Another day, another OneChicago Universe parent dead.
What is it about this trio of shows and its proclivity for killing off loved ones?
So did The Powers That Be run out of previously introduced parents to off, so they decided to introduce Brett's biological mother, Julie, just to kill her off a few episodes later on Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 18?
Why, oh why, must viewers continue to go through this madness?
Since her introduction on Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 15, something felt off about Julie.
She was perfect on paper, but it seemed she had some nefarious reason for tracking down Brett all of these years later.
Brett: Um, look, I wanted to say… I mean I hope you won’t think I’m overstepping, but I would really like to be included in your family. I mean, even after Scott gets here and the baby comes.
Julie: Of course you’re included. That’s why I wanted all of us to go out and celebrate the move.
Brett: All of us?
Julie: Yeah, yeah. The reservation at Swift & Sons is Friday at 8. And I might fall asleep with my head on the table, but it was the earliest booking they had. I figured you and Scott can just ignore me.
Brett: That’s so sweet. I didn’t realize.
Julie: Sylvie, we’re moving to Chicago to be closer to you. You can knock on our door any time day or night, and I mean that. Preferably night, so you can help put the baby to sleep.
However, as Julie continued to be the picture-perfect biological parent, even deciding to move to Chicago to be closer with Brett, it became clear the character's time in this world would be short-lived.
Goodness and perfection cannot exist on television, and when something seems too good to be true, it's usually because it is.
And with that, The Powers That Be confirmed viewers' suspicions and fears by having Julie die during childbirth, which in and of itself is a cliche.
Killing off Julie wasn't a particularly cruel move, but it is for Brett.
She has spent her life dealing with unresolved abandonment issues and was finally starting to get some closure upon reconnecting with her birth mother.
However, meeting Julie didn't solve all of those issues, as Brett had to seek reassurance from Julie that she wasn't constantly intruding.
Brett's biggest fear was being abandoned again when Julie had the baby and Scott finally made the move to Chicago.
Brett was afraid she was going to be left out, but Julie was sweet in reiterating to Brett that she was part of this family too.
Foster: Tell me if I’m crazy, but it seemed like you got a little quiet when Julie left this morning.
Brett: Did I? I guess we’ve been having so much fun together. I’m just not sure what’s gonna happen once Scott gets here and the baby comes. I’m not sure how I fit in, you know?
Foster: Girl, please. I’ve seen you and Julie together. That bond’s not gonna break for anyone or anything. OK?
Now, though, Brett's being forced to face that fear, but in a different way.
While Julie didn't choose to leave Brett, her death is still going to have a traumatic impact on the paramedic.
She was just getting to know this person, and then all of sudden Brett had Julie ripped away.
It's heartbreaking for Brett.
What's worse is she could become a scapegoat.
Scott may blame Brett for Julie dying -- possibly suggesting this wouldn't have happened if Julie hadn't been in Chicago -- even though none of this is on Brett.
However, Scott just lost his wife, and it's sometimes easier to place the blame on someone else rather than confront the truth that sometimes things just happen and it's no one's fault.
Scott may even take things a step farther and prevent Brett from seeing her half-sister, essentially ostracizing Brett from her newfound family.
Brett: Uh, what’s wrong?
Doctor: Our suspicion was right. It was a placental abruption. The baby’s oxygen was compromised so we performed a cesarean, but Julie developed preeclampsia, and… we did everything we could. She lost a lot of blood. I’m very sorry. She died on the table Sylvie.
Brett: Oh no.
Doctor: Julie is related to you how?
Brett: She’s my mother. Um, is the baby…
Doctor: The baby’s doing well. Would you like to see her?
Brett: Um, um…
Casey: Go, go.
That would just be all the more cruel, as it would be throwing salt on an open wound.
It would make for good drama, though, which means it's a possibility.
And speaking of drama -- but not the good kind -- it's time to discuss the poorly constructed non-love triangle.
Yes, Seager was back this episode, and her appearance continued to rub Kidd the wrong way.
The duo worked together to sign up teenage recruits for Kidd's 'Girls on Fire' program, but the animosity still lingered beneath the surface.
Kidd is having a hard time getting over the fact that she has to partner with someone who repeatedly hit on her boyfriend even after that someone knew he was taken.
However, she can't tell Severide not to work with Seager, so she's left to making passive-aggressive comments to her friends and strangers.
It's a tough situation to be in, which was made worse when Kidd felt Seager went over her head in coming up with a new recruiting method.
Kidd: Hell yeah, it will be challenging, but you show up, you put in the blood, sweat, and tears, and this program could change your life.
Seager: We’ll have a lot of fun too.
Kidd: Hey you with the gum. You must have a lot of energy to snap gum through my whole presentation. This program could be a great way for you to channel that energy. All right, signs up are right here.
Seager: Thanks for listening. We know the school made you show up, but we really appreciate it. Fun starts next week.
Kidd: That’s the third time we’ve done this pitch, and there’s still no takers.
Seager: We might need another approach. One a little less intimidating.
Though they are supposed to be co-sponsors, 'Girls on Fire' is Kidd's idea, so she's a little territorial when she feels like Seager oversteps.
Seager, for her part, does seem to be genuinely interested in making the program a success, and maybe, sort of, doesn't see how she some of her actions make it hard for Kidd to trust her.
Seager never apologized for going after Severide, or even acknowledged that it was morally questionable at best.
An apology from Seager would be a good start to repairing fences and ensuring 'Girls on Fire' is a success.
It wouldn't even have to be that big of an admission, just a simple 'I'm sorry' on Seager's part would be enough for Kidd to forgive her and move past it.
This is, of course, assuming Seager is participating in 'Girls on Fire' for the right reasons and not just using it as an excuse to work closely with Severide again, something that happened this episode.
It was just like the "good old days" when Severide was detailed to OFI.
He and Seager were out investigating fires, tracking down suspects, nearly getting killed. You know, all in a day's work at the CFD.
Casey: You good?
Severide: No such thing as “nice try” in firefighting.
Casey: We got one safe. Let’s focus on that.
The "case of the week" Severide and Seager investigated was nothing special.
In essence, it was just an amalgamation of every standard procedural cop show.
You have the victim, the reason why they were murdered, the misdirect, the red herring, and the piece of new information that busts the case wide open. And all before the real murderer is eventually revealed.
It's so commonplace it's something a bot could create after watching hundreds of thousands of hours of TV procedurals.
For most of Chicago Fire Season 8, these "case of the week" storylines have started to irritate me, as they seem to be taking up more screen time than these meaningless plot points deserve.
There are some exceptions, of course, with the most successful story arcs revolving around Firehouse 51 rallying around some victim or cause, such as Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 13.
The "who done it?" mysteries are usually the worst offenders, as in this instance and on Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 16, as those cases do very little to advance the plot and provide feel-good moments.
This was especially evident this episode, as viewers knew nothing about the victim.
Boden: You gave the mother of that boy a little bit of peace. Knowing his murder didn’t go unanswered.
Severide: I was just trying to help.
Boden: You did that and more.
There was no loved ones thanking 51 for their efforts in catching their son's killer, no friends coming out of the woodwork; just a boss who felt bad about tasking the victim with looking after an unscrupulous coworker at a conference.
And then there was the off-screen 'thank you' from the Milwaukee police detective that barely made an impact.
It was just a lot of fluff around a mediocre "case of the week" that didn't even seem worth the effort by the end of the hour.
Lastly, the rest of 51 kept themselves entertained by trying to identify the a Reddit user who had posted a picture of Casey responding to a call from years ago.
There was a lot of back and forth about whether Cruz should tell the poster Casey's identity, and a decent amount of amateur sleuthing, but what really stuck out was the ending of the storyline.
The original poster had thought he wanted to meet Casey, but in reality, he had wanted to meet the other firefighter in the picture, who is known as Shimblecock.
Shimblecock is a Mouch-esque firefighter in that he's a guy who's been with the CFD for years but never risen through the ranks.
He's usually overlooked for accolades and probably isn't taken as seriously as he should be.
Mouch: Don’t feel bad Casey.
Casey: I don’t really feel bad.
Mouch: Well, that’s my point. You shouldn’t. But you get recognition all the time -- accolades, promotions -- but grunts like me and Shimblecock, it is not that often people come seeking us out to show their gratitude.
Casey: I’m sure you’re right.
His accomplishments, though noteworthy, most likely pale in comparison to those of the other firefighters.
He's a hero, but not one who would be on the front page of the paper.
This story arc was a good reminder that all these brave men and women are heroes and ought to be recognized as such.
Even if others have done better or more, it shouldn't take away from the lives they save on a daily basis.
It was a fitting ending to a very timely storyline, especially given the current climate of the world right now, and something we should all remember in the coming days.
Some stray thoughts:
Was anyone else expecting a bait-and-switch with the Milwaukee police detective somehow being involved in the murder of the victim, or have I just seen too many police procedurals at this point?
Though Severide and Seager continue to be reckless when confronting bad guys, at least they had the common sense to bring Chicago P.D.'s Ruzek along this time.
Now that Brett's grieving, does anyone wonder if this will be the catalyst that pushes her and Casey together? Life is short after all, and you could be die at any point, so you might as well live like it's your last day.
So what do you think Chicago Fire Fanatics?
What will happen next to Brett?
Does Seager still have her eye on Severide?
What's your take on the "case of the week" subplots?
Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, don't worry. You can watch Chicago Fire online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.