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Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of 9-1-1 Season 3 on Fox, called "The Searchers."
The third season of 9-1-1 delivered the show's biggest natural disaster to date with a tsunami that slammed into Santa Monica Pier, which just so happened to be where Buck and Christopher were hanging out for a day of fun. The fun of course ruined by the huge wave, and Buck lost Christopher in the torrent at the end of the second episode, when the water began receding. He spent most of "The Searchers" desperately trying to find Christopher, sustaining injuries of his own, and Christopher's fate may mean changes for Buck.
And it's good news! 9-1-1 almost had me convinced by the end of the titanic episode that Christopher was really gone for good, as Buck tried absolutely everything to find him, and only succeeded in recovering Christopher's glasses. Just when a bloody, exhausted, and devastated Buck reunited with Eddie to break the awful news about Christopher, Christopher turned up, not all that much worse for the wear considering everything that had happened.
Finally seeing Christopher was alive and okay, Buck was overcome by his exhaustion and collapsed. A lot of people died in the tsunami that hit the pier on 9-1-1 this season, but Buck and Christopher weren't among them! Honestly, kudos to 9-1-1 for making me believe for a few moments that Christopher might really have died. The episode didn't just end on Eddie and Christopher back together with Buck being worked on by the medics, though.
While Buck clearly felt guilty about losing Christopher, Eddie showed up at his door to drop off Christopher after Buck had some time to partially recover from his injuries, whether Buck liked it or not. Buck was shocked that Eddie trusted him with his son's life after Christopher could have died, but Eddie saw things differently, and so did Christopher. To them, Buck saved Christopher's life, and honestly, it really was just bad luck that they'd been at the pier when the tsunami hit.
As Eddie pointed out, it was a natural disaster, not bad judgment by Buck. Christopher was fine and excited to be hanging out with Buck again, and Eddie was lighthearted as he told Buck that maybe they should go to the zoo or something "inland" this time. So, what does this all mean?
Before this episode, part of me suspected that the loss of Christopher and Buck's desperate mission to get him back would result in the LAFD seeing that Buck could still handle the physical pressures of the job and welcome him back to the job. Instead, Buck is still not an official LAFD firefighter, and he's still not quite back at his best.
Buck has a lot of recovering to do, and Christopher's fate -- surviving, believing wholeheartedly that Buck was his hero, and still needing help -- seems to be connected to Buck's recovery. Christopher is okay, and Buck doesn't want to let Christopher or Eddie down. Plus, he genuinely likes Christopher, and their bond really raised the stakes of the tsunami from start to finish. Honestly, I would watch a 9-1-1 that featured the LAFD, LAPD, 911 operators, and adventures of Evan Buckley: nanny. Make that the next spinoff!