Wednesday, April 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'Chicago Fire' - The Firehouse Braces for an Eerie Shift With No Power in 'Until the Weather Breaks'

NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 7.19 "Until the Weather Breaks"

A horrible storm wreaks havoc on Chicago and impacts Firehouse 51 when the power goes off. A little boy mysteriously shows up at the station and everyone works together to uncover who he belongs to and why he ended up there. Foster and Kidd argue about Severide.

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.

"Until the Weather Breaks" was written by Michael O'Shea and directed by Reza Tabrizi

This is a very intense but contained episode. It's set almost entirely at the firehouse. There aren't any outside calls that demand the attention of the first responders. Of course, there are still many of emergencies that require their skills. At one point, a man is electrocuted and flung off the firehouse's roof. That is a dramatic moment where Brett and Foster work quickly to save his life. And yet, that's mostly to prove that the facilities team working on the power at the firehouse aren't the best in the department. That means the crew spends a long time operating under these eerie circumstances in the familiar environment. There is a downpour outside and the lights are flickering. There isn't any trust that the backup generator will kick in and fix everything. There is even the fear that the problems will knock out the radio system that alerts them to calls. They may have to be called out of service for a little while. But the priority is instead on the sudden appearance of a traumatized and mysterious young boy. The audience sees right away that he comes into the house as a stowaway on one of the trucks. Herrmann and his crew are returning from a call. It was a simple experience for them even though the hour notes they were close to a homicide at the time. They weren't aware of any of that though. Instead, they were more concerned about losing the power and not being able to watch Dateline. That's crazy. But the entire house rallies around this kid to support him and hopefully get some answers as to what's going on. He hasn't been reported missing. And yet, no one knows how he got to the firehouse. His arrival is then followed by another man who isn't what he seems to be. He claims to be a firefighter from Detroit just passing through when his car broke down in the middle of the storm. He wants to wait things out at the firehouse. In reality though, he is here to intimidate or kill the kid because he was a witness to the murder he just committed with a partner. That's horrifying. The audience is always suppose to see him with suspicion. It's just a matter of time before the characters catch on to that fact as well. Sure, it's foolish of Otis to confront him by himself. That leads to him being knocked out and dragged into the bathroom to keep the ruse going for a few moments longer. It's not effective in the end. The firefighters still rally together to protect this young boy even though they don't know what's going on. Many of them start piecing the clues together. Herrmann understands that the boy came to the firehouse from his last call. Otis alerts Cruz and Casey that their friend from Detroit has malicious intentions. But Kidd doesn't know any of that when she finds the boy and calls out for help. She still stands firm in not letting this man use a weapon to intimidate her. Her bravery leads to him being taken down without anyone else getting hurt. That ensures this is just as busy and traumatizing an episode as so much of the daily adventures for the firehouse. But it also mixes in some fine personal drama with Kidd learning about what Foster said to Severide while Casey and Brett bond a little more. The latter seems especially telling as a new dynamic that could be building to an unexpected romance of some sorts. It surprisingly would work too. And yet, the show has to make sure it's not too repetitive of Casey's former relationship with Gabby who also worked at the firehouse as a paramedic.