After many months, we finally know what was up with Andy's (Jaina Lee Ortiz) mom.
Station 19's mysterious Elena Herrera (Patricia de Leon) made a sudden reappearance in Andy's life at the very end of season three, understandably rocking Andy to her core. She thought her mom had died 20 years ago, and suddenly worried that she was now going to have to hate her dad for keeping their family apart. But the truth was maybe even more heartbreaking.
Most of the season four premiere took place a few months into the pandemic, but flashbacks told us what happened right after the season three finale. Andy freaked out but eventually took the time to listen to Elena explain that she didn't want to have a child and while she loved Andy, she didn't want to have to stop being a firefighter just because she was a mother.
So she left Andy behind with Pruitt (Miguel Sandoval) and went off to live her life while Pruitt did the absolute best he could as a single father, even if that meant sobbing his way through a lesson about what a period is.
While Andy's relationship with her mom (if there can even be one) is just beginning, the talk with Elena only strengthened Andy's impression of her dad in time for a moving, if socially distant, service at the end of the episode.
So what does Elena's revelation mean for Andy? Executive producer and premiere director Paris Barclay says this is only the beginning and there's a lot of work ahead.
"I like to think what happened in that first episode is the earthquake," he tells E! News. "But this is an earthquake that will be followed by a number of aftershocks. The ground will not suddenly become smooth because of this earthquake. This earthquake has obviously changed Andy in a very different way than I even expected. It actually allowed her to embrace and understand and have empathy for Pruitt and the decisions that he made, which is which was an unexpected turn even for me as I was reading the script."
The premiere also revealed that Andy and Sullivan (Boris Kodjoe) have decided to separate, but just to make sure they can take some time to deal with their individual issues. It's not an actual break-up as we were first led to believe. Barclay says he's pretty sure these two really love each other and will make it work, if they can stick to their guns.
"When really love each other, you want to be a part of each other's lives, but you also want to do what's best for the other person," Barclay says. "And what they determine is this separation while he gets sober, and while she grieves the losses that she had, is what's best for both. The problem is there's also kind of an attraction that continues to rear its not so ugly head. So the question will be, and I think that's what you'll see in the upcoming episodes is, are they able to maintain that balance? Are they able to stay apart, and still be as much in love as they are both emotionally and physically? So we're gonna go back and forth with that."
Sullivan started the premiere working with a private fire company, training inmates to be able to fight fires, but by the end he had quit. Barclay says it will certainly not be an easy road for him to figure out what's next.
"It's gonna be tough for him. He's in a very grave situation," he says. "I mean, he will have to face the music. He hasn't been designated a felon yet, although he's certainly in trouble. He still has to deal with whether or not he can ever become a firefighter, he quit his job. So he's unemployed. And he's got a lot of taking stock to do—newly sober, and trying to figure things out. So it really takes someone who's quite on a high horse back to square one. And I think fortunately for him, he's got the spine and the backbone, and the guts to kind of find his way back. And I think he will."
Elsewhere in the premiere, Travis (Jay Hayden) discovered that his dad has been looking for gay sex on a dating app, Vic (Barrett Doss) decided to move in with Travis to solve her issues with Dean (Okieriete Onaodowan), and poor Jack (Grey Damon) could only hang out with his makeshift family from six feet away, at least for now.
Station 19 airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.