‘9-1-1: Lone Star’ Recap: The 126 Get “Back in the Saddle” in Season 2, Episode 1

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FOX’s first responder drama, 9-1-1: Lone Star is finally back after a nearly year-long break for its sophomore season. And the premiere was just the tip of the iceberg of what seems to be a bigger season than previous. From a military tank rolling down the streets of Austin to miraculous news that is life changing for one member of the 126, as well as the introduction to the station’s newest Paramedic Captain, the season 2 premiere of 9-1-1: Lone Star was almost as big as Texas.

Keep reading for a full recap of the season 2 premiere of 9-1-1: Lone Star, “Back in the Saddle.”


At a museum, while a tour guide is giving a Texas history lesson, a little boy notices the top of a military tank outside open then close. The tank starts to drive away, heading down the streets of Austin. Taking down street lamps and driving right over cars, crushing them, the driver, Lieutenant John Vasquez, does not stop. Multiple Austin Police Department cars find the tank and they tell citizens in the streets they are in extreme danger and to clear the roads. Carlos shows up with other officers, creating a barricade with their cars. John may not stop for this but Carlos is hoping his treads will get stuck when he tries to go over. And what if he decides to shoot at them with a cannon? “Duck.” Everybody points their guns at the tank (because guns will definitely stop a military tank), taking cover. However, instead of going straight into them, the tank turns slightly left and goes into a wall, missing them completely. “Somebody needs to come up with a new plan.” Sergeant Stokes tells Owen about John, he and his wife buried their 27-year-old daughter recently, who served two tours in Afghanistan.

After doing some research, Paul figures out where John might be headed next: the VA Hospital where his daughter was denied treatment. The 126 and APD get to the VA Hospital and start evacuating everyone. Sure enough, a tank is seen coming down the road. Owen takes off his mask and stands dead center, in the path of the tank. Owen talks to John over the phone, apologizing for his loss. Owen understands John would like to blame the government for what happened to his daughter, for denying her sacrifice, how painful that feels. John tells him he has no idea how he feels but Owen tells him he does. 9/11 was the one day the country swore they would never forget, but it did. The people who were there don’t have that kind of luxury. They don’t get to forget. Owen knows too many people who survived that day only to die years later forgotten and ignored, because their problems were too expensive, too inconvenient. “So yeah, I understand your rage.”

The 126 stand next to Owen, as well as the APD, hospital staff. Owen tells John that the men and women with him aren’t moving, how would Sophia feel about him taking down all those heroes? Heroes just like her, how is that going to honor her memory? It doesn’t seem like John’s stopping the tank, but he does, just inches away from Owen. “Still standing.” Captain Tommy Vega is introduced, getting ready for her first shift back. “Lord, help me.” She wonders if she just doesn’t have it anymore but her husband, Charles, tells her it’s impossible. Greatness is in her DNA, she’s got this, believe it. Charles is sorry that he failed her but Tommy says he didn’t fail, and neither did the restaurant. They were doing great. “Then a damn virus blew up the world.” Tommy always figured she’d go back at some point, and she’d hoped it would be when their girls were older, but that’s all. They’re going to be okay. 


At the station, Tim is discussing his anger about Michelle to the others, upset that she quit. Marjan corrects him, saying Michelle gave up her occupation in pursuit of her vocation. She made a choice, which Tim says was selfish. Gillian tells him Michelle selfishly gave up job security to dedicate her life to mentally ill people living on the streets, like her sister. “What a monster.” They abandoned them, for some new rando captain who hasn’t been in the job in like, forever. Do they realize how much EMS has changed since 2013? This question makes everyone reminisce a year with live concerts, nightclubs, hugs (those were the days). 

Owen, meanwhile, is giving Tommy a tour of the station, ending it at her office. Tommy admits she’s worried about filling the shoes, Michelle Blake was a rock star, she would know, Tommy trained her. “Then, she comes from a long line of rock stars.” Judd comes in with some of Tommy’s things, clearly excited she’s joining the firehouse. The two of them are good friends, and Judd tells Owen, again, that Tommy did him the supreme kindness of introducing him to his wife, but it’s still true. Owen leaves to let Tommy settle in and let her and Judd catch up. “Captain, welcome to the 126.” Judd knows it’s not the most fun circumstance, but he asks Tommy how she feels about her first day. “Like I need a lot of Jesus and a little bit of Jack.” Paul, Marjan, and Mateo are all hanging out at Carlos’ place, eating and playing video games. T.K. comes, obviously not in a good mood, and no cheeseballs, Mateo wonders why he doesn’t have any. “Because, Mateo, my boyfriend goes to a lot of trouble to make us healthy snacks and provides us with a safe place for us to gather so we could at least have some human interaction in this uncertain age, and I’m not gonna spoil that with cheeseballs.” (Tarlos fans, rejoice!) Carlos notices that his boyfriend  is stressed, and even Marjan can notice it when she hasn’t even looked at him since he walked in. Paul noticed her noticing. T.K. admits that he had some trouble getting out of the house, and if anything, it’s worse.


In a flashback to earlier that day, Owen asks T.K. if he used the last of his Naseberry Eye Exfoliant and T.K. wonders if his dad thinks he has a death wish. Owen gets frustrated, she also used his hand towel, which he expressly asked her not to do. T.K. begs Owen to not freak out. “Who does she think she is?” Ex-wife, Gwyneth, finishes a Zoom meeting with clients in Osaka, not very pleased with Owen. Owen asks T.K. if he can tell his mother that he can put up with a lot, but he will not stand for someone stealing his last line of defense beauty products. T.K. says he’s not going to do that, and Gwyneth asks him if he kindly reminds his father that he stole her beauty products for all 10 years of their marriage. And this is no way to treat a guest. T.K. is not going to do that either. Owen tells Gwyneth that a guest stops being a guest after a month, or four. From there on out, she is a squatter. Gwyneth says it is not her fault that he allowed their only child to be shot right before a worldwide pandemic hit, to which T.K. just questions, “Why?”

The 126 take a call at a cell tower about a guy having a heart attack while working on it. The phone company said the guy’s name is Carl, 41-years-old, fit as a fiddle, no cardiac history, runs Ironmans on the weekend. Tommy thinks it could be a heart attack, seizure, he may have just fainted from dehydration. They have to get him down so medical can have a look at him. Tommy sees blood on Tim’s uniform, and some on the ground. Both Captains go up to check on Carl, who has a wound in his leg that looks like some kind of a puncture wound from a tool. Tommy starts to tend to the wound, telling Owen it’s not a puncture wound, rather, an exit wound. It doesn’t look like any gunshot she’s seen. Someone aims and shoots directly at them and Owen takes whatever was shot at him out of his vest. A bolt. Owen dispatches down to his team, telling them they’re taking fire. T.K. says they don’t hear anything down there and Owen tells him it’s because it’s from a crossbow.

Everyone takes cover, trying to figure out where it’s coming from. Paul, like Paul does, figures out where because of an open window at a nearby apartment. There’s only one open next to a running air conditioner unit. T.K. gets off the truck, wanting to help. Judd stops him, telling him the police will be there in two minutes. Two minutes longer than his dad has hanging up there. Marjan sides with T.K. “Cap’s ass is blowing in the breeze.” Paul and Mateo are going too. Judd gives in, telling them if they’re going to do it, they have to do it right. Before the suspect can shoot another bolt, T.K. and Judd use the hose on him while Paul, Marjan, and Mateo break down his door. “You know, if you get yourself shot again, you’re never making it out of the doghouse.” T.K. tells Carlos to not make them do his job for him next time. “Firefighters, you really are a smug bunch.” “You love it.” 


Owen, Gwyneth, and T.K. are all on a virtual appointment with Owen’s doctor. As Dr. Jacobs is going over results, she starts freezing. T.K. keeps pushing buttons on the laptop and Dr. Jacobs comes back, still continuing giving the results, while not realizing she was frozen for some of the news. The last bit they hear was she usually recommends counseling and the Strands look heartbroken. It’s that bad? Dr. Jacobs finally realizes she froze and she apologizes. She tells them the cancer has not spread, Owen’s tumor has been reduced by 73%. His cancer is officially in remission. He’s in good shape, and they could even do surgery to remove the tumor completely. “Captain Strand, you’re going to get your life back.” Gwyneth tells him she’s so proud of him, the way he fought through those last rounds of chemo. He never complained, never felt sorry for himself. She knew he would beat this — which is why she bought a ticket out to New York for Saturday. T.K.’s gunshot wound healed a long time ago, and now Owen’s in the clear, so she feels like it’s time that she gets out of his perfectly coifed hair. 

Gwyneth finishes packing and she tells Owen she doesn’t leave until late tomorrow, maybe they can have one last family outing. Owen doesn’t think it’s a good idea that she leaves. She has to admit it’s been really special having them all under the same roof again. Gwyneth agrees, despite it feeling like living in a pressure cooker. Owen isn’t ready for her to go and she brings up the firm. They would lose their minds if she didn’t return. Owen thinks they’ve been working just fine from there for the last few months. “But the pollen down here. It’s apocalyptic!” And Owen has met so many people in the medical community. He’s not sure they know what this is, or what it could be. Doesn’t she want to find out? This could end in homicide, but how many times are they going to get a second chance at the best relationship of their lives? They’re going to have to tell T.K. if that’s what’s really been going on. “T.K. knows,” their son says from across the room as he’s sucking on a lollipop looking quite amused. T.K. tells his parents that the walls there are not that thick and everybody knows about them.

A food truck owner is listening to a podcast, not focusing on anything else but breathing and her food. What she doesn’t know, though, is that there is lava just feet away from her truck and getting closer and closer to her.


Season 2 of 9-1-1: Lone Star airs every Monday at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on FOX, following 9-1-1! You can catch up now on Hulu or the FOX NOW app.

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By Megan
Megan has been passionate about writing since she was little and has been passionate about all things pop culture and nerdy since almost as long. Joining Nerds and Beyond in 2019, she also graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Megan is constantly binge-watching shows and finding new things to obsess over. 9-1-1 and Marvel currently reign as the top obsessions. You can find her on Twitter @marvels911s if you ever want to discuss some certain firefighters.
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