9-1-1 angela bassett athena fox

Spoilers ahead for the April 26 episode of 9-1-1 on Fox, called "Parenthood."

9-1-1 was all about parents and their kids in the well-named "Parenthood," and some of the plots were more heartwarming than others. While Maddie and Chimney navigated the challenges of parenthood to a new baby in light of the previous episode's tragedy, Hen and Karen had to say goodbye to Nia despite wanting to keep her. Then there was the plot with Athena and May, and that was the part of the episode that reminded me all over again how much of a powerhouse performer that Angela Bassett can be.

Athena's parenthood plot picked up with the discovery that May is back in contact with the girl who had made her life so hellish years ago that May overdosed in a suicide attempt. May protested that the girl apologized and having coffee went fine, but Athena was clearly upset at even the idea of what happened before happening again, and the result was an argument that sent May to vent to her dad and Athena to call May again and again.

The kicker came when May, after a conversation with her dad, used her access as a dispatcher to listen to the recording of the 911 call from when her mom called in her overdose all those years ago. And Angela Bassett's voice performance as one half of a 911 call was so impressive that my heart was in my throat, even knowing that of course May was fine and Athena didn't go through the death of her young daughter.

9-1-1 did show Athena finding May back in Season 1, so this isn't something that viewers had never experienced in some form or other, but it's really a sign of how powerful the storyline was (and certainly Angela Bassett's performance was) that it stands out in the episode that forced Hen and Karen to say a devastating farewell to Nia and go through the stages of grief at least enough to decide to continue opening up their home to foster children.

Despite being frantic with a newborn, Maddie and Chimney's parenthood plot was the least intense of the hour, which I honestly took as a nice break from some of the heavier stories. But the Athena/May story anchored by Angela Bassett was the strongest for me, and just reminded me of how fortunate it was that 9-1-1 was able to land such a strong dramatic actress on such an action-packed ensemble show. The series is packed with solid performers; Bassett is just a reliable standout for me, and I'm on board with her having all the meaty storylines.

See what 9-1-1 has in store for Angela Bassett as Athena next with the next episode, airing on Monday, May 3 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox, ahead of a new episode of spinoff 9-1-1: Lone Star. Now isn't the time to miss any episodes, as the finales of both 9-1-1 Season 4 and Lone Star Season 2 will air on May 24. Check out our rundown of big upcoming TV finale dates for more of what to look forward to on the small screen.

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