Should we be preparing to lose Mouch in Chicago Fire season 6?

The most popular theory about the Chicago Fire cliffhanger is that Mouch won’t survive. But is it really likely we’ll lose Mouch in Chicago Fire season 6?

We’ve got about six weeks until Chicago Fire season 6 premieres on NBC, so fans have had plenty of time to speculate on who won’t make it out from the season 5 cliffhanger. And if you believe the popular opinion, it doesn’t look good for Mouch.

Mouch (Christian Stolte) was last seen collapsing inside a burning warehouse during the Fire season 5 finale. That’s made him the leading candidate to get the axe, according to the tweets, posts and blogosphere.

But how accurate is that theory? Should we really be worried about Mouch’s future?

There’s plenty of cause for concern, yet maybe not in the way you think. Obviously, having a health problem is terrible, and it’s worse when it happens in the middle of a fire. There is absolutely a way that Chicago Fire could kill Mouch off when Season 6 premieres on Sept. 28.

But that’s assuming that the series is going to kill off anyone. As we discussed after the Season 5 finale aired, there are reasons to keep all four endangered characters alive. Just because the show put them in a life-threatening situation doesn’t mean it has to be fatal. How many TV shows have you watched where a main character or characters was left in danger at the end of a season, only to survive just fine when the next season starts?

It’s possible that Mouch could die, but it’s just as possible that he won’t.

What Chicago Fire fans ought to be concerned about is the bigger picture. Losing Mouch doesn’t just mean whether or not he dies; there are other ways for him to be written out of the show, too, and the series pretty much laid them all out in that final episode of Season 5.

Even if Mouch survives the fire, he’s just had a major health incident. He’s definitely going to the hospital one way or another, and what does that mean for his future with Firehouse 51? We saw in Jimmy Borrelli’s exit storyline a reminder that firefighters must be physically capable of carrying out their duties. So is Mouch’s heart problem a one-off due to all the stress he’s been under, like how much he tried to help Cruz only to fail spectacularly, or is it symptomatic of a larger concern?

If it’s the latter, then Chicago Fire has painted itself into a corner. Mouch’s situation is much less severe than Jimmy’s, but the show would still have to come up with a reason why he was allowed back on duty after collapsing during it.

And even if the show gets around that, what may ultimately make us say goodbye to Mouch is the man himself. Chicago Fire established that the character was contemplating retirement, and what has just happened to him probably isn’t going to make him change his mind. Mouch may get out of the fire, he may even recover and be cleared for a return to duty, but if he doesn’t believe he has a place at Firehouse 51, then how does the series make us believe it’s feasible for him to stay?

Chicago Fire season 6 has three separate and significant hurdles that Mouch would have to clear in order to stay as a main character. The show has to let him live, it has to get him healthy, and it has to give him a reason not to leave.

It could happen—he could make it out of the fire, take some time off to get better (like Trudy doesn’t also deserve a vacation!) and realize that he loves his job too much to leave—but that’s a lot for one character to overcome.

And if there’s one thing we know about Chicago Fire, it’s that it’s not afraid to get rid of favorite characters no matter what fans or even the actors want. Remember that Jimmy, Leslie Shay (Lauren German) and Peter Mills (Charlie Barnett) all left because the show wrote them out. (See sources here, here and here.)

So should we be preparing to say goodbye to Mouch in the Chicago Fire season 6 premiere? We think so. There are just too many ways that the character could leave, and the series has a history of doing exactly this sort of thing. As much as we love Mouch, and love Christian Stolte besides, it is definitely not out of line to be worried about his future.

Do you think that we’ll have seen the last of Mouch in Chicago Fire season 6? Let us know what your theory about the cliffhanger is in the comments.

Chicago Fire returns to NBC on Sept. 28.