Make way for the heroes.
Herrmann and Cruz, following in the footsteps of Severide, Casey, and Dawson, proved on Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 5 that they were more than capable of hacking it in a life-and-death situation.
Things may have looked dire for a while there, but with Herrmann and Cruz on that freight elevator, Holly and Trevor had nothing to fear.
These standalone rescue episodes can be hit or miss, and a large part of that depends on the characters, not only the guest stars but also the series regulars.
Cruz is always a reliable choice, but Herrmann has consistently tested my patience with his outdated views and supposedly funny quips that are just aggravating to no end.
Holly: Are we gonna die?
Herrmann: No, ma’am, we are not gonna die.
Holly: But you can’t be sure.
Herrmann: I’m sure I’m sure, OK. Did you forget about my fortune cookie, OK. Today is my lucky day. You never know when it’s going to come into play.
Trevor: What’s it waiting for?
Herrmann: Uh, the right opportunity. We just haven’t needed it yet. You’ll see.
So, upon learning it would be Cruz AND Herrmann who find themselves trapped inside a freight elevator with all communications cut off, there was the possibility this episode, which rested largely on the duo's shoulders, would suffer because of the latter.
However, those fears never came to pass, as Herrmann's presence was not only tolerable but greatly appreciated.
His endless optimism, which can be grating at times, was a much-needed component for this storyline to work, serving as a foil to Holly's doom and gloom attitude.
For even when things looked grim for the elevator's trapped occupants, Herrmann was there, at the ready, to lift their spirits.
His positivity may not have been infectious, but it was just what Cruz and the other two needed to keep them moving.
And moving they did, as they weathered complication after complication -- snapped elevator cables, downed radio communications, blown control panel, injuries.
If something could go wrong on that freight elevator, it most certainly and surely did.
Yet, despite all the difficulties, Herrmann and Cruz rose to the challenge, pulling off feats of skill and ingenuity as they put their years of firefighting to good use.
Herrmann: Look, um, I spilt my guts enough already today, so I’m not gonna go all Mr. Softie on you again, but um, I’m really glad you were with me in that elevator cart today. I’m not sure if anybody would have made it out otherwise.
Cruz: It felt like someone else was up there too: Otis.
Herrmann: You’re right about that.
It's hard to see either of them getting out of there safely with two civilians in tow, so it was lucky -- maybe even Chinese fortune cookie lucky -- that Herrmann and Cruz were trapped in the elevator together.
Things were touch and go there for a while, and even though it was clear no one would die, there were still a few moments where I held my breath, only exhaling when Squad 3 opened up the elevator doors.
Though, the action and danger wasn't the only thing going on, for in the midst of all the life-and-danger stakes was the reveal that Chloe is pregnant.
Yes, Cruz will be a father, and the Squad 3 member isn't sure how to feel.
In a pre-or post-COVID world, the series probably would have told this storyline differently.
There may have been some comical moments about Cruz wondering why Chloe was acting weird and enlisting the help of 51 before finding out she was pregnant.
Or maybe Cruz would have been a nervous ball of energy upon learning he and Chloe were expecting, and Herrmann, Boden, and maybe even Casey would have delivered hilarious anecdotes about fatherhood.
However, the series took a more serious approach in telling this storyline, which was the right call.
Bringing a child into this world at any time can be scary -- or so I'm told -- but in the middle of a pandemic, well, that has got to be doubly so.
Cruz: What if she’s right, Herrmann? What if this world is too tragic to bring a child into it?
Herrmann: No, no, she’s not right.
Cruz: I always wanted a kid, but when Chloe told me, I just felt panic. So much has changed – the pandemic, politics, the whole country is fighting with each other.
Herrmann: Enough, all right. Joe, you listen to me and you listen to me good, this country is not just what’s out there on the news, it starts in a home, in a family. The country your child is going to see, the one that’s going to make them who they are, that is the country of Joe and Chloe Cruz. You two, you got such an energy about the both of you. You make all the people around you light up. You both came from pretty different world, and you made a beautiful happy home, and that is the country that your baby is going to wake up to every day. If you have a solid family, it balances out all the bad out there.
There's not exactly a book you can read on 'What to expect when you're expecting in the middle of a global health crisis,' and the novel coronavirus pandemic isn't the only challenge we, as a country, are facing.
From polarizing political viewpoints to systemic racism and police brutality, the world is a pretty f*cked up place right now, and Cruz has every right to feel panicked.
So who would have thought it would be Herrmann -- not Casey, Severide, or Boden -- who would get through to Cruz?
Again, this is where Herrmann's unwavering idealism came into play, as the lieutenant was able to put things into perspective for Cruz.
Had they been there, Casey, Severide, and Boden could have also done that, but as a father of five, Herrmann's words carried more weight.
His 20-plus years of parenting are hard to beat, and it wouldn't be surprising if, after this, Herrmann was shortlisted for godfather.
Some stray thoughts:
Did the callback to Otis have anyone else tearing up? The deceased firefighter was such an integral part of the series for seven seasons, so it would have been a disservice not to mention him when Herrmann and Cruz, the latter of whom was Otis' best friend, found themselves trapped in an elevator.
It's moments like these that pay homage to the characters who have come before, reminding us how still deeply intertwined they are in the show's fabric, and it's greatly appreciated.
Was anyone else scared for Mouch? Even though I didn't expect him to die, he's still had his fair share of close calls. There's a reason he was briefly referred to as 'Dead Mouch.' Thankfully, we didn't have to say good-bye to him or anyone else.
Stellaride's relationship drama was put on the backburner, but things aren't looking up for the couple. Severide doesn't seem to grasp how serious things are and thinks Kidd's only cooling off at Brett's. He can't see how much trouble they are in, and that's concerning.
So what did you think, Chicago Fire Fanatics?
Were you afraid for any of the characters?
Was Herrmann's presence actually enjoyable
What do you think of Cruz's news?
Don't forget to hit the comments below let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, remember you can watch Chicago Fire online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.