The star of Fox's first responder drama talks to ET about Monday's penultimate episode.
Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Monday's episode of 9-1-1.
Are Athena and Bobby headed for heartbreak? And also, is Eddie... OK?
On Monday's penultimate season 4 episode of 9-1-1, Athena (Angela Bassett) and Bobby (Peter Krause) had a real difficult conversation about where they stood in their marriage after she mistakenly believed that he had relapsed following hints of bourbon on his shirt. She was wrong. Bobby, it turns out, had been helping the drunk driver that caused the multi-car collision earlier in the season with her recovery and the bourbon was hers. Their argument grew from Athena confronting her firefighter husband to a larger fight about Athena keeping Bobby at bay in regard to important life decisions (see: retirement, therapy, going back to work) and Bobby feeling like an outsider in his own marriage. Will they make it?
But Athena and Bobby's marriage troubles weren't the only thing leaving us on the edge of our seat. Just when it appeared the 118 could breathe a sigh of relief, a sniper began shooting at will -- with one of the bullets hitting Eddie (Ryan Guzman), who collapsed into a lifeless heap on the pavement as Buck (Oliver Stark) could do nothing but watch from afar as shots rang out. The episode's final visual, of a lifeless Eddie in a pool of his own blood, has us very worried about his fate as we head into next week's season 4 finale.
To discuss the episode's biggest developments, including Bobby and Athena's marriage woes and if Eddie will make it out alive, ET hopped on the phone with Krause, who also teased the upcoming season closer.
ET: Now that you'll have four seasons under your belt on 9-1-1, how has it been being part of a show that isn't afraid to really lean into the more ridiculous, outrageous emergencies?
Peter Krause: It's been wonderful to be a part of a non-traditional procedural. I'm biased, of course. I think it's one of the more entertaining and progressive shows on television. And it does so, I think, very, very subtly. There are some cool couples of the show, but I happen to think Athena and Bobby are the coolest.
In tonight's episode, trouble is brewing for Athena and Bobby's marriage.
As first responders, they have to compartmentalize because of their jobs, but along with the rest of us, those characters have been living through the pandemic. So as much as they try to keep calm and carry on, sometimes you bury your feelings and don't communicate them. And that's what's going on with Athena and Bobby. And so, they're at a point where they're not only dealing with their jobs, but the pandemic and everything else. They haven't really been communicating and taking care of each other the way that they should. And so, they hit this point where they need to take a good look at each other and focus on each other and their relationship.
When I started 9-1-1 in season 1, I did not expect them to be a proper couple.
I didn't see it coming either. It was a real bonus though. I love working with Angela. She's fantastic, so fun to work with. And I will tease this about the finale. [Showrunner] Tim Minear wrote the episode, which gives Angela as Athena, a very difficult assignment, but she handles it with her usual strength, style and grace. And there was one night where she came walking towards me and said, "Peter, they're trying to kill me." She fell into my arms and I held her for a little while. But the last episode, she has some things she has to do, which were pretty difficult. But like I said, she handled it very well.
Even though they're in a rough patch right now, why do you think it works?
Both of them were somewhat lost, in terms of their romantic lives. But Bobby in particular, because of his past, was deeply wounded. What we've gotten to see over the seasons is that he's really healed because you get a loving relationship with Athena. There's a lot more joy that Bobby takes in life. And I would say the problems that they're having in this episode are more indications of Bobby opening up emotionally and being willing to be more vulnerable and be willing to admit that he needs Athena, and that he wants to be intimate and close with her, that he's missing it right now. So I feel a lot of emotional growth with Bobby, but it's because of the relationship he has with Athena.
Where do they stand at the end of this episode as we move into the finale?
They are hurdles of intimacy, of seeing each other and being willing to make some compromises and changes for each other, so that their relationship could be stronger. And admitting that you need something is not a sign of weakness, but a strength. It's really about their partnership. It's something that the writers were subtle about since the beginning of the season. They hit these notes here and there, not every episode. And I think that that's true to life. Their relationship can have a log with a problem brewing, and then it hits the point where it spills over, and they have to deal with it. They have to address some things that they've been burying, that they haven't been talking about.
Bobby's sobriety journey has been an ongoing thread, which obviously doesn't go away. What are you proudest of in terms of tracking that part of his history and path over the course of the series?
You only need to know one character on a show who's dealing with sobriety issues, or let's say the disease of addiction. We get to continually see that problem through Bobby's eyes. I've been very proud of some of the writing that Tim Minear has done this season concerning that. There's a car accident in an episode that's caused by a woman who was under the influence, and he can see the kind of damage that that inflicts. There's a line that Bobby says to Athena, "I don't know that woman, but I know what it's like to inflict that kind of damage." He means carry that kind of guilt and shame. And Athena openly is willing to hold Bobby's hand through his emotional difficulties. And so, Bobby in turn, wants to be able to hold her hand through her difficulties and she bears things too. That's what this was about with the two of them.
The episode leaves us with a big cliffhanger with an unexpected shooting that gravely injures Eddie, who doesn't look like he might survive. What was your reaction when you read that final scene?
I was pretty surprised when I read it. That's obviously a difficult topic to address. Tim does a sensitive job as any writer possibly can with difficult topics the show addresses. But with all the shootings that are happening across the country, I think it's a brave thing to do to look at that in our show. I can't say much more about what happens to the aftermath.
But Eddie, is he dead? Is he gravely injured? Is he going to survive?
We were all giving each other some silence there. You'll have to wait for the next episode finale to drop, I'll tell you that.
What can you tell us about the final episode of the season?
It sounds like a cliche, but it is action-packed. It's an action-packed finale episode. When I read it, I thought, "Geez, this could almost be two episodes." So I don't know what it's going to be edited down to, but they have a lot to work with, that's for sure. And it's interesting, because we did have an episode at the beginning of season 3, which became a two-parter, which was the tidal wave episode in Santa Monica. Originally, that was basically one [episode that] turned into two.
I'm just very worried that possibly not everyone at the 118 is going to come out of this alive.
I can say that perhaps more than one firefighter does end up getting shot. It's one of the things I really love about the show is that like life, there's always a surprise lurking around the corner. Sometimes they're pleasant surprises, like last week's episode, "Treasure Hunt." And an episode really has so many various tones a lot of times. But when it goes dark, it's part of life.
Is there a character from the 9-1-1: Lone Star world you would like Bobby to interact with, or you're most curious about in terms of the dynamic?
I did work with Gina Torres on The Catch, which we had an awful lot of fun on, but I think that our characters getting together would be inappropriate. (Laughs.) I don't see that happening. I think that Bobby and Athena they are going to do just fine. But I'd love to work with Gina again.
The 9-1-1 season finale airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. For more, watch below.
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