Chicago Fire season 8 premiere takeaways: Sacred Ground

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Sacred Ground" Episode 801 -- Pictured: (l-r) Annie Ilonzeh as Emily Foster, Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Sacred Ground" Episode 801 -- Pictured: (l-r) Annie Ilonzeh as Emily Foster, Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC) /

What can Chicago Fire fans learn from the season premiere? Look closer at this week’s episode with our Chicago Fire season 8, episode 1 takeaways.

What did One Chicago fans learn from the latest Chicago Med episode? Here’s what we took away from this week’s installment, “Sacred Ground.”

“Sacred Ground” featured a devastating loss for Firehouse 51, as Brian “Otis” Zvonecek (Yuri Sardarov) was badly injured in the factory fire and succumbed to his injuries at Chicago Med.

The firehouse erected a memorial in his honor, while Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) was also hurt but had other problems adjusting to her new life in Fowlerton.

If you missed any of this week’s episode or just want a refresher on the events that we’re about to discuss, you can catch up with our Chicago Fire recap.

Below are our takeaways from this week’s episode:

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1) What will happen to Cruz?

No one was shocked that the person most hurt by Otis’s death was Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso), since the two were best friends and roommates. Cruz’s journey in the premiere episode was heartwrenching, but does it really end there?

Three months had passed in “Sacred Ground” alone, but still, losing someone that close to you probably takes more than that to cope with. Will we see Cruz continue to struggle this season?

It’d be different to dig into his mourning process and let that grief play out over more than just one episode, especially since it would also mean more screen time for Joe Minoso. So many TV shows throw in a big twist like this, have the characters be hurt or shocked, and then by the next episode or two everyone’s fine again. Chicago Fire could be different, but will it?

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2) Who will be Otis’s replacement?

If you’ve been keeping up with Chicago Fire news in the offseason, it’s clear who is going to fill the open spot on Truck. While Darren Ritter (Daniel Kyri) is there now, it was also explicitly stated that he’s just on loan until another firefighter is found. And what do you know, the show cast another new firefighter over the hiatus.

So literally, Otis’s replacement will almost certainly be Blake Gallo. But this is about more than the literal. Who is going to fill the void within the show’s dynamic of the lighthearted, comic relief guy who tempers all the drama? That levity is necessary on a show this dramatic. Cruz could do that, but it was usually in conjunction with Otis.

Will it end up being Mouch (Christian Stolte), who also gets a lot of comedic subplots? But Mouch also doesn’t have the same optimism that Otis did, so it wouldn’t be quite the same. Keep an eye out and see how the show adjusts its dynamic and tone after losing the biggest piece of its lighter side.

3) Why is Hope back?

Brett got a surprise when she ran into ex-friend Hope Jacquinot (Eloise Mumford) in Fowlerton. Apparently, Hope is dating someone at that firehouse, and she wanted to be buddies with Brett again. But is there something else at work here?

It’d be great if Hope really had learned her lesson and was just there to make Brett second-guess her decision about moving. But on TV, most recurring characters don’t pop up just to make a one-scene cameo. So are the writers teasing us with another storyline where Hope is up to something at another firehouse? Or are we reading too much into this and she’s really just chill now and her whole purpose was to surprise Brett? It could go either way, really.

If you don’t remember Hope, be sure to check out our interview with Eloise Mumford to get the full scoop on her character and why she’s a problem Brett will have to deal with.

Next. Otis's 5 best Chicago Fire moments. dark

For the latest Chicago Fire season 8 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Fire category at One Chicago Center.