How do we begin to say good-bye to someone who has been such a huge part of our lives and had such a profound effect?
It was this question the firefighters of Station 19 found themselves grappling with this installment.
And the results were commendable, as Station 19 Season 3 Episode 13 proved to be the show's best overall examination of grief.
What made this installment stand out was the way it approached death.
It wasn't simply Andy shutting down like she did on Station 19 Season 3 Episode 3 when she lost Ryan.
Nor was it the hot mess that ensued following Rigo's death on Station 19 Season 3 Episode 10, making it seem like the writers had no idea where they wanted to the story to go.
Pruitt: If you see a fire put it out, then move on to the next one. Whatever you do, don’t stick around once the fire’s out. There is no life to be lived in the ashes. Let them blow away.
Andy: Good night, daddy.
Pruitt: Good night, Andrea.
Andy: Good-bye, daddy.
Pruitt: See you later.
Instead, the series was smart in acknowledging that not all forms of grief look the same.
While Andy was grief-stricken in bed, dealing with her fair share of bad dreams, Vic channeled her despair into raising money for Pruitt's funeral, and Jack found a way to honor Pruitt's memory.
That realistic approach helped, but the major part of its success is that Pruitt is a character near and dear to everyone's hearts.
Characters and viewers alike were genuinely torn up by the late captain's passing, as opposed to fans barely batting an eye when Rigo bit it.
We had spent nearly three seasons getting to know this man, and while he was far from perfect, his heart was always in the right place.
His death may not have been as heartbreaking as when Derek died on Grey's Anatomy Season 11, but it still hurt.
For Andy though, Pruitt's death surpassed any form of measurement, as it wasn't just a former captain she lost, but her father, the man who raised her.
While Andy spent the majority of the episode in bed -- a sure sign someone is depressed -- she seemed to be handling her father's passing remarkably well, considering everything.
When I was a kid, my dad used to do this thing when I was sad. He would open all the blinds and let all the light in, and say, ‘Casas brillantes, corazones brillantes.’ Bright house, bright hearts. He was so good at… at pulling me back.Andy
There was no shutting down or engaging in self-destructive behavior.
Instead, she found herself being open and vulnerable with Sullivan about what she was feeling, which is very unlike the woman viewers have gotten to know over the past three seasons.
Maybe it's a sign of growth and her being in a better place mentally. Maybe it's because she knew her father was dying and had time beforehand to process his death. Maybe it's because he got to go out on his own terms.
Whatever the reason, Andy was able to come to terms with her father's death.
And while she won't be randomly bursting into song any time soon, she seems like she's in a place where she can handle losing her father.
Part of that has to do with Sullivan.
Despite her proclamation of being an orphan, Andy is not alone.
Andy: I’m an orphan. I’m an orphan.
Sullivan: Me too.
Andy: What? Uh, why didn’t I know this?
Sullivan: I don’t talk about it. Plane crash.
Andy: Oh my god. What… that… how old were you?
Sullivan: Um, 16.
Andy: And then you got married, and then your wife died, and then your friend Ripley died. We’re all we have.
Even if she doesn't count Station 19 as her legitimate family, Sullivan now falls into that category, as the star-crossed lovers secretly got hitched on Station 19 Season 3 Episode 12.
One of Pruitt's fears when he learned he was dying was that Andy would be alone for the first time in her life.
It's the main reason why he dragged Ryan back to Seattle.
And if not for Sullivan to lean on, she'd probably be in far worse shape.
Though skeptical of this relationship from the start, it's becoming more clear they somehow work.
Despite the craziness in their personal lives, Andy and Sullivan are able to be there for each other in a way I didn't think possible.
And craziness will be coming, as their relationship will continue to be put to the test now that Ben knows about Sullivan's drug addiction.
Yes, Ben finally got confirmation from Emmett this episode that Sullivan stole some vial of Fentanyl from the PRT and learned that Sullivan overdosed while on duty.
With hard proof, Ben can no longer ignore his suspicions and plans to report Sullivan to the higher ups.
Ben: All right probie, I know you’re new, but uh look this… this can’t have been the worst thing you’ve seen? Oh that’s right, you, uh, saw your battalion chief OD on fentanyl. So it was him. Did you see the syringe? You give him Naloxone?
Ben: What’d he even say to you?
Emmett: Well, uh, he said he had a prescription. And he said that this station runs on trust. And if people don’t trust each other, then people get hurt.
Ben: That’s uh, that’s a good one coming from him.
Sullivan must have an inkling this is coming, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with.
Though viewers haven't seen Sullivan going to meetings or working a twelve-step working, the battalion chief seems to be dealing with his addiction off screen, which is good.
Though not an expert in getting sober, the entire process seems to entail honesty.
While Sullivan has admitted some of his wrongdoings to Andy, he still has a long way to go.
Until he can own up to what he did and tell those around him -- other than Andy -- the truth, it's always going to be this dirty secret that looms over him.
And viewers know how much Dixon loves those.
No, once the fire chief finds out this, it'll be harder for Dixon to look past Sullivan's transgressions.
Dixon gave Maya hell for not stopping Pruitt, when they both know Sullivan was just as culpable.
Dixon: So you’re admitting that you knowingly let a civilian go into a critical scene and put his life in danger?
Maya: No, sir. I knowingly allowed a lauded and unanimously respected captain go into a critical scene that was certain death.
Dixon: Bishop, pull yourself together. Don’t make me regret endorsing a woman for captain.
Maya: My former captain knowingly sliced through a roof and fell to his death to save my entire team. These are tears of gratitude and tears of amazement and wonder, and I will not apologize for having them. You think I didn’t cry when I won the gold medal? I did. You watch 250-pound athletes cry when they win Super Bowls, and it doesn’t make them any less heroes. You are asking me to relive a day that my hero died and my team lived. I will not apologize for having feels about that. The ability to care while doing my job is a quality Captain Herrera both modeled and lauded. My ability to care while doing my job is what makes me superior, not inferior to those who can’t.
However, since Dixon promoted Sullivan, it wouldn't reflect well on the fire chief if Sullivan was held accountable.
It's just another reason why Dixon is the worst, as if viewers needed more reason to hate him.
What kind of leader thinks an invitation his son's engagement party will make up for the fact that he's not funding a line of duty funeral for Pruitt?
They say you are what you love, and Pruitt loved firefighting.
He may have technically been a civilian at the time of his death, but he was a firefighter through and through.
His final actions were to save his fellow firefighters by sacrificing his life. If that doesn't say hero, then what does?
Due to Dixon's insensitivity, Vic took up the charge and tried to raise the money by putting together a calendar photo shoot.
Yes, as hilarious as it sounds -- and it was at times -- this subplot ended up being especially moving.
Hey, we are alive because of Pruitt Herrera. Emmett got to live long enough to come out because of Pruitt Herrera. We get to laugh and… and clap and make chili because of Pruitt Herrera. We get to breathe. We get to live, OK. We all get to live because of Pruitt Herrera.Vic
For Vic, raising this money was a way to honor Pruitt.
It was the only thing she could think of at the time that would even begin to repay this insurmountable debt.
Pruitt died, so they all could life, and Vic is having a hard time with that.
Even though she knew he was dying, it doesn't diminish his sacrifice.
She's experiencing what's known as survivor's guilt and is trying make sense of things around her.
Vic usually tries to put on a brave face, but she couldn't help herself from breaking down a few times this episode.
It's just another reminder that there's no one right way to grieve, and everyone is entitled to their own feelings.
Jack, on the other hand, paid Pruitt's sacrifice forward by helping others.
He went above and beyond for a mother and son when he orchestrated a plan to get them away from the woman's abusive husband.
You deserve a happy life. You both do. You deserve so much better than you’re getting. You were born into this one life. Your child was born into this one life. You don’t deserve to be hit. You don’t deserve to be scared. You deserve better. Let me help you find it.Jack
While Jack initially connected with the mother and son because the young boy is deaf, just like his former foster sister, he knows what it's like not to feel safe in his own house.
Growing up in foster care, Jack never really felt that sense of safety and security, so he wanted to provide the mother and son with something he wasn't lucky enough to have.
It was nice how things came full circle and the mother and son ended up staying with Marsha, also known as the old woman Jack brought groceries for at the end of Station 19 Season 3 Episode 10.
If not for Jack reaching out to Marsha a few episodes ago, he may not have been able to help the mother and son.
It was a nice reminder that even little things -- like buying groceries for an old woman -- can make a big difference.
Some stray thoughts:
Did anyone else want to give Emmett a big hug when he came out? There's still a lot of stuff he has to figure out -- like how he's engaged to a woman -- but I couldn't be prouder of him.
It was a big step in accepting who he is, and it's great that he felt comfortable enough to share his truth with Station 19. He may not have known them for long, but they made him feel like part of the family. Good job!
It was sweet that Ben agreed to be Prue's legal guardians should anything happen to Dean, but he probably should have talked it over with Bailey first. Since Bailey did invite a teenage boy into their home without consulting him, I don't think she has any ground to stand on.
With Dean completing his will this episode, should fans be worried about him? This has been a very deadly season after all.
Watching the calendar photo shoot was hilarious, but my favorite scene had to be Travis "coaching" Maya on how to look sexy. That part had me in stitches.
So what did you think Station 19 Fanatics?
What are your thoughts on Pruitt's sendoff?
How did you expect Andy to react?
How much hot water will Sullivan find himself in?
Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, remember you can watch Station 19 online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.