This week's episode of Chicago Fire was aptly titled. Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 14 really did feel like "Purgatory" as we watched the main characters get scattered to different firehouses. But as much as they bristled about their transfers, that's how uncomfortable this all was to watch.
Maybe that was the point?
Most of the episode dealt with our firefighters and paramedics getting their new assignments and/or partners and hating them. It makes sense that they wouldn't want to work with new people, but all of these characters used felt like caricatures.
There was the grumpy one. The overly perky one (who hilariously had once hit on Dawson). The incompetent ones. And the chief who was, of course, in no way as good as Boden.
"Purgatory" wanted to make the argument that Firehouse 51 is a cut above the rest and thus deserved to be reunited. Again, makes sense. But surely it didn't have to go all the way into making almost everyone else in the CFD look ridiculous.
Cruz: Me and Capp are working the call center.
Severide: What? You're kidding.
Cruz: Wish I was.
The exception to the rule was the storyline about Stella and Brett befriending Missy, the female firefighter candidate. She was the one new character with personality and a shred of confidence. But even her storyline seemed cliche.
Did we need another sexist authority figure? And even after Missy saved her captain's life he can't even thank her for it? It would have been more meaningful if he'd taken a moment to say something and we saw that he'd changed his ways rather than having him just walk off.
Or here's an idea: maybe she was just struggling with learning the job, or with wanting to be the best firefighter in the house, and Stella could have befriended her anyway and helped her get to that next level. Making it a sexism issue just felt like it's been done.
Stella: How's the new partner?
Brett: Well, he's either called me you, girl or a general grunt. How did you work here?
The regular 51 team spent part of the episode pleading with or yelling at Boden to unwind the transfer orders. It was uncomfortable to see them taking their frustrations out on him, particularly Herrmann. Not that Herrmann has ever been the sanest member of 51 but still.
Everyone knows that it was Anderson, not Boden, who made the moves. Boden can only do so much and it's certainly not his fault if that's not enough. Yet Herrmann seemed to take the situation a little too personally.
He could've at least pointed his anger in the right direction. It wouldn't even have been the first time this season we've seen Herrmann open a can on CFD brass. So why beat up on Boden?
At least Severide thought of something he could do to help the situation, even if it didn't come to that.
Speaking of Severide we finally have an answer about his future. He called Anna and told her that he's not going to Springfield.
However, it's important to realize that the episode ended without us hearing her reaction to that news. It didn't explicitly put the kibosh on their subplot. All we know is that he's not moving to Springfield. So do you think we'll see her again? Or is this seriously the end this time?
"Purgatory" didn't really kick into gear until the final hotel fire sequence. For that, we should take a second and shout out the episode's director, Joe Chappelle. The hotel fire was fantastically shot with lots of great visuals and extraordinary organization. We knew where everyone was and what was happening even though it was a huge event with tons of characters to follow.
It's still not the best use of a hotel ever seen in television (that would go to the first two episodes of Strike Back: Project Dawn), but it was pretty darn impressive from a directorial and special effects standpoint.
And what are the odds that the man Boden rescued would be the Deputy Mayor?
First and foremost, I want what's best for the citizens of Chicago.Boden
That felt a bit like a deus ex machina situation, or at least a really nice coincidence. But it's forgivable in a way because you knew that "Purgatory" had to reunite the Firehouse 51 team somehow. We couldn't spend two or three episodes pulling them all back in.
And the message behind it is a nice one: that doing your job well leads to good things happening. Based on my own recent personal experience I'm no longer sure that's actually true, but it's certainly a lovely sentiment and a nice thought to end the episode on.
It's disappointing that Anderson has yet to be shown up for his drunken antics, though. Maybe that'll come eventually. For now, we have an entertaining episode that neatly wrapped up last week's cliffhanger and cleared the deck for next week's big crossover event. It did all that it came to do.
Chicago Fire will not air next Tuesday due to President Trump's planned State of the Union address. Instead it will shift one day later and two hours earlier as it kicks off the Chicago Crossover Event on Wednesday, March 1 at 8/7c on NBC. The next episode is called "Deathtrap" and deals with another large-scale fire. We'd expect nothing less for the crossover!
If you want to re-watch "Purgatory" again or catch up on any of Season 5 before that gets started, you can watch Chicago Fire online. And don't forget to leave your thoughts about this week's episode in the comments!
Brittany Frederick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.