Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you haven't watched Thursday's two-hour series premiere of the Grey's Anatomy spinoff, Station 19.
The guys and gals of Station 19 are heating up the small screen!
On Thursday's two-hour series premiere of the Grey's Anatomy firefighter spinoff, viewers officially fell in love with rule-breaker Andy Herrera (Jaina Lee Ortiz) and her Station 19 posse, led by her father, Captain Pruitt Herrera (Miguel Sandoval). But through a dramatic sequence of events and a heartbreaking health revelation, the state of the firehouse is now on unstable ground.
Things begin routinely enough for Station 19 when they respond to a dangerous apartment fire, but it all goes haywire when Andy's father is unexpectedly left behind by Andy's on-again/off-again boyfriend, Lieutenant Jack Gibson (Grey Damon), during the blaze and found unconscious. It's revealed moments later, as he's being treated by the capable doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, that his collapse wasn't due to the fire, but the terminal cancer he's been hiding from Andy and the team. As a result, Pruitt steps down from his captain's post as Andy declares her intention assume the mantle.
"This show definitely shows the beautiful relationship between a daughter and her father. You don't get to see that a lot. There's a lot of daddy issues [on TV]," Ortiz says with a laugh on the set of Station 19. "Although she's the type of person who's willing to risk her life, her family, her love to climb up the ranks. I think what has happened to her dad, she realizes that that's the core. That's what matters the most: family. He's all she's got."
But Andy will have her hands full as she'll be going up against Jack for the role of captain, which will more than complicate their already messy relationship. Considering Jack was ready to pop the question and Andy rejected the idea of marriage, this power struggle will drudge up issues from the past. Ortiz spoke about Andy's confidence waning following her rocky trial run as the Station 19 captain, a role Andy and Jack will take turns leading until Pruitt's permanent successor is named.
"There's an ebb and flow to that. It's an up and down battle. If it's not messy, it's not interesting, right? It'd be too convenient for her to just get to where she wants to get and call it a day," Ortiz says. "It will be a struggle. It's a process. It'll take time."
From Pruitt's perspective, there will be challenges keeping his personal feelings separate from who he believes will be the best captain to take over for him.
"Because Pruitt is very committed to his profession, he really does genuinely want this station -- if he can't be the captain -- to find the best captain out there," Sandoval says. "He realizes that he has given his own daughter short shrift at a certain point as we see in the pilot episode. Does he think that she could be the best captain for the station? Possibly. He wants to see along with everyone else. But he certainly knows she should have a shot at it."
With Andy and Jack duking it out to be the permanent firehouse captain, rifts will be created among the rest of the crew as they slowly figure out with whom their allegiances lie.
"People have to pick sides and they might switch. Like Jaina says, it's messy -- like in real life, It forces that dynamic," Sandoval says. "Especially when you're developed a relationship with someone as a peer. Jack has been lieutenant for a while, so he's always had that [leg up]. You develop a peer relationship, then that dynamic changes. All of a sudden these guys who were my friends could be my boss? How does that work?"
"There can be a distrust there [among the team]," Damon adds. "Not sure if you're going to pull me out of the fire then, which is kind of mentioned in the show. There's that conflict as well. How do you know you can trust their judgment when there's so much personal stake involved?"
While it's unclear who will come out on top as captain, one thing's for sure: Station 19 is all in when it comes to the romance department. The premiere introduced a love triangle between Andy, Jack and Seattle police officer Ryan Tanner (Alberto Frezza), whom Andy went to prom with and dated in high school. Asked how Jack feels about Andy and Ryan's steamy hookup, Damon quips: "Not good!"
"I think Jack really likes Ryan and Ryan really likes Jack as people, which is weird because sometimes cops and...," Damon begins to answer diplomatically before Ortiz jumped in with a quizzical look that read, "Really?"
Outed by Ortiz for trying to circumvent the question and giving "red herrings," Sandoval joked that Jack and Ryan "have an affair in episode three."
Once the laughter died down, though, Damon admits the two men vying for Andy's heart are in an interesting place at the start of the season. "I don't think they particularly feel either way with each other and I think as the show goes on, they get more familiar with each other and that can complicate things. But also there's a mutual respect there given the situations they are thrown into together," he says. "But, it's a complicated relationship, let's put it that way."
Station 19 airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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