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Chicago Fire Review – Something a Little Different (9×05)

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When it comes to long-running shows, there comes a point where the show sticks to its format and goes through the motions of each episode until the finale. Most of the time, it works, and viewers come in week after week to watch their favorite characters.

And sometimes, the showrunners will completely shake up the format of an episode to tell a deeper story for the week, and that’s when some of a series best episodes can come from. That is what happened on tonight’s episode of Chicago Fire.

Rather than spend the hour juggling three or four different storylines, tonight was a focus on two of Firehouse 51’s secondary characters: Joe Cruz and Christopher Herrmann, and it only took place inside one location for two-thirds of the episode. The scenes were longer, structured in a way that the show has never taken before, and we get insight on two characters that have been with the show from the very beginning. Whether this was a planned episode, or adjusted for the sake of filming during a pandemic, it worked.

The episode hits the ground running: Herrmann walking around the firehouse having a good morning, while Cruz seems a little out of it, clearly with something on his mind. The team is called to a storage unit fire, and Herrmann says that while eating Chinese food with his family the night before, his fortune cookie said that today would be his lucky day (hence the episode title!) The 10-story storage unit has a fire on one of its upper floors, so the team readies themselves to climb a lot of stairs. However, Herrmann sees an opportunity to bypass the stairs and use a freight elevator instead, going up with contractor Trevor, and employee of the unit Holly. At the last moment, Herrmann brings Cruz on the elevator. As the elevator begins its way up, a cable burned by the fire collapses, crashing the elevator, and trapping the four inside the elevator.

What ensues is an episode of survival. Trevor’s leg is broken when some canisters of solvent falls on him, and Cruz and Herrmann help make a splint to keep him steady. With communications to the rest of the team gone, Cruz and Herrmann have to rely on their wits and quick thinking to help them survive this ordeal.

As the episode progresses, each character has a moment of reflection and awareness that helps them. It is revealed that the reason that Cruz was a little out of it at the beginning of the episode is because his wife, Chloe, is pregnant, and Cruz is trying to keep it secret. Herrmann tells the story of how when his wife was pregnant with their first child, she slipped on some ice and fell and hurt her stomach. Herrmann believed that the child was gone, but was perfectly fine. Trevor talked about how he and his high school girlfriend had a kid young, and how they were great parents even though they grew apart, until his son grew up and married a woman who drove a wedge into their relationship. While Holly doesn’t have any kids, she talks about how she never wanted to work at a storage unit facility, and that she’s been trying to be in the restaurant industry for years.

The situation worsens when another elevator cable snaps, leaving Cruz figuring out that if another one goes, the whole elevator will go down. Reflecting how his late friend, Otis knew his way around a circuit board, Cruz opens up the panel on the wall, but Holly is frantic and grabs the wires, short-circuiting the elevator, and knocking her out.

Herrmann suggests that they need to lighten the load of the elevator, because if they keep up the weight, they will fall and die. He comes up with the idea of emptying the solvent tanks through the bottom of the elevator, since they weigh a ton. This works effortlessly, and the pressure of being too heavy lightens up.

While it looks like they have to play the waiting game at this point, they get a small signal from their communications, and they hear that Mouch is down in the fire that the rest of the team is fighting, sending instant feelings of nervousness through Cruz and Herrmann, knowing that they can’t help their friend who might be dead. Cruz climbs onto of the cannisters and starts pounding on the ceiling panels of the elevator to knock the cables to the side so that they can escape.

As Herrmann’s fortune cookie would say, things got very lucky for our favorite firefighters. Cruz manages to knock the cables aside, they hear through their communications that Mouch is alive, and they can safely climb on top of the elevator, which is starting to fill up with smoke. As they lift Holly and Trevor out, Herrmann gets through to Boden, who sends the rest of the squad to safely get them out of the building!

Outside, Trevor asks Holly out to lunch before being put in the ambulance to take care of his broken leg. Goes to show that tragedy and adrenaline can really spice up a friendship into maybe something more. Herrmann promises Cruz that he will be quiet about Chloe’s pregnancy, and rushes over to Mouch to give his longtime friend a big hug.

As I said before, this episode was one of the best that Fire has had in years. The writing was superb and the direction and editing of the episode made it the most ambitious episode of the series so far. However, this episode would not have been possible without the spectacular and heartfelt performances from David Eigenberg as Herrmann and Joe Minoso as Cruz. These two carried the episode with emotion, humor, and dedication to the roles that they have been playing for nine years, and told the stories of the trials and tribulations that it takes to be a firefighter, a parent, and a human being. It was a fantastic episode, and I hope that the show, as well as the other Chicago shows, take a page out of this book, and format an episode like this, focused on one or two people in a tough situation. It helps keep all of the storylines in check, so that there isn’t a constant back and forth from remembering which storyline is which, and how it impacts the others.

But for tonight, bravo David Eigenberg and Joe Minoso, for their brilliant work on tonight’s episode, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of the season progresses.

What were your thoughts on tonight’s groundbreaking episode of Chicago Fire? Leave a comment below!


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    Bill Wetherbee is a recent graduate of Wagner College with a degree in Theater! Currently based in New York City, he loves to learn everything about the TV/film industry, watching everything that's trendy, and analyzing his favorite reality shows, Survivor and Big Brother! Twitter/Instagram: bill__wetherbee

    Chicago Fire

    Chicago Fire Review: Two Hundred (10×05)

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    Chicago Fire Two Hundred Review 10x05

    Chicago Fire celebrated its landmark 200th episode tonight, with an original cast member possibly exiting the series looming over the entire hour.

    Jesse Spencer, who has played Captain Matt Casey for the last ten years, faced a decision that could possibly affect the series as a whole.

    Feeling the call to action, Casey wants to take care of his best friends kids until they’re old enough to go to college, but with foster care laws possibly separating the boys, Casey decided he needed to move to Oregon, so the kids can stay together. That’s at least three years until Griffin goes to school, which upset Sylvie when she heard this news. She hasn’t been entirely sure if she wants to do long distance for several years.

    After a heroic traffic rescue, Casey commended Gallo for his dedication to the field, and to continue growing. Casey continued to do a goodbye tour around the Firehouse throughout the rest of the episode.

    The biggest question mark lied with Sylvie and Casey. A relationship long in the making came to a possible breaking point tonight. Even though he wanted her to come with him, Sylvie decided not to go with Casey to Oregon, but to stay together through it.

    Firehouse 51 gave one final goodbye and group hug to Casey and he was sent on his way.

    While at a fire scene at a church, Casey saved Severide’s life from a falling wooden plank, making a good goodbye moment for these two roommates. Looking at the scene made Severide a little suspicious, which could lead to a future arson investigation down the line for Severide.

    Cruz, being the overprotective dork he can be, is about to be a father, and has been incredibly caring for his wife, even believing that Firehouse 51 is cursed when it comes to babies, because of experiences that Boden’s wife had in the past.

    Cruz’s wife, Chloe, gave birth to their son, Brian, who they said they are going to call him Otis, after Cruz’s late best friend.

    Mouch joined Sylvie on her ParaMedicine program in its trial runs, where they are using an old ambulance to different high-end calls to lessen time for ambulances to arrive.

    Gallo, Ritter, and Violet continued to grow their mini-brewery business. However Kara, the assistant to their primary investor, has been hitting on Gallo, causing some jealousy in Violet.

    Kylie, Boden’s assistant did a whole lot of digging into the Chicago Fire Department archives, and made a discovery that because of some firehouse closings, Boden can technically be situated in Firehouse 51, meaning he doesn’t have to move out of his office.

    Assistant Deputy Commissioner in charge of discipline Adam Perry personally traveled to Firehouse 51 to talk to Herrmann. At first, Herrmann thought it had to do with his misconduct on the ambulance call a few weeks ago, but the Commissioner wanted to simply ask to rent out Molly’s for his son’s birthday party. When Herrmann found out the son is underage, he recruited Trudy (Mouch’s wife) to pretend like there was going to be a bunch of narc cops in the bar, which scared off the group.

    It makes sense that Casey’s departure happened on the series 200th episode. His departure does open up the realm of possibility that he could return for cameos, or if the series goes until season 13 and he can come back.

    I have always been a huge fan of Jesse Spencer, all the way back to when he was in House, and it’s been great watching him in this show over the last ten seasons. I’m sure we may see Captain Casey again at some point, but for now, it’s goodbye to a great character.

    That said, the show looks like it’s going to gear up for new things with the departure of its captain. Boden is back at 51, Sylvie is continuing her new program, and we’re definitely going to get (yet) another arson study from Severide. Plus the growth of the mini-brewery, and Cruz adapting to fatherhood.

    What did you think of tonight’s landmark episode? Are you going to miss Casey as much as as I will? Leave a comment below.


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    Chicago Fire

    Chicago Fire Review: The Right Thing (10×04)

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    Chicago Fire The Right Thing Review 10x04

    Tonight, Casey went on a life-changing road trip, Ritter battles some person demons, and Sylvie is put to the test by the new paramedic chief.

    Casey, wanting to do his next duty as a superhero, left town to go visit Griffin and Ben, the kids of Andy Darden in Oregon. He wanted to see how they were doing, and wants to provide any help for them, as their home situations have changed for years.

    Upon arrival at their house, he took immediate notice of how messy the house was. Casey even gave Ben $30 after he asked his brother for money, showing further insight on how bad their house is at the moment.

    Casey met with the boys’ social worker and guidance counselor, who revealed that their aunt left them, and that the boys would be placed in separate foster homes. Casey then went on to offer to take in the brothers until they have to go off to college. This idea was rejected, as the boys are close to finishing high school, and with their friends, teachers, and extracurricular activities, moving them again might not be good for them.

    Casey really wanted to connect with Ben, and try to help him straighten his life around, since Griffin thinks that his brother is doing drugs, and hanging out with the wrong crowd.

    Before leaving, Casey found his old badge, and photos of a young Ben with Andy in his room.

    Upon arrival back to Chicago, Casey said that he wanted to move to Oregon to take care of those boys. Herrmann said that even if that meant he leaves, Andy would want him to take care of his kids.

    With Casey out of town, and Stella in Boston for a Girls on Fire event, a new lieutenant, Wallback, came in to fill in the leadership position. He was instantly impressed with Mouch and Gallo, after they successfully helped a man trapped underneath a car wash operator. The two were convinced that Wallback might think that 51 is the best firehouse in Chicago. However, the new lieutenant made a similar comment about another firehouse. This lead to a comedic monologue from Mouch about how 51 is the best firehouse in Chicago.

    The newest paramedic chief, Hawkins, began reconsidering Sylvie’s Paramedicine pitch, and decided to shadow Sylvie around the firehouse, so he can consider who the person is that will be in charge of this program. He also was pushed by Mouch to reconsider the proposal, which Sylvie has no idea about.

    Hawkins accompanied Sylvie and Violet on a call of a man who overdosed on the street. When they successfully saved the man, he pulled a knife on Sylvie. Sylvie was quick on her feet, and calmed the man down enough to take the knife away from him.

    This rescue helped Hawkins greenlight six months of funding for Sylvie’s program, and hoped that the good work continued for them.

    In an effort to reconnect with his boyfriend, Ritter planned a full evening out at Molly’s. While there, a drunken patron said some very homophobic things, and was kicked out by Herrmann. The man proceeded to throw a bottle at Ritter and Eric outside the bar, but crashed his car, which burst into flames. Ritter ran into the car, and with the help of the team, saved the man, but didn’t even thank Ritter after the fact.

    Eric came to the firehouse, and said that even though he was proud of Ritter’s actions at the bar, he still thinks they needed to break up, because a lot of the passion and energy that they had at the beginning of the relationship was gone.

    I can’t say I’m surprised, but we might see Jesse Spencer leave the show after 10 years. It’s quite possible the character decides to bow out to fill his duties of being a guardian for these kids in honor of his friend. The character has always had to have some sort of complex to want to save everyone and everything, but this possible exit makes sense for the character.

    At the same time, I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t do this and ends up staying in Chicago. Considering the long-awaited relationship with Sylvie is still in the honeymoon phase, he may want to stick around and see where that puts them. I highly doubt Sylvie would drop everything and move to Oregon with Casey, so it will be a good way to put this relationship to its first big test: whether to drop what they just started, or leave everything behind.

    Chicago Fire is celebrating its 200th episode next week, and with the possible departure of a longtime fan-favorite character, I’m sure it will be an intense one, as we see what the fate of Matthew Casey is.

    What did you think of tonight’s episode? Are you nervous to say goodbye to Matt Casey? Leave a comment below!


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    Chicago Fire

    Chicago Fire Review – Counting Your Breaths (10×03)

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    Chicago Fire Counting Your Breaths Review

    Tonight’s new episode of Chicago Fire saw Cruz’s additional struggles with his near death experience, Boden’s first assignment as Deputy District Chief,  a possible team change for one of 51’s firefighters, plus the arrival of a deceased firefighter leads the firehouse to reminisce.

    Now that he has his new job, Boden had to deal with the not as great perks that come with it. This includes running drills and presentations with other squads that may not be as lively as Firehouse 51.

    Before starting work for the day, Severide was impressed with Gallo’s analysis of the apartment building rescue from last week, suggesting he possibly try out for Squad.

    Despite asking Cruz and Herrmann about going out for Squad, Gall said he still wants to stay on Truck 81, because he wants to keep learning under Casey before moving up.

    Squad was sent out on rescue call to literally rescue a girl who fell in a well. Seriously, a girl playing soccer with her friends fell into a well. It was a pretty easy rescue for Squad 3, but even though Cruz volunteered to go in to rescue, he had another panic attack halfway down. This caused Squad to lift him up, while Severide quickly went in his place to rescue the girl. Afterwards, Severide told Cruz he was suspended, because he is clearly not okay.

    Casey advised Severide about making sure that Cruz is okay, and that he is treated carefully, and not to let him deal with his problems alone.

    Severide remedied this by taking Cruz out to run drills early in the morning, and provided him ways to keep calm during stressful situations.

    Griffin, who is the son of Andy Darden, has arrived to Chicago, wanting answers on how his dad died. For the long-time fans, Andy was a firefighter who was killed in the very first episode of the series. Griffin was six years old at the time of his death, and has never been told how his father died. Casey showed him the house that caught on fire that killed his father, and explained the whole story. The editing even showed flashbacks from the pilot episode to show what a great guy Andy was.

    Griffin revealed that his mother is in jail, with another DUI, and that his brother is spiraling as well. This is going to spike the hero complex in Casey’s mind, because now he wants to help Griffin, and his brother.

    A determined Sylvie continued to prepare her extra Paramedical program, now called Paramedicine, to the new paramedic chief, who quickly rejected her proposal for “bad timing.” This greatly hurt her, but this will come back as the season progresses, as she wants to make sure that this program gets off the ground.

    Surprisingly, Mouch knows the new paramedic chief, Hawkins, because he’s close with his dad, and he tried to get him to change his mind on Sylvie’s program, which he said he may reconsider.

    Sylvie and Violet were sent to rescue a victim who was on the bad end of a stabbing. His friend that was with him abandoned the scene as they arrived, and the two paramedics sadly could not rescue him.

    Violet, Gallo, and Ritter have begun their microbrewing business, and wanted to begin expanding their business, and Herrmann set him up with a friend who has invested in breweries in the past.

    This episode was definitely jammed packed with emotion. With Griffin seeking answers about his father, and wanting to see where it was when his mom and brother started falling apart. On top of that, Cruz’s PTSD, and even Sylvie’s first setback with her program. It seems to me that all of the big plotlines surrounding this season will all come to a head at once, and we don’t know for sure where it will head to.

    Casey is going to head to where Griffin is next week, and considering he always wants to do what’s best for others, he may likely try to see if he can end up being a foster parent to these kids. Last time he did this, he ended up in a major custody battle. This could lead to a lot of different possibilities for Casey, as well as Sylvie, considering their relationship is still in the early stages.

    What did you think of tonight’s emotional episode? Leave a comment below!


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