Monday, February 10, 2020

REVIEW: '9-1-1: Lone Star' - Owen and Paul Enjoy Their First Dates in Texas While Grace Craves More Intimacy in 'Studs'

FOX's 9-1-1: Lone Star - Episode 1.05 "Studs"

Owen and the crew race to a brawl at a male strip club, a fire at a bull semen factory and a protest where male toxicity is taken to a new level. Paul tentatively goes out on a first date, Grace tries to reconnect with Judd and Owen faces the consequences of his chemo.

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.

"Studs" was written by Carly Soteras and directed by Bradley Buecker

Dating while trans is a story rarely seen in television. Some representation is out there. And yet, it remains vital for more shows to feature those stories. That kind of visibility can help people better understand it all while sharing empathy with those who live it every single day. This is a show that has broken down stereotypes of what it means to be a man serving in a traditionally testosterone-filled profession. A sense of one's masculinity doesn't have to be defined by physical appearances that have been shaped by public culture. It is more inclusive to be open to emotions and extending that same empathy and compassion to others. That is a powerful message. It may be difficult for Paul right now. He is loved and accepted at the firehouse. He understands the anxiety that comes from his date with Josie better than his friends do. T.K. may be able to simplify it down to dating being scary and nervous no matter what. It doesn't matter what a person's gender identity or sexual orientation is. Being open and vulnerable with another person is a nerve-wrecking prospect. Paul and Josie's date is perfectly charming too. It feels like it will move just as happily and smoothly as the other romantic stories of this hour. It doesn't though. Josie wants to believe that she is enlightened and accepting. However, this isn't something she can personally accept right away. That is so depressing and disheartening. It runs the risk of absolutely crushing Paul's spirit. As such, it's key that T.K. and Carlos are there to ensure he can still have fun in the weirdest city of Texas. That's an uplifting conclusion. One that shows that this series will continue to explore this as a way to better increase the visibility of trans issues. Sure, it's also notable that Paul's first date falters while things go well for Owen, Judd and Grace here. With Judd and Grace, they are already a stable couple. He has consumed a lot of oxygen in that relationship so far. He is the one who brings dimension and texture to their relationship. Grace can be heard as a 911 operator. However, she hasn't had a whole lot of personal agency. Here, she takes a stand for herself knowing that she deserves to be personally fulfilled as well. She remains empathetic to everything that Judd is going through as a result of his trauma. But life has to be about her sometimes as well. That's the only way that a relationship can work. It has to be a partnership that gives and takes. It can't be one-sided. Judd understands that and is more than capable of giving Grace exactly what she needs by the end of the hour. Meanwhile, Owen feels the pressure to perform in the bedroom because Wayne tells him that cancer will change everything in his life. Owen doesn't want to lose that part of himself. Sure, it hits his pride in a troubling way where he projects these feelings of strength onto his manhood. Zoe feels like the perfect person to be in that moment with him because she understands it from a psychological perspective and helps put everything into context for him. That may cater to his ego more than is necessary. It's still built around the premise that he doesn't want to inject himself with a needle in order to have sex. It's a one-note joke in the end. But again, the understanding is that this relationship will continue at least for a little bit. Owen doesn't have to be honest about his cancer diagnosis upfront either. He stands in contrast to Paul though. Owen fears that cancer will impact his ability to be sexual. Meanwhile, Paul understands that his identity is enough to give some people pause. That's unfortunate and highlights the many different forms relationships take in life. People may not immediately know that T.K. is gay and Paul is trans. However, Wayne accepts T.K. immediately while the world still doesn't entirely understand Paul. This show can massively help in that regard and this feels like a solid first step on that journey.