Chicago Fire Season 3 Review

Chicago Fire

With the 2014-15 TV season having come to a close, TVOvermind is taking a closer look and reviewing the most recent seasons of some of network TV’s biggest shows. We last examined ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Next up: NBC’s “Chicago Fire.”

The third season of Chicago Fire opened with a bang, and the effects rippled out for the rest of the year. There were many highs and lows, so let’s take a closer look at the good, the bad, and discuss what needs to happen next season.

What Went Right:

Shay’s death in the season premiere was a huge emotional loss for the Firehouse. One of the things this show does best is handle loss, and the loss of Shay was certainly the most emotionally raw of the entire series yet. Her death changed ‘51′ and sent Severide into a tailspin from which his team had to pull him out of. This storyline’s emotional rawness was beautifully handled.

One of the most surprising elements of the season that worked out well was the crossovers. Everyday crossovers with the Chicago P.D. have always been organic, but what was more surprising were the team-ups with Law and Order: SVU. I’ll admit, Chicago Fire’s role in the Fall Crossover, at least within the Fire episode, left me a little disappointed. Its participation in that crossover was maybe seven minutes long, and I remember voicing my complaint at the time, which is why I was overjoyed with the complexity and cohesiveness of the Spring Three-Show Crossover. This had a more emotional impact on Chicago P.D., but Chicago Fire’s role was felt much more this time around. By the same token, the backdoor introduction to the upcoming Chicago Med was brilliant. I actually believe that this was the best episode of the season. Chicago Fire did a very impressive job of introducing the Chicago Med characters even before the backdoor episode, such as making one of the doctors Jay Halstead’s brother. I predict good things from the third installment of this remarkable group of shows.

What Went Wrong:

Severide without Shay proved to be a very difficult sight. He really worked thoroughly through the stages of grief, and then some. When Severide cried, it was beautiful; when he was angry, we understood; when he ran off to Vegas and married a stranger? That was a little more difficult to swallow. It’s clear that Kelly Severide just became more and more lost personally. If only that was the biggest backwards move.

The amount of cast restructuring was not only completely dizzying, it felt completely unnecessary given that the season opened with the death of a core member of the team. Mills did an insane amount of back-and-forth trying to get back on Squad, until he was written off the show completely. This created some complicated situations for Brett and Dawson, introduced new members to the department who didn’t always fit, and finally hit us with the shocking twist of Cruz transferring to Squad. In between all of this was the ridiculous amount of in-fighting between Truck and Squad. I understand that things change. People retire, people get fired, people change careers; but the way all of this happened at once was too much.

What Needs to Happen Next Season:

The Casey/Dawson relationship was actually very stable despite their break-up. These two never stopped being friends, never stopped being each other’s support system. This will become very important given the developments at the end of the Season 3  finale. Dawson discovered she was pregnant with Casey’s child, and moments later found a dead woman in his apartment. Casey’s undercover assignment taking down a corrupt former firefighter took a left turn here, and he’s going to have to deal with the fallout before the show can even begin to grapple with Dawson’s pregnancy. That being said, I am so grateful for the pregnant firefighter storyline. You can have a female firefighter, but you cannot have a pregnant firefighter; it’s just not done. Gabby could go back on duty as a paramedic, but even in that capacity, there are limits to what she would be allowed to do. Clearly, this storyline is rich with as many professional hurdles as it is with personal ones. For the sake of stability, there shouldn’t be any more position switches, not including Dawson because that can’t be helped. What has always made Firehouse 51 a strong house is its unity in times of difficulty. In this job, this is necessary for survival. So for survival’s sake, please no more flip-flops.

On the personal front, I agree with how almost every relationship did or did not work out. Cruz and Brett’s relationship and subsequent break-up was done very organically, so it felt right. Mouch’s relationship with Trudy Platt was earned for both of them, and I cheered this couple on more than any other on the show. It was also beautiful to see Boden step into his role as a husband and now father while still balancing his position as Chief. The one person who needs some type of stable relationship is Severide. Shay’s   death left him so lost, and she was the closest thing he had to a monogamous relationship. Which is why Severide doesn’t necessarily need a serious girlfriend, but he does need someone to keep him grounded.

Finally, the crossovers were as cohesive as they’ve ever been. The level of balance between Chicago Fire, PD, and the backdoor to Med, was strong on both professional capacities and personal relationships. It will be great to see how the cast of Chicago Med becomes enmeshed with Chicago Fire.

Do you have any ideas for what storyline would be good for Season 4?

[Photo via NBC]

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