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Lone Star Recap: One in Every Family


It’s too soon to start writing eulogies for Lone Star, but given that series creator Kyle Killen posted an open letter to fans imploring them to get their friends and enemies to watch, we’re definitely looking at a series with huge potential on life support.  And as sad as I was to hear that last week, after Lone Star’s stellar sophomore outing, it’s even more troubling.

Unfettered from the necessity of exposition, the episode took off at the speed of The Vampire Diaries (anyone else watching that show, cause it’s like a bullet train).  Bob and Lindsay have eloped off-screen, and we have a teaser with Bob being physically confronted by a past victim.  It’s a testament to how charming James Wolk is that, as an audience, we are completely on his side; we know he stole money from this man, we know he’s playing the entire airport and we want him to succeed.  It was a grabber of a teaser, so hopefully anyone who stuck around after House was, well, grabbed.

The meat of the episode comes down to two major story-lines: the wedding of Bob and Lindsay, and Bob’s plan to somehow con everyone while hurting no one.  Despite eloping, Lindsay is guilted into a full wedding by her parents even though she was happy that their union was a “blur,” just like the rest of their time together, and Bob is happy to play along as he remembers Cat the day they married.  Cat, in fact, is limited to a few short scenes this episode which served to make the entire bigamist side of the proceedings much less off-putting (grab those viewers!).  Lindsay, while trying to put together a guest list, is prompted to question Bob’s honesty when she realizes how little she knows about his past.  She can’t find him in his yearbook, and when she calls the school they have no record of him.  Bob, however, is more than a match for her; one sheepish grin and a vague yet probably true story of how he moved around a lot as a kid, and Lindsay is back on board.

Much more of a problem for him in Midland, however, is Lindsay’s sister Gretchen.  Gretchen arrives for the wedding and Lindsay is quick to make clear that she is not pleased with her presence.  The two sisters have a history of not getting along, and Gretchen owns up to be most of the problem; however, she also appears to truly want to connect with her sister and is thrilled when Lindsay asks her to be the maid of honor.  She is considerably less thrilled when she discovers Bob’s Houston cell phone, and calls John.  Bob tells everyone that his father is dead, yet John calls him “son.”  Coupled with her overhearing him delete a message from his “high school” that was for Lindsay, and Gretchen is certain that something is up with her sister’s too-perfect husband.

The introduction of this character really took the Midland story-line off the ground.  While it had the unfortunate side-effect of making me more interested in Gretchen than Lindsay, it introduced a real adversary for Bob in that world.  It’s been established that Lindsay’s parents adore him, and I don’t think her ex-boyfriend is really a match for Bob.  Gretchen, however, is someone who appears intelligent enough to cause him problems, and suspicious enough to start them.  She says to Bob, “I’d like to wake up in the morning and not feel like I’m all by myself.”  Bob wants to feel that way so badly, he’s married two women.  These two could get into a lot of trouble together.

In Houston, the plot moved at the speed of light.  Basically, Bob’s plan is to get Clint to think that the wind energy investment is too good to pass up; he does this by letting him discover his clandestine investment, quitting, getting Drew to threaten to leave the company and then agreeing to return to the fold, this time with his father John as the man behind the wind-energy.  This, by the way, all happens in the first 30 minutes.  With his father inside the company, Bob thinks he has his ducks in a row; unfortunately, he doesn’t realize that his father is jealous of his relationship with Clint.  John suffers a series of humiliating encounters with the phone system and Trammell, and then Clint unwittingly reveals to him that Bob tells everyone his father abandoned him.  John is done with his son’s way of doing things.  He cons Drew, and winds up with the keys to Thatcher’s office with revenge foremost in his mind.  At the end of the episode he places a call to an unknown recipient, asking for aid in taking Thatcher down.

I cannot stress enough the fantastic work put in by David Keith in this episode.  He manages to run the gamut of emotions, yet keeps his stone-cold poker face the whole time.  Perhaps the biggest reveal of the episode is that, as screwed up as their relationship is, John loves his son; last week I would have said he sees him more as an excellent tool.  When Bob asks him if the thrill of the con is just about the money or if it’s about spending time with his son, you can see him want to deny it.  However, after scamming different people into renting the same house, he realizes that his son means more to him than he could admit.  He gives up what he wants and tries it his son’s way, only to be condescended to and scolded by Trammell, dismissed by Thatcher and erased by Bob.  “Don’t you ever say I abandoned you!” he roars at Bob, because it’s the one thing he didn’t do.  He may have taken his childhood and landed him in prison, but he was always there.  The nasty scene ends with John kicking Bob out of the apartment, and we’ve pitted the father against the son.

I worried last week that Lone Star would not be able to sustain it’s momentum; if this installment is any indication, it won’t be a problem.  There are so many plots flying around, I can see it easily filling a 22-episode season.  Now all that needs to happen is for it to not be canceled.

And some bullet points:

– Should Lone Star end up going the way of other canceled-too-soon series, I fear the incredibly talented cast will wind up on CSI: Helena or Hot Doctors Saving Patients In Between Bouts of Break Room Sex.  Frankly, they all deserve better.

– If I’m watching closely enough, I believe Bob is the name in Houston and Robert is the name in Midland.  For ease of recapping, I’m just going with Bob all the time.

– Sarah Jones, the actress who played Gretchen, was Benny’s first girlfriend over on Big Love. These two shows are clearly inextricably linked!

– In the scene where Lindsay asks Gretchen to be her maid of honor, Gretchen is babbling and Lindsay cuts her off by saying…something.  I’ve rewound the scene 7 times and I have no idea what it is.  Who can help me?