9-1-1: Lone Star season 1, episode 1 recap – a fun and inclusive network spin-off

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: January 20, 2020 (Last updated: February 13, 2024)
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9-1-1: Lone Star season 1, episode 1 recap - a fun and inclusive network spin-off


Rob Lowe and Liv Tyler lead this inclusive spin-off that opens with enough charisma and promise to just about work.

This recap of 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 1, Episode 1 contains spoilers.

Following in the footsteps of FBI: Most Wanted, though at least with a more attention-grabbing cast and contemporary sensibility, 9-1-1: Lone Star makes for a funny spin-off about good-looking emergency services personnel with charisma to spare. In it, Rob Lowe plays New York firefighter and All-American hero Owen Strand, diagnosed early in 9-1-1: Lone Star Episode 1 with lung cancer and despatched to Austin, Texas, to reinvent their struggling fire department after a cold-open disaster.

Lowe’s handsomeness is mined for comic effect in the usually testosterone-driven locker room shenanigans, where he gives a trans man of color, Paul Strickland (Brian Michael Smith), advice on his skincare routine. The cosmopolitan inclusiveness of 9-1-1: Lone Star is taken wholly seriously by the show, which isn’t shy about one of Strand’s mandates being to ensure the department isn’t white-dominated. He even questions his own suitability to the task in those terms: Wouldn’t they be better hiring someone more, you know, diverse? But of course not, because he’s a solid get-things-done man of principle who everyone must respect, and he also has a suicidal, gay, recovering addict son, TK (Ronen Rubinstein), who is in desperate need of relocation. Thus the fire department is quickly staffed by highly capable overlooked diversity hires, including a devout Muslim woman, Marjan Marwani (Natacha Karam), much to the annoyance of PTSD-afflicted former chief Judd Ryder (Jim Parrack).

Liv Tyler is on-hand as paramedic Michelle Blake to provide both jurisdictional arguments and flirty patter with Strand, and they’re a believable double-act. Blake has some personal issues with a dead sister that I assume will be clarified further in subsequent episodes, while Strand gradually succumbing to cancer will be a grounded thread in what is otherwise a relatively light, often funny show about a team of heroes doing the right thing by their community. Further focus away from Strand and on his mismatched band of firefighters will serve the show well going forwards.

TV, TV Recaps
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