TV Review: Chicago Fire Season 2 Episode 3 "Defcon 1"

Another week, another strong episode from Chicago Fire. Let's get into it.

To quickly summarize: the three calls they responded to this week were great. Each week Chicago Fire has this authentic shooting style that I've grown to appreciate. The calls also have a movie quality aspect to them in regards to both the size and intricacy of each one. The first call, which involved a car driving off a parking garage into the water, especially fit that description. Severide had to put on diving gear and jump in. After discovering someone trapped inside, Severide went after him - having to cut his safety harness to do so.

Very cool. Perhaps just as important is the fact that the guy who was trapped ended up dying despite the efforts of Severide, Shay, and Dawson. When doing a drama dealing with saving lives (hospital, firefighter, police, or otherwise) it's important to keep the body count realistic.

House was a show that did that well. House is perhaps the most brilliant doctor there ever was, but he isn't God. They can't always save the victims. Chicago Fire has already impressively learned that lesson.

The main thread this season continues to be the arsonist targeting 51. Now, as I expressed in my last review, I was waiting to see what kind of psychological profile they'd come up with. Severide brings Benny into Boden's office to offer just that. Benny explains that Hadley fits the profile of being white, from a broken home, unmarried, and not having stable relationships. First of all, that explanation sounded shaky at best to me.

Boden agreed, telling Benny "You are talking about half the firefighters I know, including you [Severide]." Defcon 1 then goes onto pinning the reasoning on the fact Hadley is angry for being transferred out of 51, and wants to prove he's smarter than Boden. Yikes, even shakier. They just gave two explanations (psych profile and anger) and had one character prove one of the explanations to be incorrect.

It's early, so I'll just say I'm not completely on board. Let's see if they have another reasoning coming out soon that I'm not seeing in a future episode.

Hadley had some interesting scenes this episode. I originally thought his unexpected arrival at the Firehouse was some unneeded macho frat boy move on his part. However, when he showed up at the last call - a condemned building burning with two people trapped inside - and used his earlier visit as proof he didn't do it, I thought it was a genius twist. Obviously, he probably still set the fire somehow, or at the very least was still involved, but now Firehouse 51 isn't sure to what extent. There's something interesting about an antagonist who is out in the open, making moves and not waiting to be caught. He's out there provoking the people who are trying to prove he is a serial arsonist.

It's a fun chess game to watch. Maybe Hadley is tipping his hand by showing up to the other Firefighters, maybe he isn't. I'm excited to find out how it turns out.

During Hadley and Severide's skirmish, I noticed a few people filming it with their cellphones. I wonder if that'll come into play later.

Hopefully not with McLeod, though. If I had one minor nitpick, it would be the fact that she's still poking around and threatening Boden's job. Again, they're threatening something that clearly isn't going to happen.

What, are they going to transfer Boden to another Firehouse and remove a major character from the show? Unless it's the beginning of another spin-off, Boden will be around for awhile. The McLeod character serves little purpose.

Although she helped fuel Herrmann's passionate anti-snitch speech to Clark, which was cool to watch. But she's still gotta go.

While we're airing out minor grievances, hey Chicago Fire: easy on the Isabella/Mills/Dawson love triangle, okay? I don't believe Dawson when she acts like she's over him and gives Isabella the green light.

Don't dip into familiar territory there (!)

Some fun tension like the turf war between the ultra expensive Game Day Bar and Molly's (run by Otis, Dawson, and Herrmann) is much more suited for this show.

Or any show really, because what they're threatening (losing the business/bar) has a very real chance of happening.

Plus, you get jokes/gags like calling the Fire Marshall on Game Day and Herrmann learning the term "Defcon 1" which was fun to watch.

Probably my favorite story throughout this whole episode was Casey and Dawson's. Casey had a nice moment with Heather's kids using his experience visiting his mom in jail to help them get ready to visit Heather.

There was a particularly nice moment earlier, where Casey is called to the school because of a fight involving the older son Griffin.

As the principal is threatening to call child services on Casey, Dawson comes in and pretends to be Casey's girlfriend to help prove there is a stable home environment. It was a sweet moment.

Later on in the ambulance, Dawson tells Shay that since pretending to be Casey's girlfriend wasn't weird or awkward, she thinks she's really into this Jay guy she's been flirting with.

That logic makes zero sense to me. Regardless, she's a woman who has feelings for multiple guys, so she's gotta figure something to make things less complicated.

Luckily, in the best surprise* of the night, things became less complicated for Dawson's personal life. Dawson's flirting partner Jay, who also was looking through Molly's cash register behind Dawson's back, turns out to be Arthur's accomplice, who hired Jay to scout Molly's financials. You may recall Arthur as the mob member who last season extorted a 1% cut out of Dawson, Otis, and Herrmann for getting the inspector off their back. Because of Jay's help, Arthur was able to tell that Herrmann, Otis, and Dawson weren't giving up the full 1% he was owed, so he is coming back demanding a new deal.

Awesome. Needless to say, Dawson is done with Jay.

I wonder how this will bring Dawson back to Casey.

Does she go to him for help? Does this make her realize being comfortable around someone while pretending to be their girlfriend should tell her something? I'm extremely anxious to see where this goes.


Oops, caps lock key got stuck. Hehe.

Overall, two thumbs way up. I honestly don't get why this show isn't in the conversation with ABC's Scandal when it comes to the best major network drama. Bring on the next episode.

Photo Credit: // Elizabeth Morris/NBC (C) NBC Universal, Inc.