Thursday, December 17, 2020

REVIEW: 'Station 19' - Miller and Sullivan Respond to an Emergency with Compassion, Then Are Criminalized for It in 'Out of Control'

ABC's Station 19 - Episode 4.05 "Out of Control"

Andy and Sullivan find a way to stay connected. Ben confronts a tough loss. Jack and Inara grow closer. While off duty, the crew jumps into action to help a mother in distress, but their heroic efforts spark conflict with police officers who are less than eager to offer support.

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.

"Out of Control" was written by Tyrone Finch and directed by Michael Medico

The Station 19 crew frequently sees people on the worst days of their lives. They respond to these emergencies in the hopes of saving lives. They fundamentally understand that they can't save everyone. However, Ben explains that they held restore faith that people exist who want to help people when the absolute worst is happening. So much isn't fair right now. People are suffering because of a crisis that didn't have to be as bad as it is. And yet, communities of color are being hit harder. Their lives are being targeted with such despair and destruction. As a result, the response is disproportional because of a lack of empathy and understanding. It's despicable. When Miller, Travis and Vic respond to a mother's cries for help, they do so with compassion. They inherently believe her story about her daughter being kidnapped. They don't immediately break the rules and barge into this man's house without any evidence. They react in a rational way. That can be frustrating to some because it seems like they aren't acting with urgency. They are. They know just how dire this situation can grow. They trust the word of a concerned parent. They also expect the police to arrive and offer better support in this situation. That doesn't occur though. This show has always depicted firefighters and hospital workers with compassion and empathy for the communities they serve. Here, it depicts police as being unbothered by the dangers that plague their communities. When the officers show up, they don't believe anything about kidnapping. They just see hysterical women who are lousy parents. They dismiss the entire notion. It's a common response because people treat Black pain and suffering as less valid. That's the sad reality of the world we live in. People need to take the responsibility to educate themselves and be part of the solution. It shouldn't come from having a direct connection to the struggles either. It doesn't take being a part of a specific race or gender to know when these targeted threats are occurring. Sadly, that remains true though. Vic knew from a young age that no one would come rescue her if she went missing. It was only after Pru was born that Miller decided to educate himself on the dangers out there in the world for her. It takes this situation to erupt before Jack is willing to hear the statistics of missing people of color. The firehouse crew has these experiences. They know how to make a difference. They are hoping they can trust the police officers to add their support. They do the opposite. They make the situation worse because they believe the word of the criminal for no other reason than him being white. He is allowed to personally victimize these two young girls and still be seen as a reliable narrator of events. He targeted them. And now, they are being personally criminalized despite being victims. A fire breaks out which offers Miller and Sullivan the opportunity to go in. That turns this scene over to their jurisdiction. The situation didn't have to escalate in that way. In the aftermath, the police are still skeptical and completely insensitive about how they should respond to any of this. One officer doesn't know how to ask the questions. It's simply necessary that he does. The other wants to see the fire as the crime and not anything that happened before that particular moment. People are justified in having extreme reactions. They are doing their best to ensure the world operates in a fair way. These police officers flex their authority. That's all that it is. They are essentially protecting their own as well. It's not about responding to an emergency and helping the people in need. They are trained to only see threats. It's easier for them to blame the people of color they meet in every step of this situation. It's easier to arrest them because that somehow feels right to them. Again, it's all despicable. All of these people have full and engaging lives. They are all struggling with the effects of the pandemic. But again, it's necessary for people in public service to operate from a place of understanding and compassion. If the job is all about showing displays of force, then that reaction will only make matters worse when they are asked to respond to a crisis. That's the reality for Station 19 at the moment. They are left devastated over what occurs. It's shocking to some. It's a painful reality that has been all too common to others. They will stand united in defiance of all that happened. That fight is justified. But the system may not be trusted to be held accountable to ensure the final outcome is any better than the travesty that currently exists.