9-1-1: Lone Star Season 4 Episode 3 Review: Cry Wolf
The good news is we have Iris back! Of course, the bad news is that now Carlos is gone.
And this is why you should always have a buddy with you, unless you’re Owen, because, by the end of 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 4 Episode 3, it was crystal clear that he sucks at choosing buddies.
It was another installment that was light on actual calls and heavy on arcs that will fundamentally affect a couple of characters.
As far as calls go, the team showing up at a cliff because a mentally ill man threw his sex doll over as outsiders thought it was a real woman wasn’t something I could’ve envisioned.
These are classic Lone Star things.
Although, I’m having a tough time with how often the series is leaning into making mentally ill people the butt of the joke. Iris’ reintroduction was played up for laughs in many of her scenes, and this man’s relationship with a sex doll will be fodder for everyone to laugh at over some beers later.
It’s one of those instances where some of the promotion may have spoiled the mystery and intrigue behind the woman over the cliff because we knew it wasn’t going to be Iris.
But it didn’t stop Carlos from freaking out, going off-book, and looking incredibly freaking hot while doing so. Angry Carlos is delicious.
Sadly, we’re officially three installments into the season. However, Marjan, Paul, and Mateo are still nothing more than background characters, with Nancy operating as a supporting role to the other members of TNT.
Marjan and Paul got the “save” and added humor to the situation. However, Nancy stole the whole call with her dramatic work trying to revive the sex doll before calling it.
Brianna Baker’s comedic chops and timing are immaculate, and every moment with screentime for her makes you long for infinitely more.
Neal McDonough is also a guest star who brings that deadpan humor that allows him to play off Lowe well during their screentime. Despite this Nazi arc chewing up so much screen time, he’s great to watch.
It felt like a double-switcheroo with how they handled things. Whenever you see him in anything, you immediately expect him to be a bad guy in some way.
They leaned into that again when we saw him at the Honor Dogs club, but it was also easy to guess that he was undercover for some reason.
O’Brien going undercover felt like the best explanation for why he’d be there, and they played into that for most of the episode until the very last moments when Casey told him the truth.
O’Brien, a founder of the Honor Dogs, was quite a twist, putting Owen in a pickle. But you can’t even blame Owen this time; most of it falls squarely on the FBI.
Owen: So you’re in there looking for evidence of a crime.
O’Brien: No, I’m in there looking for my nephew.
What was the point of sending a civilian like Owen into this situation, knowing that O’Brien was connected to them? If Owen is right about Andy serving as the informant, it means Casey and the Feds let Owen waltz in there and get blindsided by O’Brien.
It’s so stupid and reckless of the Feds. Their total disregard for the lives of the people they depend on to make their case is unfathomable.
What is Owen supposed to do against a militia fringe group, and what essentially amounts to a dirty cop?
Casey opting to do things like arresting Owen for stealing Andy’s photo, which was incredibly dumb on his part, made this whole thing messier than it needed to be.
It’s like they deliberately withhold all this information, get angry when Owen is doing his own thing or trying to figure out what they’ve gotten him into, and mess up their own case in the process.
Surely, they’ve looked into Owen before bringing him in. Some of his connections, including with O’Brien, should be on record. His reputation precedes him, so they had to know what they were getting into by working with him.
Once Owen met Andy’s girlfriend and kid, it was easy for him to fall into O’Brien’s trap and want to help. It was great to see Animal Kingdom’s Stevie Lynn Jones guest-starring in the role.
Andy was a decent kid who went down the wrong path, at least when O’Brien talks about him, but now we know he’s an unreliable voice in this equation.
Now, it comes across as if Andy was only in the Honor Dogs because his uncle, who essentially took him in, wanted him to join, but when he found out what they were planning, he wanted out of all of it.
But does that mean O’Brien did something to his own nephew, or is he really looking for Andy because Andy is on the run after O’Brien found out the feds were onto them?
I don’t know why O’Brien let Owen find out so much and kept him that close after initially trying to steer him away. He had to bring Owen to the suspected barn for the feds to have enough to get a warrant and raid it.
It just feels like this whole thing has put Owen’s life in danger, it raises flags when there’s a police sergeant who is part of this separatist group, and the feds can’t seem to get a step ahead or do anything about it.
The storyline, in general, is just an unnecessary side quest. We’re three episodes and counting with this, and it’s a mystery as to why we’ve ventured in this direction and why it has come at the expense of half the other cast. Preferably, there would be more calls and less Owen chasing Nazis.
The most compelling storyline of the hour revolved around Iris’ abduction. It had the most intrigue as we wondered where she was and who was behind taking her in the first place.
It also caused tension in Tarlos’ relationship in a way we haven’t seen before. When was the last time Carlos was that fed up with TK and trying to keep it under wraps?
The situation is tricky because you can understand why TK had issues with Iris.
They didn’t get off on the right foot, and it did seem like Iris was trying to hold Tarlos back for some reason. It also feels like Carlos lets Iris off the hook and doesn’t address things with her, which could be frustrating.
But he crossed a line approaching Iris the way he did. And he should’ve told Carlos about it.
The tension between the guys is thick, only made worse because of what happened to Iris, and, regrettably, someone has taken Carlos before the two could have an honest talk about everything.
The moment they reintroduced Iris and this plot point that she disappeared, it was evident that they’d attempt to depict her struggles when people don’t believe her because she’s mentally ill.
It’s a tough one for someone with experience with a schizophrenic relative because as much as I enjoy this series, I don’t feel they can successfully navigate an issue that is this nuanced and complex.
Iris: You don’t believe me either.
Carlos: Of course I do. I really think you believe everything you said, Iris.
Iris: In the tiny world inside my head full of oompah loompahs.That’s the worst part of mental illness. It doesn’t matter if you get better; it’s all anyone ever sees when they look at you.
Things played out frustratingly predictable in that the detective on the case had already made up her mind that Iris’ mental illness was at the root of her disappearance before anything else.
She immediately clung to the notion that the divorce papers could’ve triggered her somehow without nearly enough to go on. Every conclusion she drew went back to Iris’ mental illness.
Even though Iris had an excellent and verifiable reason for why her car was at the housing encampment — Detective Grier ignored that Iris mysteriously got at least ten miles away, got herself into some abandoned house, knocked herself out, and used a mysterious burner phone to call the police.
It’s interesting to note that even with Iris’ advancement in health, housing, and job security, she still essentially got treated like many unhoused, mentally ill people — as if what happens to them doesn’t matter or is a figment of their imagination.
Iris’ past still makes her one of those invisible victims nefarious people can take advantage of or hurt because it always goes back to doubting her truth.
Even Carlos couldn’t hide that he had his doubts after speaking to Grier, and the worst part about it was that they had Iris doubting herself and her own mind, too.
It was appalling but all too real.
It didn’t make sense that no one else considered searching for alternative ways that someone could’ve exited the home. They probably would have explored the place more thoroughly if anyone else were the victim.
TK: You think it’s my fault.
Carlos: I didn’t say that.
TK: Yeah, but you’re thinking it.
Carlos: You should’ve given her time, TK. We weren’t supposed to push, remember? I know she would’ve come around on her own. You didn’t have to go and badger her.
TK: I know. But she was fine.
Carlos: She’s not fine!
If it were an entire neighborhood with squatters and such, you would think they’d consider that people have gotten in and out of homes undetected and how they would’ve done that.
Iris’ description of how it feels for her not trusting her own mind was on the cusp of diving into something rather compelling for the character, who up until now had felt like more of a comedic bit.
One can only imagine how she’ll feel when she learns of the lengths Carlos went to get her some proof and answer so she wouldn’t feel that way and that he’s in grave danger.
It will bring her and TK closer together, no doubt. They both have a lot to grapple with in different ways because of this incident.
Rafael Silva was fantastic during this installment! Carlos was incredibly worked up the whole hour, and then he did something unquestionably reckless by going to the abandoned house alone.
When he saw that opening in the home, he should’ve called it in or reached out to someone. He sure as hell shouldn’t have breached the crawlspace and followed wherever it took him. Has Carlos not watched a single horror movie ever?
He was fueled by well-intentioned stupidity for that bit, and the tunnel led to a whole other house that he didn’t even have time to investigate before he got knocked out.
The messed up thing is that someone wouldn’t even be in the wrong for clucking him over the head for entering their home.
We started the hour with Iris in jeopardy, and now we end it with Carlos.
On the flip side of things, it’s usually the other way around with TK finding his life in peril, so the switch-up is something different and worth appreciating, if only to see what it’s like for this Tarlos role reversal.
Carlos isn’t used to people coming to his aid or worrying about him. And TK is so often the one who needs saving and support that it’ll be nice to see him stop at nothing and climb out of his skin trying to get Carlos back.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of balance in the relationship, even if it must include some whump, right?
Iris and Carlos may have stumbled across someone harming the unhoused or heavens knows who else. I can’t wait to see this case unfold.
It better be all hands on deck to save Carlos!!
Over to you, Lone Star Fanatics. Are you worried about Carlos? Did you think Iris was making things up? Do you believe O’Brien is really a founder of the Honor Dogs? Sound off 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.