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‘9-1-1’ Showrunner on Finale Breakup and What Season 6 Holds for the Other Couples

(SPOLER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Starting Over,” the May 16 season finale of “9-1-1.”)

“9-1-1” gave its characters a well-deserved break with its Season 5 finale Monday. Almost everyone got a happy ending of sorts, with the exception of Buck (Oliver Stark) and Taylor’s (Megan West) complicated relationship, which came to an end — but that means happier things should come for both of them.

The episode, titled “Staring Over,” saw almost everyone doing just that in one way or another, with Bobby (Peter Krause) escaping his almost-relapse thanks to Eddie (Ryan Guzman), Bobby and Athena (Angela Bassett) deciding to take that honeymoon they’ve been waiting many seasons for, Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and Chimney (Kenneth Choi) keeping the door open for each other, and Hen (Aisha Hinds) and Karen (Tracie Thoms) getting treated to a beautiful backyard vow renewal by Hen’s mother Toni (Marsha Warfield), who objected to their first wedding.

Variety broke down the “9-1-1” finale with co-showrunner Kristen Reidel, and chatted about how Season 5 ended for all the couples of the 118, and where the remaining crew is headed in Season 6.

Why was Eddie the one to come and save Bobby from relapsing, without even knowing he was doing it?

Bobby has been there for Eddie all along the way. Not just this season, even going back to after Shannon died. In a lot of ways, Bobby and Eddie are somewhat similar. They have both experienced a death, a death of wives, and, in Bobby’s case, also his children. They’re both people that take a lot responsibility onto their shoulders. And whenever Eddie has been in trouble, Bobby has been the guy that gave him advice and helped guide him. And there was something that felt really important to us about Bobby having helped Eddie enabled Eddie to be there. Eddie was in a good place where he can recognize, “Oh, I can see where Bobby might be going down a bad path. I’m going to be there and show up and tell him it’s going to be OK, you’re a good guy.” And it was the natural ending for Eddie’s story this season — that he’s in a good enough place to be able to help someone else.

Will we actually get to see Athena and Bobby’s honeymoon in Season 6?

With Athena and Bobby, we wanted to get them to a good place and kind of have some fun with them next year. But fun in a “9-1-1” sense. We’ve been talking about wanting to do their honeymoon for a very long time, and for a variety of reasons, we’ve never been able to so it. So hopefully Season 6 we will get to see some piece of that.


Was there ever a chance Buck and Taylor wouldn’t breakup in the finale?

It was always inevitable that they would not survive, just because of the people that they are. For Taylor, Taylor is a person that believes that the truth, truth in quotes, is more important than anything. It’s more important than a person’s feelings. She just has a more universal view of her role in the world. And that is always going to be a thing that is not OK with Buck, because Buck is the opposite. Buck believes that people are more important than anything. Sometimes to his own detriment. Buck has, for some time, has wanted to be the guy — to quote “Jerry Maguire” — he wanted to be the guy that “stuck.” He did that with Abby, he tried to do it with Ali, and he tried to do it with Taylor. He thought if he could just be there and be invested enough and be a good guy, that somehow it would all work out. And in the finale, what he had to realize is, “I’m not happy. And if this isn’t a healthy relationship, then maybe the best thing for me to do is be the one who leaves.” That’s a turning point for Buck, to realize he doesn’t have to stay with someone just to stay with someone.

Why did you take Maddie and Chimney to a place in this episode where Chimney believes she’s ready to move on — and Maddie shuts that down, but doesn’t try to reunite either?

Since they’ve returned from Boston, Chimney and Maddie have both tried very hard to be adults. They have a child together, and they were apart for a very long time. It felt like they needed to break up. But at the end of the day, they still care about each other, and they’re still friends. So when your ex calls you and says, “Hey, I want to take you to lunch, we need to talk,” that was Chimney’s natural thought: “Oh, my God. She’s ready to move on.” And and Maddie was not, but now suddenly having it out there kind of causes them both to have to think about what it would mean if they moved on with other people. And I think at that moment, at the end is kind of a realization that they’re always going to find their way back to each other. It’s a little open-ended. It’s our version of a meet-cute, them both finding themselves at the same food truck. And there’s hope for the future.

What led you to the redo of Hen and Karen’s wedding, prompted by Toni?

It was really a moment of healing for everybody. Toni had not been incredibly supportive of that marriage when it first happened. And it’s that thing of, you hopefully get over it and find a way to heal. And we’ve seen Toni living with them and being a part of the family in a different way the last few years. And Karen values all of that and loves Toni. But there’s still that wound. She wasn’t there. And so I think that this moment where they can all come together and sort of get a second chance at having that perfect wedding day, it’s just really a happy, healing moment that brings that family closer together.

Will Jonah’s crimes in the back half of the season come up again next year?

The Jonah thing is mostly done. There may be a little bit of fallout for one or two of our characters next season, regarding what happened with Jonah. But I will promise the audience this: Jonah will not break out of prison and go on the run next year. He’s in prison and he’s going to stay there.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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