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911 - Step Nine & Ashes, Ashes - Double Review: World On Fire, Heartbreaking Moments, Gut-Wrenching Ending

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Spoilers ahead!

Once again, it’s 9-1-1 time, and here comes a double review in which Step Nine and Ashes, Ashes, the eighth and ninth episodes of this seventh season, are discussed. 

Last week, we learned more about Bobby’s (Peter Krause) past and then got some hints about his future. The episode starts with Amir (Malcolm Jamal-Warner), the nurse from 7x07, following Bobby to one AA meeting and standing up to tell everyone about the Minnesota apartment fire that changed his life. Our favorite Nash connects the dots and realizes that Amir is a survivor of the fire he caused. Impacted by this discovery, Bobby decides it’s time to make amends with Amir. After all, there are “Twelve Steps” at the core of the Alcoholics Anonymous program, and Step Nine is the one that “calls into action and tells [someone] to take responsibility for the behavior that accompanied their addiction.” 

Bobby’s need for redemption takes him to Jacumba, where Amir is working as a traveling nurse. Amid cartel members, gunshot wounds (and mental ones as well), and a desert landscape, Bobby and Amir must work together to survive. Meanwhile, we get a glimpse of Bobby’s childhood and learn about how his father’s alcoholism dismantled his family. While his mother Ann (Ellen Wroe) and his brother Charlie (Parker Queenan) left the house, young Bobby (Mark Sodukh) stayed, hopeful to somehow save his father — but Tim Nash (John Brotherton) ends up dying drunk in a tragic way. 

While Peter Krause and Malcolm Jamal-Warner are two beasts performing with each other and their adventure had some strong moments (usually the ones in which they argued or discussed something), I was not a huge fan of Step Nine. But hey, May (Corinne Massiah) came back for a cameo, and I was really happy to see her again — hopefully, she can return next season. And of course, the flashbacks were my favorite part of this episode; they were so poignant, touching, and tragic, and I had all kinds of feelings watching them (and when it comes to making me feel stuff, 9-1-1 is unbeatable). Another thing that worked for me is that Amir doesn’t forgive Bobby in the end. Bobby saved his life, but he’s a stranger to Amir — a stranger who, by the way, is living a very good life surrounded by the best people after everything that happened in Minnesota. And Bobby knows this and feels guilty as hell for being happy after all, so he ends the episode in this very dark place…

"Ashes, Ashes" — 9-1-1, Pictured: The 9-1-1 Cast. Photo: ABC ©. All Rights Reserved

And tonight’s episode deals with dark places. And ghosts. And some shocking scenes, heartbreaking moments, and gut-wrenching cliffhangers. This season has been all about what happened in the past coming back to haunt our firefighters. Hen (Aisha Hinds), for instance, crashed the ambulance into the car of a cello player years ago. Now, this comes back to haunt her once more, along with some moments she had to break protocol in her job because Councilwoman Olivia Ortiz (Veronica Falcón, brilliant as this dangerous and hateful woman) wants revenge for what happened to her son earlier this season. Olivia decides to use her influence to prevent Hen and Karen (Tracie Thoms) from officially adopting Mara (Askyler Bell), and this is so cruel because Mara is finally smiling, playing with Denny (Declan Pratt) and other kids, and talking, she’s finally happy — after so much suffering, with the Wilsons she found a family. The scene in which Mara is taken from her new family was brutal, I cried angrily because that was so wrong. Olivia Ortiz, you reap what you sow, what goes around comes around, or as we say where I live, o que é seu tá guardado. Hen and Karen will find a way to bring Mara back, I trust this. And again, I need to praise Aisha, Tracie, Declan, and Askyler — wonderful acting that broke my heart into pieces. 

Eddie (Ryan Guzman) is also dealing with a ghost, now that Kim (Devin Kelley) is starting to be part of his life. After coming to the station one night to see Eddie, Kim meets Buck (Oliver Stark) instead. Buck, of course, goes immediately to Eddie’s and asks him about what’s going on. Eddie doesn’t seem to know. Buck is worried, and Eddie is worried as well… But he guarantees to him that he didn’t kiss Kim, they never had sex or anything like that, she’s just a friend. 

After Buck gives him some advice, Eddie tells Kim the truth about her being essentially a doppelganger of his deceased wife, showing some pictures of Shannon to Kim, which seems to make her upset/scared… Until she comes back later dressed just like Shannon with different hair and different makeup, offering Eddie a chance to tell “Shannon” everything he always wanted to say but never got the chance to. Devin is strong as always as this weird, fascinating woman, but Ryan gets the chance to shine here with Eddie tearing himself apart. While Kim and Eddie share a hug, Christopher (Gavin McHugh) and Marisol (Edy Ganem) enter the scene, with Chris recognizing his “mom”... Guys, I was so tense the entire scene waiting for this to happen, then it happened. Now what? It’ll be a long week. But I like the way they are addressing Eddie's relationship with Shannon — while a part of me still thinks that at the end of this, he'll be ready to move on, he's also idealizing a lot of what happened, so who knows?

"Ashes, Ashes" — 9-1-1, Pictured: AISHA HINDS as Hen, KENNETH CHOI as Chimney, OLIVER STARK as Buck, ANIRUDH PISHARODY as Ravi, PETER KRAUSE as Bobby. Photo: ABC ©. All Rights Reserved

But this wasn’t the biggest cliffhanger. After receiving a medal of honor, Bobby’s guilt deepens, and he decides to retire and leave the 118. Athena (Angela Bassett) is, of course, not satisfied with this. She’s rightfully worried about her husband and decides to ask for Amir’s help. But when the nurse goes to the Grant-Nash house and learns more about Bobby’s life and new family, he decides this will be too much for him. Bobby comes home right in time to see Amir leaving, and he and Athena have a huge argument. Later, Bobby dreams of his father, who’s been haunting him for decades at this point. When he wakes up, his house is on fire, ashes everywhere. Bobby saves Athena, unconscious on the floor of their bedroom, and starts compressions until the paramedics arrive. When she starts to breathe normally again, he knows something’s wrong. He falls to the ground. His heart stopped. End of the episode. 

So much of this episode was about Bobby saying goodbye to the 118. We had this beautiful montage to Matt Maltese’s I Hear The Day Has Come — Bobby talking to each of his coworkers, who are also his children in a way, who are also part of his family, while we see him watching the 118 in action, proud of who they are, thinking about how far they’ve come. There’s a bit with Ravi (Anirudh Pisharody) that made me so emotional — a beautiful, touching, and fast scene. And then the last supper, prepared by Buck. And then Bobby and Buck have that conversation. For Bobby, it's a moment of closure, but Buck is unaware of everything happening in his captain’s life. And I can't stop thinking about this scene between them as well, because it has this full-circle feeling in it that's very powerful.

I’m usually very positive that everyone will make it out alive in the end when it comes to this show, but again, so much of this episode was about Bobby saying goodbye. I’m scared — I can’t imagine the 118 without Bobby. To be fair, I can’t imagine 9-1-1 without any of the main characters; I can only think of season 5 when it comes to “what would this show be if one of them, or some of them, left?” We have one more episode, and then a hiatus until season 8, so who knows? But I’m scared. And thrilled. And excited, because this episode was so good, so intense, so beautiful yet tragic… The wait for May 30th is gonna last forever.

Now let me know your thoughts and theories. What do you think about Step Nine and Ashes, Ashes? Feel free to leave a comment with your impressions, and thanks for reading!

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