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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I love him enough to never stop trying.
[image description: 6 gifs from 9-1-1. There are two gifs in each row, with three rows in total.]
gif 1: from season 3, episode 8. Talking to Bobby in the firehouse loft, Eddie says, “I’m the only parent he’s got left, and I can’t let him down again.”
gif 2: two gifs from season 4, episode 13. In the first, Ana holds Chris as they laugh together. In the second gif, Eddie looks at them, uncertain.
gif 3: from season 5, episode 1. In the suit warehouse, Eddie fusses with his jacket as he struggles to breathe.
gif 4: from season 5, episode 2. Offscreen, Buck says, “Stick it out? That’s not the way you talk about someone you love.” Slightly frustrated, Eddie replies, “My kid loves her.”
gif 5: from season 5, episode 2. Buck asks Eddie, “Is that enough?”
gif 6: from season 3, episode 8. Eddie’s eyes are wet and he screws up his face in emotion as he tells Bobby, “I wasn’t enough.”
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