What ‘9-1-1’s Update About Chimney & Maddie May Mean for Their Future

Kenneth Choi as Chimney in 9-1-1
Spoiler Alert
FOX

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for 9-1-1 Season 5 Episode 7 “Ghost Stories.”]

Chimney (Kenneth Choi) may be one step closer to finding Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) after she left him and their daughter on 9-1-1, but is that the right move? That’s the question he’s faced with in the latest episode of the Fox first responder drama, and the answer may put off their family reunion.

Off a tip from Buck (Oliver Stark), who thinks he heard the bells of the Old North Church when he spoke with his sister, Chimney heads to Boston. But why would Maddie be in Boston, Hen (Aisha Hinds) wonders when he calls her. “That’s where she lived with Doug after they got married,” he says. Again, why? She can’t have happy memories there with her abusive ex-husband. “He was in medical school, she was in nursing school. They barely saw each other. She used to tell me it was the happiest point in their marriage,” Chimney explains. But if she’s there, why is Maddie going back to her past?

Upon arriving in Boston, Chimney stops to help a baby, and the EMT who arrives on scene is none other than Eli (Mac Brandt, seen in “Chimney Begins”). While Eli seems happy, he says to Chimney, “You don’t. Still trying to carry the world’s problems on your shoulders?” Chimney blames himself for what’s happened with Maddie, he explains. “Maybe I didn’t want to see [how bad it was]. She was struggling, and I felt like there wasn’t anything I could do other than drive her to her appointments or remind her to take her pills, so whenever she would tell me she was OK, I let myself believe it because it was easier that way, for me. So I could go to work, put on a happy face, not be filled with terror every freaking moment,” he admits. “That’s great for me, not so good for her.”

Mac Brandt as Eli in 9-1-1

FOX

But what he’s doing now is just that, too, Eli explains. “Maddie’s got this voice inside her head whispering lies right now, telling her she’s worthless, she’s a burden, that everybody she loves would be better off without her,” he says. “So how do you think she’s going to feel when you show up on her doorstep looking like a man who’s just been on a month-long bender? You’re going to confirm every terrible, dark thought she’s ever had, and the cycle of blaming each other is going to continue and you two are going to spiral further and further apart.” Rather, the medic suggests, Chimney needs to take a moment for himself. “You can pull yourself together so eventually when you do find her, you can be the Howie she needs.”

So what does this mean for the couple’s future? Well, we’re likely not going to get the reunion we hope to quite so fast. And that’s not too surprising, given that showrunner Tim Minear told TV Insider after the premiere that the beginning of the season for Maddie is “going to have some real reverberations and ramifications [through] the middle of” it.

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And even when Chimney and Maddie are back together, it’s not going to be a quick fix. There’s her postpartum depression and the fact that she feels their daughter isn’t safe with her. There’s how they communicated in those first two episodes: Maddie didn’t tell him she had to take Jee-Yun to the hospital (she was fine), and like Chimney told Eli, he knew she was struggling. That needs to change, too. Might going to therapy be something they should consider?

That being said, we do have our concerns about Maddie facing her past alone, especially given how she’s feeling right now. It may not be the right time for Chimney and Maddie to talk yet, but she has reached out to Buck; maybe it’s time for the siblings to connect again.

9-1-1, Mondays, 8/7c, Fox