Chicago Fire Season 1 Review “Viral” – Cruz Finally Gets Closure

Chicago Fire was a lot heavier with the drama this week with “Viral.” Yes, last week was when we had the aftermath from Antonio’s shooting, but even though no one got shot, this episode had much more heart, I feel. It all really came from the fantastic performance of Joe Minoso as Cruz.

Cruz’s battle: The first run of the episode started the culmination of the Cruz storyline, as he once again risked his life (and the lives of Mouch and Otis) during an apartment fire. After getting chewed out by Casey, who even told him to turn in his badge at the beginning of the next shift, Cruz goes on yet another soul search. This time, he’s led to church and gets nothing from it. Like a lot of us looking for solace and forgiveness from God, we feel God can’t forgive us when we can’t forgive ourselves. That’s really what Cruz his facing–himself.

However, after he ends up having a confessional moment with Mouch (a moment that was cleverly shot to echo an actual confessional), Mouch gives him the solace he was looking for. Mouch is like the counselor of the team, but in this case, it seems like he’s also acting as a stand-in for God. To Cruz, it’s like Mouch had a direct line from God and relayed God’s forgiveness through him. I thought it was great. I also thought it was great that Mouch stood up to Casey for Cruz after he realized what was going on. I thought Mouch’s speech was going to resonate something within Casey that would allow him to finally forgive Dawson for talking to Voight, but I guess we’ll have to wait until the next episode. (By the way, I’m not even talking about the Dawson/Casey storyline because I’m tired of talking about Dawson and her man troubles. She’s with Mills, so whatever.)

Shay and Clarice: The (Hopefully) Final Chapter: I can say I called it when it came to what Clarice’s husband’s lawyer would say. I also left out something from my last review that the lawyer touched on in this episode. I had thought that the lawyer would say Clarice’s baby was in an unstable household, what with Clarice moving in with her girlfriend and her party-boy, wannabe Marlon Brandon from The Wild One roommate. It just looks unstable to the outsider. Sure enough, all of this was touched on. Shay did her part by looking for a house she and Clarice could live in to show the judge and the lawyers that the baby would be in a stable environment. The HIV scare Shay had from a needle she was using to take blood from a homeless man could have jeopardized everything, but thankfully the tests came clean and everything still seemed to be on the up and up with Shay and Clarice getting their home and raising their family. But, true to her nature, Clarice flip-flopped again. She decided to take her husband’s offer of moving to New York, leaving Shay broken-hearted yet again. I don’t even know why Shay fooled with that woman.

Severide reconnects with Renée: Severide allows Eric to leave the firehouse on a good note when he reconnects with Renée and actually coaxes her to face her fears about her life. Eric and Renée finally meet and, hopefully, they stay in contact.

The biggest thing I got from the scenes with Severide and Renée is basically what I said above about Severide–I didn’t realize how much he wants to be Marlon Brando. Either him or Steve McQueen, what with the leather jacket and muscle car. In any case, Severide came through for his newfound friend and helped him get his family back.

The safe: When I realized they weren’t going to show us what was in the box, I thought, “Well, we have ourselves a Pulp Fiction moment. I can’t believe they did that!” I’m not really mad they did that; I just hate secrets. But the fact that they did do it is good screenwriting. It’ll keep us tuned in to see what Herrmann, Otis and Dawson actually found in the safe.

Casey’s mom: Thank goodness Casey’s mom has moved out! I’m not sure how parole officer will feel about her moving to a new residence (Casey’s mom’s cellmate), but at least the mom realized she’s still driving a wedge between Casey and his sister. Even worse, her behavior was driving a wedge between her and Casey, her only defender in the family. I’m glad she’s seemed to wise up and act a little responsibly. Hopefully, the next time we see her, she will be in a much better (and more stable) place mentally.

Chief Jones’ fact-checking: I know I’m shirking my intention a little, but when I started writing this, it was already too late to ask my dad some questions about the show. I got sidetracked with real life for an hour or two. I am not sure how much Chief Jones knows about bomb squad runs like the one the squad went on in this episode (he’s never talked about going on those runs before, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been on one), but I can tell you some about his work with the poor, such as the homeless guy in this episode.

From what I’ve heard from his runs, there are quite a few people who use the paramedics as their doctor. Either they have little to no health insurance or, for whatever reason, have no real means to get to a doctor. So instead, they just call the fire department for routine problems. I remember Jones talking about these types of runs many times, so for Shay and Dawson to go on runs like this isn’t out of the norm. In fact, they went on a similar run a couple of episodes ago. In that case, the guy was a regular who got his blood pressure checked. They even knew the guy by name and joked with him in an even more casual tone than they did with this new guy.

Next week, I’ll be back on the ball about getting Jones’ opinions on stuff, I promise! We’ll also have to see if Severide ever gets around to helping Mills get on squad. For some reason, Severide hates when people try to get on the squad. He’s got to get over that. He doesn’t rule the fire station.