“Awakening” proves spelunking is a bad idea, while giving T.K. and Judd plenty to think about.
This recap of 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 1, Episode 9, “Awakening”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
I’m getting so used to this show now that a gender-reveal party in which a man gets set on fire seems pretty mundane. Indeed, 9-1-1: Lone Star Episode 9, the penultimate episode of the season, plays it for laughs; the couple wants a daughter to go with their three sons, so it’s probably just as well that the highly flammable powder that ignited the poor brother-in-law was pink. But when Marjan (Natacha Karam) is forced to deliver the baby on the lawn, “Awakening” proves something that Paul (Brian Michael Smith), understandably iffy about the concept, said about gender. You just never know.
In a very brief flashback to December 2001, we see a young T.K. (Nick Fisher) overhearing an argument between his parents. In the present-day, Strand (Rob Lowe) is fretting over his bedside with Zoe (Natalie Zea), explaining his various injuries and her current comatose state. Luckily, Strand’s insistence that he’s due to wake up any minute now isn’t just wishful thinking — T.K. (Ronen Rubinstein) wakes up, a bit shocked that his dad brought a date to his bedside, but suitably impressed by Natalie Zea. He’s also pretty concerned about the kid who shot him since while he can’t remember the event, that kid is going to have to live with it for the rest of his life.
9-1-1: Lone Star Episode 9 also introduces us to Judd’s (Jim Parrack) elderly, stubborn father, Stuart (a perfect Barry Corbin), who bails on dinner with a weak excuse. When Judd goes to check up on him, he finds him on the floor in the dark — he fell over and couldn’t get back up. The house is in a state, Stuart isn’t taking care of himself properly, and he isn’t asking for help that he clearly needs.
Really, Stuart could use a figure like Strand in his life, who can’t stop hovering over T.K. and mothering him. T.K., faced with a potential three-week recovery period, basically begs him to go back to work and leave him alone — which he does just in time for the next emergency call of “Awakening”.
This one concerns the clearly ill-advised pastime of spelunking and a somewhat misguided life lesson imparted by a go-getter father for the benefit of his confidence-lacking son, Ethan. But the lesson takes a funny turn when they reach a notorious area of the cave dubbed the “birth canal”, and Dad falls headfirst through the floor. Ethan summons the 126, and only Marjan and Mateo (Julian Works) are small enough to venture inside. Dragging him out becomes more complicated when he’s pulled over a rock and begins asphyxiating, but Ethan is on hand to give him a pep talk. Seems the lesson has been learned after all.
On the subject of people learning their lesson, Judd and Grace (Sierra Aylina McClain) sit Stuart down for something of an intervention in 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 1, Episode 9, floating the possibility of him moving into a more manageable house closer to them. Naturally, as a stubborn old Texan who has lived in the same family home for 40 years, he’s fuming about this idea and leaves about as fast as a man his age realistically can.
The next emergency in “Awakening” is, like the opener, largely played for laughs. A kid has gotten a toy car stuck up his nose and retreated in embarrassment to the roof. Paul is volunteered for the task of bringing him down, but the kid’s scared of going to the hospital because his mother went there with a headache and never came home. Paul, somewhat naively, insists that if he comes down he won’t have to go to the hospital — he’ll remove the tiny vehicle himself, and it won’t hurt a bit. Of course, it does, and the kid is livid. Immediately after leaving the 126 are called back because the boy’s father, curious, had stuck a little car up his own nose to see what all the fuss was about. Brian, get the tweezers.
In an odd move, T.K. invites Zoe over for some professional advice, though the conversation begins much more like an interrogation. Bless T.K. — he might be unfeasibly handsome, but basic human interaction has never really been his strong suit. Zoe, to her credit, gets past the awkwardness pretty quickly, and not only seems genuinely interested in his life but excited to hear about his various near-death experiences, his boyfriend, and whether or not he really and truly wants to be a firefighter after all.
The Grace note of 9-1-1: Lone Star Episode 9 is a call from Stuart; he has fallen through a coffee table and is bleeding badly. She talks him through creating a tourniquet using a candlestick and a tablecloth, and he asks if Judd has to knw about this — which, of course, he does, but the subplot doesn’t conclude in the way you might think. More on this in a minute.
Meanwhile, T.K. goes to see his father for a chat at the firehouse, asking him if he always wanted to be a firefighter. As it turns out he wanted to be a lawyer, but while working as a lifeguard he saved the life of a little girl and got the taste for it (saving lives, that is, not little girls. Probably a bad choice of words.) T.K., while he has wanted to be a firefighter for as long as he can remember, still isn’t sure if he can come back to it — or if this is even who he is. Strand insists he’ll support him whatever, which is just as well since T.K. has another request. He wants to visit Colt (Caden Dragomer), the young boy who shot him, and he wants Strand to be there. It’s a really touching scene in “Awakening” and a great, sensitive moment for T.K.
As for Stuart, well, Grace tells Judd. But Judd, after seeing a grown man stuff a toy car up his own nose, is convinced that if someone is truly determined to hurt themselves, they’ll manage it wherever they live. But while he and Grace are perfectly happy for Stuart to live at home, they have some conditions, one of which is that he wears an alarm. He has a condition of his own in return: He wants a grandchild.
9-1-1: Lone Star Season 1, Episode 9 ends with a frantic emergency call from space, teeing up the finale.