For October, Nerds and Beyond is highlighting spooky-themed episodes of our favorite shows. Halloween is all about the insane, weird, and paranormal, celebrating the crazy. FOX’s first responder series, 9-1-1, already has the insane, weird, and crazy each episode but pairing it with the spookiest day of the year ups it even more. The season two episode “Haunted” includes haunted mazes, cemeteries but as with any episode of 9-1-1, there is also a lot of emotion.
We start off in a cemetery, a woman bringing flowers to a grave as Buck has a voiceover. “If there is one hard thing you learn about this job, it’s that one way or the other, this day or the next. Eventually, everything dies.” However, in the cemetery, the scene turns into something from a horror movie as a body comes up from a grave and is essentially a zombie or what looks to be a zombie. The “zombie” turns out to be a guy who works at the cemetery and gets sucked into the ground along with his coworker. The team tries to get the other guy out of the giant hole, trying to get around all the corpses and coffins. They manage to save him, kickstarting this spooky episode. Nothing says Halloween like literally pulling a man from a grave.
One thing that sets apart this episode from others is that it mixes the spooky element with emotion. Not everything is all candies, corpses, and coffins when one call ends in tragedy after a fire at a Halloween parade. A police horse runs around after it gets spooked, and in turn, gets injured. An officer doesn’t want the horse to suffer, so he has Hen administer a sedative. The officer comforts the horse as the other officers and firefighters link arms around them. “Thank you for keeping me safe.” A little girl who had fed the horse an apple beforehand stands by the officer, consoling the horse as it passes away. Just writing this is making me tear up. It’s such an emotional scene in the midst of Halloween chaos, and it’s something that isn’t really shown in Halloween episodes.
Things do start to get spooky when Maddie takes a 911 call from a lost hiker, but when the team gets to the cliffs to find him, all Buck and Eddie find are human remains of a different hiker. However, the two can hear screaming and walk further, finding their lost hiker, severely injured. The hiker says he didn’t make a 911 call. He dropped his phone when he fell. Zombies, corpses, coffins, and now a supposed ghost? But it’s not the last time we hear about our spooky friend when Bobby tells Athena what happened. She decides to dig deeper. At the Call Center, Athena tries to get more information from Maddie and another Dispatcher. He pulls up a call from 2011, and it sounds exactly like the one Maddie took the day before. But when her call is pulled up, it’s all static. “So, a ghost called 911?” “He was down there for seven years. Guess he got tired of waiting.” Later on, when Athena gets a hit from medical, she finds the guy’s wife and breaks the news to her. Through her tears, the wife tells Athena what happened. Athena gives her the wedding band, and she hugs her, thanking her for giving her closure.
Closure comes in all forms, including in the form of a father who hasn’t been part of your life much, but you get the chance to say goodbye to. Hen hasn’t spoken to her father in years, but he winds up in the hospital due to a brain bleed, on life support, and Hen doesn’t know what to do about it. Hen and Karen get to Hen’s dad’s house to look for a will, and Karen finds a newspaper clipping of an article about Hen from three years prior. Hen later talks to Athena, still thinking about her father. “He’s the ghost that haunts my brain.” Part of her hopes he’ll wake up so she can finally meet him. She never even let herself imagine who he was all these years. There was too much pain. She’s never hated him enough to feel good about pulling the plug. “Now, at least you know he was a man haunted by his demons. And challenging his own angels, like any of us.” Hen talks to her father in the hospital, telling him how he became like her diary, “confessions to an imaginary daddy.” She can only go off of what she wants, and she wouldn’t want to live like this. “Some ghost in a hospital bed.” She wants to forgive him and let him go, so she does.
Meanwhile, both Buck and Eddie are dealing with their own problems of closure, relationship-wise. Feelings about Abby are brought up after what happened with the lost hiker. How someone will have to eventually let go of their love after so long, but Buck doesn’t want to give up. Carla, though, gives him advice, and Buck thought this memory of her was haunting him, but maybe he’s the ghost lingering there. Later on, Buck mails Abby a letter and finally leaves her place. He tells her that being with her made him a better man, and for that, he will always love her. Now it’s time to figure out who he is without her.
On the other hand, Eddie, while trying to get Christopher in a good school, realizes he needs to contact Shannon, Christopher’s mother, for an interview with the school. They both haven’t talked much since Shannon left Texas, and all of those feelings are brought up again. How they both felt, what Shannon went through with raising Christopher on her own when Eddie was in the military, how Eddie felt when she left. Shannon breaks down, wondering if Christopher’s condition was because of her, she was doing all of this research. Eddie tells her that none of it is her fault, and they start to reconnect a little bit, rekindling their romance. Both scenarios end, again, with closure. Buck decides to finally let go of Abby and leaving her house while Eddie gets his closure with Shannon, finally seeing her again after so long and reconnecting with her as nothing changed.
With all the closures and corpses and fires and spooks, it wouldn’t be a Halloween episode without beloved characters in costumes. On Halloween, Christopher dresses up like Wolverine and Eddie like a rebel pirate. It’s one of the moments capturing the bond between them, and really, any scene with Christopher makes my heart melt.
While full of emotional closures and emotions in general, this episode takes a twist on your classic Halloween episode. Since this is a first responder series, most of the show’s spooky elements center around 911 calls while at the same time, still personally involving the main characters. The episode’s title, “Haunted,” is more of a metaphor than the actual spooky haunted. They’re haunted by what they could’ve had, and what they’ve lost, what decisions they’ve made. The episode is fun and emotional and mixes so well with the spooky and Halloween elements.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our spooky series!
“We are all haunted. By the ones we’ve loved and the ones, we’ve lost. By the choices, we’ve made and the ones we still struggle with. Our lives are like a series of ghost stories. Sometimes all we can do is turn the page… and let go.”