Chicago Fire season 6, episode 17 recap: Put White On Me

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Put White On Me" Episode 617 -- Pictured: Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Put White On Me" Episode 617 -- Pictured: Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC) /

Chicago Fire faced some blasts from Dawson and Severide’s pasts this week. Here’s what happened in Chicago Fire season 6, episode 17.

This week’s Chicago Fire episode brought out some history in the lives of both Gabriela Dawson and Kelly Severide, so how did it affect their futures and their respective relationships? After all, nothing is ever easy around Firehouse 51.

Thursday’s episode is called “Put White On Me” and it starts as Otis (Yuri Sardarov) is gutting it out through another rehab session. Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker) comes by to see how he’s doing and offers him a bullpen spot at the firehouse so he’s not otherwise sitting at home wallowing.

Gabriela Dawson (Monica Raymund) casually asks Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) what he thinks of Otis’s replacement. Not that she doesn’t have ulterior motives there. And not that she’s thrilled to see Ambulance 61 looking like an icicle.

Hey, it’s a reference to Allison Rafferty! At least, we assume so, because how many paramedics named Rafferty do we know around here? Too bad Christine Evangelista is busy with season 2 of The Arrangement.

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But just as Otis decides to take Boden up on his offer, everyone rolls out after a scoreboard falls over a pool and everyone’s at risk of being electrocuted in the water.

Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) and Jake Cordova (recurring guest star Damon Dayoub) go into the pool for the one kid who’s predictably too scared to move before Casey cuts off the power. But where’s the kid’s parents? Nowhere to be found.

Boden tasks Connie (DuShon Monique Brown) with locating his parents, and Otis jumps in to help. While Connie is apathetic about that, Stella has become the kid’s new best friend.

Finally, Dawson explains her history with Cordova, telling Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) that they went “on a few dates.” She thinks since Casey wants Cordova off the team, she can let the problem solve itself. But her husband changes his mind when their other options for a replacement aren’t that great, despite Cordova’s lack of social skills.

"Casey (of Cordova): He doesn’t play well with others.Herrmann: I saw that."

Elsewhere in the building, meet Severide’s mom Jennifer (guest star Kim Delaney). She’s decided she’s moving into Severide’s apartment “for a few weeks” while she helps open a new church. She might have wanted to tell him that, or you know, his roommate and girlfriend Stella.

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Before Stella can slink away (and credit to Miranda Rae Mayo for playing that perfectly in the background), Severide introduces her to his mother. But he just says “roommate,” which some may consider an understatement at the moment. And Stella immediately assumes that Jennifer hates her.

Chicago Fire gets plenty of mileage out of Otis’s new job description, as he tries to bond with the kid, whose name is Xander. Like Xander Harris from Buffy The Vampire Slayer or Xander Berkeley the awesome actor from 24. Otis is able to get enough details out of Xander to find his dad, but if you look closely at his computer screen, you see references to a criminal history. Erm?

The idea isn’t broached until after Dad has picked up the kid and Mom shows up at the firehouse, calling him “a lunatic” who didn’t have custody of their son. Though Mom’s sister reclaims the kid, Otis’s ego is punctured once again. Hey, Boden, say how we’re all feeling.

"Boden: Maybe if you hadn’t left your kindergartener at the pool like it was a damn day care center."

Severide brings his mom back to the loft, and his lack of previous explanation makes Stella ask him to define their current relationship. He can’t come up with anything except to say that it’s not his mom’s business. Smooth, Kelly.

Everyone else is drinking at Molly’s and talking about the kid. That includes Cordova, who gets a compliment from Casey. But the mood sours when another firefighter who’s had a few drunkenly reveals that Cordova “used to bang one of the owners.” Since there’s only one woman in that trio, Casey knows and he is angry. Not only angry at the reveal, but angry that Dawson didn’t trust him enough to tell him. He leaves without her.

Chicago Fire cuts to the next morning, in which he’s still short with her and then goes to have a talk with Cordova in the locker room, which amounts to “this better not interfere with the job.”

Meanwhile, Casey’s reaction prompts Dawson to consider moving to a private ambulance service, just to draw a line between her work life and her home one. Brett correctly points out that she can’t mean that, especially when the duo take their next call and find out that the private rig will ignore uninsured patients. (A la the current dilemma happening on Chicago Med.)

The private ambulance drives off and leaves our paramedics there when bullets start flying, too.

Severide is not thrilled to hear that his mom is going to have coffee with his father. But he says that he thinks it’s a good idea anyway. You know who else isn’t thrilled? Boden, because Xander’s mom is threatening a lawsuit against the department unless they pay her off. We can’t decide if she’s overreacting, or a massive opportunist, or both.

Otis goes to the woman’s house to apologize, but that leads to him seeing the truth: the parents aren’t separated after all. Dad is standing right there and the whole custody fight is a scam. Otis takes his findings to Boden and the brass, complete with photo evidence, and saves the day.

Chicago Fire ends “Put White On Me” with Dawson and Brett trapped in the middle of another gang shootout, while still trying to save the two wounded gang members they were called out there for. Truck 81 arrives on the scene, somehow beating the cops, who just roll up slowly and look totally bewildered. The whole thing makes Brett and Dawson tell the privateers to take their job offer and shove it.

Meanwhile, Severide and Stella return home to find out that Jennifer slept with Benny (Treat Williams) and now they’re getting back together. We don’t know what’s worse, that they did that or that they did it in Kelly’s bedroom. No one wants to think about their parents doing that, let alone in your personal space.

Dawson tells Casey she won’t hold back from him again, and the two hug it out. All is right in the world of Dawsey; too bad that’s not the case with the rest of Chicago Fire.

“Put White On Me” is an episode that has its pros and cons. Chicago Fire finally tells fans what’s up with Dawson and Cordova, and it turns out to be much ado about nothing. So they went on a few dates; so what? Casey dated other people, too. The only real problem is Dawson not telling him about it in advance. But this feels like another case of the show’s promos making something sound a lot bigger than it actually is in the episode.

Dawson’s thought about leaving the CFD is more interesting, and it’s a neat touch that Fire does address the same concept of uninsured vs. insured patients that’s also being brought up over on Chicago Med. That’s a fun coincidence that makes that story point a little more resonant. We’re certain she won’t go anywhere, but you can understand why she’d think it and it’s rewarding as heck when she tells the private ambulance crew to stuff it.

Severide’s mom coming to town provides most of the levity, and it’s fun to see Stella act just as we all knew Stella would, convinced that she can’t get on his mom’s good side and then doing all she can to make it happen. It’s not a new story, it’s not a surprising story, but that doesn’t make it less entertaining. But the whole Jennifer and Benny idea is cringeworthy at best.

It’s up to you if you think the subplot with Otis, Boden and the abandoned kid is worth it. It goes from frustrating and annoying to “you’ve got to be kidding me” territory. At least it’s good that we see Otis doing something, and not stuck in the hospital, but you feel bad that his first gig back is something that puts him through the emotional wringer—at least until he figures it out.

Last but certainly not least, it is awesome and yet heartbreaking to see Connie in this episode after the passing of DuShon Monique Brown just a few weeks ago. Her performance here is all the reasons we loved her; her character is withering with the crew, but sweet with the kid.

There are moments in “Put White On Me” we’ll remember, but not the whole episode. And some of these moments may wind up being for the worse in the end (looking at you, Benny). But if nothing else, this episode does answer some questions that needed answers, and we can move on into a new adventure.

Next: What could be next for Stellaride on Chicago Fire

What did you think of this week’s Chicago Fire episode? Leave your reaction to “Put White On Me” in the comments.

Chicago Fire airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.