Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 7 Review: Dead of Winter

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Nah-nah nah-nah nah-nah nah-nah... Casey and Severide.

No one can stop Capt. Casey and Lt. Severide, when they're hot on the trail of a perp, performing their sworn duty to protect the streets of Chicago on Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 7.

They're firefighters by day, and crime fighters by... also day, so arsonists and murderers beware.

Severide, Capp, Cruz long - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 7

In all seriousness, though, it's usually Severide who goes on these Chicago PD-styled escapades alone, so it was a nice change of pace that he and Casey got to team up this time around.

It's always better when these besties are fighting on the same side, and watching them work together was a great treat.

Both of them have been so bogged down by relationship drama as of late, so it was a nice break to see the duo doing some good old-fashioned detective work firefighting.

The mystery of who was responsible for setting the fire at the homeless encampment wasn't particularly engaging, especially when it seemed like Dixon was the obvious suspect.

Casey fire - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 7

There just wasn't a lot there that made it seem worth watching, but the scenes with Casey and Severide as they talked with 'Big Jim' and their confrontation with murderous neighbor Alan before his arrest made the storyline worth sticking with.

Casey mentioned encountering 'Big Jim' in the past, but I can't recall if or when we ever saw him on screen.

Casey: You can drop the act.
Alan: Not sure what you mean.
Severide: We know you’ve been complaining about the encampment for months. We know it was your phone calls to the ward office that got the cleanup crew here so fast.
Casey: We want you to know his name was James Benevidez, ‘Big Jim’ to those who knew him. He wasn’t just some faceless nobody in a tent. He had a sister, he had nephews, he had friends.
Alan: I don’t know what this is about. You’re obviously upset. I’m busy right now so…
Severide: No, you’re going to listen.
Casey: He helped people. First as a teacher, then a soldier. He survived Iraq, then he survived 10 years on the streets, but what he couldn’t survive was the fire you set.
Alan: Whoa, what I did?
Casey: We got you on camera buying the propane, and some of the camp residents place you at the scene on the morning of the fire. I just wanted to dissuade of the notion that somehow Jim’s life was worth less than yours. It wasn’t.

However, the man deserved better than being killed because a greedy neighbor didn't want property values to decline due to the homeless encampment.

'Big Jim' ran a tight ship, and Casey hit it right on the mark when he told Alan the neighbor's life wasn't worth more than 'Big Jim's.'

If anything, 'Big Jim's life was worth more than Alan's, as 'Big Jim' was a teacher and fought for our country. 

Severide answers - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 7

And even if he hadn't, that still wouldn't excuse what Alan did, for all the people at the homeless encampment are just that people.

Sometimes it can be tough to remember, but all human life matters, and it's not up to some douche like Alan to decide who lives or dies.

Thankfully, Casey and Severide found out the truth and had enough evidence for CPD to arrest him.

Here's hoping he spends a good, long time in prison.

Cruz - Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 8

Elsewhere, Cruz found himself in a difficult position after a close call at the encampment fire.

On the one hand, honesty is always the best policy when it comes to your significant other. Still, there's also something to be said for not unnecessarily scaring your pregnant wife with the intimate details of just how close you came to death that day.

Cruz: This isn’t from some bungie cord. I had a close call. I had an incident, and I didn’t want to worry you.
Chloe: Hey, we’re having a boy.
Cruz: We’re having a boy?
Chloe: Yeah.

There's no clear-cut answer on the right thing to do in this instance, but Cruz's reservations were valid.

After Otis died, Chloe had cold feet about marrying Cruz, a firefighter, because of how dangerous their job is.

Running into fires and saving lives is noble and everything, but it comes with genuine risks and life-and-death stakes.

Mouch responded - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 7

Knowing this, Cruz can't be faulted for wanting to protect Chloe, who, as an expecting mother, carries the burden for two people: her and their unborn child.

Why put Chloe through the stress of knowing her husband could have died on a call yesterday when learning their pipes weren't working was enough to send her into a premature tailspin?

This line of reasoning makes complete sense, but Severide also had a point when he gave Cruz some much-needed advice.

Severide recounting how he almost lost Kidd because he was trying to protect her was exactly the right motivation Cruz needed to tell Chloe the truth.

Mackey talk - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 7

Yes, things could have turned out badly, but Cruz risked Chloe's wrath tenfold if she found out he'd been keeping this from her.

And with Capp and Tony wanting to hang up the shrapnel that nearly killed Cruz, she very well could have had she come by the firehouse.

Severide: I think you should be straight with Chloe about what happened.
Cruz: Kelly Severide is dispensing relationship advice?
Severide: Yeah, well, a little while back I decided to keep the truth from Kidd. I thought I was protecting her, but I almost lost her. Like I said, just my two sense.

In the end, though, it was all for naught as the news Chloe and Cruz are having a boy eclipsed anything else at that moment.

Nothing could dampen that excitement, and I hope they name the baby Brian as a tribute to Otis.

Brett points - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 4

Then, there was Brett and Granger, and after some very convoluted back and forth, the pair agreed to give this thing between them a shot and go out.

The main problem here is we know things will never work out between Brett and Granger, so it's hard to get on board with this pairing.

Their relationship is only meant to prolong Brettsey from getting together, so it's hard to be invested in something that we know will never work out.

Granger is a nice enough guy, and his "saving" Brett from the many clowns was cute and all, but they don't have much chemistry together.

Herrmann hose - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 7

Even Brett herself said she should be single for a while, so to hear her change her tune some 30 minutes later was even harder to accept when we knew she was right the first time around.

While Brett does deserve to be happy, I'd hoped she'd take Kidd's words to mean that she needed to face the beast by confronting her confusing flirtationship with Casey, not with some random new firefighter she knows nothing about.

Kidd: You really gonna make me do this?
Brett: Do what?
Kidd: So, OK, you’ve had some bumps with the guys lately. Right, maybe had your heart stomped a little. Who hasn’t? But you are no wilting wallflower. Bozo-phobia aside, you are an ass-kicking member of the CFD, and my friend, it is time for you to put on your big girl gear and face the beast again.
Brett: You think? Just to clarify, the beast is men, or is it specifically Granger?
Kidd: Sylvie Brett, I just pep talked the hell out of you. No more waffling.

It just doesn't make sense on paper or in actuality, and the best thing that can come from this doomed relationship is Brett realizing her heart still lies with Casey.

Just like Casey did when he was seeing Sydney.

Ritter helping hand - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 7

Lastly, frequent readers know how much I love Ritter and how underutilized I believe the character is, so it should come as no surprise how enjoyable his subplot was.

It tied in nicely with the primary "cause of the week" storyline that occupied a good portion of our screen time while still allowing us more insight into Ritter.

We know very little about who Ritter is outside of being a firefighter, so getting to learn a little more about his backstory was much appreciated.

It wasn't immediately obvious where the writers were going with Ritter's interest in helping out Vanessa, but connecting it back to him having a homeless friend as a teenager was a nice touch.

Boden survey - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 5

It explained Ritter's concern over Vanessa's wellbeing in a way that went simply beyond the firefighter wanting to help some down on their luck.

Not that there would have been anything wrong with that plotline -- after all, that's the way of Firehouse 51, helping the downtrodden and disenfranchised -- but giving Ritter a personal connection made the story more powerful.

Vanessa: Why are you being so nice to me? Is it out of pity or something else?
Ritter: I had a friend, my best friend, he just dropped out of my life one day, no explanation. At first I was annoyed, but then I got worried, so I went to his house and found out he and his mom had been evicted. Neighbor told me his mom bailed on him, and the last thing she heard was he was on the street alone.
Vanessa: That sucks.
Ritter: I was so mad that he hadn’t said anything, hadn’t let me try to help. it didn’t occur to him that with a couple bad breaks most of us could end up in that exact situation.
Vanessa: Is he OK now?
Ritter: Yeah, and he still volunteers at the youth center that got him off the street.
Vanessa: Yeah, well, I’ll be 60 by the time they pull my name off one of those waitlists.
Ritter: Well, he made some phone calls.
Vanessa: What? What do you mean?
Ritter: There’s a spot open for you to live there or here.

It was especially impactful when Ritter said his friend never realized that homelessness could be just a few bad breaks away for anyone, which is a very real sentiment -- and potential fear -- in this crazy world we live in nowadays.

We never realize how bad things could get when our lives are on the upswing, so it was a nice reminder to never take any of it for granted because tomorrow, we may not have it.

Casey searching - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 7

Some stray thoughts:

  • Gallo trying to inject some danger or mystery into his "situationship" with Mackey is only going to blow up in his face. This is exactly how things fell apart with Violet on Chicago Fire Season 8 when Gallo lowkey proposed.

    He should listen to Ritter and realize that just because Mackey couldn't hang out later didn't mean she was blowing him off. She probably had plans, and Gallo acting like some crazed stalker isn't going to do anything but make Mackey wonder if Cruz was right. 

Gallo surprise - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 4
  • Did anyone else immediately think a Stellaride proposal was on its way when Severide suggested he and Kidd get away to the cabin for the weekend? Just me? Now that the pair have reconciled, how much longer will it take Severide to put a ring on it? It can't be that much longer, right?

  • Mouch is right to tell Platt everything. Cruz was right in that you don't mess with Trudy Platt, trained investigator. 

So what did you think, Chicago Fire Fanatics?

Was Casey and Severide's team-up epic or a waste of time?

Did Cruz make the right decision in telling Chloe?

When will Brett and Granger break up?

Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you missed the latest episode, remember you can watch Chicago Fire online at TV Fanatic.

Dead of Winter Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (4 Votes)

Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 7 Quotes

Kidd: That boy has got it bad.
Brett: What?
Kidd: Oh come on, a lieutenant picking up masks? Nuh-uh, he was here to see you.
Brett: You think so?

Severide: We should get away. Just us.
Kidd: You got somewhere in mind that doesn’t involve airports or crowds?
Severide: How about the cabin?
Kidd: So icy roads, snow-covered driveway, subzero temperatures, and the two of us? Sounds hot.
Severide: That’s exactly what I was thinking.