TV Review: Chicago Fire Season 2 Episode 20 "A Dark Day"

Empty Lighthouse is a reader-supported site. This article may contain affiliate links to Amazon and other sites. We earn a commission on purchases made through these links.

Chicago Fire is back with a two-part crossover with Chicago PD.

The premise for the crossover is a bomb that goes off at a clinic. Chicago Fire dealt mostly with the immediate aftermath, while Chicago PD tomorrow will deal with the perpetrator(s).

Let's talk about pacing. With TV dramas, collapsed buildings are sort of a thing.

Whether it's a cop or medical show, they have been done before to varying levels of success.

House had a particularly well done collapsed building episode that surrounded heavily with House in the rubble trying to save a crushed woman.

With Chicago Fire's pacing, I'm glad that there were so many interlocking stories going on, which means they made the right choice not having two characters stationary for too long.

Let's talk about what they did have:

The explosion was done well. It could have made me cringe, but instead they did a shot selection of:

Guys flying backwards->guy falls on windshield->minimal CGI fire->cut to wide angle of explosion already done with real smoke.

The less CGI, the better.

Casey and Dawson were already there for a charity event. Casey got the front of the blast - probably not good for his bad head injury already.

It took the rest of the cold open, the beginning of ACT 1 and someone asking "where's Dawson?" for him to even realize she was in the building when it went off.

A trapped main character is vital to any collapsed structure story.

Right before the blast, Dawson had a brief conversation with the head ER doc, who made an appearance during the train accident episode telling both Shay and Dawson they could be doctors if they wanted to.

I found myself cheering when he either pretended or didn't know who she was. Serves you right, Dawson! Now go to med school! Anyways...

Boden and everyone else arrive quickly. Boden holds Mills and Cruz back, who have had bomb training. They all agree that there is probably a second bomb.

They end up finding that bomb in a rental car in the parking lot. It's explained that it's an "amateur" bomb with no timer so it could go off at any time. That bit of exposition is important because it forces them to defuse it, rather than wait.

That cranks the tension up, and it makes us not think they're idiots for not waiting in the process.

Obviously a bomb wasn't going to go off and blow up 3 main cast members, but they did a nice job with the tension (Boden leaning into the car horn, etc).

Burgess was there at the beginning as well, with her niece and friend who both got hit bad. The niece gets a CT scan for what the doctor thinks is a cracked rib, turns out it was a crushed liver. The ER doc who spoke with Dawson tries to find a donor liver that was intended for the ambassador to Syria who died, but it was damaged in the explosion and not usable. The episode ends with the doc telling Burgess that he won't be able to stop the bleeding.

Burgess has some nice emotional scenes with Atwater. The friend ends up having a seizure due to a subdural hematoma, aka a bleed and pressure in the brain. We don't know the results of that surgery either.

The ambassador who was there is our first clue as to why this explosion happened. After seeing the explosion, and hearing Mills compare it to Oklahoma City, I was praying they had some sort of higher authority there.

After a classic Voight threatening contest, he removes the weapons from the diplomatic protection as the FBI swoops in. That's our first taste of where the "why" is going in the Chicago PD episode tomorrow.

Casey and Severide spend the majority of the second half of the episode in the rubble looking for Dawson. They end up finding her, after Dawson bangs two pipes together loud enough to give away her location.

It was a nice touch to have Shay, who had been concealing a deep laceration injury from rebar, hear that they found Dawson before succumbing to her own injuries and collapsing.

The FBI/Syria Ambassador was the cliffhanger for the story, and Shay (while she'll probably be fine) is the emotional cliffhanger.

Although, I wasn't totally getting why she concealed the injury to begin with. It happened in front of a doctor, who could have easily given her a few stitches.

I understand from an EMT standpoint - putting your health at risk to help others first.

But that cut clearly wasn't going to be fine with some bandages.

If the audience is to believe she is as good of an EMT as she's portrayed, shouldn't she also know that all that blood loss isn't good when she needs to be on top of her game helping people with life threatening injuries? Isn't she putting both the victims and herself at risk? I personally would have made it internal bleeding or something I (or anyone else) couldn't see and think these things.

I couldn't help but think "just get a few stitches, idiot."

But that's harsh, and probably over-analyzing. Sometimes when you can poke a hole in a story that depletes all the drama, it's kind of hard to be as emotionally invested.

HOWEVER: the touch of Shay hearing Dawson is okay before collapsing makes it easy to overlook this fact.

It's a very common thing when two people are so emotionally connected where if they're both hurt, one will hold on to hear the other is okay before succumbing to their injuries further. In that regard, bravo Chicago Fire/PD.

So forget I said that about her injury. I love you Shay.

All in all, a knockout episode of Chicago Fire. As always, it's how you finish. Chicago PD has a lot to live up to with the second part of this crossover, and all signs say it will deliver.

Photo Credit: SpoilerTV