EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'Chicago Fire' fan recap: Father to father

Season 3 | Episode 18 | “Forgiving, Relentless, Unconditional” | Aired Mar 17, 2015

You think you’ve seen everything on Chicago Fire … and then you get a firefighter and a baby dangling out of a third-story window in the first 10 minutes of an episode. So, there’s that.

“Forgiving, Relentless, Unconditional” finally shines a big ol’ spotlight on Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg). Usually the comedic relief (Herrmann’s TV interview: NEVER FORGET) or the hard-ass father figure of the house (Dawson could still benefit from the Christopher Herrmann School of Firefighting, if you ask me), this time around we were treated to a deeper, more emotional dive into what drives Christopher Herrmann.

It all starts at a house fire in Canaryville—Herrmann’s old neighborhood. A young father comes barreling out of his burning home and informs the team that his infant son is trapped upstairs. There’s hardly any time to mess around with, and it seems as though as soon as Herrmann and Dawson make it into the house, Chief Boden orders them to pull back. Dawson follows orders, but Herrmann can’t bring himself to leave the kid behind—he’s a dad and a hero, you guys, come on!

Herrmann finds the boy, but his only escape route is the window, natch. Herrmann and the baby do some acrobatics while Severide and Squad 3 rush to bring them to safety. The young boy is in bad shape and is rushed to Chicago Med while his father starts to have a complete meltdown—that is, until Herrmann calms him down with his baby blues (seriously, were his eyes always infinity pools into my soul?) and some father-to-father words of advice. Christopher Herrmann: Saving people from fires and themselves since 2015 (but probably longer).

Herrmann (David Eigenberg) makes a daring rescue on NBC

Back at 51, it’s clear that Herrmann is affected by the call. Things escalate when Officers Burgess (Marina Squerciati) and Roman (Brian Geraghty) inform Boden, Casey, and Herrmann that they’ve received intel indicating the father, Ed Slater, might be guilty of criminal negligence and responsible for the fire. They then go on to show them a pretty harrowing video: Slater is drunk and high, lighting up meth and blowing the smoke directly into his son’s face.

Herrmann is disgusted, we’re all disgusted. As Mouch will succinctly put later: Parents hurting kids “flips a switch” with Herrmann. Mouch is right: the switch has been flipped.

The cops can’t locate Slater, so Herrmann decides to use his old ties to the neighborhood to get some real answers. An elderly gentleman with excellent taste in eyewear relays some information about Slater’s whereabouts, but when Truck 81 asks if he found anything useful, Herrmann says no. Casey is, thankfully, suspicious.

Postshift, Herrmann uses his neighborhood info and pays a visit to the dive Slater frequents. He’s in luck: Slater is in for his afternoon beer. This time around, instead of his words, Herrmann uses his fists to get through to Slater. He’s really pounding him—when who should appear but that magnificent sea urchin himself: Lieutenant Matt Casey.

That’s right, Casey was so concerned that he followed Herrmann and is able to stop him before he can really do some damage. Please know that my notes for this scene were simply: “AHHHHHHHH!” Matt’s just the best, is all I’m saying.

Casey (Jesse Spencer) and Mouch (Christian Stolte) discuss their concern for Herrmann on Chicago Fire.

The boys hand Slater over to Burgess and Roman and they all wink-wink, nudge-nudge to one another that they know what Herrmann did but will let it slide because, well, this guy is a dirtbag.

Unfortunately, though, while the father in this story has been dealt with, his young son is still fighting for his life back at Chicago Med. The boy has been taken in for emergency surgery and Firehouse 51 rushes to be there for support. Chaplain Orlovsky (Gordon Clapp), thanks to Casey (OF COURSE), arrives to offer some comfort to Herrmann, who confesses that he feels completely helpless and maybe even guilty. The chaplain urges him to have faith, but, sadly, the boy dies in surgery.

The title of every Chicago Fire episode is pulled from a line of dialogue—tonight’s may be my favorite. In a closing sermon, the chaplain tells his congregation, including the whole Herrmann clan, that we may not always understand the reason for loss. If nothing else, loss should remind us to hold dear the little things and people we love—and to believe that within “forgiving, relentless, unconditional” love, a person can find peace.

No matter your beliefs, I think that’s something we can all get behind.

From the Firehouse 51 Bulletin Board:

  • Brett takes Dawson’s advice to “rip the Band-Aid off” and decides it’s time to break up with Cruz. Before she can get the words out, however, Cruz dumps her. Turns out Cruz was taking some advice from his best buddy (Otis), too—there were lots of meat metaphors involved. In the end, Otis realizes he may be in love with Brett. Count with Casey, Otis: one, two …
  • We finally learn that April’s parents—at her request—took Severide in when his home life imploded back in high school. He apologizes for blowing her off after that and swears it was due to embarrassment over the rumors about his family. Seems like he and April are on the road to forgiveness. I like these two. I’ll like them a whole lot more when they mash their faces together.
  • Mills’ sister Elise (Alexandra Metz) shows up, and they discover their onetime possibly racist grandfather bequeathed them a restaurant in North Carolina. Before Mills really has to make a decision as to whether or not he wants to join his sister in reentering the restaurant biz, he gets the (questionably) good news that he’s officially cleared for squad duty. I hope this restaurant thing is explored a little more because otherwise: What in the what?
  • When Donna arrived and asked if anyone needed a baby hug, how many of you raised your hands with Boden? Be honest—this is a safe space (and I totally did).

Chicago Fire airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on NBC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like