‘9-1-1 Lone Star’ 3×06 Review: “The ATX Files”

**Spoilers Ahead**

9-1-1: Lone Star gave us one of it’s best episode of the series yet. This show has struggled to find its footing in its just over two seasons. When it’s good, it’s great. More often than not, however, it’s an uneven mess of a story. Not so in this episode. This episode had several fantastic stories, and character development that actually worked. 

The premise of looking for aliens could have resulted in a chaotic mess that 9-1-1: Lone Star has become known for. The fact that the ultimate resolution of the story was that it was unlucky artists wound up in a nuclear misadventure was a stroke of storytelling genius. These stories rooted in conspiracy theories can get so racist so fast, and it was such a breath of fresh air to see an entirely new take on a story, that found object artists simply got their hands on the wrong glowing material.

The tie-in to Judd’s (Jim Parrack) storyline with his son was perfection. After the revelation in last week’s episode that Judd has a son from a previous relationship, Judd expresses how much of an alien his son Wyatt (Jackson Pace) feels to him. Wyatt is in every way the polar opposite of his father. The comedy of this mismatched duo contrasted with the genuineness of the connection they eventually make strikes the perfect chord. It was so great that this storyline wasn’t just mentioned and then dropped never to be heard about again. This will hopefully not be the last we see of Wyatt.

9-1-1: LONE STAR: Jim Parrack in the “The ATX-Files” episode of 9-1-1: LONE STAR airing Monday, Feb. 14 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 Fox Media LLC. CR: Kevin Estrada/FOX.

Owen (Rob Lowe) was the least insufferable he’s been for a long time. He was actually given something to do, and it was so wise of Judd to identify how similar his long-lost son was to his Captain. Owen was so clearly in his glory, sharing so many interests with Wyatt. Owen was allowed to be the least unbearable version of himself. It’s a side to him we need to see so much more of in this series.

Grace (Sierra Aylina McClain) is always the best of this series, and having an episode where she really got a chance to shine was truly special. McClain is so immensely talented, and was able to play the heartfelt moments of bonding with her husband’s son over video games, and the comedy of getting Rick-Rolled by a credit card company. There will never be enough Grace in this series, and she is always who you want in your corner at the worst moment of your life.

9-1-1: LONE STAR: L-R: Gina Torres and Kelsey and Skyler Yates in the “The ATX-Files” episode of 9-1-1: LONE STAR airing Monday, Feb. 14 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 Fox Media LLC. CR: Kevin Estrada/FOX.

The most poignant moments of the episode went to Tommy (Gina Torres) as she processed the grief of losing her husband. This was another moment where, when Tommy visited the medium, the story could have gone in such a cringey direction. However, the medium provided actual solid advice, by suggesting Tommy prepare a meal to eat with her husband, and say whatever she needed to say to him. This is such an innovative and honest way to confront grief. It also led to one of the most heart-touching endings, with proof that those we love never truly leave us. 

This episode proved that 9-1-1: Lone Star is absolutely capable of solid storytelling. The show has always had incredible characters with so much potential, so it was nice to see the two combine for a solid episode. Hopefully going forward, the show can combine the best parts of the characters we’ve come to love, with even and compelling stories. If this is what’s in store for the show’s third season, fans just might be in for an enjoyable ride.

9-1-1: Lone Star airs Mondays 8/7c on Fox.

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