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+.


continued.....Severide in uniform was the cherry on top of the sundae – so does TK have any plans to appear in Playgirl?????? Oh my! Can’t wait to see the deal with the new girl and Severide. This episode tugged at my heartstrings.


Guess you could call this the swimmers episode. Ha! Loved the scenes with Shay/Severide! I really thought when Kelly hesitated in the coffee shop, he was going to say “let’s just do it the old fashioned way�. He hesitated just enough before he said I’ll do it. Cracked up at Shays line “and I will mount you�. So clinical, but hilarious. Shay can’t sleep with Kelly it would ruin the relationship. Herrmann is adorable as usual. Really moved at the parking lot scene at the funeral parlor. Liked the tension between Severide and Casey over Heather, but I couldn’t get away with yelling on the job at a co-worker about a personal matter. (Maybe Kelly and Heather have history – did she dump him for Darden and Kelly never got over it? Wow!)Loved the Chief’s comment about Mills’ extra 10 lbs. - funny jaw dropper! The hearse scene was very sad (yucky weather day for Chicago). Severide in uniform was the cherry on top of the sundae (or Severide out of uniform...I digress) So does TK have any plans to appear in Playgirl?????? Oh my! Can’t wait to see the deal with the new girl and Severide. Yup, this episode tugged at my heartstrings.


Did I miss something; I swear last weeks preview had someone shooting at Casey (looked like they were climbing in a window?).
There was some definite disappointment in Severides face when Shay said her dad was paying for IVF!!! Poor Guy! (I did love Shay describing how their sexual encounter would transpire!)


I really hope that something good is about to happen to Casey. The guy helps everybody unselfishly , always is a great friend and has the worst luck around.
He REALLY needs a break.


I hope the new lady Paramedic is a lesbian and NOT interested in men because it would be a huge knock to their ego. I am hoping this new lady is Shay's love interest. Shay needs a love life I think her wanting to have a baby is a way of dealing with the grief of breaking up with Clarice. The review also ignored a hilarious scene when Shay suggested to Severide that they have can actual sex instead of IVF. Severide actually snickered he wanted to have sex with Shay and appeared disappointed when Shay said her dad would come up with the $10,000 dollars for the artificial insemination.


This was indeed an intense episode and I loved every minute.I did come away with some questions though.Is Severide in love with Shay?He sure seemed excited at the prospect of having sex with her ,and then disappointed when her dad agreed to pay for the insemination.An about Dawson and Casey,did they drop them?They have barely shared a scene in these past couple of episodes ,and now the new girl is coming in and all the guys were eyeing her.Well all in all this was a fantastic episode and I look forward to next week.I just hope we don't see Hallie again,her character is so flat and unnecessary.

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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.