Chicago Fire 11×08 “A Beautiful Life” is kind of a slow episode, saved by a few Stellaride moments, Violet and Sylvie’s interactions and Herrmann’s fight against Gen Z. In general, some characters work, and some interactions work, but the hour spends too much time on a feud turned bromance between Carver and Gallo that seemed to come out of nowhere.
In general, it’s a bad decision to make an episode revolve around Carver, just as it was a bad decision to do so with Pelham last season. But the most egregious problem with this episode is the way it frames growth around death, once again. Sure, Gallo is a little trigger-happy sometimes, and he needs to learn to think before reacting. But do all lessons on this show have to be learned through death? Is trauma the only storytelling avenue Chicago Fire has? It certainly feels like it. Plus, what’s the lesson here? It’s not like Gallo could have really done a lot to help someone who’d already decided he couldn’t be helped.
Over and over again, people die
Loss is a real thing, I don’t want to minimize that. And for first responders, life can be more about the losses than the wins. But it’s gotten to a point where I’m not sure the show knows there are ways to tell stories without a shocking death here or there. Grief is a real thing, one that the show has actually handled pretty well through Violet, but not every story can or should be about grief, because life isn’t. Even Violet’s storyline shows an awareness of that because that’s just what grief is — a rollercoaster.
Gallo has always been a character that wears his heart on his sleeve, for better or worse. And I understand what the show is doing with him right now, they’re trying to make us root for him. But he was actually just an adorable little puppy before he went all Gallo with jealousy last season, and if this whole thing is about getting him back to a point where we can root for him and Violet, the truth is …we don’t want it. We wanted the romance Violet had before.
And if this isn’t about that, it’s still hella unfair to make Gallo’s character development conditioned on a new trauma. There are other stories to tell. This show has the characters to tell them. They just don’t want to.
The one thing that makes sense
Stellaride isn’t just the best part of the episode, they’re the only thing about this show that fully works. And the funniest part is that they work without the show doing much more than just letting them exist, something they have yet to figure out they can do for the rest of the characters. No, fans don’t need trauma or uncertainty to invest in Stellaride. All they need is quiet nights at home with Stallaride cooking together, and morning conversations about their day.
A marriage. A real one. One that is about two people who love each other yes, but also about two people who communicate, who value each other’s opinion, and who make the choice to prioritize each other every day — while still being who they are. It’s not just what marriage can be, it’s what it should be. And it’s both great to see and incredibly baffling that the show continues to fumble basically every other storyline.
But hey, if — and when — they figure it out, let’s just hope they still let us have this Stellaride. Because we love them. We’re invested. And we never want them to be anything other than the beautiful OTP they are. If anything, more of this, please. This works.
Things I think I think:
- The way Stella smiles at Kelly will forever be one of my favorite things in a show that has taken a hell of a lot of my favorite things from me lately.
- All Carver does is stand around looking shifty.
- If you wanted me to have positive feelings for Gallo, there were better ways than this.
- I wish I could explain how much I love Herrmann. Every second of him on the show is delightful.
- But I get Violet wanting to set Brett up, I really do. She’s projecting.
- Stella and Kelly just …talking about life, being each other’s support system. THIS is what marriage is supposed to be about.
- Look, I hate to agree with Carver, but Gallo could benefit from thinking things through from time to time.
- The one praise I’ve got for the show right now is that whoever is writing Violet’s lines lately truly understands grief.
- Sylvie and Dylan are a good match on paper, but it all feels a little disjointed after Brettsey, how that was set up, and how it ended. Like, how long has it been?
- Carver said I’m sorry? What?
- HAHAHAHA TRUDY HAHAHAHA.
- Every episode should have Kelly and Stella cooking dinner together.
- I hate this cop, I truly do.
- Carver’s advice is actually …good advice.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Chicago Fire 11×08 “A Beautiful Life”? Share with us in the comments below!