Grace and Carlos are the true saints of this series.
They opted for a mostly amusing hour with 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 3 Episode 15, with Grace and Judd adopting David for a week or so and Carlos struggling with T.K.’s new pet.
But the hour also introduced us to a new Owen arc pertaining to his estranged father.
Tarlos is such a special couple. How can they not give you all the feelings?
They live in this domestic bliss, and it feels good when their challenges are petty, inconsequential little things.
Carlos was again looking divine during this hour, and whoever is responsible for freeing the curls and those glasses he’s been wearing during his downtime deserves a raise!
Part of loving T.K. is putting up with some of anything, and in this case, it was the freaking lizard he brought home from a call.
First off, the call was absolutely absurd. Folks will do anything for attention. The last thing on this person’s mind after a lizard was crawling inside would be to post it online for followers.
It was so gross when the lizard was crawling around inside that man, but it’s unfathomable that T.K. took one look at that reptile and thought it would be the perfect pet.
Clown Down!! CLOWN DOWN!
Carlos had every right to spazz out about it, but as per usual, T.K. has Carlos wrapped around his finger, so there’s no way he couldn’t do anything outside of going along with it.
And Lou was a menace, escaping the tank too often for comfort. However, nothing topped when Lou crawled along the back of the couch and then on Carlos’ shoulder as T.K. desperately tried to distract him with kisses.
It has to be in the top ten of Tarlos moments, and it was enough to make you giggle. After some heavier arcs, especially with T.K.’s relapse and the death of his mother, it was nice for the two to have such a lighthearted storyline.
While it didn’t progress anything or introduce new or exciting stories, you can’t underestimate the appeal of just spending some time with your favorite characters doing normal stuff.
And they also gave us domestic Ryder action.
Grace: Where’s Charlie?
Judd: She’s with Uncle Dave!
The opening call with the man trapped in the building was horrific and heartrending. They’ve come for blood and tears this season with calls that end in tragedy, and the can be said for 9-1-1.
Hell, one could barely recover from the tragic call on 9-1-1 Season 5 Episode 15 before Lone Star dove into Dave trying to help that poor man trapped in a fire to no avail.
That would’ve been the hardest call on a good day for someone with many years of losses under their belt. Understandably, Grace didn’t want Dave to sit with that and think about how he was at fault and had to listen to a man die.
It was one of those times when the reality of what dispatchers and operators endure hit you like a cement block. The hour used that tragedy to usher in some refreshing reflection with our lovable lug, Judd, that he’s been due for some time.
And they spun it into an amusing arc with Grace slowly going inside over Dave’s presence.
Sometimes it feels like the series has forgotten about or strayed away from its roots and how they all became part of the 126 in the first place.
With so many tragedies and near-death calls, it’s no wonder Judd hasn’t grappled with his PTSD or something. It feels like they’ve scaled back on Judd this season, so one could appreciate the moments he spoke about losing his friends.
He still carries them with him, using recipes that one of his fire brothers taught him. He was open about how terrible a state he was in after that tragedy and how he blamed himself before recognizing it wasn’t his fault.
It was also comforting to see Grace interject with her perspective on things. We got that reminder of how much that challenged them as a couple and what it was like for them to overcome it.
In addition to this void with Judd and Grace as individuals, we haven’t had as much of the Ryders as a unit either.
The two of them inadvertently adopting Dave into the family for however long he stayed was entertaining.
It’s so like Judd to extend an invitation for Dave to crash on their couch without talking to Grace about it first. They both have such big hearts, but Judd takes for granted that Grace is a good Christan woman who does right by others.
It’s like Mrs. Doubtfire, but with a clown.
And the entire montage of Grace slowly losing her mind with Dave staying with her was comedic gold. Sierra McClain is great in general, but she has fantastic comedic chops. She does the barely concealed annoyance so well.
Dave wasn’t an easy guest. While it was sweet how attached he became to Charlie and how good he was with her, using up all the hot water, eating up the food, and micromanaging things in their household would’ve been too much.
How long was he there? They said he was supposed to be there for a week, but that montage felt like an eternity. And poor Grace didn’t have a break at all.
She drove to and from work with Dave for the sake of “saving the planet,” and they had the same shift and saw each other at home too.
Judd didn’t have to deal with Dave as much, but he seemed to enjoy the guy’s company overall, so he didn’t care. From what we can see, Grace spent more time with Dave than she’s been spending with Judd.
No wonder Grace went to Tommy to vent. Tommy and Grace’s friendship remains top-tier and one of the best things they consistently give us this season.
They make you want to grab a glass of wine and curl up on the couch, talking with them. Torres and McClain have some of the best chemistry in the series, and given that we miss out on so many dynamics and friendship nuances, it makes you appreciate these two all the more.
Baby Charlie, the cutest little munchkin and is too precious for words, walked when both her parents were away and Uncle Dave ruining the video footage was the last straw. And it should’ve been
Judd: He’s gotta go, doesn’t he?
Grace: Yeah, I think it’s time.
Judd; So what are you going to tell him.
It wasn’t surprising when Dave managed to beat Grace to the punch by announcing he was leaving. She got spared the awkwardness and guilt, but he didn’t mind expressing why he felt they smothered him.
Where do people come up with these things? He willingly immersed himself in their family and then acted as if they were the ones suffocating him!
But Dave was consistent in being a character who irritates the hell out of you but amuses you all at once.
And then there was Owen.
It’s great that he’s in therapy, and at least we’re getting to see these sessions for him.
They took an unexpected turn when his therapist focused on Owen’s fear of clowns. Owen has a boatload of trauma to unpack, and much of it is recent.
While you can’t fault his therapist for seeking out something seemingly innocuous that could get to the root of his rage issues by digging deeper back — I’m not sure how he pinpointed clowns and associated them with childhood trauma like a bullseye.
The inserted clowns were everywhere, and you waited for them to serve as a metaphor for something bigger.
Clown phobia is no joke for people who suffer from it, so it’s not about dismissing that, but the entire hour for Owen was about his fear of clowns.
They could’ve bypassed the clown stuff altogether and delved into his abandonment issues and anger at his father. There was no need to come through the side door, walk through the maze, and past funny mirrors to get to unresolved daddy issues.
Sure, they tossed in a case with the father dressed up as a clown, failing at his Mrs. Doubtfire gimmick, which coincided with Owen’s issues, but it all felt unnecessary.
Owen’s therapy sessions prompted him to reach out to his father by the end of the hour. We can expect a peek into Owen’s background with his estranged family.
TVLine already revealed that Chad Lowe, Rob Lowe’s brother, will play his estranged brother here, too.
I wonder if this is an arc that will involve T.K. as well. Aside from 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 3 Episode 8, Owen and T.K. have felt separated and distant from each other for most of the season.
And with this impending focus on Owen and new members of his family, I wonder if that’ll detract from the characters we already have.
Tommy has had great balance as a counter character to Owen, but Judd, Grace, T.K., and Carlos have been inconsistently explored this season.
And Nancy, Mateo, Marjan, and Paul continue to get shafted as characters. We’re three seasons into this series, and there’s still very little explored with these characters.
They’re back to disappearing again during this second half of the season, which remains disappointing and frustrating.
Over to you, Lone Star Fanatics.
Did you like the lighter tone of this hour? What are your thoughts about Owen’s traumatic background getting explored? Hit the comments.
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.