'9-1-1's Penultimate Episode Puts Athena & [Spoiler] in Danger (RECAP)

911 Season 3 Episode 17 Recap Athena Case
Spoiler Alert
Jack Zeman/FOX

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 17 of 9-1-1, "Powerless."]

9-1-1 is ending its third season with a bang. After all, the penultimate episode puts one main character in a serious, potentially deadly up-close-and-personal fight and ends with a glimpse at the finale disaster.

In "Powerless," Athena (Angela Bassett) gets a major lead on the serial rapist case, one that results in the 118 rushing to the scene. Meanwhile, Josh (Bryan Safi) — off Maddie's (Jennifer Love Hewitt) advice — has the chance to take back some of the power he felt he lost due to Greg's attacks by reading a statement in court.

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Athena's investigation is going to take a troubling turn in the final episodes of the season.

Elsewhere, Michael (Rockmond Dunbar) goes for a scan and meets a man when a power outage traps the two in an elevator. Plus, Karen (Tracie Thoms) worries Hen (Aisha Hinds) is cheating on her until she reveals that she's thinking about medical school and talking to the surgeon she met through work about it. Karen's relieved, but Chimney (Kenneth Choi) isn't ready for his best friend to leave him.

And of course, there's the highly-anticipated finale return everyone's talking about. But did Connie Britton show up in "Powerless"? Read on to find out.

911 Season 3 Athena Serial Rapist Case

(Jack Zeman/FOX)

Don't Jinx It

Athena's picking up extra shifts due to her work on the task force to track down the serial rapist, so Bobby (Peter Krause) is the one picking up the kids from Michael's. Michael uses his brain tumor to get some extra time for photos before May's dance, and he admits that he's bracing for bad news from an upcoming scan. Bobby gets that because "the thing about bad news, you never see it coming."

Meanwhile, Athena and Detective Ransone (Sasha Roiz) have hit a bit of a roadblock when it comes to finding Jeffery Hudson (Noah Bean). There are no recent charges on his credit cards, he hasn't been back to his house or office, and they can't find his car. Furthermore, they don't have any physical evidence proving he raped anyone, just videos of a man in a mask attacking women.

But they get a break as they confirm the identities of the women on the videos. One of them reveals that the man took her necklace. If they find that and anything else he might have taken off his victims, they have evidence and can put him away.

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The actor takes us inside 'Eddie Begins' and discusses his character's relationship with his son.

After mapping out Jeffery's movements based on his credit card charges, the only oddity is a coffee shop nowhere near any of his other stops. When Athena checks it out — in the evening, as everything is closed due to a power outage — she notes a self-storage facility nearby and calls it in to Ransone. That could be where Jeffery's keeping his trophies.

A Fight for Her Life

After noticing a door propped open, Athena calls 9-1-1 for backup as she makes her way through the facility ... so Maddie hears when Jeffery attacks her from behind. Help rushes to her location — including the 118, with Bobby only able to listen as his wife fights for her life. It's brutal, and it just gets worse when they hear a gunshot. (Raise your hand if you had flashbacks to Hotch, Haley, and Foyet on Criminal Minds.)

911 Season 3 Episode 17 Bobby

(Jack Zeman/FOX)

Once on scene, Bobby leads the 118 into the building before it's even clear. They find Jeffery cuffed to a pipe, and Athena very bloody and bruised, sitting against the wall nearby. Hen and Chimney immediately check on her, and she's barely conscious as they load her into the ambulance.

But fortunately, Athena's going to be okay, though she needs to stay in the hospital for a few days. And Bobby will be okay, too, as he deals with seeing Athena like that and hearing what happened. Michael helps him with that — by giving him a sledgehammer to destroy the fireplace. (He'll build Bobby and Athena a new one.)

"9-1-1, What's Your Emergency?"

Early on in the episode, the 118 is on their way to help a young girl stuck in a hot air balloon flying away. Buck (Oliver Stark) remarks that 9-1-1 gets a lot of calls of that nature, and Eddie (Ryan Guzman) assumes Maddie told him. "No, someone else," Buck says, clearly setting up Abby's return.

But fans don't have to wait until the finale to see Britton again — or for Abby's first interaction with Maddie. In the final scene of "Powerless," Maddie answers a 9-1-1 call and learns of a major train derailment. The person on the line details the injuries and even tells her who to send. Maddie notes that it sounds like she's done this before.

"Yeah, but I was on your end of the line," Abby says, and thankfully, she's able to walk around. (How worried should we be about that head injury?) "I used to be a 9-1-1 dispatcher."

Welcome back to 9-1-1, Connie Britton!

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