Chicago Fire Review: An Honorary Hero

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I was really torn which direction to take in my review of "A Coffin That Small."

There was a lot happenings at the firehouse and a lot of it will be relevant in coming weeks... but none of it really stands out against what I took away while I watched, as tears streamed down my face several times during the hour.

It's interesting that this particular episode was aired on the day NBC announced a possible spinoff series, based upon a Chicago police department, because I don't see how any show about the police could pack as powerful of a punch as one hour of Chicago Fire does. The biggest reason for this comes from something Herman said in this Chicago Fire quote:

We're not cops. People are happy to see a firefighter arrive. | permalink

Mourning a Tragedy

The horrific nature of the first scene they were called to by the brother of a victim trapped in a laundry shoot just down the street from the firehouse set the tone for the entire episode. Upside down, his head at an unnatural angle making it difficult to breathe, we were already clued in by the title of the installment that he wasn't going to make it.

It shook everybody to their core, but even more so when they learned from the victim's mother one of his proudest moments had been when his class took a field trip to the firehouse. Upon his return home, he announced he would one day be a firefighter himself. She carried that memory with her because she knew his dream would always keep him away from the gangs so close on his heels, always trying to find a way to drag him in. Even at that young age, they come calling.

Mouch, Hermann and Boden attended a funeral for an old friend, a retired firefighter. On the way there, we got to learn a bit more about them. I never knew Mouch and Hermann grew up together. Hermann complained that he had lost touch with his older brother and father because they had a special bond he couldn't share since his brother followed his father into the sock business and he went his own route to be a firefighter. Mouch urged him to call his father, but the hurt of the un-returned call was more than he could bear.

They got to the funeral - and it was empty. Hermann was shocked. The man had family. He was a hero. Where was the truck? Where were his sons, the men to honor him? Another great quote:

He deserved a funeral with respect for all of his service, and just because he waited a dozen years to die and moved out to the sticks doesn't mean he wasn't a hero. | permalink

My own grandfather was a fire commissioner. He was retired, but remained active with his house until he died. I know the feeling you have when your loved one receives the honor of a heroes funeral. My grandfather didn't have a hearse, but rode on the back of a firetruck he restored. We rode past the house with the flag flying at half staff. To be a fireman and know what your friend had achieved, but see him so alone at the end must be very distressing. It certainly was to Hermann.

The next day they received the news that the little boy hadn't survived. His mother delivered his picture to the house, knowing he would want them to have it. He was dressed as a firefighter. Boden used it as a rally call to pull together and put all of their crap behind them. Once they saw him, it was easy to recall his smiling and excited face from the class trip. Everyone was touched.

Hermann decided to call his father, but his call wasn't returned. Mouch kept in better touch with Hermann's family than he did, so he took him over to the family business where his brother welcomed him with open arms. While Hermann's father was out of town, his brother took him into his office and showed him something he needed to see. An entire wall in dedication to his son, the firefighter. Framed newspaper articles, awards, family photos - apparently it was hard to shut him up about how proud he was. If Hermann hadn't been so afraid to make the call, he might have found out the same was true from his father.

In the last scene, as the local gang bangers stood around looking at the funeral procession driving by, a mother and a son looked out their window and saw an entire firehouse in full dress blues, flag flying at half staff, in a salute to their lost son. The boy who would never join a gang because he wanted to be a firefighter, and an honorary hero.

Firefighters change lives. They save them, provide safe haven when needed and don't pass judgement. In order to do their jobs, they must all support each other and work as a family. If they don't the unit starts to break. It's happening in Firehouse 51, but it it will still be happening next week, and those darker discussions can be saved for then. This week is about the good. The honor. The lifesaving.

I don't know how they can pull that off with a series about police, but I wish them the best.


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (56 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


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I thought this was the best and most touching episode of the Season. Was Hermanns Brother the actor who plays Archie from ONCE UPON A TIME? If not he is a dead ringer for him.


Very emotional closing scene. When Hermann said, "I have an idea", I thought we were going to see the engine in the funeral procession. Having the company line up outside the firehouse, in their dress uniforms, with the flag hanging down from the ladder, seemed to show even more respect for the little boy and his family. I was describing it to a co-worker this morning, and the tears started coming down again. Well done.


I don't understand why Severide was unable to believe Casey about Heather. "I know what I saw." What exactly did he see? Nothing. He saw Casey and heard Heather ask about mouthwash. Why in the world would he assume they were sleeping together from that? The rest of the episode was great. The last scene was heartbreaking and amazing.


Fire departments all over the country should be applauding this show...great public service in letting us know just what First Responders do,the risks they take, the compassion they show, and the respect we all should have for them.I feel I've learned so much since the Fall. I agree that Severide was out of line in regards to Casey. And Shay's description of what would take place with Severide....I was laughing outloud!


I'm not a person to get emotional enough for a tear but thischanged that because they showed anyone who would stay away from the pressures of gangs to be a firefighter deserve to be honered by those who would be his or her fellow firefighters


Love this episode and I am not going to lie but I did cry a little bit lol. As for cop shows my fix is rookie blue so another cop show lol anyway keep coming with good episodes thanks;)


I really love this show and it gets better and better each week. I don't know about the spin off either. We have enough cop shows. The only thing I like about the spin off is that maybe that means NBC will renew CF for next year. I tell all my girlfriends this is a great show because it has a man for every taste and it is a well written show. I think Severide likes Shay and I think Shay may like him because she gets jealous every time he is with another women. Shay girl you just don't know how many women would do plan "b" with Severide and enjoy it! I don't understand why Severide is so mad at Casey and doesn't believe Casey when he says there is nothing going on between him and Heather. I was crying at the end with the funeral for the little boy. It will be interesting to see what happens with the stupid drug fools. Herman quote: We're not cops. People are happy to see a firefighter arrive. Amen brother!

Sarah silva

I love Casey but I think it was a little crazy to go talk to the gang members alone, first Voight now the gang members, I hope his luck getting out alive does not come to an end.
I also hope that the new paramedic is Shay's love interest too!

Sarah silva

This show is so fantastic! Last night just solidified that even more!
The ending made me cry! I loved them all standing in their dress (blues/Black). That was such a great scene.
I also cried when Hermann went to his dad and brothers office. I really like Hermann, I am glad we saw a lot of him this week.
I like Severide but I wish he would ease up on Casey. He should take his word that he is not sleeping with Heather.
I loved all the scenes with Severide and Shay, I saw a little look of disappointment on his face when Shay said her dad would pay for the procedure and they would not have to sleep together.
I still like Mills and Dawson and I will not be happy if Dawson and Casey hook up.
I am looking forward to next week.

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Chicago Fire Season 1 Episode 19 Quotes

Heather Darden and me, we're just friends. She came over to talk and she fell asleep on my couch.


No sir. This has nothing to do with what my father did or did not do with his time at CFD. This has to do with me.