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Ryan Guzman explains Eddie’s questionable move and lying to Buck

(Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 7 “Spirit of a Second Chance.”)

Eddie Diaz, we need to talk about your decision making skills! The last 9-1-1 In this episode, Ryan Guzman’s character doesn’t make the best choices.

Just when things seem to be going well for Marisol (Edy Ganem), Eddie can’t help but be drawn back to his past and his late wife Shannon (Devin Kelley) – after seeing a woman working in a store who… just now like them. He approaches her and introduces himself as single to Kim, then ends the episode meeting her for dinner… after dropping off his son Christopher (Gavin McHugh) at Buck’s (Oliver Stark) for what they think is a night out with his girlfriend.

Below, Guzman discusses what’s going on in Eddie’s head and the drama that awaits his relationships.

The question that needs to be asked is: why? What goes through Eddie’s mind from the moment he sees Kim until he remembers Shannon at that dinner at the end?

Ryan Guzman: From the moment he sees Kim, I think he’s just hit in the face with the existential question: Can this happen? Is this real life? This duplicate of Shannon is right in front of me, and she sounds like her. This cannot possibly be true. So I think it’s a pinch-me moment for him, and he’s now starting to create this delusion for himself that I don’t think he wants to give up, because if you get a second chance at glory, are you wasting it in his eyes? Even though you are in a very committed and secure relationship, are you wasting this opportunity? Does the end justify the means? Don’t know. I have no idea, but it makes for great TV.

Ryan Guzman in '9-1-1' Season 7 Episode 7 "Spirit of a second chance"

Disney/Mike Taing

Talk about that decision though, that he would have that dinner and not only have that dinner but lie to Buck and Christopher about it.

Yes, he weaves a very dangerous web. I think this is the first time we see him actually lie to the people he cares about, especially Christopher. I think the way he justifies it – and the way I had to justify it as far as Ryan playing Eddie – is that he’s doing Christopher a favor by protecting his emotions, his feelings and his mental stability. “I can’t tell you I’m going on a date with someone who looks exactly like your dead mother.” I don’t know if that conversation is going well. So he leans towards this lifestyle with a separate identity, which is uncharted territory. So he doesn’t know how to behave, so he does things he’s never done before.

But why can’t he talk to his best friend about it?

I think – and again, to justify the character – he should keep this to himself. This is his thing. He doesn’t want to share it with anyone else. He shared so much in season 5. He shared so much in season 6. There’s so much of him breaking himself down and pushing himself to the limit and emotions that he’s never explored before. But now this is a moment where it’s trauma that hasn’t really been addressed, the Shannon character that he’s never gotten over and he’s trying to fill this void in so many other women, and now he has this opportunity to possible to relive the past. I don’t want to dilute the incredible fact that I have this unique opportunity in my life by sharing it with everyone. I want to live in it.

Yes, he’s a single father, but the fact that he says it in response to Kim asking if he has a girlfriend is a very conscious decision he makes at that moment. And this comes after he and Marisol had some issues earlier this season with them going too fast. So do you think this response is indicative of what it means for Eddie’s relationship with Marisol in particular, or just where he stands in general when it comes to a relationship because of everything with Shannon?

I think that’s word vomit for Eddie. I think that’s a way of, oh, I don’t want to lose this person right away, so let me just say what I have to say. It’s not that thoughtful or aware of who he’s freeing. I don’t think he has that depth in those kinds of conversations. I think it’s more like, ‘I see this person who looks like my dead wife. I get a second chance. I don’t want to lose a second chance if I say something stupid. Let me just say what I need to do to keep her on the line. I have to see her again.’ That’s the only thing going through his mind. And I think later he gets a chance to marinate in what he says and feels, and that’s when the real drama starts to happen.

Talk about working with Devin again, especially given what you’re doing today, but then you also have that flashback: that Christmas episode was so important for the family in Season 2.

Yes Yes. I absolutely love working with Devin. She’s been one of my favorites to work with in my career, an incredible actress, an incredible human being. And I’ve always joked a little bit from season 3, season 4: Why did you kill her? She was so good. But now that we’ve got her back and playing opposite her again, we’ve really gotten back into it, and we’ve had a lot of fun this season.

Now that Eddie has met Kim for dinner, what’s next with her?

Oh, I think it’s a continuation of the delusion. How far can he go before reality sets in? Because at some point it will have to be done.

Should we expect him to leave Marisol to babysit Christopher while he dates Kim?

(Laughs) Ooh, that would be tough, wouldn’t it? Don’t know. I don’t know what happens to Eddie and how he reacts to this balancing act between this new love and this old love, but it won’t end well for him.

What does this mean for how he feels about Marisol?

Well, it begs the question of how far you can really get if you stick to something else. You can only take certain steps forward. And I believe that no matter how much growth he has achieved by clinging so strongly to the past, at some point the growth will stagnate. He will crash into the ceiling for that. And I don’t believe he lied to Marisol about how much he cares and loves her. I think there are so many parts of Marisol that he is in love with and he could see himself with her in the long run. But despite all his repression of his own emotions, Eddie cannot let go of this past and until he learns how to let go of the past, there is no future for anyone.

Ryan Guzman, Gavin McHugh and Edy Ganem in '9-1-1' Season 7, Episode 7 "Spirit of a second chance"

Disney/Mike Taing

Will this lead to him going back to therapy?

Don’t know. Those are some good scenes. I like working with the therapist. We shall see.

One thing this season has done a great job of is highlighting Eddie and Buck’s friendship up until this lie. What’s coming? Is Eddie going to lean on Buck? If he wants to open up to anyone, it will be him, unless he goes to Bobby (Peter Krause) again.

Yes, Bobby and Buck are the two pillars Eddie leans on. I think Buck is more of a guy who just says, again, word vomit. He says what he feels. Bobby is more of a guy who says, “I need some wise advice.” I’m at my lowest point. The therapy didn’t work, my best friend didn’t work. Bobby, tell me straight, man. So yes, there is an opportunity for both of them to help Eddie out a little. But is he looking for help at this point? I do not think so. I think he wants to live in the solution. He wants to live in dreamland.

Apart from this storyline, what else is coming up, Eddie?

This storyline splinters in so many different ways. There are so many possible variations on this story. So I think this will be an important part for Eddie. And then he also does his utmost to still be the firefighter that everyone knows Eddie is. And yes, I think this will hold most of Eddie’s energy.

Are we going to see this weigh on him? We saw the build in Season 5 that led to his breakdown…

I think so. I mean, Eddie has such a strong conscience that I believe that a lie like this and something as heavy as this will weigh him down in so many ways that it will become noticeable.

9-1-1Thursday, 8/7c, ABC