Your Official ‘Station 19’ Recap: Season 7, Episode 4

There’s no way around it: This was a tough day for the crew and our new foster parents. Let’s break down what happened last night.

Last week’s episode of Station 19 may have ended with a moment of joy, but friends, I’m here to tell you that is not the case at all for this week’s episode, “Trouble Man.” How might one describe this episode? Bleak? Gruelling? Soul-crushing? Take your pick, honestly. The whole episode takes place during one 24-hour shift from hell. Maybe it’s the full moon, maybe it’s Chaos Kate jinxing everyone by declaring, “Maybe it’ll be a quiet one,” or perhaps it’s just bad luck, but Station 19 faces a gauntlet of calls, big, small, and completely gutting. For the most part, we only see the firefighters once they return from each call, but that ends up being more than enough — the way the atmosphere changes every time 19 returns tells us everything we need to know about why it starts to feel like this house, which has always seemed unbreakable, seems like it’s coming apart at the seams. Okay, so maybe bleak is the exact right word. Let’s go through it, call by call.

9:09 a.m. — To Pull a Rabbit Out of Your Helmet

To be fair, it’s not like 19 needed any new reasons to feel so fractured: Many of them were very much headed in that direction already. At the top of the episode, Vic is very much still under that “dark cloud” that sort-of psychic Sienna mentioned last week, and with Theo all over her in an attempt to truly apologize, there was only so much time until she snapped at him — and she does just that in front of the entire squad. Now everyone knows Theo made out with Kate. Travis is a little annoyed that his best friend didn’t fill him in on what’s been going on, partly because he wants to be there for her and partly because his “whole life is predicated on judging people unfairly on [Vic’s] behalf.” That’s a best friend if I’ve ever seen one. But not even Travis can get her to crack a smile — something is seriously off with Vic.

No one at 19 has much time to notice, though, since a much bigger crisis is looming. It’s not only 19 having an insane shift — the entire FD is stretched thin. So thin, in fact, that Chief Ross doesn’t even have time to head to her office because she has so many calls to field, so she winds up hanging around 19. It’s very convenient for us since Natasha has some bones to pick with Andy. Apparently, there is video of Andy fighting with the fascists — excuse me, “protesters” — at the Pride Parade, and although Andy’s reasoning is noble, Natasha needs Andy to start taking her position as captain more seriously; she’s still very much embedded within her team, rather than creating a boundary as their boss. Natasha knows it’s a tough transition, but it’s only going to get more complicated for Andy the longer she remains in denial about her new position … especially because, well, Natasha needs Andy (and every house) to cut the annual budget by 10 percent. Mayor Osman isn’t dropping his demand, and that means layoffs are coming for the SFD. If Andy thinks she can “pull a rabbit out of [her] helmet” and find another way to cut her budget, by all means, but she has about 24 hours to do so.

Hey, at least Maya and Carina are having a relaxing day at home getting settled with Liam, right? Just kidding. Liam is screaming, Carina is covered in baby pee, and Maya is becoming a little unhinged with her mission to babyproof the entire house firefighter-style. Although it’s not saying much, this does still seem like the better option if we were choosing between their house and the station.

11:55 a.m. — Something About That Captain’s Chair

Once the firefighters are back from an apparently disgusting call at the sewage plant (Theo got the worst of it), tensions are only growing. A no-nonsense Andy doesn’t have any kind of post-call debriefing but instead orders everyone to get themselves together because they’re getting full-audit assignments for the rest of the shift. That’s right, on top of the never-ending stream of calls, the team are expected to do a full inventory of the station. We know the reasoning behind Andy’s sudden mood change, but most of the station is taking the added assignment as a punishment. It’s only Theo and Robert who begin to realize this might be a sign of budget cuts. Hey! Maybe Kate’s nudge for Theo to think about going private like she has (where the cash is king, apparently) will start to sound tempting after all. At the moment, though, all Theo can think about is staying in 19 to be close to Vic … who is still very much ignoring him as she continues to spiral. The girl does not look good!

Speaking of spiraling, it’s becoming quite clear that Carina and Maya have two very different opinions when it comes to how to parent Liam — like, could not be more different, diametrically opposed opinions. Carina wants to give Liam room to self-soothe and come to realize he’s in a safe space. Maya wants to go all in on attachment parenting to stave off any inherent abandonment issues he might have from losing his biological mom the way he did. “You cannot co-sleep away his heartbreak,” Carina reminds her wife. Something tells me this discussion is far from over.

Back at the station, people are feeling more and more rankled with this inventory and Andy’s sudden hard-ass demeanor. But just as Trav is waxing poetic about how there’s “something about that captain’s chair that turns everyone into a jerk” directly to two people who used to be Station 19 captains, yet another call comes in. Something tells me that no one will be joking around or complaining after this one’s over. We only experience this call through Natasha’s radio, but it is about as gutting as it gets on this show. A derailed streetcar has crushed multiple vehicles and a motorcyclist, and from the reports by our Station 19ers in the field, there is a massive amount of blood loss and gruesome injuries, and multiple children are involved, and in the end, there is only one survivor.

5:51 p.m. — The Hard Call

When the team return from this call, they are changed. People can hardly speak, Travis throws up, Andy knows she’s going to need to schedule some counseling for the house — whatever they saw out there, it has devastated them all. Most notably, Robert finds Beckett in tears, hiding in a corner. Today is a real worst-case scenario for the newly returned Beckett: This is his first day back in the field and his first day doing the job this sober. He has no coping mechanism to deal with this now. “I feel like I have no skin,” he tells Robert.

The team is now 18 calls deep into their shift and exhausted in every sense of the word. The looming budget cuts only add to the emotional chaos happening here. It’s Theo who first realizes that Andy might have a tough call ahead to make: It’s no secret that Station 19 is flush with lieutenants — Theo, Sullivan, and Maya all have the title, and with it, a bigger paycheck; One of them is going to have to go when the cuts arrive, and Theo knows he’s the obvious choice — Maya and Andy are best friends, and Robert has an, um, “in” with the chief. If it comes down to it, he’s the guy on the chopping block.

Andy too realizes she’s being forced into an impossible decision with her lieutenants and decides it’s time to confront Natasha about what’s going on here. Mayor Osman promised to increase the fire department budget when Travis bowed out of the mayoral race and backed him, and Chief Ross is just letting Osman get away with going back on his word. Natasha has to remind Andy that, hey, it’s actually not all that surprising for a politician to break a campaign promise. Grow up, Andy! Once again, Natasha has to point out that Andy still hasn’t fully accepted all the responsibilities that come with being the captain of a firehouse. Yes, she is going to have to make a difficult personnel decision — it’s part of the job. Also, she shouldn’t forget that Natasha is her boss. If Andy had any type of favoritism going in her favor, she is losing it by the second.

There’s an interesting confrontation outside the firehouse too. Carina wants to dig a little deeper into their battle of the parenting techniques, and she wonders if maybe Maya feels like she needs to be overprotective and is overly stressed about abandonment issues because she was raised in the opposite way, and seeing her brother at the parade maybe, possibly, subconsciously reminded her as to how that all turned out. Maya doesn’t receive that well and reminds Carina that her family — especially her father — was no picnic either. Carina puts things more succinctly: “You’re shoving your insecurities down his throat,” she says. Maya decides she doesn’t want to say something she’ll regret, and she walks out. Not the best way to end this particular argument, but I guess it could be worse.

11:08 p.m. — Must Be Nice to Feel Dead Inside

We’re about to hit midnight, and if you can believe it’s even possible at this point, things are getting worse. Travis is up in arms that Ben, obviously dealing with a bad back injury, is pretending to be fine and putting everyone in danger. Vic, who is definitely dead inside, tells Kate that she’s dead inside in a sweet, little bathroom heart-to-heart. Beckett and Robert are feeling so untethered, they have an emergency AA meeting. And then, the team discovers that their hydraulic spreaders (or the jaws of life) must have been stolen during the last call, and if they don’t have those on their next call, things could get bad. Everyone starts blaming someone else. It’s chaos. Have we ever seen these people yell at one another like this before? Somebody hold me! Specifically, Pruitt Herrera — he’d be able to fix this. Instead, his daughter starts yelling at them all that she is “trying to save [their] jobs,” as if that will relieve some of the building tension. Anyway, they get another call, and you can bet those hydraulic spreaders come in to play.

It’s the first call of the episode that we actually go on, and it is a wildly chaotic scene — a gas leak at a small restaurant has caused a fire, and while the son of the father/son duo who run the place is safely outside, his father is trapped inside the freezer with only a few minutes of oxygen left. Pretty much everything goes wrong from the moment 19 arrives. Andy finally sees that Ben’s been lying about his back. They can’t shut off the gas valve without the hydraulic spreaders. Theo’s plan B for turning off the gas blows up in his face literally (he’s okay … physically). And there’s no way to free the man in the freezer without sending sparks into the room that is very much full of highly flammable gas. Everyone is looking to Andy for answers, and really all they can do is wait for a secondary firehouse to arrive with their own spreaders to take over the scene. Once that happens, and 19 sees that the trapped man is probably not going to make it because it took so long to free him, everyone looks beyond defeated. Well, everyone except Vic, who accidentally slept through the entire call and is back at the station in her bunk. Again: Something is very wrong with Victoria Hughes. Seriously, could this shift end, please? It is torture.

7:14 a.m. — Truth or Scare

On a positive note, after Maya returned the night before and she and Carina bickered a bit before realizing they were locked out of their house with Liam inside, the new foster parents seem to be on the mend. In the light of the morning, Maya suggests they play a little game she’s calling “truth or scare” in which you have to admit a truth that scares you. Technically, it should probably be called “truth and scare,” but there’s a lot going on at the moment, so I’ll drop it. Carina is scared that they won’t let them officially adopt Liam, and it will break her. Maya’s scared that Liam will grow up in a world full of hate. She’s also scared that she’ll die on the job and leave Carina to raise Liam alone. Carina is scared that Maya won’t want to have another baby. That last one? Maya alleviates that fear almost immediately: Yes, of course she wants to try to have a baby through IVF too. The more, the merrier. It’s nice! And relaxing! And do we really have to go back to the hellscape that is Station 19 right now? Okay, fine …

Honestly, everyone is too tired and too broken inside from their nightmare of a shift to pick any more fights. You know how sometimes silence is more terrifying than yelling? Yeah, that’s what’s happening here. Robert takes it upon himself to check in with Natasha. Watching Station 19, the people who became his family when he needed them, fall apart in front of his eyes has been gut-wrenching for the guy, and he’s worried it’s all his fault. Well, he’s worried it’s all part of the fallout from Natasha having to make concessions to save face after their relationship caused that little scandal. Natasha has to be like, it’s not all about you, dude. She made a deal to keep her job because she didn’t want to let someone who might be detrimental to the department take her place; this is about her. She did what needed to be done, and she will continue to do so.

Speaking of doing what needs to be done, Theo goes to see Andy as the shift winds down. We’ve seen him learn about the pros of going private, and we’ve seen him realize he’s the easiest person to fire at the firehouse, so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise to us when he tells Andy he’s going to resign from the SFD. It is a surprise to her, though. Still, he’s adamant. Theo Ruiz is leaving Station 19. In the end, Andy doesn’t have to make that hard decision, but boy, if she doesn’t get a real taste of how hard sitting in the captain’s chair is going to be. Just because it’s been her dream doesn’t mean there aren’t some real downsides to it. And that’s putting it mildly.

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