Wednesday, November 7, 2018

REVIEW: 'Chicago Fire' - Everyone Tries to Help Severide Plan His Father's Funeral in 'What Will Define You'

NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 7.07 "What Will Define You"

Severide faces some major adversity and Kidd is on a mission to help in any way she can. Following a car accident rescue involving a teenage girl and her young sister, a suspicious Brett has an unsettling feeling there is more to the story than what appears on the surface.

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.

"What Will Define You" was written by Michael A. O'Shea and directed by Olivia Newman

When Benny died, it's possible that I was reading a little too far into things with the various clues the show seemingly dropped in saying that it may not have been from natural causes. It seemed a little too convenient and allowed many things to be closed in ways that will produce dramatic storylines moving forward. Here, the show just wants to live in that grief for Severide as he plans his father's funeral while also having regrets for the final conversation that they had. He is so grateful that Benny stepped up and protected the firehouse. He did so even though Severide proclaimed Boden as the father he never had in his life. That's tragic. It leads to Severide being so angry over the course of this hour. Boden and Kidd continue to offer their support. They wonder if they are doing enough for him. Kidd is on a mission to find a specific medal while Boden is trying to put together a show of support from the fire department. In both stories, it seems like all hope is lost before building to a rewarding ending. Kidd can't find this medal after visiting many of Benny's exes. And then, Severide's sister Katie comes back into the picture with it. That allows him to be buried with it like he always wanted. Meanwhile, the funeral seems so poorly attended for a man long revered in the fire department. Severide gives such a powerful and moving eulogy to a half empty room. That's because the rest of the stations were outside waiting to put on a grand display to ensure that Benny got the sendoff that he deserved. It's a little forced and manipulative. Katie comes back mostly to give an update on her life in Colorado while making Otis awkward because he doesn't know how to act around her while also dating Lily. That's lame and unnecessary. But it's still nice to see Kim Delaney and Brittany Curran reprise their roles as Severide's mother and sister, respectively. It offers a nice bit of continuity that actually resonates for the audience because of the stories previously told with those characters. It's still mostly about Severide and his reaction to this loss. But that still works as an overall story as well. The show is very keenly aware that when Severide cries the audience quickly gets very emotional too. That is such an effective tool that has been well-utilized over the years. This is no exception. Elsewhere, there is only one major story that isn't connected to Benny's death at all. Brett is at the center of it. That's not surprising considering she hasn't had many stories connected to Severide over the years. The calls that come in throughout this hour mostly have to deal with only the paramedics. Brett is weighing the potential consequences of saying that an accident was caused by a teen texting while driving. And yes, the show absolutely telegraphs that that is exactly what happened here. Otherwise, it would be so forceful of Brett to confront the teenager with this damning accusation. But it all works out for the best in the end with Brett continuing to explore this connection with the new chaplain. Kyle can offer her guidance with that also making sense. However, it's a little odd that he seems to be the guy presiding over the funeral considering he really doesn't have any connection to anyone there.