Spoilers ahead for the Season 3 premiere of 9-1-1: Lone Star on Fox, called “The Big Chill.”
9-1-1: Lone Star brought the first responder action back to Texas after 9-1-1 dominated the airwaves in the fall, but Austin was dealing with a whole new kind of crisis in the Season 3 premiere. A massive ice storm hit, and neither the Texans nor the buildings were prepared for multiple feet of snow. The firefighters entered the scene of a collapsed gym to save a teenage girl despite knowing that the conditions could turn deadly very quickly, and a sudden shift of debris could mean that none other than Paul Strickland (played by Brian Michael Smith) could face permanent or even deadly consequences. Fortunately, there are also some ways that Lone Star could save him!
The firefighters couldn't even be sure that young Lindsay was even alive when they entered the collapsed gym, and knowing that what remained of the building could deteriorate further at any moment. I was initially concerned more for Judd than anybody else, since the episode was making so much of his nerves about Grace’s pregnancy and preparations for their daughter’s birth, but it was Strickland who was in grave danger by the end of the hour. The rubble shifted, and he was knocked back while the other firefighters screamed for him. It’s not looking great for him, but read on for some reasons why fans definitely shouldn’t panic just yet.
The Debris Didn't Directly Hit Him
Although at first glance it looks like a piece of the gymnasium fell directly onto Strickland, a closer look proves that he’s not quite that unlucky. It actually hit right in front of him. While he was still knocked backwards by the impact and may have landed on pretty much anything down below, he wasn’t injured by chunks of concrete slamming into him. Assuming he didn’t land on anything that would impale him, he could be more battered and bruised than anything else. That’s not to say that he’s in good shape – particularly since any rescue operation would be incredibly risky – but at least 9-1-1: Lone Star didn’t leave him in the worst case scenario.
Strickland Can Handle The Cold
Strickland reminded everybody in “The Big Chill” before the accident that he came from Chicago and was familiar with how to deal with emergencies in cold weather, whereas Judd was completely baffled by the “ice palace” that formed. Knowing how to save lives in the Windy City doesn’t mean that Strickland can magically escape his unfortunate circumstances after the collapse, but I’d say that his odds of handling the ice and cold are much better than some of the others. He knows what he’s dealing with when it comes to the cold, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he not only survives, but also saves Lindsay.
His Fate Wasn't The Biggest Cliffhanger
The Season 3 premiere ended on a few cliffhangers, and Strickland’s was actually before Owen’s, which was arguably the one with the lowest stakes. He had to chase after Buttercup, who led him to a man who had collapsed in the snow. The final cliffhanger involved Marjan, who was driving down from the hills after visiting Owen in the storm and ultimately crashed down a hill. Her airbags went off, and I can see why that would be the final cliffhanger of the episode… but if Strickland was going to die from his injuries, I’d say that his cliffhanger would have at least been given a priority over Owen’s, who isn’t in any imminent danger himself compared to Strickland and Marjan.
The ice storm is not over yet, so things could get worse for everybody before they get better. Still, I think the show delivered some solid reasons to expect that Strickland at least could survive and bounce back from what happened to him. There are also some less intense questions that need answering, like what happened between T.K. and Carlos that they broke up between May and January. Find out if answers are on the way with the next episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star on Monday, January 10 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox, and check out our 2022 winter and spring premiere schedule for when more shows will return.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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