Thursday, October 25, 2018

REVIEW: 'Chicago Fire' - Casey Makes a New Friend When Investigating a Trailer Park Fire in 'A Volatile Mixture'

NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 7.05 "A Volatile Mixture"

Working alongside a journalist, Casey does some digging into the cause of a trailer park fire. Boden hits his breaking point. Mouch, Herrmann and Cruz work to figure out why Molly's isn't performing up to expectations.

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 Volatile Mixture" was written by Andrea Newman and directed by Sanford Bookstaver

Is it too soon for Chicago Fire to be giving Casey a new love interest? Gabby only made her official exit from the show in the season premiere. Moreover, the two of them haven't even gotten a divorce. They both understand that they are no longer together because their careers have taken them to different corners of the globe. However, that's the only reason why they are no longer a couple. And now, the show introduces Naomi basically to have sexual tension with Casey. She functions perfectly fine as a one-off character who gets caught up in some drama at the firehouse. She presents as a journalist who is aspirational and trying to make a difference in the world. The show also gets some strong marks for realizing that people typically refuse to talk to reporters nowadays because most are just looking to break some huge news that will only ruin people's lives. And yes, Naomi is digging to uncover the truth about a certain trailer model. But the show takes the angle that it's important for her to do this job. Casey assists her in a way that doesn't follow protocol but is absolutely the right thing to do. And yes, the sparks do seem to be flying between them. Naomi presents as something nice and easy. Casey deserves that in his life. However, this show buys into the idea that safe, normal couples aren't interesting to watch. It really shouldn't because that's not true at all. But after waiting so long for Casey and Gabby to get together only for their romance to abruptly end, it may feel like the show is rushing into this development. Of course, Casey's story is the only one of any interest at all in this hour. Sure, there is a great deal of drama when it comes to Boden and Gorsch coming to blows. And yet, it's not really stating any new information. The firehouse has long known that the fire commissioner is angling to push Boden out for not falling in line. And now, there is nothing that Boden can do to remedy the situation while keeping his command. He will either have to fight or be put out to pasture. Again, all of this is beneficial information to have for the future. However, it's a story the show has told before with an adversary much more compelling than Gorsch, who increasingly comes across as a one-note administrator who wields his power without having earned any of the respect necessary to do the job. He is just too much of a weasel to take seriously. Of course, the plot about Molly's having a slow couple of months is absolutely ridiculous. It again highlights my point that the show would be increasingly better without Herrmann around. He just gets so enraged for no reason whatsoever. Plus, the story is deeply rooted in a very familiar concept of how trolling works on the internet. It may have been an original idea a couple of years ago. But now, it's the same exact story that has played out across a number of shows. Chicago Fire doesn't find a new take on it at all. And finally, it's appreciated that the show explains that Brett assumes Foster is straight because she previously mentioned having a boyfriend and not because she prescribes to a heteronormative view of the world. This entire Chicago franchise has done horribly when it comes to LGBTQ visibility. Despite being set in Chicago, there have barely been any gay characters on any of the shows. Moreover, the one main character who was a lesbian was killed off after two seasons. That was absolutely horrendous. And now, it feels like the show is once again exploring that idea. Sure, Foster and Shay aren't the same when it comes to their sexual identities. Shay was a lesbian while Foster appears to be pansexual. But the show may try to fit Foster into that box even though she should forge her own path as well.