Chicago Fire has had its highs and lows, like any show. It's been on for over a decade, so there's bound to be some episodes that are less-than-stellar in either the writing or the acting departments. It's part of the television process.
We decided to consult IMDb to find out which episode has been deemed the worst by fans, and were expecting to see either mid-season filler or a rushed episode during the 2020 pandemic. Maybe even an episode that was technically great, but tough to watch due to the tragic events that occur within it, like "Sacred Ground", aka the one where Otis (Yuri Sardarov) dies.
The Chicago Fire pilot is the lowest-rated episode
We were shocked to find, instead, that the lowest-rated episode of Chicago Fire is the pilot! The very first episode is the one that users have slapped with a relatively low rating of 7.6. This is shocking for many reasons, including the fact that season 1 is still considered to be one of the best in the entire show.
Then there's pulse-pounding fire that opens the pilot, which kills Andy Darden (Chris Sorenson). His death is shocking despite knowing little about him, and it causes tension to mount between the two men he deemed his best friends, Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) and Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney).
It's strange to harken back to a time when Casey and Severide were not one of the strongest bonds on the show, yet here they are, leveling criticisms and blaming each other for Darden's death. If we had to guess, the bizarre sight of seeing these future friends fight is part of the reason the pilot is rated so low. Perhaps fans are put off by these two bickering.
Season 9's "Smash Therapy" is the second lowest-rated episode
While some of the writing and acting in the pilot can be a little shaky, we feel that it's leagues better than the rating it's currently been slapped with. It's also a cut above the second lowest-rated episode in the series, which is "Smash Therapy."
The season 9 episode is actually a strong character study of Mouch (Christian Stolte) for most of its runtime, with the character feeling inadequate at work after struggling to operate a firetruck, but the revelation that the firetruck was being faulty undercuts any reflecting that Mouch had been doing up to that point. It currently sits at a 7.7 rating.
We're not here to throw other Chicago Fire episodes under the bus ("Smash Therapy" notwithstanding), but we wanted to stick up for the pilot, as it was a crucial part of establishing the show and the franchise we know and love today.