9-1-1 Delivered A Tragic Twist For Bobby In The Fall Finale, But Did It Need A Cliffhanger?

Peter Krause as Bobby Nash on 9-1-1
(Image credit: Fox)

Spoilers ahead for the fall finale of 9-1-1 Season 6, called "Red Flag."

The calls for the first responders of 9-1-1 were topsy turvy in "Red Flag" thanks to the Santa Ana winds, Chimney's preoccupation with a "murder house," a nude sleepwalker-turned-sleepdriver, and Bobby worrying about his AA sponsor. While most of the subplots of the fall finale ended without much damage (although Hen and Karen may have some fallout with Denny and his search for his dad when Season 6 returns), the death of Bobby's sponsor left some unanswered questions, one of which is: did the episode really need a cliffhanger? 

How 9-1-1 Delivered A Tragic Twist For Bobby

Bobby had a seemingly friendly visit with AA sponsor Wendell early in the hour, with Wendell telling the firefighter that he'd be leaving town for a bit. Everything seemed okay on the surface, but Bobby's instincts told him that something was wrong... and it didn't take long for him to discover just how wrong the situation was. After a voicemail that indicated that Wendell desperately needed help, Bobby realized that the charred body that he and the 118 found on the site of a fire was that of his former sponsor. 

The story wasn't over with the discovery of Wendell's body, however, as Bobby also saw that he was seemingly using again when he died, and there were reasons to be suspicious about a couple who owned a rehab facility where Wendell may have sought treatment. The couple certainly weren't forthright with Bobby and Co. on the scene of the fire, and "Red Flag" left the matter unresolved enough to leave fans wondering what comes next when 9-1-1 returns in 2023. 

Did The Fall Finale Need A Cliffhanger?

Bobby not knowing what led to Wendell's death or the role that the mysterious couple played (or didn't play) was the closest thing 9-1-1 had to a cliffhanger at the end of "Red Flag," even though Denny looking for his dad is a complication and it's likely only a matter of time before the other shoe drops for Buck with his sperm donation. 

After how the episode started with Bobby memorializing somebody who had died without revealing who the victim was, I kind of expected it to end without identifying the person in order to keep fans hanging. When it became clear that Wendell was the one who had died, I then kind of expected something to go wrong for Bobby playing cop, and for 9-1-1 to leave fans hanging on THAT twist instead. 

With the show going on a hiatus until the spring, it initially seemed like it needed some kind of big twist as a final shocker before going off the air for months as 9-1-1: Lone Star takes over the Monday night time slot starting on January 17 on Fox in the 2023 TV premiere schedule. My first reaction to the lack of cliffhanger was honestly disappointment, because the ending just didn't feel like one worthy of a fall finale. 

Upon thinking about it, however, I've come to the conclusion that the fall finale didn't really need a cliffhanger, precisely because the show won't be back until the spring. The break – which is long enough that Fox doesn't even have a date for its return yet – may require a time jump sooner rather than later, which might not work if it has to pick up on some kind of drastic, immediate, life-or-death cliffhanger from November. 

Plus, maybe Lone Star fans could hope to see a 9-1-1 star or two pop up on the spinoff during its fourth season! Nothing has been announced yet, and it's unlikely that anything on the scale of what brought Buck, Hen, and Eddie to Texas back in 2021 can happen when the parent series is on hiatus, but a one-off cameo or two isn't inconceivable. The lack of a cliffhanger means that there aren't limits during hiatus, and that may be for the best. 

While 9-1-1 doesn't yet have a premiere date, Lone Star returns with its first new episode since May with Season 4 starting on January 17. You can also revisit past seasons of both 9-1-1 and Lone Star streaming with a Hulu subscription now. Fans can go into the hiatus at least enjoying that the drama between Maddie and Chimney seems to be over, after his nerves about the murder house ultimately led to them buying a house!

As for Lone Star, the spinoff has added Lucifer vet D.B. Woodside for the new season as well as Suits veteran Amanda Schull, which should be fun for Suits fans with Gina Torres already as a member of the cast. And who knows? Maybe T.K. and Carlos will tie the knot before the end of the season!

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, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.