Did you ever have an episode of TV that just rubbed you the wrong way?


That’s how I felt about  Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 5 when the hour began. It was hard to shake the agitation.


It felt like that was the point of it, too. We could all use a massaging easy chair.


What makes a show like Chicago Fire tick is that if you have that attitude going in, you will probably come away feeling entirely different.


That goes for viewers and anyone who comes in contact with Firehouse 51.


The emergency at the high school with a young basketball player whose heart stopped started the whole shebang. It seemed like it would be just like any other case, except when Sylvie and Violet set to do what they’ve done many times before, their equipment failed.


It’s hard to imagine what it must feel like to do everything right and for it all to go so wrong, but the school did have a defibrillator, and they managed to get Jared’s heart beating again. Sounds like a win, right?


Not so fast!


As soon as they returned to the firehouse, the stink of user error had already begun to permeate the discussion about the misadventure.


Of course, they need to look into it, but even Boden’s approach came off as a bit off-kilter. He normally supports his crew entirely, even when things go wrong. He always considers many different avenues, but he was too quick to point out the other possibility first this time.

Boden: If this isn’t equipment failure, it’s user error, and as PIC…
Sylvie: I’m on the hook.


It probably didn’t help that Derrick Gibson was also acting odd.


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You could tell that he connected with the players, but like so many others who come to 51, he has allowed the house’s reputation to color his reactions.


When a rescue goes awry, holding anything back is unwise. It was impossible to tell if he had pertinent information he could share or if something else was on his mind.


The Outsiders versus Firehouse 51 effect isn’t new. Every time someone visits the house in a professional capacity — whether they’re on temporary assignment, joining permanently, investigating an emergency, or just dropping by to deliver something, tension crackles.


It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that Carver finally meshed with the group, so the thought of going through it again was unpleasant.


As luck would have it, Carver‘s short tenure worked in his favor, and after recognizing the similarities, he kept extending the olive branch to Gibson until he grasped it.


Everyone on Chicago Fire buddies up. Casey and Severide, Herrmann and Mouch, Capp and Tony, Violet and Sylvie — the list goes on. So, Carver needs a buddy. Perhaps he just found that with Gibson.


Gibson revealed why he quit boxing and how he became a firefighter. It’s not that different of a story than others who have joined the CFD.


Seeing Jared’s friend Marcus blame himself for Jared’s condition hit home for the former Golden Gloves boxer whose fists ended another man’s life during a bout. When your hands are weapons, you learn to use them wisely; Gibson even admitted that.


But accidents happen. All punches don’t land as expected, and whatever he did to his opponent ended his life. He’s been quiet and introspective and a little bit angry because he’s held it in all these years.


Therapy went a long way to help and changed the course of his life, but the lawyers who told him never to talk about it did him a grave disservice. You can’t stay in therapy forever.


Everyone needs someone they can talk to, and there’s no better group to find your person than with the Firehouse 51 crew.


All of this brings us back to the incident and why the rescue went sideways.


If I ever find myself in a similar situation, I beg anyone who is reading this to remind investigators that there are more pieces than what’s in their hands.


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How did an internal investigator sign off on user error without checking the pads that actually provide the connection between the apparatus and the body? That was a grave error on the part of the CFD, and if anyone was going to get fired, that’s where the lie needed to be drawn.


Instead, we had the new paramedic chief, Robinson, eager to flush Sylvie and her career down the toilet.


No wonder Violet threw caution to the wind and stood up for her partner. That woman is supposed to look out for her paramedics, and instead, she tossed Sylvie into oncoming traffic.


If Violet fell in love with the last paramedic chief, it doesn’t seem like that will be an issue this time out. I fully expect Robinson and that sour look on her face to gun for Violet.


Violet will be vulnerable with a new partner and without her faithful sidekick, so prepare for a very bumpy ride.


Yes, we are about to say goodbye to Sylvie Brett, as she’s one week away from marrying Casey in a fish store.


Did anyone else think that the whole defibrillator incident would come down to user error because Vi was so hung over? It crossed my mind. I don’t know how these people drink so much when they hold actual lives in their hands.


On the one hand, after what they see, they need a drink. On the other hand, drinking could knock them off their footing, and an actual user error could occur.


The biggest bummer was that after weeks of buildup about the bachelorette party, we didn’t even get to see Sylvie wearing a dumb sash, doing a shot, or being forced to kiss a stranger on her big day.


Damn the strikes and this truncated season for denying us that much-deserved girl time!


According to the promo, it looks like Brett and Casey will marry in that stinky fish store surrounded by the people they love.


I’m not ready to let her go, but I’ve long since latched on to Violet as my favorite paramedic, so it’s just as exciting imagining her next steps in Sylvie’s wake.


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People don’t always disappear in this world. Whether Jesse Spencer and Kara Killmer take their characters’ dramatic departure arc to remove them from Chicago entirely will remain to be seen.


Despite so much change, the story feels solid right now.


There is plenty of room for new directions in which to take the story. Kidd and Severide are not solid yet. Mouch and Herrmann are getting used to their new physicalities. Who knows where these and all of those mentioned previously will take us next?


What do you think?


Are you ready to say goodbye to Sylvie Brett? Are you bummed we didn’t get to attend the bachelorette party? Do you feel for Gibson, and are you rooting for the burgeoning friendship between him and Carver?


Hit the comments with your thoughts!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.





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