come up with. And [executive producer] Kristen Reidel, my absolute right-hand, we’d been up late and talking and trying to come up with another emergency for the finale. And she looked at me and said, “Tim, I have two words: face maggot.” And I said, “I’m in! I don’t know what that is, but I’m in!” And she talked about the botfly and mosquito is South America and suddenly it became so obvious the face maggot had to come for the influencer, the millennial. And I think we’re all fans, as most Americans are, of those videos on YouTube of people popping their zits. And it just kind of came together very easily and it’s one of my favorite cases that we’ve done.
“9-1-1” will return with Season 3 on Fox.