LONE STAR “One In Every Family” Review

Lone Star (FOX) One In Every Family

“One In Every Family”, the second episode of FOX’s LONE STAR, did not live up to the mini-movie pilot, but developed some interesting twists, indulged in a few soap opera moments and is a little too slow paced without the simmering tension which compensates for a show like Mad Men‘s snail crawl, but ultimately remained entertaining and intriguing as Bob Allen’s cover for his double life unravels just a little…

If you do not buy James Wolk’s performance as Bob Allen, then the joys of this show may go over your head. Then of course there’s the premise that may not appeal to you; one man deceives and steals and falls in love with two different women on opposite ends of Texas, juggling a con man father and infiltrating his wife’s family oil business.

There are shows, like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, where the central character is morally reprehensible. This is the case with Lone Star, but Bob Allen’s lies are much bigger in a way. Sure, he’s not dealing meth, he never took on a dead man’s identity. But whilst he may love Lindsay and Cat now, when he started off they were his targets. He used Cat to infiltrate the Thatcher clan, and Lindsay to score some cash from her folks.

At least Don Draper and Walter White initially loved their wives; circumstances mostly out of their control caused much of the turmoil in the lives of their families. Bob Allen creates the circumstances himself. And he is afraid of pain. He should have left Lindsay when he had the chance. He did not, he married her, he claims he loves her. Maybe he just loves himself, and the con game too much.

In this episode, Bob Allen has a plan. He invests over one million dollars of Thatcher’s money in wind farm. Then he quits, citing his inability to word with all of the committees and board meeting mumbo jumbos. His father John Allen, after initial refusal, decides to join the company. Bob, his father John, and a clueless Drew meet Papa Thatcher and Trammell Thatcher and convince them to support the deal Bob made in the first place-all the while pretending it was Drew’s idea.

The youngest brother Drew is arrested for a DUI, and Cat manages to weasel him out with a mere warning. She does not recognize the police officer who went to school with Drew. Cat is an interesting character, and I’m not saying that just because Adrianne Palicki is a Friday Night Lights alum. Though I sort of am. She’s not in the business as much as her brothers, but she clearly has some of the Thatcher menace in her; she doesn’t even look abashed when the police officer reveals he asked her out four times.

Meanwhile, Lindsay’s mother has Lindsay worried: she appears to know more about her cousin Jeff than she does about the man she married. Though this bitterness is stemmed from the lack of a wedding invite, Lindsay starts snooping around Bob’s high school year book. Of course, Bob’s name is not listed. Bob, after convincing her to have a proper wedding, also convinces her that his family moved around so much he was only ever in one picture in the school yearbook. Bravo, master Convincinator!

But this is not the only thing worrying Lindsay: Gretchen, her drama queen home wrecking sister has arrived. Gretchen is a mess and she knows it but she can’t help it. I really liked the scenes between Bob and Gretchen. Is it me, or has Bob found a sort of kindred spirit in her? Not that she lies, but she uncovers the lies, and exposes them, no matter how much wreckage it causes. When she finds Bob’s phone, she has no qualms snooping through it, calling the last dialled number. She confronts Bob, asking why the last dialled number answered “Son?” It was John, but Bob covers his back and claims it’s just one of those ole Texan quirks. Bob is going to have to watch himself under the sharp eyes of Gretchen.

John Allen takes to heart Bob’s backstory about his father who abandoned him and confronts Bob about it. Bob doesn’t understand why John is getting so “bent out of shape over this one little detail”.

Anyhow, John goes out drinking with Drew, and uses it as a chance to steal Drew’s company key to sneak into the company and enlist outside aid with the promise of ‘tens of millions’ without Bob’s knowledge.

The intercutting scenes between Bob and his two wives in the beginning make it clear that Bob is not a good guy. With low ratings, I’m not sure how much longer Lone Star will last. I think it is an entertaining show and it’s nice to see something that is not a procedural, but there are scenes (specifically the airport scene when Bob is called Frank and literally tackled to the ground by a man from whom he stole $25,000 whilst Lindsay has conveniently gone to the bathroom) that are too full with soap and not enough, as they say in Texas (I think) grit.

I’m not sure how much longer Lone Star can get away with a central character whose only positive quality is charm.

What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments below.

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