9-1-1 Delivered A Heartbreaking Twist In Fall Finale, But What About Bobby?

Spoilers ahead for the fall finale of 9-1-1 Season 3, called "Christmas Spirit."

9-1-1 never fails to deliver a killer cliffhanger in big episodes, and the third season's fall finale was no exception. Although "Christmas Spirit" didn't end with a tsunami poised to hit Los Angeles or an adorable little boy missing and swept away in the torrent, it did end with the reveal that one character's end may be nigh. Surprisingly, it wasn't Bobby, despite his cancer scare earlier in Season 3. No, the one who may lose his life in Season 3 is Michael. But does that mean Bobby is wholly out of the woods?

Here's what went down in "Christmas Spirit." The spirits were decidedly glum for many of the characters, with both Bobby and Athena distracted by Bobby's possible health crisis, Michael facing his first Christmas alone, and everything feeling just a little off. Not helping matters was Michael's reveal that he was on meds for sleep deprivation, leading to some dangerous sleep-walking. He wound up back in bed with Athena, then walked through a plate glass door and wound up in the hospital.

Michael promised Athena that he would get a full check-up after the holidays, but the end of the episode dropped the game-changing news that doctors had run some tests on Michael and discovered a tumor. While Michael didn't go into detail when he shared the tumor news with Bobby, securing a promise that Bobby wouldn't tell in the process, his delivery suggests that he doesn't expect to survive whatever has happened to him.

So, does the discovery of Michael's tumor mean the end of Michael, and that Bobby is out of danger when it comes to potential cancer? 9-1-1 showrunner Tim Minear dropped some details about the second half of Season 3 during a chat with TV Guide, saying this when asked if Athena will ever get a break:

Well, no. [Laughs] Look, there will be — as always in life, there are high points and low points, and [they] often happen at the same time. I think Bobby's health scare is pretty much in the rearview. All of his tests have been clear so far. Except for any unforeseen complications, I think that we can rest pretty easy about Bobby for the moment. It's really Michael that we have to worry about. And it's complicated. It's complicated not just for Athena and Michael, but it's complicated for Bobby, too, who has lost his own family and has found this new family and has grown very close to the man who will be looking to him to support that family should it come to the worst.

Well, at least the stellar Athena-centric episode that 9-1-1 really needed earlier this season is proof that Athena is made of strong enough stuff to endure just about anything! Despite her divorce from Michael and marriage to Bobby, they all care deeply about each other and make for one big, unconventional family with Michael and Athena's two kids.

The good news is Tim Minear pretty much confirmed that fans can stop worrying about a cancer diagnosis for Bobby; the bad news is that there are no guarantees that Michael will survive. Even if Bobby had been diagnosed with cancer, I would have had a hard time being truly concerned that he'd die. That's not the case with Michael.

Surely 9-1-1 wouldn't kill off leading man Peter Krause's character, right? Whereas Rockmond Dunbar, as a non-first responder, could be pulled out of the show without changing everything. His death would be emotionally devastating, but wouldn't really cripple the show about cops, firefighters, EMTs, and 911 operators.

Still, we don't need to look too far ahead. It's entirely possible that Michael will survive his diagnosis. Find out what happens when 9-1-1 returns for the second half of Season 3 in 2020, along with a whole bunch of other shows on our 2020 winter and spring TV premiere schedule. One of those shows will be spinoff 9-1-1: Lone Star, starring Rob Lowe.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).