The latest Chicago Fire episode finds Battalion Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) and pretty much everyone from Firehouse 51 rushing to a potential emergency to find that it was nothing more than a false alarm. Consequently, because the false alarm added three minutes to their response time, a real emergency saw a man pay the price that comes with such ridiculous illegal pranks.
The episode opens with Firefighter Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) suspiciously reviewing information online. With Lieutenant Kelly Severide’s (Taylor Kinney) birthday fast approaching, it’s obvious that she doesn’t want him discovering anything about her plans. Severide immediately notices that Kidd isn’t her usual self.
At Firehouse 51,we see Lieutenant Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg), Firefighter Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso), Paramedic in Charge Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer), Paramedic Emily Foster (Annie Ilonzeh), and Firefighter Randy “Mouch” McHolland (Christian Stolte) standing in line to get breakfast.
Following Herrmann’s brief conversation with Firefighter Candidate Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende) about the apparently healthy vegetarian options being provided, Brett takes a moment to speak to Cruz about the rest at their place. With the third bedroom still unoccupied, she wants someone in there. The thing is, even though it’s been a few months since Firefighter Brian “Otis” Zvonecek’s (Yuri Sardarov) death, his shadow still looms large over the apartment.
Seeing how Foster has an obvious interest in moving into the third bedroom, it’s interesting how she doesn’t mention anything to either Brett or Cruz. What’s with that? Is she waiting for an invitation?
Whilst Mouch correctly notes that no one can replace Otis, he does know of someone looking for a place to live because this person is apparently going through a sticky divorce. When Mouch references Nick Porter (Brian Howe), Cruz remembers the guy from the firefighter expo where there “slamigan” tool was demonstrated. Mouch’s suggestion doesn’t escape Foster’s attention and she seems more than a tad miffed that Cruz and Brett have yet to ask her if she would like to live with them.
It is here that Kidd reveals that she is trying to plan a surprise birthday trip for Severide. The thing is she is drawing a blank on where to take her boyfriend on this surprise trip. Little does Kidd realise, sitting right next to her is the answer to all her issues. Firefighter Candidate Darren Ritter’s (Daniel Kyri) boyfriend, Eric (Curtis Edward Jackson), is a travel agent. Ritter suggests to Kidd that she speak with him about arranging something for Severide. They setup a meeting at Molly’s.
Before anyone can properly get started with breakfast, there is an emergency call out to at the Stover Academy. Stover Academy is local private school for boys. Virtually everyone from the firehouse, inclusive of the chief, descends on the school thinking that there could be a serious issue at the school. It’s a false alarm. No one is amused.
With anther emergency call have come in, the chief has one fire truck remain at the school whilst everyone else heads to the second call out. This time, it’s not a false alarm. It’s for real. On arriving at a residence, Captain Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) and Severide discover that there is a man in the basement trapped in a large oil tank. He stopped breathing. With his brain deprived of oxygen for at least five minutes, this could be fatal. The false alarm added three minutes to their response time. Whilst three minutes might not seem like a lot of time, it could be everything in a life or death situation.
Smashing a window, Severide calls for a ladder so that it can be used as a lever. Brett tells the worried relatives that the man has a pulse. They will get him to the Gaffney Chicago Medical Center as soon as they can. Noting that it felt like forever until the emergency services arrived, with what went down at the private school, understandable glances between the three senior firefighters are seen. The false alarm at the Stover Academy could cost someone their life.
Back at 51, Casey tells Herrmann that the false alarm added at least three minutes to their response time. Herrmann, with the lieutenant guessing it will be swept under the school’s fancy carpeting, doesn’t seem to think that the headmaster at the school is going to do much about the issue. Casey’s facial expression suggests he knows Herrmann is right. Schools such as Stover Academy will do anything that can to handle issues internally so that the outside world doesn’t know what’s happening.
After combing through the run sheets for the second and third shifts, as reported to Casey, Severide discovered that there have been two other false alarms at the same private school in the last month. All three false alarms in the same month can’t be a coincidence. Someone at the school must be doing it deliberately. Severide suggests that they need to return to the school so that they can have a chat with the headmaster.
Entering the dining area, Foster discovers Porter is there speaking with Cruz and Brett about the bedroom at their place. He is moving in sight unseen. Foster’s tone suggests she’s annoyed. Her use of the term ‘insta-roommates” doesn’t go unnoticed by anyone in the room. The camera lingers on Foster as Cruz, Brett, and Mouch leaves the dining area.
Back at the school, Casey and Severide speak with the headmaster. Casey asks if he’s the “principal,” and finds he’s the headmaster. Jim DeVoe (Chris Henry Coffey), the headmaster, addresses the concerns raised but states that he will deal with the problem internally. Severide doesn’t like how DeVoe is treating the issue. With tensions heightened, the headmaster tells the firefighters to leave the premises.
The scene transitions to Severide telling Desk Sergeant Trudy Platt (Amy Morton) what went down at the private school when he and Casey tried to speak with the headmaster. It’s always nice to see Platt, Mouch’s wife, visiting Firehouse 51.
Platt suggests that the headmaster could be worried about liability. She’s not wrong. With transmitting a false alarm being a Class 4 felony, Platt informs the firefighters that it carries a one to three years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. Platt wants to hit the headmaster with obstruction. Based on how Platt handles herself, we can see why Sergeant Henry “Hank” Voight (Jason Beghe) over at Intelligence likes her so much. Everyone in Intelligence likes Platt. What’s not to like? She doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
Not wanting to make a criminal case out of the issue, Casey tells the desk sergeant that they just needed a little help with the headmaster. They aren’t looking to get some teenage charged with a felony. Platt asks the firefighters to let her know when they want to get serious. Casey asks for suggestions. The scene immediately transitions to the private school.
Out on the sidewalk, as the students arrive at school, we see Firehouse 51 personnel handing out fliers pertaining to the recent epidemic of false alarms. One of the students thought that the false alarm the previous day was a fire drill. Could this be what the headmaster is telling everyone? Given how he wanted to handle it internally, that is something he’d probably say to both students and parents.
Did you see Severide’s facial expression? These students don’t seem to care about anything other than getting to class. Getting to class is important. So is behaving in a responsible manner. Causing emergency service personnel to be late to real life or death situations is no joke. Whilst this is a fictional series, it happens in the real world.
With Porter having moved into the third bedroom, it looks like both Cruz and Brett are beginning to regret their decision to allow him to move in. Later, we see Porter sitting in the living area in his underwear as Brett enters the room. It’s a little after 7 am and he’s already downing scotch. It seems a tad early to drink. Porter, looking over a photo album, shows Brett pictures of his wife. He obviously misses her. It’s time for him to move back in with his wife. He just needs a little nudge in the right direction.
Elsewhere, at Molly’s, we see Kidd talking to Eric about possible vacation opportunities. In the background, Severide expresses his concerns to Boden and Casey about how oddly Kidd has been behaving. It’s not often that we see Boden at Molly’s. With his wife being out of town, it makes a nice change to see him at the bar.
Eric suggests to Kidd that she and Severide take a cruise. Whilst Eric might like cruises, Ritter doesn’t seem on board with the idea. He remembers the cruise he took with Eric. Even though Eric loved it, Ritter didn’t. It’s not his thing.
The following morning, we see Casey and Severide show up at a house to repair the window that was smashed a few days earlier. It’s the house that they went to save that guy under the oil tank. Casey does construction as a side job. Did you know that? He’s licenced and bonded. Casey and Severide set to work replacing the broken window.
Foster finally tells Brett about her need to find a place to live. She had mentioned it briefly in other episodes, but the conversation never really went anywhere. Foster didn’t like broaching the subject because it was Otis’ room.
Cruz and Brett immediately speak with Mouch about getting Porter out of the apartment. Mouch speaks of Porter as if he’s a lost puppy. Mouch believes Ellen (Helen Eigenberg), Porter’s wife, is a very difficult woman. Cruz and Brett insist that he speak with her.
Later, we see Mouch trying and failing to convince Ellen to take her husband back. When Brett and Cruz give it a try, Ellen sees they just want to get rid of him. He’s just too much hassle. When Ellen realises that Porter genuinely misses her, with him looking through the photo album, she takes him back. She gives him another chance.
As Porter moves out of the apartment, we see Foster arriving with her things. Porter seems rather annoyed that it didn’t take Cruz and Brett long to find a new roommate.
A student from the private school is seen by Severide approaching the firehouse and leaving an envelope near one of the entrances. The firefighter goes out to speak with the student. As the kid tries to run, he trips. Severide and Herrmann take him into the firehouse to speak with the chief. It is here that he reveals his name is Jared (Julian Josip).
He had printed a list of students that were supposed to have been in class when the fire alarms were pulled. Jared is at the firehouse because he wants whoever it is pulling the fire alarms caught. Casey recognises Jared from the morning that he was at the school handing out fliers.
During lunch, Herrmann notices Kidd behaving oddly. She is still trying to find the right trip for her and Severide. Everyone at the table advises against taking a cruise. Ritter admits, whilst his boyfriend loved the cruise they went on, he hated it. Ritter felt like he was trapped in a floating jail filled with old people. Kidd accidentally lets it slip to Severide that she had been planning a birthday trip. She simply didn’t notice him standing behind her when she blurted it out.
The fire alarm at the school is set off again. Firehouse 51 personnel arrive at the private school to find yet another false alarm. Casey gives the headmaster a simple choice. He either helps with finding the culprit or the police will be called. It’s not likely the headmaster will survive an encounter with Platt. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see it because he chooses to cooperate.
Casey and Severide find a student hiding in the gym shower room. Elijah (Kai Edgar), a new student, hasn’t been attending the school for very long. He’s been the target of bullying. Elijah’s father, Mick (Dano Duran), just wants his son to have access to a good education. Interestingly, Mick never thought to ask what it was that Elijah wanted. He didn’t want to go to this fancy private school. Elijah was happy at the public school he was attending.
Elijah apologies about the fire alarm incidents. Casey and Severide take Elijah to the hospital to meet with the guy they saved a few days earlier. Elijah made a get well soon card for the patient.