9-1-1: Lone Star Season 4 Episode 6, “This is Not a Drill,” could have been a welcome departure from what the season has been so far. Sadly the episode ends up being more of the same. There are so many opportunities for this show to be better. This episode turns out not to be the transition moment it could have been. Unfortunately, this season continues to lean into the weakest elements of the show.
More Owen Show, More Problems
The Owen (Rob Lowe) continues. It’s such a weird experience watching this character finally be a tiny bit self-reflective about his experience as a 9/11 responder. Of course, the character immediately takes this out on his team. The 126 rallies around their Captain. However, it feels cheap at this moment to have them so sympathy for this man who directs his grief outwards.
This could have been an opportunity for Owen to lean into vulnerability and reflect on his loss. The case he’s been following would certainly be triggering after everything the character has been through. Instead, Owen is just allowed to be himself unchecked and unchallenged in any way. He’s still presented as the good guy, no questions asked.
There is something at least a little bit objectionable about the way the terrorist storyline is framed. This story was an opportunity to interrogate white supremacy; how it works and where it resides. There could have been a topical commentary on the fact that these reprehensible views are found in all walks of life.
9-1-1: Lone Star Season 4 Episode 6, “This is Not a Drill,” instead makes someone at least adjacent to white supremacy the victim. We are asked to feel sorry for the fact that this man has to go to jail and watch his son grow up from behind bars. The truth is, this character is a grown adult who made his own choices. Many of us are lost and fatherless. That doesn’t mean we all seek comfort in racism and violence.
Captain Judd to the Rescue
Judd (Jim Parrack) doesn’t actually come to the rescue as captain. He does, but that isn’t the focus of the story. This episode is further proof that Judd is actually who is best suited to be captain. He has the perfect combination of experience and temperament. Judd gets a chance to prove he’s able to stay cool under pressure. He really does roll with all of the punches on this episode. A lesser leader would freak out and pull at least several Owens along the way.
9-1-1: Lone Star continues to make the same mistakes and expects different results. The further this show strays from its roots, the harder it is to maintain cohesive, character-driven stories. The fact that this show keeps missing opportunities to showcase compelling narratives is disheartening, to say the least. We need a few more fires and fewer Owen-centered pity parties.
9-1-1: Lone Star airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on Fox.