Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang: Chicago Fire ‘A Nuisance Call’ Review
By Lisa Casas @queenofmynerds
Chicago Fire’s fourth episode, ‘A Nuisance Call,’ confirmed my suspicions that the series is suffering from a bit of a sophomore slump that has this fan wondering how and why. All the ingredients are still intact from its first stellar season – gifted actors, (the supporting cast alone could warrant a lead spot on a lesser show) great writers, (creators Michael Brandt and Derek Haas wrote the brilliant 3:10 to Yuma) and breathtaking action sequences. The fires, rescues and accidents have all been ramped up to a level rarely seen on TV. So why the flatline after each episode this new season?
This episode begins with Otis moving into Shay and Severide’s new digs, and it feels wrong from the get go. The Battlestar Galactica poster he’s pinned to the wall looks as out of place as he does. When did these two start letting anyone in? They were exclusive members of the best friend club last season probably complete with a secret handshake, and now they’re letting someone move in with them?
Shay and Dawson get called out to one of their “regulars,” Daryl, a lonely diabetic desperately needing a friend. It’s a nuisance call, not worthy of their time. The call begins innocuously enough with Shay berating him for not taking care of himself, but quickly escalates when Daryl pulls out a small handgun, telling Shay, “You have no idea what you mean to me Leslie. I can’t live without you.”
Shay moves in closer, desperation all over her face. She tells Daryl they’ll go to Vegas and get hitched tomorrow. Despite her pleading, he shoots himself through the chin leaving the paramedics in shock and covered with blood and bits of Daryl. Lauren German gives the performance of the night conveying guilt, hurt, sadness and about 27 other emotions with one look.
Back at the firehouse, Dawson seems out of character as she finally confronts Shay, saying ” I wish you would have let me handle Daryl.” Then she pulls the “I’m your supervisor” card saying Shay should have stepped back. Oh snap! And Shay definitely does. She tells Dawson, “We will work together and that’s it!” The conversation seems contrived and not true to either one of these characters we got to know so well last season.
In another scene that doesn’t ring true, Dawson is back making goo goo eyes at Casey now that Jay’s been outed as Arthur’s thug. They’re at the park with the Darden boys when she confesses how Jay won’t quit calling her. Casey offers to take care of it, but she declines. Who are these pod people and what did they do with the real Dawson and Casey? Did the whole thing with Peter Mills even happen last season or did I dream it? Was Hallie a figment of my imagination also?
In the cringe-worthy scene of the night, Shay flirts then sobs to … Otis. She confides in her new roommate leaving all of us wondering what happened to Kelly. She didn’t say ten words to Otis all last season and now she’s breaking down in front of him and saying, “Don’t tell Kelly.” Don’t buy it. The entire first season was spent building the relationship of Shay and Severide. They became Shayveride and our favorite no-sex couple was born. This season, there’s been a lack of heartfelt scenes between the two and this episode did nothing to remedy that.
In what was supposed to be the climactic end of the exciting arsonist story, Hadley sets another fire in a “death trap” building. Kelly sees him in the back and in typical Severide fashion, he goes after him alone. Hadley hits him in the face rendering his mask useless. Kelly tries talking to him telling him they can walk out of there. Hadley is hell bent on setting this last fire, so Kelly tackles him. Hadley catches on fire and is burnt badly before being dragged out half alive. Arsonist storyline over, seemingly before it ever began.
At the end of the episode, Gabby is pounding on someone’s door after meeting with Antonio. She pounds and pounds before Jay finally answers. In the surprise of the night, it’s revealed that Jay isn’t a loser. He is in fact a cop! The look on Dawson’s face seems to be saying “Casey who?” and the scenes for next weeks eppy confirm it. She’s flip flopped again and it looks like Jay will be the winner next week.
Overall, the episode was uneven with some high points in the scenes with Lauren German heading on a path of self destruction, and low points with the contrived “girl fight.” In an effort to go bigger and badder, Chicago Fire is losing its heart. Its appeal was that it was about the relationships, but this season it’s been all about getting to the next plot point. Let’s hope it gets back on track next week with “A Power Move” focusing more on the characters and their angst and less on the car hanging over the building. Let’s also hope the writers come out of their amnesia and let the characters get back to being the firefighters and paramedics we grew to care so deeply about in season one. Or this could all just be me bitter over the fact that we are four episodes in and not one firefighter has taken off his shirt yet.
Benny is apparently going for number one villain position this week. In the bitch move of the night, he goes to consultant Gail Mcleod’s office to say 51 is made up of great men, BUT the leadership may be lacking. I’ll go out on a ladder here and say that Benny’s throwing his fireman’s hat in the ring to take Chief Boden’s job.
In the Aftershool Special moment of the week, Casey tucks in one of the Darden boys (names are irrelevant because they’re interchangeable). The boy says he misses mom, will you stay till I fall asleep? Casey says of course, and they hold hands until “buddy” falls asleep. Casey calls the boys buddy several times doing nothing to help me memorize their names.
The action scene of the episode has a car hanging half off a building threatening to topple over. Severide goes in from the back with Taylor Kinney reportedly doing his own stunts in this one. It’s scary, dangerous, exciting, and over in the blink of an eye. We could’ve watched squad’s lieutenant in superhero mode for at least half the episode. He pulls his victim to safety just seconds before the car crashes to the ground.
Hermann continues his “It’s clobberin’ time” ways. Last week, he was takin’ it to Clarke for being the mole (Guess what? He’s not). This week, he’s threatening Jay to stay away or else (Guess what? He’s a cop). I like the kinder, gentler Hermann who bungled through every hair brained, get rich scheme he could find. My guess, the pod people have struck again. Bring back Steve, I mean Hermann!