Warning: Major spoilers for the ‘9-1-1’ episode “9-1-1, What’s Your Grievance?”
Early on, we knew that season 4 of FOX’s first responder drama 9-1-1 would be important for Oliver Stark’s Evan “Buck” Buckley (once it was confirmed that the long-awaited “Buck Begins” episode was finally happening). Yet little did we know what was coming …
Given that the worldwide pandemic we’re all living in also exists in the universe of the show, season 4 of 9-1-1 opened up with a cheeky tease about Buck having a secret “COVID crush.” However, by the second episode, we learned that the so-called girlfriend is actually a therapist. Buck had (thankfully) finally made the decision to take therapy seriously, and there was a lingering line between the two during one of their sessions — about how Buck hides his true feelings from others — which left fans speculating.
When Buck admitted to Maddie and Chimney that he’s seeing a therapist in the third episode, he explained that he’s in this for himself, not because of his job. This information seemed to affect Maddie deeply, sending her into a spiral. She ended up calling their mom, and we learned that apparently they’ve all been keeping a secret from Buck his entire life.
After a nail-biting episode full of angsty dinners with the Buckley parents and Chimney nearly spilling the beans ten times over, the secret was finally revealed in the final minutes of “9-1-1, What’s Your Grievance?”
As Buck began to inspect the contents of Maddie’s baby box that their parents gifted to her, he came across an image of a young boy that he assumed was him. However, he remarked that the background didn’t look like their childhood home and then became more confused when he flipped the photo over to see it was dated July 4th, 1988 — years before he was born.
In a heartbreaking moment, Maddie sadly informed Buck that the boy in the photo was Daniel … their brother who died.
This was an upsetting and painful episode for the entire Buckley family, but especially for Buck. Stark traded in his infectious smile and humorous attitude this time around for what was undoubtedly one of the best performances that he’s given on the show period. The pain in his voice and the deep hurt tearing through him was hauntingly palpable when he exclaimed at one point, “You wanna know why I’m really in therapy? It is because I have spent my entire life feeling like a constant disappointment. And you wanna talk about our jobs? You think my job is dangerous? I have walked through fire every single day of my life because of you. That is why I’m in therapy. Because nothing I ever did was good enough.”
We’ll see the continued implications of this startling revelation about the Buckley family next week in the highly anticipated episode “Buck Begins.” As per the episode summary, Buck will confront his childhood and answer why he is the daredevil he is today. You can see stills from the upcoming episode here.
“Buck Begins” will air on FOX on Monday, February 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. In the meantime, make sure to check out our interview with Oliver Stark!