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TV REVIEW: Chicago Fire Goes Dark With “Virgin Skin”

By on February 26, 2014

Pictured: Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC

After a long, long break Chicago Fire is finally back with Virgin Skin and the first ten minutes are a blaze of action and activity that had my head spinning and my skin crawling.

The episode begins with Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) arriving at CPD in time to see the prime suspect in his sister’s disappearance, Vince Keeler (guest star Jake Weary) saunter out. Kelly jumps him demanding to know where his sister, Katie (guest star Brittany Curran), is.  Detective Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush) calms Kelly down assuring him that they will date, I mean, find his sis.  Taylor Kinney has worried, sad face down. I hate to jinx him into a career of misery, but it suits you dude.

Best news of the night, the writers seem to be dumping the ridiculous Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) receiving a personality transplant through brain injury storyline.  Truck’s lieutenant is finally seeing a doctor who shares the scary news that he may never be the same, his skull’s been compromised.  I’m thinking in the real world this would mean no more firefighting, but never fear. This is Chicago Fire where people recover from a broken neck in 30 minutes and brothers find missing sisters in 15.

On to that … Kelly has an idea.  Uh oh, this could spell trouble.  Shay apparently feels the same way. She asks him how he’s doing.  It’s about time to check on your best friend. Is it just me, or has this season been thin on the roommate bonding?  People calling for more bromance need to calm down. I’m missing the best lezmance on TV. We want Shayveride!  Say it with me.

Pictured: (l-r) Lauren German as Leslie Shay, Jeff Hephner as Clarke -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Pictured: (l-r) Lauren German as Leslie Shay, Jeff Hephner as Clarke — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Back to the show. The first rescue of the night is a guy who’s arm is being flattened by an escalator looking thing.  Mouch (Christian Stolte) struggles with some wires trying to stop the machine from moving.  Remind me to never call Mouch if a bomb needs to be defused unless I want to hear a big BOOM.  Yeah, don’t think he had a past in hot wiring cars.  He finally gets the thing to stop, Casey almost falls over the side, and Clarke (Jeff Hephner) saves the day.

Turns out, Kelly’s big idea is to ask Erin out and give us some Lindseride since Shayveride is out.  Just kidding.  He’s laser focused on finding Katie (along with all of Twitter) so no romance this episode.  He tracks down the guy he saved from Keeler’s beat down at 51 and says you owe me.  The guy tells him to find Jack and he’ll know where Keeler’s holding the Severide sister.  With the blink of an eye, Severide is beating the crap out of the Keeler friend even using a halligan, the Swiss Army knife of firefighting – prying someone out of a car one minute, torturing a loser for information the next.

Apparently Jack does know jack because he spills the beans on Katie’s whereabouts. Kelly calls Erin, and they bust in an empty warehouse where Katie is lying beaten and bruised on some nasty mattress from a Febreze commercial. Katie’s look says some bad things went down and the title of this episode IS Virgin Skin.  Please tell me Chicago Fire isn’t going that dark.  Oh yes it did.  Erin confirms it at the hospital.

Meanwhile, Dawson (Monica Raymund) is struggling with her big firefighting time trials.  She can’t seem to break seven minutes and acts like she’s operating with one lung anytime that mask goes on her face.  I’m thinking this could deter her efforts to join the big boys.

Pictured: (l-r) Jeff Hephner as Clarke, Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Pictured: (l-r) Jeff Hephner as Clarke, Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Her main big boy, Casey, is back to being nice Casey except he’s now developed a lying problem. He tells Dawson that his checkup went great and everything is perfect.

Boden (Eamonn Walker) is having his own problems. Things start off great with new love Donna (guest star Melissa Ponzio) inviting him to meet her friends.  Later in the episode, she asks him to meet her visiting parents.  As quick as Kelly rescued his sister, Wallace is breaking up with her saying he’s only good at beginnings but ends up ruining things in the end.  What?  Can’t we have a little happy chief for more than half a second?

Otis (Yuri Sardarov) gets more air time than usual and does sad puppy dog eyes almost as well as Kinney.  He also has a great hero scene saving a crash victim in the nick of time while being doused with gasoline.  I can’t help but feel like this is the “girl running in the woods from a killer” moment of the season.  Otis gets a girl, gets a big rescue under his belt. Is he going to fall victim to the ax killer next and not make it back for season three?  Just a feeling …

Erin is back on the scene, calling Kelly, meeting in her car, so that Severide can watch Keeler get arrested.  Detective Lindsay gives the criminal a blow to the face “for Katie.”  Suspending disbelief is a necessity in primetime TV, but this gets a little ridiculous.  Inviting a civilian on a bust seems so far removed from reality, we need to suspend all brain cells.  I’ve missed you, ChiFi, so we’ll stick with the idea that the intelligence team plays by its own set of rules.

Back at the Fire Academy, it’s the day of Dawson’s big test.  She takes off auspiciously enough making it through the first part, but ends up twisting her ankle badly and just misses the seven minute cut off time.  Really, Kelly?  You couldn’t have stopped the time a few seconds early for your friend?  Ethics that strong, big guy? Wait, this is the same fireman who illegally took prescription painkillers last season even sleeping with some pharmaceutical sales skank to get more, right?

Pictured: Christian Stolte as Mouch -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Pictured: Christian Stolte as Mouch — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

We’ll let it slide, Severide.  You’ve gone through a lot tonight. By episode’s end, we find out that Katie is going to Colorado to try to forget all that’s happened to her. She tells big bro to take care of her favorite nerd, Otis. Brittany Curran, you’ve been the best guest star. We will miss you, sweet Katie.

And more exciting than any fire scene, Casey’s lame storyline featured in every telenovela since the creation of the Spanish language is over.  He’s no longer an asshole.  He comes clean to Dawson about his lyin’ ways so they can be happy forever.  Right?  Again, I’ll remind you that this is Chicago Fire. Not a chance.

In the final scene, Erin calls Kelly yet again.  Geez girl, just ask him out.  She calls him to the station to tell him that Keeler’s got some friends in high places; they have to cut him loose.  I guess she figured having Kelly watch the kidnapper/rapist/scum walk free, smirk affixed to his face, would be so much better than just hearing about it on the phone. His final line is a cryptic, “You do something, Erin, or I will.”

Overall, the episode seemed to go down a laundry list of to do’s.  Rescue Katie, check. End Casey’s awful storyline, check. Throw in a couple of rescues, check.  Send some guest stars packing (Katie, Rafferty, Donna), check. There were so many things going on, if you blinked you missed something major.  As with most of the episodes this season, there were high points outnumbering the low ones.  It was awesome having our favorite firemen back and scenes for next week look promising.  Rebecca Jones is joining 51 as the new candidate and Erin tells Kelly she won’t hesitate to arrest his ass. One thing I’m definitely enjoying is how much the show has me guessing, and guessing wrong most of the time.  The final eight episodes promise a roller coaster ride of emotions.  I’m ready to jump on.  How about you?

Random Notes

  • Rafferty gets suspended for three months breaking up with Shay and ending the funniest Shay moments of the season. We’re going to miss you too, Christine Evangelista.
  • Clarke is even more of a man of mystery with two Chicago Blackhawks players as friends (that’s hockey fellow Texans).  Jeff Hephner, we’re going to miss you too when you make your exit to go film a pilot in Canada with Sharon Stone.  Guess you really love that cold weather.
  • Happy Boden is such a delight, I’m going to miss him too.  He tells a hilarious story about being butt naked in front of a film crew to Donna’s friends.
  • Casey tells Dawson maybe she can get a do over on the fireman test.  She says, yes, please.  How many chances do they get?  This isn’t exactly parallel parking.
  • Rebecca Jones (guest star Daisy Betts) introduces us to her jerk of a father and we feel a little sympathy for her stop at nothing drive to become a firefighter.  It’ll be interesting to see where her storyline goes.
  • I almost forgot the big reveal of the season.  The mystery thing all the guys have been building under Casey’s supervision is a library for Nathan’s school.  Remember, Nathan is the kid Kelly saved in Joyriding.  The scene was supposed to be the big emotional feel of Virgin Skin, but the fact I almost forgot to include it is a big reveal in itself.

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