At the start of “In a Flash”, Eddie says, “I really hope it [lightning] doesn’t strike twice,” while treating a patient whose umbrella was struck by lightning at the beach. One could let this line go by without thinking twice about it, but it could also be seen as foreshadowing. 9-1-1 is certainly no stranger to referencing later events with what could otherwise be seen as throwaway pieces of dialogue, and it’s part of what helps make 9-1-1 such a well-crafted show.
The episode picks up four months after Wendall’s death, leading the viewers right into the heart of Bobby’s ongoing investigation into the rehab clinic. At this point in the investigation, May and Athena are going undercover attempting to find more answers, but they just keep falling short. That is until May discovers that one of the employees at the facility who used to be a patient must have been there when Wendall died. Therefore, it’s likely that she knows what happened to him. This storyline is shaping up to be one that carries into the latter half of the season, and the suspense is already building to a dangerous level.
It’s really nice to see May, Bobby, and Athena all working together to find answers. Bobby and Athena have already proven that they’re an excellent team. However, the addition of May really shows just how much they’re willing to do for each other along with how much May truly looks up to Bobby. It’s also enjoyable for the show to keep finding ways to include May even though she’s in college now and no longer a first responder.
Since the episode revolves around storms, it only makes sense that the Buckley parents would be back in town. Maddie and Chimney’s house looks incredible, but her parents have the talent of nitpicking anything, so it’s understandable that she’s a bit nervous. However, it seems her parents are at least trying to be better because they walk in without a single wrong thing to say. In fact, everything is going perfectly fine until Albert shows up at the door with an unexpected visitor, Chimney’s father.
Chimney has never been one to talk about his father much, so much of their relationship remains unexplored. However, it is known that they’re not really on speaking terms, and Chimney prefers it that way. The drama seems to be down to a minimum until Buck shows Albert a sonogram of Connor and Cameron’s baby, which he is the sperm donor for. Surprisingly, his parents were completely on board, and it’s Chimney’s father, Sang, who has something to say about it which leads to everyone arguing until all the yelling wakes up Jee-yun.
All is well before the end of the episode though. Sang apologizes, and the whole family actually seems like a big happy family for once. Maddie and Buck even share a moment while talking about Daniel, which is a refreshing sight considering what happened the last time their parents were in town. Buck mentions that he thinks things would be exactly the same, and it can’t help but feel like another instance of foreshadowing.
Chimney is still not sold on the idea of making up with his father and with valid reason. The man didn’t make it easy on Chimney at all, and for years, they didn’t have much of a relationship, to begin with. It’s a conversation with Hen that has Chimney rethinking things, and it’s because she says exactly what Chimney needs to hear. Sometimes forgiveness isn’t about the person who hurt you, but rather about yourself.
Over at the Wilson house, it has never been more obvious that Denny is now a pre-teen. He’s insisting on his parents calling him “D”, picking up new hobbies, and continuing to try and create a relationship with his biological father, Nathaniel. If you remember the end of “Red Flags”, Denny had found Nathaniel, and the last we saw was Denny knocking on his door. Now, it’s obvious that Denny and Nathaniel have been building a relationship. He’s getting Denny into baseball, and he even bought him a glove. However, Hen and Karen have no idea why any of this is happening, and that can only lead to problems down the road. It’s obvious that Denny just wants a father figure in his life. However, Nathaniel should definitely be taking on the responsibility of telling Karen and Hen since he is the adult in the situation.
The show lulls through this entire routine, building suspense at all the right moments, but giving the blanket feeling that everything is okay. That is, until the final call.
Buck is at the top of the ladder when lightning strikes, leaving him dangling in thin air while Eddie is also thrown off the bottom of the ladder. It’s a beautifully directed moment, showing each member of the 118’s reaction in slow motion as they see Buck hanging motionless in the air. It’s when Eddie realizes exactly what has happened that the speed and noise pick back up, starting when he yells Buck’s name.
It’s easy to see the devastation building in everyone’s eyes as minutes go by without a pulse. Bobby’s hands grabbing Buck while uttering the words, “I got you, kid” is laced with a hint of desperation and a probable attempt to grasp onto some sense of control. The team races frantically while putting him on a gurney, attempting to restart his heart. Their efforts are unsuccessful, though, as the episode ends with them driving off with lifeless Buck in an ambulance.
All in all, it was a solid episode of television with a killer cliffhanger. Where does the 118 go from here? We’ve seen them save each other, but this is the first time one of their own team members’ hearts has stopped while they were in the rest of the team’s care. So, it’s very likely that this will impact them all to some degree, and it will be interesting to see just what that impact is.