9-1-1 showrunner breaks down that surprise wedding — and all the season 5 finale bombshells

·8 min read

Every episode of 9-1-1 is emotional roller coaster adrenaline rush, but Monday's season 5 finale was particularly jam-packed with drama.

"A lot of this season was about our characters being apart.... What we wanted to go out on was a happy note of everybody coming together and starting a clean slate." showrunner Kristen Reidel told EW ahead of tonight's episode. So what does that really mean? Well, now that season 5 has officially come to a close, Reidel is able to speak openly about the decision to have Bobby almost break his sobriety, Eddie's long-awaited return to the 118, Hen's wedding, Buck's breakup, Maddie and Chimney's "meet cute," and what's in store for the newly confirmed season 6 of the Fox first-responder drama.

Bobby's Sobriety

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Bobby (Peter Krause) has been in a tough place for a few weeks now, but walk us through the decision to reveal he was on the brink of breaking his sobriety.

KRISTEN REIDEL: The reality is that Bobby is an alcoholic and he always will be, and it's been a tough year for him because he's the leader — he's Papa Bear, he takes a lot on, and he feels a lot of responsibility for other people. And sometimes he maybe tries to shoulder everyone else's burden and doesn't worry about himself so much. But in [episode] 16, a roof falls on his back. And the first time Bobby's drinking became a problem was after he'd had a back injury. And so, in a lot of ways, the triggers were there. And so, he was on the precipice and Buck could sense that something was wrong, he just didn't know what it was. And so it was something where we wanted to take him there, but not take him over the edge.

It was touching to see Eddie (Ryan Guzman) come talk him off that ledge.

To all of us, it was a fitting to Eddie's journey. We've seen Eddie struggle the last two seasons, maybe even three, with the variety of traumas that he's experienced — with Shannon dying, and everything that's happened since. And Bobby has always been there. Bobby has always been the person who gave him advice or encouraged him to get help. And so, to have this full-circle moment of Eddie being there for Bobby.... Even though he doesn't know that Bobby's about to drink, he shows up and says, "You are a good man, you saved my life," and it brings Bobby back from the precipice.

Eddie's return to the 118

You told us earlier this season that it would take a while for Eddie to return to the firehouse. Why was he ready now?

I think, for a long time, Eddie thought coming back was going to solve his problem. And it wouldn't have. And even now that he's back, we imply he's still doing the work — that Eddie's not cured, but he's in a healthier place. He's on a journey to being a better Eddie, a happier Eddie. It felt like that was the moment that he could come back because the job was just the job. The job wasn't the thing that was going to save him. That already happened.

9-1-1
9-1-1

Jack Zeman/FOX Eddie (Ryan Guzman, background), Athena (Angela Bassett), and Bobby (Peter Krause) attend Hen and Karen's wedding on '9-1-1'

Hen and Karen's wedding

What made you decide it was time to celebrate the relationship of Hen (Aisha Hinds) and Karen (Tracie Thoms) in this way?

We just wanted something happy for Hen and Karen. We've talked for some time about the fact that she and her mom [Toni, played by Marsha Warfield] had a complicated relationship for many years, and part of that was that Hen was with a woman. It just felt like the moment to give them a fresh start, because that's always been a little thing that has been hanging over that relationship. And so we wanted to have Toni come around and say, "You know what, I was wrong and let's fix it. Let's fix it today. Let's make the day that you didn't get to have last time."

Maddie and Chimney's relationship

Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) also finally returns to work...

I think when Maddie first came back, things were still very messy. She had been gone so long, she and Chimney break up. There's a lot for her to work through to feel like she's ready to go help other people, and to feel like she's ready to get back in a relationship with Chimney.

So we should read a lot into her food-truck run-in with Chimney (Kenneth Choi), then?

I think that the end, we sort of saw as like a meet cute. It's their second chance — and we will see more of them hopefully next season. I think that the audience should come away feeling like they're going to be okay, they're going to find their way back together.

What made you wait until now to bring them back together romantically? It seemed like their reunion episode, "Boston," was going to lead up to that, and then they decided to not get back together.

"Boston" was honestly one of the trickiest episodes for us. What felt the most honest was that having been apart for six months — and not just apart, but not in contact with each other — that Maddie and Jimmy were on separate journeys. Ending on some happy note of "Everything is perfect and we're going to be together" didn't feel realistic. It felt like they each needed to process, and remember how to trust each other. And I think we've seen little pieces of that since they've returned to LA. There's been a gradual coming back together, to the point that he's like, "Hey, do you want to go date other people? I understand." Which I think was kind of a wake-up call to Maddie of, "Oh God, that wasn't what I wanted." We wanted to give them a little more time to heal before we brought them back together.

Taylor and Buck's breakup

It seemed like Buck (Oliver Stark) and Taylor (Megan West) weren't in a great place but were making it work after Buck kissed Lucy (Arielle Kebbel). Why couldn't they last?

I never saw Taylor and Buck as an endgame, but I did see the relationship with Taylor as a step on Buck's journey to being a better Buck. When Taylor came back into his life, he jumped in with both feet and then asked her to move in with him in circumstances that were not ideal. And that all comes from Buck's fear of being alone. I think it was an important moment for him at the end to say, "You know what, I'm okay with being alone as opposed to being in this relationship that I'm not really sure I want to be in."

Taylor didn't seem to fight very hard to stay.

I think that Buck and Taylor breaking up has been inevitable for some time. And I think that there's a part of Taylor that knew that. She forgave him and was willing to go forward because she was already [moved in] — but you see in previous episodes he asks her not to do a story and she promises she won't. And you can see on both sides. He really probably shouldn't have asked her to not do the story, because that's her job, and she should not have promised that she wouldn't do the story, because she knew she was going to. I think that they were both just waiting for the inevitable. It's just felt to them for some time like this relationship was eventually going to implode.

It was interesting that Bobby sides with Taylor a bit in regards to her doing her job by reporting on Jonah.

I don't think Taylor's a bad guy here. It actually all comes back to the first fight they ever had, which was about her wanting to do a story about Bobby. Taylor's always going to be that person that thinks that getting the "truth" out there is more important than anybody, than any person — and Buck is never going to be okay with that.

What could come in season 6

It sounds like we're going to get to see Bobby and Athena (Angela Bassett) on a cruise. Vacations don't usually go well on 9-1-1...

I mean, dinners don't go well on 9-1-1. Proposals don't go well on 9-1-1. So I would expect that yes, at some point next season, you will definitely see some portion of that vacation and it will be very 9-1-1.

What else do you hope to explore in season 6?

Basically just more fun. For a variety of reasons, we had a little bit more trauma this season — and I think that the show works best when it's a balance, when there's some trauma but then there's also just some happy, funny, silly. I think that was a bit of an ingredient that maybe was missing this year. So yeah, just more crazy emergencies and just more of our people balancing the job in their lives. But really, for now I'm just still reveling in the "We made it to the end!" and looking forward to lots of fun and cool stuff for next year.

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