Long live the 126, even though it’s going to be a fight to keep it.
It was a wonderfully balanced, entertaining hour that utilized all of the characters and gave Mateo some much-needed time to shine on 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 2 Episode 14.
Unfortunately, they threw a hell of a curveball at the 126 fire family, and the beloved firehouse may get shut down permanently.
The season stepped up its game with the disaster events, and once again, parts of the hour felt inspired by a disaster flick.
The dust storm was an impressive depiction to showcase. In some ways, it felt as if Austin got dropped into the middle of a war-torn village. It grew increasingly chaotic as the storm continued, and keeping in vein with the thrilling aspects of the crossover hour, 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 2 Episode 3, we got a few explosions and another aircraft crash, too.
It made for such a sensory experience with some great shots and action, and you almost felt as if the sand was smothering you.
A big event like this allowed all of the characters to put their best foot forward and come together.
To its credit, the series made some improvements in utilizing all of its characters better this season. Thankfully, the finale had everyone involved and in significant ways.
But the one who benefitted most was Mateo. Of all the characters, he’s arguably the one who is often most neglected. He laced a significant storyline all season, aside from his tattoo fiasco.
Mateo is an endearing character, essentially he’s the puppy of the squad, but the series hasn’t dug deep into his character yet compared to the others.
Fortunately, the hour didn’t reduce Mateo to funny lines. Instead, he got to be the hero. It was a refreshing change of pace to witness Mateo in the field, in action, by himself, singlehandedly saving lives, assessing the scene, and putting all of his knowledge and training to use.
It was important that we saw Mateo as a serious, confident, knowledgeable firefighter capable of handling things on his own. He needed this time to shine, and boy did he.
Mateo handled every challenge that came at him with ease and grace. It took a minute for things to register, but then he flew into action, taking charge and triaging by himself until other first responders got there.
The scene was grisly with explosions, broken air pieces, and the tragic shot of the woman impaled to death. The handprint hitting the window of the aircraft was such a great shot.
He had the majority of the scene taken care of when Owen arrived to lend a hand, and then, of course, Owen swooped in for that last big save where he risked his life and nearly died.
Owen Strand is almost as bad as Evan Buckley on 9-1-1 with his reckless, stressful endeavors and near-death moments. And the grateful crowd shocked everyone when they shared that the handsome hero was Mateo and not Owen.
Mateo earned his stripes and the right to be off probation. The messed up thing is we don’t know when that’ll happen with the final moments of the hour.
Mateo Chavez. He’s my probie. He’s with the 129 today.
Mateo will likely get stuck at 129, and he’ll have to deal with the routine hazing and awful treatment by the captain there if he sticks around. However, after Mateo spoke his mind, there’s a chance that his treatment there will be worse.
He doesn’t deserve that at all, and what’s worse is that he was by himself at that house. With the firehouse down after the explosion, the others were relocated, and Mateo got the raw deal.
Paul, Judd, and Marjan got a better placement, and their firehouse seemed perfect. They had a library, engaged in some fun games, everyone got along well, and it was a great house.
The trio got the bonus of working alongside each other still. As we head into the new season, the placements will be semi-permanent until they find a way to save 126 or fix the place up themselves.
One’s heart was warm and filled with joy when everyone gathered together at the 126 to fix the place up and get it open again, so they could resume their lives at the place that feels most like home.
Even Buttercup and the Vega twins were around to lend a hand, and not only was it a great group scene, but it hit home that this group is a family.
It’s no wonder they gave that to us before ripping it from beneath our feet with that final reveal.
It set the groundwork and was a clear indicator that this group of people — this family — isn’t going down without a fight.
Wait, so we’re never getting back together.
Owen may have made a mistake blowing of the Deputy Fire Chief.
Owen isn’t a guy who likes dealing with the bureaucracy and red tape. He’s a man who lives for life-saving and fire-fighting. Owen needs the action, thrills, adrenaline rush, and excitement of the job.
He’s a man of action and risks, not a pencil pusher.
Yet, in some ways, he could do so much good in the position. It would give him some power and control. Sadly, he could’ve avoided the house getting shut down permanently if he was sitting in that chair.
It was evident from the moment the hour brought Billie back in that he would screw Owen over. Billie is more of a frenemy than a friend, and he’s always doing something shady or finding new ways of betraying people.
If Owen declined the offer, then the next step would’ve been considering Billie for the job, and he’s desperate enough to need and take it.
What’s insane is that part of the acting Fire Deputy Chief considering Oen as his replacement was due to how successful Owen was at reopening the126 and putting together a successful team.
What good is undoing Owen’s hard work by shutting down the firehouse and shipping the strongest fire squad in the city to various other firehouses?
They say it’s a budget and funds decision, but that sounds like a bunch of BS, and it seems more like an attempt at getting back at Owen. They’re even using the plan Owen was privy of and helped create against him.
Don’t you worry about us, go save the world.
Billie earned that punch, and while Owen got to him first, Judd may be itching to land one later.
For Judd, 126 is his home. He clings to that firehouse, the ghosts and memories of those he lost and his new family there now. He was just getting sentimental about the memorial wall pictures surviving all of the damage, and now Billie is stating that the house is shut down for good.
He’s facing way too many changes in his life. It’s doubtful Judd will take this news well at all. On the one hand, he’ll likely still get to work with Marjan and Paul, and the other house isn’t that bad, but a temporary position is far different than getting placed somewhere permanently.
We haven’t even factored in the emotional toll on the Ryders as they’ve recovered from nearly dying, lost a best friend, and are planning for a baby.
One good thing that did happen was Grace returning to the call center, and everyone gave her a round of applause and welcomed her warmly, as they should.
Grace is made for the call center, and she felt helpless staying at home all day. She slipped right back into her badass operator mode.
The call was an odd one with a woman buried alive under the sand, but Grace did what she does best and navigated, saving that woman with the skill that only Grace seems to possess.
Is anyone else obsessed with Grace’s phone calls? She’s so damn good at her job that you look forward to all the ways she’ll showcase her skills next with every installment.
I have no idea how I’m going to make this work, but these are my people. This is home.
But where she and Judd also shined was serving as Tommy and the Vega twins’ support after Charles’ death. It remains an odd choice that they bypassed telling others about him dying, they never showed Tommy breaking the news to the girls, and they also hopped over the funeral.
I felt as if we needed a chance to say goodbye to Charles, too, and the hour stripped that away with the quickness.
The girls were in a place where the news didn’t seem to faze them. They didn’t show any signs of two girls struggling with grief and the loss of their father. For a bit, it was easy to believe that she still hadn’t told them anything.
Kids have a certain resilience, though, and that’s what prompted Tommy to reconsider her plans.
Tommy was set on leaving the job again, and for a while, it seemed as though it was a real possibility, and we could’ve lost Gina Torres on the show.
Thank God that isn’t the case! Tommy Vega fits in so well with the clan that you forget she wasn’t there the whole time!
Her moments with TK and Nancy were endearing. Nancy getting a moment to tell Tommy how much she cares about and is inspired by her was enough to trigger a person’s allergies. It must’ve been all that dust.
Tommy, Nancy, and TK are a team. They all work so well together, and even though Tommy is their captain, their interactions always feel balanced.
You’re my mentor for how I want to be as a paramedic, as a captain, and hopefully, one day, as a winfe and mom.
Nancy didn’t want to, but she was okay letting Tommy do what she thought was best for her girls. TK seemed as if he wanted to argue against Tommy’s decision, but he didn’t feel right given why she wanted out.
But then the twins saw that Austin was in need, and they didn’t mind sharing their mother with the city. They know she’s in the business of saving lives, and that’s what they hoped she would do.
I’m thrilled Tommy’s girls gave her that extra push. It means we get to keep this incredible woman around, and with the loss of Charles, she’ll need to lean on her firehouse family more than ever if she’s willing to do it.
The Ryders have provided endless love and support. Judd with the girls is the cutest thing ever, and I’m counting down the minutes until we have a Ryder baby.
I’m with Judd; they definitely should have a girl!
But he may have lost his favorite uncle status to Carlos. While he didn’t have anything job-related happening during the finale, Carlos sending his boyfriend and Tommy out to kick ass while babysitting those sweet girls — it was the cutest.
Is it too early to start wishing for a Tarlos adoption, too?
Nevertheless, it gave Tommy the chance to jump back into the job and save that jackass new captain of Mateo’s life.
We never saw where TK and Nancy were relocated. Tommy just got back into the job again, so where the heck is she supposed to go if the 126 shuts down?
Tommy: I want you two to know that working with you has been the greatest blessing of my professional career.
TK: You’re not coming back, are you?
Tommy: I can’t. The girls are going to need me for this next part of this chapter.
It was a solid finale for a strong second season, and thankfully, we’ll be getting another season come 2022.
Damn, that’s too far away!
Over to you, 9-1-1: Lone Star Fanatics.
What did you think of the finale? Were you shocked by Billie’s actions? How can they save their firehouse? Hit the comments below!
You can watch 9-1-1: Lone Star online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.