“Chicago Fire” pays tribute to Leslie Shay on this week’s episode

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The last time I watched Chicago Fire was the season premiere when Leslie Shay was killed. This week we got the tip that the show paid tribute to our fallen lesbian, so I decided to try to put aside my frustration that they killed Shay and checked it out. In that spirit, I will try not to grouse about the decision to kill Shay to advance the plot. I’m still pissed about it but you didn’t come here to hear about me stomping around and growling at my TV screen.

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The episode starts with Severide and Dawson presenting the lady fire captain with some evidence that the fire that killed Shay was arson. The captain gives them a hard time about the fact that they removed evidence from the scene, didn’t take any pictures of where they found it, and generally acted like a couple of knuckleheads. Apparently, no one watches CSI anymore.

Now that they know Shay was murdered, her sister, Megan, appears at Firehouse 51 to hang out, reminisce, and give us all the lovely backstory on Shay we wish we had gotten when she was a living, breathing character (whoops, there I go being bitter). While the investigation continues, via clues presented to Severide from an imprisoned Hadley, we learn about Shay from her sister. She tells Dawson and Brett (the paramedic who replaced Shay) about how she learned that Shay was a lesbian. One day she walked in on Shay making out with another girl in her room. Shay told her “I like girls” and that was that. Of course Shay would have a simple, straightforward coming out (that involved her making out with some hot chick). That was Shay.

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Megan rode along with Brett and Mills (who is apparently a paramedic now?). After watching Brett get threatened at knifepoint, she cries and says her sister never told her about her work. Shay always made an inappropriate joke instead of divulging what she did every day. Mills shrugs and says that’s just who Shay was; always looking out for everyone else, never wanting others to worry about her.

Herrmann shows Megan around the bunk room. When he gets to Shay’s bunk he sits down and says how much they miss her. On her first day, she walked in, grabbed a bunk, and then stripped naked and walked to the shower room. No one knew what to do with Shay and now they don’t really know what to do without her. They both laugh and cry until Mouch interrupts.

Herrmann escorts Megan outside where the entire company is lined up in their finest. Boden gives a short speech and then Dawson brings the house down. I don’t cry a lot but things got a little dusty in here when Dawson talked about how lucky she was to be Shay’s friend and how everyone works harder to do a good job because they don’t want to disappoint Shay. They salute while a bell is rung and then Boden presents a flag to Megan and reveal that they have painted Shay’s name on the door to the ambulance.

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The whole episode is a lovely tribute to Shay. The hurt is palpable from each character. The house is still moving forward but they haven’t forgotten Shay. They are all fighting for justice for her and maybe a little closure for themselves. But it’s clear that Shay is still an important character on the show, it’s just sad to me that they had to cut the heart out of the firehouse to realize just how important she was. I’m still not happy they killed such a wonderful character but they sure do know how to honor a fallen member of 51.

Did you watch this week’s episode? What did you think?

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