Monday, February 1, 2021

REVIEW: '9-1-1: Lone Star' - A Massive Forest Fire Requires Additional Firefighters from Out-of-State in 'Hold the Line'

FOX's 9-1-1: Lone Star - Episode 2.03 "Hold the Line"

As a wildfire spreads across Texas, Buck, Hen and Eddie from the 118 firehouse in Los Angeles arrive in Austin to help Captain Strand and the 126. As the crews race to save a group of teenagers trapped by the fire at a campground, Owen and Hen fight for their lives in the aftermath of a helicopter crash.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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.

"Hold the Line" was written by Jessica Ball & John Owen Lowe and directed by Bradley Buecker

FOX's 9-1-1 opted not to spinoff one of its regular characters onto 9-1-1: Lone Star when it started. It certainly had the opportunity to do so given Eddie is originally from Texas. That is the typical way that spinoffs occur. The creative team takes a character who stood out on the original show and then centers a new one around them. In this case, the 9-1-1 franchise is built around the structure of following first responders around on the insane and dramatic calls they deal with on a daily basis. That makes it amusing when these two teams meet for the first time and Buck and TK start trying to one-up each other with the crazy emergencies they have responded to in their careers. It's a fun conversation to have that also winks at the audience a little bit. It states that the characters themselves know how strange and insane their jobs can be. That makes them more relatable. Of course, the hour also provides the fan service of TK thinking Buck is gay and hitting on him. It is an earned moment. It doesn't come out of nowhere. This isn't the first time someone has assumed that about Buck either. Perhaps that's something he should bring up with his therapist in his next session. It's part of the way he carries himself. Of course, he is also perceived to be a creep when he is actually just a fan of Marjan. She is the member of the 126 crew who actually has a presence beyond Austin. She has viral videos online. That too becomes a plot point where Eddie realizes he should at least be intrigued about that part of her life. It's not the entire basis for their connection here. It's simply a way into a conversation. One that is light and fun. This crossover event has plenty of those moments. It's nice to see these characters interacting. It will make it even easier later on. These introductions are out of the way. That may allow crossovers to occur more seamlessly. The teams go through a daunting and grueling experience. That bonds them together. TK needs some of Buck's reckless energy to disobey orders and steal a firetruck in order to rescue their missing teammates. The entire 126 supports that mission as well. They are only disappointed that Buck and TK wanted to do it in secret believing they would be scorned for these actions. Again, it highlights how the characters have grown over the course of their respective series. However, the energy they brought to the proceedings early on is still present now. That allows the story to provide dependable plot beats. It's easy to understand where the characters are coming from and how their actions will further inform the story. Hen is the one who argues for sending a helicopter into the field. Owen approves it. They risk their lives in order to save a missing teenager. Judd and Paul can make the heroic save on the ground. They can only do so because of the support from the air. This fire is massive and dangerous. It's not the only thing that plagues these characters though. A lot is framed around Owen's guilt regarding Tim's recent death. It was a traumatic moment that happened feet away from him. He feels invincible because he has survived incredible odds when he should have been killed on this job. He simply views that as the foundation for how he operates in the field. He survives while others are made to suffer around him. He believes Hen will be the next victim of this curse. She isn't though. They are rescued. Their teams aren't willing to leave them behind and wait for the conditions to improve. They act with urgency because they know Owen and Hen would do the same for them. Those convictions may seem reckless. However, they are heroic and loving as well. Plus, Hen may provide Owen with the release he needs to free himself from the burden he has been carrying for a long time. 9/11 changed his life. It also stunted it in a way. He feels like he can never move past it without disrespecting the memories of his fallen friends. He is plagued by visions of Tim long before he suffers a concussion in the helicopter crash. Hen hasn't had an easy life either. She still carries guilt for the girl she killed while driving the ambulance. It means something for these two to confess their deepest regrets to total strangers. They are bonded by this experience where they think they are going to die. They live though. It could be a transformative moment for both of them. It may free them from the guilt they have long carried. They can move on fully willing to embrace life. That's what Owen's family needs from him. He needs to be present and actually willing to accept the celebration of what happens in life. It may not always be okay. And yet, he can't catastrophize everything either. That's exhausting and may further doom him. That wouldn't be healthy for anyone. This should be a pivotal turning point. His actions will determine whether that is actually the case.