Chicago Fire season 12 recap: 51 says goodbye to one of its own, a new Chief is coming, and more!

The Chicago Fire season 12 finale saw 51 saying goodbye to Boden, but that was just one of the many major moments from the final episode of the season!
CHICAGO FIRE -- "A Chicago Welcome" Episode 813 -- Pictured: Eamonn Walker as Wallace Boden -- (Photo by: Adrian Burrows/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "A Chicago Welcome" Episode 813 -- Pictured: Eamonn Walker as Wallace Boden -- (Photo by: Adrian Burrows/NBC) /

It’s hard to believe that Chicago Fire season 12 has reached its end, but the season finale has arrived, and boy the episode proved to be an intense and emotional one! Heading into the finale we knew there would be three major storylines at the heart of the episode with the biggest question on our mind heading into the episode being how exactly the show would say goodbye to Eamonn Walker’s Chief Wallace Boden. 

Ahead of the finale, it was revealed that Walker would be stepping away from Chicago Fire after 12 seasons as a series regular. Leading up to the episode, Boden’s exit was teased via the synopsis for the episode teasing that he would make a decision that would impact the Deputy Commissioner race, so exactly what decision did Boden make and how did the show say goodbye to one of the show’s original members? 

Let's dive into the events of the season 12 finale and the key storylines the episode featured, including the cliffhangers we’re going to be left to ponder in the months ahead as we await Chicago Fire’s return in the fall! 

Boden leaves Chicago Fire to become Deputy Commissioner

As the episode opened, we found out that the CFD is looking to appoint a new Deputy Commissioner soon and it’s looking like the job is going to end up going to Chief Robinson which does not sit well with Boden at all. We also welcomed back a long-MIA character with the return of Melissa Ponzio as Donna Boden, which was such an unexpected and exciting surprise! 

While joining 51 on a call responding to a group of construction workers trapped dangling stories above the ground after their suspended scaffolding gave way. 51 was able to rescue all of the men with the exception of the foreman who put his own life in jeopardy to save his men. The foreman sadly fell through the air and landed on the bag before the airbag had fully inflated, slipping through Boden’s hand as he tried to pull him to safety. 

After being taken to Med, Boden goes to visit him and says he put everything on the line for his men to save their lives, and it made Boden realize what it means to lead. He then returns to 51 and tells the team that he’s decided to throw his name in the ring for the Deputy Commissioner position as he can’t sit by and watch anyone jeopardize the men and women of the CFD.

Later in the episode, Boden tells Donna he doesn’t think he’s going to get the appointment and she reminds him she’s there for him no matter what happens. Just then Boden gets a call to come down to HQ immediately. 

He arrives as Chief Robinson is storming out, and DC Hill tells him about a conversation he had with Kidd that proved how he inspires as a leader and then congratulates him for getting the Deputy Commissioner role!

Boden accepts the job and in doing so, must leave 51 to take up residence in HQ which leads to an emotional sendoff from the 51 family who thank him for all he's done, being the best friend and leader anyone could ever ask for.

Mouch struggles to adjust to the new truck

After their truck was destroyed in the call saving Severide from the terrorists who intended to set off a bomb using the truck, 51 finally got its new truck and almost everyone loves it… everyone except Mouch that is. Mouch expresses concern early on about the new organization system and when the team responds to their first call with the new truck, he struggles to adjust to driving the new truck. 

When they get back from their first call, they inspect the truck and realize that everything is original parts which makes Mouch think perhaps their old truck had been modified. They bring in the man who helped work on the old truck and Mouch begins to embrace change, saying he's going to take the lieutenant exam.

Mouch comes to realize that the truck will never be the same and we come to realize the struggle with the change is in large part connected to Boden’s exit and how much he’s going to miss having him around at 51.

Is Herrmann going to become 51’s new Chief? 

Early in the episode, after the team has returned from the difficult call in which the foreman was severely injured, we see Herrmann step up to remind the team not to get down on themselves as they saved multiple lives on the call. The moment foreshadowed a later conversation with Boden in which told Herrmann that if he by chance gets the Deputy Commissioner position, there is no one he’d rather see succeed him as Chief and encourages Herrmann to take the needed qualifications to become eligible for the role.

Carver tells Violet he loves her and then ghosts her

Early in the episode, it’s hinted that Carver might be struggling with concerns over Violet still harboring feelings for Hawkins and those concerns come boiling to the top after an intense call! 

When responding to a call at a pizza restaurant, things get heated when the owner refuses to allow 51 to treat his injured son. The owner of the restaurant pushes Kidd and Carver attacks the man and Damon jumps in as well. It’s clear something suspicious was going on happened but the owner threatens to tell the cops they were jumped by the firefighters, so they have to walk away. 

After the call, Violet tries to push Carver away saying he still is holding onto feelings for Kidd and that’s why he jumped into action, and he pushes back saying she’s not over Hawkins. He then says he’s not in love with Kidd because he’s fallen in love with her.

Following their heated exchange, Carver takes a furlough which Kidd reveals to Violet before slipping up and mentioning his brother assuming he had told her before. She goes to see him at his apartment, but he’s not there and he’s not answering her calls. Carver is clearly going through it and we’re worried about what might come next after he seems to ghost not just Violet but 51 – even missing Boden’s sendoff! 

Damon's secret is finally revealed

From the moment Ritter overheard Damon on the call suggesting he was hiding a secret, we've been wondering what the secret was going to end up being. Well, we finally got answers in the season finale!

Early in the finale, we see Damon beginning to win over Severide with his desire to be the best firefighter he can be and the two run drills together. 

Things are going well until Damon loses his cool on the same call Carver lost his on, partaking in the physical altercation with the owner of the pizza place who was clearly abusing his son. In the moment, it was unclear what set him off but we later discovered that the call hit close to home. It turned out that Damon’s dad abused him as well, an insight he shares with Severide in the closing moments of the episode. That’s not all he shared though, his father just so happened to be a man named Benny Severide! That’s right, Damon is Kelly’s brother! 

Chicago Fire will return for a new season on NBC this fall along with its fellow One Chicago series as Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD will be back on Wednesday nights again next season!

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