Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for season two and the first episode of season three of “9-1-1: Lone Star.”
I was both excited and anxious when tuning in to the season premiere of “9-1-1: Lone Star” because I know the series and its originator go all out for the opening to new seasons. The show follows a team of firefighters from Station 126 in Austin, Texas, and season three begins after the team is split up because the firehouse closed at the end of season two.
Going into its third season on the air, “9-1-1: Lone Star” follows the pattern set by previous seasons by traumatizing both their characters and their audience, myself included.
“Lone Star” opens season three by taking inspiration from the real world and depicting the freeze and power crisis that actually impacted the state of Texas in 2021. The situation gives the showrunners ample opportunity to run the characters through the wringer.
One of the most jarring moments of the first episode happens when a group of immature guys decides to pull each other on skis down a frozen roadway. When a slab of ice is thrown from the top of a moving truck, it lands in the neck of one of the men being pulled on skis.
Through this, we get to see the paramedic team of Tommy (Gina Torres), TK (Ronen Rubenstein) and Nancy (Brianna Baker) jump into action and try to save the man from bleeding out by making sure the ice slab sticking out of his neck doesn’t melt, since it is blocking an artery.
Meanwhile, firefighter Marjan (Natacha Karam) decides to brave the snowstorm in order to go see if she can convince her old boss, Owen Strand (Rob Lowe), to come back to work in order to save their former firehouse. She’s unsuccessful in her mission. Marjan and Owen’s interactions then end with Marjan leaving and sliding off a snowy road and crashing, while Owen decides to walk his dog in the snow before finding a man unconscious.
Finally, when the roof on a building that was being used to shelter people collapses, firefighters Judd (Jim Parrack), Paul (Brian Michael Smith) and Mateo (Julian Works) all go in to save a teenage girl trapped inside. The situation only gets worse when more of the building comes down, trapping Paul inside as well.
With that, we’re waiting for the next episode, not knowing if two of the main characters are okay and waiting to see if one can keep a half-frozen man alive.
Leaving the audience on a cliffhanger like that is one of the main tactics that the writers use in order to make people want to come back the next week, and it works. Fans have had two seasons to become attached to these characters, and they leave us wanting more by putting them in danger. It’s a tacting that was copied from the original “911” series, which has the same creator and writers, so it is no surprise that they use a trick they know will work.
“9-1-1: Lone Star” is a phenomenal show that shows just how dangerous some situations that emergency personnel handle can be. It also gives the audience characters and relationships they can care about and root for, all the while giving watchers a heart attack every time it seems like a favorite character may perish, which is a lot.
Created and produced by Ryan Murphy, Bryan Falchuk and Tim Minear, “9-1-1: Lone Star” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox, with next day streaming on Hulu.