So that just happened, right?
Please tell me everyone else is just as confused and surprised as me right now because I'm still grappling with that abrupt exit at the end of Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 9.
Have we truly seen [spoiler] for the last time, or did the writers just throw us a red herring where we think that character has truly left Firehouse 51 but then comes back like Brett did at the start of Chicago Fire Season 8?
So what is the fate of Adriyan Rae's feisty paramedic Gianna Mackey? Has she left Firehouse 51 for good, or is her absence just temporary?
Well, as it turns out it's the former -- at least for the foreseeable future.
Mackey: At first I was worried about finding my place at a busy house, but I learned I can handle that. But the thing that still gets me is watching you on every call. You’re my connection to Dex. If I lose you, I lose that.
Mackey: I know it’s not fair to you. I know. But it’s there.
Cruz: When you first came to 51, I told you working in a busy house was going to help you make a name for yourself. And look, it did. This transfer seems right for you in multiple ways.
Mackey: That’s why I was thinking.
Cruz: Then sincerely I think you should go for it.
"To hear that as a showrunner, you absolutely respect what an actor needs," Haas said.
He continued that Mackey left 51 on "great terms," so it's almost certain that we'll see her again at some point down the line.
So with that question at least answered, it then becomes how the show handled Mackey's exit, given the circumstances presented to the writers, and where the series goes from here.
Based on the available information, it's unclear how much notice the writers had in crafting the character's departure, but from the audience's point of view, Mackey's exit came out of nowhere.
After struggling to find her footing at the start of the season, Mackey had really come into her own over the past few episodes.
She fit in perfectly with the rest of the firehouse and was making meaningful relationships outside of Cruz, finding a mentor in Brett and a potential boyfriend in Gallo.
Everything was going Mackey's way, so it was completely out of the blue when she decided to take a position at another firehouse.
To some degree, her reasoning made sense. At Firehouse 33, there would be more opportunity for advancement, and her fear for Cruz's safety wouldn't get in the way of her doing her job.
Severide: I don’t deal well with change. She knows that.
Casey: Well, it’s her home too. She probably wants to put her stamp on the place.
Severide: Mhmm, probably.
Casey: Hey, you and Kidd, if it’s time for me to move on and f you guys need the loft to yourselves, just say the word. I promise I’m all good.
Severide: Didn’t I just say I don’t deal well with change?
Casey: You did.
However, it's still hard to believe that anyone would willingly want to leave Firehouse 51, even if there was another more lucrative position within the CFD.
For years, we've seen these characters fight tooth and nail time and time again to get back to 51, their home, and Mackey just decides to throw it away when a seemingly better opportunity presents itself.
It'd be one thing if an injury forced Mackey to leave Firehouse 51, but to leave of her own accord contradicts the series' inherent ethos.
Nevertheless, since we're forced to accept this premise, Mackey's exit at least provided us with a decent amount closure.
She had a much-needed heart-to-heart with Cruz about her decision and even got Boden and Brett's stamp of approval for her transfer.
The only thing missing was a conversation with Gallo, her strictly casual hookup.
And while her transfer to a different firehouse doesn't necessarily spell an end to their fling, things are looking like they are circling the drain on the Gallo/Mackey front.
That's a shame because the characters had electric chemistry and banter, and I was looking forward to seeing where things were going.
Gallo: I hope this isn’t weird for you.
Mackey: Me, no. We’re casual.
Gallo: No, I know.
Mackey: Is it weird for you?
And while we may be heartbroken over the end of that pairing, something tells me Gallo won't stay depressed for long, as it now looks like his ex Violet will be filling Mackey's vacated paramedic spot, at least for the time being.
Things ended in such a weird place for the former lovers when Gallo lowkey proposed to Violet, but if this installment was any indication, the pair still have plenty of sparks and are just as competitive as ever.
Based on their brief interactions, it wouldn't take much to reignite their casual fling.
Elsewhere, Casey found himself grappling with an old injury after getting a nasty bump to the head during a call.
For those, like myself, who needed a refresher, Casey suffered an epidural hematoma after a support beam fell on him on Chicago Fire Season 2 Episode 10.
He's later taken to the hospital, rushed into emergency surgery, and then placed on leave for six weeks while he recovers.
After returning to work, Casey still has some issues with his memory and dizziness, and he eventually goes to see a doctor who told him that there's a crack in his skull and warns him that another hit to the head could be catastrophic.
Casey decided not to tell his colleagues or the chief, fearing that he would be forced into disability retirement, and that storyline essentially ends there, with nothing ever coming from it, until now.
It'd been so long that I'd completely forgot about this injury until Casey started riffling through the medical files in his desk, and was then able to put the pieces together with the help of the internet.
At this point, the extent of Casey's injury is unclear, but his blurriness and short-term memory loss don't bode well for the captain.
Casey: Yeah, that’s what he offered me.
Casey: I didn’t take it.
Casey: Joelle Meredith Davis, Uncle Jake’s wife.
Christy: She died 50 years before him.
Casey: And he was still carrying around this watch at the end of his life given to him by his first love. He was hung up on her that long. It just didn’t feel right selling it.
Christy: You keep it.
Casey: You sure?
Christy: I think there’s a reason Uncle Jake wanted you to open that box.
Casey: What reason?
Christy: That’ll be for you to figure out.
The best thing for him would be to have a doctor check things out, but it's unlikely Casey will be able to get there on his own, not if the results could put an end to his firefighting career for good.
He nearly confided in Brett about what was happening, but the moment passed them, and now it seems to be too late.
Any other attempts to get Casey to see a doctor will merely be brushed aside, and the captain will most likely have to be dragged kicking and screaming to Med to finally seek treatment.
When that time comes, it's not going to be good for anyone because Casey will fight for his last breath to stay a firefighter.
Christy coming back to Chicago was also pretty random, especially since we didn't even know Casey's uncle had died.
The whole plot seemed to be filler until the discovery of their dead uncle's watch, which was given to the man by his late wife who predeceased him by 50 years.
Uncle Jake holding onto that watch decades after his wife died was emblematic of Casey's love for Dawson and not being able to let her go, even though they're now divorced.
And Casey's inability to sell the watch gave Brett's theory about Casey still being in love with Dawson more credence and made us wonder if the captain can ever truly move on from Dawson?
Diggins was a weird floater. He was supposedly this very aggressive paramedic but decided to play nice because he wanted to put Brett as a reference to adopt a cat.
Yeah, that made literally no sense, and the fact that we were just introduced to Diggins an hour ago didn't help at all.
I get that it was supposed to be funny, but this storyline would have worked better with some a previously introduced floater like 'doom and gloom' McAuley or talkative Chout.
Mouch wanting to show off for the 20s-something firefighters broke my heart.
He is such a teddy bear, and it was heartbreaking to hear how he just wanted them to see him as a hero rather than a old-timey dinosaur.
Mouch gets taken for granted a lot, and he never complains, so it's understandable that for just once he wanted to be the star of the show.
It was so sweet how Boden came to his aid and told Mouch that he's always a hero, never needing to do some cool rescue to a class of younger firefighters for the chief to notice.
Kidd ordering something for the apartment was a cute subplot because we got to see Severide confronting the possibility of change.
He had no idea what was coming, and it was such a moment of growth when he admitted to Casey his feelings about that.
However, Kidd's surprise package may have weirdly been the push Severide needed to realize that not all change is scary and sometimes things can change for the better.
Does anyone else hear wedding bells in Stellaride's future?
So what did you think, Chicago Fire Fanatics?
How did the writers handle Mackey's exit?
Will Violet replace Mackey?
How much danger is Casey in?
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 on TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.