Chicago Fire’s “Rhymes with Shout” Reintroduces Old Friends and Enemies

Chicago Fire’s latest episode “Rhymes with Shout” was billed as a “game changer” which can mean “lame no changer” in TV land. However, this offering really did live up to the hype.

Many of the story lines truly advanced in exciting ways that have me looking forward to next week’s eppy more than any other this season. The show also reintroduced old characters showing that it does in fact have a memory. One of my biggest beefs with Chicago Fire this season is that significant stories are often dropped like a hot potato with no mention of any of them ever again. Tonight we saw the Cruz/Flaco story line revisited as well as a reintroduction to Detective Voight. The show expertly weaved the past with the present in this latest outing.

It opens with Casey boxing up the remnants of the Darden boys with Dawson helping out with the massive amounts of crap those brats left (like one box).  She says she’s going to miss coming by.  Casey begs her to keep coming over; he likes granola bars too.  She says “been there, done that” and leaves. Okay then.

Devon (guest star Vedette Lim), Shay’s crazy girlfriend, is still there. Someone, get this girl some pants and show her the door. She bonds with Otis when she sees his limited edition Star Wars nerd helmet on its own pedestal. Not surprising at all because everything about this girl says Comic Con fanatic.

That same morning, Shay drops a bomb on Kelly and says she’s leaving 51.  Kelly is shocked (Taylor Kinney’s got that look DOWN) and asks her for how long. “I’m not coming back,” answers Shay with Devon wrapping an arm around her, encouraging the break up.

Meanwhile, Cruz and his little brother Leon (guest star Jeff Lima) are walking down the street of their not so Mr. Rogers neighborhood. Leon’s apparently turned over a new leaf and going to college, things are looking sunny, Flaco’s still dead. They hear gunshots and a little girl who just passed them on a bike has been shot.  Cruz gets her pulse back by sheer willpower because he’s just that good, no CPR needed.  Who shows up to investigate? Our friendly neighborhood detective with a bad seed son, Voight.  Jason Beghe can command a scene like no other guest star.  He rolls out of his car and the world kind of stops for a few seconds.  Those bad guys don’t have a chance.

Pictured: (l-r) Alex Weisman as Chout, Monica Raymund as Gabriela Dawson -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
Pictured: (l-r) Alex Weisman as Chout, Monica Raymund as Gabriela Dawson — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Severide meets up with his instant sis and they bond pretty quickly.  They’ve got that whole “My Dad’s an Ass” thing in common. Katie (guest star Brittany Curran) tells him about her mom getting married and having two kids, stepsisters to her.  She says she wants to start her own catering business and Kelly’s encouraging, of course.  They awkwardly shake hands when it’s time to go, but Severide’s got an idea.  You cook, the guys at the firehouse eat, why don’t you come by and cook for us?  Smoooooth, Severide.  New sis who cooks? Put her to work. She says sure, a little unenthusiastically. I really wanted to hear Kelly’s backstory, but I’m guessing that’ll be coming in future episodes.

Back at 51, Boden announces Shay has quit them, moving on to another house. Dawson’s upset but really wants to slit her wrists when she meets the replacement paramedic.  Chout.  Yes, it rhymes with shout.  He is that kid in school who sharpened all the pencils for the teacher and broke the curve with his 100 while the rest of us failed. He says things like, “Let’s rock and roll” all the while giving Dawson the creepiest “I’m locking you in my trunk” look that could read major hero worship.  Gabby, go kiss and make up with Shay and lose Eddie Haskell.  Pronto!

Speaking of creepy, McLeod is waiting outside Boden’s office in the shadows ready to make us hate her a little more.  She is wearing her Wicked Witch of Chicago crown and lets Chief have it for backing out of their deal.  She says she likes her job, but when someone crosses her, she likes it even more, which shows what she’s capable of.  She tells Boden “I’m shutting down 51 and when I’m done, I’m gonna bury you.”  I think she has six bodies buried in her backyard to prove the point. I’m afraid for 51.

The big accident of the episode is a three car wreck with victims pinned in their vehicles.  Gas is leaking, as usual. Casey jumps into a minivan because that’s where all dads feel most comfortable. He tries to get a badly injured woman out. Dawson jumps in to join the fun, and they play Twister for a while before finally freeing the woman. A fireball shoots through the window narrowly missing the two who are sandwiched on top of each other. They leave, and I think Dawson may be pregnant.  Next big storyline perhaps?

Chief had on his bitch armor and isn’t taking Mcleod’s threats lying down. He wants Mouch to talk to new union president, Greg Sullivan, about beginning a legal maneuver to save 51.  Mouch is less than thrilled to seek the help of the guy who just kicked his butt in the election, but he does it for the good of the house.  Sullivan refuses, but Mouch turns Rambo on him saying he’s got a lot of dirt on the weasel. He didn’t air it out to win the election, but he’ll yell it from the rooftops to save 51. Then he really goes low blow and pulls the Lucy Hoffnagel card. I know, I know.  Sullivan’s been participating in extra curriculars with this woman whose name says hot mess like we haven’t seen since the likes of Jake at State Farm hit the scene.  Sullivan ends up getting those legal wheels turning.  Hopefully, they’ll run right over McLeod.

Pictured: (l-r) Charlie Barnett as Peter Mills, Mena Suvari as Isabella -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
Pictured: (l-r) Charlie Barnett as Peter Mills, Mena Suvari as Isabella — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Voight shows up at the house much to Casey’s chagrin, but it’s to harass Cruz.  He’s got a plan.  Leon can get back in the gang as a mole and they’ll all bring down the Kings. Cruz says no way, but Voight offers up a thinly veiled threat that he’ll reopen the Flaco death investigation if baby bro doesn’t do it.  Cruz is terrified for his brother’s safety and confides in Casey in the tear jerker scene of the night. Leon ends up accepting the job because the little girl on the bike didn’t make it.  He wants to do something to right that wrong. I think Cruz may be in for more tears in the weeks to come.

Kelly confronts his sister, Katie, about the no show at the firehouse.  He realizes that she never intended on showing up. In another emotional scene, Katie tells Kelly about meeting Benny for the first time at age ten.  He promised to be in her life.  The next time she saw him was two weeks ago. She says she can’t risk that disappointment again.  Severide says he understands, but tells Katie “I’m no Benny” before leaving. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing little sister again.  How can anyone say no to those baby blues?

Kelly and Otis get home from shift to find the apartment ransacked, everything of value gone … even the Mighty Morphin/Power Ranger helmet!   Kelly races upstairs calling for Shay. She’s crying in what’s left of her room and says she gave Devon a key. Aw Shay, you’re the only one with less luck than Kelly in a relationship.  Our hearts are breaking.

The final scene of the night is the one heavily teased. Dawson is at home drinking alone. She looks at her phone. Paces. Then she does what any self-respecting woman would do …  strap on those spanx, throw on a hoochie mama dress and head out to da club. She opens the door to find Casey standing before her all wide eyed like he’s never seen a woman on the prowl before.  He finally, finally, finally makes a move and kisses her. Passionately, and I’m thinking with tongue.  Fade to black. Dawsey fans rejoice.

The episode was one of the most exciting of this season with the pace never slowing down and, more importantly, with the story lines flowing from one to another seamlessly. A good TV show leaves you wanting more and brings those words “must see TV” to life. This offering did just that.  I want to see Shay’s further descent down the rabbit hole with Severide eventually lifting her out, I want more Leon and Cruz moments with some Voight sprinkled in for good measure, and I want to witness firsthand McLeod getting cut down to size with 51 rising from the ashes. Dawsey fans can get a little satisfaction at least for a few more episodes before something (the writers) tear them apart. This is no Married with Children, so don’t get too comfortable with the pairing.

Chicago Fire’s first season started a little slow but is gaining momentum as the episodes roll on.  This season is stacking up the same way – a few missteps in some early episodes, but now finding its footing. Can’t wait to see where all this lands.  Next week, same place, same time?  It’s a date.

Random Notes

  • Isabella (guest star Mena Suvari) fancies up Peter Mills to parade him around at a black tie event. She shows him off to an African American possible client and Pete can smell trophy wife a mile away. Isabella says “no way,” but I smell a rat.
  •  Zoya’s time is running out in the States. She has to return to Mother Russia. In a “surprise” move that shocks no one, Cruz proposes.  He’s so sincere and cute and enthusiastic, you can’t help but think heartbreak is coming his way.  Otis sums it up when all he can muster is an “uh” when hearing the joyous news.
  •  Clarke goes home to find there’s another guy in the house and it’s not him!  Apparently, Lisa owes this other guy some money. Clarke walks out and back in squad’s truck to face the fierce questioning of Capp. Calm down, Capp. When did you join the FBI? Later, we see Clarke with some big rifle in his car.  Uh oh, you need to stick to big tools, my friend.
  • Chout is hilarious all episode.  First, he says he was going to spring into action at the accident because spelunking is his go to move.  Then, he barges in on Casey and Dawson having a moment and getting close.  He also asks Dawson to the 8th grade dance with him, but she refuses saying she’s no one’s beard. They need to bring this guy back for the sheer laugh out loud moments.  Well done, Opie.
  • Dawson figures out what a bundt pan is really for.  I’ve been wondering for years. She’s treating a victim with a serving fork stuck in his chest. The pan immobilizes the fork for easy transport. Saving lives through bakeware.  That’s what I’m talkin’ about.