‘Chicago Fire’ 8×01 Review: “Sacred Ground”

Major spoilers, obviously.

I’m writing this review through my tears. Even though it’s surprising that it took Chicago Fire 4 years to kill off another core character (RIP Shay forever), there was still, just for a second, a momentary hope that everyone would be okay. Despite my fervent hope in my pre season article, I knew it would happen. 

I just never expected it would be Otis. 

It’s the most powerful opening sequence that Fire has ever done; Otis lost to the chaos of the boiler room exploding when the door swung shut before he could make it, Brett’s scream as Foster had to set her broken arm amidst concrete and smoke. The way her voice broke when she saw Otis being loaded into the ambulance told us: this was not just going to be another close call. This was it. 

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The performance of the night has to go to Joe Minoso as Cruz. His final exchange with Otis and the Russian phrase his best friend utters before he passes hangs over Joe for the entire episode as we flash forward three months and grapple with new changes all over the house. In a conversation with Boden, Joe wonders what will happen in five or ten years when everyone’s left 51 and new firefighters will have no idea whose photos hang on the wall. 

This of course, gives Boden an idea that literally had me sobbing at the end of the episode, but before we get to that let’s check in with everyone else. 

Brett’s Moved to Fowlerton! Emily’s Partner is an Idiot! 

Her broken arm finally having healed, Brett’s interviewing for a paramedic position in her small hometown of Fowlerton. She moved with the Chaplain (I still can’t believe they actually got engaged) but it’s clear from her less-than-enthusiastic face when the doctor hands her a lollipop that Brett’s not thrilled at the idea of sleepy small-town life. Between frenemy Hope resurfacing (ew, why) and the Chaplain suggesting she doesn’t have to work and should just be his wife (EW WHY), Brett’s gotta get outta there, ASAP. 

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I have a feeling that this is going to drag out for a while, but I’m determined to stick it out for the huge emotional payoff of a triumphant return. 

Emily’s new partner is, in a word, annoying AF and we need our girl squad back together. Between the super weird modeling advice to Mouch and his complete inability to do his job, this man needs to be ousted. 

Herman’s Mad at Ritter? Casey’s Being Blamed?

Ritter’s floating on Truck while Casey struggles to find a permanent replacement for Otis, but he’s mostly concerned that Herman’s still deeply upset by Ritter’s refusal to leave when ordered during the mattress fire. Three months is a long time to hold a grudge in this house, especially coming from Herman who’s usually one of the most level-headed of the group. When Ritter finally summons the courage to ask if he’s still welcome back at Engine, Candidate and Lieutenant get to share a lovely scene that ratifies both their positions in the house and their utmost love and respect for one another. 

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Speaking of Truck, Casey’s having a really hard time. It’s clear that he’s still carrying a deeply heavy weight from Otis’ death, which is only made worse when an official inquiry begins into his conduct during the fire. Thankfully he’s got an incredible family to support him: from Severide and Kit not letting him move out to Chief Boden having his back during the hearing, I just hope Casey and the entire house take the time to heal. 

Stand Out Scene

Otis’ memorial. Obviously.

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When Chief Boden reveals the memorial and its intention to Firehouse 51, I was already choking up. But when he reveals the meaning of Otis’ last words, I totally lost it. Joe sinks to his knees, followed by the rest of the firehouse as they paid tribute to their fallen brother. There’s only one other scene in all of Chicago Fire that will stick in my mind as much as this one. 

Rest in Peace, Otis. Thank you Yuriy Sardarov for 7 incredible years. We’ll miss you! 


Stray Observations

Stellaride is as strong and precious as ever. It better last because they’ve done enough breaking up to last a lifetime. 

Best Lines

Casey: The other night, Severide said they’re gonna write this report, we’re gonna be stamped and cleared, then it’ll be shoved in a drawer somewhere and disappear forever.
Boden: Yeah.
Casey: It’s just that…I lost a firefighter that day. I’ll never be clear. 

Boden: Who’s gonna remember us? It’s a question that all of us who do this job ask ourselves at one moment or another. Who will remember our work after we’re gone? Brian Zvonecek. He was our brother, he was our friend, he was a hell of a firefighter. He was smart, he was funny, he was kind. He was unselfish and he was loyal. So if you see someone – a fellow ff, a citizen, a friend – looking at this memorial, I want you to come down this apron and tell them the story of who Brian was, what kind of man he was. And that way, we will bring this memorial to life. Брат, я буду с тобой всегда. Yeah, I looked it up. Those were Brian’s last words. And they mean, “Brother, I will be with you always.”

Literally crying again. 

Chicago Fire airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.

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