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!
Chicago Fire Season Finale Review – No Survivors (9×16)
After a long, yet shortened season, Chicago Fire aired the final episode of season nine, and we have the full scoop on what happened in this emotional and jam-packed finale.
Everything seems to be leading to quite a lot of happiness in Firehouse 51: Severide and Kidd are engaged, Casey confessed his feelings for Sylvie, Cruz is going to be a father soon, and Mouch is a medal recipient. However, this is Chicago Fire, and nothing (and no one) is safe.
During a rescue mission where a seagull rammed into a motorcyclist, Sylvie is making it perfectly clear that she does not want to talk to Casey, even in a professional setting. This makes Casey a little worried that maybe he shouldn’t have said anything to her.
The deputy commissioner of the CFD calls Chief Boden and wants him to be a deputy district chief, meaning he would do less firefighting and more office work, something that he is not necessarily sure if he wants to take a step back from the action.
Violet opens up to Sylvie, saying that she and Casey are good together, and maybe she should just take a chance and hear him out. Sylvie gets a further sign to do it when she gets a call to creepy doll collector’s house, and she says her husband is the perfect person for her.
Inspired, she goes to Casey, professes her feelings, and they get to have a VERY steamy scene if you catch my drift.
A new neighbor moves next door to Boden and discovers that his young song Ezra wants to be a firefighter, and is inspired that his neighbor is a fire chief. Boden goes to the firehouse and makes a phone call to the deputy commissioner, leaving the viewers uncertain as to what the phone call entailed.
Gallo asks out Violet (again), and after being rejected (again), Ritter sticks up for his buddy, so maybe we’ll get some new romance floating around Firehouse 51 next season.
On tonight’s episode, the squad performed a rescue mission that had never been done in the show’s history: a boat rescue. A man is waiting for his brother-in-law to be rescued, but upon arrival of the boat, Severide, Cruz, Capp, and Tony can’t seem to find the body. Severide hears a tapping on a pipe in a separate hold of the boat, where they find the brother-in-law. However, the only way out gets blocked off, and breathing room becomes limited.
As producer Derek Haas teased, he did not disappoint. Ambulance 61 and Truck 81 can do nothing but watch and hope that their companions make it out. Squad 3 runs out of air in their tanks, and the water slowly covers them up, as the screen fades to black, and the season comes to a close.
This was a fantastic cliffhanger, coupled with the number of storylines that we should expect for season ten. I loved the way this season came to a close: it gave us as superfans of the show some closure on certain things while giving us something to agonize over as we wait all summer for next season. The uncertainty that one of these characters could possibly not survive is thrilling. It gives us the summer to theorize and speculate if any of them will emerge from underwater alive.
And what’s to come of Sylvie and Casey? The long-awaited couple is finally together, and it’s sure to show the ups and downs of this new relationship.
Finally, did Boden turn down his promotion, or did he accept the new position? Maybe the neighbor’s kid helped him discover that he wants to be promoted so he’s not in danger? Or maybe show that he can still do it all.
It’s going to be a long offseason before we find out what happens to Squad 3! What did you think of tonight’s stressful and exciting finale? Leave a comment below.
Chicago Fire Review – A White-Knuckle Panic (9×15)
Tonight’s penultimate episode of Chicago Fire did not disappoint in the slightest. The show is setting itself up to have an explosive finale next week that I’m sure will leave us all on the edge of our seats. However, there were a lot of juicy things that happened in the episode that cannot go without being addressed.
The main story centered around Severide and Kidd. After Kidd passed the long-awaited lieutenant’s test, Severide expressed interest in possibly proposing to her, but was nervous because she has always said that married life isn’t really for her. Severide became even more nervous because there was no room in Firehouse 51 for another lieutenant, and she would have to be transferred to a firehouse where there was a position available.
While Severide and Casey worked to find a new home for Kidd, the trio of Gallo, Ritter, and Violet were tasked with organizing an event for Mouch, who was going to be awarded a medal of valor for saving that little girl a few episodes back. Teaming up with his wife, Trudy, they went to Soldier Field (where the Chicago Bears play) and lied to the director of field coordination saying that Mouch was actually dying and wanted to have the field as a dying wish in order to book the field. They hide this info from Mouch since he’s convinced that his celebrations will be a really big party.
On a call, Cruz rescued a man named Mark, who became infatuated with Cruz and his fireman tools side business. Mark, a venture capitalist, spent the entire episode trying to get Cruz to sell his business to him for a large sum of money. Mark bribed Cruz with gift baskets for his future child and threatened him with demeaning language about how Cruz knows nothing about business and how to succeed. Cruz later threatened Mark in his own way, turning him down and saying that he has the power of the CFD on his side.
Gabby Dawson appeared in the episode…not really, she called the firehouse a lot to stir the pot of Sylvie and Casey’s relationship. Turns out, Gabby knew about Mouch’s medal and wanted a video. Gabby and Casey have an offscreen conversation about their relationship, and Casey comes to the realization that he isn’t in love with her anymore and is in love with Sylvie. He confesses his feelings to her at Molly’s, which shocks Sylvie. While she didn’t say anything, I bet we’re going to get some sort of closure with those two in the season finale.
Due to scheduling, Mouch’s ceremony is moved to days earlier and everything seems peaceful. Boden gives a great speech, and Mouch gives a short, sweet message that Firehouse 51 is his forever home.
A call to a local restaurant provides the emotional meat of the episode. After rescuing a fry cook, Severide and Kidd find themselves trapped inside the restaurant. In a secluded room away from the fire, Severide spontaneously gets down on one knee and proposes, and Kidd says yes!! Looks like we’re getting a Firehouse 51 wedding very soon!
I, for one, really enjoyed the pacing of this episode. The storylines lined up together perfectly, and it’s all gearing up to a big finale.
The performances of all of our favorite medics and firefighters tonight were great, with special recognition to Taylor Kinney, who brought a great well-roundedness to Kelly Severide. If this was season 3 Severide who wanted to propose to a girl, I would’ve laughed in your face. His growth has been fantastic, and I can’t wait to see how he continues to make such a complex person grow more.
Things look pretty peaceful and happy during this episode, which most likely means that things might come crashing down during next week’s season finale. Creator of the show Derek Haas told several news outlets that he expects fans to be “angry” at him because of what happens in the finale. Will we see a major character die? Will we be left with a cliffhanger while we anxiously await season 10?
Only one episode left in season 9 of Chicago Fire! What did you think of tonight’s episode? What do you think will happen in next weeks finale? Leave a comment below!
Here’s When Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD Will Air Season Finales in 2021
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost finale time for the #OneChicago shows on NBC.
Due to production delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago Med, Chicago PD, and Chicago Fire got off to a late start in mid-November (instead of the usual mid-September premiere), but that pandemic hasn’t made a huge impact on the quality of the episodes.
However, with shorter seasons on tap, the schedule has been pretty wonky and consisted of several breaks in between, so we don’t blame you if you’re having trouble keeping up. That’s why we’re here to clue you in.
NBC announced that the shows will officially conclude on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, which would align with their pre-COVID finales even if the episode count is a bit shorter than in the year prior.
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