Wednesday, February 20, 2019

REVIEW: 'Chicago Fire' - Cruz Goes Undercover to Investigate a Firefighter Assisting with Robberies in 'What I Saw'

NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 7.15 "What I Saw"

A spate of robberies comes to light after a firehouse lockbox key goes missing. CPD's Voight has suspicions that a firefighter may be involved. With Boden's support, he recruits Cruz to go undercover and help sniff out any suspicious activity.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of NBC's Chicago Fire.

"What I Saw" was written by Andrea Newman & Michael Gilvary and directed by Reza Tabrizi

This hour kicks off a small crossover story between Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. It doesn't include Chicago Med at all - which is telling its own stories at the moment. That's fascinating considering how much these shows compliment each other and have formed a powerful night in the ratings for NBC on Wednesdays. But it's also key that the creative teams aren't simply telling the same story they have told before with these crossover events. Many of these marquee moments have revolved around an arson investigation. That has always been the way in for the extended universe to bring in the characters from all three series. Someone would start a fire. Someone would be hurt as a result. And someone would be arrested for the crime. It's a solid formula. But again, it has become too formulaic and familiar. It doesn't have to be the sole reason for these characters to interact in a major way. The crossover aspects of the story here mostly only pertain to a couple of characters. It's mainly a big episode for Cruz. Now, he has never been my favorite character. However, he has grown on me over time mostly because of how annoying some of the other supporting characters have gotten. There are aspects of him going undercover for Voight that are very repetitive of a story that has happened in the past. Everyone points out the tension between Cruz and Voight because of that time Leon went undercover and almost died as a result. Of course, he was one of the few family members who have survived tragedies that occur in crossover stories. Most of the time they die just to give some powerful emotions to the main ensemble. Leon even appears here as well. It's a completely pointless appearance. He too just wants to remind Cruz that Voight can't be trusted. However, most of it is framed around the idea that Cruz telling a lie for Voight will only become a bigger problem. And yes, a cover story is given as to why Cruz is suddenly being transferred to another house. Boden, Casey and Severide are the only members of Firehouse 51 who are in on what's going on. They help Cruz make the decision over whether he is willing to go undercover to figure out how a lockbox key is being used to commit robberies. Then they tell the rest of the house that Cruz left behind a piece of equipment on a call and is being punished for it. And yet, everyone is very lax about that cover story as well. They put on a performance at the end of one shift. But when Cruz is actually doing the undercover work, Severide and company are much more open about this not being a good thing at all. It all connects back to Grissom, who makes his first appearance of the season here. He is very politically minded and hoping to keep the police in line when it comes to looking at his men with suspicion. Of course, he doesn't really understand the landscape of these circumstances either. So, he returns mostly to remind everyone that he is still a looming presence. But again, most of this hour concerns Cruz and how quickly he can figure out what's going on in this smaller firehouse. He does a shift there and interacts with basically four people who make up the crew. The hour systematically rules out each person. It seemed a little too easy to guess that the seemingly good guy would be the one stealing the key during the shift. But it's also absolutely terrifying in that moment where Cruz has to fear for his life over what could happen. It ensures that everything pertaining to the actual fire department is put to an end with this hour. Now, it segues over to Chicago P.D. to try to explain why this is happening in the first place.