“Chicago Fire” Season 3 Episode 1 “Always” aired on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, at 10:00 p.m. on NBC. The episode picked up right after the Season 2 finale, in which the members of Firehouse 51, except for the newly married Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker), were caught in an explosion in an abandoned building, as they had responded to a fire alert there. However, not everyone made it out alive. Six weeks later, Firehouse 51 is trying its best to keep itself together, but their colleague’s death has hit some of the members harder than the others. Read on to learn more about this episode.
The episode picked up from where the finale left off, with the abandoned warehouse building exploding, trapping the members of Firehouse 51, except for Chief Boden, inside the building. The Chief called for extra help as none of his team members were responding to him.
Inside, Lieutenant Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) was the first one to reactivate his radio and told Chief Boden that the roof had collapsed. It turned out that the propane tanks on the top floor exploded as the homeless, who were living within the building were cooking on an open fire, which caused the fire and the explosion. However, most of the homeless were gone. Severide and his men tried to look for the other members of Firehouse 51.
Lieutenant Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) and his team were all accounted for, and they found Peter Mills (Charlie Barnett). As his leg was pinned down, he had sustained a fracture, and they created a splint for him. Meanwhile, Casey and Severide went to look for Paramedics Leslie Shay (Lauren German) and Gabriella Dawson (Monica Raymund), who were on the ground floor, treating a patient. As they arrived at the scene, they found Gabriella desperately trying to resuscitate Shay back to life and even got Severide to help out. However, there was nothing else they could have done, and she was pronounced dead.
After this, the first flashback scene was shown. In it, Leslie Shay walked in, for the first time, into Firehouse 51. There, she met her new partner, Gabriella Dawson, who introduced her to the rest of the station. She met Otis (Yuri Sardarov), who was a candidate at that time, Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso), Lieutenant Matthew Casey, Christopher Hermann (Devid Eigenberg), Andy Darden (Corey Sorenson), Jose Vargas (Mo Gallini), Kelly Severide and the boys from the Rescue Squad or Squad 3. She also overheard Severide saying that he was looking for a roommate. She volunteered, as she explained to him that she was gay.
Six weeks after the accident, Firehouse 51 was trying to hold itself together after the loss of Shay. Peter Mills (Charlie Barnett) finally returned to the station after six weeks of rehabilitation, and it turned out that Severide had not yet returned to the Firehouse. Gabriella came in late because of an appointment, and later, after she had changed, she stood contemplating and looking at the plaque and picture of Leslie Shay, whose picture hung beside Andy Darden’s. Hermann asked Otis to bring some of the money they earned from their bar, Molly’s, to the bank, and Gabriella met her new partner, Sylvie Brett (Kara Kilmer). Gabriella seemed out of sorts, but it turned out that she hadn’t moved yet to her new Firehouse, Firehouse 105, so that Firehouse 51 could be a little bit more stable before she left. Chief Boden told her that he appreciated it and that he was starting to work on her transfer paperwork again. After she left, Mouch (Christian Stolte) came in to remind the Chief about their double date — Chief Boden and Donna (Mellisa Ponzio) were going out to dinner with Mouch and Sergeant Platt (Amy Morton) of the Chicago Police Department. He also asked if they could go Dutch on this dinner.
Casey, on the other hand, is a little bit worried as Severide had not shown up yet. He did have furlough, but it was already one week overdue. Casey then decided to gas up Truck 81. At the gasoline station, Hermann and Otis talked about the possible future of their bar, Molly’s. Hermann mentioned that Shay had been telling him to think bigger than they were at the moment so that they could make more money, and they decided to expand, which earned some laughter from Mouch. While there, they met Lieutenant Tommy Welch (Kenny Johnson) of Firehouse 105, whom Firehouse 51 does not get along with and had promised to make Gabriella’s life difficult when she transferred to that station, as Welch would be her lieutenant. They received a call, and they decided that the first truck to arrive would get command of that scene. Luckily, thanks to Cruz’ driving skills, Casey and his team got there first.
It was a house fire, and Casey decided to go into the basement alone to rescue the son of the woman of the house, who was trapped in the basement. Thankfully, Welch decided to show up to assist Casey. After everything, Casey handed a bottle of water to Welch to thank him. However, Welch spat it back in his face as called Casey names as he had recklessly gone in alone. This prompted Casey to splash water all over Welch, and a fight would have broken out, if Chief Boden had not interfered.
Meanwhile, Gabriella showed Sylvie the ropes as she tended to the man that they had rescued from the basement. When Sylvie asked if she could drive, Gabriella told her that she had to earn it first. At the wheel, she filled in some paperwork and found the form that Shay had last filled out. She recalled their last moments in the truck together before she sped off.
Back at the station, the Chief told Casey that he needed to control his temper and that he needed leaders more than ever at that particular moment in the Firehouse. Casey then decided to find Severide to convince him to come back.
In another flashback scene, Shay’s last moments were revealed to the viewers. As they had tended to the victim on the ground floor of the warehouse, Gabriella told Shay to switch places with her, as Shay would be the one to take the lead once Gabriella moved to Firehouse 51. In the middle of everything, the building exploded, and a beam struck Shay’s head, knocking her to the floor. Gabriella was brought back to the present by Sylvie, who was asking her what kind of chief Boden was. Gabriella reassured her that Chief Boden was the type of chief who really helps them out during their calls. Sylvie also reassured Gabriella that she was not trying to replace Shay. Gabriella then went to Casey and asked him to propose to her again because she did not want her proposal day to be marred by the memory of Shay’s death. However, Casey thought of it as something good, as Shay had said that they were good together. Gabriella reassured him that the answer to his question would always be yes, but Casey wanted to do it right.
Casey visited Severide, who was out on the Grey Lakes with his boat. When asked if he would come back, Severide only said that Firehouse 51 was cursed and that a friend of his was going to share his boat repair business with him. Before he left, Casey showed Severide Boden’s ledger. For every call that they respond to, Boden would hand write what had happened during that call. On the left hand column, Boden had carefully logged in those that they had saved. For Casey, Andy and Shay’s badges and plaques on the wall did not represent death, but they represented the lives that they had saved.
Severide then had a flashback to just after Devon, Shay’s girlfriend, had left the apartment. He had told her over drinks that Devon was bad news and that he did not really want to say anything. As a joke, they decided to make a contract, which the two caught on video.
At the firehouse, Otis asked Sylvie how she had ended up in Chicago. It turned out that she was supposed to marry the number one sod seller in Indiana, but she had gotten cold feet and ran all the way to Chicago.
At the dinner, it is revealed that Donna was pregnant and that Boden did not really want to go out and interact with others. However, Donna knew that since this was a difficult time for him. He had to reach out and relax outside of work. Trudy Platt and Mouch then came in, and Trudy insisted on ordering a whole bottle of wine and that dinner was on them. Mouch also presented tickets to see Led Zeppigan, the cover band of Led Zeppellin. Chief Boden initially did not want to go, but Donna insisted that he should.
At the firehouse, Rick Newhouse (Edwin Hodge), talked to Peter about his paternal grandparents. As Rick Newhouse freelanced as a skip tracer, someone who can find other people, Peter had asked him to find out about his paternal relatives. Surprisingly, Peter, who had been told that his grandfather lived in Seattle, found out that his grandfather lived right outside of Chicago. He tried to go and visit him, but when he got there, he got nervous and left.
At the station, Mouch and Cruz decided to tell Hermann that they wanted to invest in a Molly’s 2, as Hermann and Otis were thinking of expanding. However, Hermann was not so keen on the idea, as Mouch had initially laughed at his plans to expand. Gabriella passed by Casey’s office to ask him to reschedule the dinner date they had with Casey’s sister to another day, as she was meeting up with Antonio (Jon Seda), her brother, for lunch. It turned out that the two were seeing more of each other as they were both going through some difficult times. Antonio was still dealing with the fact that his wife and kids had left him, and Gabriella was dealing with Shay’s death. They were then interrupted by another call.
They responded to a single car accident. The car had broken the fire hydrant into two, causing the water from the hydrant to enter and flood the car. A couple was inside the car, and the wife was already below the water level. After rescuing the husband, they decided to turn the car right side up, and Boden was able to get the main water company to shut down the water for that hydrant. The wife had sustained a lot of injuries to the mouth, and they had to get oxygen in in a different way. Gabriella paniked as they had no crike kit, but Sylvie used to having no support and little supplies used a plastic tubing and scissors in order to crike her. Impressed, Gabriella let her drive the ambulance.
Back at the station, Gabriella and Casey parted ways for a little while. Gabriella headed off to her therapy session, to which she had been going to for five weeks. However, she had not said a single word in those five weeks. Finally, she broke down and revealed that she felt that it was her fault, that she was the one who was supposed to die, as Shay was in the position that Gabriella was supposed to be in had they not switched places.
Mouch, who was waiting for Chief Boden for their Led Zeppigan concert, learned that the Chief was somewhere at the back of the station. Boden told Donna that he did not want to go, but Donna had insisted. He then approached Mouch and asked what time he wanted them to pick Mouch and Trudy up.
Outside the station, Casey noticed Severide who was standing nearby with his motorbike and Boden’s ledger. Severide decided to go back to work, and the pair decided to put Shay’s things into boxes for her parents. As they did so, Severide came across the DVD of the contract that they had made together. He popped it in and revealed the contract. Severide had said that they should not get into each others’ business and that work matters should never be brought home. He then turned the camera on Shay, who added that their own personal lives should never be brought to work. Finally, she gave the final addendum to the contract — they would “promise to be there for each other no matter what, always.”
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Catch “Chicago Fire” every Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. on NBC.