Chicago Fire 11×11 “A Guy I Used to Know” is a setup episode, which makes sense after a couple of emotional hours. Fire Cop Severide makes an appearance of sorts, Stellaride communication continues to be the norm and Cindy Herrmann is, of course, sick, and not just COVID sick but lung cancer sick, because this show cannot just bring Cindy back for a good reason. They love to make us suffer.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to see Cindy and great to have a storyline for Herrmann that doesn’t involve him being the butt of some joke or the one that doesn’t know what’s going on — as good as he is at playing the straight man. And there will probably be good moments in this storyline, not just for Christopher and Cindy, but for the entirety of Firehouse 51, because they’re family and Herrmann is going to need that right now. But trust Chicago Fire not to do this just for the sake of drama I do not, and trust it to end well I also do not …so there’s that.
But one thing Chicago Fire 11×11 “A Guy I Used to Know” does well is remind us of the characters we want to see more of — aka, not Emma. She’s always been kind of unbelievable as this big bad of sorts, even as a white woman, but the way she somehow became the Firehouse 51 boogeyman not only made very little sense but was also not that great of a story. It could have been worse, of course, but without Hawkins around (nah, never getting over it), it was all kinda “oh, Emma again. Okay?” which was probably not the response the show wanted. And though this seems to be the end of that, well …we thought that before and look how that turned out.
If this is going to be the end of Emma, please let it be the end of Emma for good. We’re tired of her. And kinda bored.
The Severide part of the episode was much better, if nothing else because I’m very firmly on the Taylor Kinney doesn’t get enough credit as Kelly Severide train. He was never just this rebel without a cause, not deep down, but he was outwardly a different person when we first met him — one whose communication wasn’t what it is today, to say the least. And now Kelly Severide is a heart-on-his-sleeve kinda guy, and yet also a very respected firefighter. Kinney plays the balance superbly and in doing so, shatters this toxic idea of what men have to be.
Kelly Severide isn’t less of the good things he always was because he’s now more in touch with his emotions, because he’s got a wife he can confide in and discuss his day with, and he definitely isn’t a worse firefighter because he’s thinking first these days, on the job and outside of it. In fact, the fact that he trusted his gut, and his previous relationships saved someone’s career in Chicago Fire 11×11 “A Guy I Used to Know,” and that’s something to be admired.
I will criticize Chicago Fire until I’m blue in the face for the things I believe they do wrong, but writing nuanced male characters isn’t one of those. And that doesn’t extend just to Kelly Severide, but basically every other man on this show. If we could just dial down the drama, that’d be good, though. What we want is time to sit with good character writing, not extreme situations every week. The job is already dramatic enough.
Things I think I think:
- Herrmann and Cindy! Or Christopher and Cindy, I guess.
- So, time to worry about Cindy? I don’t want to worry about Cindy.
- This show is really, really good at making you think about what first responders do every day.
- Who hides stuff under a mattress? Cruz, I’m judging you.
- Stellaride communication is my favorite thing about Chicago Fire these days.
- Emma is suddenly the biggest bogeyman there is.
- “The people I love most” …VIOLET.
- Yes, Gallo CAN be a real suck-up. We kinda like that, though.
- Every time someone says “there’s no reason to worry yet” on a show like this one, worry.
- Stella’s “you got this” kinda did me in.
- Take everything, Violet. Including the computer. For the pictures, and for the Emma angle. Both are important.
- Me to this investigator lady: Who gave you permission to call him Kelly?
- And then you wanna give me Stellaride drama in the trailer? How dare you, Chicago Fire?
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Chicago Fire 11×11 “A Guy I Used to Know”? Share with us in the comments below!