Season 3, Episode 3 "The Searchers" aired on October 7th and opened with firefighter, Evan Buckley, searching for Christopher, who had previously fallen off of a firetruck that shifted during a tsunami.
Buck spends the entire episode searching for Christopher. Sometimes it's promising (some survivors swear they saw him on the way to The Cupcakery where there was water being distributed) and sometimes it was utterly heartbreaking, as when Buck was urged to check the morgue tent, to see if Christopher is among those who didn't survive.
By the end of the episode, Buck has lost all hope and must confess to Christopher's dad, Eddie, that he lost Christopher. But simultaneously, a woman (who we've seen moving with a group of survivors throughout the episode) arrives with a child wrapped a blanket.
Eddie approaches, and the woman immediately asks, "Are you Buck?"
Eddie assures her, "I'm his dad!"
She responds, "He's looking for Buck!"
I loved a couple of things about this:
First, that it's shown that Buck is not the only adult who is shown to be concerned and actively caring for Christopher. This woman had Christopher with her for hours, making sure he was warm and not left behind. (Again, showing the audience that his life has value.)
And second? That she asked questions when Eddie approached Christopher. She didn't just hand him off. She also made it clear who Christopher's looking for - advocating for him - and making sure of his safety before she leaves him.
To finish, we see Eddie dropping Christopher off at Buck's house again. Buck is startled, feeling responsible for losing Christopher and feeling guilty. Eddie says, "The way he sees it, you saved him. Now it's his turn to save you." (Tara pointed out that in the previous episode, Christopher and Buck had spoken about how they helped each other survive while on the firetruck together. So, it's possible that Christopher and Eddie had a subsequent conversation about this and Eddie's relaying the information.
Eddie tells Buck that he's happy to have Buck watch Christopher. He lists all of the things he's packed for Christopher to do: (coloring books, Legos and two snacks), he leaves money for pizza. He mentions that Christopher is easy to watch because he "isn't very fast" (ha!) And that he "doesn't make anything that looks like anything" with the Legos, "he just likes sticking things together."
All of this seems to be said in an effort to reassure Buck that he can take care of Christopher. Eddie does not blame him. In fact, he makes it clear that he has let Christopher down multiple times. "But it's up to me," he says, "to never stop trying."
First and foremost, I'm thrilled that Christopher survived, obviously. I still really love the storyline. And there was even a poignant line by Maddie (Buck's sister, a 911 dispatcher) where she talks about the loss of "all the people who couldn't swim."
I couldn't help but think of Christopher in that moment. But I'm so glad that instead of using his character as a part of a super tragic storyline, 9-1-1 is breaking new ground, making it clear that disabled lives have value and we need to be considered and supported, and rescued in emergency situations.