‘9-1-1: Lone Star’ Actor Sierra McClain and Showrunner Tim Minear on Grace’s Tricky Labor — and Carlos and T.K.’s Future

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Push,” Monday’s episode of “9-1-1: Lone Star.”

We did it, “9-1-1: Lone Star” fans. On Monday, the Fox drama finally made it to the end of the four-episode ice storm arc that kicked off its third season, and turned viewers into nervous puddles of emotion for a month. In the epic fourth-hour climax came three very big moments: The birth of Grace (Sierra McClain) and Judd’s (Jim Parrack) baby girl; the recovery of T.K. (Ronen Rubinstein), and the long-awaited mending of his relationship with Carlos (Rafael L. Silva); and the reopening of Station 126, with Captains Owen Strand (Rob Lowe) and Tommy Vega (Gina Torres) back in charge of the entire reunited Austin team.

This episode finally dove into what broke T.K. and Carlos up, by T.K. revealing to an imagined version of his mother Gwyneth (Lisa Edelstein) during his coma that Carlos surprise bought an apartment for them. T.K. says Carlos put both of their names on the deed to make them equal owners — even though T.K. didn’t contribute financially to it — without discussing it with T.K., which made him panic and break up with Carlos because “everything was perfect.”

With the hour serving as a sort of finale for the icy first chunk of “Lone Star” Season 3, Variety spoke separately with both star McClain and showrunner Tim Minear about the thrilling conclusion to the weeks-long winter saga, and where the season goes from here. Additionally, former “Angel” executive producer Minear teased his second reunion with an “Angel” alum on “Lone Star” Season 3, following Julie Benz’s guest appearance in the premiere.

It was exciting to see Grace finally have her baby, even if was under the intense situation of being stuck with Billy (Billy Burke) at the end of the ice storm. What were your thoughts on Judd actually making it to the birth just in time, and were there any talks of her possibly having to do it with just Tommy, Owen and Billy there?

Sierra McClain: I don’t think Tim wanted any messages about this one — I think he was like, I’ll avoid this anger! No, it was really cool. It made it all feel real, to be honest with you, because you’re with somebody that you know, but also you’re having issues with up until it all culminates into, “OK, I can’t stop this, I can’t control this. I’m giving birth.” And for Grace to see Judd, her husband, walk in at the last minute, I think that’s what helped her. Maybe I was just letting her feel for a second because at that moment, that’s when she’s actually able to give birth and lets loose in the scene.

What led Judd and Grace not just to name their little girl Charlie, after Tommy’s late husband, but to first ask her permission to give the baby that name?

SM: That whole scenario spoke to their relationship because Tommy is the one that introduced the two of them. Because it was tough when Tommy lost her husband and she’s still dealing with it, probably doesn’t talk about it as much as she actually struggles, but she still deals with it. And so I thought it was special for them to at least acknowledge her pain in that way, and her loss by wanting to name the baby Charlie. But they’re close, so it was like, “If this is too much, then please let us know because you know that we will understand.” But I just thought the whole scenario was just a beautiful testament to their friendship and their relationship.

How did you land on this as what broke up T.K. and Carlos, a mysterious split that has really upset some “Tarlos” fans throughout the beginning of the season? And what comes next now that T.K. is out of his coma and they have reconciled? 

Tim Minear: I knew that it was going to be a bone of controversy for a lot of the Tarlos fans. Like, why would they break up? But to me, having been that guy myself, where things are just going too well and you have to throw a grenade into it, I understand it completely. I always felt that the thing that pushed T.K. away is just T.K.’s nature of he’s an addict. The lesson T.K. needs to learn is not just stop dying, but start living. And I think self-sabotage is a big part of being an addict. So while it may seem like a frivolous thing — they didn’t get into a giant fight, T.K. didn’t use again, nobody cheated on anybody — the thing that you learn in AA is that things are not at their most dangerous when they’re bad, things are at their most dangerous when they’re good. Because then you forget and it’s easy for you to stumble because things are too good, which is why you always have to be very diligent — they’re back together, it’s a hard fought reunion, obviously.

I think that they’re way stronger now than they were before, even. But they say the course of true love does not run smoothly. However, I think that their love is smooth, but there are going to be other challenges that will test them as people. And that’s what we’re going to see going forward. As soon as we come back, I think in Episode 5, we get to see Carlos have a little bit of an attempt to be almost a detective. He’s going to get involved in a crime story that’s really not going to have anything to do with T.K.. We’re going to just see how Carlos’ head works. And in Episode 8, there’s a very pivotal T.K. episode where he deals with some things in his past and his future suddenly becomes uncertain.

“Angel” alum Amy Acker is beginning her recurring arc on next week’s episode. What can you say about her character? Will their be a reunion scene between her and Gina Torres, who played Jasmine alongside Acker’s Fred on “Angel”?

TM: Amy is going to be a love interest for Owen. And actually, I’m cutting that episode right now. They are so fun together. They have great chemistry. Amy is fantastic. She’s formidable. She’s funny. She’s sexy. She’s everything that I would want for Owen to spar with. She plays the righthand of the Texas governor in the “Lone Star” universe. So she’s a political character, in some ways. She doesn’t need to be rescued, necessarily. And will she be in a room with Jasmine? I mean, let’s just say there will be more than one kind of “Angel” reunion happening this season. It wasn’t really planned that way, it sort of ended up that way. But yeah, as soon as we come back in the very next episode, there’s a great Judd-Grace story after they’ve finally had their daughter, Charlie.

There’s just great personal stories in all the episodes going forward, and nobody has to worry about a Hellmouth opening up in the middle of Austin, for a while.

These interviews have been edited and condensed.

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