Lone Star, “One in Every Family”

Well, this was fun. After horrendous ratings in both its premiere and second episodes, FOX has done really the only it could do: cancelled Lone Star. The series is off the schedule and will be replaced by the sturdy Lie to Me starting next Monday.

I know the campaigns are already going and people are flaming FOX, but it’s the right thing to. This is a business and FOX promoted the hell out of the series in between the pilot’s airing and the second episode. They put spots for Lone Star in every single act break during House and marketed it to death during NFL games on Sunday. They tried. People didn’t want to watch, and that’s it.

On its own, “One in Every Family,” is a nice continuation of the world set up in the pilot. Of course, that’s a world that we probably won’t ever see much of again. But there are still signs in this episode that the series couldn’t continue along the same path forever and would have had to evolve in some way. Again, we won’t see that, but hey, whatever!

As I suspected after the events of the pilot, a number of the characters struggled to define their own identities in this episode. Most specifically, Bob’s father can’t deal with having his son go straight. He urges him to re-think the decision, tries to tempt him into joining in a little real estate scam and generally doesn’t understand how his son could want to change his lifestyle after all these years. This is a man who has clearly been burned by love and real relationships so much that turning to grifting made even more so and he’s never turned back. Though he’s tried to convince his son to live that way, it’s hard to not want something more and that’s exactly how Bob feels.

But even when Bob tries to pull his father into the Thatcher business as a consultant/expert on the windmill deal, John finds himself in a world he doesn’t know — the real one. And because Bob’s been living in this world already, he knows the codes, he knows the signals, it’s all natural to him. But to John, a man who has been conning for decades, trying to go straight doesn’t really come easy, particularly when he realizes that Bob told the Thatcher clan his father was a deadbeat. Although it’s a little ridiculous that two professional con men would get this upset over a backstory, I’ll go with it because it’s an intensely personal backstory that makes an already upset and uncomfortable John explode. So much so that he’s ready to take down the whole Thatcher operation, which of course, we’ll never see.

Speaking of Clint, he can’t really decide on what kind of relationship to have with Bob after he finds out that the new employee signed off on a million dollar-plus project. Bob decides it’s best for him to not actually work there as part of the con, but because Bob helps Drew find a little self-confidence after taking advantage of his DUI and convincing him that even if Bob is no longer with the company, the windmill deal is Drew’s and they should work it together, Clint sees that maybe he needs Bob around, at least in some capacity. In that respect, while John rebel’s against his connection with Bob (well, after Bob coldly says he wants more out of life), the Thatchers find themselves getting closer to and more involved with him. Surely that would have paid off at some point! Sigh.

Finally, after their quick marriage and subsequent decision to have a big second wedding, Lindsay starts wondering about the identity of the man she loves. She digs through his one box in the attic — which cryptically has a $20 bill in we will never know about — finds a yearbook and starts digging. Her deadbeat sister also arrives in Midland to shake things up, and she’s immediately skeptical of Robert’s planning.

This part of the episode says to me that there still would have been issues with the series in the long-term, just because there’s only so many times that someone can find Bob’s phone or realize he might be lying about something. While in episode two it creates a nice moment where James Wolk gets to flex his panicked look muscles, it would have eventually gotten old I would imagine.

Oh well, we unfortunately don’t have to worry about that now!

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