‘9-1-1’ Kicks Off Season 4 By Putting [Spoiler] in Serious Danger Again (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 4 premiere of 9-1-1, “The New Abnormal.”]
Sergeant Athena Grant (Angela Bassett) may have chosen the worst day to go back to work after being attacked on the job last spring. In January 18’s 9-1-1 Season 4 premiere, the Hollywood Reservoir dam breaks, but that’s just the beginning of the trouble coming for Los Angeles.
COVID is no longer a major concern — people are social distancing and wearing masks, but it’s September, and infections are at an all-time low — but the disaster hitting (and about to get much worse) very much is. Athena’s back in uniform but on desk duty, as her husband, firefighter Captain Bobby Nash (Peter Krause), and ex-husband, Michael (Rockmond Dunbar) have discussed (one of the best relationships on the show). “I’ll be alright,” she promises.
She isn’t quite there yet, and everyone who knows her knows it. “What happened to Athena was devastating. It made her question everything, her ability to do the job,” firefighter and paramedic Hen (Aisha Hinds) points out to her captain. “That can’t be an easy thing for a woman who counts on nobody but herself.” They know Athena needs to get back out there.
And getting back out there is exactly what she ends up doing with a landslide potentially heading for a residential area. So much for wanting to “ease back in.” She coordinates an evacuation, only to find a woman, Sylvia (Lilli Birdsell), who refuses to leave but is right in the middle of the possible danger zone. It only takes a glimpse at Sylvia’s shoes for Athena to realize she hasn’t worn them. Sylvia then admits she hasn’t been outside in seven years. “It’s not safe out there,” she says.
Trying to get her to evacuate for her safety, Athena opens up about returning to work after six months. “I was … injured, line of duty. Took some time to heal,” she shares succinctly before agreeing with Sylvia that not everything can be fixed in that amount of time. “My arm’s fixed, but the rest of me … I even lied to my husband this morning, told him I would be alright, didn’t mention it took everything in my being to get out of that bed this morning.”
“Maybe I’ve been lying to myself,” Athena admits.
Sylvia gets as far as her foot hovering over her mat before she quickly retreats inside, even as the hill is about to come down and take her with it. (Athena’s daughter, May, played by Corinne Massiah, is working at the call center and realizes the danger heading for her.) The Hollywood sign becomes moving, Athena runs back into the house … just before it collapses along with the hill!
We’re not too worried about Athena since there’s too much to explore with her returning to work and it’s highly unlikely 9-1-1 is killing her off, but will this set her back? Might it lead her back to therapy? Or might this be exactly what she needs to prove to herself she can still do her job and be out there in the field, not behind a desk?
The premiere also offers updates on some of the love lives of our favorite first responders. 9-1-1 dispatcher Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and firefighter and paramedic Chimney (Kenneth Choi) are expecting their baby, but they’re quarantining separately. He’s being overly cautious, leaving his brother Albert (John Harlan Kim) with Maddie while he stays with fellow firefighter Buck (Oliver Stark), who has a “new COVID crush” he’s been talking to for hours at a time via webcam. Plus, Michael and the doctor, David (La Monde Byrd), he met at the end of last season are going strong.
What a way to start the new season! Did it top Season 3’s tsunami? We’ll have to see what happens next.
9-1-1, Mondays, 8/7c, Fox