“9-1-1”'s Ryan Guzman on Eddie and Buck's heart-to-heart, Maddie's wedding dress moment, and Marisol

"Oh man, this might be one of my favorite episodes," the actor says of the fifth hour of the ABC drama's seventh season.

Ryan Guzman is ready to smile.

While his 9-1-1 character, Eddie, has spent years working through his PTSD as a veteran and the grief of losing his wife, Shannon (Devin Kelley), season 7 was promised to be a lighter period for the 118 firefighter.

Thursday's episode of the ABC first responder drama was a "big step forward" on that promise, the actor tells Entertainment Weekly — even if Eddie spent most of it freaking out after discovering his his new girlfriend, Marisol (Edy Ganem), was once studying to be a nun.

As tumultuous as his romantic life may have been, the friend zone was rock solid for the firefighter, with Eddie welcoming the news that Buck (Oliver Stark) is dating their friend Tommy (Lou Ferigno Jr.).

Following that touching scene, EW asked Guzman to break down how Marisol moving out is a good thing, his personal connection to Buck's coming out and Eddie's support, as well as that doozy of a cliffhanger with Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) in her wedding dress and no Chimney (Kenneth Choi) to be found.

<p>Chris Willard/Disney</p> Eddie (Ryan Guzman) and Buck (Oliver Stark) on '9-1-1' season 7, episode 5, "You Don't Know Me."

Chris Willard/Disney

Eddie (Ryan Guzman) and Buck (Oliver Stark) on '9-1-1' season 7, episode 5, "You Don't Know Me."

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

RYAN GUZMAN: Oh man, this might be one of my favorite episodes — just because of all the excitement, all the humor, all the different moments, the sentimentality, the new turns in Buck's relationship, all of it. I love what [co-creator and showrunner Tim Minear] wrote, as I do most times. The lightheartedness that I've been playing into with Eddie this year lent itself to this episode a lot. And I love the opportunity to showcase that humorous side of him, because we really haven't had the opportunity to see that in the past. It's been very dark and traumatic with him trying to withhold his emotions and be the militant kind of individual. Now we're seeing a new side, an evolution of Eddie, and through that we're getting to see just a lighter air about him.

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

Eddie has remnants of his Catholicism, but he's not been leaning into it as much as [Peter Krause's] Bobby has, per se. But when something like this happens where he finds out the person he's sleeping with is an ex-nun, he questions everything. And now his relationship to God is that much closer to him. In essence, I feel like Eddie thinks that he just slept with God. So it's like, "Oh no, I just did the biggest sin in the world. Oh my God, what is this? I don't know what I'm doing in my life." We get the humor that gets played off of it, but also the opportunity for him to... maybe not have a stronghold on a religion per se, but maybe a deepening of connection to what he believes in, and where he goes with that belief.

<p>Chris Willard/Disney</p> Eddie (Ryan Guzman) and Marisol (Edy Ganem) on '9-1-1.'

Chris Willard/Disney

Eddie (Ryan Guzman) and Marisol (Edy Ganem) on '9-1-1.'

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

Eddie has shown himself to go from zero to 100 all the time. He finds one girl that checks off a couple boxes in his list and he's like, "Ah, that'd be good enough. Let's get married." This time, thank God, he didn't need a Carla in his life to say "Slow down." He did it himself. He had a conversation with Bobby, he had a conversation with Buck, he figures it out and he goes, "Okay, maybe it's time to have some growth on my end." He is doing a big thing for not only him, but for his son. He's not trying to fill in this space that was left open by Shannon and he's taking care of that relationship that [Gavin McHugh's] Christopher has with his mother that passed. He realizes he has to take it a lot slower. It seems like a step back, but it is so many steps forward for Eddie in what that means to him and his family dynamic.

How did you react when you found out Buck was going to explore his bisexuality? And what did you think when you first read the scene where he comes out to Eddie?

I think we felt this scene was coming one way or another — and we knew we had to handle this with care, because there are so many people who have attached themselves.... Oliver and I are so grateful for the people who have attached themselves to our characters, and what they do with it. And so we really wanted to give this scene a sense of groundedness. And luckily for me, I've had an experience in my life where a friend trusted me with their own coming out, and I got to understand first person that it wasn't so much about me accepting them, it was more about me allowing them to feel safe and loved. So I wanted to exemplify that in this scene. Like, "Hey man, you can say whatever you got. I'm not going anywhere. Okay? This connection remains." That was something that forever changed my life — in my personal life, with my friend — so this had to feel the same for the millions of people who are going to see it, because some may not be getting this from their friends. Some may be scared to do this in front of their friends, and maybe this gives them the opportunity to find their own bravery, as Buck did, and go to their closest friend and say, "Hey, this is how I feel nowadays. Can you explore this with me?" I love that scene.

And then you end the episode talking to Maddie in her wedding dress, Eddie and Buck all disheveled in their Miami Vice bachelor party outfits...

So we actually had a celebration for the 100th episode at the same time we were shooting that episode of chaos at the bachelor party. We had a celebration with all these executives and whatnot, and we show up in our disheveled look. We had to take these photos that went out into the world and no one was given context to why me and Oliver look crazy and then Aisha [Hinds] and Angela [Bassett] and Peter look amazing. So it's nice to now show the audience what was happening. We had so much fun filming that episode. Oh man, so many treats for the audience. I can't wait for people to see that one.

<p>Disney/Frank Micelotta</p> Ryan Guzman, Gavin McHugh, Oliver Stark, Peter Krause, Angela Bassett, and Aisha Hinds celebrate the 100th episode of '9-1-1.'

Disney/Frank Micelotta

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

What else can you tease for Eddie this season?

Now that Eddie's taken that step forward with Marisol, that offers a lot of new obstacles. This is unknown territory — much like Buck's character, it's unknown territory. And that is something to be a little bit more scared of, to be honest, because we have no clue how to handle the unknown. So I think with Marisol and Eddie, their relationship is strengthening, but there's so many traumatic moments that Eddie still has yet to answer for himself in his own past. So how that plays into this present moment is a balancing act. And what I'd like to see is him handle it with ease, but that doesn't offer great TV. So yeah, he's going to be a mess just as much as he was — as we all are, really.

9-1-1 airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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