Monday, February 17, 2020

REVIEW: '9-1-1: Lone Star' - Owen Meets a New Captain Who Immediately Threatens His Job in 'Friends Like These'

FOX's 9-1-1: Lone Star - Episode 1.06 "Friends Like These"

Emergencies include a ride-share trip gone awry, a farming accident and a memorial service that may turn into another funeral. Owen unexpectedly bonds with the former Captain of the 126, while Marjan and the crew help Mateo try to pass his written exams.

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.

"Friends Like These" was written by John Owen Lowe and directed by Marita Grabiak

Owen is warned by numerous people to be wary of Billy - a former colleague of Judd's from the 126. He was on medical leave for over a year when the tragic accident took place. That's why he survived. He was promoted to captain as a result and now commands one of the largest firehouses in the city. His career sounds impressive. And yet, it's clear that he has a chip on his shoulder about the firehouse Owen now leads. Judd doesn't want to invite Owen to his poker game. Owen is the only person willing to accept the invitation though. It's only upon Grace's urging that Judd shares that Billy doesn't like the captain who took this job away from him when he believed it rightfully belonged to him. Owen mostly takes that as a challenge. He is told this guy can't be persuaded and befriended by Owen. As such, he works extra hard to make a solid impression and earn a new friend in the city. And yes, the story certainly wants the audience to fall into that understanding. Owen and Billy are alike in a lot of ways. They both have the same mentalities towards the job. They have both faced cancer. They have similar interests outside of work. And yet, Michelle warns Owen that Billy is a slippery individual. Someone who can't be completely trusted because he is always working some angle that will benefit himself. And yes, that's exactly how this plot eventually develops. Owen feels like he can open up to Billy about his cancer diagnosis. He views it as an outsider's perspective in the hopes of understanding what to expect. Billy took the year off and couldn't stand it. His life is the job. Owen is the exact same way. They are just now both gunning for the same job. Billy uses that information in order to paint Owen as unfit for command. He is risking his own life and those who serve under him. This season has proven Owen to be a strong and commanding leader. He understands exactly what his firefighters need in any given moment. Here, he accepts that Marjan is the person who can help Mateo pass the written exam. That allows those characters to have some more depth and nuance. Mateo needs this to work out because he fears being deported. If he can't be a firefighter, then he doesn't know what his life will be. That's a mentality so many on the job understand. Meanwhile, Marjan is someone with no fear of death because she lives her life accepting that it is short anyway. Again, that may not always be helpful in any given situation. Mateo doesn't entirely understand the message either. However, her leadership helps him pass this exam and ensures that the 126 has something to celebrate. That will be short-lived because of the news awaiting Owen back at the station. Owen has refused to be open about his cancer diagnosis. He kept it hidden to remain in charge. That could prove that his judgment is compromised. He believes a feat of physical prowess will prove that he still has the stamina to perform this job. That highlights the muscular and rough way these people are conditioned into believing their worth. It is incredibly dangerous. And yet, there are many ways to serve one's community. This job is all that these people have. Owen would be lost without it. Billy sees the 126 as having lost its spirit. He looks at the open floor plan and sees an agonizing nightmare for any introvert. He sees lavish improvements that don't help anyone perform better on the job and that he could never get authorized for his firehouse. He sees Owen getting all of this privilege because of tragedy. He didn't earn it. Of course, Billy has a condescending view towards the crew Owen has assembled as well. He believes they aren't fitting of the 126 identity. He remains scarred from the past. Judd has dealt with similar damage. He has been working through it. Meanwhile, Billy is lashing out for control even though he should be happy with the life he has. It's never enough for him which compromises even more people. Again, Owen was warned before he even met Billy. Owen is a flawed protagonist. However, he is still trusted by the audience to lead despite his personal shortcomings. All of this will force him to be more honest. Plus, his crew will be there to support him just like they are for Mateo which reaffirms just how quick this family bond has formed.