Chicago Fire 2.01 Review: Gunning for House 51

by Carissa Pavlica / September 24, 2013

Chicago Fire ProblemHouseHouse 51 is back in action! The Chicago Fire drama kicked in straight away as we learned the state of Illinois had hired a consultant (in the form of the lovely Michelle Forbes) to determine how to cut back on the budget. Yes, I know that every government faces cutbacks, but do we really have to face them in every program on television? I’ve been rewatching the X-Files and one of the main annoyances throughout season one was the continual threat they were going to shut them down. Now we learn House 51 is on a short list to be closed because they are, as the title explained, a “Problem House.” The Chicago Fire I watched last season wasn’t one for such petty stunts.

Alas, we are stuck with it. Two new men from a house that was already closed joined the team and I really took a liking to Jeff Clark. He’s knowledgeable, easy on the eyes and seems like a great fit for the house. Of course the consultant (Gail McLeod is her name) wants to use him as a spy. If all goes well, it will come back to bite her in the ass. She readily admitted how little she knew about firefighting, and in asking someone to spy on their fellow firemen, she proved herself a buffoon.

Firefighters must have utter and complete trust in one another in order to do their jobs. Every day their lives literally depend upon that trust. You could tell by the look on Jeff’s face that he found the request improper, unpleasant and he will likely find a way to skirt it, even if it means he becomes a floater rather than have a permanent home at 51.

Chicago Fire Season 1 ended with the surprise return of Severide’s girlfriend cradling her very pregnant belly. Tonight Shay brought up the fact that the last time they slept together doesn’t exactly coincide with her due date. Yes, she’s a bit upset that she was in the process of trying to have a child with Kelly, but that doesn’t negate her dear friendship with him. If he were my friend, I’d make sure he wasn’t making a decision based on information that may not be true. How often are due dates on a first baby three weeks later than the conception date? I don’t have that information, but it would be good for him to find out.

Casey’s luck with women is even worse. After his off-then-on-again girlfriend/fiancée was murdered he seemed to be getting over it. The firehouse was remembering the death of Darden, who was killed in the Season 1 premiere last year, and Casey was looking in on his wife Heather who he had a fling with along the way. It seemed they might be getting a bit cosy again. Her friends took her out to happy hour to forget the loss of her husband and, if you don’t mind my saying, they have to be the worst friends in the world. Seriously. I mean they are the “with friends like these you don’t need enemies” kind of friends. She drove to her own happy hour where her friends proceeded to ply her with drinks to numb her mind.

Do you see where I’m going with this? One of those crap friends was also stupid enough to get her drunk ass into the car with the same women she just filled with alcohol. Casey was one of the responders to a single car DUI accident. The passenger was gravely wounded with a head injury. Heather, the driver, was just peachy and asking Casey to go get her kids from the sitter. What the hell?!

I am appalled at that storyline. Frankly, I’m not happy with the whole stable of stories they’re tossing our way. It didn’t feel like the Chicago Fire I fell in love with last season. Did the writers change? Are they sitting on their laurels since they were a success story and got a spin-off? I have news for you Chicago Fire writers — NBC isn’t exactly known for having the best shows on the air, so I wouldn’t get so lazy so fast.

There were a few other moments that reminded me of the show I loved. Mouch had his online friend over for a visit, and she gave him the confidence to run for union president. Hermann was on-screen. That’s really all he needs to do for me to be happy. And, that’s about it.

My assumption is we’ll see things pick up as House 51 fights to stay off the termination list. My wish is that they do it with realistic stories  told with great emotional impact. That’s what made Chicago Fire so special. The opening minutes where they revisited what happened last year was the closest we came to that during the premiere. I expect more. A lot more.


Carissa has been covering all facets of Television at such outlets as TVFanatic, and more currently Her reviews and recaps are insightful and saturated with the infectious voice of a true fan, and her event coverage and interviews have an uncanny ability to get straight to what matters most to TV nuts.