Thursday, December 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'Station 19' - Sullivan Must Atone for His Past Actions While Facing the Disciplinary Board in 'We Are Family'

ABC's Station 19 - Episode 4.03 "We Are Family"

The future of Sullivan's career hangs in the balance as his disciplinary hearing gets underway and Ben, Dr. Richard Webber, Emmett Dixon and former Fire Chief Dixon are called to testify. Meanwhile, the crew investigates an electrical fire at a neglected apartment building that serves as the home and performance space for some of Seattle's most prominent drag queens.

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 ABC's Station 19.

"We Are Family" was written by Zaiver Sinnett and directed by Paris Barclay

These first few episodes of the season have largely been devoted to the lingering fallout and consequences of the actions taken at the end of the previous one. The third season wrapped up in a way where it felt as if some things were resolved though the audience could sense more peril was likely. Chief Dixon was positioned as an antagonist. He was essentially forced out of the fire department because of his involvement in the cover-up of Sullivan's actions. Sullivan came clean about his mistakes as well. He saw that as important even though he had no idea what the fallout would be. And now, this episode is devoted chiefly to that concern. It offers the perception of analyzing the events of the third season. That may not be all that necessary. It does clarify that Dixon's career wasn't ruined because of this scandal. He could maneuver his way out of it. He still remains in a position of power and authority too. He is heinous to everyone. That includes his own family. Emmett has become free from his control. And yet, his father still believes he can use his son's gay identity as a way to earn sympathy and vilify Sullivan. It's completely despicable. This is an episode that has so much love and affection for the LGBTQ+ community as well. The show as a whole has done a phenomenal job in spotlighting the community with complicated personal relationships for Maya and Travis. Their character arcs have absolutely been inconsistent over the years. Travis, in particular, feels like he is flailing around trying to get something of substance to stick. As such, his realization that he has no gay friends anymore is mostly a rushed development. Sure, it's a nice sentiment that he and Emmett can be friends once more. Their dynamic doesn't have to be defined by romance. The show is so accustomed to presenting Station 19 as a family unit though. That makes it difficult for the various characters in the firehouse to spread their wings and welcome something joyous elsewhere. Ben has an advantage because he had this full and rewarding life long before he became a firefighter. He is proud to be a doctor. And yet, he is devastated that his traveling OR program is forced to shut down. That too is a consequence of Sullivan's actions. Ben takes it as a way to lash out against the system. It's not anger towards a particular person. In fact, Sullivan's story ultimately pivots around everyone at Station 19 rallying around him in support. They address the disease he has and the support he needs to overcome it. They recognize addiction as something that requires love, support and treatment. He is grateful even though he is demoted at the end of all of this. His career was at risk of being taken away entirely. He can still be a firefighter. The season will explore how pivotal the profession is for him instead of the leadership he carried for a long time. Maya is in charge. She doesn't have everything together either. The show loves the dysfunction of these characters. It can make things a bit too blunt and broad sometimes as well. Maya enjoys creating problems where none exist. Andy rationalizes it by saying that these dark and twisted people simply react that way because it's all they've ever known. Pruitt brought them together to support one another. They are still struggling to achieve those ideals. They take an important step for Sullivan. Parts of this family dynamic have been restored. It can still be a confining worldview though. One that doesn't always know how to help these individuals when they are off the job. And yet, their focus has to be on the heroics of service because this pandemic creates so much peril and uncertainty across the entire world. And so, Jack doesn't want to read anything more into the makeshift family he has created away from the station even though Miller accurately deduces what is truly going on. Andy and Maya just want their friendship to go back to the way it was. Miller and Vic don't want Ben to change the way the firehouse prepares meals. These dynamics aren't inherently bad. They may even be seen as rational because of the extreme times they are living in. They could still be challenged though. Life is an ongoing struggle. Sullivan feels that acutely in his recovery. People want to help. The firehouse knows exactly how to make a difference here for him. They save a drag family from a fire as well. Life is about finding these connections and holding them close. But again, not everything is fundamentally good and healthy. The show recognizes some of that while being a bit too opaque elsewhere for no real value.