9-1-1: Lone Star delivered one of its most heartbreaking episodes yet in the eighth episode of the series. Ronen Rubinstein in particular was given the chance to shine, and show us why T.K. is always a compelling character. In a series that can be incredibly uneven, this episode mostly got it right and put the focus on all the right places.
T.K. being the focus of this episode was the best choice. After the devastating news in Episode 7 that his mother Gwyn (Lisa Edelstein) had been killed in a freak accident, he was meant to travel to New York for the funeral. The parallels between this journey to say goodbye to his mother and his journey to seek treatment for his addiction were so moving and handled so effectively.
It’s been teased that the show is going to explore T.K.’s addiction in more detail this season, specifically Carlos’s (Rafael L. Silva) experience being the spouse of someone living with addiction. This is a story that deserves to be told, and it’s commendable that the show is going to try and tackle this. Hopefully, this storyline can be handled in a compassionate and realistic way. Tarlos will always be worth cheering for, but the show has struggled to let them just be happy. Hopefully this is the season the show can find that balance.
One thing 9-1-1: Lone Star has done an amazing job on this season is portraying grief. In Episode 6 of this season, Tommy (Gina Torres) was able to acknowledge and start to process the loss of her husband. Giving T.K. his moment in this episode room to grieve his mother was heartrending. Some of the strongest moments of this week’s episode were the flashbacks to T.K. remembering just how deeply his mother loved him, and how valiantly she fought to support him and get him the help he needed.
With all of the emotional moments this episode gave fans, I’m not 100% sure the plotline with the plane emergency was needed. It ultimately seemed gratuitous. It’s too bad the writers didn’t focus even on the relationship with Owen (Rob Lowe), T.K., and their seatmate without it turning into an emergency. The situation did give Owen and T.K. a chance to bond, but otherwise it was too much.
Unfortunately, as emotional as Gwyn’s death was, in hindsight, it was just clearly lazy writing. Lowe said in an interview that felt this was the most dramatic way to end this character’s arc. Why not just leave her to live her life in New York? There were absolutely other ways to handle this character. Fans know who the character is and where she is. Killing her off was egregious at best.
Owen was completely bearable in this episode, which was a nice change. Focusing on his character as a supportive father was absolutely the right decision for a character who always seems to need the spotlight to function. This is where the character shines-calm, reflective, and letting someone else, in this case, his son, take the lead.
This was one of 9-1-1: Lone Star’s strongest episodes to date. Although not every choice worked, the character development for T.K., in particular, was incredibly powerful. Storylines were set up that will hopefully be explored as the series approaches its second half. I’ve said it often and I’ll say it again-this show has such engaging and rich characters. The show’s at its best when it lets them develop in an organic and relatable way.
9-1-1: Lone Star airs Mondays 8/7c on Fox.