‘9-1-1’ star Ryan Guzman talks Buck and Eddie, Maddie’s wedding dress moment, and Marisol

'9-1-1' star Ryan Guzman talks Buck and Eddie, Maddie's wedding dress moment, and Marisol

Ryan Guzman is ready to smile.

While his 9-1-1 Eddie, the character, has spent years working through PTSD as a veteran, and grieving the loss of his wife Shannon (Devin Kelly), and Season 7 was promised to be a lighter time for the 118th firefighters.

The actor says Thursday’s episode of ABC’s drama First Responder was a “huge step forward” in that promise Entertainment Weekly – Even if Eddie spent most of his time in a state of panic after he discovered that his new girlfriend Marisol (Edi Ghanem) was once studying to become a nun.

Although his romantic life was turbulent, the friend zone was solid for the firefighter, as Eddie welcomed the news that Buck (Oliver Stark) was dating their friend Tommy (Lou Ferrigno Jr.).

After that poignant scene, EW asked Guzman to explain how Marisol’s exit is a good thing, his personal connection to Puck’s exit and Eddie’s support, as well as that cliffhanger with Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) in her wedding dress. And Kenneth Choi’s chimney was never found.

Eddie (Ryan Guzman) and Buck (Oliver Stark) in 9-1-1 Season 7, Episode 5, “You Don’t Know Me.”

Chris Willard/Disney

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You definitely got to play all the emotions in this episode.

Ryan Guzman: Man, this might be one of my favorite episodes – just because of all the action, all the humor, all the different, emotional moments, the new twists in Puck’s relationship, all of it. I like what [co-creator and showrunner Tim Minear] I wrote, as I do most of the time. The lightness with which I was playing with Eddie this year lent itself to this episode a lot. And I love the opportunity to show that humorous side of him, because we haven’t had the opportunity to see that in the past. It was very dark and painful when he tried to block his feelings and be the hardened type of individual. Now we’re seeing a new side, an evolution of Eddie, and through that we’ll be able to see a lighter air around him.

Why does Eddie have such a strong reaction to Marisol’s past?

Eddie has remnants of his Catholicism, but he’s not drawn to it as much as he used to [Peter Krause’s] Bobby has, per se. But when something like this happens where he finds out that the person he’s sleeping with is a former nun, he questions everything. Now his relationship with God has become much closer to Him. In essence, I feel like Eddie thinks he just slept with God. So it’s like, “Oh no, I just committed the biggest sin in the world. Oh my God, what is this? I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.” We get the manipulative humor, but also the opportunity for him…maybe not to have a stronghold on a religion per se, but perhaps a deepening connection to what he believes in, and where he’s going with that belief.

Eddie (Ryan Guzman) and Marisol (Eddie Ghanem) on “9-1-1.”

Chris Willard/Disney

Do you think it was the right decision for Marisol to come back?

Eddie has shown that he goes from zero to 100 all the time. He finds one girl who checks off some boxes on his list and says, “Ah, that’ll be good enough. Let’s get married.” This time, thank God, he didn’t need Carla in his life to say, “Slow down.” He did it himself. He had a conversation with Bobby, he had a conversation with Buck, and he figured it out and said, “Well, maybe it’s time for some growth on my end.” He is doing something big not only for himself, but for his son as well. He’s not trying to fill that space that Shannon left open and he’s taking care of that relationship [Gavin McHugh’s] Christopher with his mother who passed by. He realizes he has to take it a lot slower. It seems like a step backwards, but it is So Many steps forward for Eddie in what this means for him and his family.

How did you react when you learned that Buck would be exploring his bisexuality? What did you think when you first read the scene when he came out to Eddie?

I think we felt this scene was coming one way or another — and we knew we had to handle this carefully, because there are a lot of people who have attached themselves…. Oliver and I are very grateful to the people who have attached themselves to our characters, and what they do with them. And so we really wanted to give this scene a sense of stability. Fortunately for me, I had an experience in my life where a friend trusted me with their own skin, and I understood from a first-person perspective that it wasn’t so much about their acceptance, but more about them allowing me to. To feel safe and loved. So I wanted to embody that in this scene. Like, “Dude, you can say what you got. I’m not going anywhere. Okay? That connection stays.” This was something that changed my life forever — in my personal life, with my boyfriend — so it had to feel the same way for the millions of people who would be watching it, because some might not get this from their friends. Some people might be afraid to do it in front of their friends, and maybe this gives them the opportunity to find their own courage, like Buck did, and go to their best friend and say, “Hey, this is how I’m feeling these days. Can I?” Will you explore this with me?” I love this scene.

She then ends the episode by talking to Maddie in her wedding dress, Eddie and Buck are disheveled in theirs Miami Vice Bachelorette party outfits…

So we actually celebrated the 100th episode at the same time we were filming that episode of bachelorette party mayhem. We had a party with all these CEOs and more, and we showed up looking disheveled. We had to take these pictures that went out into the world and no one was given context as to why me and Oliver and then Aisha were so crazy [Hinds] And Angela [Bassett] And Peter looks amazing. So now it’s good to show the public what was happening. We had a lot of fun filming that episode. Oh man, so many treats for the audience. I can’t wait for people to see it.

Ryan Guzman, Gavin McHugh, Oliver Stark, Peter Krause, Angela Bassett and Aisha Hinds celebrate the 100th episode of “9-1-1.”

Disney/Frank Misslotta

What can you tease Eddie about this season?

Now that Eddie has taken this step forward with Marisol, it presents a lot of new obstacles. This is uncharted territory – much like Buck’s character, it’s uncharted territory. This is something we should be a little afraid of, to be honest, because we have no idea how to deal with the unknown. So I think their relationship with Marisol and Eddie is strengthening, but there are a lot of painful moments that Eddie still has to answer for himself in his past. So how that plays out in this current moment is a balancing act. What I’d like to see is him taking it easy, but that doesn’t make for great television. So, yeah, he’s going to be as much of a mess as he was, like all of us, really.

9-1-1 It airs Thursdays at 8pm ET/PT on ABC.

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