Wednesday, March 27, 2019

REVIEW: 'Chicago Fire' - Herrmann's Recent Actions Create Tension with Casey and His Wife in 'Move a Wall'

NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 7.17 "Move a Wall"

Tensions run high between Casey and Herrmann after the firehouse responds to an apartment complex fire. After discovering something extremely suspicious during the call, Kidd and Severide do some investigating and get CPD on the case. Herrmann's wife, Cindy, hopes to get her interior design business on track by taking a stab at redoing the common room.

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.

"Move a Wall" was written by Derek Haas and directed by Olivia Newman

How can the show justify Herrmann and Cindy staying together as a couple? That is a serious and looming question whenever a story is told about the two of them. Everyone basically understands that Herrmann says a number of terrible things in any given situation. Awareness of the problem doesn't absolve him of it though. He still just goes around doing and saying whatever he wants no matter how it hurts those he cares about. He loves Cindy. And yet, this episode makes it seem as if he is just tolerating her pursuit of a career. That is such an understandable and relatable impulse that Cindy is now sharing. She wanted to be a stay-at-home mother. And now, she wants to explore her career once more. Both of those decisions are absolutely valid and should be respected. Herrmann is annoyed because it could mean a significant change for his life. He doesn't want that. He wants everything to remain the same. He pushes back against anyone trying to make things remotely different. He lashes out at Cindy when she redesigns the common room at the firehouse. And yes, the show absolutely indulges in the idea that she is pursuing some big idea without really letting anyone else in on the creative process. But it's all in service of a joke even though none of this should be amusing in the slightest. It's all playing to that moment where the reveal shows just how poorly functional the redesign actually is and all of the firefighters standing in bewilderment. It means Herrmann pulls his wife aside and says that she has no talent. And yet, she was just doing this for the pictures to show off her cohesive taste in a local magazine. Sure, that calls into question a number of things. Why would she interview all of the people at the firehouse if this wasn't going to be a permanent change? If the spread in the magazine is all about changing a firehouse, won't any of the readers also be skeptical about how functional this new space is? None of it makes any sense whatsoever. It just contributes to the overall idea that Herrmann is the worst and should absolutely feel bad about everything that he does here. And yet, that's a message the show has done before. He hasn't really changed his behavior at all. So, it's the show simply repeating the same thing over and over again without adding anything new to the conversation. It really drags the entire episode down. The only saving grace is Kidd being the ideal of what a firefighter should be. It's more than simply running into dangerous situations in the hopes of saving lives. It's also noticing every detail and actually standing up and saying something when something doesn't look right. She sees a hidden room that has sinister connotations to it. She knows that someone was probably kept there against their will. She enlists the help of Severide and Upton to explore this mystery. In the end, she gets justice and clarity. She fights to get the truth and doesn't stop her pursuit of answers. She catches a guy committing fraud in the foster care system. That system may be flawed in major ways. But it's still a feel-good moment when Kidd saves the lives of two children who appreciate and idolize her afterwards. That moment is fantastic. Those are the stories this show often does best. Sure, it may come through the context of Kidd and Severide growing closer once more. But that's more of a concern for the future to see if it ever redevelops as a romance.