Chicago Fire season 6 finale recap: The Grand Gesture

CHICAGO FIRE -- "The Grand Gesture" Episode 623 -- Pictured: (l-r) Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Sarah Shahi as Renee Royce -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "The Grand Gesture" Episode 623 -- Pictured: (l-r) Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Sarah Shahi as Renee Royce -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC) /

Chicago Fire season 6 ended with another cliffhanger, so who’s in trouble now? Here’s what happened in Chicago Fire season 6, episode 22 and 23.

The two-hour Chicago Fire season finale promised incredible drama to end the season, and it certainly delivered that—along with yet another cliffhanger, the third of season 6.

Thursday’s two episodes are called “One For The Ages” and “The Grand Gesture.” The first hour starts with another morning in the Dawson-Casey household. They’re now actively trying to get pregnant.

While they head back to their bedroom, Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) is sitting in the meeting where the CFD brass are discussing last week’s tragedy. Unfortunately, so is Grissom (returning guest star Gary Cole). They’ve both now realized they’re gunning for the same job.

Boden returns to Firehouse 51 and briefs the team, saying the investigation has been closed and they need to focus forward. That’s easier said than done for several people.

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Everyone responds to a fallen tree that’s trapped a boy underneath. Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg) is the first to rush in, finding the kid while the crew starts pruning. Eventually they pull Jackson out, and rush him to the hospital still out cold.

It turns out that the man who tried to help him works for the Indianapolis Fire Department, handling all of their purchases, and Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) gets him to come down and see the Slamigan.

Back at the house Renee Royce (Sarah Shahi) interrupts a makeout session between her ex Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) and Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo), whom Severide introduces as his “girlfriend.” There should therefore be zero miscommunication in the next two hours.

But there will still be awkwardness, as Renee wants Severide to meet her at her place to do their planning for the case he’s helping with. And then Grissom shows up to chew out Severide for promoting Boden for fire commissioner. He’s taking it personally:

"Grissom: You’re going to wish you hadn’t stabbed me in the back."

After an OnStar commercial to go with the OnStar product placement at the accident scene (which features Chicago Med medical advisor Andrew Dennis!), Severide tells Boden and Casey about the confrontation. Boden advises him to fix his relationship with Grissom, which might be the first time we’ve ever disagreed with Boden.

Casey knowingly sums this up best: “Welcome to politics.”

That doesn’t stop Severide from getting text messages from his dad about how upset Grissom is. He brushes them off and reminds Stella that his relationship with Renee is “ancient history” as he leaves to meet her.

Cruz, Brett and the crew pitch the Slamigan to the dude from Indianapolis, Glenn, who thinks that they have a great idea and will pitch it to his department. Brett seems to have made a new friend, too. And we do not have a Dawsey baby yet, though Chicago Fire still has a good hour and a half to decide that outcome.

Renee tells Severide about how her baby’s real father has never supported the kid. As if on cue, her son arrives and wants to play with Kelly, who even offers to fix his broken bed. You see where this is going, right? Renee apologizes, saying she “wasn’t in my right mind” to lie about who the father was and how she wishes their relationship had gone differently.

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What’s everyone else doing with their night? Herrmann is checking in on Stella, who is not fine with Severide being at Renee’s place. Herrmann decides that since she’s home she can help him wrangle his kids.

Dawson is tending bar at Molly’s and asking Brett about a fertility doctor, as Glenn tells Cruz he’s ordering one Slamigan for every single company—73 in total. And he also seems to be interested in Brett romantically. Where is Antonio when you need him?

Boden is meeting with the mayor’s aide he rescued in that hotel fire from “Purgatory” who tells him he’s on the short list for the commissioner’s job. Speaking of, the next day Severide has a talk with the current commissioner, who asks which person he should endorse as his replacement.

"Staten: Pretend the choice is yours to make. Who’s going to be the next commissioner?"

We don’t hear Severide’s answer; instead he comes back to Firehouse 51 and talks to Casey and Stella about being put in that position. But he’s called out to the firehouse floor because Renee (and her son) are back.

That allows Stella to accuse Renee of plotting to get back into Severide’s life. Renee then high-tails it out, and Herrmann can guess what made her bail. He looks kind of proud about it.

Over lunch, Dawson approaches Casey about visiting the fertility doctor. Casey thinks that might be rushing it since they’ve only just started trying for a baby, but ultimately agrees with her idea of going to get a checkup anyway.

The team learns that Boden has gotten the current fire commissioner’s endorsement, and they celebrate, though Severide is still worried about repercussions from Grissom. Meanwhile, with his opinion of Glenn having turned as soon as Glenn expressed a romantic interest in Brett, Cruz lies and quotes him a much higher price that blows up the Slamigan sale.

Before Brett can question Cruz, we have to go rescue a drunk guy who’s stuck in a boat pipe. Give Chicago Fire more points for creative ways for people to do stupid things. At least it’s not this.

Just as they’re coming up with a plan Grissom shows up. Like he has nothing better to do than stalk Severide’s callouts. He questions their judgment but the rescue goes off without a hitch and with a round of applause. Afterward, Grissom congratulations Boden on the endorsement, and you know he doesn’t mean it.

Cruz is happy to strike a deal with Glenn once Brett says she turned down the other man’s dinner date, and Cruz is convinced that he needs to tell Brett that he’s still in love with her with a “grand gesture.” Oh, no.

That’s the cue for Chicago Fire to move into part two of the Chicago Fire season finale. Dawsey are at the fertility doctor. Dawson gets the bad news that her previous miscarriage resulted in an aneurysm that makes it ill-advised for her to try for another child. The aneurysm could rupture and kill her.

Ready for more bad news? Boden is approached by a reporter at Molly’s, because the story about those envelopes of cash is now public knowledge. Guess who leaked it?! Plus, Renee freaks out thinking her son is missing, so she begs Severide for help—and when it blows over in just minutes Stella thinks it’s all part of her evil plan.

"Dawson: I’ve decided that we’re going to keep trying for a baby.Casey: You’ve decided?"

Dawson tries to convince Casey that it’s worth the risk to keep pursuing a pregnancy, arguing that it’s her body and therefore her choice. After hearing that and also about Boden’s new PR problem, Casey leads the team to a construction fire caused by a ruptured gas main. Boden gets points for creativity in rescuing two trapped workers using a fire hose as a lift, but loses them when he finds out the commissioner’s public statement about the gift is throwing him under the bus.

Instead of what happened—that Boden refused the money—Staten is saying that he told Boden to give it back. Boden storms into Grissom’s office to confront him on being the leak and of course it goes nowhere.

"Boden: You have no integrity and no character."

The fake story causes Boden to lose the commissioner’s endorsement. Meanwhile, Cruz books a romantic getaway for himself and Brett, and a much colder Renee comes back to tell Severide she needs to prepare him for cross-examination.

And Dawson gets an offer to go to Puerto Rico. Well, that’s random. She doesn’t tell Casey about it, even as she shoots down his suggestion of trying adoption again. But it’d have to wait anyway as she and Brett are called to an apartment where a guy is clearly out of it. Drugs are bad, kids.

It turns out there’s a woman in the bedroom with a knife in her gut, and it’s so clearly the stoner that did it. The woman dies on a tearful Brett, while the guy is quickly caught. When they return to Firehouse 51 everyone has heard; Cruz looks worriedly at Brett while Casey makes a visit to the adoption agency—without his wife. And hey, why is the employee’s last name Dawsey? Is that an in-joke, Chicago Fire?

Skip ahead to the next day as Severide prepares to testify for Renee, while Stella still looks like she is pouting. Now even Casey has noticed she’s off. But he has his own issue, because Dawson has found out where he went and she’s angry about it given that she already insisted she would not go through the adoption process again.

"Dawson: Why did you think it’d be okay to talk to them without me?Casey: Well, if we’re being fair, this isn’t just your decision. As much as you want to think it is."

Here comes another fight, in which Dawson brings up that Louie’s father crashed their wedding day and Casey flat-out tells her that “you can’t have one.” Probably a good thing that Dawson has to go to a bicycle accident with Brett, who can’t tell the difference between “gauze and a sling” and “scissors.”

These two phrases sound nothing alike, so it’s hard to believe that she misheard like she says. When Dawson snaps slightly at her, Brett goes back to the ambulance to hide and then yells at Dawson back at the firehouse.

"Brett: I treat you with respect every time…If you can’t do the same for me, don’t ride with me on 61."

Severide testifies and that leads to Renee being able to broker a settlement, while Otis thinks that Grissom has been falsifying his department’s statistics to make himself look better. He takes the proof to Boden—all 12 years of it. While Boden thinks about what to do, Casey tries again to talk to Dawson.

He apologizes for his earlier comment and says that he just doesn’t want to lose her; she repeats that it’s her risk, not his. He points out that she makes a lot of big decisions as if his input doesn’t matter, and wonders aloud why she can’t be dependent on him when he loves her so much. This is the boiling point of an argument that’s gone on for like two seasons now.

"Dawson: You know who I am. You knew it when you married me. I haven’t changed."

She decides to leave the house, while Stella goes to Severide’s loft to find out why he didn’t show up to get her. He’s not there, though, because he was waiting at her place and not his. That was a much less terrible case of crossed wires, and Stella now knows Renee is no threat to her.

The Chicago Fire season finale wraps up with Boden racing to the office only to find out he’s too late and Grissom is his new boss. Dawson has also reconsidered the offer to leave the country and wants to know more about Puerto Rico—but we go to blackout before she actually says anything about leaving.

“One For The Ages” and “The Grand Gesture” are an incredibly busy two hours, just like the past Chicago Fire two-hour block was. We have the whole commissioner story, the Severide and Renee and Stella drama, Brett and Cruz and Brett’s heartbreaking call, and then there’s the Dawson story that will have people buzzing.

Let’s take them in that order. Chief Grissom is to Chicago Fire what Denny Woods was to Chicago PD this season: the bad guy who’s so bad he may as well be holding a sign. Everything he does you see coming, thanks to the past episodes, and it makes you cringe. It’s all the same kind of shady stuff from a guy with an ego bigger than his own zip code. At least on PD, Woods got his; now we have to worry that we’re going to see the caricature that is Grissom next season.

Severide, Renee and Stella feels like another one of those situations that Chicago Fire wants to be bigger than it is. At some point, Stella needs to address her insecurity in her relationship. It’s not as much about Severide’s history as it is about her freaking out both the times she’s heard about his exes. And like the Brittany reveal, this is all much ado about nothing, though the episodes do have fun messing with the fans by throwing in a few iffy moments.

We were hoping that Cruz’s infidelity storyline, as ill-advised as it was, meant the end of the Cruz and Brett subplot. But that comes back in “The Grand Gesture” and then some. It gets subjugated by Brett’s drama, which feels a bit out of proportion.

Yes, she should be upset seeing someone die in front of her, but she’s a paramedic—they see a lot of terrible things. It’s not quite clear what about this call is so different that it causes Brett to be shell-shocked for the rest of the episode. Is it just that the woman is a mother who leaves behind two kids? Has she not lost a patient who has children before?

And while we’ve been hard on Dawson for being sharp sometimes, what she has to say to Brett is one comment that’s not really that bad. Especially since Brett is so clearly off her game (how do four words sound like one to her?), it feels like a big leap for Brett to then tell Dawson she’s been disrespected and start crying again.

Then there’s Dawson and Casey. These two have been having the same issue with not being able to fully communicate for awhile now, so it’s good that it finally comes to a head so they can move past it. But they don’t actually take any steps toward a solution. This idea of Dawson leaving is a bit harsh, plus it’s another cliffhanger in a season that’s been full of them. And the tumor just feels like another way to yank the rug out from under Dawson’s, and the fans’, family dreams.

There’s a lot that happens in the Chicago Fire season finale, but most of it is a rough end to Chicago Fire season 6 for the majority of characters. Except for Severide and Stella, all the major players are left upset. Can you imagine if this had been the series finale? Us neither.

It’s a bitter end to the season, which isn’t like One Chicago—the franchise normally balances the bad with the good pretty well. Hopefully next season’s premiere will build something good from all of this,  because right now this is a tough place to stop.

Next: Read our interview with Chicago Fire's David Eigenberg

What did you think of the Chicago Fire season finale? Leave your reaction to “One For The Ages” and “The Grand Gesture” in the comments.

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