And they all lived happily ever after.
If only life always had a guaranteed happy ending, then things would be so much brighter nowadays.
Unfortunately, television isn't real life, but that didn't mean Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 19 wasn't fun to watch.
While some -- if not a majority -- of the episodes on Chicago Fire Season 8 have felt rather repetitive given the series' overreliance on the "case of the week" format, this latest installment proved to be different.
It had some of the same pitfalls, including its heavy focus on nonserialized storylines, but what made it work was the ingenuity of the storyline.
There have been very few, if any, protest storylines on television where a group of outsiders take on the system.
Usually, it's the main characters fighting to right some wrong, not a bunch of newly introduced characters to whom viewers have very little emotional connection.
However, these protesters had a message, and they were not going to be denied.
And to make things more interesting, the protesters themselves were divided into two factions: Those who wanted real change, and those who were just in it to cause trouble.
Herrmann: You kicked up quite a fuss, friend. I hope you’re pleased with yourself.
Lewis: I’m doing this for my children. You got kids?
Herrmann: Only five.
Lewis: So you know then. You’d do anything to keep them safe. I have four. If something happens to one of mine, an ambulance has to come an extra mile or two to get there. Would you accept that?
Herrmann: You’re standing up for something, taking action, I can respect that. I’ve done it myself a few times, but the people in this house, they run into burning buildings every day for this community. We don’t want to see a station closed either. You think that this is the best way to get what you want?
Lewis: First, we tried calling the CFD’s main line. We must have left 80 messages; not one of us got a call back. So we showed up in person, got turned away. Then we went to the papers. They said our story was too bureaucratic, not sexy enough. It’s easy to disagree with the method when the problem isn’t yours. So let me ask you, when you took action, how did you get them to hear you?
Herrmann: I lit a sofa on fire. Yeah.
Lewis: This isn’t perfect. Sometimes you gotta light things up. And if it means keeping my family and my neighborhood safe, then I’m gonna burn a few couches.
That was a nice distinction, as the original group of protesters were protesting for a reason and were willing to hear the other side out, whereas the late additions just wanted a fight, not caring about the motivations behind it.
Along with the division within the protesters, part of the storyline's strength was that both sides of the argument were valid, to an extent.
The original protesters had a right to be angry that response times slowed when their neighborhood firehouse closed.
Maybe their actions could be considered extreme, but they needed to do something drastic for their voices to be heard.
They repeatedly tried conventional methods, and when those didn't work, they decided to get radical.
On the other hand, though, the city had to look at ways to cut spending to balance its budget, which, in this case, resulted in the closure of the firehouse.
Though Rivas didn't seem like the most genuine alderman, municipalities do have to look at operating costs compared with estimated revenue.
Rivas: Matt Casey, what’s on fire this time?
Casey: Your whole ward. Do you know what’s happening at my house right now? Why did you shut down Firehouse 87?
Rivas: I didn’t shut anything down. That was a mutual decision between the mayor’s office and the 12th Ward.
Casey: And what did you get out of the deal?
Rivas: You know that’s not fair. You know I’m trying to accomplish a lot of things here, and we had to find the money somewhere. I got a retail development underway, green initiatives…
Casey: Daniel, I need you to talk to these people.
Rivas: That sounds like an issue between the protesters and the CFD.
Casey: Alderman, we did good work together back in the day. I know you’re an honest public servant. I also know you’re allergic to bad press, which is exactly what you’re going to get if I start talking to reporters.
It might not be the most popular decision, but sometimes services and programs and even departments face cutbacks.
In this instance, it was a fire station that found itself on the chopping block.
However, instead of trying to explain it calmly, the protesters were faced with more than one uncaring official, which only further escalated the situation.
Fortunately, 51 was on standby to make sure things didn't get too out of control.
And while they were still the staple "good guys," it was nice to see the firefighters have differing takes on the issue without it getting ugly.
Usually, the firehouse is either united or on opposite sides when it comes to these matters, so it was a nice change of pace that this scenario fell somewhere in the middle.
While Boden was adamant about resolving things peacefully, some of the other firefighters disagreed.
Severide wanted to go in, saws blazing, and forcefully unchain the protesters, and Cruz was ready to bring hell down on the protesters for climbing on Otis' memorial.
However, they both followed Boden's orders, showing it is possible to have an opinion without taking measures into their own hands just to prove a point.
There were even conversations among the firefighters with differing viewpoints that didn't devolve into screaming matches, which again, was a nice change of pace.
Ritter: We were thinking…
Gallo: Since we have the Instagram up and running.
Boden: I already don’t like this.
Gallo: These protesters want to know they’re being heard, so maybe we put out a statement, let them know 51 is behind the community.
Boden: Absolutely not.
Gallo: We thought if their issue got a little more attention…
Boden: The last thing this thing needs is more attention.
Maybe The Powers That Be didn't feel the need to kick things into high gear among the firefighters, as the protesters were already angry enough for everyone.
Whatever the reason, it was a welcome reprieve and something that should be done more often.
This episode also featured the aftermath of Julie's death, which played out a little differently than expected.
Brett, of course, is still dealing with the loss of her birth mother.
While painful, she had her firefighter family to lean on, which was a good thing given Scott's parental freak out.
Though not completely unsurprising for viewers, Scott's request for Brett to take the baby did come as a shock to the paramedic.
Besides being an insane ask, Brett's not in a position, right now, where she should have to take on the responsibility of another human.
When she agreed to help Scott, that's not exactly what she had in mind.
Brett: Sorry, I just needed to be somewhere quiet. Scott came by. He wants me to take the baby.
Brett: I mean I know I offered to help, but I didn’t expect… I mean that’s crazy. I can’t… I can’t take of a baby right now. And there’s no way that’s what he actually wants, you know. He’s just panicking, right?
Casey: That would be my guess, but I don’t really know him.
Brett: Neither do I. I barely knew Julie, except that I did. I mean, I knew her as well as I’ve ever known anyone, and I miss her already, so much. I was supposed to have more time.
Casey: I’m sorry Sylvie.
Brett: I don’t know what to do.
Casey: Hey, whatever you decide, I’m here.
If push came to shove, Brett would step up in a heartbeat, but that wouldn't be ideal.
As a first responder, she has a crazy schedule and a stressful job.
That unpredictability might not be the best thing for a newborn, especially if Brett was tasked with raising her half-sister alone.
In addition, Brett isn't in the right headspace to take on such a daunting task.
She's still grappling with her grief and seems filled with regret that she only got to spend a limited amount of time with her birth mother.
As an adoptee, Brett had a great life growing up with parents that loved her, but a part of her always wondered what her birth mother was like.
If her half-sister was adopted, the baby might have a great life too, but she would also wonder about those same questions.
Scott: How’d you know I’d be here?
Brett: Well, when you weren’t at the apartment, I figured.
Scott: Julie should be here to see her. It’s not right.
Brett: No, it’s not. If you let someone else raise that baby, she might have a great childhood – I did – but you will always wonder what if. I know Julie did, and so will she.
Scott: I can’t give that child what she deserves.
Brett: She deserves a father that loves her, the kind that show up and pace outside her hospital bed, worrying over her, wanting what’s best for her, the kind who can teach her who her mother was. The answer to all those questions I’ll have my whole life. How did she laugh? What movies did she love? What made her happy? That’s what’ll keep Julie here with you, and with that little girl. You can’t let her go, Scott. She needs you.
Though cut short, Brett was fortunate enough to spend some time with Julie and get to know her before she died.
However, if given up for adoption, her half-sister would never get that chance.
The baby would get the chance, though, to learn about Julie and what she was like as a person if the little girl grew up in a household where people kept Julie's memory alive.
That would only be possible if Scott stepped up and did the right thing.
He could claim he never wanted children and couldn't bear the responsibility, but pacing outside his daughter's hospital room told a different story.
Brett saw that right away and gave Scott the push he needed.
With this being the penultimate episode of the season, it's unlikely viewers will visit with Scott and the baby again before the season ends, as there was an air of finality to the last scene between Brett and Scott.
It's also possible this is the last time the storyline will be broached, as again, things were mostly wrapped up.
Boden: So it still may be a couple of months, but Alderman Rivas has promised to do everything he can to reopen Firehouse 87.
Lewis: That’s uh, wow. I almost can’t believe it. What, what changed his mind?
Boden: A reminder that we all want what’s best for the community.
If that's the case, it was a pleasure getting to delve more into Brett's backstory.
And if anything, this storyline brought Casey and Brett closer than ever, so that's something for die-hard 'shippers.
After all the excitement, there was little time left for Cruz and Chloe's wedding, which seems par for the course on Chicago Fire.
Excluding Casey and Dawson's spur of the moment elopement at the end of Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 8, the actual ceremonies for both Boden and Donna's wedding at the firehouse and Mouch and Platt's wedding at Molly's received very little screen time.
So it's not unexpected that Cruz and Chloe's wedding followed a similar format.
Everything pretty much went off without a hitch, and there were no major surprises, which is what Cruz deserves.
He's been through a lot this season, so it's nice to see him happy.
And with Cruz about to start a new chapter in his life, the episode would have been amiss without mentioning the person who had such a prominent impact on his life: Otis.
Otis and Cruz were
best friends brothers, and had he not died on Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 1, Otis would have most certainly been Cruz's best man.
Kidd: Hey, you OK? Wedding jitters?
Cruz: I just looked out on the apron, and there’s this idiot behind the barricades climbing all over Otis’s memorial like he’s trying to get a better view.
Kidd: That’s not right. You say anything?
Cruz: Following Boden’s orders: don’t engage.
Kidd: It’s for the best. Otis would not want you raising hell on his account.
Cruz: Actually, I think he would.
Kidd: I know. I was just… I was trying to make you feel better.
Cruz: I just thought he’d be here, you know. Standing behind me, up on that altar.
Kidd: He will be.
So it's only natural that on one of the biggest days of his life, Cruz would think about Otis and lament how he wished the late firefighter could have been there to see it.
Though small, it was a touching moment, and Kidd's reassurance was exactly the right thing to say.
Some stray thoughts:
Though it's unlikely Gallo and Ritter's Instagram would have had such a profound effect so quickly, it goes to show the increasing power of social media. What started as a grassroots protest quickly garnered support after one of the protesters shared the story on social media.
And from there, it blew up. That many protesters and police presence would have been enough to draw media coverage, and coupled with posts on social media, would have gone a long way toward changing the higher ups' minds.
Herrmann continues to surprise me with his growth, as demonstrated by his rational conversation with ringleader Lewis, without getting too worked up. Too bad it's most likely not going to stick, as the writers frequently have Herrmann make funny but insensitive quips for comedic effect.
Did Will's offhand comment about Foster missing her calling get anyone else thinking she might find herself a series regular on Chicago Med next season? It wouldn't be the first time a character has switched shows, and I could see her in the handling herself pretty well amid the chaos of the ED.
So what did you think Chicago Fire Fanatics?
Did you like the protest storyline or are you fed up with the "case of the week"-style episodes?
What did you think of how Brett's storyline wrapped up?
Did Cruz and Chloe's wedding get the attention it deserved?
Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you missed the latest episode, remember you can watch Chicago Fire online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.