One of Chicago Fire‘s most gripping episodes this season, “Warm and Dead,” allowed us to get more inside the heart and mind of Chief Boden. As Eamonn Walker said in last week’s conference call (which is now up on TV Equals), the audience does get a better sense of who Boden is as a man outside of the station.
Boden and Ernie: The storyline with Boden and Ernie finally comes to a head as the squad goes on a run that claims a life. The fire was a dumpster fire, started by Ernie. Through troubled calls from a pay-phone, Ernie tells Boden that he’s being forced to commit these crimes by his “Uncle” Ray. Boden really wants to help this kid because he’s still grappling with the guilt of not saving a child from a fire many years ago. In his heart, he’s trying to make Ernie fill that role. Unfortunately, Ernie was right in saying that his uncle would kill him if he found out he had been talking to Boden. When the squad gets a call from Ernie’s apartment complex, Boden finds the boy sprawled on the floor in a closet, dead from smoke inhalation and severe burns.
Boden’s chance for retribution is snatched away from him again, but this time, he went out for blood. Even though it’s against the code of a firefighter (see below), Boden purposefully sought Uncle Ray out and nabbed him in a high-speed chase. Of course, Boden got severely reprimanded for what he did; in retaliation, Boden took off his bugles and walked out the firehouse on furlough.
Boden’s huge investment in Ernie’s life not only comes from his work-related guilt, but also over the guilt he has about not being able to be near his stepson Jimmy more often. I’m not completely sure what happened between his estranged wife (or ex wife) Shonda, but whatever happened caused her to completely void out everything Boden’s done for her son. But, in the end, he does get the hug he needed from Jimmy, hopefully closing the wound in his heart for now.
Severide and the surgery: I knew Severide would have to stay in Chicago somehow, but I did think the show might just be daring enough to actually send Severide to Madrid, only to have him come back again. Renée’s decision to tell Severide about the experimental procedure backfired on her and I feel bad for her; she really had her heart set on starting a new life with Severide in a brand new place. But, thanks to Severide’s dad (Treat Williams), he decided to throw the dice and see how the procedure turns out. The risk: partial paralysis. But as we see from the preview for next week’s episode, Severide seems to have recovered nicely.
By the way, did Williams’ part seem a little out-of-place to anyone else? It didn’t seem to fit in very well with the episode.
Casey-Dawson-Mills, part gazillion: We’ve really got a full-blown triangle going on here and Dawson has to figure out just which guy she’s going to be with. While Dawson is macking on Mills, she’s also helping Casey out at his mother’s parole hearing, supporting him as if she’s his girlfriend–or, better yet, wife. By the way, Casey’s mother’s hearing went very well. Casey made a moving argument in support of parole, saying how he’s learned to forgive and that forgiveness is now what must be doled out to his mother, who has paid the price for her crime. His speech gets to his sister, who finally has nothing to say in opposition.
To get back to Dawson, she’s got to make up her mind. I’m sure it’s fun at first to have two guys fighting for your attention at the same time, but eventually, it’s going to get old and one of those guys is going to want to have you all to themselves. Pick a man and move it along, Dawson. To say you were just whining about not having a man a few weeks ago…
Otis feels wanted: I’m surprised Otis felt so left out at Station 51. But in this episode, Otis is a little sad that people are tired of hearing his stories and won’t let him drive the truck. But, when he transfers to a slower station for a few shifts, he finds an attentive crew who love his stories and his podcast, let him drive and actually want him to stay.
My dad, Chief Jones, has had a long experience with working at a slower-paced station. He had so much downtime at this particular station that we would go play at the station while he washed the family car during his shifts. It was convenient on one hand, but it was also a place that could make you rusty at your skills. Now that he’s put in his official transfer notice, Otis getting rusty at his skills is something I fear will happen to Otis in later episodes. Somehow, Otis is going to miss Station 51.
Shay and Clarice: I can’t say I’m happy to see Clarice back. She seems like nothing but trouble. She apparently seems to know that about herself too. She tries to talk Shay out of letting her stay, saying things like she realizes her trifling ways have finally caught up with her. But Shay won’t hear it. She even kisses her at Severide’s going-away party. I don’t like the look of any of this. The woman is still pregnant with someone else’s child–things are about to get ugly with Shay and Clarice’s former guy.
Chief Jones’ fact-checking
Tazing: During one of the runs, Shay uses a tazer to stop a crazed shooter dead in his tracks. The show does address the fact that Shay isn’t supposed to have a tazer, and Jones backs this up. He said–as he’s said before–that members of the squad aren’t supposed to be armed, unless they’re a part of the tactical team.
Having a firefighting podcast: I can’t remember if I ever asked Jones this, but I’ve wondered what was the protocol is for having a podcast based around firefighting, as in what can you get away with talking about. I guess I should have assumed you can say whatever as long as you aren’t giving away vital information, such as specific names, since Jones talks about his time on the squad for these reviews. But anyway, the official answer from Jones is not talk about the names of patients or post things concerning patients. This next part is just my two cents, but I would assume this also extends to not mentioning the names of your fellow workers, since not only is that common courtesy, but it’s also a way to protect yourself from getting in personal hot water with your colleagues. I feel like Otis would have a problem with not naming his workers, though. He seems like that kind of person who would get too comfortable behind the microphone.
First shift food: As you saw in the episode, Mouch was eating some of the first shift’s food from their crate. There are crates for the different shifts’ food, according to Jones. Most of the other things belonging to other shifts are left in their lockers.
No high-speed chases: As you saw from Boden’s reprimand, going out on chases as if you’re a police officer is not welcomed in the fire department. When I asked Jones if there was a protocol for that type of thing, he said, “There is no protocol. We can’t do that. We’d probably get fired if we did something that. That’s for the police.” He did say that there might be the isolated incident of a firefighter wrestling a guy down or even do a little tracking if that firefighter happens to have seen something go down on the scene, but overall, going on high-speed chases is an absolute no-no.
So, to sum up: Severide’s staying in the States, Boden is on leave, Dawson’s got to make a choice, Shay might be in hot relationship water and Otis might be leaving 51. And through it all, little doggy Pouch became a new member of the firefighter family.