Sometimes you need an insular hour to check in with some of the characters.
Despite a gory call and a brief but tragic one, 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 3 Episode 13 was light on action and fieldwork and heavy on Tommy and T.K. still navigating the waters of their grief, the latter’s addiction and Owen imploding his relationship with Catherine because of a wrinkly cat.
OK, so the Owen portion of the hour was whatever, but it was genuinely lovely to spend some quality time in Tommy and T.K.’s personal lives.
We’ll go ahead and get the Owen aspect out of the way. Interestingly, when they’ve done their version of bottle episodes, it has felt like they use Owen to add levity to the hour.
Most of the time, it’s not necessarily needed. We could’ve done without Owen’s arc in this installment as the C-plot and not missed anything.
We’re looking for a cyclist in a haystack
- Permalink: We’re looking for a cyclist in a haystack
But at least, it was evident that the primary focus was on T.K. and Carlos, and Tommy. Owen’s bout of insecurity, ego, and his knack for sabotaging his relationships didn’t overshadow the great moments of progress and growth with T.K. and Tommy’s arcs.
He was great at the top of the hour, using his grandmother’s advice on a turn of phrase to avoid sneezing to prevent that poor woman with hay fever from sneezing herself into paralysis or death.
And his line about finding a cyclist in a haystack was perfectly executed, given how they had to locate that poor man with the missing foot.
But he had a rough go of it when he thought his days off were time he’d spend rolling in the metaphorical hay with Catherine in his freshly laundered room absent of pig corpses.
Sadly, Catherine’s chief of staff position is never over. Hence, it introduced another wrinkle in their relationship when Owen offered to look after her hairless cat and meet her ex-husband for the trade-off.
Catherine couldn’t have known the hell-storm she’d unleash by giving Owen such a grenade about her “type” and the similarities between him and her ex. But damn, how does she not know Owen better?
He’s as self-obsessed as it gets, so it wasn’t surprising that he’d fret and analyze every facet of his encounter with Patrick. After he met Patrick Sr, Owen lost his damn mind and assumed he was Catherine’s ex.
Instead of assuming that there was more to this man he’d only spoken to for five minutes and knew nothing about, considering that Catherine was joking or waiting for clarification, he spiraled out of control. He spent all that time trying to figure out what he and this slightly older, balding gentleman could have in common.
Judd: Like my Uncle Cash used to say, some women prefer the company of the day olds.
Owen: Day olds? What’s that?
Judd: Some women prefer the company of an older gentleman because they are worldly and they are wise. And maybe, uh, maybe Catherine has a little Daddy thing going on.
Owen: A daddy thing? I feel so dirty!
- Permalink: A daddy thing? I feel so dirty!
We got another refresher on Owen’s vanity and self-absorption. He assumed right out of the gate that Catherine’s use of “type” was exclusively physical and that she must like older guys and have daddy issues.
Of course, Judd, bless his heart, didn’t help the matter by bestowing his Uncle Cash’s advice. Grace clearly had full custody of the Ryder brain cell that day when she was advising Tommy.
But it sucked for Catherine, who wasn’t even there at the time, that this presumption about what she found attractive got reduced to something like “Daddy Issues,” and Owen proceeded to take offense to the notion that she could find him attractive because he was older.
It certainly wasn’t because of his maturity. Even if Patrick Sr. was the person she was talking about, Owen’s reaction was what was most offensive, and that spilled over into his tirade against her that didn’t have any legs whether Senior was the person or not.
She’s a self-sufficient political advisor who works at the governor’s office; the mere implication that she was some manipulative, gold digger exploiting older men is INSANE!
Good for Catherine for dumping Owen after that.
Meanwhile, Tommy is a captain who thrives and hasn’t come across as immature. I appreciated that we got to see her in her personal life again, and they captured how grief is a journey.
It’s hard for someone to get back into dating when they’ve lost a partner. Tommy has kept her down, focused on the job and kids, and not much else.
It was beautiful when she celebrated her and Charles’ anniversary with a dinner with his presence. It felt right for her, but I love that she’s been going to a grief support group all this time.
These little moments add more context and depth to the characters, rounding them out and helping us gravitate to them more as we get to know them better.
Dipping into the characters’ personal lives makes them multidimensional and more accessible.
Stepping back into dating is hard, but it worked best for her that she could do this with a widower. As nervous and off-kilter as Tommy felt about it, there was a safety to breaking that ground with someone who already knows what she’s dealing with and could appreciate that there aren’t any strings attached to it.
Tommy: It’s too soon. It’s wrong. Charles and I were supposed to be together forever. What the hell am I doing?
Grace: You are living your life, Tommy, and that’s what Charles would’ve wanted. Listen, somebody else in this world wants to sit down and have dinner with you. Somebody that you might like to get to know. It’s not betrayal. It’s not a commitment. It’s just dinner.
Morris was a great test run to lead Tommy to a bigger, more empowering, and self-fulfilling step. The date didn’t go how Tommy planned, but it was the perfect date in many ways.
After all the nerves, Tommy feeling as if she was betraying Charles, and Grace’s incredible and apt pep talk, it was a nice twist that Morris is the one who broke down on the date before the appetizer even came.
His openly sobbing over crostini with everyone looking at their table and Tommy awkwardly trying to comfort him while looking like a goddess was hilarious.
It would’ve felt disrespectful if the date was perfect, and she jumped right into that relationship. And it would’ve been unrealistic, too.
I have been living with the buttons all the way up to my chin since Charles died. And tonight, for the first time, I felt alive again.
But Tommy got a great reminder that everyone will have their grief journey. It doesn’t matter how much time passes; it’s a process for anyone who has to work through living their life without the person they anticipated sticking around forever.
She wasn’t Morris this time, but it was probably somewhat comforting to see that no one is infallible in “moving on,” which probably made her feel better.
And she took away the most important thing, that she needs to get back to herself again. It’s not about dating but relaxing her shoulders and remembering how to live again.
The analogy about unbuttoning those buttons was a perfect, suitable for the situation. It’s emotionally gratifying that while Tommy has been the pinnacle of professionalism and more on the job, she’s reached a place now where she can get back to living her life despite the void from Charles’ death.
She’s a vibrant, beautiful, fun, great woman, and Charles would want her to be herself again. Hell, even if that means taking herself out on dates, immersing herself into the world again rather than sticking to the usual routines, and simply learning how to be things other than sad.
You couldn’t help but feel proud of Tommy and happy for her when she spoke about how great it felt to dress up again, put on heels, and eat dinner beneath the stars at a nice restaurant. Tommy’s permitting herself to live again, and that’s beautiful.
It was also beautiful to see so much domestic Carlos and T.K., and the two communicating and understanding each other better.
T.K. has been through hell and back. He’s thrown himself into his meetings and this bond with his new sponsor, Cooper.
He’s dealing with so much at once, and it was a relief to hear that he’s taking all the active steps he needs to function properly and healthily.
He’s juggling so much trauma from Gwyn’s death, his near-death again, and Sadie took his choice and power away from him when she drugged him.
Fortunately, T.K. was able to put his feelings into words in a way that gave us insight into where he’s coming from and sort of addressed why for him, he’s starting back at one with his sobriety.
He could reconcile things better when his own choices jeopardized everything for him, but it was much harder when someone took even that away from him.
Sadie stole a year of sobriety from me. All the other times I relapsed it was because of choices I made. This time I didn’t even have the option. It was made for me.
He worded it well, and to his credit, he’s been keeping a very open line of communication with Carlos about all of this. It would’ve been more concerning if he never told Carlos about Cooper.
You can tell where he’s coming from with this bond and how vital it is to him right now because of how open he is about it. In some ways, from the perspective of those who haven’t dealt with addiction, it could read as some type of codependency.
However, as we saw, this relationship with Cooper and the ability to have this safe space with those meetings and a person to talk to openly and intimately is what T.K. needs.
It’s fantastic that T.K. knows what he needs and is actively getting it rather than avoiding it and slipping into some dark hole. It’s such a refreshing take from the norm of exploring a person who knows they need help but refuses to seek it out.
T.K. is being so healthy, responsible, and self-aware. It’s such tremendous growth for his character, and it was subtly on display throughout the hour.
But he even attempted to make Carlos feel more comfortable, sacrificing his meeting and time with Cooper, even after that triggering call with Parker and his mother.
After their talk, he was in the throes of his grief, but he wanted to consider Carlos, too, and Carlos admitted how inadequate he felt regarding T.K.’s addiction.
In some ways, you can understand where Carlos was coming from there. Sure, there was probably a flash of jealousy when he saw that Cooper was hot, but it mostly hurt him and made him feel inadequate when it felt like T.K. wasn’t sharing this dark side of himself with Carlos.
Carlos loves T.K. enough to want to know all facets of him and share burdens. It was perfectly human and reasonable that he wanted to understand T.K. better and offer help.
He felt like T.K. was protecting him from this side of him and that it meant that he didn’t have access to this part of T.K. that others have, so he felt left out.
And Carlos is indeed conscious of T.K. as an addict, but he’s never dealt with his addiction. It’s hard to navigate because he doesn’t know what that looks like.
I loved this conflict between them because it was such a realistic, traditional, simple one. It was a natural conflict to crop up with a healthy, happy couple.
And we’re accustomed to Carlos always giving his all to T.K., in any way that he can, that it was a necessary reminder that he couldn’t be T.K.’s everything, and there are some things that he can’t fix.
Carlos was doing everything right and being the perfect, supportive spouse, but sometimes, that’s not enough, and that’s perfectly OK and normal.
Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea that a good romance entails being each other’s everything, but that’s not true. We need different relationships and personal lives outside of core romantic ones.
No one person can be your everything.
Carlos: Look, I know confiding in your sponsor isn’t cheating, but it feels like he’s getting pieces of you that I don’t.
TK: You don’t want those pieces.
Carlos: I do. I want all of it.
TK: You have all of me, Carlos.
Carlos: Do I?
TK: Yes! What make you feel better the next I felt the need to use, I turned to you?
Carlos: You know you can.
TK: I know, and I might, but it wouldn’t be enough.
Carlos: I’m not enough you mean.
TK: No! Because you haven’t been there, and thank God you haven’t. I need people in my life who have, and if that means sometimes I’m late getting home, just know that it’s only so I will get home, Carlos.
Carlos needed to realize that, and when he couldn’t find the right words or things to do to help T.K. after that terrible call, he understood why T.K.’s relationship with Cooper was so meaningful, and he reached out to him.
I loved the spark of growth in Carlos that he shed the insecurity he had, recognized his limitations, and did what was best for T.K. None of this harmed their relationship.
No, there wasn’t a lot of action and firefighting, and many of the characters took a backseat if they weren’t playing some supportive role, but it was a compelling enough and refreshing hour.
- Judd and baby Charlie are so damn cute! He’s such a happy dad, and Charlie is precious.
- It’s still weird that we haven’t checked in with Judd’s son in a while. For such a shocking revelation and plot, they haven’t done much of anything with it or spent much time with the Ryders navigating it.
- The sphinx was creepy looking, but Horatio gets better care than most humans, goodness!
- The most unrealistic part of Tommy’s storyline was having a hard time dressing for her date. Gina Torres could wear a burlap sack and look stunning. That dress, her hair, the lipstick and heels, she was a freaking vision!
- Shoutout to everyone behind beautifully showing off the versatility of Black hair becaue Tommy’s hair game has been downright envy-worthy this season.
- Did anyone else think Grace would call Marjan when she said she had a way of helping Tommy? Tommy and Grace’s friendship is the sweetest.
- I would like to thank God and whoever is responsible for Carlos in those glasses and also his hair.
- Blanca from the grief group was the cutest! I loved her setting up Tommy and Morris; she was such a damn hoot!
- Mateo running around with that cyclist’s foot was hilarious.
- Parker losing his mother in front of him in such a freak accident was heartbreaking.
What did you think of this more insular hour of the series? Did you love how Tarlos worked through things? What are your thoughts on Tommy moving on? Were you surprised Catherine broke up with Owen?
Sound off below
You can watch 9-1-1: Lone Star online here via TV Fanatic.