**Content Warning: The following review contains a discussion of domestic violence. If you or someone you love is experiencing domestic violence, there is help available. Visit this page for more information. **
9-1-1: Lone Star Season 4 Episode 8, “Control Freaks,” is a near-perfect mix of fun and drama like any 9-1-1 show should be. After a rocky start to the season, this episode is another step on the right track. While this episode may not be perfect, there’s certainly a lot to love. A beloved character returns and the show feels whole again.
Marjan the Hero
Marjan (Natacha Karam) is back, and not a moment too soon. Her absence has been felt keenly since she left. This break, however temporary, has proven just how essential she is to the 126. There is something profound missing when she’s not there. Obviously, she couldn’t stay away for too long. As an integral member of the 126 family, it’s good to see that she’s taken the space she needed and is making her way back home. Her sidetrack along the way, however, is alarming and all too real.
There’s an important point in Marjan’s story on this episode. The story implies that this couple has millions of followers as van life influencers. This is a perfect fictional story to illustrate what domestic violence looks like in the younger generation. This veneer of perfection on social media can too often mask horrific abuse. This episode is a reminder that abusive behavior has simply evolved with the times. Kiley’s character in particular captures the experience of those surviving abusive relationships. It may sound easy to simply leave and break ties. Within the cycle of abuse, it isn’t so easy.
Owen and Andrea
9-1-1: Lone Star Season 4 Episode 8, “Control Freaks,” subverts the Owen Show, and it’s glorious. Owen (Rob Lowe) is a Grade-A control freak, of course. That Type A personality is finally being put to good use. This storyline could so easily have become boorish and just another chance for Owen to pull focus from his son. However, it’s evident that T.K. (Ronen Rubinstein) and Carlos (Rafael Silva) have everything in hand for their own wedding, in spite of what their respective parents might think.
What makes this so effective is that Owen’s energy is matched by Andrea’s (Roxana Brusso). In too many Owen-centric stories, there’s nowhere for his chaos to go. This leads to bizarre decision-making on the part of the character and general calamity for the rest of the story. Owen and Andrea are well-matched. They are perfectly feral when it comes to ensuring that their sons’ wedding is perfect.
Tarlos Wedding Incoming
Let’s all just take a minute to appreciate the fact that Tarlos is dealing with normal, everyday problems rather than one of them being on the brink of death. Sure, they’re being given a hard time on their journey to get to the aisle. However, these are comparatively normal problems to what they’ve been dealing with so far. This change of pace suits them well as they prepare to head down the aisle.
9-1-1: Lone Star has had two episodes in a row that get to the heart of what makes this series enjoyable to watch. This is the tone that so much of this season has been missing. If the rest of the season can continue like this, all hope might not be lost. More fires, more ensemble and less Owen is a recipe for success.
9-1-1: Lone Star airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on Fox.