Eight minutes and 46 seconds.
That's how long a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd's neck, a Black man, while he was handcuffed and face down on the pavement, screaming out that he couldn't breathe, as he died.
Floyd's killing, which sparked a renewed effort against police brutality and systemic racism, happened on May 25, but watching the stunned faces of the firefighters at the end of Station 19 Season 4 Episode 11 took us right back to that moment.
Words didn't need to be said, as the looks of absolute shock and horror conveyed it all, transporting us back to the heart-wrenching and enraging events of nearly a year ago.
With music overlay and little dialogue, the vastly impactful scene brought all those emotions back to the surface, and it feels like it was yesterday we were learning about Floyd's death and taking to the streets in protest.
And yet, at the same time, it feels like this happened a lifetime ago, as it's been tragedy after tragedy ever since.
It's a contradictory feeling, made even more complicated as we watch these actual events play out in our past, but the characters' present, on a fictitious TV show.
It's hard to know how we should be feeling, as this is an essential and timely storyline to tell, but it also hits close to home for lots of viewers since this depiction of police brutality isn't fiction.
George Floyd isn't just some fictional character like Andy and the rest of Station 19; he was a real human being killed while in police custody.
Dean: Eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Andy: We held compressions on Wayne for 7 [minutes and] 32 [seconds].
Dean: They took more time ending that man’s life than we did saving one.
His killing affects us differently than Dean and Sullivan getting arrested for firefighting while Black because it happened.
It wasn't just something the writers on a series came up with to reflect our reality because Floyd's death and the problems of police brutality and systemic racism are our reality.
This may read as a convoluted tangent, but it's important to highlight the distinction.
TV shows try their best, at times, to capture the real-life problems of the world at large and are successful at varying levels.
Station 19 is no exception, with its current season tackling the novel coronavirus head-on.
However, the incorporation of George Floyd's death feels different than the constant references to the pandemic.
It felt more based in reality and included to comment on the highly problematic issues of racism and police brutality in the world, rather than just thrown into the story for the sake of drama.
It's a very poignant and targeted approach, whereas COVID-19 has been the looming storm cloud over Station 19 Season 4 that won't go away, no matter how badly we want it.
Sullivan: Is there a problem, captain?
Maya: No, no problem at all. We got it under control, Sullivan. Thanks guys.
Sullivan: You sure? I’m here to help.
Maya: I told you to wait with the CO2.
Sullivan: Well, it’s kind of useless, captain.
Maya: Back to your post, Sullivan.
Sullivan: What are they doing here?
Maya: Standard. Not your problem. Back to your post.
Maya: Sullivan, are regressing?
Sullivan: Things are kind tense with PD right now. All I’m trying to do is help, that’s all. I know these guys pretty well.
Maya: Yeah, I know them pretty well too.
Sullivan: Hey, who’s taking over 19 when you go to Italy?
Maya: Did Andy tell you that? I haven’t decided yet.
Sullivan: Well, I’m just letting you know I’m here to support anyway I can.
Maya: Well, thank you Sullivan, but right now I need your support containing that fire.
Based on the synopsis and promo for the following episode, the firefighters at Station 19 will be deeply affected by George Floyd's killing, so much so that Maya brings in a grief counselor to help them deal with their feelings.
This should be a very impactful and powerful hour, as our favorite characters try to make sense of Floyd's killing, just as we all had to last spring.
The aftermath for Station 19 in the wake of Floyd's death is unclear, but his killing may help Sullivan see the light of day.
For the past few episodes, Sullivan has been solely focused on regaining his former rank.
He's willing to betray one of his friends and side with the police officers who arrested him to get back what he has lost.
He continued this trend this episode, spending a good portion of this installment trying to act as a backseat captain.
However, Floyd's killing may put things into perspective for Sullivan, as he realizes what happened to him and Dean with the police isn't just a one-off issue.
It's emblematic of a widespread problem that won't go away if no one speaks out against police brutality and systemic racism.
Dixon: I just came to say if you care at all about the safety of your people, you’ll put a muzzle on Miller and try to mend some fences.
Maya: Is that an official statement from PD?
Dixon: Just advice from a fellow frontliner.
Maya: PD should be the one mending fences. Parking tickets on a firetruck?
Dixon: That’s just fun and games. A lawsuit’s a lot more hostile. That can’t be good for morale around here.
Maya: Did you seriously just come here to say that?
Dixon: No, I also came to say nice haircut.
Changing the system from the inside is no longer good enough when Black men and women are being killed due to the color of their skin.
It is time for people to take a stand if we ever expect any change to come, and hopefully, Sullivan realizes that.
Elsewhere, the rest of the episode was pretty standard, but one development does stick out: Maya coming to the "realization" that she couldn't accompany Carina to Italy.
We saw this coming from miles away, as we knew Maya wouldn't leave her found family and Seattle, so it wasn't that surprising when Maya reneged on her decision.
With everything going on at Station 19, Maya felt she couldn't leave at the moment, and for her and everyone around her, it was the right call.
Had Maya gone to Italy with Carina, Maya may have ended up resenting her girlfriend for causing her to leave her friends and career behind.
Because while Carina would never ask or force Maya to give up her life in Seattle, Maya could still come to blame Carina for leaving the United States and her following in the first place.
So it was the right move for Maya to stay behind, but I'm happy the pair didn't break up over this.
Maya: Carina, with everything going on here, with the tension with PD…
Carina: I know. You have to stay. Your whole country’s in crisis. You can’t leave when there’s such a desperate need. It’s OK. It’s one of the many reasons I love you.
Maya: I really wanted to go. I promise. I just keep thinking of Chief McAlister looking at my request to leave and thinking, ‘This is why we don’t put women in positions of power.’
Carina: Right because she will run off with her lady lover. We’ll be OK. I’ll be back before you know it. I’ll be back
Long-distance can be challenging, but there's every reason to believe these two can beat the odds.
It won't be easy, but nothing in life worth having ever is.
And with Carina's reassurances that she'll be back soon, what's a couple of months compared to a lifetime together?
Some stray thoughts:
With all the talk about parents, babies, and childhoods, did anyone else expect someone to reveal they were expecting? Maybe it's the knowledge of the upcoming May Sweeps that's making me think about pregnancy, but it sure did seem like the series was dropping hints left and right.
We had a quick Theo sighting, which was weird since it seemed like the series closed to door on the character after Station 19 Season 4 Episode 9. Does this mean we shouldn't count out a Vic/Theo relationship just yet? That's where I'm putting my money.
Was anyone else digging the unusual character pairings this episode? I loved watching Jack and Vic, Andy and Dean, and Ben and Carina get one-on-one scenes together. It's always great when the writers mix things up, and this was no exception.
Travis crushing on Emmett continues to be very cute. It's fun to watch him get flustered and tongue-tied, as it's something we haven't seen before. Here's hoping Travis doesn't stay in the friendzone for much longer because they're too adorable not to be together.
Dixon is just as vile as ever. Why can't he crawl into some random hole and stay there? Why does he have to keep popping up again and again?
So what did you think, Station 19 Fanatics?
How do you feel about the incorporation of George Floyd's killing?
How will the characters be affected?
Can Maya and Carina may long-distance work?
Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you missed the latest episode, remember you can watch Station 19 online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.