9-1-1 Season 5 Episode 17 Review: Hero Complex


This hour was DARK.

The concept of heroism is an inherently positive designation, as it’s associated with bravery and courage. But too often, the sentiment is tainted by those looking to be heroic at the expense of others. And as a way to boost their egos and self-esteem.

9-1-1 Season 5 Episode 17 is all about the idea of playing God as a means to chase the thrill of notoriety and unadulterated praise. And the story takes us into the darkest parts of the human psyche.

We haven’t gotten a lot of time to really sit with Jonah and figure out what kind of person he is. We’ve primarily seen him through the eyes of others, and from our limited perspective, he seemed like an okay person and a decent paramedic.

Hen never warmed up to him, but the narrative framed it to suggest that her reasons for disliking him were firmly rooted in her dislike of working beside anyone that wasn’t Chimney.

But to be fair, Hen always had a bad vibe about him, and her refusal to accept him makes sense when you see how the story evolves.

One thing about Hen, she’s going to see something through. And when she sets her sights on investigating Jonah, she goes all in, bringing her speculation to the one person who, along with Karen, proves time and time again to be her number one supporter; Chimney.

I’ve said this before, but the unevenness of 9-1-1 Season 5 had a lot to do with how fractured the team was. No Maddie and Chimney in the first half, and now Eddie off on his own in the second, has felt unnatural.

And when we get these hours that lean into the fabulous dynamics we love, it only reinforces how off the rest of the season has felt.

9-1-1’s best quality will always be its cast and the relationships. You’ve got a fantastic crop of actors that bring every story, from the outlandish to the devastating, to life. And certain dynamics shine the brightest in this series, and Hen and Chimney are one of the best.

Looking into Jonah and getting to the root of what was happening was central to the plot, but underneath that was just the Chimney and Hen of it all, who trust one another explicitly, are a well-oiled machine, and will always have each other backs.

It’s that camaraderie that spurred Jonah on partly, as he was willing to do just about anything to get Hen to hold him in the same regard she holds Chimney.

Chimney: You’re always right. That’s kind of our schtick. You’re the genius, and I’m the comic relief.
Hen: You’re so much more than that. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had, Chim. And I can’t imagine my life without you.
Chimney: And you’re never gonna have to.

I once joked about Jonah being obsessed with Hen, and I meant it to be tongue in cheek, not realizing that Jonah was actually obsessed with her in an overwhelming and dangerous way. His jealousy of Chimney coupled with Hen’s dismissal of him seemed to be a driving force in his Los Angeles activities.

And when he kidnaps both Hen and Chimney, he attacks Hen as a means to show off in front of the one person who was unable to view him as the hero he felt he was.

Watching Chimney’s heart stop repeatedly and seeing the absolute devastation on Hen’s face is one of the darker moments this season, even if you can infer that this probably isn’t the way they’d kill a beloved character.

Even with Chimney severely incapacitated, the two still manage to work in tandem and get the edge on Jonah, which is the only appropriate way for that story to end. With all the advantages, Jonah was still no match for Chimney and Hen.

After the events of 9-1-1 Season 5 Episode 16, I expected Bobby to struggle. Still, I didn’t realize it would be because of his feelings of failure surrounding Claudette’s death and now Jonah. But it makes sense because Bobby is literally the captain of the ship. He takes on the brunt of everything.

So, of course, he feels overcome with emotion that two of his people and countless others in the city have had their lives hang in the balance because Jonah was walking the streets with the 118 logo affixed to his helmet.

No matter how many ways you tell Bobby that what happened wasn’t his fault, he will always feel responsible for bringing Jonah into their lives.

Heading into the finale, that’s one of the significant plot threads still dangling, as this doesn’t feel like a situation Bobby will be able to reconcile with easily. And will there be repercussions for that punch? Knowing Taylor, she probably has that punch splashed all over the news.

Speaking of Ms. Taylor Kelly, how did we get here? Or, more importantly, why did we need to get here?

The series never presented Buck and Taylor as an appetizing endgame couple. They introduced Taylor as a villain, and Buck is the babyface of the series and arguably the most popular character. So, on what planet were these two ever going to work as a long-term couple?

They tried valiantly to change the public persona of Taylor, but it was pretty easy to see through her lackluster redemption tour. She and Buck were never compatible, and combined with their lack of chemistry, it was always apparent that the relationship had an expiration date.

Deciding to keep them together after Buck cheated on her was certainly a choice. And if you thought that it would eventually break them apart via jealousy or trust issues, then you were probably surprised to see the show throw another wrench into the relationship they seem so unwilling to give up on.

However, suppose this doesn’t facilitate a breakup. In that case, I’m going to stop caring about this relationship because the show sure doesn’t care about developing it in a meaningful way or making it even slightly palatable.

Taylor’s ethics have been called into question before, so it’s not shocking to see her ignore Buck’s pleas and use the information she heard off the record to be the first one to break a story. She didn’t break the story until after Jonah’s arrest, but more to this story will undoubtedly come out in the finale.

Buck and Taylor will undoubtedly be at a crossroads, and perhaps they will talk to one another and be open and honest about what they want in general. Because you can’t tell me these two are on the same page about their wants and desires.

Since the series’ inception, Buck has gone from lowkey womanizer to devoted boyfriend. And while he’s had stretches where he’s single, it somehow still feels like he’s constantly circling around a relationship in specific ways. And it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for him to take a step back and access who he is and what he wants.

Part of the reason he even advanced his relationship with Taylor in the first place was due to that fear he has of being left behind. That’s something to work on while figuring out how he can avoid making that same mistake in the future.

Buck’s most prominent relationship remains with Eddie. When we get a short scene of the two talking about Eddie’s upcoming trip, it just highlights their ever-present chemistry and the importance of their connection.

Eddie is on edge the whole hour as he gets ready for Texas and arrives in Texas. His relationship with Ramon is complicated at best, and it’s difficult to see where things can go with the amount of anger Eddie still holds. And it’s all understandable anger.

Eddie is a father himself now and a great father at that. He sees how Ramon failed, and he’s not only trying to be a better father to Christopher because of it, but he’s also gotten to a place now where he sees that he needs to get better for himself.

If you really want help, you need to want help for yourself first, or you’re never going to change.

Whenever we spend time with Ramon, you see why Eddie is the way he is. The man had heart surgery and kept it completely quiet from everyone just so no one would look at him with pity and see him as less than. Growing up with someone so terrified of looking weak will surely cause you to shrink in on yourself.

Eddie: I’m tired of being that guy. I’m going to be better.
Ramon: For Christopher?
Eddie: For myself.
Ramon: Maybe we can both be better. I don’t want to miss out on any more of my son’s life.
Eddie: I’d like that.

And having to constantly be the pillar of strength, providing, and ‘doing the right thing’ has had such a profound effect on who we know Eddie Diaz to be. But being able to sit across from his dad and tell his truth about how he feels was a beautiful moment for Eddie on his path forward.

Whether the two men can repair their tenuous relationship or not, it was important for Eddie to have that conversation and for his father to look in his eyes and see all the pain Eddie has carried his whole life.

Eddie’s journey this end of the season has truly been one of 9-1-1’s standout moments, and I’m looking forward to seeing where everything ends up for him. He’s put in a lot of work looking inward, confronting his past, and working to move toward a better future.

9-1-1 finales tend to put a bow on the season in a way that’s nice and leaves stories open, but I’ve never wanted a neater bow on a storyline than I want for Eddie.

Loose Ends

  • The way Ramon nearly passed out, and no one at the party reacted at all! No one on the dancefloor missed a beat.
  • Chimney wiping his prints off Bobby’s desk, and the keyboard was peak Chimney perfection.
  • If you didn’t tear up listening to Hen and Chimney’s talk in the hospital, do you have a heart? They are just the epitome of friendship. That whole, ‘a great friend calls you to bail you, and your best friend is sitting right next to you’ meme was actually made about these two.
  • Is it just me, or has there been a lack of Athena lately? She’s there, but she doesn’t have much story of her own.
  • Karen is such an underrated MVP of this hour. She’s so intelligent and always looking out for her wife.
  • It’s a travesty we saw Buck in Christopher’s bedroom, but no Chris!

It’s been a LONG season, but we made it! There’s only one more hour to go, and there’s no telling where things will end up!

Will Bobby forgive himself?

Will May stay at the call center or head off to college?

What’s next for Eddie?

Will Buck and Taylor FINALLY call it quits?

Let me know in the comments where you stand on everything and what you’d like to see in that final installment! And remember to watch 9-1-1 online right now so you can join the conversation!

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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