[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the latest episode of Station 19, "Eulogy." Read at your own risk!]
Thursday's episode of Station 19started with a direct gut-punch when paramedics arrived to save Ryan (Alberto Frezza) from a gunshot wound but they didn't get there in time and the police officer, and Andy's (Jaina Lee Ortiz) oldest friend, passed away. It was an unexpected loss for Andy, who spent the remainder of the episode trying to escape her grief by jumping back into work. She was successful for a brief while, but inevitably her repressed feelings came back to her and it turned out she wasn't as ready as she thought to return to the field.
As Andy struggled to get a grip, the episode featured flashbacks to Ryan and Andy in their youth, as well as the meeting between Pruitt (Miguel Sandoval) and Ryan that led the officer back to Seattle in last week's episode. He returned to help Andy with the revelation that her father's cancer has returned and he isn't going to fight it. But that's not all! Alberto Frezza revealed to TV Guide ahead of the episode that Ryan had planned to tell Andy that he loved her -- a confession she'll now never get to hear.
To make matters worse, Pruitt also stepped in at the station and convinced Sullivan (Boris Kodjoe) not to give Andy the promotion to captain that she's been working for since the series began. Pruitt is worried that Ryan's death is the beginning of a bad cycle for Andy and that if she took on the promotion without the proper time to work out her feelings, she'd blow the opportunity. So Sullivan gave the job to Maya (Danielle Savre), and, ironically, Andy finding out about that may be the thing that kicks off the spiral Pruitt was so worried about.
TV Guide spoke to Frezza about the heartbreaking episode, his final scenes with Ortiz and Sandoval, and what Ryan hopes for Andy from the beyond.
What was it like playing those flashback scenes with Jaina and Miguel, knowing Ryan's fate?
Sad, because when you're doing stuff like that, and you actually build the relationship with the actors outside of the show, it kind of blends in together. Everything was kind of playing out in real life. Even though I wasn't dying, I knew I wouldn't be seeing them on set all the time. ... Playing those flashback scenes made everything a little bit more grounded, more heartfelt, because you know how valuable those relationships are. So it kind of made everything a little bit harder rather than easier.
This episode really drove home how much Ryan was part of the Herrera family. How do you think that family dynamic changes without him there as the glue between Andy and Pruitt?
I think the void that he creates, by not being there anymore, will bring them closer. He was sort of a mediator between the two. He would have conversations with Andy about Pruitt and then with Pruitt he would have conversations about Andy. He kind of knew everybody's issues and problems that they had with each other, but at the same time, kind of tried to create a loving relationship between them. He was never trying to pull them apart. When Andy was talking about how her dad makes her angry and how she can't do this and that, [Ryan] was trying to talk some sense into her while understanding Pruitt's point of view, and vice versa.
I think that the thing that was missing between their relationship was just communication, and Ryan was there to help to facilitate that. Now that he's gone, they will realize that communication is absolutely absent, and so that it will bring them closer together. They'll make a better effort to really listen to each other and build off that, rather than pulling each other apart.
Tragically, we'll never see Andy and Ryan give their relationship a real second chance. What would you want to see in Andy's eventual partner?
I would like it to end as a fairy-tale ending for Andy and that she finds the person that treats her right, that makes her happy, and [is] not competitive with her on any sort of professional level. Everything has been with Jack and Sullivan and all this stuff. It's all within the station, and it's a very difficult ledge to walk on because you never know which side you're going to fall into at any given moment. So, I just hope that she finds somebody that can ease the stress that she gets on a professional level every day because being a firefighter is not easy.
Do you think that Jack or Sullivan are capable of being that person for her?
I don't think [either] of those two are good for Andy. Maybe I'm saying that from a selfish point of view because I would have liked to see Andy's and Ryan's relationship build. I would have liked to seen them explore that a little bit more. Hopefully she finds somebody that's not like [Jack or Sullivan]. I don't think they complete her.
Ryan's death starts to send Andy down a dark path and her best friend isn't there to guide her. What advice do you think he would give her from beyond if he could?
Don't let Ryan's death take her down a negative path. She's unfortunately been through it before. She's kind of lost the closest people to her. She lost her mom. She's probably losing the person that reminds her of her childhood the most. I don't think she has history like the history she has with Ryan. So I think Ryan would tell her to breathe, to take it easy, and not to be so hard on herself, and to really take advantage of the relationships that mean a lot to her and not be afraid of opening up to the people that she trusts.
Station 19 airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.