By Michelle Gonzaba

This week’s 911 has it all: family secrets, garden gnomes, attempted bombings, disapproving parents, even crimes against a dog! I know firefighting is a tough job, but dang, do these people ever get a break? 

The episode opens up on the murder of a neighborhood buzzkill. The woman, Delia, has been found floating in her pool with a gunshot wound to the stomach. It’s a mystery Athena plans to solve, but not before Eddie and Buck attempt to find the culprit using tactics from Murder She Wrote. With one look from Athena, the firefighters quickly shut their mouths. 

Unable to keep secrets from Chim, Maddie confesses the Big Bad Buckley Family Secret to him. Although we still don’t know what the secret is, Chim’s actions make it clear that it’s a life-changer. Poor Chim has to literally run away before the mystery spills from his mouth. Fortunately for him, his friends are humorously uninterested in what is making him so jumpy; for anyone who is working on minding their business, take notes!

Athena and her fellow cops continue to investigate the neighborhood murder. Their research indicates Delia has filed a number of lawsuits against her neighbors, stolen mail, and even poisoned her neighbor’s dog. It’s no wonder then that said neighbors are unwilling to help with the investigation. A good lesson to learn: be nice to your neighbors or they might not assist in your murder investigation.

Maddie and Buck’s parents finally arrive in Los Angeles. At first sight, they seem like generous people. They bring baby presents and seem excited for the upcoming birth of their granddaughter. Unfortunately, the situation quickly spirals out of control and it becomes clear why Buck was so reluctant to see them. Their conversation starts with a discussion of their road trip to LA and ends up on Maddie’s abusive ex-husband. Her mom even calls him “the husband who shall not be named,” which is a weird way to reference Maddie’s abusive ex-husband that she killed. Moms. What can you do?

May, after completing her 911 operator training, mostly deals with nonsensical calls on her first day flying solo. Her day eventually becomes much more dramatic after taking a call from a man who claims he has planted a bomb somewhere in the city. Going beyond the normal duties of a 911 operator, May does a Facebook search and finds out the caller has been fired from numerous jobs in the past two years. With the help of her boss, May is able to help the police narrow down the possible places he could have targeted.

While evacuating one of the buildings, Chim literally runs into the caller disguised as a janitor with the bomb hidden in the bucket next to him. You have to give him some credit though-even though he’s about to blow the place up, he still wears a face mask. It’s very considerate for the bomber to make sure he doesn’t spread COVID before attempting to kill his former co-workers.

Instead of running, Chim stays and tries to calm him down. He can relate to his anger, he says, because he knows what it feels like to hold something inside yourself until you feel like you’re going to explode. I love Chim, but knowing a secret about Buck isn’t the same thing as building an actual bomb. Bomb or not, Chim doesn’t let his situation stop him from telling Buck’s secret to the would-be bomber, which is actually pretty funny once you get past the whole bombing thing. Luckily, Chim doesn’t become too distracted and eventually disarms the man with an oxygen tank to the head. Yes, his plan didn’t work, but at least he got to hear what Buck’s secret is!

Athena is finally able to put the pieces together and solve the weird neighborhood murder. In a very anticlimactic reveal, Delia actually shot herself when she was yelling at her neighbor’s dog (who she tried to kill earlier that week) and tripped over her garden gnome while holding the gun. Athena cracks a few jokes but quickly moves on. RIP Delia, we hardly knew you. Except for all the terrible things you did to your neighbors. And that whole “attempted murder of a dog” thing too. 

Buck and Maddie attempt a second dinner with their parents but it only makes things worse. Buck accuses them of abandoning him and Maddie while they say their kids were tough to love. After Buck storms out and vents to Eddie, he waits a few days before speaking to Maddie. While talking to her, Buck starts to go through her old baby box that their mom brought over. Before Maddie can stop him, Buck finds a picture of himself but is confused by the date written on the back. The picture was taken years before Buck was born, so he’s understandably confused. With no choice, Maddie finally tells him the long-hidden family secret: they had a brother who died before Buck was born and their parents haven’t spoken of him since. It’s a tragic story, but why would this cause Buck’s parents to dislike him so much? Fortunately, we will find out more next week when the show’s focus turns to Buck’s origin story. Hopefully, it doesn’t include any attempted dog homicide. I’m still not over it!

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