Chicago Fire 11×01 “Hold on Tight” is an episode that fixes one ship, cements another and puts an end to a third one, all while the Firehouse continues to be presented as the kind of family that truly does credit to the “strength in family” motto of this season of One Chicago. But of course, whether Chicago Fire can truly be a comfort show or not might just depend on the reason you’re watching the show in the first place – and those reasons are not just varied and contradictory, but all very much valid.
One thing is certain, though, watching Chicago Fire really does feel like watching a show where every character is part of the same thing, and the Firehouse is a sum of all its parts. There is, indeed, strength in family, because it feels like Firehouse 51 is a family. Even if some of its members are missing. Wherever they are, they’re still family and they will always be. That’s what family is, after all.
So, let us examine the ships the show focuses on in the finale, and the ones it maybe sets up as we review Chicago Fire 11×01 “Hold on Tight”
THE END OF BRETTSEY?
Maybe someday is a tough pill to swallow for fans of Brettsey, and it sadly follows a pattern on One Chicago. Jesse Spencer leaving the show was out of their control, yes. The way the ship was written – even before his departure – wasn’t. And that’s where the biggest failure comes in, and it’s one the show was already guilty of with Dawsey and Monica Raymund’s departure.
Brettsey was set up or seasons, and yet even as it was set up, the writers never truly closed the door on Dawsey definitively. Then came the end of Season 9, when the couple finally committed to each other, which at that point felt like the only storytelling avenue considering the setup. But that was, of course, when Jesse Spencer decided to leave – and the couple they’d set up so long and never fully got to deliver on, was left hanging.
One could say the writers gave it the old college try by keeping them together long-distance and bringing back Jesse Spencer for the Season 10 finale, but it feels like there were better ways to write them after Jesse’s departure than just drag it out till the Season 11 premiere, only for it to “end” in a vague maybe someday that leaves the door open, but promises nothing. And though it is true that long-distance relationships are hard, and that Sylvie’s storylines for the past year have mostly involved her being sad or looking at a phone, there were also options that just had them together off-screen and everyone mostly happy, or at least dealing.
Chicago Fire has tried to be a comfort show and in many ways, they succeed, but it’s hard to argue they are that to fans of Sylvie, or Brettsey. They weren’t so to fans of Gabby or Dawsey, either. Very different characters, and very different storylines, but inconsistent writing that hurt the stories they were trying to tell, nonetheless. And that’s the part that hurts.
Not that we truly expected anything to happen to Stellaride, but they really had to power couple (as Hanako Greensmith said) their way through that honeymoon, didn’t they? And the fact that they did leads perfectly into the issue of the episode which is …Kelly Severide being Kelly Severide, without taking into account that he isn’t just …well, Kelly Severide anymore. He isn’t alone. His issues aren’t just his, they’re Stella’s too.
One could argue they’ve been a unit for a while, but there’s something about making it official that clicks in your brain (and in the brain of bad guys, clearly). And that’s where the struggle is for Kelly, because he went at this full-on like he always does, and there’s a certain terror in realizing he did that and …Stella almost got killed. He put Stella in danger – or he at least didn’t do enough to prevent her from being harmed.
He makes a commitment to be better in this episode, and the thing is …it’s hard to change things like this one in the blink of an eye, especially when – like Kelly Severide – you’re used to having to do things alone. But Stella has never expected perfection from Kelly, she just wants him to try. To communicate. And to know that she will be there with him, every step of the way.
Just as he will be with her, even in the simple things like having complete faith in her assessment of Carver, something even Boden has trouble with. Kelly is and has always been, Stella’s biggest cheerleader, and she might need him to be that once again as she tries to navigate a situation she hasn’t had to navigate before. We – and Kelly – know Stella is a born leader, now it’s just up to her to prove it to others, and if needed, to herself. And hey, for what it’s worth before the guy had even done or said anything remotely shady, we were already on Stella’s side.
COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY
The silliest argument of all is fixed thanks to Gallo, who puts Violet’s happiness above any lingering feelings he might have for her. That leads Violet back to Chief Hawkins’ arms and leaves Violet and Gallo in a very strong place in their friendship that we hope to see explored. But friendship it will have to stay because when it comes to Violet and Evan, they’re in. Completely and totally.
And like …we already knew this was the case. We already knew Violet was suffering because she made a picture in her head about the worst-case scenario, and Evan was suffering because he went the extra mile for Violet and she didn’t seem to care. But the thing that was missing from their relationship, and it’s been a recurring pattern for them, is just communication. These two have never had a problem large enough that they can’t talk out. And though it’s taken them some time, they’ve found a way to discuss their issues, like adults, and face them, together.
Now comes a new moment in their relationship, though. Now they’re a real, actual couple. Their issues aren’t about whether they should be together, they are together. That was a choice they made. And now, come the other issues. Dealing with friends and family. Dealing with where the relationship is moving, what the next step is, and what they want to be together. But that’s the good part, for both them and for fans. We want that. And we’re happy we get to enjoy it.
Things I think I think:
- Stellaride has a thing with the floor and I just do not get it. Floors aren’t comfy.
- I’m not sure if I should say Severide has nerves of steel or say that he should be more worried about, you know, staying alive.
- Eh, goodbye Mason?
- WIFE SORCERY.
- Hawkins looks rough. They really let him show up at work looking like a kicked puppy?
- And by rough I also mean he looks very good, because this is Evan Hawkins we’re talking about. Obvs.
- Fine, Gallo, I forgive you for last season.
- Violet, my girl, I love you, but you’re in the wrong in this one.
- I love the look Hailey gives Kelly when she’s explaining the world to him.
- We do not like Sam Carver.
- EVAN HAWKINS, THE MAN THAT YOU ARE.
- I never disagree with Chief Boden, but I do about Sam Carver.
- We want more details, Violet.
- Stella asking Boden to take a step back is perfect because it’s just what we expect Stella to do in that instance.
- “I was with you every step of the way. I always will be.”
- Kill me now.
- Maybe someday only truly works if there’s a plan to make that maybe someday a thing, otherwise, it’s just what the show tried to do with Dawsey, leave the door open – which then made it harder for fans.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Chicago Fire 11×01 “Hold on Tight”? Share with us in the comments below!
Chicago Fire airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.