Buddie 505 meta
In an ep that’s all about Buck and Ravi getting to the point where they can work well together, what screams out to me is the parallels to Eddie’s introduction in 201. On the surface, the storylines are very similar: while Buck’s going through some personal stuff, he has issues with a teammate, but those get resolved by the end of the ep, with one key moment along the way when Buck, without appearing too happy about it, congratulates said teammate on their work. But the truth is these similarities actually emphasize the differences. For starters, remember how Buck insisted on finding Eddie a nickname? He tried “Diaz” as well as “G.I”. Interestingly, Buck says they have to find Eddie a nickname because everyone on the team had one. But he never called Eddie by the more generic “probie,” all of his attempts were more personalized, tailored specifically for Buck. It’s as if even during the time Buck thought he was rejecting Eddie, on some level he was already accepting him into the fold.
More than that, if Hen points out to Ravi in this ep that Buck wants to make sure he’s worthy, back in 201 Buck never seemed to doubt that Eddie was. That’s another reason why he never tried “probie” as a nickname for Eddie, it was clear it wouldn’t do. I wrote in my pre-season 3B meta that the real underlying reason for Buck’s immediate hostility towards Eddie was never that Eddie was awful, it was actually because Buck was overwhelmed by how awesome he thought this new guy was. Everything about the storyline with Ravi makes that even clearer.
But it doesn’t stop there either. When Ravi is hiding from Buck, Hen tells him this isn’t about what he’s doing wrong, it’s about Buck’s personal issues. I’ve always thought (and first mentioned in my 406 meta) that there was a good chance Eddie asked to hear more about Buck, since at the gym confrontation in 201 he knew Buck was going through a crisis, Abby leaving. We don’t know for sure, but the fact that we’re not shown a scene where this info about Buck is offered without Eddie asking for it (which is what happened in Ravi’s case, we’re clearly shown that Hen was the one to bring up Buck’s personal life), framing this info as more closely related to Eddie, and when he was also clearly trying to win Buck over at the beginning of the gym scene, that Eddie openly talked about this info with Buck while Ravi only discussed it in private with Hen, it makes it feel like from the start, Eddie had a level of interest in Buck that Ravi just doesn’t have. It’s the small difference between teammates and soulmates...
And of course, Buck is never truly hostile towards Ravi. He’s tough, but it’s because he feels responsible for him. He wants to help Ravi be better, make less mistakes. Buck told Eddie, “you’re meant to respect your elders,” but he never acted like he was an elder vis-a-vis Eddie, not like Buck did with Ravi. If anything, Buck was intimidated by how good Eddie was from the very first call they went on together. It’s what makes his “good job” admission to Eddie at the end of that call painful - it’s this moment where he has to entertain the possibility that he might be replaceable with the team. But the resolution to that storyline was that Eddie turned out every bit as good as he seemed and even better, he was the first person who saw Buck’s competence as a firefighter AND said that to his face, which clearly left Buck basically enamored with Eddie. In contrast, when Buck comes to the conclusion that Ravi is good enough to replace him, he decides they need to do it, that Buck has to ask for a transfer. Because in 201, the issue really was that he was intimidated by how amazing Eddie was and was scared of being replaced. Abby’s leaving might have made it harder to deal with, but it wasn’t the real cause. But in 505, the personal matter Buck struggles with IS the real reason why he was treating Ravi differently than before. The storyline even concludes with Ravi declaring his independence from Buck and that he’s content with it. That’s because this storyline was never about Ravi and his connection with Buck, not in the same way that 201 was about Eddie and the bond that was beginning to form between Buddie. But the 505 Ravi storyline does prove just how hard 911 decided to go when it introduced and integrated Eddie into Buck’s life.
Oh, and that Buddie connection is another aspect that is emphasized in this ep through contrast. Because from the moment Buck and Eddie had reached the resolution of their issues in 201, they’re never out of sync on the field. Actually, even before that, since Buck chose to go in with Eddie into the ambulance where a live grenade was awaiting them. Bobby even asked Buck if he was sure and he doubled down on his choice. In 505, he doesn’t choose to be paired up with Ravi. In fact, I find it interesting to see exactly how Bobby, who is the one to make the decision, declares the new pairings. He could have just said “Hen, you’re with Eddie, Ravi, you’ll team up with Buck.” But instead, he tells Buck that Eddie has to be paired up with Hen, so that leaves Ravi as Buck’s partner. It’s small, but the phrasing stresses that Bobby understands this will not be easy for Buck, to be separated from Eddie. It’s followed by showing us that both Buck and Eddie struggle with their new partners far more than we’ve ever seen either of them struggle with each other even before they struck up a friendship. In fact, in this ep, while Ravi’s rookie mistakes are essential to Buck’s storyline, Eddie constantly getting in Hen’s way (and a little on her nerves) isn’t essential to any plot, yet the show makes sure we witness that, too. Just to stress the point even more, we still get moments between Buddie in the field. The two of them exchange the kind of look spouses who know each other all too well do when Buck begrudgingly tells Ravi that he’s going to get the honors of breaking the door at the fitness mirror call, they do it again when the vic there exclaims that they’re pretty jacked (the guy is all of us, LBR), and then during the saw call, after Buck sends Ravi to throw up away from the vic, he himself kneels down and, again without even needing words, works together with Eddie seamlessly. Because they ARE battlefield boyfriends, alright? Always have been, always will be.
One of my fave recurring themes on this show is connected to that. It’s that we’re shown Buck and Eddie struggle on the job when the other one isn’t there. Eddie is the only one out of the 118 to voice his displeasure in ep 218 because Buck isn’t with them (even though the others have worked with Buck for longer), while Buck echoes the sentiment over Eddie’s absence in 414. In 505 he’s once more saying it’s weird at work. Without a doubt he’s talking about Chim’s absence, but the word “weird” itself threw me back to his choice of the same exact word in 414. So I do think that while the bigger issue is the guilt Buck feels over Chim’s departure, the fact that he was no longer being paired with Eddie added to that.
Which brought us to a scene with Taylor. Back in ep 408, she had told Buck (when she was hurt, angry and intent on getting back at him), that he’s needy and desperate for people to like him, meaning she knows these are sore spots for him. In this ep, despite not being angry or hurt, she said something very similar - that he’s making everything about himself. Ep 316 has shown us how much this idea hurts Buck, so I have to admit that I cringed. Especially when comparing this with Eddie’s words to Buck in 504, “you’re the guy who likes to fix things.” Eddie sets Buck straight, yes. But he does so while seeing the good in Buck and reflecting that back to him.
I guess that’s the thing we’re meant to see with Taylor here. In eps 501-4, she has been an absent gf (even when she was physically there). This is the first ep where she’s both present and focused on Buck. And she tries to be a good gf in this ep, that’s evident in the scene where she has bought him breakfast. Yet, throughout her scenes, she doesn’t quite get it right. First, there’s the fact that she did tell him something she knows would hurt him before he goes off to work, and it’s easy to tell that while her overall intention is to be reassuring, it doesn’t quite land. Then, there’s how Taylor tries to do something domestic for him, but everything about this screams that it’s not really her thing. She didn’t cook herself, which is itself isn’t that big of an issue, but she’s also dressed more like they’re about to go out for a night on the town, and add to this that she’s pouring an alcoholic beverage into a cup of orange juice for a firefighter who’s just come home early in the morning after a 24 hour shift, and it’s all just… it’s well meaning, but it IS off and ends up demonstrating that she knows how to celebrate and have fun more than how to be domestic and care for a partner. She does try, and Buck is clearly both surprised and touched by this. His surprise tells us that this is an unusual occurrence, and while he is touched, his reaction is also kinda subdued. His little “thank you” is cute, and he smiles, but it’s shot in profile and some shade, so we don’t really get its full effect. Compare that with the way he was absolutely beaming at Eddie in 504 and it was filmed from the front, in the open air and sunlight, so the shot was fully focused on Buck’s reaction. Then, after he updates Taylor on what he’s learned at work, he looks sad and she seems a bit upset as they hug. Presumably she’s reacting to his sadness, and Buck is feeling down because while things with the 118 have been resolved, Maddie and Chim are still away. But again, compare this to how at the end of the balcony scene, with Chim and Maddie being away AND while being physically hurt himself, Buck actually looks happier than in this hug scene with Taylor. On top of all that, Taylor’s absence up until this ep goes undiscussed, which in itself spells trouble for them in upcoming eps (just think for example about Ana being there for Eddie to help him crack the mystery of what’s wrong with Charlie in 413 while Eddie ignores the question of whether he’s following his heart when he’s with her). In 505, unlike the previous s5 eps, Taylor is actually making an effort. She’s trying to be a good gf, and yet she’s still not the person who can bring Buck comfort in times of distress.
Not like Eddie can, when even at that dramatic dinner table, where Buck was vulnerable and expressed his guilt through his tendency to self-sacrifice for his team, Eddie jokingly asked who’ll be replacing him, clearly doing so in order to make Buck laugh. The first sign of anyone breaking through to him. Then, add to this that Buck’s answer is Bobby will figure it out. Meaning that even when Buck is at his lowest point, concocting this scenario where everyone on the team can be replaced by someone else, including himself, he still couldn’t even throw a random name out there as a suggestion in response to that question. Eddie is irreplaceable to him.
And while we’re on the topic of that dinner, I just love every single thing Eddie does during the scene, every reaction, that question about himself which was clearly meant to tease Buck, the way Eddie reassures him that he’s stuck with the 118 (and how absolutely over the top content Eddie was over this fact… please, we all know he would never have let his baby daddy transfer away on his own) and of course, the part I just had to gif, the way he shakes his head in dismay when hearing Buck blaming himself for Chim leaving and the effect it had on the team. Of course the head shaking isn’t anything seemingly out of the ordinary, any friend could do that for Buck. Yet, we have a scene full of people who love Buck and care about him, who don’t want Buck to feel guilty or to leave, but it’s only Eddie that we see expressly shaking his head ‘no’ at Buck’s words. More than that, Eddie’s actually framed in the same shot with Buck as he speaks. That is not coincidental and it speaks volumes IMO. In an ep framed by Buck’s gf trying to be there for him, it’s Eddie who is still Buck’s person, the one who knows him best and can make things better.
~~~ Thank you so much to the beautiful @judsonryder for making my meta better with her incredible gifs! If you like my perspective on Buddie, you can find more of my meta and fics here. Thank you for reading and for any like, comment and of course reblog! I read every tag, every comment, they all matter so much! xoxox
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Buddie 503 meta
Before I get into things, just a small shoutout to Bobby & Buck’s bond and the progress we see in it: back in s1, when Bobby was going through rough times, Buck bluntly confronted him about it, and he shut everyone out, shoved Buck up against the wall and generally almost went off the deep end. This time, Buck is trying to check what’s going on in a far more gentle way, while Bobby actually tells his team what’s the matter, and they all end up helping him and Athena through it. IDK about you, but I loved this proof of how they’ve both grown during this show.
“If it was Christopher, I’d be losing my mind,” says Eddie, and right away the camera pans to Buck, his co-parent. Chim and Hen are both parents with kids of their own, they could have agreed with or amplified what Eddie was saying, but instead we get a very agitated Buck. Probably because he knows better than anyone else on that team how much a person can love and lose their mind with worry over a child that is like their own even though they’re not biologically related to each other…
Small moment, but Buck turns specifically to Eddie and even calls him by his name before he points up and indicates he wants to go upstairs, and Eddie’s all “yeah” and joins him without even thinking about it. It parallels the way their battlefield boyfriends bond started in 202, with Eddie leading back then and Buck following him to the higher floors of a collapsed building, no questions asked. I just love this reminder that three years down the line, this bond of theirs is still going so strong!
Right after Hen says to Denny (on the phone), “I can’t wait to see you,” we get a shot of Eddie approaching Buck, who turns to him, smiling wide. Then he teasingly says to Eddie, “I thought you’d be the first one out the door. Christopher know you’re coming?” which shows that Eddie’s earlier remark actually registered more than we might have initially thought, despite how on edge Buck was, providing further evidence that Eddie and Chris always preoccupy him, even more than he shows. Which is already quite a lot.
Thinking about 406, Eddie needed a pep talk from Bobby AND a series of events during their jinxed day, climaxing with the pretend-firefighter, on top of years of internalized expectations about what he’s supposed to do to provide his son with the right kind of family, in order to ask Ana out. But then comes the reverse, which is actually harder (as we see in the painful breakup scene), the reverse which goes against everything Eddie believes he should do for Chris, goes against the fact that Chris has already lost too many people he loves, against every nice moment he has had with this woman for almost a year... and yet he doesn’t need to be pushed into it by an alternative father figure or to have his job reflecting back to him some sudden realization. One chat with Buck, just thinking once about the pain that Buck had felt himself when he was in Ana’s position, and Eddie’s entire perspective changes enough that he’s ready to break up with Ana without any further prompting. On top of that, Eddie actually tells Buck he’s about to do that before he even talks to her, reassuring him that his words didn’t go unnoticed (just like Eddie’s words about Chris earlier in the ep didn’t go unheard). Buck is Eddie’s person, I repeat, in every way that counts, Buck is Eddie’s person. I swear, I feel like I should have a weekly “if this isn’t love, IDK what is” award…
Buck’s reaction to Eddie still being there at the end of this shift made me recall ep 316, when Buck had no one to celebrate with after a daring rescue. He was so alone, he ended up not going home at all. Now here he is, at the end of the blackout, thinking he’ll be alone, and pleasantly surprised to see Eddie is still there. Not only that, Eddie then confides in him that he’s listening to Buck and is going to break up with Ana. Then, we see Buck going home. This time, unlike at the end of 316, he’s not supposed to be alone. But… he is. Instead of a partner, all he has is a figure on his screen.
Now let’s be clear. This show is rooting for women who care greatly about their jobs. This little TV Taylor bit is shown in the same ep which makes it clear that Athena compromises nothing: she cares about her career, her kids, her husband and even her ex-husband and his new bf, she somehow juggles more than her fair share, and even when a deranged criminal tries to tell her that she can’t have it all, that she can either do her job or save her son, she still manages to do both. Plus, Buck himself has been shown to think highly of people’s dedication to their work. So that bit with seeing Taylor on the screen, while Buck sarcastically lets out a “honey, I’m home,” it’s not a criticism of Taylor, it’s more to show that something isn’t working between the two of them, because in this specific relationship, with its specific dynamics and conflicting schedules, he’s lonely. He’s not getting out of it what he needs and if in 316 we saw he didn’t want to be lonely, here we see that Taylor is not an easy fix to that. Just like Eddie felt he needed a “mother” for Chris, but his relationship with Ana wasn’t an easy fix to that either.
Oliver has stated in an interview before the premiere aired that he was glad the addition of Taylor meant Buck would now have someone to come home to. And then we’re literally shown the exact opposite: in 501 Taylor is present in body, but absent in terms of where her focus lies, in 502 she’s fully absent and in 503 her TV persona is present just long enough and in such a way as to stress her absence. There is an issue in Buck and Taylor’s relationship, and they’re not talking about it, just like Eddie and Ana didn’t up until this ep. I made a parallel gif post out of this moment of both men being lonely because it’s seriously chilling how much these two men’s love lives are interconnected. Not only that, to a great degree we see that if they were just a little less oblivious, they could have seen that they give each other exactly what they each need: Eddie wants a co-parent to Chris that he can also love and that’s exactly Buck, while Buck is desperately longing for a home and a family to belong to, which is what Eddie has been giving him all along. Just kiss already, you morons!
Speaking of the breakup scene! There’s so much to say about it, including how much I’m in awe that it played exactly into how we’ve been reading the Eddie and Ana relationship all along... We thought Eddie was mostly after this woman because on paper she was perfect to form a family with, and he literally tells her he had an “idea of us” and that it was Christopher’s love for her that dictated him staying in this relationship; we thought Ana might have already figured out that something was wrong between them and indeed, we were now shown she did through Eddie suggesting maybe she should go home (he could have just meant he’s tired and needs to rest after the blackout, but her reaction and attempt to stay anyway say everything about her knowing the breakup was coming, and then she later confirms that when she reveals she had figured out why Eddie was really suffering panic attacks). I’m so happy for Eddie that he finally did something for himself! This was a major step for Eddie, for once in his life choosing his happiness over his sense of duty. At the same time, I find it telling that Eddie trying to send Ana home, while she attempts to stay, creates yet one more connection between the (currently dysfunctional) love lives of Buddie: what tells us that Buck’s relationship isn’t exactly working out is how absent his gf is, while we can see that Eddie’s relationship is about to break down when we realize his gf is too present. See, the show could have had Eddie breaking up with Ana in 503 without bringing Buck into it at all. Why have us see Eddie tell Buck about it when we’re about to watch it play out on our screen shortly after? It could have been just the breakup scene and that’s it. No telling Buck, def no need for that extremely short bit with Buck’s loneliness at home. Instead, we get a sequence of scenes that through their themes are all tied together: Eddie tells Buck he’s breaking up with Ana, then a big hint that Buck’s unhappy with Taylor, and finally Eddie evidently unhappy with Ana and breaking up with her. The inclusion of Buck, the theme of their parallel unhappy relationships and the fact that the specific issues they’re having actually constitute mirror images of each other, it’s like the choices the show has made with this breakup state: “this isn’t just Eddie’s story. It’s Buck’s as well.” Which is, once more, interesting.
~~~ Thank you so much to the incredible @judsonryder for these stunning gifs! Also, you should check out her Buck in orange on his bed parallel, I loved that we both thought of it and IMO, it plays into everything pointed out in this meta and complements it.
Also thank you to all you lovelies for every like, reply, kind tag and of course reblog, I’m always so happy and humbled to see people enjoying these posts, it contributes so much to my motivation! xoxox
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