‘Chicago Fire’ season 5, episode 4 review: Jesse Spencer’s showcase; Mouch, Brett’s big win

Casey -If you want an example of a “Chicago Fire” episode that bounces around and gives you updates on several different members of the cast, we imagine that there are many you can point to over the series’ run on NBC. Tuesday night’s new episode for the most part is not one of them. It was largely defined by one character in Matthew Casey who found himself tested as a first responder and hero while, ironically, working in one of his other duties as alderman.

After an incident at a warehouse, Casey found himself needing to not only rescue himself from an extremely-combustible situation, but also find a way to get an injured man and his young daughter Laurel to safety. This was probably one of the finest showcases for Jesse Spencer over the past year, especially in terms of how he plays the firefighter part of Casey in addition to the politician or the husband. He showed the sort of resolve you’d want from someone in this sort of position, but also just enough humanity to properly remind you that this is a human being, and someone who is going to have the wrong read sometimes. The difference is all about the recovery, and he was able to bounce back from many of his missteps.

Casey was the hero in the end, and he spared this family from a potentially-gruesome fate. Almost equally important, he was reminded himself of the importance of everything in his life, and the value that he holds in being a new parent to Louie and a rock to Dawson, even if she doesn’t need one. Powerful stuff all around.

Dawson defies orders – While there was a lack of payoff (at least for now) with this story, we have to imagine that her defying the wishes of an elderly women and those responsible for her care in taking her to Chicago Med will have ramifications down the road. It has to, otherwise this story was a waste. It did establish tension between Dawson and Brett, which is certainly a nice start.

Lighter fare – We had two really sideplots perfectly placed in here right when things were starting to get a little bit tough elsewhere. First, Otis thought he was heading to Mars! Sort of. He played along with a plan to help colonize the planet for most of the episode as a way to punk Cruz, who was initially punking him with the prospect of heading to the Red Planet as an escape. Otis said he knew what was going on the moment he saw the cricket protein powder, and we gotta be honest: We would’ve dumped that powder out the moment we got it.

Meanwhile, Brett and Mouch struggled to find a solid publisher for their steamy romance before they uncovered an idea from an unlikely source: Trudy Platt. She stumbled upon her husband’s secret job by accident courtesy of him taking the wrong phone to work; from there, she got a good laugh out of his hobby before reminding him and his co-author that she has a connection. She may have been angry at first, but that cooled off quickly! We love a good surprise, and this was one of them. (Bonus: We spoke to Amy Morton about this last week on set — head over here to read about it.)

Grade: B+. Like we said, a really strong story for Jesse Spencer with some fun elements mixed in. While we’ve seen more epic installments of the series over time, we do enjoy the ones that are small, persona, and anchored by intimate moments.

Next week Click here for more details all about that. (Photo: NBC.)

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