SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Let the Games Begin,” the “9-1-1” Season 6 premiere.
“9-1-1” returned in all its zany glory Monday on Fox with the premiere of its sixth season. During the episode, Oliver Stark’s Evan “Buck” Buckley tackled a blimp emergency with his team at the 118 — and yet that somehow wasn’t the biggest hurdle he had to overcome in the Season 6 premiere.
Here, Variety breaks down the episode, titled “Let the Games Begin,” with Stark and how it lays the groundwork for Buck’s journey throughout the rest of “9-1-1” Season 6.
What are you thoughts on Buck’s feelings about being passed over for replacement captain while Bobby is away? What does he need to do to become ready to take on that role some day?
I think being a firefighter is such a huge part of Buck’s identity. I think it’s probably what he leads with when he meets anybody in the world, so I think it’s only natural that he’s going to want to progress in his career and, as we’ve come to learn over the seasons, he’s a little too gung ho and rushes into things too fast. So I think it makes sense that he would be trying to rush into this promotion a little fast. I do think it’s too early for him to take up that kind of role. Then, alongside that, Buck has such a close mentor-mentee relationship with Bobby that he maybe thought, through some kind of nepotism, even though they’re not actually family, he might have a leg up there. But it’s definitely something that’s going to go beyond just the first episode. And he has this lovely talk with Bobby at the end of the premiere that is really going to stay in his mind over the next few weeks and then we’re gonna see how that affects his decision making.
Did you discuss the symbolic nature of the “girlfriend” couch vs. “single” armchair with showrunners Tim Minear and Kristen Reidel, and what the choice to stick with the chair means for Buck in Season 6?
I think that whole couch/armchair thing becomes such a symbol for him in this episode. And by the end of it, choosing to not go buy a new couch, but being happiest and accepting of just having an armchair, shows that it’s a one-person seat; that he’s making peace with the fact that he’s going to be by himself for a little bit, and that he needs to be by himself for a little bit. Speaking with Kristen, a big thing for her has always been the fact that Buck chose to end his prior relationship, something that we’ve never seen before. He’s always been the one to be broken up with. So I think the two things kind of feed into each other, that he’s made this decision for himself and now he has to continue down that path and find out, without somebody else’s input, who he is in the world.
There are times in the past where we thought Buck was going to be single for a while, but then rushed into another relationship. Do you think he will actually take time to himself this time?
I love that that’s the case because I think that’s very true to life. We often have things we know we shouldn’t do, whatever it is, eat that junk food — but we do it anyway, nine times out of 10. So I think that’s quite an apt path that he’s been walking. But I do think this time around because he has these other focuses, for example, like we discussed the aspirations of being captain, I think he’s got other things to put his energy into which is always helpful in trying to stay on the straight and narrow. So whether or not complications will arise, it is the world of “9-1-1.” I think, certainly in this moment, his head is screwed on right and he’s headed in a healthy direction.
Will we get to see Buck in action as Uncle Buck this season, now that Maddie, Chimney and Baby Jee-Yun are back home?
I’ll tell you, we haven’t yet so far. But I do truly believe that everybody at “9-1-1” is aware that there’s a desire to see more Uncle Buck. So I can only imagine that, sometime in Season 6, I’m gonna get to pick that baby up.
You know the “9-1-1” fans are itching for another crossover with “Lone Star.” Do you think the upcoming wedding between his buddy T.K. and Carlos, aka “Tarlos,” would be a good time for an emergency that brings Buck back to Austin?
I mean, my main thought is, where’s my invitation? Maybe it went straight to my junk mail or something like that. I think it’s great. It’s such a lovely relationship on that show and one of many lovely relationships on that show. That would absolutely be a great opportunity; however, firefighting comes with lots of responsibilities, so I don’t believe there’s a crossover in that. But now that you said it, I’m going to send some texts saying, where’s my invite? I think it’s a great idea.