Monday, March 8, 2021

REVIEW: '9-1-1: Lone Star' - Carlos Must Figure Out a Mystery in Order to Save the Lives of Tommy's Crew in 'Bad Call'

FOX's 9-1-1: Lone Star - Episode 2.08 "Bad Call"

A bank robbery, an apartment fire and a pregnant woman lost in a parking garage are the seemingly unconnected calls to which the 126 responds. Then, T.K. celebrates his one-year anniversary of sobriety while Owen and Gwyn may not make it to the end of the week as a couple. Carlos finds himself working on a case with his Texas Ranger father.

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.

"Bad Call" was written by Tonya Kong and directed by Bradley Buecker

Carlos is a good cop. That has never been in question before. Of course, he has frequently been relegated to minor stories in the narrative. His life as a first responder is a little more detached from the firehouse. He is connected to the place because of his relationship with TK. Moreover, he is often the one to show up when Grace needs someone on the ground to help after her expertise saves lives from over the phone. The show has a pattern of how it enjoys operating with these characters. That makes it exciting when the story opts to break free from those boxes to do something else. The season previously introduced some tension between Carlos and his parents. It wasn't a story about homophobia. It was simply distance because they have never been that close. They are more closed off with their emotions. As such, he isn't able to fully express himself when he is around them. It has presented its own challenges. He believes he can't be as honest with his relationship with TK as he would like. He is just trying to live up to his father's expectations. He is constantly having to prove himself on this job. He needs to show that his instincts are right. He knows how to excel in the field. His department questioning his actions regarding a bank robbery only invites more criticism and doubt from his father. It enhances this story and its psychological effect on Carlos. It may not be a big deal to his parents. In fact, that seems like the opinion that his father has by the end of this episode. He's not doing anything out of malice. This is simply the way that he conducts himself. He has questions and says them openly. He too is trying to navigate this new professional relationship with his son. Carlos feels the pressure to live up to these expectations. With the perception of any doubt though, it can make him second guess everything. And yet, he was right to believe that the bomb was real. He believed the story of the man robbing the bank. His partner didn't. She saw him as being too gullible. That is Carlos leading from compassion though. It's not a split-second decision. The stakes are still intense. The choice he makes is still one of life or death. It's simply incumbent on him to listen and lead with conviction. He doubts himself from time to time. But he also can trust his instincts in the field. He knows something isn't right when TK goes missing for an hour after the shift. Owen and Gwyneth fear that he has relapsed. They saw that as the inevitable outcome because of how quiet and shutoff he got after learning they were splitting up once more. They too are conditioned to believe that as the pattern of his life. It's sad. They don't want to jeopardize his sobriety. They are aware of it as it pertains to informing him of the breakup. That's not what is going on though. Instead, the ambulance crew has been abducted by the criminals who made the bomb. One exploded. That left one with severe injuries. Now, Tommy handles herself well under pressure. She knows exactly how to make the items necessary to treat these wounds with the supplies on the rig and in her husband's abandoned restaurant. TK is always looking for a way to escape this situation. Both impulses are correct. Tommy's perspective comes from a place of maturity and experience. She commands this team. As such, she has to be willing to put her life on the line for those who serve with her. They all have to make that contract. They are devoted to this job. And yet, they are held at gunpoint. They have to fight in order to survive. They do so long enough for Owen and Carlos to put the pieces together. They solve the mystery and the paramedics are saved. That's basically the end of this story. It's good enough that Owen shoots the cruel and vicious mastermind. Tommy still calls it in for him to receive more treatment. But at the end of the day, it's all about the personal acceptance within these interpersonal dynamics. Sure, it's an episode that concludes with Judd and Grace's lives also being put in peril. A lot of traumatic things are now happening to these characters all at once. It can be overwhelming to the narrative. And yet, the focus remains strong on Carlos and him being more expressive in his life. He cares about TK. That radiates through everything he does and makes him a better person as a result. That brings value to this relationship even though they are still evolving as a couple and individuals too.