In a series that’s been so full of infuriating episodes, 9-1-1: Lone Star hit what may be a new low this week. It’s been a while since the show has given us an episode with so much potential and fail to deliver so spectacularly. This episode was infuriating from beginning to end, with several moments of what makes this series shine when its at its best.
In the promos, it looked like we were going to get an episode centered on Paul (Brian Michael Smith). This is by far one of the best characters on this show who doesn’t get near the screen-time he deserves, so this was welcome news. It was unfortunate that it was in the context of a health emergency, but at least he got a bit of the spotlight. As always with 9-1-1: Lone Star, the story was never fully realized, and was sidelined to the Owen Show.
There was so much potential in this story, and it’s sad we only got glimpses of what could have been. Medical emergencies always have the potential to be dramatic. Combined with the nightmares Paul was experiencing, it can’t be said that this storyline was a boring choice. We also had so much potential to see more of his friendship with Marjan (Natacha Karam) which is also never given enough screen-time. Paul’s family of the 126 could have really rallied around him and showed him the love and appreciation he deserves.
Owen (Rob Lowe) of course had to take centre stage. I really have no idea where they’re going with this dating storyline for him. If having him date a high-profile political operative is supposed to be a tribute to Lowe’s time on The West Wing, it’s a misguided one. If anything, this story would be even more infuriating if this were the case because Lowe was arguably at his best in the top-tier political drama.
The real Owen story of this episode was the bird. Ginsburg, a macaw, was left to him by his late ex-wife Gwyn (Lisa Edelstein). It was never clear if this was meant to be comic relief, or a serious reflection on Owen and Gwyn’s relationship. There was a moment of heart where Owen reflects on the origin of Ginsburg calling him “butt-face”. It was a poignant moment where Owen voices the regrets he has. And then, of course, the poor bird is promptly killed off at the end of the episode having served his purpose to further Owen’s character, because he needs that apparently.
This episode wasn’t all bad, however. One of the strongest storylines that was included was that of Tommy (Gina Torres) supporting T.K. (Ronen Rubinstein) in attending a grief group. After last week’s episode, it was unknown if Gwyn’s death would ever be brought up again on the show. This writer for one is glad to see that grief continues to be addressed, both by Tommy who lost her husband and T.K. who lost his mother. Oftentimes, character deaths can just never be mentioned again. Hopefully 9-1-1: Lone Star can continue bringing up these moments organically as the series continues. Grief is a long process, not dealt with in two nice quick television episodes.
This was a disappointing episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star in so many ways. There was so much of what makes this series enjoyable, never fully realized. It was so frustrating to watch, as someone who knows that this show is capable of so much more. Ultimately, the door was left open to explore more of Paul’s character and health journey. This show is full of compelling characters, none of whom get enough time in each episode. Hopefully that is soon to change.
9-1-1: Lone Star airs Mondays 8/7c on Fox.