After last week’s episode of Chicago Fire focused heavily on relationship tension. Brett and Casey are trying to navigate around their feelings and figure out how to “get back to normal.” But everyone felt the wall Brett threw up at the beginning of the episode when she called Matt, Captain. Ouch. And then Derek Haas goes and introduces a new potential love interest for both of them in one episode. But the relationship drama didn’t stop there because Stella is getting wise to Kelly avoiding her, but she doesn’t know why. Thankfully the emotional roller coaster was broken up by a doughnut feud between two firehouses, spearheaded by Mouch.
So, this episode was a real breath of fresh air, and it was unlike any other episode of Chicago Fire that I can ever remember seeing.
But before I go on: SPOILER WARNING! This episode focused on Herrmann and Cruz. During a call, the two become trapped in a freight elevator and have to work to save themselves as their radios fail inside the elevator shaft.
So, what happens
The episode starts out very girls vs. boys. Stella and Brett are on one side of the app floor while Casey and Severide are on the other. Stella tells Brett she wants to give Kelly a wake-up call; while Severide tells Casey, that Stella will get over it and be fine. Yeah, you keep telling yourself that Kelly.
The shot pans to Cruz, who obviously has something serious weighing on his mind. But this is Chicago Fire so the bells go off and everyone rushes to a potential fire at a ten-story storage facility. On the way there Herrmann is more upbeat than usual because he got a fortune cookie at dinner the previous night that told him, “Tomorrow is your lucky day.” His eternal optimism never ceases to amaze me. But on the other hand, Cruz is distracted, and we all know that is never a good way to go to a call.
As the team enters the building to access the potential fire Herrmann asks the building manager, Holly, to take him to the freight elevator to speak to the contractor, Trevor, who is working on the building. Herrmann decides to ride the elevator up to the eighth floor rather than take the stairs and he convinces Cruz to ride the elevator too. So, Herrmann, Cruz, Holly and Trevor start riding the elevator up but as the group reaches the eighth floor the elevator falls.
How this episode is different
Chicago Fire episodes always have multiple storylines running during episodes, so the episode cuts between scenes over a few days. However, this episode did not do that. Instead, the majority of the episode was shot entirely inside the elevator car. Herrmann and Cruz were given more screen time in this episode than any other, and we really got to know these characters better. I really enjoyed having an episode solely focused on two characters that don’t always get a lot of screen time. This was a wonderful demonstration of David Eigenberg (Herrmann) and Joe Minoso’s (Cruz) true talent.
But after the elevator falls Cruz and Herrmann are unable to reach anyone over their radios because of the concrete around the elevator shaft. So, the duo work to figure out how to save themselves and the two civilians in the elevator with them. While working Cruz lets slip what has been distracting him, Chloe is pregnant! Cruz is obviously concerned with everything happening in the world if having a kid is a good thing. Herrmann is emphatic that having kids is the best thing in the world and as a father of five, well maybe he knows something about that.
The stakes get higher as the elevator falls again and this time the elevator slips off the tracks. Joe tells Herrmann if “we fall all the way.” so they have to figure something out. Cruz works to figure out a plan and Herrmann tells him to think, “What would Otis do?” I like the ‘WWOD’ mantra; maybe it will become a Chicago Fire standard.
Making it out
The two-man crew continues to work to save themselves, but they can hear the other crews calling out for help. At one point Kidd calls out a flashover and Mouch is down. Truck and Squad keep calling for an engine company to help with the fire. But Herrmann can’t do anything trapped in the elevator and it is killing him. As things start looking bleaker for our four trapped characters the negativity and doubt starts to creep in and spiral. Cruz begins to express his worries and doubts about bringing a child into the world right now. But Herrmann won’t let him go down that road. He tells Cruz, “Sucker punches can come from every which way, but there is more good than bad. I can promise you that.”
Then Herrmann gives Joe a final push telling him that a solid family balances out the bad that is in the world. He reiterates that change starts at home and that he and Chloe make others light up. So the magic that Cruz and Chloe have will make all the difference in their baby’s world. Cruz and Herrmann are finally able to get a hatch on top of the elevator open. They climb on top of the elevator with the other two people trapped. Once out of the elevator they are able to radio for help and Squad shows up very quickly for the rescue.
Everyone made it out of the fire and no one was too seriously injured. So, the fortune cookie was right. It was Herrmann’s lucky day after all.
With this week being so character-focused I wonder what Chicago Fire will have for us next week.
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