Wednesday, September 26, 2018

REVIEW: 'Chicago Fire' - Casey Struggles with Gabby's Departure While the Firehouse Gets New Faces in 'A Closer Eye'

NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 7.01 "A Closer Eye"

Casey tries to deal with his unsettled personal life and the firehouse welcomes a new member. Boden clashes with new Assistant Deputy Commissioner Jerry Gorsch.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of NBC's Chicago Fire.

"A Closer Eye" was written by Derek Haas and directed by Sanford Bookstaver

Heading into its seventh season, Chicago Fire may have its most daunting challenge so far. This is the season that finds itself losing one of its lead characters. Monica Raymund decided to leave the cast after six seasons. Sure, there have been plenty of characters and actors who have come and gone over the years. Some were killed off while others just left the firehouse for weird reasons because the characters weren't working. But Gabby was a lead for the show. She was one of the few characters who could actually carry a storyline outside of the tense situations on the job. That's a void that may be very difficult for the show to fill. It doesn't quite have to do so in this premiere either. The Season 6 finale would not have been a satisfying ending for Gabby. So, it's very fortunate that Raymund comes back for this premiere in order to provide more resolution as to what happened to her character. It's a shock when she first appears through a video chat with Casey. It seems like that's all there is going to be because he is spiraling significantly since she left for this relief mission in Puerto Rico. But she does show up in Chicago by the end of the hour to confirm that she is needed elsewhere. The story points out that Casey could never leave Chicago. It's his hometown. He has to save people here. This is the end of their marriage. Yes, it is sudden and jarring. It's brought on only because an actor wanted to leave the show after six years of playing the same character. But it's still a lose. One that is bound to lead to a significant shakeup for Casey. Last season the show was essentially having him step up as the heir apparent to replace Boden as the chief of Firehouse 51. And now, it seems like Casey has devolved considerably. He is making rash decisions in the field that can get him killed. Of course, Severide does so as well. His big moment of rescue though is played as him being a badass hero instead of recklessly putting his life in danger. And yet, Severide is the one who gets yelled at because of it. It's going to be fascinating to see what this tension with the fire department will do to the firehouse. The show has presented so many administrative threats to Boden and his officers over the years. None of them have succeeded in tearing up the family of this firehouse though. As such, it runs the risk of simply becoming a repetitive story. The only thing different this time is Jerry Gorsch actually working out of the firehouse as well. That means he too will have an intimate understanding of how these firefighters operate. Sure, Boden notes that Gorsch was better suited for the political side of the job instead of running into dangerous situations. But that's mostly just exposition in order to really establish him as someone the firehouse should fear because he is able to make the powerful accusation against Commissioner Grissom go away. That was played as this massive reveal that Otis had uncovered. And now, it's completely nothing with these new adversaries remaining in power and it seeming like the good guys are fighting against people who know how to game the system more efficiently despite their one-note villainy.