911 Guest Review

911 1×04 – Worst Day Ever

“You know why redwoods can grow so high? They move and bend with the wind. If you stay rigid, eventually you'll break.”

9-1-1-1x02

If you thought only This Is Us can make you cry, you were wrong.

Within the first couple of minutes of Worst Day Ever, it’s clear that this isn’t a typical episode of 911. When a plane crashes on a shore in L.A., the first responders rush to the deadly scene, which results in a thrilling, pulse-pounding hour of television. While the writers don’t spend a lot of time on the passengers in the brilliant cold open, it’s still enough to get us familiar with each of their stories. The emotional attachment to these victims is unlike anything this show has done yet; whether it’s the young kid who does magic tricks, the couple who gets locked in the bathroom or the pregnant wife listening to her husband’s dying words, this hour tugs on our heartstrings and keeps us invested until the very end.

The constant flashbacks from before and after the crash halts the momentum at times, especially as Athena goes through multiple subplots within the span of an hour. I don’t know who thought Athena stalking the teenage girl who bullied her daughter to be a good fit for a special episode like this, but it certainly feels disjointed from the rest of the action happening elsewhere. However, Angela Bassett screaming at an airport security officer after he duct tapes a passenger’s mouth and keeps the rest of them stuck on a plane for eight hours proves to be immensely satisfying. I wouldn’t mind seeing her going off on a new character every single week.

Of course, the cliffhanger is the biggest heart-stopping moment of all as Abby, having had one of the toughest days on the job, falls asleep while her sick mother is unattended. Connie Britton does an impeccable job every week, but her frantic screams as she realizes her mom is missing is the perfect haunting ending to this breathtaking hour.

Emergency Bits

– The turbulence in the cold open, followed by the mother opening the window and seeing the airplane wing on fire, makes this one of my favorite teasers ever.

– Then of course we get the in-media res which made me groan.

– Cringe-inducing moment as the teenage bully says she hasn’t slapped anyone all day.

– Super cool, albeit slightly unrealistic, helicopter stunt as Bobby gets pulled up in the air just moments after the plane starts going under.

– Abby listening to Dale Marks’ message again is admittedly tear-inducing, but leaving it inaudible to us while his wife listens in is a fantastic creative decision. The most important moment in that scene is not the phone call itself but her reaction to it, and the result is an extremely effective and emotional sequence.

– As if Dale’s death wasn’t enough, Bobby has an imaginary conversation with his dead daughter. The decision to leave her face off-screen is another brilliant choice. Or maybe they haven’t cast anyone yet?

– Anyone notice there were four plates on that table? I love that we’re getting breadcrumbs on Bobby’s backstory for now.

– While Abby and Buck’s phone calls have been the weakest aspect of the show, I appreciate that it wasn’t overused or forced this time and instead helped identify a victim’s fate.

9-1-One-Liners

Hen (to Buck): When he pops you in that pretty face, just make sure it’s on the side that’s already got a mark.

Laila: You are in such trouble. My father is an attorney.
Athena: Tax attorney.

Athena: I can hardly believe what I’m hearing. That badge says Los Angeles Airport Police. And now you’re telling me you’re taking orders from CEOs? An industry whose motto is “The customer is always the moron”? They make a billion dollars a year on baggage fees, and you’re on their side? Your knees pressing against the seat in front of you because they want to add three extra rows, and you’re on their side? Five damn peanuts in that bag, and you’re on their side?

Must-Download Tune
Heavenfaced by The National

Conclusion
Equal parts poignant and gripping, this is my favorite episode of 911 so far and a near-perfect hour of television.

Chris Rating
A-

6 comments

  1. Perfectly stated Chris. This episode singlehandedly proved to me that this show is awesome fun and kind of reminds of Grey’s. I wonder if it will have a similarly long run because the possibilities are endless.

    One disagreement: I loved Athena barging into the party. I loved everything she did this week; she’s certainly the show’s finest and most amusing character .I was rooting for her the whole way through.

    And that ending was horrifying! Woah!

    1. Really hope this show is in it for a long run too. I guess that early renewal is very well deserved after all! I’m actually really looking forward for the next episode.

  2. What made this episode–and series–stand out for me was the last few minutes with “Captain Maynard” (Claudia Christian), giving a finely-balanced and nuanced performer as Angela Bassett’s no-nonsense LAPD boss, torn between protecting her Department and caring about her Sergeant. Not a false step anywhere, and worth a recurring role!

    1. Very true, I forget to mention her. She has such a charismatic on-screen presence, I wouldn’t mind seeing her again soon!

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