“Chicago Fire ” recap (1.14): “Posing for a Calendar?”


Doing my best Scuba Steve impression

They are called out to help a kid who has fallen into Lake Michigan. The kid’s dad is standing there screaming that his son went in the water, came up once and then disappeared. Severide is in the water in a flash and pulls the kid out of the freezing water. Shay’s face betrays the swirl of emotions she’s feeling. In the ambulance she pleads “Come on, Patrick” quietly as they work on the kid. Her face twisted in agony as she imagines her own baby on the stretcher, tubes coming from his mouth. By some miracle the kid comes back, he starts breathing, his blood pressure comes up, and he’s going to be fine.

Tense moment but Shay is adorable in her tuque.

While Shay is filling out paperwork, Severide ambles up to her and she tells him the good news, the kid is going to be fine. He’s relieved and surprised. The boy’s father comes up behind Severide and thanks him for saving his son. The father is teetering on the brink of total breakdown. He spits words from his mouth hoping that as he says them they will make sense. He can’t understand why he froze when his son needed him. He can’t fathom how he could fail to act, how he could have stood on dry land while his son fought to stay afloat in the frigid water. The father is floundering, trying to find purchase with his thoughts, but each time he reaches out for something to grab, he dips under again. Severide holds out a lifeline to this poor man. He tells him that the father might have drowned too and then he wouldn’t be there for his son now, when he needs him. The father grabs desperately for Severide’s rescue. He wants to believe that he wasn’t a coward, that he didn’t choke in a moment he’ll never get back.

There can’t be a worse fear than losing a child. Watching your child in trouble, the real trouble that means life or death for a person you love more than yourself, and failing to act to save him is a glimpse into a twisted fun house Mirror of Erised that shows only our deepest fear. We know our kids will get hurt. We agonize over it but we always hope we’ll be there to help, to put a band-aid on it, to kiss it and make it better, to fight the demons that are too large. We want to be heroes for our kids, but more than that we want them to be safe. Looking into that mirror and seeing only the gruesome reality that you did nothing in that moment is enough to drive anyone mad.

We hope that in the moment our kid needs us, truly needs us, we’ll all be Gryffindors. We dream that we’ll find that courage even if we go back to our everyday lives as Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs the next day. We all want to be Lily and James, standing in front of our child’s crib, facing evil, facing death and doing everything we can to protect our baby. But we can’t all be Lily and James, we can’t all be the Longbottoms. We can’t all find that well of courage when we need it. We know this, we know there is a chance we will fall short in the moment that matters most, and it is haunting. Severide helping the father to let himself off the hook is an act of generosity and grace without which this man may be tortured for the rest of his life.

Herrmann and Otis are meeting with their silent partner and the guy is silently requesting that he be given a quarter stake in the bar in spite of not putting in any cash. This sticks in Herrmann’s craw and so he tells the mob muscle guy that they would think about it depending on what the big guy brings to the table. I’m pretty sure Herrmann’s going to be at the bottom of Lake Michigan before the episode is done.

We have no idea why we’re on the floor either.

Hold onto your ovaries we have beautiful women, a baby, and really good lighting. Shay and Clarice are lying on the floor in sleeping bags with the baby to be named later between them. They are cooing at the little guy and he’s as awake as all babies get just when you want them to sleep. They chat about the whole custody issue with Daniel the husband. Clarice wonders if he’ll try to use her time in therapy and use of anti-depressants against her. Then she figures they can just offer him 50/50 custody and everything will be totes fine. Shay’s not thrilled with Daniel and his mangy beard but since she has no say in the matter she’s nods and figures, “This lady hasn’t broken my heart 12 dozen times, so this will probably be fine too.”

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