Tuesday, February 4, 2020

REVIEW: '9-1-1: Lone Star' - A Tornado Causes a Ton of Damage That Places the Firefighters in Dangerous Situations in 'Act of God'

FOX's 9-1-1: Lone Star - Episode 1.04 "Act of God"

A massive tornado sweeps through Austin, as Owen, Michelle and their teams race to save those in its path.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of FOX's 9-1-1: Lone Star.

"Act of God" was written by Molly Green & James Leffler and directed by Sharat Raju

9-1-1: Lone Star produces its first major disaster episode here. These kinds of events have proven very successful and dramatic on the original show. In fact, they are often built out to encompass several episodes. That doesn't occur here. The threat from the tornado is contained to this one episode. Sure, it was teased at the conclusion of the previous hour. That teasing continues at the start of this one before the action goes back a couple hours to see how the firefighters enter this shift. It's a little messy and the special effects aren't as effective as they have been on the original series. That may just come from this being a show in its first season. It may be a spinoff but it still has a more limited budget as well. It has to keep things somewhat contained and choose where to focus these stories for this specific disaster. It's perilous to watch as a vehicle literally tries to race away from a tornado. It's even more tantalizing when the action reveals where the vehicle has landed. It's stuck between two buildings. It's precariously perched and ready to fall at any moment. That is a high tense situation. One that requires immediate action. It's a little annoying how so much of these emergencies ultimately play based on who gets to perform for the cameras. Marjan is always chasing that recognition. She will do whatever dangerous stunt in order to be at the center of yet another viral video. She is upset when the cameras weren't even on when she has to jump from the car and land on the pad below. That's the safe way to exit this situation before the car comes crashing down. That makes it a cruel and effective joke when Mateo is the one on the news later on as the world sees the aftermath of this disaster and the work the first responders are doing. Of course, Mateo does more than simply pass out water and get stuck in a precarious situation himself. He is right there alongside the other firefighters from this station as they are trying to reunite a family only for it all to be in vain. The children are trapped inside the collapsed home. The father doesn't even know if they are still alive. He will keeping digging until he finds them. Meanwhile, the firefighters have the proper tools to figure out the best way to mount this rescue mission. It means Captain Strand puts himself in harm's way for this incredible rescue. He does so because he seemingly believes his life is suddenly more expendable than anyone else on his crew. That's a grim and morose outlook on life. It comes from him still refusing to be honest with T.K. about his cancer diagnosis. Owen is literally nauseous on the job and still goes out on calls. That is dangerous too. He is going out into the field with compromised health. The team doesn't think much of it as he's coughing along this journey. Only with the understanding that he is sick does T.K. realize that this is a symptom that may only get worse. This is something that firefighters who were there on 9/11 have to deal with. They are heroic even though they may not feel worthy of that designation. It's an interesting mindset that may stand in contrast with the young minds now working for Owen. The same extends to Judd who is questioning his belief in God given all of the tragedies that have now happened in his life. Grace has never lost her faith. She gets to make her own miraculous save as a 911 call operator here. That is crucial because she needs to become more prominent in the proceedings. Right now, the family drama is largely centered around Judd and what he's going through. With Grace, she provides stability even though she is still upset when he makes a dismissive comment about her faith. He doesn't understand a god who would allow all of this to happen. He may have to accept his own powerlessness over it all in order to find some way to cope. Owen is there for his team as well. He doesn't want them to bottle up their emotions. They have to be free to share everything they are feeling because of the danger their jobs require. That just has to extend to the captain as well because the team may be operating in the dark because they don't know what's going on with Owen and how his cancer may affect his judgment.