9-1-1: Lone Star season 2, episode 13 recap – “One Day”

May 18, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
4.5

Summary

“One Day” centres Tommy in a poignant, heartwrenching exploration of grief.

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4.5

Summary

“One Day” centres Tommy in a poignant, heartwrenching exploration of grief.

This recap of 9-1-1: Lone Star season 2, episode 13, “One Day”, contains spoilers.


Well, that was emotional, wasn’t it?

This second season of 9-1-1: Lone Star hasn’t exactly been shy about putting its audience and its characters through the wringer, but even so, the sudden death of Charles in last week’s cliff-hanger ending didn’t seem like the worst thing in the world. We barely knew him, after all, and as likable as Tommy is, she’s a new-ish character who hasn’t had a great deal of focus. Here I was, naively believing that I could get through “One Day” without much fuss.

No such luck.

Gina Torres shouldered a lot of dramatic weight in “One Day”, delivering the full gamut of grief on fast-forward. Her emotional hastiness was unavoidable, partly because network television can’t linger over such things for too long, but also thanks to the presence of TV’s own Greg Grunberg, whose personal trauma involving his comatose son (played, in a nice touch, by Grunberg’s own kid) rapidly accelerated Tommy’s grieving process.

9-1-1: Lone Star season 2, episode 13 began inauspiciously enough. Tommy keeping quiet about Charles’s death until she was sure of the cause, both to absolve herself – could she have done anything differently? Is there anything she should have noticed? – and to have answers ready for their precocious kids, was stinging but manageable. Trying to keep up appearances with the twins, cooking them breakfast, and leaving them with Judd and Grace, was also sad, but understandable. Flashbacks supplement Torres’s acting to give us a better sense of Tommy and Charles’s relationship, especially pre-pandemic, in their heyday. And the 911 call was fittingly brutal, with Tommy eventually telling the paramedics not to rush since Charles was beyond the point of resuscitation, and warning them to keep the lights and sirens off so as not to wake the kids. Again, sad, but manageable. Expected, even.

Tommy walking right into the plot involving George and his son was undoubtedly manipulative, and the Negotiator-lite scenario that grows out of it doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny. It would have been all too easy for this all to be too ridiculous to be believed, but the performances save it. Owen’s involvement, which is entirely down to chance, is kept refreshingly low-key, allowing him to be there for Tommy but not take focus away from her. And Judd and Grace, back home with the kids, make for a solid emotional anchor; a reminder that even after all the drama at the hospital winds down, Tommy is still going to have to tell her kids that their father is dead.

The twist of George’s son, Ethan, waking up from his coma seemed out of left-field, a minor miracle where perhaps more truthful tragedy would have worked. But then, of course, Tommy has to witness the joy of that miracle, and that, after an entire episode spent in denial, is when she breaks down. It’s a crushing, powerful moment, and the episode’s clear stand-out, even in an hour that included Judd and Grace listening to the original 911 call Tommy made when she found Charles dead.

9-1-1: Lone Star season 2, episode 13 was a bruising hour of television, but when it all came together, it was quite a brilliant one. This show continues to sneak under the radar.

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