TV Review: Chicago Fire Season 2 Episode 4 "A Nuisance Call"

Pretty incredible episode.

Dawson and Shay go on what they call "a nuisance call" - where they respond to the same guy (for the 1000th time) who is just lonely and is never really in any danger. However, as Boden points out, they have to respond anyway. Right away, you can tell there has been some research done here. You can totally imagine calls like this happening. However, when Shay and Dawson got there, things quickly went downhill fast.

After trying to convince the guy that calls like these have to stop, he pulled out a gun. Right when it looked like Shay was going to get the gun, the man shot himself.

The score was perfect as blood sprayed on their faces.

A lot of big network shows like to use audio manipulation and drown the audience in loud dramatic scores.

This score was more subtle which let the shock of the moment and the acting of Lauren German and Monica Raymund shine.

Now since this is a network show, we didn't see the man's face get blown apart - just the blood being sprayed on Shay and Dawson's face. However, I applaud the show (and NBC) for the scene in the bathroom with Shay.

As she was washing up, she freaks out when she finds some kind of skin fragment from the shooting that was caught in her belt. It elevated the rawness of the scene (and the suicide from earlier) to another level.

The shooting leads to tension between Shay and Dawson. During the shooting, Dawson tried to have Shay step back, but she doesn't. This leads to a sticky situation later when Dawson has to pull rank and bring up the fact that she's the lead paramedic. This is an interesting dynamic given their usual equal playing field loyal best friend status they always have.

When you have two characters who are usually joined at the hip, you have to be careful with tension. In other shows when it's sloppily shoehorned in, it's obvious and cringe-inducing.

This felt completely organic to the story. The tension specifically (dispute over procedures that ended in the death of someone) mirrored the Severide/Casey tension from the pilot very nicely.

The ambulance stories are always interesting within the context of the Firehouse. When Shay and Dawson go off on a call by themselves and it goes bad like it did this episode, they don't have anyone else to talk to about it like they would normally on a call with all the firefighters.

This was really the first time we saw this isolation take place.

Along with that was the idea of having certain calls impacting one of them more than the other, this case being Shay - who ended up drunk-crying on the lap of Otis.

It's another layer of complexity to the dynamic of these characters that I admire.

Hadley meets his demise in this episode. After tracing him to a building, Severide catches him in the act and Hadley gets badly burned. I still stand by my earlier statement that I don't buy him as a serial arsonist. Earlier in the episode, he crashes Mouch's union rep fundraiser, and harasses him in front of everyone with questions like "why'd you turn your back on a union brother?" To me, that's about how big he should have gotten.

It's easy to see how pissed he could have been about being pushed out of 51, and this was a way of getting back. Not setting fires with a psych profile that one of the characters (Boden) explains as being the same as most of the firefighters in the house.

When Benny told Severide later that there are "two kinds of people in this world: predators and prey.

You'll drive yourself crazy trying to understand cases like Hadley", it felt like a cop-out to me.

It basically is telling the audience "don't give this too much thought, just move on." The reasoning for Hadley's outbursts went from specific to "we will go crazy trying to figure out crazy."

The same issue with Hadley could be said about McLeod. She again comes in with threats against Boden. The show even utilizes Benny's old grudge with Boden by having Benny suggest 51 isn't the problem, but the Chief is. I see what this strategy does, but it still isn't enough for me. Like Hadley, it's built on a shaky foundation that will fall regardless of how strong the house is. She's not meant to be a huge antagonist, because what she's threatening (fire/transfer of Boden) isn't going to happen.

And if it does, it certainly won't be permanent. There was a mini plot involving a nutrition plan that McLeod was trying to push on the firehouse, with an insurance hike if they didn't sign up for it. It provided some laughs.

That kinda annoying/funny government busy work is the kind of stuff she should stick to. Because like Boden has pointed out, she's not a firefighter. She's not on their level.

Unlike other shows, I'm super critical of this show because of it's greatness. Some of it is nit-picky, but that's because I hold it to a higher standard. And trust me, the little negative things I said about this episode do not in anyway take away/tarnish the greatness that happened throughout it. There's something about this show - the film quality stunts, the acting, the work family atmosphere - that just isn't being done on Television right now. It truly has some of the best acting and writing this season.

It's a joy to watch. Some dramas, even gritty ones on cable networks, I find myself watching for other reasons. Rarely do I find a show that I not only find to be great from a critic standpoint, but also get immense joy from watching from a fan perspective.

Chicago Fire stands in good company there. As they should.

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