Spoilers

Chicago Fire Season 10 Episode 2 Review: Head Count

Well, that was a blast from the past.

The last thing we expected to see on Chicago Fire Season 10 Episode 2 was for Griffin Darden, the son of late firefighter Andy Darden, to randomly show up at Firehouse 51, but that’s exactly what happened.

Griffin’s return came out of the blue — it has been over eight seasons after all — and we have no idea what’s brought him back into 51’s orbit. Whatever the reason, it’s sure to be one heck of a ride.

For those who need a quick recap, Andy Darden died at the start of Chicago Fire Season 1 Episode 1, leaving Heather a widow and his two sons fatherless.

Griffin and Ben live with Casey temporarily during the second season while Heather is in jail for drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter. She’s released from jail later in the season, and she, Griffin, and Ben then move to Florida for a fresh start.

As for what’s happened since then is anybody’s guess. We have an eight-year gap where anything under the sun could have happened. Aliens could have abducted Heather and Ben, for all we know. (Yes, that’s a stretch and didn’t happen, but you catch my drift.)

What we do know is Griffin came to 51 to seek out Casey. Griffin and his family are facing some problem, and he needs the captain’s help in solving it.

We still have no idea what that problem could be, and we’ll have to wait until next week for answers. The promo for Chicago Fire Season 10 Episode 3 provides no insight on Griffin’s visit, and the synopsis is pretty vague, only stating Griffin “reveals why he really came to visit Casey.”

So, for now, all we can do is wonder. On the bright side, Griffin picked the right man for the job. If there’s anyone at 51 who can help the Dardens out of a bind, it’ll be Casey.

The captain always goes above and beyond for his family, and even after eight years, the Dardens are still family.

Casey may not have recognized a grown-up Griffin, but the moment he knew who the young man standing before him was, the captain resolved himself to help, no matter. Why? Because that’s just the kind of standup guy Casey is.

However, it’s not just Casey. Firehouse 51 is full of outstanding, exemplary, and honorable firefighters, men and women who will risk everything for what’s right, no matter the cost.

Even Herrmann, who can sometimes be so tone-deaf and politically incorrect that I want to scream, is an all-around good guy. He may have his flaws, but his heart is usually in the right place.

Case and point, Herrmann taking the blame for Brett. The lieutenant bore partial responsibility for breaking protocol and calling Brett, but he didn’t have to take the fall with the new paramedic field chief.

Yes, at the time, he thought it would only be a slap on the wrist, but even after Boden spelled out how this could derail Herrmann’s future career and promotions at the CFD, he remained steadfast in his decision.

For Herrmann, it wasn’t about what the consequences of going outside the chain of command might be; it was about the fact he, Brett, Violet, and the rest of Engine 51 were able to save the little boy’s life.

If Herrmann hadn’t phoned Brett, an ambulance might not have gotten there in time, and the little boy could have died. And that would have weighed heavier on Herrmann more than any black mark on his personnel file could.

Herrmann did what he did because he thought it was right, consequences be damned, and if he could do it all over again, he would make the same decision.

And if this subplot did anything besides remind us that Herrmann can be loveable on occasion, it demonstrated the need for a paramedicine program in Chicago.

Non-emergent 911ers detract from the already limited number of ambulances, making it harder for paramedics and EMTs to respond to actual emergencies. Because of these frequent flyers, ambulance wait times are longer, meaning more people could die.

It’s a big problem, but fortunately, Brett came up with a way to help. The only obstacle is that she needs approval from the new paramedic field chief, also known as the angry man who, just hours prior, told Brett he hoped never to see her again.

For the little we know, this guy Hawkins is a real stickler for the rules and probably follows them to a tee.

He’s most likely not going to be the person who encourages Brett to see this through and instead, tries to put the kabosh on her plan.

This is yet another reason why it sucks that Boden is leaving. If he stayed at 51, Brett’s plan could have sailed right through, or at the very least, have been met with little resistance until it reached the CFD brass.

Now, it looks as if Brett will spend most of the first half of the season fighting with Hawkins before she inevitably wins him over. It’ll take longer than Brett or we want, but she’ll succeed in the end.

Lastly, Cruz can deny it all he wants, but we all know he’s not fine. His near-death experience on Chicago Fire Season 10 Episode 1 was traumatic, and whether he’s suffering from PTSD or anxiety, something is wrong with Cruz. 

Understandably, he’s not in the right headspace after such a close call, but until Cruz confronts his demons head-on, he won’t be able to get past this.

Unfortunately, mental health issues don’t resolve themselves, no matter how much we might wish they would.

However, this isn’t just about Cruz. By not dealing with the trauma he suffered, Cruz puts the lives of his fellow firefighters and the victims they’re meant to be helping in jeopardy.

Someone could die or be severely injured because he’s not in the right headspace, or he has another panic attack. It’s irresponsible for Cruz to stay on active duty while he’s not at 100%, but unless something goes terribly wrong, I don’t see that changing for the time being.

Yes, the promo for the next episode indicated Severide was benching Cruz, but that could be a ruse or a line from the episode taken out of context.

And even if Severide is relieving Cruz, that still doesn’t mean Cruz will be forced to confront his trauma. Instead, he could simply sit out the remainder of the shift and claim he’s fine when Severide next asks him how’s he doing.

Therefore, let’s hope Cruz’s hollow words don’t fall on deaf ears for much longer because he does need help. A therapy session with Chicago Med‘s Dr. Charles would be a good start, but I’d love to see the series go beyond one session.

Mental health isn’t something you can get a one-time tune-up and be good as new. It takes months, if not years, of therapy to address an issue, something television isn’t keen on portraying.

Usually, TV shows therapy as the end result, but in reality, it’s just the beginning. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step, but it’s by no means the last, so hopefully, Chicago Fire will surprise us and follow Cruz’s progress, not just jumping to the finish line.

Some stray thoughts:

  • If Cruz is sidelined from Squad 3 for the time being, do we think Gallo will step up and take his place? Gallo’s unafraid of making the risky saves, but he’s since learned to ask for permission instead of jumping in head-first. It might be time for the young firefighter to make the transition.

  • I loved the callback to “Sheets on Fire.” I’d completely forgotten about Mouch’s failed book. It was hilarious that he put it in the free mini library and even funnier that he put it back after getting chewed out by an angry mother. 

  • Boden packed up his office. It sure seems like he’s leaving 51, but he’ll be back, right? There’s no way Boden can leave 51 forever, is there?

  • Casey is so cluelessly inept when it comes to social media. It’s hilarious.

So what did you think, Chicago Fire Fanatics?

Why has Griffin returned?

How much trouble is Herrmann in?

When will Cruz confront his trauma head-on?

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.

Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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