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Wendy Joy

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[S5E6] That Day

This week's episode of Chicago Fire is everything that fans have come to love about the show. Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 6 has great action sequences, tension for the main characters, wonderful laughs and a final sequence that will leave you in tears. It hits every mark and it all adds up to a near perfect hour.

[S5E6] That Day

"That Day" has something for everyone no matter what you watch the show for or who you're a fan of. The main plot that's trumpeted is the one involving Dawson, who hits a pedestrian with the ambulance. Of course it takes the man's son about thirty seconds to get a lawyer and demand six million dollars from her and the department.

It's obvious to the viewer that the pedestrian stepped out in front of the ambulance and that Dawson is not at fault here. The dilemma is if she can prove that to avoid the lawsuit and the wrath of the "white shirts" above her in the ranks. It's Antonio - already in the suit and tie that comes with moving to Chicago Justice - who comes to her rescue.

From a Fire fan's standpoint it would've been a little more rewarding if Dawson would have been able to work her own way out, instead of having her brother show up with a magical file that proves everything. But that's forgivable for two reasons: the plot is really about the angst that Dawson goes through, and the episode needs time to juggle its other stories too.

Dawson is a character that can run hot and cold (Casey's line about going "Gabby Dawson" on the situation and getting herself in more trouble is funny because it's true), but "That Day" is another strong episode for her. She's suffering but it's not self-pity or expecting anyone to fix the situation. She gets angry and uses that to fuel her fight.

Of course the rest of the firehouse rallies around her and of course the supervisors don't, because that's what we expect. But again this still works because it then comes into play in several other stories. The episode quickly stops being about Dawson and becomes much bigger.

The plot line that flies under the radar right until the fourth act is Boden's. He cancels a planned trip to New York to stay and not leave his firehouse in a time of need. We don't understand the real importance of that until he gets called out for it at the end and then it becomes the best part of the episode.

Boden being a 9/11 responder is a big step to take. You don't invoke that fateful day without a whole lot of thought and being sure that you can do justice to the real first responders. Chicago Fire does that beautifully, not only in Boden's journey but in the gesture of Casey and Severide accompanying him to New York.

That's also why we love Chicago Fire. It brings the bravery, heart, compassion and selflessness of actual firefighters into our homes each week. It's able to capture those qualities and the emotions that go with them, and transport them to us through fictional stories.

With those final scenes this wasn't a TV show anymore. It was a space for us to step back and appreciate the heroes that we have in real life, and so if I may I'd like to also take a few words in this review and say thank you to all first responders, law enforcement, military and other folks who dedicate themselves to helping others.

The comedic subplot in "That Day" comes from Hermann being up for possible promotion and thus being given the lead to see how he fares as lieutenant. There's plenty of ribbing that happens and lots of other laughs, like Hermann trying to act the part by moving all of his stuff into "my office."

But even under that there's some real heart. Hermann might be hilarious but we're also reminded of how damn good he is at his job when he makes a judgment call that saves a victim's life. And as funny as it is to see him explode in the face of the district chief, he's also speaking a lot of truth in that rant.

"That Day" also goes back and wraps up the 'A' story from Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 5 as a subplot. It turns out that both Casey and Severide are right to a degree. Casey is correct that the house fire was arson but Severide is right that the husband's grief was genuine. Having the truth be in the middle is a nice resolution that doesn't result in finger pointing on either side.

And the mutual respect between Casey and Severide is back by the end of the episode, as Casey compliments Severide on his ability to rescue a woman being crushed by a semi truck - in one of the big but also creative action sequences that make Chicago Fire so much fun to watch.

One thought: Did anyone else notice Stella join Casey and Severide at the end of that moment, and put her hand on Severide's back? Are we implying that Severide and Stella are still an item? They never broke up on screen but their relationship seemed to cool after the season opener. It'll be interesting to see if they stick together.

Which leads to the one thing about this episode that didn't work: the decision to open it with Brett randomly showing up on Antonio's doorstep for sex. The actual plot development is fine; it's actually pretty funny once Dawson finds out and gets too much information from her partner.

But that's a strange place to kick this off. It has nothing to do with anything else going on, except to perhaps say hey, here's Antonio. First scenes of episodes really set the tone and with everything that the episode gets to dig into, it feels like there could have been a stronger open and that scene could've gone someplace else.

Having said that, that's a relatively minor quibble compared to all the other positives throughout the episode. All of the plots are fleshed out well (or in the Casey/Severide story, wrapped up well). All of them have real resonance for each of the characters. And the actors all take the script and run with it.

It's hard to believe that Elizabeth still sees value in being an item with Andrei. He belittles her at every turn, bashes her family, and appears to have created a whole new persona while back in his home country.

What his friends and family can't get to grips with is the gender roles in a relationship in the U.S. According to them, the man should be head of household. That's their culture, and realizing that Elizabeth is the person providing for the family is a bitter pill for them to swallow.

Michael's thinly-veiled attempt to get her to agree to move to Nigeria was cruel. Angela knows there are pros and cons to living in either country, and she didn't need a group of people half her age to tell her that.

Taking Debbie to Brazil was always going to result in tears, and Colt should definitely take the blame for that call. From not getting separate rooms to just being not communicating well with his mother, it's like he knows what the producers want.

Jess is trying to build a connection with her potential mother-in-law, but Deb will not give her the time of day. It's a shame that a mother would act in such a way, but it's consistent with the Deb of seasons past.

After he explains everything, Casey and Severide bring Chief Boden New York City, to the memorial site, and how there are children playing and laughing and Boden says that sometimes there is a way of unlocking the hope inside; if you allow it to.

It's been a rough week for TV characters across the board, and I was desperately hoping that Sons of Anarchy would be just as weirdly funny as it was last week. Alas. Despite Jax telling Tara that it was a quiet day, nothing could have been further from the truth. Everyone had something difficult to deal with and, in a surprisingly high number of cases, people died. Murder, suicide, more murder ... there weren't any laughs in Charming for the Sons or anyone else. "Senseless," Tara says to Gemma, thinking back on her afternoon seeing Otto. "It's been that kind of day," Gemma replies, not knowing the half of it. But let's pause and consider how truly senselessly violent and insane "Small World" was. Hit the jump for my picking apart the deaths this week and how much we did (or didn't) need them.

Let's start with poor Rita Roosevelt, the victim of a senseless act of violence perpetuated by the Nomads under Clay's direction (or so was confirmed by the end of the episode, but most of us had already guessed it was the case). I predicted last week that given Rita and Eli's difficulties having a baby (last season we saw them visiting a fertility clinic) and since Rita was shot in the abdomen, she would likely survive but her baby certainly wouldn't, which would give Eli a lot of cause to bear down on SAMCRO. Unfortunately, Rita died as well, escalating things to the highest degree for Eli.

I've always like Eli. His character seems created as a replacement for the character void left by David Hale (the actor apparently wanted off the show, which is a shame because the relationship Hale had formed with Jax was an interesting one). Eli picked up that torch, more or less -- like Hale, he allowed the club some leeway, but when he sees the law being broken he does not hesitate to uphold it, unlike the corrupt Unser who was entirely in Clay's pocket. Eli has always had a strained relationship with the club, but he has shown mercy in the past with Juice as well as with Jax. However this thing with the Nomads turns out, it will either bond Eli and Jax together or make things between Eli and the club all the more difficult (I'm hoping for the former, of course). The Nomad break-ins also robbed us of Rita, who had proved last season to be a pretty strong, badass female, even though she got very little screen time. More of those are needed on Sons of Anarchy, not less. I deem this death: unnecessary. Rita could have lived and lost the baby and Eli still would have lost his mind over it.

Then there was Carla, who attempted to pull some strange sexual pantomime with Gemma and Nero before killing herself (note: more sexual violence against Gemma, a favorite theme it seems). Carla could have been another strong female, but she ended up just being another batshit crazy one, with a strange Game of Thrones-esque twist (she was in love with Nero, her half brother. Did we really need that in there? Wouldn't it have just be enough to have them be close friends or ex-lovers?). Carla has put up with a lot of shit and deserved almost none of the horror she had rain down upon her since Gemma blew into her life. Bringing her back just to kill her off in such a spectacularly useless way just seemed there to use up screentime. What about bringing Nero and Gemma closer together, you say? Except ... Gemma seems willing to possibly patch things up with Clay. And Nero knows better than to cross Jax with those business dealings. And what about this new guy in town (Joel McHale?) Bottom line: Poor Carla. She didn't need to die. 041b061a72

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