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How 9-1-1: Lone Star Changed Gina Torres’ Mind About It Being ‘Too Soon’ For Tommy To Move On After Charles’ Death

Gina Torres as Tommy Vega on 9-1-1: Lone Star.
(Image credit: Fox)

Spoiler alert! This story contains spoilers for the Season 3 episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star, “Impulse Control.” 

Last week Tommy dipped her toes in the water when she went out on a date for the first time since her husband’s death, and in the latest episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star, she took another huge leap in moving forward. It’s not all smooth sailing as she continues to grieve for Charles, however, and actress Gina Torres even admitted that she thought it was “too soon” when she got a call regarding a huge moment for Tommy that happened in the latest episode. So what made the actress change her mind, and what does it mean for Tommy going forward?

“Impulse Control” saw Tommy get an unexpected visit from Charles’ brother, Julius (Nathan Owens) at the twins’ birthday party. She turned him away, still carrying resentment that he hadn’t shown up to Charles’ funeral. However, it was later revealed that Julius did drive up for the funeral, but was so overcome with grief that he wasn’t able to get out of the car. Tommy comforted her brother-in-law, and as she got closer to him, they shared a brief (and shocking!) kiss. Viewers were likely in well-deserved shock, but Gina Torres told TVLine that her old Firefly buddy Tim Minear didn’t allow her to be blind-sided in the same way:

I was warned. [Executive producer] Tim Minear called me about this plan, and I think my initial reaction — as a fan of Tommy and the show and Charles — was ‘Oh, no! Really? I think it’s too soon!’ But then I read it, and I saw all of the history that he created around us. We have that come to Jesus moment where all is revealed, and by the time we get to the kiss, it doesn’t even feel like a kiss. It feels like a hug that went too far, a hug that got interrupted by their lips. And it’s all born of grief, a need to comfort and a familiarity of love.

It also helped, the actress said, that the characters both reacted appropriately by recognizing the moment for what it was — grief — and not allowing the situation to become overblown. She said both characters realized the need to be mature and set the kiss aside, because Evie and Isabella wanted and needed to have their Uncle Julius in their lives. 

It doesn’t sound like that’s where the story ends, though. At the end of the episode, Tommy invited Julius to stay in the guest room, saying she liked the idea of having Charles’ whole family under one roof. It was also sweet that Julius was able to tell stories about his brother that Tommy nor their daughters had ever heard. The Suits alum didn’t reveal too much about what’s to come, but she did sound satisfied with the direction the story is taking her character, and said we will see Tommy and Julius together again in the coming weeks. But in what capacity? Torres teased:

It may move forward, it may not, but I believe that by the time we get to that particular crossroad, it has less to do with the grief and more to do with who Tommy is trying to get back to, which is… herself. Part of her journey now is figuring out who she is if she’s not Charles’ wife. We’ve met her as a mom, we’ve seen her as a kick-ass professional, and we love these things about her.

Moving forward and rediscovering herself is an important step, not just for Tommy, Gina Torres said, but for women in general. Women take on different roles as they get older, including wife and mother, but what happens when those titles go away? 

At some point, however you get there — whether you’re an empty nester, or you’re widowed, or you’re divorced — you have to figure out who you are without all the titles. Are you still the same person, or do you need something different? And that’s what that is for Tommy.

I’m excited to see Tommy as she continues to find her way in this next phase of her life, and Julius was pretty easy on the eyes, so I definitely won’t be sad to see him hanging around again. 9-1-1: Lone Star continues next Monday, April 25, on Fox. Check out our 2022 TV schedule to see what shows are premiering soon, and swing by our spring TV finale schedule for when the biggest shows are ending for the season.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.