‘9-1-1’ Recap: The Season 3 Finale Brings Suspense, Surprise, and Closure in “What’s Next?”


Last week’s part one of the 9-1-1 season finale ended with a train derailment and the return of a very familiar face. Part two has the 118 on the scene as Buck reunites with his former love, Abby Clark — played by Connie Britton — when he, Eddie, and Bobby try to save two lives on a vertical train car. One of them being Abby’s fiancé. Meanwhile, Athena is still recovering from her attack and meets with a victim counselor, played by Brooke Shields.

The ending also includes a couple of life-changing news. Find out what happens in the season 3 finale of 9-1-1, “What’s Next?”

As a train is making its way to its destination, former 9-1-1 operator Abby Clark is having a drink at a bar. Meanwhile, a girl, played by Rumer Willis, is listening to music and tapping her drumsticks on a chair and gets yelled at by an older gentleman. They start arguing, and another guy tries to calm them down. At the front of the train, the conductor notices the tracks up ahead have an electrical problem, but before he has time to stop the train, it’s soon flown off the rails, crashing into an RV park.

May notices files on the table, asking Athena if those are the Realtor Rapist files. Athena tells her she asked Lou to drop them off so she can be ready for her meeting with Dr. Sanford, the victim’s advocate. Sanford arrives, and Athena invites her in. She sees that Athena has the case files for the other victims, and Athena assumes that she would have some questions and thinks it would be easier if they go through all of them.

Repeating the end scene from last week’s episode, Maddie gets a 9-1-1 call about a train derailment. She calls Josh over to listen in. Abby tells Maddie it’s a mass casualty incident; she needs to send out every available RA unit, search and rescue, LAPD for traffic control, and a mobile command center.

Maddie: “It seems like you’ve done this before.”

Abby: “Yeah, but I was on your side of the line. I used to be a 9-1-1 dispatcher.”

The scene then reveals the train’s derailment, debris everywhere, fires going, and a train car completely vertical. The 118 get to the scene, shocked at what they’re seeing. Bobby meets with a captain from the 153, who tells them they have their hands full with the passenger cars on the ground, but they have reports of people trapped in the vertical one; they can’t get anyone up there yet. Bobby tells Buck and Eddie to figure out a way to secure the car so they can get those people out.

As search and rescue are underway, Abby is arguing with firefighters, telling them she has to get up there. Eddie steps in, telling her it’s too dangerous. Abby notices his helmet and clarifies with him that he’s from the 118, and Buck sees her. They’re both surprised to see each other, and Buck realizes Abby was on the train. He tries to take her to a tent, but she says she’s fine, but she has to find somebody. She has to find her fiancé. Buck’s shocked at the news as Abby goes on, telling them he fell asleep and she went to the bar. She shows Eddie a picture of the two of them on her phone, saying they were in the back of the top car. “We’ll find him.” Abby tells Buck his name is Sam, then thanks him, but he tells her not to worry about it.

“We’ll bring him back to you. I promise.”

When Buck and Eddie get up to the train car, they slowly and carefully make their way to the back, all the way at the top. They finally get to Sam, and he’s awake and talking but weak, saying everything hurts. Buck assures Sam that Abby’s okay, and he goes over the radio, telling Bobby that Sam is pinned and they need the Jaws of Life. The car starts moving, becoming more unstable, but Bobby is slowly making his way up to Buck, Eddie, and Sam. They begin to pry the beam off of Sam but hear a scream. They find the girl with the drumsticks pinned by the beam, and Eddie notes that the force of the crash pushed her leg up into her torso. Bobby, Buck, and Eddie make their way back down the car, just far enough from Sam and the girl so they don’t hear their predicament. Bobby tells Buck they’re both trapped by the same beam; they keep pressure off of him, and they’re squeezing her. Which one has a better shot? Eddie says the injuries are different, but the risk is the same. Do they have to pick who they save? Bobby’s saying he doesn’t think they can save both.

Athena goes over files with Sanford, who is listening to what Athena has to say about each victim and gives her thoughts about it, trying to connect it to how Athena might be feeling — blaming herself and distracting herself from what happened. Sanford can’t help but notice there’s a file missing from the table, and Athena tells her his attack on her is nothing like what he did to those women. “I don’t think it’s fair to compare traumas.” From what Sanford has read, his attack on Athena was pretty brutal. Athena says what happened went pretty fast, and she doesn’t remember most of it. Sanford says the brain does block out painful memories, but she’s been doing this a long time, and she has never had anyone feel better because they didn’t know what happened to them. Athena realizes Sanford wasn’t there to talk about the other women. “I’m here for you.” Athena’s not ready, so Sanford leaves something with her for when she is.

Bobby, Buck, and Eddie are trying to work on Sam and the girl. Sam is getting weaker and weaker. Bobby and Eddie move to talk, and Buck joins them, overhearing Bobby telling Eddie they’re going to get the girl out. Buck says that will crush Sam, and he’s going to die. Bobby is aware of that. He says protocol dictates that they save whoever has the better chance. Eddie mentions that’s the girl; her vitals are stronger. They have to choose. The car moves again, and Buck suggests he can go outside, cut a piece out of the car and pull the girl through. That will buy them enough room to save Sam. The car hasn’t been secured; that’s why they’re working on the inside. Bobby tells Buck if the thing topples, they can ride it out on the inside, but if Buck is outside, he knows he will be crushed by a hundred tons of train cars. That is a lot heavier than a firetruck. Eddie knows he made a promise. Bobby wonders what promise he made, so Buck says he made a promise to his fiancée that he would bring him back. Eddie admits that Sam’s fiancée is Abby, and Buck says it’s not just about her. He’s a father. Bobby tells him he’s too close to this. It’s too risky, but Buck is willing to take the risk. Bobby says it’s not his to take. He can’t just rush into any dangerous situation and assume everything’s going to be okay.

“I am not Athena.”

Abby looks up at the vertical train car, worried about whatever is happening. She gets a call from Tess, Sam’s daughter. Tess wonders if they’re in LA yet, her dad hasn’t texted, and he always texts. Abby tells Tess there was an accident on the train, but she doesn’t want her to worry because her dad is in the best hands. Meanwhile, Buck slowly goes outside the train car, using a power saw to cut it open. On the inside, Eddie tries to keep Sam talking, checking on him. The train starts moving again, so Buck tries to hurry up and finally gets a piece of the train off. The basket is sent up successfully, freeing the girl. Eddie uses the Jaws of Life to get the beam off Sam, telling him to hang in there. Soon, Sam is free, and Buck tells him that Abby is waiting for him.

Sanford meets with Athena again, who tells her she doesn’t remember much about being attacked. He was behind her, then, all of a sudden, it gets hazy. The next clear memory she has is being in the back of the ambulance and the look on her husband’s face.

“I thought I was dying because he thought I was.”

But Athena didn’t. She survived. She says she shouldn’t have. He had her dead to rights. Came up behind her; she didn’t even know he was there. Athena’s always been able to trust her gut. She says she should’ve called for backup before she went inside. Sanford tells Athena maybe, but that doesn’t make what he did her fault. Perhaps not, but Athena scared the hell out of her family and herself. Now she’s left feeling like she can’t trust her instincts anymore. Sanford says it’ll take time to heal.

“But what if that part of me never does?”

Michael is at his doctor’s appointment, getting the results of his scan. He asks Dr. Burman if he’s sure, and he says he’s pretty good at reading these things. Burman tells Michael the tumor has shrunk by almost 30%. “This is really happening.” After the appointment, Michael calls Athena, who says it’s a miracle. He wouldn’t call it a miracle, but he is feeling pretty miraculous himself. He knows it’s not a clean bill of health or anything, but Athena tells him it’s good news, to be happy.

Abby meets Buck at a park bench and sits down next to him. Abby tells him Sam’s good. They’re expecting a full recovery. She will never be able to thank Buck enough for what he did. Abby apologizes that he had to find out about it this way. She had actually wanted to talk to him about everything while she was in town. That’s what she’s sorry for? “When did you know that you were leaving me for good?” Buck wonders if Abby knew when they were at the airport, and he was kissing her goodbye and promising her that he would wait for her. Did she know then that she was never coming back to him? Abby thought she would. She had no sense of self. She had to leave everything that she knew so that she could remember who she was. Abby remembered, but she still didn’t come home, and she knows. “I think I was afraid that if I came back, I was going to be that person again.” Abby missed Buck. She wanted to see him. But she didn’t trust herself. “Because being here, being with me, you might lose yourself again?” Buck says he’s glad to see her happy. She deserves it.

As everyone is having fun at May’s graduation party, she and Maddie are taking pictures at the makeshift photo booth. Maddie asks if she’s excited about USC, she knows her mom certainly is. May asks Maddie if she has a minute. There was something she wanted to talk to her about. Meanwhile, Buck finds Bobby, saying he wanted to apologize for the train. Bobby tells him it’s alright; they both got a little hot. Buck thinks he’s doing okay now. Maddie smells something terrible, and it’s what Chim is eating, but he says it’s the salmon thing she loved the last time she had it. He can’t believe Maddie still isn’t feeling well. Maddie realizes something and tells Chim they have to go right now.

At home, Chim is waiting for Maddie impatiently. It’s already been over a minute; what is taking so long? Maddie comes out, holding the pregnancy test up, bringing it closer to Chim so he can see. Is Maddie sure? She holds up another pregnancy test with the same result, and Chim looks back and forth between the two.

Chimney: “You’re pregnant?”

Maddie: “We’re pregnant.”

Another insane season of 9-1-1 has come to an end on a very happy note. What was your favorite moment from season 3? What are your hopes for season 4 What did May tell Maddie? Are you excited to see Maddie and Chim getting ready for parenthood and Hen working her way to medical school? Season 3 of 9-1-1 is currently streaming on Hulu and the FOXNOW app. You can also enjoy the season from the beginning starting this Monday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on FOX, followed by season 1 of 9-1-1: Lone Star.

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.

Leave a Reply


Related articles

‘9-1-1’: Synopsis Released for Season 7, Episode 6 “There Goes the Groom”

ABC has released the synopsis for the next episode of 9-1-1 (which is currently on a break until the...

‘9-1-1’: Synopsis Released for Season 7, Episode 5 “You Don’t Know Me”

ABC has released the synopsis for next week's episode of 9-1-1, entitled, "You Don't Know Me." "Hen and Karen...

‘9-1-1’ Just Delivered a Major Moment for Buck & His Sexuality

After years of speculation, a burning question that has left 9-1-1 fans on the edge of their seats...

‘9-1-1’ Renewed for Season 8!

9-1-1 is here to stay. Following its changeover to ABC for its seventh season, it has been confirmed that...