“Chicago Fire” recap (1.7) “She’s Baaaack”

Previously on Chicago Fire, Voight got locked up for now, Dawson suited up, mouthed off, and got suspended, Shay played wingman for Severide and asked awkward questions about Mills’ hot little sister, and Dawson made sad puppy dog eyes at Casey.

Happy Thanksgiving! The team is working the holiday and starting the day with a trip to a daycare center which is open for children whose parents like a nice, quiet, dinner table so they have taken the idea of a kids’ table to the next level and outsourced. It’s a gas leak or so they think until they go looking for a dude who ventured back inside. They find Leonard in the basement and discover it’s not as much a gas leak as a meth lab. I am feeling like a truly excellent parent since I know they use the space under my kid’s pre-school for storage and not for the manufacture of dangerous, volatile, brain-eating drugs.

After they save Leonard’s drug manufacturing butt, Severide’s shoulder throbs so he pops some of his horse tranquilizers, or whatever pharma-booty call gave him, which is truly ill advised since the Chief decides everyone who was there is going to get tested for meth.

Severide starts to freak out and asks Shay if the drugs he just took will show up in the drug screen and she does what I love about her, she drops him on his ass with some killer sarcasm and her incredible, “are you kidding me” face. She asks what he’s taking and when he shows her she notes that stuff would have been too much for Michael Jackson. She gives him an incredulous look and says “you want to know if the narcotics you just took will show up in a drug screen.”

The Chief notices the same creepy kid who was lurking at the last fire scene is here again. I feel confident that he is related to the super creepy kid from the PLL episode with the doll hospital because they both make my skin crawl and make me want to turn on every light in the house.

There’s something about his flat affect and Tom-Riddle-in-the-orphanage look in his eyes. But this kid’s no wizard and every time he sets a wardrobe on fire the fire fighters show up. He tells the Chief he “likes to watch.” Shudder. The Chief invites the lurker to the firehouse to see the fire engines whenever he wants.

Back at the firehouse Casey and Hallie are getting busy in his bunk because even though she’s an intern we’re supposed to buy that she’s not working Thanksgiving. Her sister shows up with her kids and Hallie complains that her sister is always busting up her “nooners” and all I can think of is this magnificent scene from Glee.

“It’s about a nooner.”

Creepy kid, whose name is Ernie, shows up and the Chief invites him to eat with everyone. Chief pulls Herrmann aside and asks him to spend some time with the kid because the Chief, and everyone watching the show, thinks the kid might be a “firebug.”

The team gets called out just as Mills’ hot little sister arrives to help Mills cook the Thanksgiving feast. Severide, ever the gentleman, carries her groceries and holds the door.

The call is to help a guy who has been shot but when they all hop out of the fire engine the shots continue. They move the truck and the ambulance to block the shooters from the victim and help him into the ambulance. Someone tells the group there is a second victim who turns out to be Cruz’s brother.

While the rest of the crew is getting shot at and taking family members to the ER, Severide is getting his flirt on with Mills’ little sister over chopping onions. What is it with the Mills family and their food related flirtation?

Severide is telling Mills’ sister “and then the heavy set chick was like ‘Nice receding hairline and it looks like you put on a few pounds…’” when the drug tester shows up and Severide says “Oops, swallowed a bug” and disappears as quickly as Morgan at the Harvard bar. While the tester hands out his goodies, Herrmann bonds with the firebug whose home life is way less than ideal. I start to feel for the kid who lives with his grandmother because his dad’s in jail, but he’s still creepy as ever.

Thankfully, our next scene involves the lovely paramedics who are stuck in traffic and watching as a couple have a nice, Thanksgiving Day argument in the middle of the sidewalk. Dawson asks Shay whose fault the fight is and Shay says “the woman, it’s always the woman’s fault. Which is why I am happily single.” Oh, Shay, just wait until you see what’s waiting for you back at the station.

As soon as Shay and Dawson return to the fire house, Cruz tells Shay she has a visitor waiting. As she rounds the corner the first thing Shay does is lose the ponytail and arrange her long blond tresses around her hoodie-puffer vet combination. Clearly she is ready to look her best at a moment’s notice. Her face lights up at the sight of Clarice and I’m busy screaming “Noooooo!” at the screen because her face does this as Clarice blathers on about being “blown away” after seeing Shay last time.

Shay is doing her best to play it cool but her eyes are darting down to check out Clarice’s pregnancy enhanced ta-tas and she’s about as cool as a puppy trying to sit still for a treat. Down, Shay! Dawson’s got all of us covered with her eye roll because she knows she’s the one who is going to get the call at 2 AM when Clarice dicks Shay over again.

Shay is about as different from her usual self as we have seen. She plays with her hair and gives coy smiles and slumps her shoulders as she gets Clarice some coffee. Gone is her swagger and meek Shay is back in her place. Not to worry, Dawson sidles up to Clarice and lets her know that Shay is doing well right now and that Clarice should slink her pregnant butt back to her husband and leave Shay the hell alone.

When Shay comes back and wonders where Clarice went Dawson just says she went home. She omits the part where she told the bitch to step away from her best friend, but that’s just a minor detail, really.

Severide’s on the phone to pharma-booty asking how to beat the drug test and she all but laughs in his face. Looks like Kelly is in big trouble for popping pills on the job. Severide tells the tester he put the sample down and it just disappeared. Curses! The pee bandit must have struck at the fire house. Before the crew can sit down to their meal the alarm goes off and they are called out to a fire started when some guy tried to deep fry a turkey with a beer can in it. Don’t be surprised when someone form this brain trust wins a Darwin award next year.

Herrmann tells the Chief he’s not sure if the kid is an arsonist or not but that the profile fits. He warns the Chief not to try to replace a kid he lost with a kid he can’t save. Later we see the Chief calling his son and leaving a message with parental anguish all over his face.

The Chief questions Ernie about what he carries around in his backpack and the kid gets shifty and squirrelly. He freaks out, calls the Chief a “bitch,” and rides off into the night on his Huffy bike. Not exactly the best way to convince someone that you’re not up to something shady.

Severide can’t evade the drug tester anymore and he stares at himself in the bathroom mirror and it shows him that his deepest desire is to pass the drug test. Apparently, this mirror also grants wishes because Shay arrives with a cup o’ pee for him.

This is above and beyond the call of les-bro friendship guidelines and both Shay and Severide know it.

Once again, before they can eat their reheated dinner they are called out to a ten car pileup on the interstate. Dawson and Shay work on a guy who is bleeding out of his neck and Casey is left to deliver a baby on his own as Dawson talks him through it over the radio. Casey tells the lady “let’s do this” like he’s leading a charge onto the field at the Rose Bowl or something. Pro tip, buddy you’re not doing anything but catching the kid, she’s doing all the work, jackass. Casey gets emotional after the baby finally cries and you know that he’s still hooked on having a kid even if he told Hallie he just wanted to be with her.

If he’s this amped up over someone else’s kid imagine what a treat he’ll be in the delivery room for his own kid.

Despite providing Severide with a get-out-of-jail card with her pee cup, Shay is pissed and tells Severide off before slamming the door on his muscle car and walking home. “I’m taking my pee and I’m going home!”

Friends do crazy things for each other, but I’m hoping this is the last stupid thing Shay does for Severide and that she’s coming to her senses about helping him cover up his injury and now his drug problem. She certainly has blind spots for the people she cares about, whether it’s Severide, Dawson, or Clarice.

Predictably, Casey relays to Hallie his adventures in highway obstetrics and tells her he wants to have a baby with her soon. She’s plays suitably impressed for a woman who has probably delivered her fair share of babies but then tells him that she’s not sure that she ever wants to have kids. Liz Lemon, what do you think of that? That’s a dealbreaker ladies!

There’s a knock and when Shay opens the door it’s Clarice crying about how she doesn’t love her husband and doesn’t want to raise her kid in a house without love. Shay hugs her and invites her in. The sound you hear is every lesbian screaming at the television because we have all either had that girlfriend or been the friend of someone who just can’t shut the door on that crappy, heartbreaking girl who keeps coming back. Go away Clarice!

In all honesty, as much as Clarice may be bad news for Shay I love that she’s on the show and that Shay is getting this fleshed-out storyline. I love Lauren German on the show and Shay is clearly my favorite character, and not just because she’s gay. She’s the character from whom we’ve seen the most. She’s not forced to be the hero, like Casey, or the broody, misunderstood guy like Severide. She is ballsy, funny, tough, smart, and caring. Really, I know I’ve harped on it before but seriously, Lauren German’s facial expressions are never less than priceless whether she’s the center of a scene or in the periphery.

The episode ends with Dawson buying Casey the drink she promised for his first delivery. He looks happy to see her and she’s teetering a bit as she tries to conceal how she really feels about him.

There are some story lines on this show that really bash you over the head. Casey is the hero and look at how heroic he is! But something that is lost, I think, in some of the over the top storytelling is the really subtle stuff some of the actors are doing. Clearly, I think Lauren German is fantastic but Monica Raymund also does a magnificent job of letting an emotion steal across her face before masking it with another as Dawson tries to control her feelings for Casey (and of course for her lady love, Leslie Elizabeth Shay). Here we see her have to look away from Casey as she’s congratulating him because she’s feeling all her feelings right out there on her face before she plasters on a big smile.

We’ll have to stick around to find out if Clarice is back for good and if Dawson and Casey’s drinks turn into sexy times or not.

Did your holiday plans involve Chicago Fire? Are you glad to see Clarice back?