Cue the waterworks, kids.
Chicago Fire Season 7 Episode 1, “A Closer Eye,” ends with a bit of a twist and more closure than we expected for Matt Casey and Gabby Dawson.
Is it enough? No, not really. But it’s pretty darn close.
We learned after the Chicago Fire Season 6 finale that Monica Raymund was leaving the series, which suggested that we wouldn’t see her at all this season and that the farewell to her character would be her accepting the chance to help in Puerto Rico.
Thankfully, we get a more proper goodbye on this season premiere.
It’s a happy surprise first to see Gabby talking to Matt via Facetime, but for her to arrive at the end, giving the two the chance to have an on-screen goodbye that shows the love they have for one another — it’s incredibly satisfying.
It’s also heartbreaking, because you can still see the love they have for each other, but by the end, that wasn’t enough.
Jesse Spencer, in particular, does an impeccable job of conveying a whole range of emotions, not only there, but throughout the entire episode, including at the beginning when he acts too quickly on a call.
We’ve seen these firefighters make risky and impulsive decisions before, and we’ve seen them go against protocol — Severide even does it later on this episode — but this time is different. It’s not just impulsive; it’s reckless. It’s just as Severide says, he reacts like someone who has a death wish.
But once he’s in the elevator and the fear settles in as he’s about to be crushed to death, that’s the only thing you can see in his eyes. It’s powerful stuff, and it has me worried for how Casey is going to move forward now that Gabby has said goodbye more permanently.
We also meet two new characters on this episode. One of them is Jerry Gorsch, who’s been sent by Grissom to “keep an eye” on Firehouse 51. It turns out he has a grudge against Boden, and he clearly has a little too much fun being in charge and giving a Boden a hard time.
I’m not that interested in this storyline, as it somehow feels repetitive, but what I love about it is seeing Boden put in this position — in a position where he’s challenged, forced to fight back, and does what he has to look out for his own.
It’s also fun to see the boat trip with him, Casey, and Severide. I like seeing these three laugh so much together.
The other new character we meet is Emily Foster, who, as prepared as I was to dislike simply because she’s new and taking over Gabby’s spot as a paramedic, I have to say, I think she’s great.
She’s already bringing a new energy to the firehouse, and I’m already curious about her past based on the hints we get on this episode. I look forward to learning more about her.
Gabby isn’t the only person missing from this episode. Chicago Fire also takes the time to pay tribute to DuShon Monique Brown, the actress who played Connie, who passed away earlier this year.
The way she’s written off is sweet and honorable. Boden announces that she’s gone, but she’s gotten a happy ending — something she’s worked hard for. And the details pay tribute to the actress’s real life. Brown earned a masters degree in school counseling, and who attended the school Boden stated she had taken a job at.
Herrmann almost tearfully notes that he didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, that none of them did, to which Boden follows with:
Boden: I hear you. But it’s okay, because she knows how much we love her here.
It’s such a thoughtful way to say goodbye to her character and to the actress, and that doesn’t go unnoticed.
- Stella and Severide have a few nice moments, from a sexy scene in the opening to a flirty cuteness with Stella going for Severide’s coffee, but I would have liked to see a little more of them.
- The chess game is fun and provides the lightness and humor needed to balance out, well, everything else. Stella as Otis’s opponent is not who I would have guessed.
What did you think of this episode of Chicago Fire? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Chicago Fire airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.
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