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Chicago Fire’s “Tonight’s the Night” Best & Most Cliffhangery Episode of the Season

By on January 22, 2014
Pictured: Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Pictured: Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

“Tonight’s the Night” was the most exciting episode of Chicago Fire this season, by far.

I don’t think I took a breath until halfway through. It was tense, showed us our heroes in action, and left us hanging in a way that should be considered criminal. The funny moments were really funny, the storyline took us in new, unexpected directions.  It was an excellent episode.  The only way it could’ve been better is if it would have wrapped up the ridiculous ‘Casey turning into a badass because of a brain injury’ story.  No, that clunker just keeps on ticking.  More on that later.

The episode opens with Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) looking at himself in the mirror.  We know that he knows and soon everyone is going to know that he is not okay. Follow me?  Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) asks if he’s okay.  Casey assures him and anyone else who will listen that he’s 100%.  We know Kelly has a hard time calculating a due date and pronouncing the word candelabra, but by episode’s end, he should be taking Casey to the nearest emergency room without passing go.

Katie (guest star Brittany Curran) shows up at the firehouse to talk to big bro and ask for advice. Her boss is opening a new restaurant in New York City and wants her to help set it up.  It’s a huge opportunity but she’s worried about leaving.  She asks if she’s being a Benny.  There’s great dialogue and great interaction between these two.  This whole new sister story line has been one of the strongest of season two. It’s added so much to Severide’s character and given Kinney a chance to show another layer in squad’s lieutenant.

We’re off to the major disaster of the night. A drunk driver hits a transformer, knocking out the power throughout the neighborhood. Boden offers up the firehouse to anyone in the area needing a safe, warm place for the night. Casey says the wolves come out when the lights go out.  Yes, they certainly do tonight.

Pictured: (l-r) Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Charlie Barnett as Peter Mills -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Pictured: (l-r) Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Charlie Barnett as Peter Mills — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Casey spends most of the night working on the generator, forgetting where his tools are, where his crescent wrench is, calling Dawson Hallie (I may have made that up).  You get the idea.  But does anyone do anything about it?  Nope.  They just ask him if he’s okay.  He keeps saying yes, so all is well with the world.

Meanwhile, a neighborhood thug named Vince Keeler shows up to beat up a guy seeking shelter at 51.  Kelly bloodies his nose and humiliates him by kicking him out.  “You’re a dead man,” the bad guy yells. Uh oh.  This is actually a good thing because in the best crossover between Fire and PD yet, Detective Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush) shows up to warn the guys that this loser is out for blood.  And this is how Lindseride is born.  Chemistry?  Oh, yes.

In a subplot, Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso) sends Jeff Clarke (Jeff Hephner) out to fetch some groceries.  When did Clarke become Cruz’s cabana boy?  It turns out to give us another reason to love this guest star; Jeff as Jeff has been an unexpected pleasure.  In the course of the night, he protects the store owner from thieves, saves the man’s life when he’s stabbed, and doesn’t back down when a whole group of them come back with a gun.  Clarke, you’re kind of a badass, a real one, not through some brain injury.  Well done.

Through all of this drama, there are some hilarious moments as well.  Cruz cooking an “authentic Dominican dish” that has Dawson spitting some of it out in Otis’ bowl was so funny.  Mouch trying to entertain the kids spending the night at 51 was an exercise in awkward funny.  He enlists the help of Cruz and the guys’ accidental comedy routine has the kids in stitches.  Can Hermann’s new get rich quick scheme of opening a daycare be far behind once he spots these two in action? Let’s hope not, considering Mouch showed all the little ones a big knife as part of his first tour.

Pictured: (l-r) Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey, Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Pictured: (l-r) Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey, Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker) was exceptional in tonight’s episode.  He turned uncomfortable teen when his new lady love Donna (guest star Melissa Ponzio) shows up to spend the night.  The huge smile on his face gave us hope that Boden will in fact have some happiness this season.  This new giggly Wally is so much fun to watch.

At episode’s end, Detective Lindsay shows up again to tell Kelly it’s been far too long since any of the guys have been shirtless.  I mean, to warn Severide that Keeler’s sent a buddy to rough him up.  She shows Boden, Casey, and Kelly a picture of the guy. They search 51 for the bruiser and of course it’s Casey who finds him.  He jumps the guy and bumps his head against the wall. Lindsay shows up in the nick of time, gun drawn, and saves the day.  The knock to Casey’s head turns him back into the old Casey we love, just like an episode of Scooby Doo and all is right with the world. Not really.  Instead, we see him back at his place with blood coming out of his ear.

In the final scene, we see cute Katie on the phone with her nerd.  Keeler and his thugs throw a bag over her head and kidnap her. Cue announcer who comes in with a voice over saying that Chicago Fire returns after the Olympics on February 25.  What? This seems like cruel and unusual punishment to make us wait so long, especially after one of the best and most cliffhangery (made that up too) episodes of the season.  Yes, I’ll be scouring the internet looking for spoilers, hoping the ‘Casey in denial like Severide was last season’ story line gets put to rest, and hoping that Katie makes it out alive.

One ray of sunshine!  Chicago P.D. is on tomorrow night, and it is truly the best new show this midseason.  It’s a gritty police drama from an age gone by with heart stopping storylines and acting that’ll kick anyone’s butt.  Maybe, just maybe, this will get us through until ChiFi returns next month.

Random Notes

Dawson shows up to steal new paramedic Rafferty’s thunder.  When new girl confronts her, Dawson backs down knowing she’s been officially replaced as Shay’s new partner, so to speak.  Love that they’re letting Monica Raymund spread her wings with the becoming a firefighter storyline, but I do miss the Shawson pairing.

Too many funny moments to hit them all, but one of the best was when Boden throws back a shower curtain expecting to see some prostitutes making a living only to find Krotis (Katie & Otis) making out.  She did tell her nerd love that “tonight is the night” and I don’t think she was referring to an all-nighter of Dungeons and Dragons.  Later, Otis returns the favor when he walks in on Boden and Donna going at it in Chief’s office.

Hermann and Dawson each pull at Shay to convince her that their vision for Molly’s is the best. She really wants to remain a silent partner finally silencing her friends by telling them her big plans for the bar… Lesbian Night.  Speaking of Shay, we could’ve used more of her in tonight’s eppy, although I don’t know how they could squeeze in another storyline.

For the hundredth time, someone needs to force Casey to get some help and bring this thing to an end. Jesse Spencer is too good of an actor to waste on this soap opera rehash.