Wednesday, October 31, 2018

REVIEW: 'Chicago Fire' - Severide and the Entire Firehouse Suffer Yet Another Major Loss in 'All the Proof'

NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 7.06 "All the Proof"

Halloween is in full effect for Foster and Brett, who are summoned to a home where a prank has quickly turned serious. Gorsch continues his reign of terror on Firehouse 51.

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.

"All the Proof" was written by Jamila Daniel and directed by Leslie Libman

Big changes are happening on Chicago Fire at the moment. Chaplain Orlovsky announces that he is retiring and moving to Florida. His replacement comes in and is played by Teddy Sears. Casting a recognizable actor immediately proves to the audience that Kyle is about to have a prominent story this season. That already seems to be established with Foster giving him a tragic backstory and trying to set him up with Brett. All of that could be a welcome development. But this hour quickly gets distracted by other things as well. The other major twist is the death of Severide's father. Benny has long been a recurring presence on the show. He has been in and out of Severide's life. He has fixed problems at the firehouse. But he has created his fair share of problems as well. And now, he dies. He suffers a stroke and no one finds him for awhile. It's tragic. However, it also seemed like the show was setting up something different with Benny here. He made an appearance in the previous episode. That fueled Severide's immediate regret that the last thing he told his father was that Boden was the father he actually deserved in his life. That was brutal. But the action also chose to linger on Benny's reaction to that too. Moreover, his death doesn't come out of the blue either. He doesn't die before he's able to fix things between Firehouse 51 and Commissioner Grissom. That problem is fixed with Benny making a call to his good friend. It's only after that that he suffers this fatal stroke. As such, the show could be setting itself up for something more going on. This is a tragic loss for Severide. The entire firehouse is pulled from active duty in order to be there for him. They care about him and want to help him through this grief. But that could only become more profound if the show actually pursues death by suicide as the true explanation. This hour even opens with a couple making a suicide pact actually poisoning the entire hotel they were staying in. That was a precarious call that was mostly defined by Gorsch being out in the field and being a terrible commanding officer though. It's fortunate that the Gorsch story seems to be coming to a close. Gorsch really hasn't been an entertaining or compelling threat to the firehouse. He has just been a stubborn individual who refuses to let anyone disrespect him even though he hasn't earned it in the slightest. As such, it's hard to take his threat seriously that he'll regroup from this defeat and strike back against the firehouse sometime in the future. It's just easier to laugh at that. It's something the show could pursue. But it should really move on to more creative endeavors. The drama is already doing that when it comes to Casey's personal life. It seems like things are heating up between him and Naomi the reporter. And yet, it can't build to anything because he still has these complicated feelings for Gabby and not knowing what actions to take moving forward. That's very understandable. And finally, Cruz trying to teach the firehouse Spanish really should have been something that came up before. Plus, this subplot features Herrmann at his absolute worst. He is basically the caricature of "You're in America. Speak English!" mentality. That's so destructive and makes it so vastly unearned when the show tries to suggest that all it takes is some visual stimulation to get him interested in the subject. That really makes me feel sorry for his family for having to put up with him.