Chicago Fire 11×17 “The First Symptom” is the kind of episode this show does better than most other shows on TV, and one of the best examples of why we are still here, eleven seasons in. Sure, there are things about this show I disagree with — deaths that have made no sense to me, relationships that never worked, and I cannot say I have been too glad about the way they have handled most character exits. But there’s something this show really, truly gets, and that’s how to do heartwarming, family entertainment.
Even when some of the pieces of that family are missing.
Almost as importantly, Chicago Fire 11×17 “The First Symptom” is the kind of episode that reinforces the idea that at Firehouse 51, everyone is important. Even the characters who are not involved in the will they/won’t they relationships. Even the ones outside of the main ships. This is a great ensemble show, and that means there are no real secondary characters, just characters who the show isn’t focusing on right now.
Ironically, procedurals do this better than any other genre. And Chicago Fire 11×17 “The First Symptom” is the second episode in a row where it feels like yes, the show can actually do some good stuff even when it’s not focusing on Kelly Severide — or before, on Matt Casey and their relationships. What this hour does well, however, reinforces what has gotten the show this far.
Balance. An episode like this one only works because we have had our fair share of others focusing on Stella, Violet, Stellaride and even Hawkami before they were cruelly taken from us. A show where every episode is like this one wouldn’t work as well, but this episode as the calm before the storm …well, that we can not jus accept, but enjoy.
We are, however, going to need Kelly Severide back soon. We’re going to need Stellaride. Yes, even if we are getting Matt Casey back momentarily next episode.
And the Kelly Severide of it all is outside of the show’s control. If Taylor Kinney needs more time, then the show should give him more time and continue to treat his absence in the respectful way they have. But the show, as it stands, is sustainable for a few more episodes like this — especially as we will be distracted by Matt next episode — but not for another season. We cannot have a show without a leading man or a main ship. Not for too long.
In the meantime, though, we can enjoy seeing Cruz grow, Stella being there for Cruz, and especially, Herrmann and Cindy getting good news. I had said before I was ready to fight the Chicago Fire writers if they really meant to take Cindy Herrmann from us, and I’m glad I don’t have to. We have already lost so much. Too much, even. We deserved some good news. They deserved some good news.
Things I think I think:
- No fire jokes right now, Herrmann.
- HOW IS JAVI SO BIG?
- Again, what is this Violet and Carver thing?
- I’m glad you went too, Stella. I’m also glad we got a timeframe.
- “He’s excited to come back to 51”
- I love how excited Mouch gets.
- Sylvie and Violet make a great team.
- I love Stella and Joe too.
- Yeah, 51 is high maintenance, but for some people …that’s just what they want. No, what they need.
- How does Stella always look so great?
- Did she say “You got this, Joe Cruz”?
- Will! Will is here!
- I’m always happy to see Will, especially on other shows. Not as many chances to screw things up.
- Look, for Herrmann’s sake, I appreciate that Cruz stopped him, but Bamford deserved to be hit.
- An entire episode with Sylvie and Violet just dealing with work stuff was kind of refreshing.
- I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about whatever is going on with Carver and Violet, but I swear she’s talked more to him than Severide in the past few seasons.
- You made the right call Joe.
- Will AND Hailey? This is a perfect episode.
- No, wait, the end with Cindy …now that makes it a perfect episode.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Chicago Fire 11×17 “The First Symptom”? Share with us in the comments below!
Chicago Fire airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.