It’s nothing wrong with ending things on an uplifting note.
Like its predecessor, 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 3 Episode 18 brought some action, tears, and uplifting positivity. By the end of the finale, everyone was in a great place, and after multiple near-death experiences and lots of trauma, that’s a relief.
Despite those teasers, Judd and Owen live to see another day.
Like a great deal of the season, particularly the back half, the finale heavily centered on Owen. He’s shown such tremendous growth personally and professionally, and the Owen of the finale is not the same as the man we met during the pilot.
He’s had quite a journey, and the hour provided some necessary closure for him and closed a chapter of life, providing him the fresh start that his entire experience in Austin was always meant to be.
Much of what we know about Owen has been shaped by his experience in 9/11, its trauma, and the many losses. He carries that with him in everything that he does, and it impacts how he does his job and treats his squad.
And we learned throughout the season that his trauma goes far deeper and extends beyond that catastrophic experience.
They spent time allowing him to work through his anger issues, which was likely an extension of his PTSD in hindsight. He also got to unpack his childhood trauma of losing his brother and not having a relationship with his father.
To move Owen forward into a happier, healthier place, which this season has managed to do, they had to delve into how he carries the trauma of 9/11 with him and how that has consumed his life for decades.
Owen doing his typical reckless thing by heading into the building in search of other survivors wasn’t that surprising, nor was the fact that it endangered his life.
However, the vision quest it prompted where Manny haunted him, someone he tried to save when the towers fell, was somewhat unexpected.
We got flashbacks to his time with Gwyn on that morning, and he got to express his guilt that he was unable to save her. In some ways, they needed to touch on that a bit as he seemed unaffected by her death, but possibly in the way that one protects their emotions and heart when they’ve already experienced many losses.
It took this experience with Manny, reliving that day again, for Owen to learn that he can’t carry all of that with him all the time. He doesn’t have to forget 9/11. He’ll NEVER forget it.
However, there’s only so much survivor’s guilt a person can carry with them before it seriously affects their life and causes them harm.
Owen lived, and he’s allowed to move forward with his life. Sadly, it took him all these years to realize that, but it’s better late than never.
For the first time in the series, it feels like we have a happier, healthier, and healed Owen. And that can refreshingly shift the series if they play their cards right.
Perhaps it means he’ll have healthier romantic relationships, and he won’t seem as inaccessible to his colleagues.
TK: How do you feel, dad?
Owen: Like a building fell on me.
The cancer scare added an extra layer of heightened emotions to the finale, but it’s a relief that they’re not going down that road again. For T.K.’s sake, it’s the best news.
Owen’s scene with Judd was heartwarming when he confirmed what we already knew, that the house was Judd’s. If anything ever happens to him, or Owen moves on or something, Judd is the natural choice for leader.
You could see how moved Judd was by that, and the sweetness of their friendship remains a highlight.
And Owen’s scenes with Tommy were also endearing. We didn’t get much on the Tommy front mentioning anything else about Julius, and it makes you wonder if they had a sinking feeling the arc wouldn’t get received well and thought it best if they let it die out without further mentioning.
But Tommy and Owen’s relationship is one of the most consistent and special ones within the series. Owen taking a moment to have a nice lunch with Tommy “just because” under the guise of celebrating his clear screening was sweet.
It also makes you consider that a whole new world of closer relationships will open for Owen, and Tommy could be at the top of that list. Didn’t it feel as if they were at least hinting at something between the two in the future?
It felt like the hint of a possibility, and something tells me that it would be better received than Tommy and Julius.
Plus, their storylines have paralleled each other in a way all season as both had to work through things like grief and concluded by the finale that they’re ready to move forward in their lives, making room for something beyond the pain.
Fortunately, they didn’t drag out any concern about Judd’s status after that building collapse. Thank goodness he survived the ordeal, and he only broke his leg again.
He managed to guide the group through the experience, including the jerk who Wyatt wanted to work for at first. And we got a few touching moments.
Grace taking over the phone call when she realized it was Wyatt and talking to Judd felt reminiscent of 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 1 Episode 1, with it coming full circle as she feared for her husband’s safety in the situation.
And it doesn’t get more adorable than Judd having Grace saved on his phone as “My Heart.”
TK: I can’t do it again, dad.
Owen: I’m pretty sure I would be doing it again.
TK: No, I mean, I can’t lose another parent.
For the Ryders, the season ended happily with this extended family. They started as these two people, arguably the most loving relationship and the epitome of “Couple Goals.” Now they have a sweet, beautiful infant; Wyatt fits in as if he was there the whole time, and they get along well with Wyatt’s mother and future stepfather.
Sadly, it still feels like we don’t know much or have much to go on when it comes to Marjan, Paul, and Mateo. For Mateo, we can at least see that he and Nancy are navigating a cute relationship and have solidified themselves in the top three ships of the series.
But we didn’t have anything to go on regarding Paul’s health after his heart issues, as he and Marjan got relegated to the background again during the back half of the season.
And once Marjan saved the 126 and Paul a little bit later, she stopped having any storyline of significance. They’re both such dynamic characters that they deserve more than just being supporting characters for everyone else.
Nevertheless, it was still adorable that they all were there to celebrate Tarlos’ engagement.
T.K. proposing to Carlos is probably the most exciting and satisfying aspect of the finale — the cherry on top that made everything worthwhile and made it feel like an actual finale.
We didn’t need a big, dramatic cliffhanger, but the two of them moving into the next stage of their relationship and wedding planning is the type of arc that will have people tuning in and eager to check back in with the 126 and friends.
T.K. has grown throughout the season as well, and much of that has been due to and within his relationship with Carlos.
Not only is he a first responder, but he’s a guy who has almost died almost half a dozen times throughout the series. It is unfathomable that he made it this far into his career and didn’t think about getting his affairs in order.
However, it was also a sign of a young man who, for the longest time, didn’t feel as if he had anyone worth doing these things for in the first place. It’s not about “adulting” or a matter of T.K. needing to grow up.
T.K. is in his healthiest, happiest place in his life, too. He has what he constantly desired, and now his life is bigger than just him. He has a found family who loves him dearly and a man who reminds him that his life is valuable and there’s something to lose.
He can’t afford to lose Carlos, but he knows Carlos can’t lose him either, putting things into perspective. T.K. has more value for his life and more reason to live it now than he did when we first met him.
TK: Marry me.
TK: Baby I’m serious.
Carlos: TK, we’ve had a pretty traumatic week.
TK: It’s not trauma, it’s love.
You could understand why Carlos thought T.K.’s proposal was the trauma speaking because some days it feels like there’s a neverending stream of it heaped upon these characters consistently.
But maybe because of that, it showed how there would never be a perfect time for T.K. to propose to the man he loves because something is always happening.
We got a lot of domestic Carlos and T.K. this season, and it’s been sweet. As much as we could imagine a fancy affair with an expensive dinner, rings, and hullabaloo, this proposal suited them and was perfect.
They already felt married, and this was making it more official. T.K. waking Carlos up in the middle of the night drew from Carlos’ plea when they were dealing with T.K’s sobriety.
And Carlos waking up assuming there was another fire or the lizard was back was amusing. We’ve got some great comedic content from Carlos this season, and Rafael Silva is good at that every bit as much as the dramatic, serious stuff.
T. K.’s proposal was sweet, honest, simple, and full of so much love — everyday, simplistic little things that made it far more meaningful.
It was wholesome and perfect and simply delightful. We may have started the season with Tarlos apart, but it was all worth it if we got to end the season with the engagement of this wonderful couple.
It’s what they and we as a fandom deserve.
Over to you, Lone Star Fanatics. What did you think of the finale? Are you thrilled about Tarlos? Sound off below
If you want to relive the season again, you can watch 9-1-1: Lone Star online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.