Chicago Fire season 8 midseason report card: What worked, what didn’t

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Best Friend Magic" Episode 809 -- Pictured: Eamonn Walker as Battalion Chief Wallace Boden -- (Photo by: Adrian Burrows/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Best Friend Magic" Episode 809 -- Pictured: Eamonn Walker as Battalion Chief Wallace Boden -- (Photo by: Adrian Burrows/NBC) /

How has Chicago Fire season 8 rated so far? Now that we’re through the first half, we grade it with our Chicago Fire season 8 midseason report card.

The latest Chicago Fire season has reached the halfway point, so it’s time to look at how things are going so far. What was excellent and what didn’t make the grade?

Season 8 has packed a lot into its first nine episodes. We’ve seen a heartbreaking character death, the introduction of a new firefighter, and the return of an original hero. Along the way, the writers have continued to find new ways to burn down half of Chicago.

We’ve picked out our favorite parts of Chicago Fire season 8 to date, as well as the parts that we think could get better when the second half of the season begins in January. And we want you to grade the season yourself in the comments.

Here’s our Chicago Fire midseason report card:

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What Worked

Otis’s death: Whether or not you agree with the decision to kill off Otis (Yuri Sardarov), there’s no doubt that it was handled absolutely perfectly. The writers treated his departure with respect, and have allowed the repercussions of it to continue throughout the season. So many other shows just use character deaths for shock value and move on from them as soon as possible. Kudos to Derek Haas for doing a difficult thing well.

More Ritter: Darren Ritter (Daniel Kyri) was a great addition to Firehouse 51 last season, so it was a plus to have him continue in season 8 when so many other newcomers have ended up leaving. And we also need to give points for not forgetting him when the show introduced another new firefighter.

Blake Gallo: Kudos to Alberto Rosende for joining the Chicago Fire cast and fitting right in. He’s done well as Gallo, and the writers have also been smart about how they have used him—they have given him a backstory we care about, but they haven’t let him dominate the show or come off as too perfect or trying too hard. This is the way you should introduce a new character!

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What Didn’t

Casey and Brett: We get the “will they, won’t they” idea, but this is getting tiresome. The show can’t even seem to decide if these two have actual romantic feelings for one another or just think they do. We’ve now gone a season and a half without anything major happening between them, and now he’s hooked up with his ex-wife instead. Can we pick a direction here?

Dawson’s return: No offense intended to Monica Raymund, as it was wonderful to see her again. But the way Chicago Fire season 8 utilized Gabriela Dawson was a bust. Her return was all about Dawsey, and having the duo sleep together further muddled an unclear storyline. Meanwhile, we didn’t even get a good scene between Dawson and Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer), despite their close friendship, or between Dawson and most of the other characters except for brief greetings when she showed up. It was a huge missed opportunity.

What’s Next?

Of the three One Chicago shows, Chicago Fire did the best job of setting the table for the rest of its season. We know Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) has to escape the show’s usual cliffhanger, which he almost certainly will. We know Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) will be making a career change since she can’t keep working two jobs.

And the firehouse will continue to evolve. The writers have continued to come up with rescues and fires that keep audiences guessing, in addition to the personal challenges the characters face. This season could still be a new chapter for Firehouse 51, depending on what happens with Casey and Brett, as well as the upcoming wedding for Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso). Maybe we’ll see more big moves toward the future in the remaining episodes—things that will have lasting effects beyond the end of season 8.

dark. Next. Chicago Fire producer discusses Dawson's return

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.