Chicago Fire 11×10 “Something for the Pain” is about trauma — the kind we see and the kind we don’t see. It’s also about how we move on from it or don’t. Because trauma isn’t ever truly something we can just wave away. No, trauma leaves scars, different ones for everyone. And there isn’t ever a quick or universal fix. Instead, it’s just about continuing to move forward and making sure to lean on people when we need to.
Stella Kidd has a surplus of people. She has a husband who loves her and an entire Firehouse that would take a bullet for her. Sam Carver, however, has no one — except Stella. And that means it could only be Stella who helped him. Stella, the one who bailed him out, Stella the one who stood by him, Stella who saved him. And that’s what Firehouse 51 does, in the end. That’s who they are. And that’s what, even when we’re mad at this show, makes the whole thing work more often than not.
Yes, even Carver. But especially Stella and Kelly, and the family they have built around them.
So let us go into the pillars of that family as this episode establishes them while we discuss Chicago Fire 11×10 “Something for the Pain”:
THERE’S NO CHICAGO FIRE WITHOUT STELLA KIDD
Of all the things I worried about coming into Chicago Fire 11×10 “Something for the Pain,” Stella Kidd’s well-being was never one of them. Because I knew, as this show clearly does, that there’s no show at this point without Stella Kidd. For me, there hasn’t been for a while, but there really isn’t one now that Matt Casey is gone. Not just because no Stella would mean losing a lot of the heart of this show, but also because there would be no Stellaride, and it’s not like we have another couple to root for around here.
But knowing Stella Kidd would survive doesn’t mean we cannot take a moment to appreciate who Stella Kidd is, who she was in this episode. From the way she didn’t hesitate to cover Carver, to the way she came back to the work she loves despite dealing with nightmares. But perhaps the most important thing to note about Stella in this episode is how she didn’t try to tough it out. Instead, she was open about how she was struggling. She leaned on her husband; she took his advice. And she did what she could not just to get better, but to help Carver.
That’s what a leader does. And it’s one of the many reasons Kelly Severide loves her, the entirety of Firehouse 51 looks up to her and Sam Carver opened up a little bit, at last. Stella Kidd is, more often than not, this perfect woman who kicks ass and doesn’t hesitate. But no one is that all the time. And the struggles, her struggles …well, they make her into the kind of person we all want to emulate. Because she keeps going. She keeps trying. And sometimes, that’s all we can do.
KELLY SEVERIDE, THE MAN THAT YOU ARE
I started watching Chicago Fire pretty early on, and Kelly Severide was one of my favorites from the beginning. I especially loved his relationship with Shay, and though he was far from the character I wanted to love, I saw possibility in him. I saw the beginning of a great arc. I hoped he would become the kind of character that I could not just root for episode after episode, but the kind I could see grow. And then, that just didn’t happen. And time kept passing. Until one day, I just … gave up. On Kelly Severide and on the show.
Then Stella Kidd happened, and I came back and found a new character to love above all …but I never truly forgot that Kelly Severide was my original favorite. Perhaps that’s why seeing him in this episode has me feeling nostalgic. I never thought he could get here. To a man who does his job well, but who wears his heart on his sleeve. One who loves his wife to distraction, and who takes care of her not because he has to, but because he wants to. To someone who communicates, who pays attention and who is always, always there.
Romance isn’t always about jumping into danger for someone without a second thought (though he did that), it’s also about being there in the quiet moments, with a joke, with reassurance, with a hug. It’s about being there even when you don’t know what to say, or when you can’t even truly help. It’s about offering advice, even when it might not be what the other person wants to hear. A while ago, Kelly Severide wowed to become the kind of man Stella Kidd deserved. And he did. He truly, truly did. And in the process, he became the kind of character worth watching a show for, too.
Things I think I think:
- This show doesn’t have to go this hard. I know this focuses on first responders, but I promise you, it does not have to go this hard every week.
- Severide’s face when he saw Stella. Sylvie’s “Don’t worry Stella, we got you.” Boden telling Severide to get on the ambulance, they’d meet him at Med.
- Violet’s driving was A+, too.
- I’m literally Stella, pain pills? Give me ALL.
- We don’t give Taylor Kinney enough props for his acting, and that’s partly on this idea that procedurals don’t require great acting. Kinney is super at take-charge paramedic Kelly Severide, but he’s even better at wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve Kelly, and that balance is what makes the character so, so good.
- The way this episode dealt with Carver’s trauma — even though he wasn’t physically hurt — was perfect. Trauma is like that, sneaky, pervasive. And it lies to you. Constantly.
- Plus, when previous trauma combines with new trauma? That’s a potent combination.
- I’m 100% with Violet, even if she’s probably not going about the Emma thing the best way. But, like, how is no one else worried?
- More Stellaride loft scenes, please.
- Severide should be Captain, is all I’m saying.
- “You going soft on me, Kelly Severide?” He’s been soft for a while, let’s be honest.
- Emma being Emma is the storyline no one asked for.
- I actually enjoyed Carver this episode. Wonders never cease.
- The whole thing about not being used to being saved? I got some feelings and everything.
- And I got absolutely nothing romantic from the Stella/Carver convo. Zero. Just two people connecting on a human level. I want to believe the writers know every relationship between a man and a woman doesn’t have to turn romantic. Because this, as it is …it works.
Chicago Fire airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.
Oh, I’ve always said that I love what you write, because you have a sensibility and you understand the character.
I loved your way of writing Carver, that’s what I saw too, a person alone going through trauma. My love for Stella and Stellaride grows because these two (Taylor and Miranda) know the importance of the couple to the series and they return the love.
Thank you Lizzie, you are the best❤❤❤❤ our #Stellaride heart thanks you.