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From Sizzle to Fizzle: Is Fire Country Flaming Out and Burning Bridges Along the Way?


Is Fire Country flaming out in its sophomore season?

No one is questioning the appeal of Fire Country or second-guessing its devoted fanbase.

After all, the series is a bona-fide hit that just scored an early season three renewal.

Bode at the Scene - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 3

That’s right, Bode and the gang will be fighting fires for another season, which is some relief for diehard fans of this series.

It’s also a relief for those of us hoping that by next season, they’ll deliver quality content, character development, and great storylines.

Bode Grabs an Ax - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 3

Because thus far, there’s a lot to be desired for the sophomore season.

One of the most significant issues is that their response to a truncated season due to the dual strikes is simply cramming twice the content into a short season.

We’re juggling so many different plots at the moment with little breathing room or any real direction.

And ironically, we’ve seemingly dropped some of the potential storylines set up in the season finale.

Bode Donovan - Fire Country Season 1 Episode 22

Speaking of Fire Country Season 1 Episode 22, it’s easy to blame this season’s frustrating tone, pacing, plot points, and character development on the strikes.

However, Fire Country was starting to show signs of burnout with the controversial finale and the series’ decision to set Bode up with his nauseating martyr complex and send him back to prison.

It was a bold move that didn’t necessarily win the audience over, but it was even worse when we learned all of it was for nothing when they abandoned the move by the end of Fire Country Season 2, episode 1.

Bode Leone Photo - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 1

In hindsight, what was the reason for sending Bode back to prison other than “Because plot?”

Some random antagonist swooped in during the final hour to execute a blatant miscarriage of justice and exploit Bode’s penchant for playing the hero.

And whatever work she expected from him during his six-month prison stint didn’t actually lead anywhere.

The plot was the epitome of a contrivance, a pattern that has spilled over into this season like gasoline.

An Explosion on Fire Country Season 2 Episode 1

Fire Country markets itself as a high-octane action series that simultaneously serves as a family drama.

But it has since devolved into a full-blown Primetime soap opera, with the series melodrama more often than not overshadowing everything else.

Related: Fire Country Casts Morena Baccarin in Spinoff

Season two stumbles under the weight of trying to balance out these two genres.

The trickle-down effects have impacted both the storytelling and the characterization.

Eve Looks Concerned - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 3

One can’t fathom the thought process behind Eve Edwards and the heel turn they’ve taken with her character.

We’re left with a version of Eve whose struggle to run Three Rock as a queer woman of color should be compelling but instead has made her one of the most insufferable characters of the bunch.

We should relate to her attempts, however flawed, to prove herself and her capabilities, her Imposter Syndrome, and how overwhelmed she is stepping into the boots of someone like Manny and balancing her compassionate nature with a more level-headed approach that challenges her.

Instead, she often leaves us rolling our eyes or yelling at our screens, as her struggles are so surface-level that they’re more offputting than relatable.

Eve - Fire Country Season 1 Episode 19

She was inarguably one of the greatest characters of the first season. This determined but well-measured woman managed to provide balance to the other characters while struggling on her own.

We saw her blossom in the field, showcasing how capable she is as a potential leader to the point where it wasn’t a surprise that she’d be in such a position sooner rather than later.

Eve’s internal struggles throughout the first season felt raw and like a compelling peek inside the headspace of a first responder. It gave us insight into what they endure emotionally and mentally after their time in the field.

And isn’t that a large part of why we opted to tune into a series in which characters had such a demanding and dangerous job? Hell, isn’t that part of the appeal of other first responder shows ranging from Chicago Fire and the 9-1-1 franchise to Station 19?

Manny Enters the Fray - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 4

Chicago Fire and 9-1-1 can truly carry their weight in action and explore their compelling characters; both series know what they are and how to present themselves and succeed.

They step fully into their respective identities as the type of shows they are and the content they want to produce.

Station 19 does the same, knowing that its bread and butter is in tackling social issues and messages while providing us with a certain level of drama and deep exploration of their characters.

The latter is every bit more primetime soap than procedural compared to the others. Regardless, all of these shows strike the necessary balance to lean into their identities and serve their audiences well as a result.

Vince Leone Photo - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 1

Fire Country is struggling to do so, straddling a line it doesn’t know how to properly toe without teetering too far into one category over another.

What results is a mishmash of some of the worst aspects of both genres, thus resulting in a frustrating experience overall.

As a firm believer that a show is only as good as its characters, their characterization and development, and the journeys they take along the way, I believe that Fire Country is truly failing its characters this season.

They’ve taken the characters we cherished the most and reversed their personalities or made them unbearable to watch.

Cheater, Cheater? - Tall - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 2

They’ve sidelined some of the most compelling characters they have in favor of overly dramatic plots that make a person groan.

They’ve introduced new characters in which there is little interest, and let’s not get into what is the most clear-cut bait and switch the “Black Best Friend” setup with Freddie to Cole.

And let’s face it, Cole, the Great Value Freddie, has been one of the most overt cases of the “Devil on Bode Leone‘s Shoulder” we’ve seen.

Worse yet, the moment he started getting remotely interesting, he may have departed.

Bode and Cole on Fire Country Season 2 Episode 4

The failure to bother developing and even commit to some of the new characters they’ve introduced doesn’t — pardon the pun — bode well for this series.

If they don’t want to invest in these new characters they introduce, only using them to drive the plot strictly, then why should the audience?

And if they continue to sideline great characters like Jake Crawford or ruin others like Eve, with their own development stalling unless they connect with Bode, what will we do with that?

Despite how often they push this narrative, Fire Country cannot sustain itself by revolving everything around Bode, especially when he’s the most annoying character.

Jake Crawford Looks On - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 3

While flawed, Sharon and Vince often feel like the cornerstone of the series, and they’ve set a foundation on which others can build.

But while it was striking in Fire Country Season 1, it has yet to be appropriately stoked this season when they’ve mostly resorted to retreading similar storylines about infidelity.

It’s only the second season. Isn’t it too early to repeat a storyline they’ve played with twice during the first season regarding this pairing?

We instantly connected with Sharon as the tough mother with a heart of gold so big that she pours as much love into the characters surrounding her as she does her own son.

Sharon Suits Up - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 4

Instead, we’ve had a version of Sharon Leone, who has been reckless with her own life, snarky and bitter, and the strain between her and Bode has mainly gone unaddressed and explored in any meaningful way.

Unfortunately, characters like Jake and Manny have primarily been sidelined thus far this season, which has been unfortunate all around.

Even when they aren’t, Jake repeatedly gets placed in a position where he serves as the foil to Bode, and someone whose life generally must inadvertently revolve around Bode and suffers the consequences as a result.

Jake’s connection to Cara, Bode’s ex, and serving as the father figure to Bode’s possible child is a disappointing turn for a character filled with untapped potential.

Cara and Jake - Fire Country Season 1 Episode 22

And as we’re left to wonder if he may face a tragic loss just when he’s on the verge of proposing, one can’t help but wish for a world in which the series knew how to properly utilize Jake where he wasn’t somehow in Bode’s shadow.

Similarly, circling the drain with the Bode and Gabby relationship isn’t landing well either.

It’s preposterous to reduce Gabby to this woman, which Bode doesn’t feel he deserves, but some prized possession he still needs to earn the right to acquire.

None of Gabriella Perez‘s individual character development serves her well, if it exists at all, as instead, we’re grappling with the notion that she’s diving into yet another relationship without taking a breath, racing to the altar with a man she doesn’t have any chemistry with or even appears to like let alone love.

Heroine - Tall - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 2

It’s all contrived drama — another obstacle in the inevitable Bodiela endgame.

It’s so transparent that it makes it difficult to enjoy this journey because there’s such little devotion or real development for Gabriella on her own that we can’t invest in where she stands on any of this.

It’s as if, even for the writers, Gabriella gets lost in the narrative and swallowed up whole by Bode and his development.

It’s Bode’s world, and all the other characters are just figures meant to serve his storyline. Yes, Max Thierot is the lead, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but supporting characters of an ensemble should still be allowed to hold their own.

Bode Does Some Coloring - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 4

We see this strongly with the primary storyline of the season resting on such a preposterous premise of Bode potentially fathering Genevieve and not having any confirmation on this.

In the age of technology, it makes no sense for the question of paternity to last longer than a single installment.

Related: Fire Country Review: Lessons in Chemistry

The suspension of belief it requires to buy into all the ridiculous reasons why they can’t simply run a DNA test to confirm if Bode really fathered this pre-pubescent child is not worth the trouble.

Worse yet, we’re subjected to our perpetually brooding hero lean into his worst and most annoying traits in pursuit of some heroic act beyond what he’s already doing at Three Rock that will magically get him released from the program.

Genevieve - Tall - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 2

And Bode’s efforts, in true Bode fashion, are disastrous at best, typically consisting of him partaking in cringeworthy and reckless endeavors, defying the rules at every turn, and highlighting yet again his plot armor as well as his armor from realistic consequences that don’t bend in his favor in the end.

Because they’ve dragged on this paternity issue for so long while simultaneously showing us a Bode that has instantly fallen in love with this child he barely knows beyond reason, we can likely guess that Genevieve won’t be his.

After all, the only thing stronger than Bode’s propensity to be a martyr and hero is the writers’ propensity to victimize him.

Resting the majority of the season’s plot around a series of soap opera tropes while sidelining characters and abandoning the more interesting angle of prison camp of firefighters and incarcerated supporting characters taking their shot at redemption has resulted in a melodramatic mess of a season.

A Fire on Fire Fire Country

And with the series straying so far away from its original premise in favor of the current level of storytelling, one can’t help but wonder if, despite its renewal and subsequent franchise expansion, the Fire Country we fell in love with is a flash in the pan.

So, again, despite the series’ success, is Fire Country flaming out before our eyes?

Over to you, Fire Country Fanatics. How have you felt about the season? Do you enjoy the direction the series has taken? Sound off below!

Fire Country returns on April 4 at 9/8c on CBS. You can stream the latest episodes on Paramount+.

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.

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