CHICAGO FIRE Recap: Looking Death in the Face

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The most heart-stoppingly intense episode of CHICAGO FIRE yet aired this week. With the terror alert on high after several false-alarms, the team at Firehouse 51 is sent on a deadly mission. But the question is: did they all make it back?

It is all jokes and good-humor in the beginning of this episode of CHICAGO FIRE as Mouch sets up a friendly boxing match, all proceeds to go towards his upcoming nuptials. Herman is coaching the candidate (who’s to represent 51 in the match), Gabriela has a go at Herman in the ring, and everyone is having a good laugh on the ropes. The only sour note seems to be Chili. She has taken up a complaint with the Chief after the morning run led to a disagreement between her and Brett about the treatment of a patient. When Brett confronts Chili, yet again, about her drinking problem (discovering that Chili was actually fired from her old squad, not just transferred) Chili goes to the Chief and wants a new partner. The Chief is ready to fight to keep Brett, and gives Chili one last chance to rethink her attack on the house.

Meanwhile, two separate bomb threats have been called in around the city, but both turn out to be fakes until a building in the middle of town is threatened. With hundreds of people inside, the threat is called in immediately. Firehouse 51 gets a call, but it isn’t the Kinsey building. But as Matt says, they have “a whole city to serve.”

Upon arrival, the deadly assignment starts almost immediately. With one truck crew and the paramedics inside, they hear shots fired. Civilians flee from the door, but a shooter on the rooftop takes them down. Apparently the bomb across town was a diversion, used only to draw man power away from this — the real target. SWAT is called and the firefighters left outside do their best to help the wounded, dragging them behind the truck while bullets fly from above. The firefighters inside and a group of civilians gather in a secure room, while Chili and Brett find themselves together in a separate room, all the while hearing guns go off every few seconds.

Next, the agent Severide has been having occasional sleepovers with shows up and helps the rest of squad 51 climb up to a third floor window to try and evacuate a victim who has been signaling for help. She keeps her gun trained on the roof while the first responders do what they do best. But just as they are loading the man onto the ladder, the shooter appears overhead. While she gets a shot off quick enough to kill the terrorist, she herself gets grazed, and goes down.

Simultaneously a fire has started inside, forcing the squad to move out of their room and into a smoke-filled hallway. Using only a heat radar to lead the way, Casey and the others coordinate an escape, navigating blind through the hallways and narrowly missing one of the gunman. They finally make it out of the back doors, and hear just inside that SWAT has taken down the shooter.

Chili and Brett come even closer to death as they hide behind a chair as one of the assassins walks into their hide-out to get a soda from a vending machine. After he leaves, they hear a woman moaning from just outside their door. Under some guidance of bravery and morality that everyone at Firehouse 51 seems to have (and one that I am very sure I do not) the two paramedics make their way outside to try and help. It is here that they come face to face with what must be seen as death itself. The barrel of a machine gun and the man holding it stare them down. Until, at the last moment, SWAT puts a bullet through his head, saving their lives.

After a day like that, all those involved process what happened. Chili reconciles with Brett, admitting she needs help and apologizes, genuinely, for her actions. Severide visits his lady in the hospital, and is rewarded with a kiss and an “I’ll never forget you.” Dawson and Casey share an embrace and head back to Molly’s with almost the whole gang. And in another show or moral superiority, Mouch and Trudy unanimously decide to give any funds raised from the boxing match to the families who “lost something today.”

So although the tone was somber, and the themes and events deeply relevant to today’s society, everyone in 51 made it out. Now we look forward to an all new episode next week. Be sure to watch CHICAGO FIRE on February 9 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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