By Lisa Casas (@Queenofmynerds)
In Chicago Fire’s fifth outing this season, ‘A Power Move,’ the drama officially got its groove back.
Last week, it seemed the characters had just met; the relationships we’ve grown to adore over season one were missing in action. This week, the amnesia was lifted and everyone remembered who they were, pod people replaced with the characters we know and love.
The episode begins with Dawson waking up with a very shirtless Jay. Dang, that girl moves on quick. I guess those abs on the “cop pretending to be a bad guy” help. Her “I love you, I love you not” with Casey has landed on the “I love you not” petal, at least for now.
Shay’s descent into a dark space begins to reveal itself further in this episode with Lauren German hinting at the downward spiral to come. Whether it’s the messy hair, the pained look in her eyes, or the way she avoids eye contact with her friends, Shay is going to a bad place, and I think we’re in for a hell of a ride. We see her first waking up in a stranger’s bed, an exotic beauty and collection of cameras staring at her. Just what we all want to find after a one night stand. The crazy train is a comin’ and I can’t wait.
The most unexpected, Kleenex worthy scene of the night didn’t come from a blazing fire, a dramatic water rescue, or a three car pile up. It was a quiet little scene where one of the newbies flexed his acting chops. Clarke, the once suspected mole, has a heart to heart with the struggling Shay. He tells her about a good friend he served with in Iraq. His friend always said everyone had this hourglass, the top is obscured, so you don’t know how much sand you have left. They get back from their tour and his friend started to slip. One day he was supposed to meet up with him, but he gets a text reading, “There’s no more sand.” Geez, Clarke, you’re making us bipolar; we hate you one minute for maybe spilling secrets to McLeod, now we’re loving you for trying to help Shay. The writers have a cast overflowing with talent and always seem to find a way to give each his moment to shine, even the supporting players.
Shay does have the badass scene of the night again. Last week it was a chainsaw, this week a fountain drink. She isn’t handling her breakup with Dawson very well. Gabby tries to kiss and makeup, but Shay’s having none of it. When a convertible, cuts off the ambo, she goes Mad Max on the driver, speeding in chase and launching a Big Gulp at the rude girl behind the wheel. Dawson watches in shocked amazement probably thinking that was more her style. These two are in for a rocky month ahead with things getting worse before they get better.
Gail McLeod is back and badder than ever. I think Michelle Forbes can kill small animals with just one look. Wait, didn’t she do that in True Blood? She calls in Chief Boden and tells him his leadership is in question, basically don’t let the door hit him on the way out. She cheerfully announces that she’s cobbled together an attractive retirement package and needs to know his decision by Friday. The smug look is wiped off her face when Boden has the line of the night and tells her to, “Kiss my ass” before walking out the door. Maybe these two alphas can just wrestle and settle this man to man. Better yet, maybe they’ll settle it man to woman with Boden finally getting a little love.
Treat Williams is also back as Benny and is a treat to watch, as usual. His scenes with Taylor Kinney are so authentic, but have a tragic undertone. Kelly is the hooker, uh, I mean, the asshole with a heart of gold. He does everything for those he loves, but despite genetics, his dad isn’t cut from the same cloth. Kelly believes his dad is there for him, but we can’t help but feel that Benny has too many years of looking out for number one to change now. He tells Kelly he has to make a choice. This has all the makings of a father/son rift of biblical proportions.
The episode also found the Severide/Shay relationship returning to where it was in season one. Shay walks into the firehouse, hair looking like a rat’s nest, milking a serious hangover. Severide turns angry dad on her saying he tried texting her last night; he doesn’t want to wake up wondering if she’s wrapped her car around a tree. She says, “I get it” and walks away, head down, fully reprimanded. This walk of shame rivaling the earlier one out of her new lady love’s apartment. The only thing missing was a grounding and an “I’m so disappointed in you” speech. It’s what we want and expect from these two. We know Kelly will be the one to eventually pull Shay out of the rabbit hole, and we can’t wait to see it happen with both of them once again declaring their platonic love for each other.
Back at 51, Boden registers a 7.2 on the Richter scale yelling at the guys for grumbling about a wellness evaluation. I’m pretty sure small buildings were toppled with the boom of his voice. His over-reaction has Casey and Kelly in his office looking for answers. Chief tells them, “She’s coming for me guys” and we all know who the “she” is. Kelly turns attack dog, telling Boden, “It’s your house! Defend it!” Everyone in this house yelled out a collective “Hell yeah!” battle cry.
The battle, it turns out, may have been over before it started. Benny once again is competing for top villain honors when he meets with McLeod at her request. She tells him she wants to save 51 but needs someone she can trust in there. In what we’ve been suspecting for a while, she says she wants the elder Severide to replace Boden. Benny’s power move has more of a slime factor to it when you take into account he’s known Chief for many years, working, battling fires alongside him. McLeod just met Boden because his name’s on a list.
In a show of solidarity, the guys bond together to oust Mcleod’s mole Spellman. The creepy spy finds several pink slips taped to his locker. I’m guessing it’s not because of breast cancer awareness month. Turns out these are transfer requests, and everyone at the station is ready to offer the rat one. In a priceless scene, Spellman turns to the lieutenants for support, but even Casey and Severide flash pink slips. Message received when Chief offers his own pink love note, telling the mole to say hi to McLeod.
In one of the final scenes of the night, Mills talks to Boden about the results of the chief’s wellness exam. He says there were signs of asbestos poisoning. Boden doesn’t want to hear it, but the look on his face conveys a defeat that hints of things to come. We want Boden to fight, but it appears that, at least for now, the fight is gone. He meets McLeod in her office and declares his love for 51. We believe him, and know somehow that the firehouse was probably the biggest love of his life. We’re glad we didn’t put that Kleenex away because we really need it when he says he’ll “do anything to save 51” and promptly hands in his resignation. Don’t fall on that sword, Boden!
The ending clip shows Kelly and Benny sharing a beer. Papa Severide seems rather chipper and tells his son he’s got some news. He says he’s taking over 51. The look on Kelly’s face is priceless. He’s shocked, disappointed, and angry, all in the span of about half a second. Benny’s coup d’état worked for now, but I’m betting his son will play a pivotal role in Boden coming back.
At its core, this is a show about relationships, not big fires and dangerous rescues. The heart of the series lies in the big hearts of the men and women at 51. The writers jumped back on that fire engine in this episode after veering off course last week. We care desperately about this family and want to see more. They’ve set the viewer up for some emotionally, heart wrenching scenes in the weeks to come. The next episode airs Tuesday, November 12, and looks to be another powerhouse with Severide fighting to save a young boy’s life. We know the backdrop of action will add excitement but that’s not what keeps us coming back. It’s the relationships that continue to develop and the flawed characters making us laugh and cry in the same scene that have us asking how we’ll ever survive three weeks until the new episode. Well, it’s either that, or the fact that three shirts finally came off. Now that was a power move.
- In the opening rescue scene, the action added to the characterization this week and flowed seamlessly to show the further distance between our favorite paramedics. A tree has crashed through a house leaving Shay and Dawson to symbolically work on separate floors fighting to save both a young woman and a baby. Note to self…in a tree versus house battle, tree wins.
- Fool Kelly once, shame on you, fool him twice, still shame on you, but there is no way you’re fooling him like five times. Otis’ cute Russian cousin’s visa is running out, but she’s got a plan. She beds Severide then springs her marriage idea on him. They will both be so sad if she has to return to Mother Russia. He says a regretful “no way”, but I was hoping he’d add that he didn’t put in for a mail order bride; that was Mouch. Go away Russian skank!
- In a cute scene confirming that, yes, in fact, they did date last season, Mills teases Dawson that they need a stool sample during her wellness check. Great line to attract the ladies, Mills. Must work every time. Adding to the “aw shucks” moment, he goes all puppy dog eyes on her and says they were friends to begin with. They’ll get back to that. In another memorable Mills moment, he’s the toe whisperer when he finds a victim’s missing toes and cheerfully hands off a Baggie of toes to the paramedics.
- In an out of nowhere scene, Casey enlists Isabella’s help to get Heather Darden into a minimum security facility where she can see her boys more. Wow, this American beauty’s a PR specialist by day, lawyer by night?
- Speaking of Casey, he was barely in the episode. I vaguely remember him visiting Heather Darden, encouraging her to stay strong. Then he shows up to protest the wellness checks because they report that Hermann has one percent less body fat than him. David Eigenberg is apparently still campaigning for that sitcom job and will stop at nothing short of full nudity (Alexander Skarsgard, look out). He removes his shirt and says suck on this. I’m still pondering that one.
- Otis took it back old school when he used the words shindig, crib, my girl, and pretty tight all in one scene. He put together a “cheer up Shay” party that fell flat in typical humorous, Otis fashion. By the end of the episode, he’s admitting he’s gotta get outta the apartment.