There are some things I really enjoy about Chicago Fire, and some things that really get under my skin.
One of the things I like is that the firefighters don't just sit on their arses and talk about their jobs. They are really out in the field, dealing with danger and saving lives. If they keep it up, they'll have a much higher record than the slackers on Rescue Me.
That case at the end of "Mon Amour," with the scaffolding falling from the building? That's the stuff nightmares are made of. I've actually known people who have refused to walk under buildings with big logos on them for fear of them falling down and crushing them alive.
That scene made it seem far more frightening than the idea of it in my head. The calls they go on are both exciting and emotion-filled. Imagining myself as the driver of the car, not knowing what was happening to my friend in the passenger seat as hell continued to rain down around me, was easy to do. But it's not easily done in the context of such an action packed show. They're setting the bar pretty high in this area.
This seems like a little thing, but it just bugs me no end that barely any of the firefighters on the show strap on their helmets. When they are climbing up and down the ladder and ducking and tucking their heads inside rubble, it seems to me that strapping on their helmets would be necessary.
Kelly was angry at someone for standing on a ladder without holding on with at least one hand; shouldn't their helmets be firmly in place, as well? The real kicker was Kelly down in a destroyed building full of debris, having taken his helmet OFF. Stones were falling on his head. Good thing he was worried about holding onto ladders. Priorities people, priorities! Just in case you think I'm over thinking this, I did some research, and every picture I found of active firefighters showed them strapped in.
That said, even after the rocks fell on his head, Kelly didn't put his helmet back on. The good news? He climbed out of the hole with it on. What a champ.
Things I never want to hear when I'm trapped with my leg under a rock: "Lower me a sawzall!" I've heard that the likelihood of actually passing out due to extreme pain are really pretty low. It happens a lot in entertainment, probably because we, as viewers, would be completely put off if we thought we didn't mercifully pass out from the pain and we just couldn't handle the screaming.
Hardly entertaining to listen to that, yet dramatically, there's nothing like sawing off a leg here and there. Yes, I worry about myself, as well.
What a surprise that cutting of his leg didn't work. The ending really threw me, with a dying man telling his wife that Kelly was exactly the son they pictured for them. Wow. May it never happen to any of us, but if we ever do find ourselves in that situation, please let us have a man like Kelly there so we can die with dignity.
From start to finish, Kelly was pretty much in the limelight. He was everywhere. Running into Darden's family and doing his best to hide from them. He's the one who was yelling one moment and not wearing his helmet the next. He was shooting up. He was falling apart. He also had the most unmarred bare arm from needle marks I've ever seen. His hot broodiness cannot be denied. The new girl, Nicki, tossed herself at him as if she knew exactly what I'm talking about, and he (wisely) turned her down. As low as he's falling, he's still making good decisions when it comes to others, making him the most intriguing and my favorite character.
I really didn't get the big deal with the crest. Otis just would not let it go. So there's a goat on the door. Who cares? Goats are hard headed and don't back down. They're practically indestructible. There could be worse crests, couldn't there? I definitely wouldn't want to be on the dogs that guard the gates of hell truck. How can that be a good thing?
Finally, I was totally shocked after Casey's conversation with Gaby at the barbecue that he decided to put everything aside with Hallie and ask her to marry him. Hallie knows how much he wants a family and watched him with Darden's kids. He's made to be a father. While they love each other, it's obvious they want different things out of life, so I expect it will be a rocky road going ahead, especially as I foresee Casey and Gaby getting closer.
I enjoyed this episode much more than the premiere. They did a lot to engage the audience with both the calls and the characters. I wasn't sure if it would be worth investing my time, but if the ratings are solid tomorrow, I'm going to give Chicago Fire a permanent slot on my DVR.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.