The emotional intensity that pours out of Chicago Fire each week is more than enough. Since its debut almost a month ago the drama has sent viewers on countless draining calls that the squad responds to. There’s no holding back and the show isn’t afraid to make viewers ridiculously depressed. This is more Grey’s Anatomy than Rescue Me, but it’s working so far. This episode, however, shies away from intense action and focuses heavily on the characters’ internal growth.
“Hanging On” starts with a ticked-off Casey, who goes to the police department to confront Voight, which sets up a domino effect for the battle between the two. After a visit from Voight’s superiors, Casey is warned that there is no way to tie the dirty cop to this. Dawson’s brother, who had been previously introduced as a by-the-books cop, volunteers to be a watchful eye. He turns Casey and Boden into wannabe detectives as they start looking for someone to wear a wire to entrap Voight. Hallie, who is already terrified about the situation, is even more shaken up after Casey is brought into the hospital. She is personally threatened by the dirty cop, sending Casey into a frenzy. He no longer is just hanging on and is ready to go on the defensive. It’s interesting to see Casey turn to a darker side. When the show first started, I imagined him being the all-American hero—which he is, but with a twist.
That wasn’t the only reoccurring plot to come to a forefront this week. Severide’s dismantled shoulder and his steroid use to mask the pain have been problematic to say the least, and now it looks like everything is ready to finally give way and snap. During a rescue, the pain becomes too much, making the fighter desperate to find a way to alleviate the pain. He turns to a former one-night-stand who happens to be a pharmaceutical representative for “something strong.” His story has been a good foundation, but I feel like the writers either need to have him triumph over the addiction or push the envelope on his addiction and have him begin to deteriorate. If the latter occurs, Severide will have to become an anti-hero, but I’m not sure if the show itself can pull it off.
Dawson also has a complicated week as she officially gets reprimanded over her rule-breaking actions that saved a girl’s life. She is upset that it’s even an issue, but it continues to haunt her. On a call later in the day she gets physical with a teen who is high and treating her poorly and kicks him out of the van after she kindly asks him to remove himself. She gets another warning and is given a trial date to decide if she is suspended or not. It was a predictable set-up and the weakest storyline out of these three, but it did offer the chance for Dawson and Mills to get close. The romantic plot feels a little out of place, but it isn’t surprising to see. Like I said, it’s a lot like Grey’s and there needs to be some sexual tension floating around, and these two are the obvious candidates.
In the end though, this episode leaves a lot of loose ends and doesn’t resolve anything. All three main plots end on a cliffhanger. We don’t know what is going to happen between Casey and Voight or if Severide is going to lose control. We did learn Dawson has a trial, but that was expected. Though it wasn’t a standout episode, this was definitely one meant to develop the plot and bridge details for more important episodes later.