We can breathe a collective sigh of relief that The Ryders are both alive.
And, on top of that wonderful news, we’re also getting a Ryder baby!
Yes, there was so much to love about 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 2 Episode 9, as it served as a Judd and Grace Begins hour.
As we previously discussed with an editorial, Judd and Grace are the heart and soul of the series, so they were more than deserving of an entire hour dedicated to their love story.
Their love knows no bounds, and we got to see how deep and profound it was as the hour unfolded.
All either of them could think about when they plunged into the water was each other.
Grace’s frantic cries to an unconscious Judd were enough to make you hold your breath, but nothing compared to the moment when they discovered that Grace’s legs were pinned down.
Grace loved Judd enough to tell him to go on without her, and he loved her enough to stay with her until help came. And that about sums up the entirety of the Ryder love story.
We’ve always known that Grace is selfless, and she puts everyone ahead of herself. And Judd’s unwavering and loud love for Grace is so prominent it’s damn near his entire personality.
Grace: You’re so tall.
Judd: You’re so beautiful.
But upon seeing how they got to that point, their love, namely Judd’s love for Grace, makes all the sense in the world.
When Judd jokes about Grace saving him, it turns out that he’s not joking at all. Grace has literally saved this man’s life. And you cannot imagine what he’d ever do without her.
Judd, without Grace, is a man who can’t function. She keeps him in the light; she IS his light.
Judd has previously alluded to having a rough past, and we caught a glimpse of that when he and his childhood friend stole a car and went joyriding.
It was all fun and games until it wasn’t, and they plowed into a tree, killing his best friend. It was a pivotal point in Judd’s life; it’s what probably prompted him to go into emergency services.
It’s a way of him making amends for his role in what happened, and it was a way to focus on the guilt he felt after that. Of course, he seemed to repress his feelings on the matter until he showed up at a call and saw his friend’s mother for the first time in years.
You felt for the woman when she turned Judd away, and of course, your heart ached for Judd when it all came crashing down on him. He genuinely seemed to contemplate running into that tree before he stopped ahead of time, and that’s a scary thought.
But then a sweet, wise, caring woman on the prayer crisis line saved him.
Grace is an excellent 911 operator, so it’s cool to discover that she worked another crisis hotline before that. She’s so good with people, and she has such an inviting, compassionate tone that provides comfort.
In a single phone call, she changed Judd’s entire life, and she gave him the courage to make amends in the best way he could for his friend’s mother. When it comes to seeking forgiveness, it’s about the other person, not about you feeling better.
So Judd had to go into the task with the expectation that maybe it wouldn’t work out. In the meantime, he took care of her whole home. It’s grueling work, and yet he cleaned everything up for her, and there’s honor in that.
It worked out, too, considering she invited him in afterward.
The montage of Judd calling Grace, even if it meant hanging up on other operators until he got to her, was the cutest freaking montage. He was such a charmer and a smooth operator, and it’s a courtship that suited them well.
Grace: Hello? Hello? You just take your time. I’m right here.
Judd: I apologize. I don’t even know why I called this number.
Grace: You wanna tell me your name?
Judd: I’ll just make something up.
Grace: Fair enough. How about I call you John?
Judd: It’s as good as any.
Grace: You said you don’t know why you made this call tonight. Do you think it was because you were led to?
Judd: Hey, look, I’m sorry. I thought I was in some kind of confessional mood, but I ain’t really much of a talker when it comes down to it.
Grace: That’s OK. You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to. God knows what’s on your heart anyway.
Judd: You can’t hide from God.
Grace: Yeah, he truly sees everything.
Judd: You can’t even hide from yourself in the end though. I thought I could. I’ve been doing a pretty fair job of it for about ten years, you know? Hiding behind a uniform and pretending that that uniform is me, but it ain’t.
Grace: You in the military, John?
Judd: Oh, naw, hell no. I ain’t brave enough for that. I’m a firefighter.
Grace: I think most people would consider that quite brave.
Judd: They’d be right for that, but no, I ain’t no hero.
They fell in love with one another over the phone and didn’t even meet yet. It made their first meeting all the sweeter, and the reactions did not disappoint.
He recognized her voice instantly, and thank goodness Tommy served as a wing woman for him. Otherwise, he probably would’ve still been standing at that bar and not making a damn move!
As a fellow pint-sized spitfire, it amused to no end that Grace’s first reaction to Judd is that he’s tall. The man is a giant on his own. When you set them near each other, he reaches new heights, and that difference only adds to their adorableness.
The two of them clicked well, and it was also nice that we got to see bits of how The Ryders and The Vegas became best friends with each other too.
They were there for so many milestones with one another. Judd and Grace were there when Charles proposed to Tommy, and of course, it was the birth of the twins that brought Judd and Grace back together.
It’s a cute factor added that they were the twins’ godparents well before they were married.
But that love between Judd and Grace had them flying high until the conversation between Judd and Grace’s dad. Unfortunately, Grace’s father made it seem as if Judd was an obstacle for Grace.
Judd was her biggest cheerleader when he found out that she got accepted into Georgetown and would possibly move away. It was only a couple of months into their relationship, and he was already considering relocating to be with her.
Charles: What about you? You sure you aren’t smitten?
Judd: No, I’m in love.
He was already head over heels in love with her.
Grace’s father was baffling. At first, it did seem as if he had an issue with Judd being white. He claimed that wasn’t the case, but you don’t start a conversation off talking about the oppressive history of your family and how they overcame it and have a destiny for better things, and not expect someone to read between the lines.
Mr. Williams argued that he had an issue with Judd not working a white-collar job. The irony of this isn’t lost now that we know Judd went and saved the man’s life years later.
It’s such a foolish argument to make. A first responder — firefighter — it’s a good, respectable, honorable job. And Judd’s career didn’t have to mean Grace couldn’t pursue bigger and better things career-wise.
But the problem with men having these conversations about the women they love is that they exclude those women out of them. Grace had other plans.
She was the only one who wasn’t excited about going to Georgetown, so you could tell it was something that her father wanted more than she did.
Grace told Judd she didn’t intend to go, but he chose to believe it was about him, and he broke things off with her.
It was such a punch to the gut when he looked Grace in the eye, lied to her, telling her that he didn’t love her.
Can you even imagine a Judd who doesn’t love Grace? He wasn’t even convincing when he said it. And then he spent six long months being a human disaster in her absence until they reunited.
He got his famous Psalm: 31 tattoo after he broke things off with her, and it was because of her.
But he also was temperamental and aggressive, and he got arrested for beating that jackass up. He slipped into some of his bad habits.
Grace balances Judd out. She keeps him the gentle giant that we know and love.
Judd, without Grace, is an angry, aggressive, sad man.
The team showing up at the hospital was beautiful and a reminder of how much of a family they are when things get tough.
Judd saving a slice for Gracie was one of the most heartbreaking moments of the hour.
But everyone could’ve predicted that he would go after Caleb, the drunk driver, the second he learned about him.
Judd’s violent streak reared its head when he got into that room with the man. And you couldn’t blame him for it either.
It’s one thing to learn that this drunk driver is the one who ran them off the road and left them for dead. It’s another thing to discover that Caleb woke up the next day and repeated the same drunken behavior.
The total disregard for other peoples’ lives is unfathomable, but if Caleb didn’t learn a lesson after Judd nearly murdered him in the hospital bed, then he’s a lost cause.
If Grace didn’t wake up, and Owen and Mr. Willams weren’t there to stop him, Judd probably would’ve killed the man or at least put a hurting on him something fierce.
He would’ve lost his job and gone to jail, but nothing would’ve mattered to him if Grace wasn’t OK.
Judd: You do have a problem. My wife Grace is the best person I’ve known. Her life’s work is saving lives. Her life’s work is saving people. If she saved one life per shift, and that’s conservative, then by my estimation, she saved 2050 lives, she saved 2051, if you want to count me, right? Which she saved numeral times. So a piece of trash like you gets to snuff her out and live? What does that mean?
Owen: Judd, that’s enough, let him go!
Mr. Williams: Because Gracie’s awake, son. She’s awake, Judd. And the first person she asked for was you. She needs you son.
Owen: Hey, hey!
Judd: Grace just saved your life too. She just saved your life too.
Judd gave me chills when he confronted Caleb, and Jim Parrack’s performance was utterly captivating for the entire installment. He’s such an underrated actor, and I was thrilled that he got some material to show off his range on this series.
Judd went from murderous to a puddle of love and goo when he was in the room with his Gracie again, and when he found out that they were having a baby, it was the happiest moment of the hour.
It was a fantastic hour of this series. As a bottle episode, it was all that you could ask for, and again, Jim Parrack and Sierra McClain were absolutely incredible.
They have electric chemistry together, and they sold each part of their love story as it blossomed. They truly are standouts of the series, and it was good to see them shine.
The seamless transitions from flashbacks to the present were great, and the costuming, makeup, and everything worked too. The flashbacks felt authentic.
It was the best hour of the series to date.
Grace nearly died, still can’t feel her legs yet, was underwater for a concerning amount of time, and she’s pregnant. Her road to recovery will be a challenging one, but I look forward to what comes next.
Over to you, Lone Star Fanatics!
Where’s Grace? Where’s my wife? Cap, where’s my girl?
Are you relieved that Judd and Grace survived? How much did you love their love story? Are you happy they’re having a baby?
Hit the comments below, and let’s discuss it all!
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.