9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8 Review: Step Nine


9-1-1 never shies away from character-centric hours, with its ‘Begins’ episodes notable for delving deeper into the pasts of its main characters.

‘Bobby Begins Again’ during 9-1-1 Season 2 was Bobby’s turn. This installment showed the devasting events in Minnesota, ultimately leading to his moving out west to restart his life in Los Angeles.

But we didn’t know much about Bobby’s life before that, not until 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8 gave us a peek into Bobby’s early years, which have profoundly impacted the man he’s become.

There’s a lot crammed into this hour, and instead of easing into the Bobby and Amir of it all, they decided to begin with the scenes detailed in the trailer, which gave all the insight we needed about the connection between the two men.

Bobby’s continued struggle with his past has been highlighted throughout the series, as grief, loss, and trauma are central to who Bobby is.

He’s put in a lot of work to not only understand himself, change his life, and continuously be a better person, but it’s not as if he suddenly looks in the mirror and sees that better person every day.

It will be a lifelong struggle to revel in gratitude and feel worthy of his life and the love he receives, as giving into those feelings could feel like he’s let go of the past.

Bobby doesn’t feel he deserves happiness, so he keeps that book with the names of all those who perished in the fire to remind himself never to forget them and never forget his part in what happened, even if it was an accident.

How Amir found Bobby’s home group wasn’t clear, but he was there to make a point, and he made it pretty valiantly when he got up and detailed the struggle he faced when he laid eyes on Bobby for presumably the first time.

Desert Bound - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

Amir has to get up and look in the mirror at the physical reminder of the worst day of his life, and you could tell there was a simmering rage boiling under the surface when he talked about what he was feeling and never took his eyes off Bobby.

From the brief conversation between Amir and Maddie and his other interactions during the last hour, you could tell that Amir was kindhearted, but seeing Bobby again unleashed anger, resentment, and pain within him.

Related: 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 7 Review: Ghost of a Second Chance

Even feeling that way, he spoke his peace and didn’t trouble Bobby. He may have spoken up when the pain within got to be a little too loud, but he didn’t seek Bobby out to talk or cause him any distress.

He moved on from the city to continue helping people, which he’d done since losing the love of his life.

I love Bobby Nash; I genuinely do, but a large part of me agreed with Athena (as I tend to do) because I wasn’t sure that seeking Amir out was the right decision.

Yes, Amir wanted Bobby to hear his words, but the fact that he left them there should have told Bobby that he had done what he needed to do and was now moving on.

He’ll never move on from the situation but was moving on from Los Angeles.

Family Dinner - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

Bobby’s desire to make amends aligns with everything we know about him. He lives his life following the 12 steps, is an active member of AA, and to follow the steps to the letter of the law is to make amends in person.

But it’s not always so cut and dry. If making amends to someone could potentially cause them more pain, then you have to consider whether or not you need to pursue it.

It’s also important to remember that making amends doesn’t guarantee forgiveness, nor should it. As you can only control what you can control, the act must be enough.

I love me some Bathena, and while I initially agreed with Athena, I quickly understood that Bobby had to do this. And I appreciated that he understood that while he grieved and grieved those lost, he perhaps didn’t think as deeply about those who survived.

He thought about himself surely, but those like Amir? He hadn’t necessarily carried them with him in the same way.

Bobby: I love you.
Athena: I love you, too. But you’re not the same man you were ten years ago.
Bobby: I don’t think that matters to him.
Athena: I need that to matter to you.

Athena was right when she told Bobby to remember he’s not the same man he was ten years ago because he’s not. He’s a good man who has worked tirelessly to help others and become someone those who love him can be proud of.

Happy Athena - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

But even with all the love surrounding you and a life most would envy, it doesn’t mean you always feel proud of yourself.

Having Bobby’s turmoil and then, subsequently, the entire plot interspersed with flashbacks was a genius decision, especially considering how little we know about Bobby’s upbringing.

All roads for Bobby, as far as we’ve known him, have always led back to the fire in Minnesota. But even though we had a brief meeting with that Bobby, little was known about how that Bobby became who he was.

The flashbacks were done well, and the young actor who played Bobby did a phenomenal job as dad John Brotherton, who stepped into the role of Tim Nash.

Tim was the exact opposite of Bobby in terms of his outward demeanor and disposition. The Bobby we know is business first, professional as professional comes, while Tim was a bit more boisterous, loud, and relished more in the accolades bestowed upon him.

Related: 13 TV Dads Who Don’t Deserve Any Praise!

He was charming, at least on the surface, though that charm faded pretty quickly once it was clear that he was a man struggling with a variety of issues and falling further and further into his addiction.

Bobby Helps - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

Bobby idolized and loved his father, like so many kids growing up do with their parents. But his father was sick, and his alcoholism consumed him to the point it splintered his marriage and his family and ultimately cost him his life.

The flashbacks got increasingly tenser and scarier as Tim struggled to and eventually lost control of his life.

There was love between father and son, but Tim slowly became the child, and Bobby, a child himself, was suddenly thrust into this almost provider role with his mom gone, which he wasn’t ready for.

He did his best, which he shouldn’t have had to do, but you aren’t equipped to cook and do whatever else Tim was incapable of at that age.

Young Bobby thought his father walked on water, and his hero scrapbook was a true testament to the man he thought he stood beside.

But Tim was a man slowly losing everything he seemingly once held dear, the darkness inside him taking over, and unfortunately, there was only so much Bobby could do.

As the flashbacks got darker, Bobby’s descent into the desert did as well, and the show detailed the dangers out there well.

When we met Amir, you could immediately tell he was a good human who was doing good work. Unsurprisingly, he used the skills he learned as a traveling nurse to lend them to a relief organization full of people risking their lives to help migrants.

Getting Information - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

Like Amir, Bobby jumped in to help once he saw someone in need. And was it wise to travel deep into the desert alone with only a tire iron to protect himself? No, it wasn’t.

But this is Bobby Nash we’re talking about. He knew Amir must have been in trouble, and like hell would he sit by idly when he could be actively helping.

It wasn’t clear how the dead man Bobby stumbled upon on the way to the diner would come into play, but everything you see on 9-1-1 is for a reason.

When Bobby stumbled upon that diner, it felt like he was in a forgotten ghost town. My heart was in my throat when he went inside, not knowing what kind of terror could be ready to jump out at him.

If Amir was surprised to see him, he didn’t let it show too much, but that could have also been because he was in so much physical pain.

Peter Krause and Malcolm-Jamal Warner are both acting royalty, and watching them go toe-to-toe was such a treat for television nerds like myself.

They had great chemistry, and the tension radiating from Amir was palpable every time they spoke.

Examining The Wound - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

It was an intriguing dynamic because they needed each other in those moments, even if Amir was loathe to admit it.

Amir needed Bobby’s help if he wanted to get out of there, and Bobby needed Amir as someone who knew where they were and how to seek help.

Amir had a decision to make regarding Bobby’s help, and maybe we knew Bobby would have never left him out there in a million years, but he didn’t know that.

He took the help offered, which was a massive step for him, while not forgetting about all his feelings because Bobby happened to be there when he needed him.

This was an emotional storyline, and it would have been unrealistic to assume that Amir would just bury his anguish and trauma because Bobby attempted to make his amends and helped to save his life.  

Amir: Man, I don’t know what’s worse. Dying out here in the shade or letting your ass save me.
Bobby: Well, given where things are at, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll fail.
Amir: Now you’re just trying to cheer me up.

That sorrow belonged to Amir and wouldn’t disappear, even given such terrifying and unfortunate circumstances.

I was afraid that the story could have been played in a way that had Bobby jumping in to save the day and Amir immediately accepting his apology when that wouldn’t have rang true.

That fire irrevocably changed Amir’s life, and he’s allowed to feel some way about it.

Desert Bobby - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

I never thought for a second that something would happen to Bobby out there, but things were not looking good when we popped in from a flashback with Bobby looking like he’d been baking in the sun for days.

Related: 13 Characters Who Can Keep You Alive in the Wild

It was implied that they walked several miles, and how they pulled that off is beyond me. Perhaps that’s why we didn’t see much of it.

As soon as Herman stopped, I had a horrible feeling, mainly because of the warning Fernanda had given Bobby earlier.

Though him being the grandfather of the man Amir killed in self-defense and then subsequently working in cahoots with the cartel was a nifty twist that I didn’t pick up on right away.

All three men surviving that wreck was a miracle in and of itself, as was Bobby being able to pull Amir through the desert with his bare hands, a makeshift tarp gurney, and a prayer.

Again, the flashbacks employed were brilliant in showcasing Tim’s death and Bobby’s inability to save him, just as Bobby’s body was giving out on him under the sweltering heat and unrelenting discomfort.

Here were two men who dedicated their lives to saving others while forever feeling the guilt of being unable to save the people they loved.

Bobby Steps In - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

Amir and Bobby were saved, but their pain will never be extinguished.

Everything about this hour was special; it was truly two talented actors showcasing their capabilities.

The most gripping moments in the hour came at the tail end when Bobby finally got to enact his version of the ninth step, which we’ve known to be true for a long while.

Bobby has carried and will carry all 148 souls with him for the rest of his life. His life has gone on, but he’s aware theirs did not, and he won’t allow himself to forget that.

I imagine that after meeting Amir, he will not allow himself to forget those who have lived, either.

But spending that day with Amir should have given him some comfort in knowing he’s done what he can since then to improve, and Amir saw that as well.

The day of Tim’s death was the day Bobby had a drink. A way to feel connected to his father, or done with the hope that the liquor would swallow up the immense remorse he felt.

Serious Athena - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

His father’s untimely death shaped so much of his life and continues to shape it.

He’s been trying to save people since he found his father’s body on the ground, blood seeping into a scrapbook made out of love and adoration.

He couldn’t save him then, and he’s spent the rest of his life trying to make up for that.

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Loose Ends

  • Bobby-centric hours are always special because of Peter Krause, duh, but also because there’s just something about Bobby’s stories and his presence that is so damn compelling.
  • I know you can’t think too deeply about certain things regarding television, but how did Bobby and Amir get out of that diner a mile away without anyone noticing?
  • MAY GRANT SIGHTING! It was far too brief, but it was so good to see her.
Welcome Home - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8
  • Some people may be confused why an episode like this, devoid of the rest of the 118 and Maddie, was included in a shortened season, but why not? It’s a powerful story that will undoubtedly set up Bobby’s story for the rest of this season and beyond.
  • Having said that, though, there’s much to be cleaned up and concluded over the final two hours.

We are approaching the penultimate episode of the seventh season, and I wonder where the time has gone.

It feels like just yesterday I couldn’t go a day without seeing a capsized cruise ship on television or interwebs, and yet it’s now time to make finale predictions!

This Bobby/Amir story isn’t over, but we’ve also got other stories to consider outside of that.

Don’t think I’ve forgotten about Eddie and his lies! The North remembers!

While we wait to see how THAT story plays out, please share your thoughts about this hour and what you think is coming next below!

Whitney Evans is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lover of all things TV. Follow her on X.

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