You know that thing where on the one hand you wanna write down every little detail from a scene and at the same time, you know that even if you manage to capture it all, you still wouldn’t nail the sum that is greater than its parts, the feel of it, the intensity? So, the end of 413 and everything Buddie in 414. I’m gonna try, but LBH, no meta post can capture the full depth and fanfic trope quality of the Buddie stuff in the sniper storyline.
I said last week I couldn’t wait for Buck’s response and it was amazing indeed! I loved everything. That Buck sprang into action once his brain was able to process the trauma of watching Eddie being shot in front of him, that he rolled under the truck while the sniper was still firing away, that he was screaming “I got you!” even before he reached Eddie and he kept repeating that throughout this opening scene, that he loaded Eddie into the truck and ripped open his shirt, saving Eddie both by removing him physically from the danger zone and by starting the required life sustaining actions… Buck could have stepped back once on the truck and let the other firefighter take care of Eddie, the one actually on the clock, but nope. It had to be him. Buck was Eddie’s literal lifeline in this scene. In this ep really, by taking care of Chris (while Eddie in their legal guardian convo was Buck’s emotional lifeline). And then he also added the “stay with me” line and I about expired. Stay with me! That’s a romantic trope line. That’s what they used for coded gay characters in the days when TV and movies still censored explicit same sex love, so it all had to be presented in subtext. On top of that Eddie had to make sure Buck wasn’t hurt. And only then could he let go and lose consciousness. I mean the level of fanficness was crazy! But you know my fave part?
Buck saying, “I need you to hang on.” He could have said Chris, he could have said ‘we’, but in that moment, at the peak of his fear, Buck said “I need you”. Lastly, Captain Mehta asks Buck if he’s ok and as Buck watches Eddie being taken away, he says, “no”. It’s so honest and raw, it’s almost a continuation of the “No!” that Buck repeated earlier during the save. His well being and Eddie’s are a continuation of each other. That will only be reinforced later in the ep (when Carla asking about the job results in Buck talking about missing Eddie, which is so similar to Eddie missing Buck on the team in 218, except it’s MORE intense now ‘coz Eddie never experienced the 118 without Buck, but Buck was with the 118 for a whole year without Eddie, and when through Bobby we discover that almost losing Eddie causes Buck to crossover from reckless to intentionally making himself a target). And while this opening scene is bigger than the sum of its parts, I had to point out all of these details, because there is no way to even come close to explaining the impact and the extra nature of the scene without them.
We’ve seen Buck in emergency situations before. We’ve never seen him shut down quite like when he saw Eddie being shot. It’s true during that initial moment of paralysis that he goes through, but it’s also true later on, when we discover that at the hospital, waiting to hear about Eddie, Buck shuts out all calls, he shuts the whole world out, including Maddie and Taylor, because all that matters is Eddie. When he is capable of thinking of someone else, it’s Chris. The kid that Buck comes to love enough to accept a position as his legal guardian, but let’s never forget: Buck would have never spent enough time to Chris to get to know him and love him if Chris wasn’t Eddie’s son, while Eddie chose to let Buck in, he chose to trust Buck with Chris, repeatedly and on so many more levels than we realized before this ep. Chris is his own person of course, but his bond with Buck will always also be a continuation of Buck and Eddie’s bond, because the former wouldn’t exist without the latter. It’s a reflection of what a family unit all three of them truly are. These are the bonds that the show will never break.
The fact that even before we discover about Eddie’s will, the show doesn’t so much as bother to explain why, in Eddie’s absence, it’s Buck who’s telling Chris about what happened, not Carla, Abuela or Pepa, or Ana, Eddie’s girlfriend who as an educator is supposed to have better tools to explain this to a child… The show itself acts like it’s that obvious that this is Buck’s parental role in Christopher’s life, even in the most challenging of situations. Despite his efforts not to break down in front of Chris, Buck is struggling. Even just talking about Eddie getting hurt is more than he can completely hide (despite the fact that he is good at hiding his emotions at times), but then the relief of knowing Eddie will be ok is overwhelming and Buck can’t keep it in despite his efforts. Then we get a parallel in Chris comforting Buck between this ep and 301, with the same exact line, only it means so much more now. Chris isn’t just telling Buck he’ll get over a lost career, he’s reassuring Buck they can handle this shared experience of almost losing Eddie. And accordingly, Chris doesn’t call Buck jokingly (in an imitation of Eddie) ‘kid’ this time, he refers to him by ‘Buck’. Which is the first of two instances in this ep where we see an elevated level of intimacy and connectedness between the Diaz Boys and Buck being expressed through Buck’s names. Eddie won’t use ‘Buck’, he’ll call him ‘Evan’. And it’s not the same ‘Evan’ that Buck’s parents use ‘coz they don’t know their son. It’s the ‘Evan’ that Maddie uses, the one that says, “I know you so well and I hear you’re struggling, so I need you to really pay attention to me now.” I thought Buddifer were close before, but somehow the show topped itself in unveiling whole new levels of how close they are.
Then Buck stays to sleep at Eddie’s. And not just for that initial night, he stays over for a while! We get an explanation later, but I love the fact that the show didn’t think we’d raise an eyebrow for several long scenes before giving us Buck explaining his decision, plus the fact we never see Carla or Ana questioning this, nor Eddie for that matter, he wasn’t asking Buck for an explanation! That speaks volumes. If I said the show is emphasizing to us how close the Buddifer unit is, Buck stayed as close as he physically could to Chris, and as close to Eddie’s ghost presence in his house. There’s only one thing MORE intimate than being together with someone in their personal space - being there in their absence. It’s an even greater level of being worthy of someone’s trust. This closeness to the absent Eddie is only further emphasized by the way the morning scenes with Buck and Chris remind us of Eddie and his son’s similar scenes in 204. And like that’s not enough, Chris makes fun of Buck’s snoring! So far we’ve only ever seen him making fun of Eddie (repeatedly). This is how close Buck and Chris are, that we get the same kind of kid-parent teasing between them.
Good God, the Bathena and Buddie parallels were strong in this ep! Starting from Bobby opening up about what it was like to witness (through audio) Athena’s near death right after we had Buck witnessing Eddie’s near death, through the way we saw Athena going into a burning building to get Bobby out, no matter how irrational of a decision that was, just like Buck and Eddie have done for each other repeatedly, how Buck tries to go right after Eddie in 214 and 315, how Eddie leads the search for Buck in 405 and how Buck threw himself under the truck while a sniper was shooting at them in this very ep. Bathena beautifully mirrored to each other that they would always come get their loved one in 402 and 414, and Buddie have been doing the exact same thing, while even using the same words, Athena tells Bobby “I got you,” just like Buck chanted those words at Eddie.
(more under the cut to save your dashboards)
Ana was little more than a cardboard cutout in this ep. It feels like the ep tackled so much, and mainly from Buck’s POV, that it never followed through on Eddie’s convo with Carla about Ana in 413. I expect it will either come up in early s5 when these two break up, or if the break up happens off screen it will be referenced. It would just be weird if there is zero pay off for that.
If you read my replies to asks, you know I’ve said that Buck and Taylor would probably get together in some capacity and I also thought it would probably happen during 414, so I really wasn’t surprised that they kissed. At the same time, I’ll repeat that Taylor, at the end of the day, might be more developed than Ana (LBH, that’s not hard), but not much more. In 414, she’s still at the development level of yet another Love Interest. She had a reason to friendzone Buck before. We’re left to guess what it was, ‘coz the show doesn’t bother with Taylor enough to tell us what are her inner turmoils, what made her first reject Buck and what makes her get past it, decide to kiss him, and why at that specific moment. We could say it’s the danger, but hey, he’s been in danger before, this isn’t new. Or another thing, there’s a major change in their relationship for Buck, but it all plays out in this ep as second place to the space Eddie and Chris take in Buck’s life. Think of how Taylor leaves after their kiss, apparently expecting Buck to chase her, but instead he gets a call about Eddie and immediately goes to the hospital instead. These are his priorities. They’re not going to change, either.
If you think about it, they match how Taylor and Eddie have made Buck feel. Taylor is one of the people who gave Buck the impression he wasn’t good enough (ep 208 and to a different degree in 412). Eddie has made Buck feel important from the moment he “courted” him, wanting them to get on, in the gym scene in 201. Even at their lowest, the 305 supermarket argument made Buck realize Eddie was so angry ‘coz he needed Buck so much that he basically fell apart. I don’t think anyone has ever reflected to Buck how much he matters like Eddie has (and that’s even before the legal guardianship of Chris). So this one’s gonna be an issue for any external character they bring in to be either Buck or Eddie’s LI, that character will never be able to compete with what Buddie have. Any LI will always be underdeveloped in comparison.
The way that they shot Buck entering Eddie’s hospital room, it’s like that’s all Buddie have been waiting for. Like Eddie’s been holding his breath to see Buck, and in response, like Buck can breathe, finally really breathe, for the first time since Eddie’s been shot. It reminds me a bit of Buck stepping into the light in 408 in that this is how someone’s intended romantic partner is often shot. Not to mention we see Eddie talking to Chris through Buck’s eyes. Everything is framed like Buddie is the real couple here.
I find it amazing to see the levels of openness and sincerity between Buddie. Buck, the daredevil who often pretends to be better than he is, willingly shares everything with Eddie, including how badly he broke down when talking to Chris. He didn’t have to, he could have pretended to have held it together, but they’re partners through and through, including in taking care of Chris. As we see with Bathena, partners have to communicate. Which means Buck tells Eddie the truth, he even reveals his sense of guilt expressed in the sentiment that Chris would have been better off if Buck were the one to get shot. And honestly, no one has a healthier partnership than Buddie on this show that is full of good romantic partnerships. That says a lot.
Eddie’s face after that and until they have their talk says everything about how much Buck’s well being matters to him. He doesn’t wait with their talk until they’re out of the hospital or he’s healed. If you think about it, there’s nothing urgent, it’s not like Buck’s gonna go out and do something reckless in the next 24 hours, when they’re off duty, this talk can wait. Except Buck’s in distress, so no, it can’t, Eddie has that conversation with him as soon as he’s strong enough to. What he shares shows a level of trust that isn’t usually reserved even for the best of friends. In explaining his decision, Eddie points out why he chose Buck to be Chris’ legal guardian over Eddie’s parents. But the truth is he chose Buck over them, Abuela, Pepa and Eddie’s sisters, uncles, cousins, everyone. EVERYONE. He verbalizes it too in a similar way to how he did in 303, “no one will ever fight for my son as hard as you” echoes “there’s nobody in this world I trust with my son more than you.”
Except again, it’s MORE. Eddie has put his money where his mouth is when he changed his will. Just think of Eddie in the water in 315, fighting for his life, aided by images of his family, and they’re so predominantly about Buck in addition to Chris, and now we know he followed that with actually changing his will to legally establish this bond the Diaz boys have with Buck. I can’t even. But not just that, he knows there would be a legal fight with his parents, he trusts Buck to fight it, and Eddie gets on the spot a reassurance that he indeed knows Buck and correctly assessed that Buck would. And Eddie says that not only is what Buck has to offer the best of what any of Eddie’s relatives have to offer, it’s what Eddie wants. I cannot stress enough how emotional I get over every single time Eddie has shown Buck that he’s wanted. That he’s chosen. It’s what Buck needs and deserves. To cap it all off, Eddie spells the issue out: Buck acts like he’s expandable. Then Eddie stresses that he’s wrong. You’d think Buck would say something to that, or that there would be some banter to relieve some of the tension, but nope. Buck doesn’t need to say anything. This is for him to take in, and they don’t have to say a word to each other. The look they exchange is more than enough. They get each other in that moment and there is no need to back away from the meaningfulness of this.
Might I add that if in 413, we see a glimpse of Eddie’s St. Christopher necklace, in the scene where he tells Buck about the will change, it’s on full display. It’s so fitting as a subtle reminder that this isn’t a moment when Eddie relinquishes a part of his fatherhood in order to include Buck. This is a moment when he’s being Chris’ dad more than ever, taking care of his son by making sure that if Eddie’s not there, he will be taken care of by the person who cares about him most after Eddie, which is Buck.
The fact that it’s Buck that takes Eddie home like a partner would is only amplified by the fact that he’s also the person who frames the whole scene of the reception party. He’s the one we see bend over to open the door before Eddie (even though this is Eddie’s house, he obviously has a key and would normally open the door for himself), then after the abundance of cheers and joy at Eddie’s return, Buck’s constantly in the background and after Eddie kisses Chris, the most important person in his life, the camera cuts to Buck, who’s beaming at them. Ana and Taylor are both there (even though the latter being there is kinda weird), but the most meaningful moment during Eddie’s welcome home party is more about Buck than about either man’s connection to his respective LI. Eddie will only later give Ana a chaste cheek kiss. Buck and Taylor won’t significantly interact. The scene is about Eddie getting back his home and to have this domestic scene with his family and his son, and the person who’s framed as giving all that to him after holding down the fort in his absence is Buck. EPIC.
I kept capitalizing the word ‘more’. Because if I had to sum up the general Buddie theme of this ep? Buddifer bonding INTENSIFIES. Happy hiatus!
Thank you so much to the bright shining star @bicepsie for the amazing gifs. *hugs* If you like my takes on Buddie, you can find more of my meta, fics and gifs here. Thank you for reading, and for every reblog and like. They kept me going recently more than you all realize! xoxox
Buck talking make-up with the bridezilla is the kind of ‘secure in his masculinity’ content that I fucking love 911 for. And even though Eddie makes a face (he's on teasing boyfriend duty), right after that he basically continues along the same line of helping the bride, by pointing out she’ll have her veil to help disguise what happened. I love the lack of panic over discussing make-up and bridal veils, plus the way Buddie naturally complement each other.
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Also, the mother of the bridezilla talking about being too lenient with her made me grin. A small wink at Buck and Eddie’s exchange over what is “too much discipline” that we saw in 410? ;) Might be a coincidence, but it's still a fun little throwback to Buddie's parental discipline banter.
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David hanging out with Michael and his kids, being a part of their custom to play games together (since we learn this isn’t a new thing) reminded me of how Buck is a part of Eddie and Christopher's game nights, as seen in 309 and 403. This small parallel made me so happy. Buddie are BOYFRIENDS, confirmed (yet again). Oh, but Michael wants both David, his boyfriend, and Bobby, his best friend, to be there in order for this to be complete. Buddie don’t need anyone else there during Buddifer game nights, because they are both. And isn’t that a part of what makes Buddie so special? How many other same-sex canon ships have we gotten to see on screen who are built as both? I think it’s a part of why we want to see them become canon so much...
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Another small touch that I liked was the glimpse of Eddie’s St. Christopher necklace in the dinner scene. Honestly, it’s such a nice touch of continuity and it also reminds us what a great dad he is, which fits how naturally he goes above and beyond the call of duty when helping out Charlie.
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It’s an interesting shot when Carla comes back and they celebrate her birthdays together. When she comes in through the door, Eddie and Chris hug her, but Ana is left to the side. That’s understandable, Carla doesn’t know Ana much at this point. The camera didn’t have to linger on Ana outside of this circle of love and connectedness, however, and yet it did. Then at the dinner table, we see Ana physically connected to Chris, but not to Eddie. This leads to the way Eddie talks about her to Carla. It’s “nice” and “easy”. But that’s not necessarily love. Especially this early on in a relationship, love gives you butterflies in your stomach and makes you nervous. It makes you buzzingly uncomfortable in your own skin in that good way of being hyper-aware of someone else’s presence and of everything between the two of you, because everything matters. It’s challenging and makes you gulp because you want this thing so much. And Carla picks up on the fact that something’s lacking, telling Eddie to make sure he’s following his own heart and not just staying with Ana for Christopher’s sake. The look Eddie gets after that is even more telling than Carla's words that she is, in fact, completely right. It all paints a picture that tells us Eddie’s at the start of realizing he’s with Ana for the wrong reason…
(meta and gifs for THAT SCENE under the cut to save your dashboards)
All that would have been a lot in itself, but then we get all of this leading to Eddie getting shot while paired off with Buck. Consider how the show took pains to make sure it would be Eddie and Buck together out there in the street, even though Chim was shown to be a part of the conversation when Eddie got Charlie’s call. He and Buck are just coming in, so they’re still in civilian clothes, Buck finds it so important to go with Eddie, he doesn’t even change into his uniform before they get to Charlie. But we’re shown Chim did change into his uniform and that he didn’t come along, even though it’s clear they had a medical emergency on their hands and Chim’s a paramedic, unlike Buck and more experienced than Eddie. It would make more sense for Buck to stay at the station and for Chim to go with Eddie, but nope. Buddie are a team. Where one goes, the other one follows, even in civvies and when it doesn’t make sense. “All we ever wanted was to go together,” as Mitchell told Buck in 208.
Then we have the way the shooting is filmed. I already screamed about the ceaseless eye contact, because it is incredible, but let me try to be more coherent about it. When Eddie’s shot, we immediately see Buck, Eddie’s blood splattered on him. Eddie’s looking down, but as the reality of the bullet piercing him starts to set in, he looks up at Buck, seeking his gaze. They hold it for a really long moment. This shot establishes the moment as a shared experience. It’s served by the contrast with the previous shot. Right before the sniper shoots, the camera is restless, circling Eddie, showing us Buck in his perimeter, but not stopping on anything. This enhances the still shot of them just standing there, staring at each other. The sound also plays into this, going from a noisy street to blocking out all human communication. It will only kick back in later. Both the camera and sound choices highlight that Buddie are having one of those moments of wordless communication that they often share, only this time it’s wordless, because there are no words for what they’re trying to process together. They’re within the same bubble of shock and emotional pain that’s only beginning to take shape.
I can’t emphasize enough how much this shot is a romantic trope. I know the most immediate parallel is to Buddie themselves, in ep 306, because we have them similarly standing across from one another, staring at the other guy, and because we have the episode director’s confirmation that this was meant to mimic lovers' cinematography. But I think this shot is even more meaningful, with the whole build up around it and the way this turn of events is the ep’s climax, and it reminds me of other examples from TV and movies when we see would be lovers about to be torn apart, maybe forever, with the threat of death hanging over them. The most famous example that jumps into my head is Han Solo and Princess Leia when he’s about to be lowered into the pit. That’s the moment when she chooses to finally confess she loves him. It’s honestly impossible not to see the romantic trope subtext.
Now I have to add a word about Buddie’s record when it comes to the other guy being in danger. In ep 203, Buck tells Ali he’s glad not to be worried about Abby and Ali replies that it must be nice to have someone to be worried about. During the tsunami eps, we have a scene of Eddie leaving Buck a message, telling him about the tsunami and that Eddie’s glad Buck’s missing it. Buck is the person Eddie worries about in a way that parallels how Abby, Buck’s former romantic partner, was the person Buck used to be worried about. That’s pretty powerful in itself, but consider all the times they now had to stand there and watch, incredibly worried for the other man. We had Buck going crazy when Eddie climbed into a burning house in 214, Eddie watching Buck lying wounded in the street in 218 and rushing to hold his hand as soon as he could, Buck losing his mind over Eddie trapped underground in 315, and then Eddie watching the factory explosion knowing Buck’s inside and reacting by leading the charge to get him out. Now we get Buck having to watch Eddie as he’s shot and about to collapse. This scene is made all the more poignant because of all of these other scenes leading up to it. It infuses this scene with accumulated meaning and adds to the sense that even though it was only Eddie who was hit by the bullet, they’re both irreversibly affected by the bullet.
Then Eddie collapses. The danger is still present, the sniper is still around, but Buck is so paralyzed by shock, he can’t even think of taking cover himself, Captain Mehta has to force him to do this. And then as they’re both laying on the ground, they’re still holding each other’s gaze across the firetruck between them. The whole world is narrowed down to the other man’s eyes. More than that, Buck angles his body towards Eddie, almost like he’s stupidly thinking of getting up and running to him, while Eddie’s hand reaches out for Buck. The shots deliberately captures Buck’s body and Eddie’s hand in the frame so that we see this.
When all this is playing with the lead up of Carla advising Eddie to follow his heart, when shows tend to deliver the emotional impact of a character getting hurt through showing us the person who’s their significant other (romantic partner or the person destined to be that) during this, when Ana is nowhere to be found once the emotional climax of Eddie's story in this ep is reached, despite being in the ep… All of this weaves its own narrative about who Eddie’s heart really belongs to.
When I tell you that this is fanfic material! Not only do I mean it, I mean it so much that I actually wrote once a fic where Buddie do that 'stare at each other before death might tear us apart' thing. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. I can't fucking believe 911 actually delivered the fanfic of our dreams.
( NGL, I saw someone misspelling Captain Mehta’s name, writing it without the ‘h’, and for a second I thought I found my superhero name… XD )
Thank you so much to the unbelievable @bicepsie for the awesome gifs. Even when you have a lot going on, you still make these for the weekly meta posts and you’re truly the real MVP! *hugs* If you like my takes on Buddie, you can find more of my meta and fics here. Thank you for reading, and for every reblog and like.
That the ONLY person that entire episode to physically console/comfort Buck, after watching his boyfriend bestfriend get shot which is clearly causing him unspeakable amounts of guilt and pain, is Chris.
Bobby, his father figure, never hugged him.
Maddie, his sister, never hugged him.
Carla, the queen herself, never hugged him.
Athena, his mother figure, never hugged him.
Taylor, his LI, tried to touch him outside the hospital, but it was brief and there was no comforting hug involved. And then when she did touch him for longer than 3 seconds, it was to KISS him rather than comfort him.
The ONLY person who physically comforts Buck and gives him the hug he so desperately needed after what he saw, was Chris.
Not "Christopher Diaz, the son of his coworker, just like he is to everyone else"
But "Christopher Diaz, HIS son. The one who he will be the legal guardian of if anything happens to his blood related father. The one who looks at him as a second father."
This just shows us how strong of a bond the Buckley-Diaz household is. They are most definitely a family unit of their own and honestly they have the best dynamic.
When Athena broke down, Bobby, her husband, was there to comfort her with open arms.
When Hen and Karen struggled with IVF and losing Nia, they comforted each other and even took a vacation to recenter themselves.
When Maddie admitted she needed help and broke down to Chim, he was there to hold her hand and promise to get her the help she needed.
And now we have Buck, who is devastated after watching Eddie, his partner, be shot in front of him. His entire world has been turned upside down. Nothing makes sense to him at the moment. The one person he counts on to keep him grounded isn't there and he's losing it.
But Chris, his unofficial son, is the one to console him and tell him it's going to be ok. Because that's what families do. In a way, it's an extension of Eddie letting him know it's going to be alright.