It was finally time to find out what made Athena Grant who she is today.
We’ve gotten Chimney, Hen, and Bobby’s backstories already, so it was about time 9-1-1 Season 3 Episode 7 came along to give insight into Athena’s background.
While the other stories featured more recent events, Athena’s story took us all the way back to 1989 when Athena was an eager, young law student who found her life changed forever when she met Emmett Washington.
Athena is such a well-respected and accomplished police officer, it’s hard to fathom that she didn’t grow up wanting to be a one.
It was a surprise to learn that she originally had aspirations to become a lawyer. But then again, Athena has always been in the business of helping people, which she would have done no matter what path she decided to travel.
Meeting Emmett that day in college changed everything for Athena. And as her relationship with Emmett blossomed, her career took off as well, and you could see how happy she was.
The actress who portrayed Athena was glowing and radiated the same warmth and charm that Angela Bassett brings to the role.
She did an amazing job bringing the young Athena Carter to life. And the writers did a beautiful job crafting the arc for Athena to confront the biggest demon from her past.
Present-day Athena is strong, rigid, and by the book, but you could sense a bit more playfulness in Athena when she was younger. And considering what she went through, it makes perfect sense that she became more guarded in her life.
Hen: You know, you once told me, that it's the not knowing that haunts us. You were talking about yourself.
Athena: Well, I've seen what comes from living with ghosts, the toll it takes.
She carried a tremendous amount of guilt for 30 years, as she believed that she was responsible for Emmett’s death.
And by not talking about it, she may have felt like she was protecting herself, but holding onto that kind of pain has to be debilitating.
There may have been days, even a week or so when she wasn’t thinking about it, but that kind of hurt never fully escapes you.
Even though she manages to find the peace she wanted to find for Emmett, it’s cost Athena so much hurt.
The flashback coinciding with present-day was a nice touch, and it was fascinating to see how much Athena's early days influenced the officer she is today.
Athena likes to be in control, so there was no way she wasn’t going to get herself in the investigation of Emmett’s death once the gun was found.
It’s pretty lucky that gun made its way through so many hands and still stayed in the Los Angeles region.
Once she tracked it to the motel, it seemed like the trail would end, but lucky for Athena, she’s got a friend within the 9-1-1 system.
It’s a bit implausible that they’d be able to find the information they were looking for on a tiny notecard amongst all those boxes in one day, but we had to go with it because it lead us to one of the standout moments of the episode.
Emmett’s murderer was a man strung out on heroin looking for money any place he could find it. And Emmett was simply a bystander who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
To Athena, if she hadn't sent Emmett to the store, he wouldn't have gotten killed. But Athena didn’t pull the trigger. She had no way of knowing that he would be at the store Dennis Jenkins decided to rob.
Emmett’s death falls on the shoulders of Dennis and Dennis alone.
Athena kept her emotions in check all hour, and it was awfully impressive that she was so calm when speaking to Dennis.
After 30 years, she allowed him to give her the answers she had been seeking.
It was a moving scene that left you a little breathless as the man detailed the events of the shooting and we got to see it play out in real time.
By showing Dennis’s accomplishments and family and playing on the idea that he bettered his life just as Emmett would have wanted, it almost felt like for a moment something crazy was going to happen, and Athena was going to forgive him and not bring him in or something.
But that’s not in character with Athena Grant as we know her.
Athena found the person who had alluded her a very long time, and she had to bring him to justice. She can claim it was for Emmett’s peace, but it was for her, as well.
When she broke down in Bobby’s arms, that felt like a cry decades in the making.
Those were tears of sadness, relief, despair, and hope.
That chapter may be closed, but it was still a chapter of her life. And it will always be a piece of her story.
- It was a heavy episode, but there were two genuinely funny moments. The first being the entire opening scene with Athena and May’s boyfriend, and the other being Athena’s mother declaring that Emmett was the son-in-law she always hoped for in front of Bobby and Michael.
- Speaking of Bobby and Michael, their bonding has been a lot of fun. The guy friendships on this show are all top notch.
- Calling Athena’s mother was a nice gesture from Bobby even though the two don’t get along. Bobby is great husband, Athena is a great wife, and they are a great team.
That's a wrap on another succesful flashback episode. I can't wait to hear what you guys thought about Athena's story.
Was there anything from Athena's past that surprised you?
Were Michael and Bobby right to be upset with Athena?
Make sure your comment down below with all your thoughts! And remember you can watch 9-1-1 online anytime via TV Fanatic!
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Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.