We're winding things down and heading into the season finale, and it shows!
For a penultimate finale, 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 3 Episode 17 served as an hour that wrapped a few things up and gave us some good, classic fun with its characters. It also did a relatively decent job of utilizing everyone and balancing things out.
But then they left us with our hearts in our throats when that building exploded with our beloved Judd inside.
Tommy's grief arc has been compelling. Charles' death was a blow to the series, but we've spent a season and a half exploring his death's impact on Tommy.
Torres has done a fantastic job with this arc; it has been this very layered, authentic thing. Tommy's personal journey is arguably the strongest and most intriguing one of all the characters this season.
Hell, it's been one of the most consistent and only ones, too.
Of course, the arrival of Julius caused her personal storying to take a sharp turn into polarizing waters. Try as one might, it's challenging to sell an audience on some romantic arc between a widower and her late husband's younger brother.
But the greatest downfall to this story isn't necessarily the exploration of some romantic or sexual tension between the two. The primary issue is probably that Julius came late into the season, so we didn't get the opportunity to see this storyline develop at a rate that we can appeal to the masses.
They thrust these two into this bubble of attraction and stolen kisses no sooner than he arrived. It's a consistent problem, with the series at large but especially this season.
I don't want to be an emergency you have to respond to. My brother's shoes are a perfect fit, but I am not man enough to walk in them.Julius
They had 18 episodes to take us on a journey with storylines and characters, but much of the season failed to do that consistently. In hindsight, it has you wondering about the pacing and why they introduced bits of storylines that they didn't bother expanding on when they had ample time to do so.
If Julius came into the picture earlier, maybe there would've been enough time to build on the connection he and Tommy developed, and the forbidden portion of their love could form naturally and appealed to more of the audience.
They rushed through it, something they've done with many story arcs this season.
Nevertheless, Julius is hot, and so is Tommy. It's hard to hate on what we're witnessing when you have two insanely gorgeous people making out. I'm pro-Tommy doing whatever makes her happy, dammit, including Julius.
He's head over heels in love with her, which is a complication. As a slow-burn mutual attraction and grief sex, they are fine. But once he discussed how he could not fill his brother's shoes, and Tommy implied that they could be something more, it was awkward.
In that sense, it's good that Julius is taking off for a bit until cooler heads can prevail. He loves Tommy, but he's smart enough to know that this isn't best for anyone right now.
And Tommy jumping into a full-blown relationship with her late husband's brother a year after his death would be too much.
But again, it's too bad we didn't get to see more of them together, getting closer, spending time with the kids, or more. It would've been nice to see how Julius managed to fall in love with her during his stay.
And that same sentiment applies to Mateo and Nancy. Both characters get the short end of the stick regarding screen time and storylines. The last time we knew, they went out to coffee together after a rough call.
But they never showed us that coffee date or how they developed a whole sexual relationship. We spent so much time on Owen's romantic relationship with Catherine; why not this?
It's frustrating when these are characters that we love despite the lack of writing and development for them, but all these juicy bits about them happen offscreen.
Nancy was excited about telling everyone they were together, but it is evident that Mateo wanted to put it off as much as possible. And Nancy didn't react well to it.
The group game name with the "kids" got derailed because they bickered. But the second one did for a different reason when they spilled the beans about their sexual relationship and got to the root of why Mateo was treating her so poorly.
He was insecure about their height difference, and he didn't want people to look at her unfavorably because she was dating him. It's such a silly thing to fixate on; he landed a hot Amazon girlfriend who adores him. Screw what anyone else has to say about it.
Who cares when they can be a short king, tall queen power couple?
Nancy didn't care in the least, as apparently she's used to being taller than her boyfriends and girlfriends. They subtly slipped in that Nancy's bisexual, and that's another random tidbit we know about this character who has been a mystery.
The whole ordeal was hilarious, lighthearted, and fun. It shows you how great the chemistry is among the group and their comedic chops.
It played out like some modern, diverse version of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, from Paul's hilarious facial reactions to Carlos sticking his foot in his mouth and Marjan's directness.
Their chemistry as a group is great, so it always begs the question of why the series doesn't take full advantage of it as much as humanly possible.
It wasn't too light on the cases. The opening one with the couple who still had feelings for one another "breaking up," only for the boyfriend to get stuck in the garbage chute, was funny.
And the incident with the mother has a girl once again wondering what the 9-1-1 franchise has against moms!
The poor woman hurled herself beneath a moving car to save her children.
It was heartbreaking that she attempted to run away from her abusive husband and take the kids with her. It speaks to how terrible the system remains for DV survivors. Without her filing a report, there was nothing Carlos could do about the woman or the father showing up and taking the kids with him.
Owen was quick on his feet, though, and instead of striking a punch, he happily took one. Owen goaded the man into hitting him instead of opting to get physical. Look at that growth!
At least that way, the father would get hauled away for assault. It was a small win, and we didn't have to watch Owen "hulk smash" anyone for the umpteenth time, even if they would've deserved it.
It was the perfect amount of Owen, not too much, and as a result, he was at his most likable. Go figure!
The Wyatt storyline is another one that could've been more consistent throughout the season rather than disappearing completely in the middle.
His family dinner with the Ryders, his mother, and her boyfriend was sweet. They've formed this modern, blended family. But I wish we had more time with them settling into that role.
Marjan: Now, what the hell is going on between you two?
Mateo: My God, this is getting ridiculous. Nothing is going on between us?
It takes work to make a situation like theirs work, but we haven't seen it play out onscreen with any consistency or frequency. We got tossed into the mix with things that are firmly established by now, and it means we missed out on all the good moments.
Judd's outing with Wyatt was the cutest. Any time he spends with his son is special. Judd is such a natural dad, and I love seeing those moments when he's in full-blown Dad mod.
On the one hand, it also sucks that we didn't get Judd stumbling his way through fatherhood with baby Charlie, who is often put on the backburner for a full-fledged teenager.
On the other hand, Wyatt is such a sweetheart, and Judd is so taken by him. The mere thought of Wyatt sticking around and staying with the Ryders for a bit is promising.
He gave decent advice to Wyatt about making eye contact, having a firm handshake, and looking his best during a job interview. He would've shown everyone up in regular circumstances and been an exemplary interviewee.
It's not anyone's fault that he was interviewing with a millennial jackass with no home training or respect.
Poor Judd thought he screwed things up and insisted on making things right. And now, he's in the wrong place at the wrong time.
They just endangered Judd, for heaven's sake! Why are they putting our cowboy king through it again?!
And poor Wyatt has never known trauma in his life until he met Judd and the Ryders. It's the second time he had to witness his father in peril, and he feared for his life. When will that boy know peace?
The season is about to end with a bang if those final moments were any indication!
Half the building collapsed, and when we last saw Judd, he was getting on an elevator. Wyatt barely managed to crawl out of the truck after debris fell on it, and it looked like a scene from a disaster movie all around them.
Things are about to get stressful!
Tommy: I've been thinking a lot about you, Julius.
Julius: You haven't left my thoughts at all.
Tommy: I know there are a lot of complicated thoughts around what we did, but I don't regret it.
Over to you, Lone Star Fanatics. What are your thoughts on the Tommy and Julius situation?
Did you like spending time with Mateo, Nancy, and the others? Are you worried about Judd? Hit the comments!
You can watch 9-1-1: Lone Star online here via TV Fanatic to refresh yourself before the finale.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You'll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on Twitter.