The "Chicago Fire" series premiere was missing something that's difficult to pin down, but it was likely linked to tons of stories and subplots crammed into a single episode. The show has promise, but it needs to take breather. Scenes that seemed initially tense fell apart when the show hopped to the next subplot. It was confusing and lacked cohesion. Consequently, we never get to feel fully satisfied with any one story.
A death in the family divides and unites the team
Viewers begin their first introduction to one of the characters, Darden (Corey Sorenson), but then he dies right away. Were we supposed to care about him within the space of a few seconds? The scene was intense, but then it jumps to the next scene right away. A man, Casey (Jesse Spencer), who turns out to be the Truck Squad leader has the honor of packing Darden's things in a box.
Then there's what seems to be a new subplot: animosity between leaders. We get a quick introduction to the two squads: Truck Squad and Rescue Squad. The Rescue Squad leader is Kelly (Taylor Kinney). The two squads (and all that they do) are actually very interesting, but they are introduced with a rivalry that nobody quite understands yet. It turns out that it's a long-standing rivalry that seems to have no rhyme or reason. It consists of two hot, brooding men staring at each other.
Their chief (Eamonn Walker) tries to get them to unite because of Darden's death rather than allow the death to drive them further apart. They seem to try, but presumably, it's difficult to give up brooding stares when you've been doing it for so long.
The new guy fits right in (but not right away)
A new guy, Peter Mills (Charlie Barnett), is introduced to the fold as a "candidate." He is Darden's replacement. He actually winds up with a better introduction than the rest of the characters because he's trying to learn the ropes, like the viewers. We don't learn his backstory, but we do learn where he stands in the group. He's part of Truck Squad but longs for Rescue Squad, which displeases anyone who cares about the rivalry between the two squads.
Ignoring the rivalry, it will be interesting to see where his journey takes him. Some of his tasks were already quite interesting, such as venting a building by breaking through the roof during a fire. What else do the new guys get to do? This is a perfect opportunity to introduce the viewers to all the ins and outs by proxy.
A rescuer almost kills a little girl
The final subplot, which stood out the most (and not for the right reasons), involved a little girl who had been stuck in a car. One of the paramedics, Gabby (Monica Raymund), tried to save the girl but accidentally pierces her heart.
Initially, it seems that Gabby may be in trouble for this, but the girl turns out to be fine at the end. Gabby then seems to get nervous the next time she has to perform the same action but does fine when her colleague tells her not to "think." This whole subplot was a waste. It could have been another interesting storyline but is just a throwaway.
...and much more
There were about 50 shades of subplot with no real standouts. Delving a bit into each one would result in a mile-long recap with no room left for review. There are some really great elements in this show. It has "good bones." It just needs to work out each phase more completely or risk the entire thing falling apart in a flaming mess.
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