If there’s one thing we should take away, it’s that the past is always with us.
Try as we might, our past will always be there, whether it’s the memory of a lost loved one, old mistakes we’re bound to repeat, or even an old foe we can’t quite let go of.
It’s a simple thing that Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 4 sought to remind us of.
Boden took the stage front and center with a storyline that connected to his deceased father.
While it was great to see Eamonn Walker get the screen time he deserves and some meatier material for a change, the plot didn’t resonate as deeply as it could have.
Boden: I don’t think Benny lifted a hammer in 15 years.
Severide: Sounds about right. You know it’s been two years since his funeral. I still have expect him to show up at headquarters on my case about scuffs on my shoes.
Boden: Yeah, whenever my father came home from patrol, he was always hungry and tired and made himself a snack. Now, whenever I smell burnt popcorn I think of him. Funny what things remind us. Hey, no matter the reason, I’m glad you came.
Severide: Don’t get all sappy on me.
The plot heavily centered around a former cop with dementia, who reminded Boden of his late father.
The problem is, though, the last episode the elder Boden appeared in aired in 2015.
And unlike Severide’s father, Benny, who appeared throughout the show’s first seven seasons on a recurring basis before “dying,” Wallace Boden, Sr., played by Richard Roundtree, only appeared in a handful of episodes during Chicago Fire Season 3 before his fictitious death.
Since then, there’s been hardly any mention of the elder Boden, and if there has been, it’s mainly in passing, so the show’s attempt to piggyback off Boden’s long-forgotten grief fell flat.
It would have worked better with Severide as a focal point, but for while it was hard to draw the parallels between Boden’s father and Henry, Walker did a stellar job in those scenes.
Everything Boden did, from making the extra effort to discover Henry’s identity to telling Henry’s wife she could call him anytime and going out to get the former cop at his old and now condemned house, was peak Boden.
He was the epitome of Boden at his best and reminded us that Walker’s range is endless.
Most at 51 may think he’s a T-Rex, but Kylie is right in that Boden truly is a giant, cuddly teddy bear.
As for Boden’s sidekick in this episode, Severide spent most of it looking for a way to avoid Kidd.
Severide believes that by keeping his distance, he’s helping her, but all his avoidance and lack of communication are doing is driving a wedge between them.
Brett: Still no Severide?
Kidd: You know I was worried at first; now, I’m just pissed off.
Brett: I don’t blame you. Have you said anything?
Kidd: I haven’t had the chance. He’s been MIA and right when I need his support with all this lieutenant test prep.
Brett: You’ve been killing it, though.
Kidd: Yeah, but it’s not the drills that I need his help with. It’s just knowing that he’s got my back.
Kidd: I thought he got past this kind of thing a long time ago – the disappearing, shutting me out. Uh, why can’t everybody be perfect like us?
Brett: We have no flaws.
Kidd has no idea why Severide’s behaving this way, and she’s had enough of it.
Her crashing with Brett doesn’t bode well for Stellaride’s relationship, but you can’t blame her for wanting some space.
Severide has been treating Kidd like persona non grata in an attempt to create some distance, but without cluing her in on why he’s giving her the colder shoulder, Kidd doesn’t know what to think.
All she sees is the man she loves reverting to old and problematic habits, and she’s not about to go down this road again.
She gave Severide every opportunity to explain himself, but after days of him avoiding her, not only at work but also at home, she decided to what was best for her and stayed with her friend.
So, naturally, just as Kidd did this, Severide realized that avoiding his girlfriend wouldn’t make their problems go away.
However, he may have been a little too late, as it’s unclear where things between the couple go from here.
The best thing Severide can do moving forward is to be honest with Kidd.
Kidd: What is going on?
Severide: I’m heading to Med.
Kidd: That’s not what I mean. You haven’t talked to me in days. You’re not at the apartment or on shift. You keep bailing on helping me study.
Severide: You don’t need my help.
Telling her the truth about the rumors regarding her being fast-tracked to lieutenant won’t fix what’s already been done, but it may just salvage their relationship.
Kidd can’t take much more of this, and honestly, she shouldn’t have to, for while there is something to be said for Severide wanting to keep his distance at work, shutting Kidd completely out is an extreme response.
The worst part about this is that Kidd doesn’t know that there’s a problem to begin with; all she sees is Severide pulling away.
Things aren’t looking much better for Casey and Brett, for their path to love just got a little more complicated.
Both the captain and paramedic got potential new love interests this episode via Sydney, a car crash victim with a wicked sense of humor, and Lt. Greg Granger, a fellow firefighter for the CFD.
While it’s too early to make judgments about these two new characters, it’s clear they were just introduced to prevent any sort of romantic reconciliation between Casey and Brett in the interim.
It’s frustrating that the writers feel the need to introduce these new characters to keep Casey and Brett apart when there’s already a plausible plot point at play: Gabby Dawson.
However, it seems the lingering presence of Dawson wasn’t enough of an obstacle for the lovebirds, so two new characters had to be thrown into the mix.
These characters are just placeholders, for neither Casey nor Brett is capable of becoming seriously involved with someone else right now.
Granger: Hey, quick question. That blonde paramedic in your house, think her last name’s Brett.
Casey: What about her?
Granger: How does she feel about firefighters? I know some women don’t like dating inside the CFD. I’ll cut to the chase. Is she seeing anyone?
Casey: No, no, she’s not.
Even though the pair have agreed to be friends and give each other space, those feelings don’t go away because your brain made a conscious decision.
Both are still carrying a torch for the other, and jumping into a new relationship won’t make those feelings of like dissipate.
Interestingly, both Casey and Brett seem to be taking their cues from the other on how to proceed.
Brett only started chatting up Granger at the bar after seeing Casey and Sydney hitting it off at the firehouse.
In turn, Casey only considered calling Sydney after witnessing Brett and Granger’s friendly and slightly flirtatious conversation at Molly’s.
It’s like they’ve both accepted that they’re not going to be together right now, but neither wants to be the first to move on for fear that the other will then declare their underlying love and, at that point, it’ll be too late.
They’ve both got one foot still in this is non-relationship, so ‘shippers shouldn’t give up hope yet. It’s just going to take some time.
Lastly, the lighter, not really related to the rest of the episode but still fun subplot, featured Mouch and an old nemesis.
When the episode synopsis mentioned Mouch reigniting an old feud, it seemed like our least favorite lackey Gorsch would be returning, especially after Gorsch’s lack of due diligence almost cost Mouch his job at 51 on Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 3.
Cruz: You’re doing the right thing, Mouch. That’s a tough act to follow.
Mouch: Oh, this isn’t done. Sun Tzu said, ‘Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.’
Herrmann: Yeah, well the wise Christopher Herrmann says, ‘You might want to shovel this mess up before your chief lays eyes on it.’
Bringing back Gorsch would have been an aggravating decision, but fortunately, we got to enjoy a comedic donut-themed feud instead.
While Mouch’s old rival ended up being some random firefighter with whom Mouch had beef in the past, the subplot was still highly enjoyable.
Part of it is that the start of the feud is based on facts.
As someone with the nickname that means half-man, half-couch, you can bet Mouch would go to war with someone over sitting in his designated spot.
And as ludicrous as it is that Mouch and this other firefighter reignited a decades-old feud through a series of donut escapades and pranks, I couldn’t help but smile as each retaliatory antic managed to outdo the previous one.
In these trying and uncertain times that we find ourselves in, we could all use a distracting donut war or two.
Some stray thoughts:
Gallo and Mackey’s slow burn is so cute. Usually, these things are frustrating to watch progress because we so badly want the characters together, but I’m loving that the show is taking its time. Gallo hasn’t had a better chance than to shoot his shot after saving Mackey’s life.
If Cruz hadn’t been there, Gallo totally would have asked Mackey out, right? Or did the maybe she has kids thing throw him? Whatever the reason, Cruz can’t be around all the time, and it’s bound to happen at some point.
Please give me more Ritter. There was not enough of him this episode. Also, where’s our favorite firefighting dog Tuesday at? We demand the return of Tuesday!
Platt’s reaction to the dancing elf Mouch was priceless. I almost forgot they were married, what with us barely seeing them on screen together. More Mouch and Platt, please.
So what did you think, Chicago Fire Fanatics?
Did Boden’s storyline fall flat?
Has Stellaride reached the point of no return?
What’s your take on Sydney and Greg?
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.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.