Wednesday, February 22, 2017

REVIEW: NBC's 'Chicago Fire' and 'Chicago P.D.' (February 21-22)

Reviews for NBC's Chicago franchise from February 21-22:

NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 5.14 "Purgatory"
NBC's Chicago P.D. - Episode 4.15 "Favor, Affection, Malice or Ill-Will"

Due to the demands of Peak TV, it is becoming more and more difficult for this website to devote the time to full length episodic reviews. And yet, there are still thoughts to be had about the ongoing adventures on a number of series. So I thought it would be good to still write down a couple of brief thoughts about each episode on a weekly basis. Of course, you can still expect full reviews for premieres and finales. If NBC should make screeners available, those episodes would get detailed analysis as well. But for now, this will be the way to continue to provide content for these shows while also being a lighter workload for me.

Chicago Fire - "Purgatory"
After exercising his disdain and authority over Chief Boden, Chief Anderson reassigns members of 51 to various houses around town, citing the need for improvement. The ramifications are felt by the crew, who are left to make the best of their respective situations in their new surroundings. Boden fights to repair the situation, but it just might be out of his control. Severide toils over an important decision. Written by Michael Brandt & Derek Haas and directed by Joe Chappelle

It's not surprising in the slightest that Chief Anderson reassigning members of 51 to other firehouses was only going to be a premise for one episode. The hour ends with 51 being restored to its full glory and everyone realizing just how important this makeshift family really is to them. It's a heartfelt moment that does feel earned and emotional despite how laughably broad Chief Anderson was as an antagonist. But the events of this episode were pretty interesting too with everyone readjusting to their new environments. Of course, a lot of that was played for laughs - like Otis telling incredible stories that he didn't experience, Herrmann and Mouch landing in a useless house, Gaby hiding from her new partner, etc. But it was compelling to see everyone passionately fight to get back to 51 only for every attempt to fail. The frustrations only grew. It broke Boden down enough that he was open to a morally questionable idea from Severide. Of course, all it takes is one call to bring everything together and show how great this team is in action. It had to be a big enough call to have all of these firehouses respond. But once there, it's a pretty impressive set piece that makes sure every plot comes to a head and has a nice resolution to it. It's this feeling of family that makes Severide realize he should stay in Chicago as well. That's not surprising. But again, it's a plot beat the show has earned. B+

Chicago P.D. - "Favor, Affection, Malice or Ill-Will"
When Lindsay is tipped off about a grieving father looking to avenge his daughter's death, Olinsky goes undercover as a hitman-for-hire. With Gang Intelligence lacking enough evidence to arrest the original gangbanger in question, the team works to reinvestigate the case. Ruzek comes back after finishing his undercover assignment only to have Voight knock him down to patrol duty. Written by Craig Gore & Tim Walsh and directed by Holly Dale

So, Ruzek should not get his spot back in Intelligence just because he's back now from working undercover. He left suddenly and was quickly replaced. He needs to work his way back into the unit and build that trust again with Voight. So, that makes it so frustrating that this episode bends over backwards to get him back there as quickly as possible. It would have been so fascinating to see him work patrol for a couple of episodes. That could have been an eye-opening experience for him. It meant there would be consequences for his actions. And yet, the show just doesn't want to do that which is so weird. It brought Rixton in for a few episodes. He developed a backstory. And now, he's just being sent away to another unit to open the door for Ruzek once more. Elsewhere, main stories that feature Olinsky prominently have never been my personal favorite. But this one with the grieving father had a nice hook to it. It was understandable why this guy would want the killer of his daughter to be killed. It's just not surprising that the first suspect wasn't ultimately guilty. It was just intriguing to see how far Olinsky could string this guy along. Of course, the tension between Olinsky and the State's Attorney was a little forced. Plus, it's laughable that the State's Attorney knows who Otis is at Molly's. Yes, it's been established that the guy is friends with Boden on Fire. But he's not the type of person who would be a Molly's regular. It's a nice moment to end on. It just works better when you don't think too much about it. B-