‘9-1-1’ Recap: Buck Fights For His Job in Season 3, Episode 4 “Triggers”

14 Min Read
Oliver Stark and Peter Krause. Courtesy of FOX

After the intense three-episode tsunami saga that kicked off season 3, the fourth episode is returning to 9-1-1′s somewhat normal plot structure: Multiple calls, developing character stories, etc. Buck starts at a new job, Christopher has nightmares from the tsunami, Maddie deals with PTSD from her abusive ex, and Station 118 gets a new firefighter.

Find out everything that happened in this week’s episode of 9-1-1, “Triggers.”

The episode starts with the 118 doing a fire drill at a 35-story building. The new fire marshal, Buck, is having fun pushing his team to do their best during the drill. Employees are starting to walk down the stairs. However, one employee (Alan) in particular doesn’t seem too fond of the alarm and the fact they have to walk down many flights of stairs, so he puts on sunglasses.

On the ground, Chim and Hen pass by Buck, and Chim asks him how they’re doing. Buck, smiling, replies that they don’t want to know. Back with the employees who are starting to trek down the stairs, Alan drops his sunglasses and has a seizure. As an employee tries to help him, Alan pushes him, creating a domino effect, pushing the employees down the stairs, one by one until the very bottom, just as Chim, Bobby, and Hen are going up. Outside, a lawyer is talking to Alan as he’s going into the ambulance, trying to get him to hire him. Buck and Bobby are talking about the incident. Buck says it’s a good thing it wasn’t a real fire drill since they’re a man down.

At Hen’s house, she and her wife, Karen, are talking to Athena about having kids. Hen is worried about how their son, Denny, will deal with having another sibling. Athena tells them it’ll be an adjustment, but they’ll do fine.

With Chim and Maddie, Chim is telling her how Buck was during the fire drill; writing up checks with enthusiasm, and how giving a guy a little power makes him go mad. Maddie brings up how Chim was when he was interim fire captain while Bobby was out. Chim tells her that he’s a little wiser now. When Maddie gets up to put the dishes away, she drops a plate and freezes for a few seconds. Chim keeps asking Maddie if she’s okay, but she says she is, and she didn’t realize it was so late and leaves.

The next day at the fire station, Chim tells Eddie what happened. Chim notices Eddie yawning and asks him if his crisis is boring him. Eddie tells Chim that he didn’t get much sleep. Christopher’s been having nightmares since the tsunami, waking up screaming and crying. Eddie says he’s been trying to get him to open up, but he won’t. Buck comes into the station to drop off his fire drill report. He says that they passed, and since he doesn’t know math, that will be his excuse if he gets caught. Buck asks if anyone got a call from the lawyer who was chasing the ambulance after the fire drill. He apparently wants to talk to Buck about the building violations. He thinks someone might be suing them.

Lena calls Eddie over, telling him she needs a spotter while lifting weights. Bobby explains to Buck that her station was in the middle of the tsunami zone, and her crew got temporarily reassigned, with Bobby bringing Lena over to Station 118. Bobby tells Buck that they didn’t replace him, but Buck sees “osko” taped over his locker on his name, with the “B” visible. Bobby promises Buck his place will still be there for him when he’s ready. Buck tells him he’s ready now, but before they can finish talking, the alarm goes off, and everyone is heading to a call. Buck walks over to his locker and rips off the tape so it entirely says “Buckley” again.

Christopher is screaming, “Dad!” and Eddie immediately wakes up. Christopher repeatedly says, “She was drowning,” and Eddie brings him in for a hug, telling him it was just a dream and that he’s safe. The following day, Eddie takes Christopher to see a child therapist. They watch him through the window while talking. The therapist says that Christopher talked about being at the pier with Buck and that Christopher’s subconscious is still processing the trauma. It’ll take some time. Eddie wishes that Christopher would talk to him about it. The therapist shows Eddie drawings that Christopher drew of a drowning woman. Eddie says that he knows that Buck tried to shield Christopher away from most of what happened in the tsunami, but they were separated for a long time. Eddie doesn’t know what else he could’ve seen. Eddie asks if there’s anything he can do until Christopher opens up to him, and the therapist says to keep loving him.

Maddie gets a call from a woman who doesn’t talk at first, but when Maddie asks if she’s there, the woman replies she is. Maddie asks if she’s alright. The woman tries to reply, but a man on the other end comes to her, and the woman hangs up. Maddie calls the number back and pretends to be from a cleaning service to try to get a location, but the man disconnects the line too quickly. Maddie goes over the call logs with Josh, another dispatcher, worried that the woman might be in an abusive relationship. Josh says he’ll send someone out to do a welfare check, but she says that will make everything worse. Maddie says the situation may be triggering for her because of what she went through. Josh says that he gets it. She identifies with her, but if she’s not ready to accept that help, there’s nothing they can do. However, Josh says he wishes he could find the words that will help someone realize they can get out, but it probably doesn’t work over the phone.

Buck is meeting with the lawyer who is trying to get him to agree that there was negligence during the fire drill by Station 118. The lawyer says there’s a class action against the city and 42 people injured. The lawyer tells Buck he knows about the accident and how Buck has been trying to get back into the station. Buck says that they’re just trying to protect the department and that he can take care of himself. When Buck starts to leave, he says that the city is not a corporation. The employees and firefighters that he wants to smear are heroes and family, not just friends or coworkers. There’s nothing stronger than family.

A mom named Judy and her two sons, Camden and Jesse, are driving through a mountain, and the brothers are arguing. When Judy turns around to scold them, she swerves into the other lane, almost getting into a head-on collision with a semi but swerves back into the right lane. She pulls over to make sure the kids are okay. They start laughing, so she laughs too. She puts the car in drive, but the ground gives away.

After Camden calls 9-1-1, Station 118 comes to the scene. Chim and Lena go down the side of the mountain. Chim checks on the mother, who has a steady pulse but is unconscious. Lena checks on the boys while securing the car. Camden tells Chim to take Jesse first, but Jesse doesn’t want to leave him and their mom. Camden talks him into it, and Jesse grabs hold of Lena and gets pulled up. Chim makes a deal with Camden: He does what he’s told, Chim brings them both up, and no one loses a mother. A basket is brought down for Judy. After securing her, she’s pulled up. The ground starts to give away even more, and Chim cuts off the line securing the car and is pulled up with Camden. Judy wakes up and tells Hen that she has two kids. Hen says they’re taking care of each other.

With Athena and Bobby, they’re getting dinner ready, and Buck is coming over. Buck is telling them what happened with the lawyer, telling them that he wouldn’t turn on his friends. Bobby tells Buck he’s the one who said that Buck wasn’t ready. Buck says that he is at 100%, but Bobby doesn’t think so. Buck storms out.

Athena is on the phone with Maddie, talking about the supposed abusive husband, Vincent, since Maddie is still worried about the 9-1-1 call she got. Maddie is at Vincent’s house, spying on them. She later overhears yelling. Vincent comes out of the house to get something out of the car. Maddie almost runs over Vincent but swerves away at the last second.

Buck meets with Chase, the lawyer, who warns Buck that suing the city is no small matter. If he doesn’t win, he may not be an LA firefighter or a firefighter in any city. Chase tells him that he has to cut off communication with everyone at the 118 so it doesn’t compromise the case. Buck says that’s no problem since he doesn’t have much to say to them anyway. He’s alone.

At the 118, Lena and Eddie are working out while Eddie is telling her how everything is going with Christopher and the shrink. Lena reveals she went to a shrink once when she was little after her dad died. She said that everyone deals with trauma differently.

At a gym, Maddie is waiting for Tara, the girl who called 9-1-1 with the abusive husband, since she’s a personal trainer. After the session, Maddie and Tara walk out of the gym together. Vincent picks up Tara, and Maddie watches them drive away, unsure what to do about them.

At the Call Center, Maddie is greeted by Chim, who tries to talk to her about what happened with the plate. Chim tells Maddie about the mom and the kids and how it took him back to when he was a kid and his mom having cancer, trying to be strong. Chim assures Maddie they’ll get through it, no more hiding.

Eddie tucks Christopher into bed, telling him that he can talk to him about anything. When Eddie is leaving Christopher’s room, he notices the drawing on the wall of him, Christopher, and Christopher’s mom. Eddie asks him if the drowning woman he drew is his mom. Christopher tells him he didn’t want to make Eddie sad. He tells him there’s nothing wrong with being sad; he loves her and always will. They have each other, and they’ll be okay.

Buck visits Bobby and Athena, apologizing about dinner. They invite him in, and he says this will be the last time they’ll be able to talk for a while. Buck tells them he’s suing the city, the department, and Bobby for wrongful termination. He won’t stop fighting until he gets his job back, even if it means fighting Bobby.

The first episode after the tsunami saga was nothing short of intensity and feels and shocking storylines. Stay tuned for our next recap!

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By Megan
Megan has been passionate about writing since she was little and has been passionate about all things pop culture and nerdy since almost as long. Joining Nerds and Beyond in 2019, she also graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Megan is constantly binge-watching shows and finding new things to obsess over. 9-1-1 and Marvel currently reign as the top obsessions. You can find her on Twitter @marvels911s if you ever want to discuss some certain firefighters.
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