Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 12 Review: Natural Born Firefighter

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All's well that ends well.

That was the general sentiment reached by our favorite firefighters at the end of Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 12, as it was pretty much happy endings all around.

Well, not for Brett and Grainger, but we all knew that wouldn't last, so that doesn't count technically. Yes, things are looking up for 51.

Mouch, Herrmann, and Gallo long - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 12

Of course, just writing those words could wreak havoc on the entire firehouse, but given that all the episodes for the season are most likely written by now, I think we're safe for the time being.

To start, Casey's possibly career-ending head injury turned out to be a major red herring.

Brett: I’m coming with you to hear the results.
Casey: Sylvie…
Brett: No, I know firefighting is your whole life, and you’re scared as hell, but so am I. We can be scared together.
Casey: You have your own life to deal with. I was being selfish.
Brett: Matt Casey, don’t argue with me. You just call me when you hear or else.

It was somewhat of a cop-out to pull a bait and switch at the last second, though it was always unlikely the series would sideline Casey for more than a few episodes.

In some ways, this is better, as we don't have to suspend our disbelief of Casey being miraculously cured after undergoing a risky or experimental brain surgery.

However, now we don't get a Chicago Med crossover, so there are pros and cons.

Casey troubling path - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 10

What ended up being the best thing to come out of Casey's injury was it led to Brett and Grainger's breakup.

Grainger was right to end things with Brett.

Not only did she blatantly lie to him about Casey being the friend, but she also prioritized Casey's needs over her boyfriend's.

While you could argue Casey's prognosis fell into extraordinary circumstances, Grainger could read between the lines: Brett was still hung up on her maybe, sort of, almost ex.

Brett treats - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 12

It wasn't fair to him for them to keep dating, not when Brett's heart belongs to someone else.

And based on that almost kiss at the doctor's office, something tells me Brett's not going to be heartbroken for too long.

Grainger: You warned me this could happen. I can't get upset about that. You left out that the friend you’re helping is Casey.
Brett: Oh, I… it’s really just a privacy thing. He hasn’t told a lot of people. I feel terrible about ruining another plan. Can we reschedule? Anytime.
Grainger: I don’t think that’s such a good idea.
Brett: Why not?
Grainger: Because I think you have some stuff you need to figure out, Sylvie.

If Casey and Brett end up getting together by the end of Chicago Fire Season 9, which I presume is the direction the show is headed, there still needs to be a conversation to address the Dawson situation.

A part of Casey may always love Dawson, but that doesn't mean he's also not in love with Brett.

Casey continues - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 10

As many TV shows have taught us, it's possible to love two people simultaneously.

So Casey needs to find a way to convey that to Brett.

Or, she needs to accept that Dawson will always hold a special place in his heart, but that doesn't take away from what they can have.

If that discussion isn't had at some point, this relationship is doomed before it even starts.

Herrmann respond - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 12

Elsewhere, Herrmann continued to be the best version of himself as he tried to help a felon join the CFD.

It's a fascinating discussion on whether felons should be permitted to become firefighters.

Kidd: Commissioner, respectfully, you and I both had to fight to get our foot in the CFD’s door. And we continue to fight our way up the ladder to prove that we belong. This young man isn't perfect. He stole a car when he was 17. But he served his time, and he put his life on the line fighting wildfires for 80 cents an hour and some time knocked off his sentence. We met him on a call where he helped save the life of a woman when he could have run out the door. He has CFD material written all over him, and he can't even apply. We just want give him a fair shot.
Hill: I appreciate your passion, truly, I do, but the CFD is an elite group of men and women. We’re exclusionary on purpose. Some people can't be firefighters no matter how bad they want it.

The CFD wasn't exactly unreasonable with its hiring policy, as most employers won't hire applicants with a felony conviction.

A quick Google search found that felony or serious misdemeanor convictions can disqualify felons from becoming firefighters, and it's usually up to the individual department to set hiring rules and guidelines.

Boden leads - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 12

However, Mason showed that maybe there should be exceptions in some instances, or at least an appeal process for rejected applicants.

Mason wasn't some hardened criminal who killed people for fun; he was a boy who fell into a bad crowd and got arrested for stealing a car when he was 17.

As many discussed throughout the hour, we all do stupid things when we're young, and that shouldn't dictate our entire future.

Adding another layer to this storyline was that Mason was a firefighter in prison, which brings up the issue that since inmates can fight fires while in prison, shouldn't they be allowed to fight fires on the outside?

Violet treats - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 12

It seems like a reasonable assumption, as long as the former prisoners aren't mass murderers or serial rapists.

But again, it's not that simple.

Herrmann: Nice, you ever think of applying with the CFD.
Mason: No.
Herrmann: You can tell me to mind my own business, and I’ll hit the road, but I have been doing this long enough to recognize raw talent. What happened? You got hurt? Whatever it was, you’re still young enough. You can always apply with the CFD.
Mason: No, I can’t.
Herrmann: Why not?
Mason: Because I was a firefighter in prison. The CFD won’t hire felons.

The good news, though, is that some states are already addressing this issue.

In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill allowing inmate firefighters to have their records expunged, clearing the path for them to be eligible for firefighting jobs upon release.

So there is still some hope for the Masons of the world; it just may take some time.

Mouch save - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 12

Lastly, it's been great to watch Mouch get the much-needed praise he deserves.

Being a firefighter is never about glory or accolades, but it's still nice to be recognized by your colleagues for the work you do.

Mouch has felt like an irrelevant dinosaur as of late, and being asked to be a guest speaker was just the reminder he needed that he's still relevant and has the wisdom to pass on to the next generation of firefighters.

He may be old, but don't count him out just yet.

Gallo respond - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 12

Gallo and Ritter may not always show it, but they are acutely aware of everything that happens in the firehouse, even more so than some of the more experienced firefighters.

So it wasn't just some random coincidence that they asked Mouch to speak to their group after making an amazing save.

Gallo: Actually we don’t need Mike Thompson.
Mouch: You don’t?
Ritter: We found someone better.
Mouch: Better than ‘The Bullet’?
Ritter: Yeah.
Mouch: What does this mean?
Gallo: It means you Mouch.
Mouch: Me?
Ritter: Yeah, I want our group to get a little taste of everything I’ve learned from you. From the things you said to me when I was locked up on that stairwell to the skills I learned watching you on every call.
Gallo: And how you kicked epic ass on that party storefront.
Ritter: You’re the guy we want to hear from.

Yes, that was part of it, but the duo was also aware of how Mouch felt and knew this would put a smile on his face.

Gallo and Ritter may act like kids sometimes -- mainly, just Gallo -- but their hearts are always in the right place.

Ritter talks - Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 11

Some stray thoughts:

  • The Boden-parking spot thief subplot was decent enough for laughs, though I think we all realized pretty early the thief would subvert expectations somehow. And the caretaker of a wheelchair-bound nun with ALS certainly fits that mold. 

  • Did anyone else have a moment of fear that Kidd overstepped with Deputy Chief Hill and ruined her chances of a promotion? Not that I expected Hill to be that petty, but the CFD is very political, so you never can tell.

  • Can I say how much I've come to love Herrmann lately? He's the best version of himself, and it shows. Please, writers, don't revert to the misogynistic, old school of thinking, Herrmann. He's way better this way.

So what did you think, Chicago Fire Fanatics?

Were you let down by Casey's prognosis?

What are your thoughts on Herrmann and Kidd's efforts?

How sweet are Gallo and Ritter?

Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you missed the latest episode, remember you can watch Chicago Fire online at TV Fanatic.

Natural Born Firefighter Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (7 Votes)

Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.

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Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 12 Quotes

Herrmann: Nice, you ever think of applying with the CFD.
Mason: No.
Herrmann: You can tell me to mind my own business, and I’ll hit the road, but I have been doing this long enough to recognize raw talent. What happened? You got hurt? Whatever it was, you’re still young enough. You can always apply with the CFD.
Mason: No, I can’t.
Herrmann: Why not?
Mason: Because I was a firefighter in prison. The CFD won’t hire felons.

Casey: I’d have to quit the CFD, obviously.
Brett: Hey, Matt, slow down. He said it was possible, not that it was certain, right?
Casey: Right.
Brett: So we don’t know anything yet. We’ll get the MRI and go from there. It’s going to be OK. No matter what we’ll figure it out.