Wednesday, October 2, 2019

REVIEW: 'Chicago Fire' - Brett Struggles in Her New Life While Casey Finds a New Recruit in 'A Real Shot in the Arm'

NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 8.02 "A Real Shot in the Arm"

Lt. Casey struggles to get Chief Boden to sign off on an energetic new recruit. Against her better judgment, Foster extends an olive branch to her irritating new medic. Otis inspires Herrmann to seek new partners at Molly's. Brett realizes life in Fowlerton will take some getting used to.

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.

"A Real Shot in the Arm" was written by Andrea Newman & Michael Gilvary and directed by Sanford Bookstaver

This hour really serves two key plot functions for the season. The first is getting Brett reunited with her family at Firehouse 51. The second is introducing Alberto Rosende as new firefighter candidate Blake Gallo. Both are basic plot functions as well. It was always inevitable that Brett would return to Chicago because the show kept telling stories with her. In the past when characters left town for new opportunities, they were never actually seen in those environments. With Brett, it was different because these first two episodes of the season have her firmly planted in Fowlerton. It's a remarkably different life than what she has been living in Chicago for several years now. And yes, there is a need for heroism throughout the world. It doesn't just belong in the cities with the densest populations. However, it is so much more than that. Brett felt like she abandoned her family. She has to move back in order to feel in control and happy with her life once more. In Fowlerton, it's a life that forces her to reconcile with Hope even though that isn't really necessary at all. There isn't any explanation that can make all of her prior decisions seem okay. In fact, it's a relationship out of convenience because there is so much history in this small Indiana town. Brett has outgrown this place. That just comes at the expense of her relationship with Kyle. Her leaving basically means she has to end this engagement as well. He is very understanding. He has sensed that she isn't happy with this new life. She hasn't adjusted to this place with him. It feels incredibly simplistic though. Sure, it should be the goal that everyone has friends willing to drive to another state just to rescue you because of how you appear in a video call. Foster and Kidd are willing to drop everything to reunite with their friend. It's something that Foster believes she has to do because she has just fired her new partner even though she doesn't have that power. He was simply too incompetent at the job. Of course, the show mostly depicted him as dim-witted. There was no real nuance to the situation. He was just an annoying place holder to fill the time until Brett could return. As such, there should be no lingering drama about the staff at 51 changing once more. Instead, that responsibility falls to Casey as he has to find a new recruit to join truck following Otis' death. In the months since, he hasn't found anyone who inspires him and would be a good fit. He has had the freedom to search for the right person. Foster didn't enjoy that same freedom. She was stuck with what she got until she drives to Indiana to bring Brett back to the house. That shows the different levels of trust in this environment even though everyone insists they are one, big, happy family. Casey does find inspiration here. He sees Gallo's heroism in action. It may be incredibly reckless and dangerous. He essentially comes up a building with no safety equipment to potentially save a life. Everything works out in the end. But the tragedy could only have gotten worse because of his decision. Boden is a little hesitant to welcome him to 51 as well because he doesn't need that energy right now. It's not until Severide points out that he was the same exact way when he got started as a firefighter. As such, there are valuable lessons to be learned at Firehouse 51. That is a reassuring message here if not a particularly new one. These people are family. They expect a lot from each other like hanging out at Molly's all the time. The show also has to address the fact that Herrmann is the sole owner of the business and may not have the money to keep it afloat. And yet, there was no expectation that the show would be losing that standing set. Instead, Mouch and Trudy join as partners with big ideas about how to improve the business. That has the potential of being fun.