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The Fire is Back: Chicago Fire “Not Like This” Review

By on December 11, 2013
Pictured: Eamonn Walker as Chief Wallace Boden -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Pictured: Eamonn Walker as Chief Wallace Boden -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

In ‘Not Like This’ Chicago Fire brings back the fire in a big way after last week’s heartstring-pulling, low action outing.

The series seems to equate more action with less feels and this episode was no exception right up until the end.

The episode seemed more of an exercise in plot movement than character development.

Cases needed to be solved (sorry, wrong show) and story lines closed. Speaking of closed, the doom and gloom of 51’s impending death was wrapped up in a nice little bow, and as a surprise to no one, the firehouse was saved.  More on that later.

The episode begins with Severide, Clarke, and Hermann getting drunk. Clarke’s wife’s boyfriend (try to stay with me) shows up to join in the party. When Clarke says he’s not into that sort of thing, the guy gets really nasty saying the wife owes him $2,000 for services rendered. A simple transaction between a man and a whore.  Clarke goes after the guy, but Severide, being the laid back dude he is, pushes him back calming him down.

Because doing it in the kitchen, ambo, truck, shower, and Pouch’s doggie bed was not enough last week, Casey and Dawson do it in his office. They also decide to tell their friends about their blossoming relationship. I’m sure it will come as a surprise to no one.

Meanwhile, Cruz is lamenting Zoya’s return to Mother Russia.  He does have a mix CD she left him so that he can drown his sorrows out to the lovely image of R. Kelly grinding on Lady Gaga while listening to “Do What You Want.”  Making matters more icky is the fact that the CD was secretly made by Otis.  Cruz is super sweet and you can’t help but feel for the guy when he confesses to Clarke about the connection he felt with Zoya and how it could’ve grown into something real.

Pictured: (l-r) Michelle Forbes as Gail McLeod, Jeff Hephner as Clarke, Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Randy Flagler as Capp, Christian Stolte as Mouch, Eamonn Walker as Chief Wallace Boden, Monica Raymund as Gabriela Dawson, David Eigenberg as Christopher Herrmann, Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey, Joe Minoso as Joe Cruz, Yuri Sardarov as Brian "Otis" Zvonecek -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Pictured: (l-r) Michelle Forbes as Gail McLeod, Jeff Hephner as Clarke, Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Randy Flagler as Capp, Christian Stolte as Mouch, Eamonn Walker as Chief Wallace Boden, Monica Raymund as Gabriela Dawson, David Eigenberg as Christopher Herrmann, Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey, Joe Minoso as Joe Cruz, Yuri Sardarov as Brian “Otis” Zvonecek — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Nathan, the little boy Severide saved in ‘Joyriding,’ shows up to thank Kelly.  He says his arm is great and he even made the basketball team.  Cute kid award of the night goes out to him when he sets up a little table in front of 51 to get people to sign a petition in an effort to save the firehouse.  It was nice to see a story line carried over, giving the viewers an answer to, “Whatever happened to…”

In the foreshadowing moment of the night, Casey says that one shift can change someone’s life.  Yes, we know something bad is coming your way.  If we hadn’t seen all the promos, we would still know.  Subtle is not a benchmark of this episode.

The funny showed up in this eppy also with Hermann getting in a few good lines.  It’s about time, David Eigenberg.  We miss your rants about douche bags and bowlin’ leagues. After new union president, Greg Sullivan, is accused of embezzling union money, Hermann encourages Mouch to fly up to Phoenix and spread his wings. It’s a course correction and this is your time to lead, he tells his friend.  Mouch does rise up like a Phoenix, and we all know he’ll do the firehouse proud.

Just when you thought McLeod couldn’t get any shadier, it’s uncovered that she receives a bonus of $200,000 to reduce the department budget by ten percent. She’s trying to make herself rich. It seemed a little anti-climactic that her vendetta was all based on money.  I thought we were going to have a flashback of a firefighter failing to save her kitty in a tree when she was five or some equally traumatic and firefighter hate inducing event from her past.  Nope, just money.

Pictured: (l-r) Monica Raymund as Gabriela Dawson, Yuri Sardarov as Brian "Otis"' Zvonecek -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Pictured: (l-r) Monica Raymund as Gabriela Dawson, Yuri Sardarov as Brian “Otis”‘ Zvonecek — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Dawson gets a letter in the mail and looks shocked.  We know.  Who even sends letters snail mode anymore?  She tells Shay the letter is accepting her application to become a firefighter that she filled out six years ago. Must’ve gotten lost.  Shay is excited. “This is huge!  We need women who kicks ass on these trucks,” Shay encourages. She also says to talk to Casey. He’ll be happy for you. I got your back. Shay IS back and it’s nice to have her just where we love her.

Antonio shows up to question Clarke because his wife’s other guy is, wait for it… dead.  Clarke, you weren’t the mole.  Please say you’re not a killer although creepy wife-stealer kind of asked for it.

McLeod shows up to gloat and tap dance, but she is met by a huge crowd of citizens chanting, “Save 51!”  It’s the cheesetastic moment of the night, but I loved it.  The faces of the guys full of pride in serving at 51 is one of the few emotional scenes of the first 40 minutes of the episode.  McLeod and Boden are summoned to a senator’s office because apparently he works right down the hall from 51.  In the surprising badass move of the night, Isabella (guest star Mena Suvari) is there to hand McLeod her rear on a platter.  This is the same senator blondie’s been parading Mills around as her trophy wife.  The senator proclaims that he wants to save the firehouse. Isabella tells McLeod she’s signing the papers to save the firehouse or she’s nailing her to a cross so hard she won’t get a government contract as a meter maid.  Gail reluctantly signs with Boden watching.  His turn to gloat, even adding, “You missed one.”  Hilarious. Just two hundred McLeod autographs and 51 is saved. Now that Isabella’s arc is winding down, the writers decided to give her a personality.  I’m going to miss you, girl. I wouldn’t have said that last week.

Boden thanks Mills for his takedown of Satan, I mean McLeod. Pete says no it was all because of you. Yes, the cheesefest continues.

(l-r) Joe Minoso as Joe Cruz, Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey, Yuri Sardarov as Brian "Otis" Zvonecek -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

(l-r) Joe Minoso as Joe Cruz, Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey, Yuri Sardarov as Brian “Otis” Zvonecek — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Casey is less than thrilled with Dawson’s decision to become a firefighter.  He asks, “What happened to medical school?” Not exactly a huge show of support. Dawson is disappointed in his reaction, but no time to break up with him yet.  They’re off to the huge fire that’s been heavily promoted all week.

It’s an out of control apartment fire with many victims.  The team rescues almost everyone but a lady tells Casey her baby’s still inside. Everyone is out, but we know how Casey loves kids, so he remains to save that baby. He can hear the baby crying which only motivates him to push on.  He grabs the baby and rushes out. The apartment is an inferno at this point with Boden commenting about the “black smoke” – more foreshadowing.  Casey’s making his way out and a huge beam falls on him.  I think he pancaked the baby, but you can still hear it crying.  Whew!  The guys rush in and it takes 27 of them to lift the beam off.  As soon as he’s free, Casey springs up and rushes out with the baby.  He collapses outside looking pretty bad with blood pouring out of his head.  At the hospital, Shay reports the baby will be fine. The doctor finally comes in and says that Casey has an epidural hematoma.  Wait, didn’t I have one of those when I gave birth.  Hmmm, the same but different I guess.  Dawson rushes off to see Casey having brain surgery.

I was yelling “Not like this!” at the end of ‘Not Like This.’ The writers are going to leave us hanging until January 7?  Really?  Well, is it that much of a cliff hanger if you really think about it.  No.  Casey will be fine.  This isn’t cable TV where they kill off major characters at the drop of a hat or the swing of a sword.  No, my guess is that Matthew Casey will live to fight fires another day, to fight with Dawson about her decision to become a firefighter, and to have make up sex in squad’s truck.

Overall, the episode was thin emotionally even though one of our favorites was left clinging to life.  There were satisfying moments combined with humor, but it wasn’t the strongest episode of the season.  We didn’t reach for Kleenex three or four times like we did last week.  This was a one hanky eppy at best.  Am I looking forward to the show returning in January?  Of course. Chicago Fire is predictable in that it can be relied upon to offer up more of the touchy feely episodes I love filled with the problems of the characters we’ve grown so attached to.  So yes, 2014 can’t get here soon enough.

 

Random Notes

  • Bizarre call of the night comes when Shay and Dawson respond to a call from a naked couple who say they’re not ashamed of their bodies.  As the paramedics enter the home they see something straight out of fifty shades of crazy hanging from the ceiling.  A naked man is hanging precariously in some net thing.
  • Another funny moment of the night was when Cruz asked Otis to go steady and move in together. He says they won’t be as cool as Shayveride (No kidding) but Crotis has a ring. A ring like some intestinal bug you pick up in Argentina. Crotis?  I say NOtis!
  • Two strange things happen in the hospital waiting room.  The first is when Mills announces he is a firefighter.  He will always be a firefighter.  We are so relieved, young man.  Way to make Casey’s life hanging in the balance all about you. The other strange move is when Antonio shows up to arrest Clarke saying the slugs used to kill sleazy guy were from a Marine issue gun.  I’m pretty sure Clarke was not flying to Phoenix, Antonio.  Think you could’ve arrested him when he got back to his house.

One Comment

  1. J

    December 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    What do you (personally) feel the strongest episode of the season has been so far?