Chicago Fire Season 1 Review “Leaving the Station”: Mills Sees The Horrors Of Firefighting

Chicago Fire Episode 8 Leaving The Station

Chicago gets a touch of Canada from two Canadian visiting firefighters in this episode of Chicago Fire, “Leaving the Station.” That highly-minor plot involving the firefighters and the shenanigans of Mouch and Oits wasn’t really major to the main story, but, it was cool to see Otis get schooled by Chief Boden about pulling pranks. Also, the levity the plot provided did even out the angst Mills is dealing with in this episode.

During a run to a train accident (I’m guessing in Chicago’s Loop), the crew saves the life of a teenaged boy who was walking with his sister above the train tracks. The boy was managed to be saved–his leg was caught in the axle of the train–but his little sister wasn’t so lucky. Sadly, the girl was killed, her body parts strewn across the tracks farther down from the boy. Mills is the first one to see the remains of the girl, and it affects him hard. Casey sees Mills’ predicament and attempts to help him get out of it.

Chief Boden also sees Mills subdued mood and suggests he takes the rest of the shift off to clear his head. Everything goes even more pear-shaped when Mills’ mother gets into the mix. She sees her son in distress and goes into Mama Bear mode, charging into Boden’s office and says Mills’ days as a firefighter are done. She doesn’t want to see her son shut down emotionally the way her husband Henry did. I suspect from how she was cornering Boden–saying that giving her son back was the least he could do for her–that Henry was Boden’s partner, the one he lost while on a run.

Mills isn’t happy to be back at the diner, but he’s not really ready to return to work. So one of the Canadian firefighter visitors gives Casey a recommendation–to show the good side of the job. Casey takes Mills to the home of a girl he saved from a fire. The girl has a huge welt on her shoulder from the fire, but she’s proud of her scar–she’s thankful to be alive. This helps Mills see both sides of the job, and it helps his mind. It’s safe to say he’s back on squad.

In other news, Shay is having girlfriend issues. Her old pregnant girlfriend Clarice (Shiri Appleby) has been staying with her for a while, mostly because she’s a wishy-washy progress-ruiner. Clarice’s husband comes to take Shay to task, but she stands up to him, saying she took Clarice in as a friend who is confused about her current situation. The husband wants to know what he’s supposed to do and Shay is knocked back into reality. She makes Clarice leave the apartment, saying that she chose the life she has now and can’t run away from it. Shay also says in so many words she’s not going to let her heart be broken again.

During Shay’s speech to Clarice, Shay’s other girl, Corrinne (Katherine Cunningham) comes over for her earrings, but Shay turns her away. Corrinne comes back to the apartment later after Severide has taken the first of his new stash of pills. Corrinne says “I just want to have fun,” and after Severide calls Shay to make sure she’s not seriously involved in Corrinne, starts getting busy with Corrinne. Now here’s where some lesbian audience members are going to get mad. I don’t think it was ever established that Corrinne was bisexual, at least not as much as it was established that she’s from Alabama. Corrinne jumping into bed with Severide is going to make the misguided thought that lesbians are only straight women who need to find “the right man” even stronger in some people’s minds. I guess the same could be said for Clarice, since she’s married to a guy.

Speaking of Severide, Boden finally sees some of the extent of Severide’s injury during a run on a potential heart-attack victim. As it turns out, the victim has diabetes and the only problem he had was low sugar. Chief Jones has talked about these kinds of runs tons of times. Not specifically ones where the guy is in a tree, but you get the idea.

Getting the guy down from the tree caused further strain on Severide’s arm, and back at the station, Boden tells Severide that if he sees Severide’s arm like that again, he’s going to order him to have an x-ray. This is what prompts Severide to get his new batch of drugs from his supplier/ex-girlfriend. I really can’t wait to see this “plan” blow up in Severide’s face.

The chief had his hands full this week with the firefighters, because Dawson got in trouble for taking matters into her own hands once again. She and Shay are called to the home of a woman whose daughter suffered from a seizure, supposedly from celiac disease. Once they get the girl to the hospital, she complains of a smell, which leads Dawson to suspect something’s up. She gets Shay to get her medical friend to pull the girl’s records. Turns out the girl doesn’t have celiac disease at all and that she supposedly “accidentally” drank turpentine, further strengthening Dawson’s suspicions.

Dawson has seen this type of abuse before. Once before, she helped a girl who was covered in cigarette burns. Sadly, she was eventually put back in the care of her father, and she was later killed that same week due to her father’s abuse. Dawson’s determined not to let that happen.

Going through the proper channels doesn’t work, since no one has decided the case is worth investigating. So she wrongly takes matters into her own hands, dragging Shay along for the ride. The mother is already upset at being charged with abuse, and when Boden finds out about the visit, he lays it plain to Dawson–if she steps out of line again, she’s gone.

Sadly, Shay and Dawson get called to the woman’s home again; this time it’s for the woman. She overdosed on pills. For a while at the hospital, it seems like Dawson might have driven the woman to attempted suicide. The woman’s husband doesn’t make it any better, blaming Dawson for his wife’s condition. But later, the father and daughter come out to talk to Dawson. The daughter admits her mother was forcing her to drink turpentine. So Dawson’s instincts were correct. But she’s got to chill on her hot-headedness.

Lastly, the Canadian firefighters. Mouch relates his story with the Canadian government–mainly them showing him no sympathy when he was swindled–and he finally gets the apology he’s been looking for, thanks to the Canadian firemen. However, this comes after Mouch got on “good” authority–Otis–that Herrmann put the firemen up to saying they were from Canada just to mess with Mouch. Mouch and Otis pulled a prank on the firemen, drenching them with water. This gets both Mouch and Otis in trouble, but mostly Otis–he gets scolded by the chief and is ordered to apologize. Otis also gets punked by the Canadians; his locker is rigged with a pot full of red slush and the inside of the locker is decorated with Canadian paraphernalia.

Oh, before I forget–the big nugget of information to remember is that Casey and Hallie are “taking a break!” The whole baby thing really got in the way of the relationship, and the path has now opened for Dawson. Let’s just hope she likes the idea of having children.

Chief Jones’ fact-checking

I only had two things to ask Jones about this time around, since most of the show focused on dramatic elements.

Reporting possible abuse cases: I asked Jones (via text message) what the protocol is for reporting possible abuse cases, and he wrote to me, “Normally, we report suspicions to the doctor or hospital or to the DHS [Department of Human Services]. They start or conduct investigations.” I believe Dawson tried this initially before doing things her way since she said her case was deemed not worth investigating.

How to handle trauma on the job: I also asked Jones how he would handle someone like Mills, who has been traumatized on the job. He wrote back, “We would have a critical incident stress debriefing at the station and if that did not work, I would suggest the employee assistance program.” Programs such as these can provide counseling to those like Mills.

This information makes me wonder why Boden didn’t hold a debriefing when they got back. I’m sure the lack of one was to show how compartmentalized all the veteran firefighters had become with their emotions–everyone else except for Mills was visibly shaken up. The scene of the firefighters going about life while Mills was suffering also goes back to what Jones has said before, about learning to keep the runs in context and away from totally taking over your life. The longer Mills stays on as a firefighter, the better he’ll get at doing this. I was a small child when Jones started out as a rookie, but I’m sure he had some rough days early in his career, too.

Next Wednesday is going to be the Episode of the Century! Dawson will finally get her man, Casey! Will Hallie come back to challenge her? We’ll see!

  • Mike

    One mistake in this episode was the Canadian saying “the Commonwealth of Canada,” eh? Canada isn’t a Commonwealth, it’s a Dominion, eh?