Monday, February 8, 2021

REVIEW: '9-1-1: Lone Star' - Owen, T.K. & Marjan Must Evaluate the Security They Feel in Their Relationships in 'Friends with Benefits'

FOX's 9-1-1: Lone Star - Episode 2.04 "Friends with Benefits"

The 126 is on the scene when a disastrous wedding comes crumbling down, as Grace helps a dominatrix and her slave involved in a shocking situation. Meanwhile, Owen and Gwyneth struggle to label their new relationship and a man from Marjan's past re-enters back in her life.

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.

"Friends with Benefits" was written by Carly Soteras & Jalysa Conway and directed by Sanaa Hamri

Everyone has different expectations from their romantic relationships. Those needs are constantly changing as well. Relationships evolve over time. This episode wants to better define some of the conflicts that the characters are currently facing in their various romances. Many of them handle it with nuance and appreciation for the complexities of life. Carlos isn't afraid to proclaim that T.K. is a taken man. They have a loving relationship. And yet, Carlos' personality shifts the moment he is with his parents. They are loving and accepting of him. However, they have never had a conversation about his sexuality since he came out as a teenager. He doesn't want to be the one to bring that up again either. The moment itself was perfectly fine. It wasn't traumatic in the slightest. However, it's safer for him to describe T.K. as his friend from work instead of his boyfriend. That's what he is comfortable doing. T.K. is hurt because of that distinction. He knows that Carlos is perfectly capable of celebrating and showing off their love. This instance is different. T.K. wanted this moment. He wanted to meet Carlos' parents. And now, the expectations he set for the moment make him fear existential problems in their relationship. His parents are too distracted with their own issues to offer him some coherent advice as well. T.K. eventually finds clarity. He has to dissect it from the various points that Owen and Gwyneth make. In this moment, he simply has to offer unconditional support to Carlos. He has to provide that stability because he doesn't feel safe fully embracing this in every corner of his life. It's better to have that out in the open now. It doesn't have to tear them apart. It's uncertain for a brief moment. It can be fixed with better communication. This probably won't be the last time this comes up either. And so, Carlos needs that support as he figures out when and how to deal with the situation. He has so much love to give. He is still frightened as well because of the unknown. That fear is relatable and requires T.K. to focus less on himself and more on his partner. That's exactly the same thing that Owen has to do. Of course, he puts things into extreme terms no matter what. He and Gwyneth are fun together now because everything in their relationship is spontaneous. None of this was planned. They enjoy seeing where it goes next. And yet, Gwyneth has given up a lot in her life to pursue this relationship. She has the freedom of doing so as well. It's perfectly reasonable for her to seek more clarity. She wants to label this relationship. It's more than just the fun that comes from being friends with benefits. That doesn't summarize everything that they are. Owen just takes that as needing to propose to her. That doesn't need to happen. He is jumping over steps because he believes that's what Gwyneth needs. Instead, she is concerned about surprisingly being pregnant and wondering just how committed they both should be in this relationship. It has become more real. This development has to put things into a new context. Again, their expectations have to evolve because it's no longer about their individual needs. And finally, Marjan has to admit that she actually does love Salim, who has been her arranged fiancé since she was 12. She always saw love as something that would develop over time after she was married. As such, she didn't have to think about things through that lens until her wedding day arrived. Salim is tired of waiting. He confesses his feelings while also stating it's not fair to keep waiting if there isn't the chance of anything more developing. It's in that moment that Marjan sees this relationship differently. She loves him. And yet, his actions forcing this confrontation show her that this also isn't a worthy relationship for her despite how perfect they seem on paper. She had this certainty in her life because it was arranged for her. She was given the freedom to express herself in her career. She was still expected to return to Miami to have a family with him. And now, those expectations change instantly. That will leave her trying to find her stability once more. That's not a position she ever expected herself to be in. She didn't know these feelings existed until they were challenged. Salim understands that impulse. Her leaving Miami allowed him to think more about their potential marriage. The world challenges them. It pulls them apart and brings them back together. That doesn't ensure that all of these relationships are healthy. It simply proves that expectations evolve and people have to constantly check in to see if they are still safe and secure with everything.