(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Monday’s episode of “9-1-1.”)
The 118 is back and so are all their emergencies — both professional and personal. On Monday, Season 3 of Fox’s “9-1-1” returned from its long winter hiatus to find Howie/”Chimney” (Kenneth Choi) dealing with some very unexpected family drama, Michael (Rockmond Dunbar) making a controversial decision about his cancer treatment plans and Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) finally moving on from her traumatic past with Doug (Brian Hallisay).
TheWrap broke down all these threads from the episode, titled “Seize the Day,” with “9-1-1” showrunner Tim Minear, starting with Chimney’s storyline, which focused on the appearance of his 20-year-old half-brother Albert on his doorstep. Given the fact that his parents split when he was young, Chimney doesn’t know his sibling at all. His father left Chimney to be raised by his mother in America and went back to South Korea where he started a new family — the one that included Albert.
Chimney isn’t thrilled to meet Albert, who he immediately sees as a threat, and gets jealous when Albert starts to really get along with the 118 crew. But he, ultimately, realizes the reason Albert ran away from their father was because of how controlling he was and that Albert never wanted the life that was forced upon him, even if Chimney envied it.
“I think the appearance of Albert for Chimney allows Chimney to kind of see Albert as a marker to how far Chimney himself has advanced as a person and the life that he’s built for himself and to sort of get more of an appreciation of it by seeing it through somebody else’s eyes, in a way,” Minear tells us. “So I think it’s a positive turn for Chimney and will help bring his priorities into sharper focus.”
Let’s turn to what was going on with Chimney’s girlfriend Maddie during the hour, which was all about throwing away baggage and letting go of trauma. As “9-1-1” fans remember, Maddie killed her abusive ex-husband Doug last season in self-defense. But because that’s not something that you can just get over, in this episode, Maddie finally had to return to Big Bear, the site of her attack and Doug’s death, to let go of it all.
“For me, it felt like it would be so traumatic to, first of all, escape an abusive relationship,” Minear said. “And it would be so traumatic to be attacked and have your life threatened and the people who you love, to have their lives’ threatened by someone you used to love and who supposedly loved you.”
“And for her to have to take that matter into her own hands and kill Doug was so traumatic that I just felt like she couldn’t really move forward until she had a reckoning with that,” he added. “It has allowed her to exhale and move forward. I believe she is now free of Doug, and so I think she is a sunnier, more optimistic Maddie going forward.”
OK, that’s cool, because the 118 is definitely gonna need a lot of optimism going forward since Athena (Angela Bassett) and Bobby (Peter Krause) now have to navigate how best to help her ex-husband Michael. During tonight’s episode, they all had to reveal to Athena and Michael’s children that he was going to have surgery to remove the tumor in his brain that hadn’t responded to radiation. But by the end of the episode, Michael had decided not to have brain surgery and announced this to the concerned faces of Bobby, Athena and the kids.
“I don’t think Michael views this as not doing everything he can,” Minear told us. “There’s a certain mortality risk with the surgery itself, so he’s opted to at least, for the time being, explore other options before he allows himself to go under the knife in that way. So it may not be the right decision, but I don’t necessarily think it’s an irresponsible decision. I feel like he’s got to get his house in order, should the worst come to the worst.”
Minear added this is “definitely going to be a struggle for the family going forward in, how do you support somebody who is in that condition, but also is not doing the thing that you wish they would do?”
“There are complications coming just around the corner, particularly between Bobby and Michael, who have forged this great, adult friendship,” Minear said. “Mike is going to end up having to lean even more on Bobby going forward, and it’s going to be very emotional.”
Speaking of emotional, how about last week’s Season 1 finale of the Rob Lowe-led “9-1-1” spinoff series “9-1-1: Lone Star”? Since Minear is the showrunner on both first-responder dramas, we just had to ask him what his plans are for a possible crossover, should the highly rated “Lone Star” get renewed for Season 2.
Could it be that a disaster of epic proportions requires the “9-1-1” squad — based in Los Angeles — and the “Lone Star” crew — based in Austin, Texas — to come together for one giant rescue mission?
“For sure, oh, for sure,” Minear said. “Look, American first-responders went down to help out in Australia this year, so that’s definitely a possibility. I also see other ways for cases to cross state lines. So, whether it’s a face-to-face crossover or another kind of crossover, I think there’s opportunities for the shows to cross and I would definitely love to see some of these characters meet each other. I mean, in Episode 9 [of “Lone Star”], Judd (played by Jim Parrack) talks the legendary L.A. firefighter who had the rebar through his skull — it would be interesting to see him meet that guy.”
OK, we know that “legendary L.A. firefighter” is Chimney, and we’d love to see it, too.
“9-1-1” airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.