Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16 Review: The Tendency of a Drowning Victim

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Alarm bells kept going off for me this entire episode, yet fortunately, it wasn't 51 responding to any four-alarm fires.

Years of watching television has contributed to my paranoia, and whenever something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop on Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16, but all is safe and sound -- for now -- for our local heroes.

Gallo+Cruz wide - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16

Part of my paranoia can be blamed on the promo for this episode as NBC hyped the "case of the week" as a staged accident.

Though it was premature to jump to conclusions, it seemed improbable at first Lisa Burke, the owner of the car, was innocent.

When she came to Casey with some sob story about being scammed, it seemed like just a lie to cover her tracks.

I kept waiting for it to be revealed Lisa had murdered her fiance, but that moment never came.

Casey and Gallo - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16

She was just a woman unlucky in love who was catfished by a scumbag who drained her bank account and staged his own death. 

The worst part is it was hard to enjoy watching Casey step up and play detective because it appeared was convinced that the audience, like the captain, was being duped.

Severide: Morning.
Kidd: Hey, so you know how we had to keep quiet last night so we didn’t wake up Casey?
Severide: Mm-hmm. He left?
Kidd: Time to wake up the rest of the building.

It wasn't until Casey and Lisa confronted the con artist face-to-face that the only thing nefarious about the situation was her supposed fiance.

Brett ambo - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16

The same line of thinking also applies to Brett's birth mother Julie.

Since learning Julie was pregnant on Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 15, the timing of the whole ordeal seemed suspicious.

I feared that the only reason Julie reached out to Brett was because the mother-to-be needed something from her biological daughter, such as an organ or bone marrow transplant, which is sometimes how these things pan out of TV shows.

This fear was only compounded by Julie's husband's initial reaction to Brett.

Brett - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16

It was as if him slamming the door in Brett's face was a sign of his discomfort with his wife's possibly ulterior motives.

Heck, even Brett had her reservations, though hers were more reasonable than mine.

Julie: But hey, I want to learn more about you.
Brett: Oh uh …
Julie: Like what’s your favorite movie?
Brett: Uh, I must have watched ‘La La Land’ like a hundred times.
Julie: Ugh, I loved ‘La La Land’ ‘til it got sad.
Brett: Oh same. I turn it off when they break up.
Julie: Well, they should have ended up together.
Brett: Totally.
Julie: Well, what about your favorite foods?
Brett: Do you really want to know what kinds of foods I like?
Julie: Sylvie, I want to know everything.

She feared her bonding with her birth mother would be cut short when the new baby arrived, as Julie would have a new and shiny family to focus on, one that wasn't so fraught with unease and regret.

It's completely understandable Brett would have her doubts, especially given that this is a TV show.

Brett - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 14

It wouldn't have been unexpected if Julie turned out to be a con artist or master manipulator, but it seems like Julie is a woman who just wants to get to know her biological daughter.

She's even willing to move to Chicago to be closer to Brett and get to know her daughter better.

It may be a rush to judgment, but Julie's intentions seem pure. 

She seems to be a normal, decent human being, and let's hope those aren't words I die by.

Casey disagree - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16

Speaking of dying -- yes, this is bad a transition, but let's just go with it -- that's what Casey was trying to avoid when he stopped Severide and the rest of Squad 3 from searching for the MIA driver.

It's not often that Casey and Severide get into it over a call, but when it happens, it can be ugly.

Casey: I can’t let you go in Severide. It’s too dangerous.
Severide: We don’t have a choice.
Casey: Severide I said no. They’ve been in the water too long. It’s not worth the risk.
Severide: Cold water can preserve a drowning victim. You know that.
Casey: It’s been 40 minutes, at least, maybe a lot longer. This isn’t a rescue. It’s a recovery. Let the police divers handle it. Stand down. That’s an order.
Severide: If that victim has any hope, you’re gonna make them wait for police divers?
Casey: I said it’s a recovery. I’m not sending you into dangerous waters to retrieve a corpse.
Severide: Pack up the gear guys.

Both are willful and stubborn in their own right, but when they find themselves on opposite sides of an argument, it's best to take cover.

Neither one is particularly keen to back down or admit "defeat," so to speak, but this dynamic has changed over the series.

Severide - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 13

When Casey and Severide were both lieutenants, matters like these were usually deferred to Boden.

Now that Casey outranks Severide, the lieutenant is sometimes forced to concede, even if it's something he feels strongly about.

There was no heated blow up this, which could be taken as a sign of maturity on Severide's part, though giving Casey the cold shoulder doesn't exactly scream "mature adult conversation."

It's a process.

Casey and Severide - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 12

In a roundabout way, their non-argument does end up getting resolved.

They may not have talked it out like adults, but they were adult enough about the situation to move past it.

Casey: OK, I have to ask: Are we good?
Severide: What do you mean?
Casey: I didn’t see you at the apartment off shift. You just avoiding Kidd while she’s on the psycho diet, or do you and I need to talk about our argument at the lake?
Severide: Talk?
Casey: Never mind.

They both may have realized they were being silly about the whole thing and decided to just move on with their lives.

They probably felt there was no need to hash things out, as there never was a fight to begin with.

Casey2 - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 12

That's my take on the situation, trying to come at it from a mature standpoint.

It's also just as possible they were guys about the whole thing and didn't feel like talking about their feelings.

That theory is somewhat backed by Kidd, Brett, and Foster's conversation after the call, where they acknowledged Casey and Severide would be do the "manly" thing and never talk about it again.

Whatever the reason, Casey and Severide were able to make nice by the end of the episode, which is all that really matters.

It's always better when these two are fighting together rather than with each other.

Herrmann2 - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 12

Lastly, as frequent readers of my reviews will know, I'm not usually a fan of the filler subplots.

While good for the occasional laughs, I mostly find them distracting from the episode as a whole.

Gallo: OK, look, there’s healthy, and then there’s this. What do I do with it?
Ritter: I don’t know.
Gallo: OK, well you got us into this mess, so figure it out.
Ritter: What? I’m not the cook; you are.
Kidd: What’s going on?
Gallo: Mr. Suck Up here offered to make Chief Boden separate meals.
Ritter: Whoa, what was I supposed to do? He was standing here, all cranky, yelling about the stuff that Donna dropped off.
Gallo: I don’t even know what these are.
Ritter: They’re flaxseeds. I told you.
Gallo: See, that doesn’t help me at all.
Kidd: OK, this is ridiculous. We can’t live under this tyranny. I’ll talk to the chief when he gets back from the district meeting.

However, the subplot involving Lily's new business venture is one of the few exceptions.

This is mostly due to the reappearance of Otis's former girlfriend, who was last seen on Chicago Fire Season 7 Episode 20.

Otis wall - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 1

Since Otis's death on Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 1, Lily has been but a blip on my radar.

Until this episode, the only update viewers had on the character was that Molly's North closed because it was too painful for Lily to be surrounded by the memory of Otis everywhere she looked.

Like they say, "Out of sight, out of mind."

Though somewhat out of the blue, it was a nice treat to see her again.

Foster talk - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16

It also made sense from a storytelling perspective that Lily would go to Herrmann for advice about opening a new business.

While Herrmann has a spotty track record when it comes to business, he's always ready to try something new.

Herrmann: Turns out I can’t put up the money I promised you. I thought I could rearrange some stuff, but it doesn’t add up. I’m sorry.
Lily: Rearrange?
Herrmann: We’ll find a new space for the bakery, you know, just as good.
Lily: Wait, you’re still gonna help me?
Herrmann: Yeah, of course. I just don’t have the funds …
Lily: Oh no, I don’t care about the money Herrmann. I just … I need your support and advice. I can always find a cheaper space but from the way Brian talked, I know I’ll never find a better mentor.
Herrmann: Otis said that?
Lily: Yeah.
Herrmann: Jesus. Listen Lily, you are always gonna have my support, OK. And you are always -- and I mean always -- gonna be a part of this 51 family.
Lily: Took me a little too long to realize that but I think I finally get it.

It's that can-do attitude and eternal optimism that make him, while not the most savvy businessman, a perfect mentor.

Herrmann may be annoying and out of touch some of the time, but he can also be your biggest cheerleader.

Gallo truck 81 - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16

It's times like these where we're reminded of why we put up with his occassional misogynist nonsense.

He was willing to put his family in financial jeopardy just so he could help out Lily, a woman who's only part of the 51 family via Otis.

That kind of loyalty is hard to find, and Herrmann's willingness to help Lily out hammered home to her just how much of a family 51 is.

Even though she no longer has Otis to serve as a conduit, she is still considered family to them.

Kidd fuse box - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16

It took her a while to figure that out, but Lily got the message loud and clear: There will always be a place for her among the firefighters at 51. 

With that in mind, another visit from Lily could be on the horizons, and I wouldn't be opposed to devoting more of the limited screen time we have to her.

Casey: Everything all right, chief?
Boden: What’s that supposed to mean?
Herrmann: You seem a little on edge, that’s all.
Boden: Donna’s got me on some damn diet.
All: Oh.
Cruz: We’re all done by shift’s end.
Severide: Donna wants you to lose weight?
Boden: Do I look like I need to lose weight?
Kidd: Of course not chief, but that’s what diets are for sometimes.
Boden: Look, my last checkup, my cholesterol numbers are high. Now I’m following something I found on the internet called a surplus diet.
Mouch: Oh, I read about that: surplus of fiber, not fat.
Boden: A surplus of starvation is more like it.

It's definitely better than the alternative, which turned out to be a ridiculous diet subplot this episode.

Sure, watching Boden and Kidd being all cranky and grumpy was good for a few laughs, but was it necessary to spend so much time watching them be on edge? 

For The Powers That Be, apparently it was.

Mouch firetruck - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16

Some stray thoughts:

  • Did anyone else forget that Casey and Severide still live together? With all these games of musical apartments, I sometimes forget who lives with whom. Since that is the case, did Severide ever even ask Casey if it was OK if Kidd moved in with them?

    I'm assuming that moment happened off screen, but with these two, who knows?

  • With every passing episode, I fall more in love with Gallo and Ritter friendship. Like I've said, they are no Crotis, but Rallo or Gritter or whatever 'ship they're called is freaking adorable.

    How cute was it watching them argue over cooking Boden special food as part of his diet? The only thing that could make me happier would be if they got together romantically. Do you hear me Powers That Be? I want this to be canon.

  • Sexy Stellaride mornings. That is all.

So what did you think Chicago Fire Fanatics?

Did you keep waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Is Julie too good to be true?

How did Casey and Severide resolve their non-argument?

What are your thoughts on Lily's return?

Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, you're in luck.

You can watch Chicago Fire online at TV Fanatic.

The Tendency of a Drowning Victim Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16 Quotes

Casey: Everything all right, chief?
Boden: What’s that supposed to mean?
Herrmann: You seem a little on edge, that’s all.
Boden: Donna’s got me on some damn diet.
All: Oh.
Cruz: We’re all done by shift’s end.
Severide: Donna wants you to lose weight?
Boden: Do I look like I need to lose weight?
Kidd: Of course not chief, but that’s what diets are for sometimes.
Boden: Look, my last checkup, my cholesterol numbers are high. Now I’m following something I found on the internet called a surplus diet.
Mouch: Oh, I read about that: surplus of fiber, not fat.
Boden: A surplus of starvation is more like it.

Julie: But hey, I want to learn more about you.
Brett: Oh uh …
Julie: Like what’s your favorite movie?
Brett: Uh, I must have watched ‘La La Land’ like a hundred times.
Julie: Ugh, I loved ‘La La Land’ ‘til it got sad.
Brett: Oh same. I turn it off when they break up.
Julie: Well, they should have ended up together.
Brett: Totally.
Julie: Well, what about your favorite foods?
Brett: Do you really want to know what kinds of foods I like?
Julie: Sylvie, I want to know everything.