This week’s 9-1-1 episode was loaded with singing auditions, first dates, and all the anxiety that comes with those things. Chimney is sent down to the Academy to train new recruits, and Eddie is blindsided by a tag team of tias. Meanwhile, all Bobby wants is a performance review for his work as Captain of the 118, and no one wants to give him one.
Continue reading for the recap of “Performance Anxiety.”
Cases of the Week
This week’s cases run the gamut of anxiety. At a pastry manufacturing plant, an employee, Laverne, is receiving her performance review from her boss, Reyna. Laverne receives great marks across the board and is praised on her leadership and dependability. But her final score is an 8 out of 10, which confuses Laverne. “Productivity. Your numbers are down … way down,” Reyna explains. Laverne says that this is probably because of her always using the cages on the mixing bowls. While it does slow down the process, it’s an OSHA violation not to use them, and they protect the employees. Reyna instructs Laverne not to use them any longer, so their output won’t be negatively affected.
On the floor, a very angry Laverne begins to mix up a batch of dough. While looking at Reyna through the office window, Laverne purposely puts the cage in place over the large mixing bowl, and the other employees follow suit because they respect Laverne so much. Reyna jumps out of her sea, runs over to the mixer, and removes the cage. But while showing Laverne and everyone how production improves when the cage is removed, Reyna accidentally drops a spoon in the mix and becomes impaled on the large mixing hook when she reaches over the edge to retrieve it.
When the 118 arrives on the scene, Reyna is unconscious. Laverne explains what happened, and the team decide to remove Reyna with the mixing hook intact to reduce blood loss. When Reyna wakes up, she commends Laverne for helping her and apologizes for being wrong. She appoints Laverne to be in charge of the floor while she recovers.
In another case, Maddie receives a distressed call from someone at a high school, claiming to be having a heart attack. She learns that the caller, Bowen, is auditioning for a place at the school and has to sing in front of the administration in five minutes. But he is currently too freaked out and anxious, and he is hiding in a stall in the boys’ bathroom.
Maddie tells Bowen that he is experiencing a panic attack instead of a heart attack, and she talks him through it, telling him how and when to breathe. This seems to temporarily help until Bowen remembers how much his mother has sacrificed to get him to this point in his life. His breathing gets out of control again, so Maddie does something to catch his attention and distract him: she begins singing Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There.” (9-1-1 is a Ryan Murphy/Brad Falchuk production, after all.) After the first verse, Bowen joins in and harmonizes with Maddie, and his nerves become calm. At the end of the song, Maddie tells Bowen that he’s already put in the work and the audition will take care of itself. Bowen walks to his audition with his head held high, and Maddie receives applause from everyone in the 9-1-1 Call Center.
In the final case of the week, we are at a bodybuilding championship. The current favorite to win it all is Dax Bixby, son of legendary “Biggs” Bixby, who is in the crowd cheering on his son. When the competition is over, Dax is announced as the winner, and he calls up his father to join him on stage and celebrate. But as the father/son duo are cheering and posing for the crowd, Biggs slices his bicep on a metal part of the trophy Dax has won, and a grotesquely large amount of semi-clear fluid erupts all over Dax.
When the 118 arrive to the scene, Athena and her team are already there, working as crowd control to a very angry mob of folks. After inspecting Biggs and his arm injury, they realize that blood is not seeping out of his arm but rather synthetic oil meant to enlarge his muscles. This explains why the crowd — and Dax — are so angry at their hero: he is nothing more than a cheater.
As Hen and Eddie work to stabilize Biggs, he explains to his son that he came to a point where he was afraid the crowd wouldn’t love him anymore, so he began depending on the oil to maintain his physique. He then praises Dax on overcoming his fears and winning the competition. This seems to be enough for Dax, and he leaves with the team to take his father to the hospital. The mob of angry fans is blocking their path, though, so Athena grabs the mic and gets the crowd to part like the Red Sea after giving them a Biblical talking-to.
The Combined Power of Two Tias
Eddie arrives at his tia‘s house on a Saturday to fix a leaky pipe, but when he arrives, he realizes that he has been led there under false pretenses. There is a beautiful woman in the kitchen with her tia, and Eddie realizes that he is being set up on a blind date. (Since Eddie’s siblings are engaged or married already, Tia‘s full attention has now turned to him.) He argues with her that he is not ready to start dating again, but Tia tells him that he will never be ready and that he should just get out there and try it anyway. Realizing that he will never win this argument, he agrees to take Vanessa out on a date.
Back at the firehouse, Eddie fills in the others on his weekend. Everyone agrees that Eddie is overreacting to what is going on and that he should just take Vanessa out and then let her down easy, and that will be the end of it. Later that week, Eddie and Vanessa are at a club. After making small talk, Vanessa tells Eddie that she brings all her first dates to this particular club to let them down easy. Eddie is somewhat relieved that she feels about this date like he does, and they begin getting their stories straight to relay to their respective tias about how things didn’t work out.
But as Vanessa leaves Eddie for the night, Eddie seems to have reservations about ending things with her…
Bobby Begs for Feedback
It’s performance review time at the 118. As Bobby lets everyone know of their respective appointment times with him, he reminds him that he has just one requirement: feel free to give him a performance review of his work as well. Everyone seems to roll their eyes very loudly at this request, and they immediately try to think of things to tell him.
Hen’s review is unsurprisingly glowing. She receives “Outstanding” on all metrics of her job, and Bobby tells her that she did a better job as Captain earlier in the year than he does regularly. He reminds her that her paramedic certification will expire soon and that she needs to meet the required number of Continuing Education hours. But once Bobby is finished with Hen’s review, he looks like a kid in a candy store while he waits for her to give him his review. She later tells Athena that she told him the only thing she could think of: his captain’s truck is very clean.
Buck’s review is just as glowing as Hen’s, and Buck isn’t happy about it. He points out that his Physical Therapy scores are low, but he received a rating of “Outstanding.” Bobby tells him that, all things considered, they are outstanding, considering that he is sitting there literally back from the dead. But Buck says that isn’t a fair assessment, and he should not receive any special treatment.
Eddie spends most of his review talking about Vanessa. When Bobby asks for his thoughts about his performance, Eddie says that he is going to leave and collect his thoughts about Bobby’s performance and return when he has them. Needless to say, Eddie doesn’t return, and Bobby has missed another opportunity to receive feedback.
It’s Chimney’s turn for the performance review process. Chim reads over his review and thanks Bobby for all the “Outstanding” marks. Bobby points out that there is one metric that is not classified as “Outstanding”: leadership. Chimney says he doesn’t aspire to be Captain, so he understands the lower rating. Bobby then shocks him with the news that he is sending Chimney to the Academy. “The truth is,” Bobby explains, “I think you’ve gotten a little too comfortable.”
Chimney Returns to His Roots
Chimney arrives at the Academy and sees dozens of new recruits training, running around, and putting out controlled fires. He is then greeted by a blast from the past: Ravi! He tells Chim that he’s been assigned to the Academy as Peer Group Instructor for about six months as he is recovering from a shoulder injury he incurred during a rescue in Long Beach, and it is taking too long to heal. Chimney replies that he has no idea why he is there but he figures he is supposed to figure that out on his own.
We meet a few of the newbies during some of the drills that Chimney designs. Recruit Ledbetter is one of a line of recruits who do not rescue a (fake) baby in a (controlled) structure fire in time. And Recruit Novak is the only one who rescues the (fake) baby before its (fake) death. This catches Chimney’s attention, and he praises Novak in front of everyone.
Ledbetter and Novak are teamed up in the next drill, where pairs of recruits are to rappel down the side of a tall building as if practicing having to rescue someone at the bottom of a ravine. As the guys are moving downward, though, Novak suffers from a panic attack and cannot move another inch. Ledbetter moves to assist Novak, but Chimney yells at him to stay in his lane and focus on the job at hand. Ledbetter ignores him and tries to reach out to Novak, but he loses his grip on his own rope and falls to the ground, suffering a severe shoulder/arm injury. Ravi and the others rush over to get Ledbetter on a backboard, and Chimney rappels down to Novak and eventually calms him down and gets Novak to successfully and safely reach the ground.
Inside the Academy’s main building, Chimney sees a plaque with the names of fallen firefighters. He sees the name Kevin Lee and is lost in memories of his best friend. Ravi walks up to Chimney and asks him what he is thinking about. Chimney tells Ravi about Kevin and the night he lost his life when he fell through the roof of a structure fire, and Chimney couldn’t save him in time. “Kevin’s the reason I became a firefighter. He’s also the reason I’ve been afraid to lead anyone into anything.” Chimney then realizes why Bobby sent him to the Academy in the first place.
He then confronts Ravi about his reason for being at the Academy. He tells him that he saw him put Ledbetter on the backboard nearly single-handedly, so his shoulder must not be as messed up as he claims. “Tell me about this big save in Long Beach,” Chimney demands. Ravi admits Chimney is right. He saw a car drive over a pier in Long Beach. He immediately jumped in the water to assist however he could. There was a father and two children in the car. He was able to rescue the father and one of the kids, but the other child drowned.
He explains that he isn’t haunted by the one he couldn’t save but rather the one he did. He tells Chimney that the father intentionally drove the car off the pier in an attempt to kill his children. “Do you ever stop and think that some people’s lives just aren’t worth saving?” Ravi asks Chimney. “If you’re thinking that, then you don’t belong on the rig.” Ravi confirms that this is the reason he has been hiding out at the Academy for months.
Later, we see Chimney and Ravi walk into the 118 firehouse. Everyone is excited to see the guys, and it sounds like Ravi will be rejoining the team. Chimney runs up to Bobby and tells him that he realized why he was sent to the Academy — to bring back Ravi. Bobby tells Chim that he is a great teacher and a much better leader than he gives himself credit for. Chimney thanks him for sending him to the Academy, and Bobby finally receives a performance review. “Can’t you just tell us what you want us to do directly instead of always making a game out of it?” Chimney asks him. “Where’s the fun in that?” Bobby retorts.