“#9-1-1: Lone Star Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Studs”
Masculinity and sexuality were at the forefront of the hour.
You could say that 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 1 Episode 5 was an ode to male virility, fragility, and at times toxic masculinity as the hour explored manhood in various ways.
Hell, they even named the hour “studs” and had some bull stuff thrown in for good measure.
Let’s get Owen out of the way first. It’s not lost that his portion of the hour can, at times, feel like a chore to get through.
Maybe it’s because of how his storyline, in part due to his own vanity and battle with cancer, has always been tied to masculinity in some shape or form, so it felt like a rehash of things we’ve already seen from him.
But in the show’s defense, Rob Lowe is smoking hot, so it would be a waste if we didn’t get some time devoted to Owen’s sex life. Owen’s chemo sessions with Wayne have a way of getting into his head, and this time it was no different.
It’s adorable how TK showed up, a nervous wreck, to sit with his father through chemo and support him. Some of the best moments of the series are between father and son, and Lowe and Rubenstein know how to elicit all the FEELS.
But TK’s presence didn’t keep Wayne from dropping some knowledge on Owen, and this time, he informed our handsome captain that, at some point, his not so little soldier may not stand at attention.
In Owen’s efforts to subconsciously prove Wayne wrong, he went out and picked up a beautiful psychologist with a specialty in sexuality at a beauty store. Because, of course, he did.
Owen: Probie, the Champagne Room, something bad is always going on up there.
TK: How would you know that?
Owen: That is not important.
And then he failed to rise to the occasion when they attempted a hook-up. We’ve already determined that Owen is inclined to do just about anything to uphold that which he holds dear.
He’s obsessed with skincare and his hair, so of course, he’s preoccupied with his penis too.
Thank goodness he was smart enough to draw the line somewhere. The mere idea of him injecting himself with that huge needle and enduring half of those crazy side effects because of his limited views on sexual activity was enough to make you cringe.
And his reward for this epiphany was, um, a well-timed boner. Anyway, Zoe seems cool. She should stick around (sadly, she won’t), but maybe in the future, we can see her again.
Michelle was the only female member of the squad who made it into this installment with a storyline. Marjan was noticeably absent, but Michelle’s case did tie into the theme.
Masculinity doesn’t have to be performative.
The incel, misogynist, protestor who had a seizure outside the women’s shelter was the poster child of toxic masculinity. He was there for some counterbalance.
It was also a wild case, given that his sulfate-based arthritis medicine combined with the team’s use of the defibrillator created a cloud of toxins that killed him and poisoned Michelle and her paramedics.
It was insane, but also, would it be considered negligence or something on Michelle’s part? How does that work?
She was kicking herself for not seeing the signs and figuring all of this out when darling Carlos visited her in the hospital as she recovered from the fumes.
It was also the perfect opportunity for her to update him on the Iris investigation and lowkey enlist his help again. Let the record show that Michelle and Carlos’ friendship is sweet in theory, but in practice, I’m going to need it to feel more balanced than what we’ve been seeing.
Kid: Is Aunt Grace going to ride a bull?
Friend: If she knows what’s good for her.
Carlos is Amazeballs, but he almost always plays a supportive role to either Michelle or TK, so far.
Speaking of support, TK drafted Carlos at the end of the hour to support Paul after his dating mishap, and those three are adorable friends. Give us more of that, please.
The gay club they went to so they could let loose at the end of the hour looked like a blast. And it was so meaningful to have these three men from the LGBTQ community simply share the screen, rally around, and support each other.
Paul shined during this installment, and count me in the “Protect Paul At All Costs” club. He’s such a cupcake of a character, and Brian Michael Smith has such a presence. After his stint on Queen Sugar, it’s nice to see him in a bigger role.
Straight, gay, bi, trans. Dating sucks. There’s no way around it.
Who else was rooting hard for Paul and Josie? They were so cute, but then the reality of what Paul faces as a transgender man trying to date came crashing down, and kudos to the series for exploring this.
While Marjan’s Muslim faith, and how the show addresses it, can sometimes feel forced, Paul’s trans dating experience felt more organic and nuanced.
Mateo and TK didn’t think about how dating is different for Paul than it is for them. They were the supportive friends urging him to take out the cute girl he “rescued” at the strip club, who brought him brisket, but Paul had reservations about putting himself out there.
And those reservations are real.
Paul: So, uh, I guess he told you about me.
Carlos: What, that you’re straight? I don’t judge.
For his safety alone, it helps if Paul has more control over how he dates. For him, dating apps spare him from rejection, sure, but can also protect him from more sinister things.
On an app, he’s open about being trans, and people he dates know what they’re getting into, but dating Josie meant that he had to tell her the truth at some point, and he couldn’t determine how she would react.
Their date was perfect, and the two of them had the best chemistry, and they were so freaking adorable.
And when Josie talked about being who she was and not changing to accommodate her ex who had an issue with her being a tomboy, it felt as though there was a chance that maybe she could accept Paul too.
Except, she apparently didn’t react well when he told her the truth, and their conversation at the station the next day was heartbreaking but real.
Josie: I am so embarrassed at how I reacted last night. I owe you an apology.
Paul: You don’t owe me anything, Josie.
Josie: I couldn’t sleep last night. I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I really like you, Paul.
Paul: You mean liked.
Josie: I mean like. Present tense. You’re thoughtful, charming, sexy as hell. You’re literally the man of my dreams.
Paul: But only in your dreams, right?
Josie: I guess I’m not evolved as I though. I’m not a terrible person.
Paul: I know you’re not.
Josie: I just don’t think this is something that I can get past. I’m sorry.
Our hearts break for Paul, who met the perfect girl for him only to discover that she doesn’t feel she can date a trans man. But it also introduced us to how complicated the situation is.
As much as you wished Josie could get over it, it’s realistic that she couldn’t. Her explanation that she thought she was more evolved was honest.
To her, Paul was the perfect man for her, but she couldn’t move beyond that. It didn’t necessarily make her a bad person, but it’s interesting how it made her confront something about herself.
And Paul, he put himself out there, and it didn’t work out this time, but dammit, he better find love because he deserves it. He’s a total catch.
Well you know Mrs. Ryder, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were trying to seduce me. Oh, are you serious?
The Ryders (given the subject matter, their surname did elicit some giggles), had some tough conversations, too.
It’s a tough situation here as well. It’s commendable that the show is actually giving voice to the loved ones of those battling PTSD and other such things.
So often the conversation is only specifically about the person battling it. And it should be about them, but the effects of it branch out to spouses, family, friends, and colleagues. By exploring their feelings as well, it gives us a more authentic look at mental health and the effects.
Grace is in all of this with Judd, and she’s a constant source of support for him. It takes a toll on her as well, and there’s no getting around that, it’s just the reality.
Judd: You know how out of sorts I am with my feelings. It ain’t about you.
Grace: And that’s the thing, Judd. It’s never about me. And maybe it should be, Judd. At least some of the time. I have needs too, even if you don’t feel up to it.
She confided in her friend, one of the widows of those lost in the fire, that they haven’t been intimate in months. Grace’s feelings are valid.
For months, their marriage has understandably been devoted to Judd and his mental health as he recovers from the terrible thing he experienced and his loss.
It put THEM on hold for HIM, and that’s part of being married and enduring hardships. But Grace has felt a bit emotionally and physically neglected. And she struggled to address it given everything that Judd has endured.
You get that she didn’t want to come across as insensitive or selfish by addressing that he and their marriage aren’t addressing some of her needs.
Judd: Grace, you are the one thing in this world that I can’t live without, and the idea that I would make you doubt that even for a minute is a crime. I just don’t want you, I need you.
Grace: Well, you got me fool.
And I love that she was able to have this discussion with Judd, and he was able to receive it and reassure his wife that despite everything he’s been going through, she’s still his everything.
However, as much as Grace’s feelings were valid, it has only been four months since the accident. Judd is going through a lot, and it still felt a bit soon to force his hand on the issue when it’s something that he could’ve worked through in his time.
Grief is a hell of a thing — a heck of a libido killer too, and so is PTSD. It’s not as though he isn’t working through it with a professional.
And while not intentional, I’m sure, Grace’s comment about him doing it even if he’s not up to it was poor and cringeworthy delivery.
That aside, the Ryders are the absolute best. I love the way they talk through their issues and that even though Judd is dealing with a lot, he takes the time to listen to his wife and make improvements.
Narratively, the series focuses more on Judd than Grace, but you also get the sense that the foundation of their relationship is solid, and they’re a partnership.
Also not only did Judd get his mojo back after that hilarious bull semen factory call, but he sweet, tender way of reassuring his wife was swoon-worthy.
He’s a sweet talker, that Judd. And I have to take another moment to appreciate how precious their height difference is. The Ryders are cute and goals.
Over to you, Lone Star Fanatics. How did you feel about Paul and Josie? Were Grace’s concerns understandable? Which case entertained you the most?
Are you ‘shipping Owen and Zoe? Hit the comments below.
You can watch 9-1-1: Lone Star online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.
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