‘Chicago Fire’ 5×22 Review: ‘My Miracle’

Season finales are a funny thing. When you believe that all hell will break lose, it does only times 1,000. It’s all about expectations, really. You’re basically setting yourself up for emotional turmoil or a day on the beach.

Well, “My Miracle” was a far cry from a day at the beach and more like a roller coaster from hell with all the twists, turns, highs, lows, and a paralyzing cliffhanger that’s sure to leave me in shock for the next four months.

Chicago Fire’s fifth season finale was easily one of the most emotional of the entire series. And that’s saying something. Usually, as Brett said, we expect and know that our firefighters will emerge from the blazing inferno alive and well. But the Chicago Fire writers used that comfortability to deliver one of the most emotional blows in a season finale as most of Firehouse 51 remained trapped in a blazing inferno as the screen faded to black.

As usual, Chicago Fire capitalized on that element of surprise coupled with crippling emotional turmoil that left me sobbing and drive heaving a good 10 minutes after the finale concluded. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt and still hurts like hell. But it was damn good television.

Let’s break this episode down:

CHICAGO FIRE — “My Miracle” Episode 522 — Pictured: Joe Minoso as Joe Cruz — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

What Happens Next?

Well, that cliffhanger was just plain rude. And cruel. And a whole lot of other emotions that involve screaming, crying, and throwing pillows at my television. I know Chicago Fire really likes to torture its viewers when it comes to season finales, but this was by far the cruelest finale to date. Leaving the fates of so many brave men and women from Firehouse 51 up in the air as we head into the longest four months in existence is just plain mean.

There’s a sinking feeling of dread that comes as you watch the clock inch closer and closer to the end of the episode knowing full well that the next big thing that happens is going to be bad. So when our Firehouse 51 pulled up to that factory that was blazing, you knew this was going to be the bad. And yet knowing that something bad was coming didn’t help in the slightest. I was not ready. I was not braced. I was all numb.

Watching sequences like this play out remind you just how dangerous being a firefighter is. Sure, this is a show about firefighters and we see them in action – in all of the thrill and danger – but there are so many character moments that it’s easy to forget you can’t glorify the danger. This is very real. There is a very real risk that every time these firefighters enter a burning building that they won’t come out alive. And this factory fire showed exactly that.

Here were our brave men and women fighting to save the lives of workers still trapped inside as the world burned around them. Here they were running head first into danger like they always do. Here they were proving exactly why that first responders bill should in fact be passed. That final scene showed exactly why that bill is so important. As the lives of half a dozen people are in jeopardy. As the lives of their families are in uncertainty. It was an interesting and inspiring parallel.

Even as the fire burned and things got worse, like Brett said, They always manage to make it through. So why would this be any different. I was clinging to that feeling until the end when it broke.

The cruelty of this is that it wasn’t just one or two firefighters stuck inside. It was most of Firehouse 51 clinging to life as they were trapped in a burning inferno. I’ve never felt more helpless watching this show.

So what happens next?

Well, obviously we spend four years in hellatus speculating and theorizing about all of the ways that our favorite firefighters can make it out of that burning inferno. How Mouch recovers from his heart attack to happily retire. How Cruz manages to pull through his tough battle. How Casey and Dawson are able to make up and go home together. But will it all come to pass? That’s more unclear. And it’s terrifying as hell.

CHICAGO FIRE — “My Miracle” Episode 522 — Pictured: (l-r) Eamonn Walker as Wallace Boden, Monica Raymund as Gabriela Dawson — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Dawson & Casey Feels

The first time I watched that final conversation between Casey and Dawson, I was sobbing so hard that I couldn’t physically see most of it due to my glasses fogging up. And when I watched it again shortly after the episode ended, I sobbed even harder. My God, these writers know exactly how to rip a heart out of a chest without the physical action of doing so.

For Dawsey, this episode was all about working through marital disagreements. Specifically, the issue of Gabby’s drunk of a father crashing at their place because he’s got nowhere to go. Now, communication is a very important aspect of any relationship. And there was none going on here in regards to Gabby’s father. Gabby let her father stay with them without really having a conversation about it with Matt. And Matt immediately shut down at the idea. Once again, there was no communication here, which led to arguments and Matt sleeping at Severide’s.

It’s what made that final scene with Casey and Dawson even more painful. They’d spent the past day yelling at each other and being apart, and when it came down to it, this might potentially be the last conversation they had. I’m not going to lie, it killed me. Suddenly a spat about Gabby’s father didn’t seem so important as getting to say goodbye just in case Matt doesn’t make it out of that inferno.

But this is Dawsey. DAWSEY. There’s no way that Matt is dying. There’s no way that this is the end of Dawsey. Think of it as the closest thing to experiencing one of them dying and the repercussions. Cause that’s what these next four months are going to feel like.

CHICAGO FIRE — “My Miracle” Episode 522 — Pictured: Christian Stolte as Randall McHolland — (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

Mouch’s Fate

When it comes to main characters, Mouch is someone who I’ve kind of taken for granted. He’s always there. Steady like a rock. I don’t even have to worry about him usually. He’s part of Firehouse 51 and always will be. But last week showed us, Mouch isn’t perfect, and this week showed us that it’s not a guarantee that Mouch will always be there.

Following some misinformed advice to Cruz about his well-being with the department, Mouch found himself inundated with an immense amount of guilt. But there was also something else. Realization that perhaps he didn’t know what to do anymore. That prompted him to come to the decision to retire. That this would be his final shift with Firehouse 51.

Only something much, much worse than retirement came his way. As Mouch and his friends at Firehouse 51 were stuck inside the blazing building, Mouch keeled over from a heart attack and Herrman was powerless to do anything about it as they were trapped inside. Suddenly not having Mouch as part of Truck 81 wasn’t the worst thing that could’ve happened.

The question isn’t whether Mouch leaves Firehouse 51 or not. The question is: How does he leave? Will it be on his own terms? Or will it be in a body bag?

There’s a terrifying feeling in my stomach that tells me that there’s a real chance that Mouch could die. And it pains me so much. This show isn’t new to big deaths that throttle audiences’ hearts. Please don’t add Mouch to the list.

CHICAGO FIRE — “My Miracle” Episode 522 — Pictured: (l-r) Yuri Sardarov, Miranda Rae Mayo, Kris Bryant, David Eigenberg, Christian Stolte — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Six Things

  1. ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THAT CLIFFHANGER? Like I knew I should expect something, but I wasn’t expecting that. My God. Not one, not two, not three, not four, but most of Firehouse 51 was trapped inside the blazing factory with no way out. Not to mention Mouch was having a heart attack in the middle of it all. If this show was looking to kill its audience, then job well done. I’m typing from the grave.
  2. Casey saying goodbye to Dawson actually broke me. That scene, everything that goes into it, it had me dry heaving and sobbing. That’s the most pain I’ve ever felt on this show. It was so touching – as Matt bared his soul to Gabby – but it was even more heartbreaking to the point where it felt like I was burning burned from the inside out.
  3. How cool was it seeing Cubs’ third baseman Kris Bryant cameo? I’m a Tigers fan myself, but I was a Cubs fan during their World Series run. That kind of thing stays with you. Plus, I appreciate getting real Chicago athletes involved in this universe – in a franchise that actually films in Chicago. I’d love to see more, especially Bears players. Because, diehard Bears fan here.
  4. My heart breaks for Cruz and his situation. That scene where Cruz said he had to make that phone call to his brother telling him he couldn’t go to college next semester gutted me. This is a really f**ked up situation for no reason whatsoever. He did his job as a bouncer. Why is he being punished as a firefighter?
  5. What do you mean Mouch is retiring? Sure, it’s the pressure from Cruz and feeling like he failed him. Sure, I respect his decision. But he still has some time left. Though why do I get the feeling that retirement might be the least of our concerns after he had a heart attack and is trapped inside a burning building?
  6. I’m relieved that Casey is finally stepping down from being an alderman. Listen, it was a nice storyline. But it was never one that was going to be long term. Casey’s most important job next to being a husband is being a firefighter. That alderman job was taking time away from both of those. So I can’t say I’ll miss that.

Chicago Fire returns Wednesdays this fall at 10/9c on NBC.

Alyssa Barbieri

Senior Managing Editor, DCTV Writer

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment. Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes. Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters. TV and Sports Editor. I write about DC TV, One Chicago and so much more. Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.

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