Chicago Fire 11×05 “Haunted House” is a fun episode about Halloween – and how different people enjoy (or don’t enjoy) the holiday, but it’s also an episode about taking that next step towards healing, be it from new trauma or an old one.
Some hurts don’t ever truly go away, just as some loves never truly leave you. For Violet, moving forward, living is the hardest part …not because it’s bad, but because it feels like normalcy is a fallacy, like things can never again be normal without the man she loved by her side. For Severide, on the other hand, normalcy is something he’s fought for, something he’s earned …and yet it’s something that can be so cruelly ripped away thanks to a bad memory.
And for both, the only way forward is through …and leaning on people. Whether that be friends (in Violet’s case) or the love of his life (in Severide’s case), that’s pretty much all you can do. So let us discuss the ways they deal, and the ways they move forward as we discuss Chicago Fire 11×05 “Haunted House”:
NORMAL IS A WIN
For Violet, any shred of normalcy is a hard-fought win. Just feeling normal while in the midst of grief is the kind of gift that is hard to explain to anyone that hasn’t been there. It’s like the sun coming out after years and years of darkness. And yes, that part is also hard. Finding normalcy, and going on with living is another challenge because it feels like you shouldn’t be able to exist when a part of you is missing …but that doesn’t mean the moments of normalcy aren’t very much needed.
No one can heal while living in the darkness. You need that sun, that moment of respite, even if it’s just to gather strength for the next fight, and the next one. And grief is, basically, a never-ending fight to find a new normal. Not to go back to normal, because there’s no going back. You will never be the person you were before. You will, instead, be a new one. Hopefully, one that can carry the love of the person you lost with them. One that can honor them and still, well …go on.
In that respect, this part of Violet’s journey has been done very well. Her interactions with both Ritter and Gallo are realistic, and there isn’t even anything resembling a spark there with Gallo, just respect for what the character of Violet has lost, which is good. That doesn’t mean we like the decision to kill Hawkins in the first place. That was just drama for the sake of drama – and not even the good kind. But the show has indeed been handling her grief as well as it’s possible, and that’s about all we can ask of Chicago Fire at this point.
NORMAL IS A CHOICE
But normal is also a choice. Kelly Severide has fought to put his past behind him and to be the kind of person who can live a normal, happy life, alongside the woman he loves more than life itself. But the past sometimes rears its ugly head, and you are taken back there, to your worst moments. Severide, thankfully, has someone to lean on when that happens …someone to share with. Someone who will look at him in wonder and say, you know, you turned out pretty well despite all that baggage.
Not just that, Severide has someone he can point to and say it’s because of you that I did. You have made me a better man, at every turn. Your influence, your love, your understanding, and your support has made me the man who can now be your partner. The man who, hopefully, can one day be the father to your children. Because it truly does feel like Chicago Fire is throwing these two into parental situation after parental situation, right? Right?
But Chicago Fire 11×05 “Haunted House” isn’t just about Stella being the best mentor/parental figure ever or about Severide who hasn’t been the aloof, uninterested guy he sometimes plays at being, for ages. Instead, it’s about how they complement each other, and what makes them a good team. Because yes, Stella has inspired Kelly to be better and has helped him reclaim that normalcy that he didn’t really have growing up. But Kelly in turn has given Stella the kind of support system that allows her to believe in herself.
Stella Kidd’s got this, whatever this is, and we cannot underscore how much Kelly Severide’s belief in her has played a role in that. It’s not that Stella needed him to be a badass, it’s that Severide has helped her believe in the thing she already was. If anything, Severide deserves credit for seeing it, even when Stella couldn’t. Just as Stella deserves credit for seeing the man Kelly Severide could be, even when he wasn’t yet there.
And isn’t that the best kind of partnership? The one where you support each other, lift each other up and make each other better?
Things I think I think:
- Gallo and Ritter are the most awkward beans ever.
- NO CLOWNS is a good rule.
- Supportive Kelly Severide is my kryptonite.
- Herrmann might be my favorite character I don’t get to truly go into in these reviews. He’s one of the beating hearts of this show, even if he doesn’t get to be involved in the most dramatic storylines.
- A guillotine? I’d divorce him.
- GIVE STELLA AND KELLY A KID. No, but seriously …imagine them fostering a teenager? Dream storyline.
- May we get a scene of Stellaride at the loft every episode?
- “Because of you.”
- I melted. I am a puddle. Said so matter-of-fact, too. Like it’s obvious.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Chicago Fire 11×05 “Haunted House”? Share with us in the comments below!