In Part 2 we’re going to summarize the key story arcs from season 1. *SPOILER ALERT* This recap contains information about the entire season including the action in the finale and storylines that have been set up for season 2.
Casey and his moral compass
Casey faces several personal dramas in the first season. At the beginning, we saw him in a relationship with Dr Hallie Thomas. Things were rocky, mostly because Casey wanted to start a family and Hallie didn’t. Later, Casey and Hallie break up and Hallie goes to South America to do volunteer work, only to reappear towards the end of the season. She was killed in a fire at the clinic where she was volunteering and her death was investigated in the penultimate episode (which turned out to be caused by her discovery of the drug operation at the clinic). Her death served the dual purpose of introducing the CPD team to viewers and it brought closure to the relationship with Casey. Casey finished the season barely keeping it together after Hallie’s death.
Casey also had to deal with his mother’s release from prison where she’d been serving 15 years for murdering his father. Nancy Casey, the victim of an abusive marriage, was a thoroughly abrasive character but well played by Kathleen Quinlan. The murder and Casey’s support of his mother caused a rift with his sister, Christie, who was less than supportive, but things seemed to improve, especially after Nancy moved out of Casey’s house to live with a former cellmate.
Early in the season, the team was called to a car accident that was caused by Voight’s drink-driving son. Voight attempted to cover up his son’s part in the accident but Casey submitted a report where the son wasimplicated. Voight then began a campaign of harassment against Casey and Hallie in an attempt to get Casey to change the report. Casey was dogged in his determination to stick to his guns and this provided some really tense moments between him and Voight. The situation was quite sad because Voight’s son clearly needed help but the teenage boy in the accident, a promising athlete, was paralysed and Voight tried to blame his father for the crash.
The tension between Casey and Voight was part of a season-long arc concerning the Voight character. With the help of an informant, Antonio was able to put Voight away for being a dirty cop. But by the end of the season, Voight was out of prison and had been promoted to Sergeant and head of the Intelligence Unit to which Antonio had been transferred. This was all in aid of setting up the characters for the spin-off series. In a nifty manoeuvre that I didn’t see coming, Voight was revealed as keeping up the pretence of being dirty so the CPD can catch some serious bad guys. Awesome!
There was only one story arc for Cruz in the season and it centred on his troubled brother, Leon, who was involved with some serious bad dudes. Cruz had a solution presented to him when the head bad dude, Flacko, found himself the victim of an apartment fire. In a bold move by the writers, Cruz let Flacko die and then had to live with the consequences of his actions which of course went against all that he had been trained to do as a firefighter. Casey knew what had transpired and this put him in a very difficult situation. Cruz finally unloaded to Mouch who convinced him to forgive himself for what he did (for his brother) but this arc gave us an interesting insight into Casey’s leadership. The scene where Cruz finally unburdened himself to Mouch was extremely powerful but I still wonder about the resolution to this story arc. Was it OK for Cruz to let Flacko die to save his brother from the clutches of a drug dealer? Should there have been consequences for Cruz other than having to live with the guilt?
Severide (HHF) and his ambiguous moral compass
Severide had lots going on in season 1. The main story arc of the entire season concerned a neck injury that he began the show with and which continued right through until episode 1.14. He discovered that the injury was so serious he’d be looking at 12 months of recovery time and he just couldn’t face this. So he covered up the injury and with the help of Shay, took painkillers to stay on the job. This was a huge risk for both Shay and HHF, not to mention the other firefighters in the House and the people they were rescuing. HHF reached many low points during this time including sleeping with a former girlfriend, a pharmaceutical rep, in order to obtain drugs after Shay finally gave up on supplying him. The injury arc was resolved when HHF’s new girlfriend, Renee, found a surgeon who was experimenting with radical surgery which offered a short recovery time. HHF’s recovery was rather miraculous, I have to say, and I felt a little bit let down by the resolution to this arc. It covered half the season and then suddenly, HHF was back on the job. It was just a bit too neat for me – it was set up well and it told us lots about HHF’s friendship with Shay and how HHF’s identity is tied to his job but the resolution didn’t really work for me.
But then there was this:
The other key story arc concerned a trainee paramedic, Tara Little, who made a false sexual harassment claim against HHF. His past indiscretions – shagging the Strumpet (Nicki, an admin officer at the House and daughter of a CFD chief) – came back to haunt him. He managed to get Tara to drop the charges after he discovered that she’d made a false claim before. My view is that this story arc was designed to show us – yet again – how awesome HHF is (because you know, he’s a bit of player but still respects women) but I’m not sure that the writers thought this one through. There was no evidence for Tara’s claim so it was her word against HHF’s. Having a woman make a false sexual harassment claim was irresponsible when we know how often women make real claims that are not taken seriously, not to mention that sexual harassment is rife in the workplace and many rape cases never get heard because of a lack of evidence. Tsk tsk, Show.
HHF also struggled to deal with the death in the pilot episode of his long-time friend and fellow firefighter, Andy Darden. He blamed Casey for the accident and Darden’s wife, Heather, blamed him for encouraging Andy to be a firefighter in the first place. Later, when Heather tried to start a relationship with Casey (even though nothing happened – Casey’s moral compass at work, y’all), HHF clashed with Casey again.
Throughout all the shagging and often poor decision making, HHF remained the bad boy with a heart of gold. He’s at his best when he’s helping people, particularly little old ladies, and the writers worked hard to show what an all round decent guy he is; this is what makes him so intriguing, the bad boy behaviour alongside the incredible kindness and emotional support he is able to give. In episode 1.2, a man was trapped at a construction site accident and before he died from internal injuries, he recorded a message to his wife which HHF later played back to her on his phone. I’ve watched this episode three times and it still tugs at my heart. In another episode, HHF went into bat for an old woman who is being harassed by gang members and later, he provided brilliant support to Vargas who had to retire from the service through injury. Sigh.
Relationships in the House
There were several story arcs involving personal relationships throughout the season. Casey and Dawson clearly had strong feelings for each other from the beginning and spent the season engaged in some serious UST. This didn’t work out, mostly due to bad timing. Casey was with Hallie then he wasn’t but it was too soon to start something with Dawson and in the meantime, she started dating Mills. By the end of the season, the Dawson-Mills thing was off but I imagine the writers will string the Casey-Dawson UST out some more in the coming season especially since Casey is still dealing with Hallie’s death.
The Dawson-Mills thing seemed to be fairly solid despite Dawson harbouring feelings for Casey and Mills knowing it. (And that I spent the season wishing she was with Casey; her relationship with Mills seemed more like just a fun thing to me and he is totes punching above his weight being with her). But towards the end of the season, Mills discovered that Dawson had kept something from it that he couldn’t get past, and he called it quits on the relationship.
There was a six-episode arc involving a relationship between HHF and Renee Royce, played by Sarah Shahi. Sarah now has a recurring role on Person of Interest (as Shaw) so I imagine she won’t be around much in season 2. Renee was rescued by Rescue Squad after she was in a car accident and her relationship with HHF developed from there (the old ‘crush on your rescuer’ chestnut). Renee, a career woman and rather self-centred in my view, didn’t seem all that suited to HHF, and somehow didn’t ‘get him’ or the seriousness of his injury. She ended up with a job opportunity in Madrid and despite HHF initially agreeing to go with her, he took the experimental surgery option that she had presented to him instead. She came back in the finale – see below for more on this.
Shay wants a baby
Shay had been in a relationship with a woman name Clarice and it had ended badly some time ago. Clarice re-entered her life after Shay and Dawson attended an incident at her baby shower. So she’s now married to Daniel and is pregnant! Clarice, who seems like a total manipulative b*tch, left Daniel and went back to Shay. After the baby was born, Daniel sued for custody and even though Clarice convinced Shay that she wanted to be with her, she ended up taking a deal to move to New York with Daniel and share custody. Poor Shay *sniff*. After this all happened, Shay decided she wanted a baby of her own and she began searching for a sperm donor. She decided that it was all a bit impersonal for her liking and she approached HHF to ask him to father her child (because who wouldn’t want what’s in his gene pool, right?). Artificial insemination is really expensive so for a brief moment they considered the ‘traditional method’ but in the end, Shay’s father came up with the money for the insemination. One attempt was made right at the end of the season which unfortunately failed. We finished the season with a major surprise that will be interesting to see played out in season 2: HHF’s former girlfriend, Renee, who had moved to Madrid for work, returns to Chicago pregnant with what we assume is HHF’s baby. Interesting….
The whole notion of ‘Plan B’ – Shay and HHF actually having sex rather than insemination – was very irresponsible of the writers I think. There was some humour in the way Shay presented the option to HHF but it was not well received by many fans and was made worse by an insensitive Twitter discussion about it (see link below).
(This piece is an interesting take on the issue: http://href.li/?http://www.afterellen.com/chicago-fire-asks-twitter-fans-if-shay-should-be-de-gayed/04/2013/) There are plenty of Shayveride shippers in the fandom (please writers, do not go down that track!) and perhaps this was done to bait them, which is even worse. Clearly Shay did not want to have sex with HHF and I’m not sure why the writers didn’t just explore the ‘turkey baster’ option. The whole thing seemed to present the idea that lesbians are totally up for having sex with a man if the reason is good enough and it was a shame to do this to Shay when her character was doing good things for the portrayal of gay women on television.)
One of Herrmann’s key character traits is his poor financial decision making. Around halfway through the season, the team was called to a fire in a bar and Herrmann, Dawson and Otis ended up buying the bar in a partnership. This provided some good minor story arcs within the main arc and it gave Otis something to do. In episode 1.17, Herrmann, Dawson and Otis tracked down the owner of a Korean War medal found in a box in a safe in the wall. It turned out the owner of the medal had no claim on the bar but was just a friend of the eventual owner. He ‘got the girl instead’ and was married to her for 40 years. They named the bar Molly’s after his wife and they took him to see the name unveiled *sniff*. The bar looked like being quite successful until we found out in the finale that a swanky new sports bar will open up across the street.
Peter Mills and the death of his father
Peter Mills, the Truck candidate, has always looked up his firefighter father. Later in the season, HHF’s father, Benny (played really well by Treat Williams), came to visit his son and revealed that Henry Mills wasn’t such a hero after all – well in his view anyway. It turns out that Chief Boden, who had separated from his wife, had a brief relationship with Peter’s mother while she was also separated from her husband. Benny believes that Henry wanted to show Boden what a bad ass he was so he took his helmet off in a fire and he was killed, along with another firefighter. Mills didn’t take this news very well at all and, along with failing to make Rescue Squad in the first round, caused him to rethink his fire fighting dreams. We saw him at the end of the season at the Chicago police academy, contemplating a change of career.
Ernie and Chief Awesome
The Chief discovered that a teenage boy had been lighting fires and was being manipulated by his ‘uncle’ to do so. Several episodes were dedicated to this story arc as the Chief did his best to help Ernie. It didn’t end happily though, as Ernie was killed in a fire. Fortunately, the uncle was apprehended even if Boden was in some strife with the CPD for doing ‘a cop’s job’. This is true Dick Wolf storytelling – not everything has a happy ending *sniff*.
Some of my favourite moments:
There are so many wonderful moments from season 1. Some of them have already been covered but here is a selection of my other favourites: (Apologies for the long list – and this the watered down version, too!)
1. Anything involving rescues, particularly when HHF uses his tools *wink*. This is from episode 1.3.
2. Anything involving the Chief of Awesomeness. Here he is in episode 1.3, telling Casey that “leaders lead from the front.”
3. Shay and Dawson putting make up on a drunk guy while he was passed out in their ambulance (1.2). Because he made a pass at Shay, you know. This is just one of many examples of Shawson Golden Moments from season 1.
4. HHF shagging the Strumpet in the uniform room (1.3). She told him to keep his helmet on. Show, you’re killing me here! (And later, HHF tells Shay that the Strumpet’s got it bad and he’s not Gandhi, by way of explanation for his actions.)
5. Anything involving Shay and HHF at their apartment. They’re usually making sandwiches and Shay’s usually in fashion disaster mode. This one’s from episode 1.2. Check out HHF’s shirt. And those eyes! *sigh*.
6. Casey awesomeness, in full swing throughout the entire season. In episode 1.4, a promising young athlete is paralysed in a car accident. At the House, their TV is on the fritz and the firefighters raise funds for a new one. Instead of using the money for a new TV, Casey buys timber with it and he and his team build a ramp at the boy’s house *sniff*. (FYI Casey used to be in construction.)
7. HHF going into bat for little old ladies. As well as the heart string moment in episode 1.2 that I’ve already featured, in episode 1.4 he pays a visit to some serious gang dudes and tells them to lay off an old lady they have been hassling by causing small fires in her home. You go, HHF!
8. Shay having a little too much to drink and lamenting her former girlfriend’s um, conversion (1.4). “I think I overestimated her lesbianism”, she says. Gold.
9. Casey in serious mode. Here he is in episode 1.5, having a go at Voight for hassling him over his report into the drink-driving accident that implicates Voight’s son. Check out his scary eyes.
10. But Voight is waaaaaay scarier!
11. Dawson pushing a guy out of her ambulance. “On behalf of the Paramedics’ Association of America, I offer my sincerest apologies for the forcible actions I exhibited here today”, she says. This is in episode 1.5, after she’d been disciplined for doing something non-paramedic-ish in order to save a patient.
12. “I’m coming for you, Casey”, says HHF (1.5). Awww.
13. HHF and Mills’s sister, Elise (1.7). Adorbs. Pity the actress who plays Elise, Alexandra Metz, now has a role in the spin-off to The Vampire Diaries #opportunitylost.
14. A guy unwilling to jump onto a gantry to be rescued by HHF (1.6). Seriously mate, what were you thinking? I’d be there in a flash!
15. HHF taking a bunch of flowers with him in the fire truck to give to his new girlfriend, Renee (1.10). Flowers in the fire truck! Stopping the truck outside her house so he can deliver them! Sigh….
16, Shay’s face when Dawson backs out of asking Mills to her family gathering at the last moment and asks Casey instead (1.10).
17. Shay’s face when she tells HHF she’s moving out of their apartment because he won’t seek treatment for his neck injury, as promised (1.10). Well done, Lauren German, well done!
18. Cindy being a trouper yet again and dealing with another of Herrmann’s failed business ideas (1.11).
19. HHF telling Dawson that he needs help for his injured neck. Finally (1.11).
20. Shay wearing the football helmet she was given after she survived an accident where a truck collided with the ambulance (1.12).
21. The friendship between Shay and HHF. They can’t live without one another *sniff* (1.11).
22. Dawson’s face when she tells the Chief a total BS story in order to help a young Mexican girl stay in the country (after her family had died in the back of a truck during the border crossing; episode 1.12). And also the Chief, totes not believing a word of it but agreeing to the plan anyway.
23. The firefighters’ WTF? faces after the attend an incident where Shay had tasered this huge guy who was obstructing the rescue (1.13). Only she didn’t tell them about the taser, of course! (Later she asks Dawson where in the rule book it says you can’t carry a taser. Um, I that’s on page 1, Shay!)
24. Dawson and Casey, the whole season (1.13).
25. Benny Severide giving his son some fatherly advice: “Disappoint anyone, hell, disappoint everyone, but don’t ever disappoint yourself.” (Episode 1.13)
26. HHF’s face looking back at Shay as he goes into surgery to fix his neck (1.13). OMG, that faaaaace!
27. Nancy, Casey’s mother, thinking Dawson is Casey’s girlfriend. Mills looks on unamused, while eating cookies (1.14).
28. Shay vacuuming away former girlfriend, Clarice, in the middle of the night. Using a Dyson. And then telling HHF that she wants to have a baby (1.17).
29. HHF and Shay together at the CFD benefit (1.17).
30. The whole House dressed in formal uniforms, forming a funeral guard of honour IN THE SNOW for a little boy whose dreams of being a firefighter were cut short due to a tragic accident (1.19).
31. Dawson and Casey door shopping for an old door for the front entrance of Molly’s bar (1.20). (Anyone who follows me on Pinterest will know that I am a door geek so this has extra special meaning!)
32. HHF in uniform at the hearing into Tara’s allegations of sexual harassment. OK, so this wasn’t actually a favourite moment plot-wise but look at his beautiful eyes! I just had to include this. Of course.
33. Dawson and Casey role playing during Sexual Harassment and Sensitivity training (1.21).
34. Dawson maneuvering a snake out of harm’s way after she and Shay are called to a snake bite incident. And for Shay for deciding to do this but then making Dawson actually do it! (1.21).
35. Dawson telling Herrmann and Otis that she thinks of them as brothers (1.21).
36. Anything to do with Shay and Dawson (1.22). Did I mention that I love Shay and Dawson?
37. Officer Nicole Sermons being a total bad ass in episode 1.23 (tasers and kicking a bad due in the groin are involved here). She’s going to be in Chicago PD, the spin-off series. Yay!
38. Finding out that Voight is no longer a dirty cop; he’s just pretending to in order to clean up the mean streets of Chicago (1.23).
39. More Casey awesomeness, this time in a prison fire in the season finale.
40. Herrmann recording a message to his newborn son (after he took his finger off the camera, bless him). This is in the finale.
41. Mouch’s online girlfriend meeting him for the first time (season finale). When she smiled at him, I sighed. Adorbs.
42. Casey clearly not coping with Hallie’s death and Dawson being the only one to comfort him (season finale).
So there you have it! These are some of the main story arcs and my best moments from season 1. This show has really captured my attention and I hope that S2 is going to live up to my expectations. I have grown to love the characters on the show but can still see some issues with the storytelling which I hope are ironed out in S2. Some of the arcs are set up well but I don’t always like the resolutions and the writers blotted their copy books with the ‘Plan B’ and Tara story lines as well as sometimes trying to cram too much in at the expense of deeper character and story development. Not to worry, I’m on board for S2 and I’m excited to see more of the rescues and further development of the characters as well as the crossover with the spin-off series.
Bring on season 2!