CBS’ surprise hit show finished its first season run, and it has been a season full of ups and downs.
Fire Country Season 1 delivered entertaining hours of television thanks to a great storyline, characters, and emergencies.
That’s not to say it didn’t have some flaws, and in our season report card, we look at some of its strongest suits and ways it can improve into Fire Country Season 2.
Early reviews of the show pegged it as another firefighting drama that couldn’t quite measure up in a landscape full of shows in the same genre in every major broadcast network.
And while that might be true to some extent, what sets it apart is the perfect balance between character development, action, and stellar writing.
Best character development – Jake Crawford
In the early episodes, Jake and Bode went through a nemesis stage. They had been friends, but Riley’s death and Bode’s part in that turned their friendship sour.
Jake had taken over Bode’s place as the Leone son when Bode was arrested, and on returning, Bode and Gabriela fell for each other.
Jake was either screaming, fuming, or both with that many conflicts whenever he was on screen. He was the perfect example of The Angry Black Man trope. He lacked layers, and it was hard to sympathize with him.
But when he was accused of being the arsonist on Fire Country Season 1 Episode 17, the show dived into him as a person and humanized him while giving him a chance to heal.
He let go of his anger and became an essential support system for Bode and Eve.
Worst character development – Eve
Eve is the least problematic person in the show. All she does is make funny jokes and save people.
Saying that Eve’s arc through the season has been disappointing would be an understatement. Little is known about her except that she has a knack for falling into bad luck.
She nearly lost a date when a building came collapsing down on them, almost died when she broke an arm during a rescue on Fire Country Season 1 Episode 6, watched someone die on her watch, and more.
She has suffered trauma worth a lifetime.
The optics surrounding that are not great for the show when their only Black Queer character is the dumping ground for trauma.
She’s overall a very likable character and should be treated better.
Best Character – Sharon Leone
Sharon has been through it all, yet she doesn’t let anything get her down. If she’s going down, she’ll do so fighting.
She is the only Leone who appears to have common sense about anything.
She has braved a terminal illness, weird relatives, and fraught relationships.
She can also read any to tomorrow like she did Walter on Fire Country Season 1 Episode 20 if they cross her or her loved ones.
Worst Character – Bode Donovan
As the main protagonist, he needed to be likable. Being a convict was not doing him favors with other characters or the audience.
His strongest suit is also his weakness.
He cares and would climb mountains to show that he cares. The problem is that he would climb those mountains barefoot and wearing a t-shirt.
One can always count on him to do the right thing no matter the consequences, but it can also be infuriating watching him risk everything many people have worked for without a second thought.
While there are other bad characters like Luke, Bode stands out because he appears like a fake. He has a savior complex that gets old quickly.
His decision on Fire Country Season 1 Episode 22 was the final nail in the coffin. Bode might be the worst character, and he needs to do a complete 180 in the next season.
Best Couple - Vince and Sharon
Sharon and Vince are goals! They are everything many couples aspire to be.
They are both successful in their careers, and despite working in the same field, they don’t detest each other. They support one another, listen, and respond to the other person’s needs.
They would walk through fire for each other and look darn good together.
Worst couple - Bode and Gabriela
Fire Country can’t be perfect at everything; their main couple is the perfect example.
For starters, the relationship’s beginnings are not the most romantic. Gabriela was cheating on her boyfriend, and Bode was breaking up a couple.
It felt like the only reason they were together was because it would create the most drama, and it did.
They have nothing in common apart from being young and hot.
It is also a one-sided relationship, with Gabriela doing most weightlifting.
Best Episode – Bad Guy
Most episodes of Fire Country are a pleasure, but some stood out.
Fire Country Season 1 Episode 8 served as the fall finale, and it was peak Fire Country drama. Manny was deep into gambling, Bode and Vince couldn’t see eye to eye, Jake couldn’t stand Bode, and Eve was over Manny’s incompetence.
Two siblings were trapped in a car hanging from a bridge, which could go down at any time.
Bode pulled a Bode and decided to save them but was trapped in the car as it fell into the river below. And then the show went on a break.
What made that episode stick out was the fact that it leaned on what makes Fire Country fun without overdoing it.
Worst Episode – I Know It Feels Impossible
The same cannot be said of the season one finale, which lacked balance. Most of the time was spent on the emergency, which, as thrilling as it was, was not the most important part.
The other storylines were rushed, making all of them feel off.
All that was tied together in a wild cliffhanger that, instead of building anticipation, invoked a strong feeling of anger.
Our Fire Country Season 1 Episode 22 Review pegged the show at its worst.
Best Villain – Sleeper
Villains have popped by here and there, with many going after people Bode cares about. There have been compelling antagonists, from a former inmate firefighter who held a grudge against Sharon to Colin, the arsonist.
But none like Sleeper.
Sleeper was a formidable enemy because he came at Bode directly from the past.
Sleeper also had the full weight of drug lords behind him. He did not shy away from doing something radical, like when he cut Bode with a power saw in broad daylight.
He also promised to return, and there was a huge chance that the season finale events were his doing.
All these combined made him the best villain despite not having a longer arc like Colin.
Best emergency - The Mudslide
Emergencies are a huge part of the show.
Viewers who watch Fire Country online know that episodes have delivered original thrilling emergencies, but none like the mudslide emergency.
Its setup was great when the rain started falling without stopping, but it also came out of nowhere. Watching Cookie scream as the hill came down was chilling.
The stakes became higher with every passing minute. A child was trapped in a fridge running out of air, Cookie and Janey were missing, the mud was hardening quickly, and a secondary mudslide could occur at any time.
The effects were great, and the rescue was spectacular.
Best storyline – The Arsonist
The storyline offered Jake some growth by letting the viewer in about his struggles and insecurities. Ultimately, he emerged as a better person and rekindled his friendship with Bode.
Worst storyline - Luke’s Feelings for Sharon
This storyline made an otherwise strong relationship between Sharon and Vince appear like a soap opera since its introduction.
The biggest problem was its resolution.
It was almost as if they were redeeming Luke and justifying his actions by making him a match for Sharon’s kidney.
Fire Country was off to a great start and kept the momentum for a great part of the season.
Going into Fire Country Season 2, a few changes are needed.
Bode doesn’t need to be over the top with his inclinations to save people. It makes him look like he has a complex that is more annoying than entertaining.
Eve needs better arcs than trauma on top of trauma.
The story is great as it is already. There is no need to mine drama with storylines like secret babies and cheating spouses.
The season was on track for scoring an A, but the finale had it down to a B.
Will it recover?
I guess we will have to see in the next season.
Denis Kimathi is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He has watched more dramas and comedies than he cares to remember. Catch him on social media obsessing over [excellent] past, current, and upcoming shows or going off about the politics of representation on TV. Follow him on Twitter.