Fans have waited season after season to see how Henren began finally, and it was definitely worth it. This episode took us on flashbacks through the past while a life-threatening situation loomed over Hen (Aisha Hinds) and Karen (Tracie Thoms).
Henren is the only main relationship fans didn’t get to see in the beginning. Madney and Bathena both got together in season two, but Henren had been together long before season one. This episode was a stunning showcase of the beginning of one of the show’s best relationships.
The end of Season 6, Episode 5, left us on the cliffhanger of an explosion at Karen’s workplace. This, along with another notable storyline of Hen’s decision to leave the 118 and become a doctor, turned into this episode her. What better way to find clarity about a major life decision than going through a significant trauma?
In this episode, we learn that the initial meeting of Hen and Karen wasn’t by fate, but it was instead thanks to Chimney. Karen was his neighbor at the time, and Hen was his co-worker and friend at the time. He set them up on what they both thought was a blind date. Unfortunately, their first impression wasn’t the best either. Karen was more focused on her career, and Hen was working on getting over Eva. However, despite everything working against them, they worked it out. They were going on dates, moving in together, and turning into a really serious thing. Everything was going well until Denny needed someone to take him in. Hen obviously agreed, but she failed to mention this to Karen or think about what it would mean to her. Karen had previously had issues with Eva still being a part of Hen’s life, and she feared that Hen would always love Eva.
After that, Karen decided it was time to finally chase her dreams of becoming an astronaut in Houston. Unfortunately, she didn’t get far before she received a phone call from Chimney saying that Hen had passed away in an accident. Obviously, the audience knew he was lying, and he eventually told Karen that she was still alive, just severely hurt, but this opened Karen’s eyes to the fact that she didn’t want to live in a world that Hen wasn’t in. After that, they got back together, and we know most of the story from there.
Back in the present time, a tank exploded, which caused a massive fire in the lab. At first, everything seems to be going fine. They get Karen out, and it seems she has only suffered from minor injuries. Then Karen collapses, and they find a piece of shrapnel in her stomach that they didn’t know was there before. On the way to the hospital, Karen’s heart even stops. Hen steps in and does CPR until she thankfully comes back. This is where the parallels to their past came in. In the past, Karen was the one who realized her dreams had changed due to Hen and Denny. This time around, it’s Hen realizing that her dreams have changed, and she actually wants to stay with the 118. Or more specifically, Hen’s dream is to spend time with Hen and Denny at home as much as possible.
As I have said multiple times before, 9-1-1 works best when it focuses on individual characters and relationships, and this is a shining example of that. Tracie Thoms and Aisha Hinds took an already beautifully written episode and turned it into something magical. Here’s to hoping we get to see more Henren now as the rest of season 6 plays out.