It doesn’t look much like a regular episode, but “The Big Heat” is a lot of fun… right up until it’s a lot of stress.
This recap of 9-1-1: Lone Star season 2, episode 12, “The Big Heat”, contains spoilers.
If we’re not expected to believe that Billy Tyson is the serial arsonist in “The Big Heat”, then the show isn’t doing a very good job of convincing us. This turns out to be the point. Tyson pulling Strand out of a burning building seconds after he saw the shadowy figure who bonked him over the head doesn’t exactly exonerate him, and neither does his insistence that Strand not contact the authorities. Given his previous attempts to ruin Strand, it only makes sense when he begins to be painted as the saboteur.
Then there’s Gabriel. When Strand finally arrives at dinner with the limes T.K. wanted, he reveals that he believes the serial arsonist theory and also believes that a firefighter is the culprit. Anyone who has been recently laid off or injured fits the profile. Coincidence? Strand immediately takes this information to Judd, who is reluctant to believe it, but Grace thinks he should report it anyway — which is perhaps a good idea since we immediately see Tyson fitting Strand up as the perpetrator with photos he just so happened to take during his “rescue” of the captain.
This leads to Strand being arrested by Gabriel, which you’ll recall from the previous episode. And that leads to a pretty clear rift between T.K. and Carlos, who almost come to blows in defense of their respective fathers. It’s easy to see T.K.’s point of view here, but after Gabriel lays out all his accumulated evidence to Strand — including Strand buying supplies from a hardware store and his “little arsonist workshop” at his house — it’s easy to see Carlos’s perspective, too.
And this is a big deal since the case now doesn’t just involve arson but murder. Luckily, Investigator Dennis Raymond (Todd Stashwick) is on Strand’s side or at least seems to be, so he approaches Strand off the record and tries to dig up some more concrete information that’ll lead directly to Billy. He also makes it clear that he thinks Gabriel might be taking issue with Strand because of Carlos’s relationship with T.K., which at the very least he should have disclosed. This storyline only works because of Raymond, really, since it’s so blatantly obvious that Strand is being set up that anyone who doesn’t at least consider the possibility comes across as being deliberately antagonistic. Which, of course, is the real twist of 9-1-1: Lone Star season 2, episode 12.
See, as it turns out, Raymond is the arsonist, and Strand, Billy, and Gabriel have been working together to set him up. They’ve also kept everyone in the dark, which means that T.K. and Carlos are going to be furious, as is Judd, who confronted Billy and socked him in the mouth for his betrayal. As soon as Raymond is caught, he basically turns into the Riddler crossed with Firefly, insisting he’s smarter than everyone else and that he has more fires set, and “The Big Heat” itself begins to resemble a different show entirely, especially once Raymond dramatically immolates himself.
Of course, one of Raymond’s targets is the 126. Strand is able to get the place evacuated just in time, but he can’t prevent the bombs from going off and wrecking the place. Nobody gets hurt, but that’s the point. It ensures the 126 is unavailable when Raymond goes after his real target, the thing that Gabriel and Strand love the most — Carlos and T.K., who are at that moment enjoying a sexy reconciliation and not quite realizing that the entire downstairs is ablaze.
Billy, Strand, and Judd, who’re enjoying dinner together before figuring out what Raymond was really up, race to the rescue, and are able to get Carlos and T.K. to safety. There’s a great, understated moment between those two as the stress of almost losing their lives catches up with them. It almost seems like we’re going to get a happy ending.
Almost. Of course, 9-1-1: Lone Star season 2, episode 12 has one more, totally unrelated surprise up its sleeve. When Tommy returns home after what by all accounts was a very stressful day, she finds her husband, Charles, dead. What happened to him? Can we take these characters undergoing any more emotional trauma? We’ll have to wait until next week for answers to both of these questions.