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9-1-1 – Buck, Bothered and Bewildered

by California Digital News

Spoilers ahead!

When it comes to TV shows, it’s hard to get to the hundreds — especially nowadays — so whenever a TV show completes 100 episodes, it’s a special occasion. Long-gone characters return as special guests, callbacks to the pilot and earlier episodes are made, main characters reflect on their pasts, and a love letter to fans is written as the episode celebrates the show’s journey.

Buck, Bothered and Bewildered, the 100th episode of 9-1-1, gets to be most of these things. It has a crossover with the ABC reality show The Bachelor, it has a returning character, it has some callbacks to the past and it sets some stuff up for the future. Also, it ends with a huge and special moment for a fan-favorite character.

“Buck, Bothered and Bewildered” — 9-1-1, Pictured: RYAN GUZMAN as Eddie, OLIVER STARK as Buck. Photo: ABC ©. All Rights Reserved

So let’s start with the crossover: it’s nice to see that with the show moving to ABC, there’s room for these new and exciting things to happen, like the 118 attending a call in front of the Bachelor mansion. I’m not familiar with this reality show, but it was a funny moment used as the opening call. And although I enjoyed it — especially since this had a nice scene involving Chimney (Kenneth Choi), Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and Josh (Bryan Safi) in full fangirl mode — looking back at the episode as a whole, I think it would be better if this crossover happened later in the season. Maybe the time used in this initial sequence could go to a short Hen/Karen scene, or some scene of the 118 reunited talking in the kitchen (you know, these quick ensemble scenes used to highlight the team as a whole, I think they’d make sense in this one special occasion).

The episode had also two other calls: one related to a man trapped in a sewer (which serves as a callback to the pilot incident of the baby stuck in a pipe) and another related to an injured woman who confuses her son with a home invader and kills him. The first one is attended by Buck (Oliver Stark), Eddie (Ryan Guzman), and Ravi (Anirudh Pisharody), and is used to highlight the confusing feelings Buck is experiencing in his life. The second one is attended by Athena (Angela Bassett), Hen (Aisha Hinds), and Chimney, and is used to mirror the problems Athena is facing with her returning son, Harry — now played by Elijah M. Cooper, in a recast that surprised me in the beginning, but made perfect sense by the end of the episode.

Harry returns after years gone (at least on screens, he last appeared in season 5), but this time he’s different: all grown-up and involved in a conflict with a convenience store owner, which resulted in a warrant out for his arrest. And just like the facially blind woman, Athena doesn’t recognize her son anymore. This plot was well-done, especially when it comes to the tragic accident between mother and son. Also, there’s a moment in which Elijah M. Cooper delivers his lines in such a powerful way — of course, Angela Bassett is always upping the game with her acting, but Cooper acting on a similar level was really good to watch. And I think what Harry had to say to his mother was deserved and makes sense even if his actions were not the smartest, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of Harry and Athena in the next episodes.

“Buck, Bothered and Bewildered” — 9-1-1, Pictured: OLIVER STARK as Buck, JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT as Maddie. Photo: ABC ©. All Rights Reserved

Okay, now let’s dive into the main parts of the episode, the ones related to Buck… Are you guys fine after what happened on Thursday? I’m still recovering. I wrote so many different versions of this review, and I keep having to rewrite it because they’re all mostly (screaming and crying sounds) (baffling noises) (incomprehensible phrasing choices as a way of telling the reader that the writer is going insane). Jokes aside, the journey they chose to write for Buck hits too close to home, so it’s hard to write about it (in the sense that I want to find the right words and do it justice).

What happened on Thursday anyway? A quick recap before I share my impressions: when visiting the place where Tommy (Lou Ferrigno Jr.) works, Buck discovers that Eddie (whom one could call his closest friend) is forming a close bond with the pilot. And this bond keeps getting them closer than ever, which triggers Buck and leads him to some unexpected and confusing places.

During the entire episode, Buck seems very jealous (and bothered and bewildered), and he doesn’t know what or who is causing this. During a conversation with Maddie, he seems to be envious of Tommy for taking his place in the Diaz family — he’s jealous of how Tommy impressed Christopher (Gavin McHugh), and he’s also jealous of how much time Tommy and Eddie are spending together.

Then, he starts fighting for Eddie’s attention, which leads to some of the funniest scenes this episode has to offer — I mean, Buck lifts weights without a spotter hoping that Eddie will notice him. Buck also orders a basketball to the 118 station hoping that Eddie will see it and invite him to play. Note: Eddie was always inviting Buck to play with him, but Buck always said no, then Eddie and Tommy started playing together… The rest is history.

“Buck, Bothered and Bewildered” — 9-1-1, Pictured: LOUIS FERRIGNO JR. as Tommy, OLIVER STARK as Buck. Photo: ABC ©. All Rights Reserved

All this jealousy becomes anger during a basketball game that ends with Eddie being hurt after being knocked down by Buck. At the end of the episode, Tommy goes to Buck’s place to apologize for everything that happened — he doesn’t want to “steal” Eddie from him or stay between them. Buck admits he’s the one to blame, and that Eddie can have many different friends — and as the talk goes on, Buck admits to a very surprised Tommy that he was trying to get Tommy’s attention, not Eddie’s. They share a moment full of flirting and tension and then… They kiss.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. The feeling that this would happen was there, but I kept doubting it until it came true. I know people will have different impressions regarding this revelation, but I was so pleased by the scene. Stark delivered such a nuanced performance the entire episode, filled with a range of emotions that went from confused to jealous to needy to angry, but then in this scene, he was so sorry, so flirty, and finally so relieved. He finally came to his senses in this climax greatly conducted by Ferrigno.

The episode ends with Tommy and Buck setting up a date, and with Buck stating out loud that “he’s free” — and that’s it for now. Buck is canonically bisexual/queer, and that’s super exciting! I don’t think it came out of nowhere, by the way, we got to watch Buck struggle with multiple relationships for years, and an unsettlement was stated multiple times for him relationship-wise. Also, Eddie’s importance to Buck was a huge part of this episode. Buck’s not only discovering himself with a man with some similarities to Eddie, but he’s doing so while stating verbally and nonverbally how much he cares for Eddie. Some years ago, the idea of Buck and Eddie becoming a thing, a canon couple, would sound like a fever dream, but now… Well, everything seems possible.

Now let me know your thoughts. What do you think about the 100th episode of 9-1-1? Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite moments, and thanks for reading!

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