9-1-1: Lone Star momentarily stopped trying to kill off its entire cast on Monday to catch up with someone from Mateo’s past. Because Lone Star is always gonna Lone Star, the episode was still thoroughly heartbreaking.
It all began when Mateo got a call to pick up his “father” from the bar, which was weird for two reasons: Not only does his father not drink, but he also lives in Mexico. The man turned out to be Mateo’s old boss Captain Tatum (played by Jack Conley), who was drowning his sorrows after losing a member of the 129. Being the beautiful soul that he is, Mateo dragged Tatum to Owen’s for the night, helped him with his hangover the next morning, and even joined him at the service, where Tatum struggled through his eulogy. Like, really struggled. And while Mateo was able to guide him to the finish line, he wasn’t prepared for Tatum’s next question: “Who died?”
At this point, it was pretty clear to Mateo that Tatum was suffering from some form of mental deterioration. So when Tatum offered Mateo a double promotion to lure him back to the 129 as a lieutenant, he jumped at the chance, not telling anyone that he was really doing it to keep an eye on his former mentor. But when Mateo showed up for his first day of work, Tatum had no memory of ever hiring him back, prompting an awkward encounter that Tatum tried to brush off as a joke. (You know, one of those really scary jokes, where no one laughs.)
It all came to a head when the 126 and 129 ended up on a call together. Tatum forgot that he deemed one area a “powder keg,” so when Mateo stopped Owen from sending Judd into harm’s way, Tatum got frustrated, accusing Mateo of insubordination. But when that area proved quite explosive indeed, the group’s stunned silence said it all.
Fortunately, Tatum ended up being grateful that Mateo brought his condition to light. After handing in his resignation (full pension and benefits, what what!), he left Mateo with a parting gift — a lucky keepsake passed down between firefighters. “As long as you’re hanging onto one end of it, it’s a lucky firefighter that’s on the end of it,” Tatum said. It was a lovely sentiment, but we know this show too well; I’m way too afraid that it’s going to be used against us for dramatic purposes someday.
Meanwhile, Paul’s pals at the 126 took it upon themselves to mend the rift between him and Marjan — only to discover that Paul was the one icing her out, not the other way around. So the plan shifted a bit, with Owen, Judd and Tommy encouraging Paul to pull himself back up and train to reenter the wonderful world of firefighting. In spite of his tremendous fear (among other lingering emotions), Paul rose to the challenge, even if the rumors were true about the charge from his defibrillator feeling like a kick in the chest from a mule. Ouch.
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