Bobby was never going to give up on Wendall.
If there were one major takeaway from 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 12, it would be that even in death, Bobby owed Wendall so much, and he’d be damned if he didn’t do everything he could to take down the people who hurt Wendall.
And through a series of flashbacks, we got to see their relationship develop and find out just what happened to Wendall on the day he died.
The sponsor and sponsee relationship is built on a sense of community and understanding. A sponsee has to trust that their sponsor has their best interest at heart as they guide and support them through all aspects of recovery, especially early recovery.
That therapeutic relationship is so meaningful as life continues each day and you face the battle of addiction head-on.
We never got to know Wendall beyond the little time we spent with him. But we could glean that he was a good person and beloved by the Grant-Nash household.
The flashbacks do a lot to shade in who Wendall was and what he meant to Bobby. And he meant everything.
Taking us back to 9-1-1 Season 1 reminds me of how different the series was back then. And I’d almost forgotten about Bobby’s breakdown and how the 118 rallied around him in a rather dark time.
Bobby has always been a man of action, never content to sit back and be a passenger. It’s what makes him such an effective captain and a wonderful husband and friend. He gets in there and does the things other people may not be able to do.
When he meets Wendall, he’s stubborn and unsure of himself. He’s taking a step forward in his recovery by attending a meeting and hearing the stories of others. Just getting inside that room can be a daunting task for some, and getting in there, sitting down, and listening should be applauded.
Wendall sees Bobby, and he immediately sees through his defenses. And Bobby lets him. Within a few short minutes, you can see Bobby slowly release the tension in his shoulders and take the first steps toward developing a new community for himself.
And it’s nice to get a greater sense of that bond as we see present-day Bobby devote much of his time to discovering the truth.
You could tell during 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 1 that Athena was beginning to worry a bit about Bobby’s persistence in investigating Wendall’s death, even if she understood his motives. She’s always going to worry about the man she loves and ensuring he’s protecting himself.
But one of the best things about Bobby and Athena’s relationship has always been the way in which they respect one another and are always going to work together. Even with Wendall’s case closed and seemingly over, Bobby wasn’t ready to stop digging, and Athena didn’t leave him there to do it alone. She stepped into the investigation right along with him.
You have to let this go, or you’ll end up like Wendall.
Tamara [to Bobby]
The key to everything started and ended with Tamara. May making that connection between her and Wendall being at Winding Path simultaneously was essential in understanding what happened.
Tamara was clearly terrified of Carrie and Trey and had good reason to be. Those two sociopaths weren’t above doing anything to keep people at that facility and money flowing into their pockets.
Bobby took a chance in approaching Tamara, and she gave him just enough information to really cement his theory that the murderous duo moved Wendall’s body from Winding Path, which he suspected all along.
I strongly felt things weren’t what they seemed when Bobby got that call from Tamara. Of course, we’d find out later that she was just the bait Carrie used to lure Bobby to the facility so they could enact their plan to burn their business down, send Bobby to jail, collect some insurance money, and then move on to the next scam?
That’s what I think the master plan was.
Carrie and Trey were vile human beings, using a disease to make money and preying on people in highly vulnerable positions in an effort to exploit them and their wallets. They weren’t at all interested in helping people get sober but focused on making sure they’d be indebted to them and repeat clients.
Wendall’s anger about what was happening at Winding Path was relatable, and his decision to go into the facility and try to expose them came from a place of genuinely wanting to do the right thing.
Wendall was a good man, and while Tamara may harbor a lot of guilt for getting him involved, you could tell Wendall would have probably gone and done it all over again, even knowing the outcome because he felt it was the right thing to do.
His death was needless, a product of Carrie’s callousness and extreme disregard for human life. Wendall died protecting Tamara, and without Bobby’s insistence on never giving up, the world may have never known the truth about what Carrie and Trey were doing.
Countless lives were probably saved, which was what Wendall set out to do in the first place.
Seeing Bobby take a page from Wendall’s playbook and use his experiences to support someone else was such a beautiful full-circle moment.
Bobby is also a good man, a good teacher, and a valuable support system. I love seeing him step in to be that guiding hand someone may not even realize they’re reaching for.
The other part of this hour dealt with the aftermath of Buck’s accident, and while it was nice to see him back at the loft taking it easy, it didn’t take long to realize he wasn’t dealing with things as well as he pretended.
Maddie was definitely in her big sister bag, just trying to make sure Buck was taking care of himself and not trying to overdo it. And knowing her brother as well as she does, she wanted her eyes, and the eyes of others, on him to ensure he wasn’t biting off more than he could chew so soon into his recovery.
The constant round of guests may have been a bit of overkill, but it was all coming from a good place. Everyone wants Buck to be okay, and coming off a near-death experience is a very life-altering traumatic event, and it’s okay not to be okay.
Buck plasters on a smile in all the right places and at all the correct times, but he lets his guard slip with Hen first and Eddie later.
Hearing Buck admit that he’s basically waiting for the other shoe to drop makes a lot of sense in that he’s just gone through this random, one-in-a-million event, and no matter how good he feels, he knows that everything could change in an instant. Because it just did!
9-1-1 sometimes tends to gloss over this part of the narrative. We’ve seen so many people on this show go through something deeply traumatic, and then the next time we see them, there may be a passing comment, but life goes on. The show quite literally goes on.
Digging deeper into Buck’s worries and having him express his doubts is a welcome change and plays into the more prominent themes of Buck’s journey this year, which have centered around his desire to find happiness and find out what he wants for his life.
I lamented the lack of Eddie in 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 11 because he’s Buck’s person in so many ways, and it just felt so odd not to see him in an episode designed to make us feel like Buck’s life was truly teetering on the edge.
But they make some amends here by giving us a long overdue talk about Eddie’s shooting and all the swirling emotions surrounding it.
Eddie: So, now, am I allowed to ask how you are?
Buck: Honestly, Eddie, I don’t know.
Eddie: You died, Buck. You’re gonna feel a lot of different ways about that. Sometimes all at the same time. I found the best way to process it is to allow yourself to feel it.
Buck: But you do eventually, right? You process it?
Eddie: Every day you open your eyes in the morning, you feel a little less surprised the world’s still there.
If there is one person who understands what Buck may be feeling, it’s Eddie. And I like that with Eddie, Buck doesn’t put on a face and act like everything is fine when he’s not. He can always be unapologetically Buck when he’s with him. Angry, stubborn, happy, content. There’s no fear of judgment when he sits down to talk to his person.
And it’s not even as if Buck’s feeling bad per se, but it’s obvious he’s also not feeling good. And it’s okay not to know how you feel and to be unsure of what you want to do next. Everything is okay, even if it feels like you need to have an answer.
Feeling your feelings is important, and it’s valid. Feel them, sit with them, examine them, but try not to run away from them.
It’s easier said than done, but the talk with Eddie at least sets him on a path to talk in-depth with his doctor about what life can be like post-near-death. And there’s no blueprint, of course.
One person’s experience could push them out of their comfort zone, the whole ‘you only live once’ attitude taking on a whole new meaning. Or it could cause you to bunker down and stay true to what you know, return to normal, and not take anything for granted.
Buck appears to be in a state of limbo, where again, he’s unsure what he wants to do or how he even feels about what happened to him. Is he angry? Is he sad? Is he scared? Is he anxious? Is he glad?
I’m sure at different points on any given day, he feels all of those things, but like Eddie told him, each day is a day to process and a day to understand that you’re still here, you’re still breathing, and you still have a chance to live your life.
Sitting down with Maddie and opening himself up to her is definitely a start toward figuring out this next phase of life.
No matter what Buck is going through, he has a stable of people in his life who’ll be there when he calls.
Odds and Ends
- Margaret bought Buck a couch, and while he tried to nap on it, he was never quite able to find the time. Distractions and visitors abounded. But within seconds of arriving at Eddie’s house, he was asleep on his couch. Buck and Eddie’s couch, forever in sync. Do with that information what you will.
- Carrie and Trey getting away with killing people, changing their names, and starting new rehabs was incredibly disturbing.
- Even though May wasn’t there to see the investigation through, it did take all three of them to solve the case, and the Grant-Nash family continues to be the absolute cutest.
- Okay, it was funny to see Wendall trying to understand why Bobby was moving so quickly with Athena, but he wasn’t wrong to have his concerns then. He just hadn’t yet seen the love, unwavering support, and how they make each other better. But he got there in the end.
- Did I mention Bathena is all the goals?
Somehow, we only have six episodes left this season, and my brain doesn’t know how to handle that. 9-1-1 Season 6 has had so many strong hours, and it’s sad to think the end is near.
Wrapping up the investigation into Wendall’s death and Buck’s recuperation made for another thrilling installment. And I’d love to know your thoughts about the storylines, so please let me know in the comments.
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Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.