‘Station 19’ Showrunners Break Down Vic’s Public Meltdown in Episode 5: She ‘May Not Have Hit Bottom Just Yet’

Peter Paige and Zoanne Clack tell TheWrap about celebrating the 100th episode with a Space Needle emergency, and what’s ahead in Season 7

Barrett Doss and Jaina Lee Ortiz in "Station 19." (Credit: Disney/James Clark)

Note: This story contains spoilers from “Station 19” Season 7, Episode 5.

“Station 19” celebrated 100 episodes with a big emergency at Seattle’s iconic Space Needle, and an even bigger blowup by one of the show’s main characters.

Thursday’s new installment, titled “My Way,” followed as the firefighter crew ventured to the heart of Seattle to respond to a dangerous call at the iconic landmark. This marked the first time the “Grey’s Anatomy” universe has featured action at the Space Needle (“We had pitched it for years on ‘Grey’s’ but it never came through,” coshowrunner Zoanne Clack told TheWrap.)

Though the action-packed episode led to a successful rescue operation — despite Ben (Jason Winston George) and Robert (Boris Kodjoe) nearly dying — the hour saw Vic (Barrett Doss) reach a breaking point after the emergency, after she publicly admonished the mayor for budget cuts affecting the fire department, including the dissolution of the beloved Crisis One initiative she was running out of the station.

“[Crisis One] was the one thing she was holding on to. Her professional life was so intact and she was still doing her job, but she was already burning out and under pressure and she just snapped,” Clack said in a recent interview. “Personal life is one thing, but when you come after something that she’s loved and nurtured, there had to be a breaking point.”

“[Now] she has to try to keep her job, that’s the first thing,” coshowrunner Peter Paige added. “And I’ll say this, Vic may not have hit her bottom just yet.”

Vic had been struggling for some time, after the loss of her best friend Dean (Okieriete Onaodowan) and her breakup from Theo (Carlos Miranda). Clack teased that Vic will have to fight for her job after her public meltdown, but the road ahead — new episodes return May 2 — comes with a “healing journey.”

The hour also felt like a fitting celebration of the firefightrer drama’s 100-episode legacy, featuring Andy Herrera’s (Jaina Lee Ortiz) pinning ceremony and owning her new leadership role as captain during the call, and Natasha Ross’ (Merle Dandrige) engagement to Robert.

TheWrap spoke with Paige and Clack about the landmark hour’s biggest moments and what to expect from the second half of “Grey’s” spin-off’s final season.

ABC’s “Station 19” stars Jason George as Ben Warren, Danielle Savre as Maya Bishop, Josh Randall as Captain Sean Beckett, Barrett Doss as Victoria Hughes, Merle Dandridge as Fire Chief Natasha Ross, Boris Kodjoe as Captain Robert Sullivan, Jaina Lee Ortiz as Andy Herrera, Carlos Miranda as Theo Ruiz, Stefania Spampinato as Dr. Carina DeLuca, Jay Hayden as Travis Montgomery, Grey Damon as Jack Gibson, and Pat Healy as Michael Dixon. (ABC/James Clark)

What made you decide this was the time to feature the landmark on the show?

Clack: It was an iconic episode, and we wanted an iconic save.

Paige: At one point we were considering going to Korea for the 100th episode, and we were trying to make it work, but after the strikes and the amount of time to prep something like that to go international… we weren’t able to make it happen. Then we were like. What can we do that is iconically Seattle. Something that Station 19 has never done before. So we came up with this and then we almost instantly regretted it. (laughs)

It was phenomenal. We got an incredible crew and incredible producer, just everybody went above and beyond. The art department, what they accomplished is just really unreal. Daryn Okada, who directed it, just did an unbelievable job.

I have to follow up. Why were you going to take the show to Korea?

Paige: It was the 100th and we wanted to do something big and iconic. We have two characters who are half-Korean on our show, we thought we could bring some very interesting stories in there. And it is true that a lot of U.S. fire departments have trades with South Korean fire departments.

Clack: It was a nice way to get some backstory on some of our characters with some international flavor… I didn’t want to discuss it but Peter brought it up [laughs].

Paige: You and I are going to Korea together, just for a holiday.

Vic has been going through it this season so we knew she was due for a little meltdown. The episode ends with Andy sending her home, but I imagine that that won’t be the end of it after Vic messed with the mayor. Where does she go from here?

Clack: She’ll be on a healing journey.

Paige: Yes. But first she has to try to keep her job… And I’ll say this, Vic may not have hit her bottom just yet.

One of the episode’s biggest moments was Ben and Robert coming very close to becoming casualties during this call. But thankfully, they will ultimately saved. What are the odds that our firefighter crew is going to make it through this final season without another major death?

Clack: The odds are 50-50 I believe …

Paige: I mean, it’s a firefighter show in its last season!

Clack: Let’s say that again: in its last season. What have we got to lose?

That moment also led to a lot of joy, with Robert and Natasha finally getting engaged. Although I was loving how he was just casually proposing in every episode. What made this the right time for Natasha to finally say yes?

Clack: It was kind of Natasha coming into herself, and understanding what she needed. We thought that this nice middle of the season, right there in the middle of the 100th episode. We needed love, we had action. It seemed like the right time and the right place in the right situation for Natasha Ross to make it known what she needed to move forward.

Paige: And partially because she almost lost him, and it became clear to her that she was playing a dangerous game [waiting].

Andy had her pinning ceremony, and we got an emotional montage of some of her biggest moments from the series to commemorate this milestone for both her and the show. How did you approach crafting that sequence?

Clack: You know what I loved about her pinning was the contrast between the beginning and then when it gets picked up after the call, where it was just kind of like very boring at the beginning. And at the end, it was just like this culmination of everything, seven years of history and beauty and friendship and community.

Paige: For last week’s episode, we purposefully showed the biggest defeat we’ve really ever seen on Station 19 outside of losing one of our own. We did that to springboard Episode 100, and I think there’s something just really delicious in [Andy] finally achieving her life’s dream and everyone is unhappy. Then she gets to have this beautiful victorious journey right in front of us, on the biggest stage they’ve ever been on, trying to save one of America’s landmarks.

Jaina Lee Ortiz and Danielle Savre in “Station 19. (Disney/James Clark)

Last week’s episode also saw Theo leave the station, but not the show, as we see he’s now working with a private company alongside partner Dominic (Johnny Sibilly). Why explore that now?

Paige: Privatization is something that’s happening in a lot of industries, and in a lot of public services in this country right now. I think it’s something that we all need to be very cognizant of. It is being used to corrode public services, and it’s a really really dangerous game.

There’s a not-too-distant tipping point where only the wealthy will be able to afford the most fundamental things, like public safety. So we just wanted to dip our toes into that, we probably would have gone a little deeper if we had more episodes.

You’re all shooting the series finale right now. We have five episodes left. What can you tease about the second half of Season 7?

Paige: Our usual emotion, you’ll have some great cries, big gasps, your heart will get racing and also some laughs. We both really feel that it is such a privilege to shepherd this show … we want to make sure we land the plane as resonantly as possible.

Clack: There’s just a big sense of community that resonates throughout the last half. Just how we come together to support each other. Which is both, on the screen and behind the scenes… and I just made myself cry.

Paige: Today is the first day of production on the finale that I haven’t cried so far, so…

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

“Station 19” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Episodes are available to stream the day after they premiere on Hulu.


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