The Station 19 Finale episode was intense in a terrifying, all-too-real, and infuriating way. It’s a must-watch and necessary conversation.
“Mommy, are you crying? Are you good? That’s what my 10-year-old daughter kept asking me as I repeatedly watched and paused the Station 19 Finale. Despite my racing heart and trembling hands, I managed a smile and assured her that I was okay, but we would need to talk about this episode.
Everyone involved in the Station 19 Finale deserves an award for including so many meaningful perspectives of the real dangers young girls live with today. As well, they drove home the real-life-story about how any Black woman or any Black man is at risk of being dehumanized in ways extreme enough to cost them their lives.
In the face of systemic racism, victims who are Black, victims of color, and those who support them may face physical attacks, criminal charges, incarceration, and even death, despite being a victim.
A white man who commits criminal acts against a Black person or person of color, even if that person is a child may be defended and protected at the expense of the victim(s) because the blame-and-shame approach is still embedded into the fabric of our social services and judicial systems.
My daughter wasn’t supposed to watch the Station 19 Finale with me.
Today, she was next to me when I started the episode and I let her stay. At first, I thought she was just reading a book near me. When I realized she’d been watching some of the episode, I let her stay, turning her head through a few scenes. But, once the episode began to reveal it’s core message, I thought about sending her to the other room. I didn’t.
Some might say the topic is inappropriate for a child. Sure, I understand wanting to protect them. That’s why I let her keep watching. Often, the best way and sometimes the only way to protect our children is to inform them. That’s what the Station 19 Finale did for viewers. It’s up to us to share that knowledge and take responsibility for raging against the systemic abuse and exploitation of little brown girls.
My daughter is a little brown girl.
She’s already been propositioned through the internet, despite my eagle eye supervision. It doesn’t just happen in private rooms on social media. It can happen on an online doc, in the comments of a children’s video, while playing any online game, and right in front of your eyes. In fact, it doesn’t have to happen on the internet at all. A next-door neighbor could be a predator, just like Maya’s on the Station 19 Finale.
No one Believed Me.
During my early teen years, I was homeless for some time. I also lived in a few shelters. One particular shelter for women and children in Philadelphia had a white male, live-in Director. Although he was not supposed to live there, he did. At one point, another worker had spiked the children’s juice with alcohol.
Just like the Station 19 Finale, no one would listen to her.
A Black female shelter worker tried to alert the Director. He silenced her. I don’t think she was as afraid of losing her job as she was of not being there to protect the kids; to protect me. I remember asking her why she didn’t tell someone else. She said it wasn’t the first time and no one would listen to her. The Station 19 Finale brought back a flood of memories.
It got worse.
Shortly after the alcohol episode, a male resident (in the no-males-allowed shelter) tried to rape me. I ran as fast as I could and I told the Director. I was sure he’d call the police. Instead, he held a gun to my head and said if I ever told anyone, he’d kill my family, starting with my mom.
As someone who has been the victim of abuse within the same systems and by people designated to protect and empower at-risk women and children, this episode earned my highest respect.
We can’t claim to stand up for something in absence of being willing to actually do something. Station 19 took on a real topic that might piss some people off. Bravo! Way to go – and, thank you.
Dean (Okieriete Onaodowan) wins the episode’s best performance, IMHO.
This finale boasts heroic performances by the entire Station 19 cast and particularly that of Sophina Brown who played Joyce in the finale – a mother desperately trying to save her daughter’s life from a predator’s active capture. Her performance made me nauseous because it was so believable. I could physically feel her terror.
Sophina brilliantly portrayed the horror so many mothers face.
However, Onaodowan’s performance as Dean really moved me to write this post. Dean is extremely conflicted. He’s in love with his best-friend but too scared to tell her.
He is on a journey of personal discovery.
As a new father, Dean is trying to put his daughter first, but is he doing what’s best for her? The sum of all his questions leading up to this Statio 19 Finale is what really elevates his already award-worthy performance.
Dean is angry at ex-Chief Sullivan for his fall from a high rank – an opportunity Dean feels is not readily available to Black men. He’s struggling to acknowledge that drug addiction is a disease and blames Sullivan for perpetuating behaviors he believes racist America already expects from Black men.
Where do we draw the line?
The writers did an excellent job of developing Dean’s character in preparation for the intensity of this very uncomfortable Station 19 Finale. Dean is already making sacrifices for his daughter while trying to do the right thing, but not entirely sure what that really means. He is keeping his own family at an emotional distance while wondering how he can raise a daughter without a village.
In all of this, Dean is trying to figure out where the line lives between help and harm, as it relates to all of our own actions and reactions to the behavior of others. Where is the balance between too harshly judging and failing to hold people accountable for their actions?
Of course, he also questions how his personal beliefs and actions are making his situation, life, and the lives of those he cares about, better or worse. He’s beginning to recognize that many of life’s most difficult questions don’t always have clear-cut answers.
One thing he is sure of is that he wants to the right thing, even if it’s the harder choice.
The Station 19 Finale was sadly predictable which is exactly what made it so emotionally climatic.
Dean, Travis, and Vic hear a woman, Joyce, screaming outside of Maya’s home shortly after arriving for a spontaneous party. Joyce tracked her missing thirteen-year-old daughter Jada’s location to the home and a daughter’s friend Shanice is expected to be with her there, too. She had already tried to confront the homeowner, but he slammed the door on her.
She had also notified the police but they never showed up to help her prior to arriving at the home. While the team tried to calm Joyce down and gather information, other Station 19 crew came to the scene upon arriving at Maya’s home.
Joyce wanted to bust the door down. Dean promised Joyce that he would personally do it if that’s what it came down to. But first, they needed to gather information.
Shanices’s mother, Sharon, arrived at the scene shortly before the police arrived.
Good Cop, Bad Cop.
The writers didn’t miss this predictable, yet extremely relevant detail.
When the police arrived, they told Maya it was their scene. Joyce thought the police had arrived to help her save her daughter. The police told Joyce and the rest of the crew that the homeowner had called in a complaint.
Maya tells the police that Joyce believes her daughter was abducted and is in the house. Bad Cop says, “we don’t have time for this.”
“Listen, we’re not going to barge into someone’s home because some unbalanced woman can’t keep tabs on her kid,” he said.
Dean said, “do you smell that now?” Station 19 backs up his claim of smelling a possible gas link. Gibson and Dean rush to knock on the door with Joyce following closely behind them. The homeowner then opened the door and shouted, “Schneider, are you going to get these people out of here?”
The Station 19 Finale is full of underexposed but powerful lines that make us think beyond the screen.
That single line placed so subtly but intentionally into the scene gave me chills. The homeowner knew one of the officers. The homeowner was telling the police how to do their job. That felt real. “Good Cop,” had previously inquired with unconvincing concern about why Joyce thought her daughter was in the home.
You can’t be a Good Cop who does nothing to stop a Bad Cop.
The team hears an explosion during their confrontation with the homeowner. Dean and Sullivan enter the home in search of the missing girls. Vic confronts the homeowner and threatens to make sure he stands trial for murder if anyone in the house dies.
Not-actually-a-good-cop says, “Just tell us where they’re at Bob. Kidnapping charges are a lot nicer than murder.” Another subtle and potent line that is representative of so many communities.
A predictable, tragic, and unsettling conclusion.
When Dean and Sullivan find Jada and Shanice they carry the girls out to safety. There is a moment when the cops are putting cuffs on Bob, or not? In any case, at no point did the cops become violent or use excessive force with the white kidnapper of two young Black girls. Point taken.
While in the ambulance, Shanice tells her mom that she and Jada started the fire. Jada got the idea when they could no longer hear the yelling. The girls thought no one was still looking for them. Officer Schneider heard Shanice’s story about starting the fire. Confrontational Vic reminded the officer that the girls were his victims. He said, “I’ll let you do your job. You let me do mine.”
While Andy is attending to Sullivan, the other officer questions Jada about what happened. He started by asking, “was there any penetration?” Obviously, he is further traumatizing the victim. Her mother and Maya interjected.
The following scene demonstrated just how easily abuse of power and systemic racism can spontaneously ignite an escalation that sets fire to the lives of both victims and their heroes.
This Station 19 Finale leaves us right in the center of the current state of real-life crisis we continue to face.
Miss, I’m sorry but I have to ask a few more questions.Good Cop
What the hell do you need to ask my daughter who has been through hell about?!Joyce
Your daughter just started a fire.Officer Schneider
Is this really the time?Maya
Seriously, Schneider, can we just…Good Cop
Those girls broke into my house and set fire to it! I want them arrested for trespassing and arson.Bob
She was kidnapped!Dean
So they say.
These kids lie all the time.Officer Schneider
You son of a… (rushing towards Officer Schneider and Maya pulls Joyce back)Joyce
Ma’am, you are under arrest for assaulting a police officer.Officer Schneider
The Station 19 Finale just told all of America’s dirty little secrets. When it comes to systemic racism, oppression, and abuse there is no neutrality. You are either part of the solution or part of the problem.
The team begins to scream, “she didn’t! Hey, we’re right here! We can see! She didn’t do anything!” More officers are now on the scene. Jada, on a gurney, is screaming for her mom. Joyce is screaming out to Jada trying to assure her. “Jada. Jada, baby. I’m okay!”
“Stop resisting,” screams Schneider. He slams Joyce against a police car. Dean screams, “hey, take it easy man! What’s wrong with you?!” He races towards Joyce. Before he can reach her, Dean is tackled down to the ground by three officers. Vic runs toward Dean and is warned by an officer to move back. Andy and Sullivan also run towards Dean. An officer throws Andy to the ground and Sullivan pushes the officer down. Two officers draw their guns on Sullivan and demand that he put his hands in the air.
From the ground. Andy pleads, “Robert, please.” Maya pleads to Schneider, “Officer, please this is my team.” Schneider says, “are you coming with us, too?”
“On what charges?” Maya asks. “Obstruction of justice. Breaking and entering,” Scheider responds.
Joyce, Dean, and Sullivan are taken from the scene in police cars. To be continued…
Thank you, Station 19, for being part of the solution.
Watching the last part of this episode felt like reliving some of my worst memories. As a mother, it elicited my worst fears. However, as a viewer, it made me proud. To the writers, actors, producers, network, and everyone who participated in sharing such a powerful story, please know you created a masterpiece.
Every character had an independent story, intricately weaved into disruptive and thought-provoking messages. For all the little details, including the lines, film angles, perfectly matched audio, and emotional journey – take a bow!