After 9-1-1's 'Huge Spectacle' Solution To The Cruise Ship Crisis, Oliver Stark Hypes An 'Intimate' 100th Episode

 Buck and Bobby in 9-1-1 Season 7 on ABC.
Buck and Bobby in 9-1-1 Season 7 on ABC.

Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of 9-1-1 Season 7, called "Capsized."

9-1-1 made its ABC debut in the 2024 TV schedule in a very big way with a cruise ship crisis for Bobby and Athena, hundreds of miles out at sea and far away from their usual crew of first responder friends. The three-part premiere event concluded on March 28 with "Capsized," which went even farther with the parallels to classic disaster film The Poseidon Adventure. The huge spectacle of crisis has finally been averted after some very close calls, and Oliver Stark – who plays Buck – opened up to CinemaBlend about the upcoming 100th episode, called "Buck, Bothered and Bewildered."

Athena and Bobby in 9-1-1 Season 7x03
Athena and Bobby in 9-1-1 Season 7x03

How The 118 Saved Bobby, Athena, And The Day

Bobby and Athena had a misfit crew of survivors to try and lead to freedom at the top of the crippled cruise ship... which had previously been the bottom of the ship, prior to the pirates' bomb blowing a hole in it and a massive wave flipping it in the middle of a hurricane. It was more clear than ever why Peter Krause told us that he spent many days soaking wet while filming the premiere three-parter, and why Oliver Stark suggested that the cruise ship crisis was even bigger than the tsunami diaster.

Two of the survivors were killed in the effort to escape, but the others rescued a mother and her young son in the process. Even after Athena and the rest of the group (sans Bobby, who'd gone to find the little boy) made it to the hole in the ship, their only hope was that a rescue helicopter would see the one flare that they'd be able to fire up into the storm.

Luckily, that helicopter was carrying Hen, Chimney, Eddie, and Buck, who decided that they needed to land the chopper on the capsized ship and stage a rescue mission. Athena and Co. were pulled out of the hole, and Buck and Eddie went into the bowels of the ship just in time to open a hatch to rescue Bobby and the young boy.

The episode ended with Bobby and Athena back on dry land, ready for some 1:1 time (and fast food), and probably never planning to book a cruise ever again. What better way to set up a major milestone than with a happy ending? Even the people in the life boats survived!

Oliver Stark in 9-1-1 Season 7 as Buck
Oliver Stark in 9-1-1 Season 7 as Buck

Oliver Stark Previews The 100th Episode

Not many shows will hit 100 episodes nowadays, let alone shows that have already been cancelled once. Of course, ABC picked up 9-1-1 immediately after it was cut from fox, and Peter Krause explained the on-set celebration of the milestone was "fifteen minutes to have some cake and went back to work." When I spoke with Oliver Stark about what he could share for the 100th episode, he said:

I think one of the nicest things about the episode for me is that it's just character driven. This show has had huge spectacle over the years, but I don't think it would have lasted if we didn't love the people. You have to care about the characters that are running into these huge, high octane situations. Otherwise, you'd lose interest fairly quickly. So I think that 100th episode leaning into the characters is a really smart way to go and a really apt way to kind of memorialize those 100 episodes. It's an intimate episode, but I think that's a testament to the love that has grown for these characters, and I think it will really do it justice.

Any viewer who has seen even a single episode of 9-1-1 can vouch that Oliver Stark isn't kidding about the "huge spectacle" of the show, particularly after a premiere event at sea. But the show is going for a more "intimate episode" to celebrate hitting 100, with more of a focus on the characters than the crises of the week. It's safe to expect some problems for the crew of first responders, but it bodes well that the star feels that it will do the show justice.

It's kind of surreal, to be honest with you. Like, I don't quite know how to process that in my head. In one hand, it feels like we've been doing the show forever, and then on the other hand, it feels like we just started it. But you're right. It's seen us through really uncertain times. As you mentioned, the pandemic and the strike and we've had this show, and it's seen us through that. We have actors and I know writers that have really struggled through those times, and we've kind of been insulated from that.

9-1-1 lasting to seven seasons and more than 100 episodes is particularly impressive in light of complications across the entertainment industry over the years since its premiere 2018. First, the COVID-19 production shutdowns didn't make filming any easier, and then the WGA writers strike and SAG-AFTRA actors strike put filming on hold for months. When I noted the obstacles that 9-1-1 has overcome, Stark commented:

We kept working basically through the pandemic. We had a few extra months off, but we were on hiatus anyway at the beginning of it. So we had maybe two extra months, and then we got back to work. It's been truly life changing and life saving in many ways to have the stability of this show and the stability of the people that are associated with this show. And I'm just grateful more than anything and having a really great time being able to make it.

The cast of 9-1-1 has largely remained the same since back in Season 2, when Jennifer Love Hewitt joined as Maddie Buckley and Ryan Guzman joined as Eddie Diaz, the latter of whom has been a major part of Buck's stories over the years since. As for how everybody will be involved in the 100th episode, be sure to watch and find out! For now, here's the promo, complete with a Bachelor crossover:

Tune in to ABC on Thursday, April 4 at 8 p.m. ET for the 100th episode of 9-1-1, ahead of Grey's Anatomy at 9 p.m. and Station 19 at 10 p.m. You can also revisit the first 99 episodes streaming with a Hulu subscription.