‘9-1-1’ Recap: Buck Longs for a Lost Love in Season 3, Episode 16 “The One That Got Away”

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Kenneth Choi, Ryan Guzman, Peter Krause, and Aisha Hinds in 9-1-1. Image courtesy of FOX.

In this week’s 9-1-1, Buck helps a retired firefighter get the girl he lost years ago, as it brings up old memories and feelings, while Athena follows a hunch about a suspected “Peeping Tom.”

Find out what went down in the third-to-last episode of season 3 of 9-1-1, “The One That Got Away.”

Starting off at a blazing apartment building fire, the 118 try to evacuate the place, making sure that every resident is out. As Bobby, Buck, and Eddie save a guy, Anton, he says they need to save Gladys. Bobby and Eddie take care of Anton while Buck tries to look for a pet. When Bobby and Eddie start to leave with Anton, Bobby tells Buck it’s time to leave. Buck hears a “meow” and finds Gladys.

Meanwhile, at the call center, Maddie is taking a call from a deaf resident who is in the same apartment building. The resident types that they’re trapped in the fire. Anton wakes up at the apartment fire, and Buck tells him he got Gladys. But that’s Hoover, not Gladys. Maddie dispatches in, saying she has a deaf woman trapped in one of the apartments. The team looks up, and a window smashes, indicating that there’s someone in there, Gladys.

The ladder won’t reach the apartment, the end of Gladys’ hallway is engulfed, and there’s no access to the stairwell. Buck notices the building next door isn’t on fire. Get to her from the roof? He says the rappelling kit’s got 150 feet of rope that’ll get him down to the street with her. Buck wants to do a rope rescue? “Of course you do.” But he’s not doing it alone; he’s going to need Eddie on the pulley. Hen works on Anton, who is worried about Gladys.

“Don’t worry, Anton. We’ve got our best boys on it.”

Buck and Eddie get to the roof of the other building, throwing their ropes and bags across to the burning apartment. They jump across, and Eddie attaches the pulley while Buck is lowered to Gladys’ window, breaking in. Buck shows Gladys what he’s going to do, securing her to the rope, and once they’re out, Eddie lowers Buck. The roof gives way, and Bobby says that Buck’s going to have to lower himself the rest of the way. Eddie secures the rope, jumping over to the other building. The airbag is deployed on the ground, and the rope starts to catch fire, breaking. Buck and Gladys fall down onto the airbag to safety.

Back at the station, Buck is still feeling that adrenaline. Eddie wishes he could come to the celebration, but Christopher’s hosting his first sleepover; Hen is having a date night with Karen, while Bobby and Athena are also having a date night.

“No offense, but you are not the Buckley I was looking forward to spending my night with.”

Buck tells Chim he gets it and to go wine and dine with his sister; he’ll be fine. Buck shows up at a bar and sees a newscast about his save. The guy next to him at the bar calls him an idiot. “Running straight into a hellfire like that, pulling rope stunts. Only a moron would do something that reckless.” Buck tells him that those “morons” are saving lives. Buck realizes the guy used to be a firefighter. The guy introduces himself as Red Delacroix, and Buck introduces himself. Buck’s about to buy Red a drink, but after the stunt Buck pulled, this round’s on Red. “But I still think you’re an idiot.” Red tells Buck stories about his old crew and calls, saying that they’ve lost touch through the years. Red admits he always thought about having kids but never got around to it. He just got too consumed with the firehouse and being the best, saving lives.

Buck walks Red home and sees a picture of Red with a woman from years ago. Red says the woman is Cindy, “the one that got away.” They were going to get married, but their jobs kept them pretty busy. “It’s hard for someone not to feel like they’re always coming in a distant second.” Cindy had gotten tickets to the World Series in 1988, and Red had already scheduled a shift, and he figured the game wasn’t going to be that big anyway. Red told Cindy he’d make it up to her later, and there never was a later. Red asks Buck if he has anyone, and Buck says he did once.

“You can be the hero and save lives, but don’t neglect having your own. Last thing you want is to be at the end holding nothing but regrets.”

After a father and son get into an accident when their electric scooter runs over a drone, Athena tells the owner of the drone, Jefferey, he’s lucky they didn’t crash into oncoming traffic. Jefferey feels terrible, and a neighbor, Margot, tells him he should. He almost killed them. Jefferey tells Athena he doesn’t know how it happened. It got away from him. What was he doing flying a drone over somebody’s house in the first place? Athena tells him it’s illegal to fly a drone over private property; that’s trespassing. Jefferey says this is just a big misunderstanding. He’s a realtor and was getting aerial footage of the neighborhood for a new listing. Margot knows almost every neighbor on the street, and she hasn’t heard about anyone selling. If he was flying for his realty company, then it’s a commercial drone which should be registered with the FAA. He doesn’t have a pilot’s license, so Athena calls Jones over to arrest him on multiple counts.

At the station, Jefferey tells Athena that arresting him is way more trouble than it’s worth. “Arresting you is my job.” Athena hands the guy off to Rhee and hands the drone to Gigi. Gigi tells Athena that the drone is top of the line, expensive. She asks Athena if she wants her to log it into evidence, and Athena wonders if the video card is still good. The drone took a beating, but Gigi thinks it should be fine. As always, Athena has a weird feeling she can’t shake and tells Gigi to get a warrant. “Let’s see what he’s really been doing with that drone.”

Buck goes to Red’s house, telling him he found Cindy. “I didn’t know she was lost.” After much debate, they drive over there. Buck knocks on the door, and Cindy’s caregiver, Doris, answers it. When Cindy sees who it is, she invites Red and Buck in, and when they’re talking, Red brings up Cindy’s children. “You have to fold them very carefully before you put them in the box.” Buck realizes that Cindy isn’t well, so he starts to tell Red that maybe they should go. Cindy says she knew Red once, and he tells her a long time ago. Cindy realizes that Red isn’t Stanley. Why are they in her house? Who let them into her house? Doris runs into the kitchen, telling Buck and Red it’s getting late, and Buck agrees they should go. Red apologizes to Cindy, and Buck runs after him. Buck tells Red he had no idea. He was trying to help. Cindy was all that Red had left. “Everything else, everyone else is gone.” At least Red had these great memories of her, the girl who knew who he was; now, he doesn’t even have that. Red tells Buck to stay away from him.

At the police station, Gigi tells Athena she’s looked at the most recent file on the card, and it’s mainly aerial footage of the neighborhood, but then it gets weird. Gigi brings up footage of Margot changing in front of her window. That’s why Jefferey was flying a drone over her house. “He’s a Peeping Tom.” Athena tells Rhee to bring Jefferey up and put him in interrogation two, but Rhee tells her they bounced him out. The Feds said it wasn’t worth the drive across town and told them to cut him loose with a warning.

At Buck’s loft, he tells Maddie he thought he was helping Red, but he just made everything worse. Cindy didn’t even know who he was; for a second, it was like he was afraid of him. “You don’t get over that so easy.” Buck mentions that Abby’s mom would have moments like that, and she would always just take it in her stride, but he knows it hurts to have someone you love so much look at her and not see her. Maddie wonders if Buck still thinks about Abby a lot, and he admits sometimes he does. But that isn’t what this is about. “Okay, so you don’t think this business with Red is hitting a little close to home? A lonely hero firefighter who’s pining for his lost love?” Maddie thinks Buck tried dating a few times after Abby left, which did not work out. Maddie knows how hard this is, and Buck tells her no offense, but she’s never the one getting left behind; she’s the one who leaves. Buck’s not mad; he’s just saying that maybe Maddie doesn’t understand.

“You don’t know what it’s like to watch someone you love walk away.”

Buck shows up at the hospital and finds Red, who is lying in a hospital bed. Red got diagnosed with mesothelioma last year. Buck says there has to be something Red can do, but he tells Buck to stop trying to save him. What can Buck do? Red suggests he can sit with him for a while unless Buck has something else to do. “No. I’m good here.” Red starts telling Buck more stories about his time as a firefighter.

The next night, Buck’s waiting at the hospital as Red is ready to be released; he made a few calls. Buck’s taking him home, just not in his car. A nurse opens the door to a line of firefighters and some of Red’s old team on either side of him. Red sacrificed everything for his job. “Least we could do is say thank you.” When they get out, more firefighters are lined up, Chim, Eddie, Bobby, and Hen saluting them at the end of the line. Bobby tells Red, or, Firefighter Delacroix, he takes the captain’s seat.

Red passed away that morning, and Maddie tells Buck that at least he wasn’t alone in the end. Buck was a good friend to him. “Or did I just do that thing that I always do and make it about me? Try and fix him to make myself feel better.” Maddie says maybe, but he was there when no one else was. All Red ever wanted to do was talk about the job. It really was his whole life. Maddie tells Buck that he is not Red. “His life is not your future.” Maddie knows that because Red didn’t have a sister. She knows she left Buck twice, but she came back because Buck’s her brother. “You’re never gonna be left behind.” No matter what. She pinky promises.

Athena, along with CSI and other LAPD officers, are at Jefferey’s house, which is clear, with some clothes missing, and his car gone. It looks like he packed up in a hurry. The techs are still sifting through the garage, which has dozens of hard drives, hundreds of files, and folders named after addresses. Stafford finds a video, but it’s not drone footage. The video is of a girl in her bedroom getting raped. “He’s not a Peeping Tom. He’s a serial rapist.” “And we let him get away.”

There are officially two episodes left of season 3, and next week, the epic two-part season finale event starts, with the return of Connie Britton as Abby. Will they continue the serial rapist storyline? What will Buck do about the return of his lost love? 9-1-1 is known for pulling out all the big stunts for season finales, and it seems like a train derailing is definitely on top. Tune in Monday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT for part one of the two-part 9-1-1 season finale on FOX, streaming the next day on Hulu and the FOXNOW app. Also, starting Monday, 9-1-1: Lone Star will be settling into the 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT timeslot, airing season 1 from the very beginning every week following 9-1-1.

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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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