Lone Star: “One in Every Family”
Posted by therebelprince on September 29, 2010
Episode two, episode two. To FOX’s surprise, the ratings for this character-based drama didn’t match those of Dancing With The Stars so, in the last week, Lone Star has built up a sense of expectation throughout the media. The show needed viewers to tune in to keep it going. The viewers didn’t tune in, but I think they would’ve liked what they got – more so than me perhaps.
[Well, the word on the street is that FOX has sent Lone Star to live on a nice farm with so many of its brothers and sisters. Hopefully, we’ll at least get time for an abrupt storyline tie-up if nothing else…]
“One in Every Family” was a very solid hour of television, and deftly managed to complicate the plot several times over, without locking the show in to any one direction.
James Wolk (looking very attractive this week, can I just say) continues to make the complex character of Bob look effortless. But everyone else was in top form as well: Mark Deklin, particularly, since I hated Tram quite thoroughly all episode. And Eloise Mumford proved that even if the show only lets her cry and be curious for the rest of its run, she’ll pull it off.
Lone Star also proved that it was willing to push plot pieces together: Bob’s dad is now thoroughly involved in Thatcher Industries to the point where he’s met all the male Thatchers. I expected they’d save this for a few episodes down the track, so John could be a surprise trump card in a desperate situation, but by moving him into play here, they’re setting us up for some awkward revelations down the road. And, on top of all this, his ultimate decision is to double-cross his son and work on a brand new – higher-reaching – con. The show isn’t wasting any time, that’s for sure.
It must be said: a few of the scenes did feel like pilot-lite. The opening was gripping, with our lead recognised in public by a former mark, but surely Bob can’t afford too many run-ins like this? And Gretchen’s moment of suspicion – which I think dissipated completely after his explanation – felt like a retread of Tram’s party-stopper last week. Understandably, I’m fine with pilot holdovers in week two, but I sincerely hope every week doesn’t introduce a new character just so they can force Bob into a corner. The less it happens, the more dramatic it will be, guys.
Across the board, this was a solid character-building hour of television. The Thatcher family were shaded in a little more, after Drew’s arrest for a DUI. Cat’s manipulation scene, in which she lays on just a tinge of a Southern accent in her attempt to get her brother’s arrest expunged, was nicely done, reminding us of the family’s – and particularly Clint’s – power in this town.
Bob’s character development remains intriguing, but again I’m left waiting to understand him completely. This week he seems thoroughly committed to Lindsay, including a lovely final scene where he tells her the truth – about travelling so often and buying the one yearbook he featured in, even if for one photograph – but softens it with lies. Cat, meanwhile, gets the short end of the stick, since Bob claims to his father that he is basically going to use Drew for his own ends. The line between fact and fiction is as blurred for us as it is for Bob at the moment: something must have compelled him to take the step and marry Lindsay, but was it love? a scheme? sociopathic tendencies? I’m not sure.
The episode really belongs to John, though. For the bulk of the episode, he finds himself in a brutal situation. The veteran con artist is brought down by, yes indeed-y, some CISCO technology. And, just to kick him while he’s down, John is relentlessly mocked by a spoilt rich kid, and then learns – from his paternal rival – that his own son has been spreading stories of parental abandonment. I must admit, one of my biggest pet peeves is when characters completely lose their composure even though they’re in the business of faking it. (Mostly it happens during speeches at big events, or to cops in tough neighbourhoods who still somehow get pushed over the line when someone says “I screwed your wife”.) This particular elevator scene was effectively subtle, though, and well played by David Keith, so I’m letting it slide.
John’s decision to double-cross Bob, and take on his own con, was just one of many quick-moving plot decisions that has me wondering. Assuming (ha) the series goes past 13 episodes, how do Clint’s machinations, and Tram’s scepticism, and Lindsay’s penchant for curiosity, work out? Is Lone Star planning to be a fast moving suspense ride, or is it just taking a few episodes to put the pieces in place for some more languid storytelling down the track?
Anyway, when all is said and done this was a good “Pilot, Part 2”. The argument between Bob and his dad was a natural progression of what we saw last week, but it was nice to realise that this feeling – of being lost, of not being human – has been pent up inside Bob for some time. It always conflicted with what his beloved father told him, though, and finally he’s let it out. Will John and Bob make up? I can’t assume the show would let them fall out this early, but anything’s possible. I’ll be tuning in next week, and I hope y’all will too.