Monday, January 25, 2021

REVIEW: '9-1-1: Lone Star' - Unexpected Debris from a Volcanic Eruption Leaves a Lasting Impact on the Firehouse in '2100°'

FOX's 9-1-1: Lone Star - Episode 2.02 "2100°"

After a volcanic eruption wreaks havoc in Austin, the members of the 126 race to save lives at a college pool party, a family's mini-golf outing and a woman trapped in her food truck by a horde of scorpions.

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.

"2100°" was written by Molly Green & James Leffler and directed by Bradley Buecker

A disconnect exists between the emotion and grief the crew at the 126 feels towards Tim's sudden and shocking death and how the audience probably feels about it. Tim has been a recurring face seen at the station. However, he hasn't been a prominent character with stories centered around him. Yes, he served alongside Michelle and Nancy as paramedics in the first season. However, the audience can relate to Tommy when she says she didn't know anything about him. He was still under her authority and responsibility though. As such, it's vital for everyone to mourn this loss. It's mostly a plot point to establish once more that tragedy can happen at any moment in this profession. These first responders enter dangerous situations. They are prepared to face various daunting threats. Unexpected things happen as well. It's shocking when lava starts shooting from the ground. It's a once in a millennia experience. The scientists on television even have to make the comparison to the Earth letting off some steam just like people have to do on occasion. And yet, it puts people's lives in danger. A fissure can open up anywhere along the once dormant fault line. The firehouse has to be prepared for extensive injuries. Hoping that people remain inside because of the pandemic may not alleviate the situation any either. A frat party is still happening after all. Kids are partying and their destructive behavior actually leads to some extensive injuries. Now, the show probably didn't need that opening to show the disaster that was to come. In fact, the franchise has made a pattern out of ending several episodes with the large scale tragedy that is soon to grip their communities. This hour ends with a camper alone in the woods terrified by the animals when he should be concerned about the massive forrest fire nearby. That sets up the premise for the next episode. It's a useful structural device. However, it doesn't need to happen in addition to an episode where the first minutes are also spent teasing the devastation that is about to occur. That same sequence with the frat party would have worked perfectly fine right before the first responders arrived on the scene. Putting it at the beginning only solidifies that something more prominent is going to happen at that location as opposed to the other emergencies that occur during this episode. And yes, it does provide some terrifying and gruesome visuals like a guy's skin literally peeling off because he has been boiled alive in the pool. It's also precarious when the debris starts shooting out and everyone has to quickly duck for cover. That's the moment where Tim is killed. It's sudden and jarring. And then, the show decides to give him some more personal details. Up until that point, the drama was pointing out him clashing with Tommy over how people should conduct themselves on this job. Tommy feels like a hypocrite because she scolds Tim for how he acts in the field even though she does the same thing with her own children. The impulse is natural. It can be devastating as well. It makes him aware of the words he uses in an emergency setting. It simply becomes tragic because this is the last moment of his life. People will need to reflect on what this sudden loss means for them. Now, the reactions people have to this tragedy may be more compelling than the actual death. That's grim and morbid as well. It allows Owen to release the emotions and uncertainties he has long felt. That includes his fear of the cancer and how certain he was that it was eventually going to kill him. He doesn't quite know how to embrace this good news. That's the reality of life at the firehouse though. They can't even decompress from all of this either. It will be right back to the field to face the next natural disaster that plagues their community. They all feel the call to serve. They have faced death before. They respond on this job differently. This death could be prominent for some. Again, the show has to use it in a meaningful way that reveals nuances amongst the ensemble. Right now, it's focused on the man. That's how it should be. It simply doesn't hit like a devastating loss to the audience. It may purely be seen as set up for whatever happens next with Owen and Tommy trying to lead this team.