Dear, 9-1-1 Lone Star, WTF was that?
Seeing as it was the winter finale, there is much to discuss about 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 2 Episode 8, including how Carlos and Tommy are the MVPs of the hour. But it's difficult to concentrate on anything beyond those harrowing final moments of the installment.
Who chose to place the most beloved couple of the series in peril like this? And where can one file a formal complaint?
The series doesn't get any better than the wonderfulness that is Grace and Judd Ryder, and now we're left with the worst cliffhanger one can think of, worrying that two of the best characters of this series may perish? It's utterly unacceptable, and my heart cannot take it.
But let's take a moment to discuss the other aspects of this hour.
Carlos Reyes is a gem, and it's so damn good that they finally gave us a worthwhile storyline for one of the series' most underutilized characters. Rafael Silva owned nearly every part of this installment, and it was enough to have you eagerly awaiting more from him.
We don't often get to see him in action as a cop, not nearly as much as Athena on the mother show, so it was disheartening that he pulled a call to a bank robbery, and his response to it almost cost him his career.
His instincts were right; anyone paying attention to the distressed man with a bomb strapped to his chest and throat could tell that he was terrified and doing something he wouldn't typically do.
Carlos: I trusted my instincts like you always taught me.
Carlos' Dad: You have to have instincts to trust them.
He was operating under duress, and Carlos saw it for what it was, letting the man leave in hopes that it would spare his life and that of his son while thinking they could capture the people behind the whole thing in time.
Instead, Carlos got suspended for his troubles. It's so much to unpack there about how following his instincts and not jumping to the part where he shoots first and subsequently takes the life of an innocent got him in trouble instead of supported or praised.
Ranger Reyes is a hard man to read and please, but goodness, he was infuriating from the moment he stepped into the interrogation room to speak to his son.
For one, regardless of how they attempted to explain it away later, it does feel like a conflict of interest that Reyes would be the one interrogating his son or leading the investigation into him.
With a father like Reyes, you can tell Carlito has probably spent his entire life striving and thinking he failed to please his father and meet his approval. Reyes' response to Carlos explaining that he followed his instincts was infuriating.
Carlos felt inadequate in comparison as if he never met his father's standards, and the sad part about it is by not discussing all of these things, Carlos couldn't know where their tension was rooted.
On the surface, Carlos, and us viewers, by extension, could presume that Reyes had an issue accepting his son's sexual orientation.
Carlos felt his father never wanted him to be in law enforcement. He felt Reyes didn't respect him as an officer and thought he was "too soft" for the gig. It could've in part been because of Carlos' nurturing and caring nature, but also could've been a reference to some gay stereotype.
It's hard to say, and by the end of the hour, even though Reyes already figured out that TK was Carlos' boyfriend. He even got on his case about not giving him a proper introduction.
It still didn't feel as if we had any concrete answer as to whether there is some genuine issue where Reyes struggles with his son's sexuality.
But it coincides with Carlos' insistence that his parents are both good people. By the end of the hour, we were supposed to like Reyes better. He acknowledged his son professionally as a great cop, trusted his instincts, and playfully noted that they need a proper introduction to TK.
Carlos got the words of approval and pride that he needed from his father, and it did make you happy for him. However, it doesn't escape the mind that Carlos previously took his father to task for requiring other people to tell him how to feel about his son, and Owen had to do that this time.
Carlos and Owen are a formidable team, and it was sweet that they had some quality time together. Owen flexed his dad muscles with Carlos during the installment, and he gave him the encouragement and support he needed when Reyes couldn't rise to the occasion. It was beyond sweet, and their connection is endearing.
The two of them playing detective, figuring out what happened to TK, Tommy, and Nancy, and showing up to rescue them without scaring off Gwyn was solid stuff.
Carlos is great at deduction and observation, and he would make a great detective. It was truly his hour to put all of his skills and best traits to use and shine.
And that's why it sucked when Owen swooped in for the rescue. If it seems like the Owen harping is relentless, then apologies. He's a perfectly great character, but it's like the series is obsessed with him even during times when it's not necessary.
Carlos is an actual cop with a gun, and it was an hour where he got the attention he deserved, but then even his heroic moment was usurped by Owen with his smoking gunshot. Why?
What reason is there for Carlos not having that moment on his own? Owen's need to play hero at every turn can be agitating. He did the same when he ran into the fire after Paul and Marjan.
As a protective man who is terrified of losing more people, his instinct is understandable. But as the captain of the team, it doesn't always make sense that he spends more time running into dangerous situations than directing his squad on how to do it, which is part of being a captain.
Whatever happens, it's on me.Carlos
Up until Carlos and Owen came along, you got to give the Ambo team props for how well they handled the criminals holding them at gunpoint. They were calm in the chaos. Nancy and Tommy were so annoyed with the jerks that they weren't above snippy comments and snark.
Both of those women are amazing. TK was impressive as well, as he had the good sense to drop his freshly acquired sobriety chip on the ground as a clue.
And he almost made it to the fire alarm to initiate some help before he got knocked out. Does any other character on this show get injured as much as TK? The guy ends up in the hospital all of the time.
Tommy is a true leader; she wasn't about to place her team in harm's way, and she was willing to face down a gun and take their place if it came down to it. Mama bears are naturally protective of kids, even if they aren't her own.
Criminal: You're brave.
Tommy: I'm angry.
The badassery was on full display as they kept the one criminal alive and then made their big move to free themselves from their captors. The case was exciting, and the tensions were high. They were some of the best scenes from the installment.
It certainly made up for the awkwardness that abounded with the Gwyn/Owen saga. Owen and Gwyn's inability to communicate things with their son is frustrating at times.
It's like they're in a bubble of their own, and TK is left out, and by the time he's aware of what's happening, they're onto something else.
Gwyn telling TK the truth about the baby is the most significant screen time they've had one-on-one. All of it was so bizarre as TK was upset, but he wanted Gwyn to know that he wasn't judging or slut-shaming her, and he apparently knows Enzo and likes him, so there's no issue there.
God, you're so selfish! If I'm not enough to keep you two together, then think about my baby brother. Your baby.TK
But overall, despite loving his parents, TK is probably as annoyed with the messiness that is Owen and Gwyn as some of us viewers.
Of course, they did tease us about the baby we would all collectively love, and look at where that headed!
Is there a way to personally sue the 9-1-1 Lone Star writers for emotional distress? We waited patiently for some more of Grace and Judd, and this is what we got.
Nothing good ever comes from a couple having any form of conversation while driving, especially at night when it's raining. The foreboding was strong the second they showed them.
On top of it, they were being all cute and adorable and concluded that they're ready to have children. It was too sweet and perfect for it to end in anything other than shock and tragedy.
Not only did their car get hit, but it went through the guardrail and submerged them in freaking water.
We spent most of the hour worried about TK, Nancy, and Tommy, and then they blindsided us with potentially hurting or even killing off one or both of the Ryders.
And with that 9-1-1 Lone Star left us with a hell of a cliffhanger, an incredibly stressful one that fans will be talking about until the show returns.
Let the record show that if they seriously hurt or kill one or both of the Ryders, then we riot! Guess who's going to be stressing out until the series returns? In this fandom, we don't screw with the Ryders, dammit!
Over to you, 9-1-1 Lone Star Fanatics. How do you feel about that cliffhanger?! Did you enjoy this Carlos-centric hour? Hit the comments below!
9-1-1 Lone Star returns April. 19.
Until then, you can relive the season when you 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.