NBC’s hit drama ‘Chicago Fire’ returned for its 12th season on January 17th, 2024 with an emotional premiere filled with reunions, goodbyes, injuries, a time jump, and a major cliffhanger regarding one of the show’s most beloved characters.
Severide Makes His Long-Awaited Return
After being off-screen for the first half of season 12, fan-favorite character Lt. Kelly Severide, played by Taylor Kinney, finally made his return in the premiere after a mysterious six-month absence. Severide shockingly resigned from Firehouse 51 in the season 11 finale to go on a dangerous mission searching for arsonists in cooperation with the ATF.
His return was initially rocky, as his wife Stella Kidd, played by Miranda Rae Mayo, was furious at him for leaving without explanation and breaking her trust. The two share some tense moments as Kidd struggles to welcome Severide back into her life. By the end of the premiere, they appear to be back on track but showrunner Andrea Newman warns more tension is ahead for the popular couple known as “Stellaride”:
“There’s still trouble in paradise for them. The heat is still there between Taylor Kinney and Miranda Rae Mayo, but they have some things to work out.”
So while Severide settles back into life at Firehouse 51, it seems his relationship with Kidd will continue to be tested in the coming episodes.
Brett and Casey’s Engagement Hits a Potential Snag
In the midst of Severide’s return, Sylvie Brett, played by Kara Killmer, drops a bombshell that she is now engaged to her long-distance boyfriend Matt Casey, played by Jesse Spencer. Casey proposed to Brett over the six-month time jump via a handwritten letter. Brett happily accepted, but their engagement already encounters turbulence in the premiere.
Brett reveals she did not tell Casey she would be leaving Chicago for a job in Indianapolis with a federal disaster relief program. Showrunner Andrea Newman explains this could spell trouble for the Brettsey engagement:
“Brett didn’t talk to him before about this huge life decision before she made it, so there may be a wrench thrown into that relationship.”
It remains to be seen if Brett’s relocation and lack of communication with Casey will lead to issues for the couple as Brett gets settled into her new job away from Chicago and Firehouse 51.
Gallo’s Emotional Farewell
In one of the premiere’s most heart-wrenching moments, Blake Gallo, played by Alberto Rosende, informs Lt. Kelly Severide and the rest of Firehouse 51 that he has decided to leave and move closer to his mother, who is struggling from early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Gallo shares several emotional goodbyes with Severide, Ritter, Mouch, Herrmann, and the others. Showrunner Andrea Newman calls it a “really tearjerker of a goodbye” and leaves the door open for Gallo to potentially return:
“We would love to have Alberto back someday — he is very much still part of the Wolf Pack.”
So while Gallo exits the series to start a new chapter, fans may not have seen the last of the popular young firefighter.
Is Mouch Dead or Alive?
The biggest cliffhanger of the premiere involves firefighter Randy “Mouch” McHolland (played by Christian Stolte), one of the shows longest-tenured and most beloved characters.
While responding to a house fire, an explosion sends Herrmann (played by David Eigenberg) flying down a staircase, appearing severely injured. His rig mate Mouch attempts to rush to his aid but is engulfed by flames as more explosions tear through the building.
The episode ends without revealing Mouch’s fate, leaving viewers to wonder if he somehow survives or meets a tragic demise. Showrunner Andrea Newman leaves it intentionally ambiguous:
“You’ll have to tune in to the January 24 episode to get a definite answer on Mouch’s fate.”
Fans immediately flooded social media with theories about whether Mouch somehow makes it out alive or if the show truly kills off the beloved Mouch after 11 seasons as a key member of Firehouse 51. Viewers will have to watch closely in the coming weeks to solve the mystery.
|Lt. Kelly Severide
|Returns after 6-month absence
|Engaged to Casey but takes job in Indianapolis without telling him
|Exits Chicago to move closer to ailing mother
|Randy “Mouch” McHolland
|Unknown if alive or dead after huge explosion
What Comes Next?
Beyond resolving the huge cliffhangers with Mouch and Brettsey’s engagement, showrunner Andrea Newman teases more fallout is ahead from Severide’s return and secret ATF mission:
“There will be significant consequences professionally and politically from what Severide has been involved in.”
Newman also hints at potential new romances brewing:
“There also may be someone unexpected for Pelham. We’re excited about that.”
With Gallo’s emotional exit, these potential new relationship shakeups could bring shifts across Firehouse 51’s dynamics.
Finally, Kara Killmer’s Brett will adjust to her new life and job in Indianapolis while maintaining her long-distance engagement to Casey, leading to more highs and complications.
The action-packed, emotional season 12 premiere set up intricate ongoing storylines fans cannot afford to miss. Stay tuned as showrunner Andrea Newman promises the heat will remain turned up high on NBC’s ‘Chicago Fire’.
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