In this week’s episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star, Mateo faces a difficult choice when his old Captain offers him a new job. Meanwhile, Paul is on the mend but his friendship with Marjan might still be in jeopardy.
A drunk Captain Tatum has the bar call Mateo after he falls in the restroom resulting in a nasty goose egg. Mateo recalls that Tatum just lost his Lieutenant in a fire rescue gone wrong. Not knowing where else to go (and with an unconscious Captain on his hands), Mateo takes him to Owen’s house where he sleeps off the alcohol. In the morning, Tatum remembers that Lt. Darby’s service is that morning where he is expected to give a eulogy. Mateo offers to go with him, he was part of the 129 after all. At the funeral, Tatum starts a story about his webbing (a story each firefighter already knows about). It was given to him by his captain, but he stumbles through the story unable to recall any details. As he struggles, Mateo fills in the lines that every firefighter knows Tatum’s captain said, “as long as you’re hanging on to one end of it, it’s a lucky firefighter that’s on the other end.” Once seated, Tatum leans over and asks Mateo who died. Clearly something is wrong with his memory.
Following Lt. Darby’s funeral, Tatum arrives at the 126 and offers Mateo the now open Lt. position at the 129. Seeing a chance to keep a closer eye on Tatum, Mateo jumps at the chance (much to Owen’s displeasure, “I could have strangled the little betrayer”).
That night, Marjan confronts Mateo about abandoning the 126 for a pay raise. The two fight, Marjan accusing him of choosing Tatum over his real family and Mateo telling her she can’t talk about abandoning family when she’s doing nothing to help Paul.
Lt. Chavez arrives at the 129 excited to take on the new role, but quickly realizes Tatum doesn’t remember hiring him for a moment. While Tatum works, Mateo plays pool and questions the team on if he’s seemed off even before Darby died. Just as he agrees, Tatum yells and Mateo finds him complaining about the commissioner demanding reports. Except the “reports” in front of him are restaurant menus. Realizing something is very wrong, Mateo offers to file the reports for him.
A Raging Fire Brings the 126 and 129 Together
The 129 arrives on scene at a hot sauce warehouse that’s engulfed in flames. Powdered spices, which are on the premises, can cause an explosion so Mateo suggests defense against the fire to which Tatum agrees. The 126 arrives as back up and Tatum tells them to vent the roof of the south wing, exactly where the spices are stored and might explode. Mateo tries to interfere with the orders, putting men on the roof is highly dangerous, but Tatum doesn’t seem to recall the information about spices. Owen trusts Mateo’s call and tells his team to stand down. Irate at Owen, Tatum screams that Mateo is fired and demands he leaves the scene. He continues yelling about his orders being followed, but is cut short when the building explodes, driving home Mateo’s point. Everyone witnesses the reason Mateo took the position, to keep a closer eye on Tatum and support him.
Later that night, Owen finds Mateo drinking tequila on the patio. He confides in Owen that he believes Tatum has some kind of dementia and has known since Darby’s funeral that something was wrong. He also confesses he didn’t want to leave the 126, he chose to leave to help Tatum. Reporting him would mean ending Tatum’s career. Mateo is conflicted about what to do. Owen hires Mateo back on the spot and requires him to report Tatum’s mental problems to the department (of course, he wouldn’t leave Mateo jobless!)
Tatum finds Mateo drinking at the bar after he’s made the report. Mateo apologizes for betraying Tatum, but he’s grateful to the young firefighter for keeping him from killing someone. He’s retiring with full pension and benefits. Tatum then presents Mateo with his webbing, telling him “as long as you’re holding on to one end of it, it’s a lucky firefighter that’s on the other end.”
The Feud of Besties Paul and Marjan
Now on the mend, Paul lets Owen know he’s unsure when he will return to the firehouse. It’s also clear to everyone that something is wrong between Paul and Marjan. Judd awkwardly tells Marjan they need to stop freezing each other out and we learn she’s reached out to Paul every day since his heart attack. Paul is the one freezing her out.
Not content with that answer, Judd goes to Owen about Paul’s concerning behavior (he was sporting pj’s and a beard when they visited), saying he iced Grace out when he was going through his PTSD. He suspects Paul may be doing the same. The duo waste no time heading to Paul’s and barging inside to find his place a mess and Paul devouring powdered donuts. Owen reminds him he can’t run from his demons. Judd read up on the pace maker and Paul should be “good as new” but Paul says he’s lethargic. They tell him to be ready to go (running shoes and all) bright and early tomorrow.
Judd and Owen bring Paul to the training gym bright and early. Tommy meets them there for a good old fashioned group workout, but Paul is afraid of what happens if his heart gives out. Tommy tries to assuage him by explaining his pacemaker will shock his heart back into the right rhythm, which will feel a bit like getting kicked in the chest by a mule. Paul heads for the exit at that little fact. Judd tells Paul he’s also suffered from PTSD and every time he gives into the fear it will continue to get worse.
Paul agrees to the firefighter training test and jumps on the stairs. In a montage worthy of Rocky, Paul’s still got it and finishes in the allotted time. He proves to himself he’s still capable of being an amazing firefighter.
A few days later, Paul returns to the training center where Judd suits him up with his equipment to get officially cleared to rejoin the field. Everyone (except Mateo and Marjan) are there for support. Paul is terrified of failing, but the support he needs shows up in the form of Marjan. He apologizes for ghosting her and yelling at her at the hospital. She forgives him and all is right at the 126 again. Paul begins his test and mid second challenge, his pacemaker shocks his heart. He drops for a few seconds but jumps back up (it does kick like a mule) and continues the test.