Thursday, November 15, 2018

REVIEW: 'Chicago Fire' - Severide Returns to Work Despite Mental Uncertainty in 'The Solution to Everything'

NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 7.08 "The Solution to Everything"

Firehouse 51 is called in to battle a dangerous structure fire that places everyone in peril. Severide makes a big personal realization. Casey lends another helping hand to Naomi, the investigative reporter.

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.

"The Solution to Everything" was written by Michael Gilvary and directed by Mark Tinker

Severide isn't mentally ready to be back at work. He believes he should be. He is throughout this hour. And yet, he is not back to his leadership position looking out for the best interests of his crew. He is barely surviving on his own. He is shutting people out. The rest of the firehouse is moving on to their next concerns as well. They understand that this tragedy has happened in Severide's life. They are there to support him no matter what he needs. But Casey is also looking to him for relationship advice with Naomi while Herrmann and company quickly get consumed with the idea of Boden once posing for a firefighter calendar. Even Kidd is unsure of how to act around Severide. She isn't sleeping because she is too worried about how he is coping with the world. She isn't making sure she is taking care of herself. Brett has to remind her to do so. Moreover, Kidd gets jealous when Foster immediately presents as a comfortable presence for Severide to confide in. They have gone through the same experience of losing a parent they weren't particularly close with. Severide feels guilty for wanting to move on as if this loss doesn't mean anything. And yet, it clearly does. He responds with inaction in the middle of a high pressure situation. This is the second time this season in which other firefighters put their lives on the line because they believe that Severide is in critical danger. It means that Casey has proof to point to when Kidd is upset with him for benching her during this rescue. However, Severide has to carry some of the burden as well. He understands that he froze up for no good reason after being ordered to evacuate the unstable structure. Cruz is there to see how he responded. And yet, no one is making a big deal about it. Cruz isn't wracked with guilt about possibly saying something that could go against his lieutenant. Instead, it's a personal struggle for Severide. It mostly highlights how he isn't doing well after Benny's death. That's just dangerous because of the job he is in and how many people are counting on him to be keenly aware of the world around him. Foster at least gives him the appropriate advice in saying that he needs to count on the people in his life who actually know and understand him. It's just unclear if he will follow that advice or simply do what's easier in the moment. Him shutting down could lead to a lot of uncertainty in his relationships and his career. Elsewhere, Casey offers confirmation this week that he and Gabby have finalized a divorce. That puts an official end to their relationship. There is no more uncertainty or open-ended questions with them. He is now free to explore this dynamic with Naomi. It's just a matter of if he is willing to move on and explore something new. It still slightly feels too soon for him to be thinking about romance after the end of his marriage. But Naomi still presents as a determined woman who is good for him while also sticking up for her own independence. She returns with a new concern about mobile homes cutting corners which then create massive fires. It's mostly just exposition at the moment with the ominous final note that there is someone trying to intimidate her. That person has followed her and Casey to the latest factory. As such, that is another concern the audience should be aware of moving forward to see what happens.