‘9-1-1 Lone Star’ 3×10 Review: “Parental Guidance”

**Spoilers Ahead**

9-1-1: Lone Star returned this week with an uneven and confusing episode that was reminiscent of the early days of the series. Although there were some character moments to love, as a package, this episode left much to be desired.

Off that, it was both shocking and exciting to see Mateo (Julian Works) get his chance at the spotlight. This character is never given the attention he deserves, even though Works has continued to prove his talent again and again. It’s sad that we don’t get to see more of this character who is clearly such an asset to the team. 

The only complaint to be had about the Mateo storyline is its practicality. To have him just appointed a lieutenant…that’s not how it works? You have to take exams, and go through a whole process. Brooklyn 99 handled a similar story very well, and it would have been nice to see Mateo go on a similar journey. 

9-1-1: LONE STAR: L-R: Gina Torres, Brianna Baker and Ronen Rubnstein in the “Parental Guidance” episode of 9-1-1: LONE STAR airing Monday, March 14 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 Fox Media LLC. CR: Jack Zeman/FOX.

Another odd story choice made this episode was Paul’s (Brian Michael Smith) arc. Last episode, Paul was left dealing with the aftermath of a medical emergency and devastating diagnosis. It was set up that if he had surgery to install a pacemaker, he would likely never return to top physical form necessary to be a firefighter. Yet, in this episode…he’s back in peak form? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for him, it just all seems very rushed.

As confusing as this story was, there were a few benefits. It was a commendable choice to address Paul’s anxiety and PTSD brought on by his health care. This episode gave an honest and compassionate portrayal of these struggles. It also gave his family of the 126 the opportunity to rally around him, and support him completely. Paul deserves nothing less. 

Marjan (Natacha Karam) was also a standout in this episode, as she and Paul navigated the process of repairing their friendship. Marjan’s fight is still what makes this show worth it, and it’s another thing that the audience doesn’t get to see nearly enough of. It’s good to see someone take the 126 seriously, and recognize the potential this family has.

9-1-1: LONE STAR: L-R: Ronen Rubinstein and Gina Torres in the “Parental Guidance” episode of 9-1-1: LONE STAR airing Monday, March 14 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 Fox Media LLC. CR: Jack Zeman/FOX.

Finally, Judd (Jim Parrack) continues to prove why he is Captain material, and why he’s the real leader of the 126. His advice to his friends was impeccable. He also picked up on the signs that Paul was struggling, when Owen (Rob Lowe) completely dismissed him. If the show writers are looking for an idea, Rob Lowe can be written back into The West Wing universe and have his political romance with the new love interest, and Judd can take over command of the 126. 

Ultimately, this episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star felt like a step backward for the series. Although there were great character moments, the stories themselves were either baffling or not fully realized. The early episodes in this season gave fans hope that the show was coming around, and really turning into something special. Hopefully, we can return to that too. 

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

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