RECAP: Chicago Fire ‘Natural Born Firefighter’

Kara Killmer and Jesse Spencer

This week’s Chicago Fire, Natural Born Firefighter opens with Casey (Jesse Spencer) finally seeing a doctor while Brett (Kara Kilmer) sits impatiently in the waiting room. He explains to the doctor that he’s having vision issues, and the doctor sends him to get an MRI because it’s possible he’s having “temporal lobe seizures” that could progress into full seizures.

Casey’s worried that would mean the end of his career and Brett tells him to slow down and to remember that it’s possible, not definite and once they get the results of the tests they can take it from there. 

Back at  Firehouse 51, Casey finally tells Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) and Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) about his condition and says that he shouldn’t see any action for the next few calls, just to “play it safe”. They agree to cover for him and break the news to the rest of the team that Boden will replace Casey on Truck 81 with Mouch taking the first seat.

Our heroes are called to a burning storefront with a residence above and exploding balloons inside. The fire hasn’t reached the structure yet, but the residence above is engulfed in thick black smoke. One female victim is quickly rescued, but her daughter is missing. Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg) chases a man up the stairs and into more danger until they find his unconscious neighbor. The man tells Herrman what they need to do and reveals himself to be a former firefighter and helps Herrmann get the neighbor out through the window while Mouch (Christian Stolte) searches for the missing child. Unfortunately for him, the store owner informed Boden that it’s flammable acetylene gas in all those balloons and there is more acetylene stored on site. Mouch finds the child crying in a corner just before the whole store explodes.

Natural Born Firefighter
Pictured: Christian Stolte as Randall “Mouch” McHolland — (Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC)

When everyone has been safely evacuated, Mouch quips that it was the “worst party ever” while Herrmann excitedly tells the tale of the “natural born firefighter” he met who’s vanished from the scene. Casey is visibly disappointed he missed the excitement as the team returns to 51 and tells him about the exploding balloons. Everyone else wonders who’s been parking in Boden’s usual spot outside the firehouse and what they will do to fix the problem. They get him riled up telling him that he needs to get angry and leave a nasty note. 

Herrmann is desperate to find out more about the mystery hero, and learns his name was Mason from Brett and Violet. Brett tells him that Mason was headed back to his place so Herrmann tracks him down and formally introduces himself. Mason explains that he’s from Colorado and moved to Chicago to be with family. Herrmann asks him if he’s ever thought of applying with the CFD. He says no and that his firefighting experience came from a prison program, therefore his status as a felon would keep him from becoming a civilian firefighter with CFD.

Casey thanks Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende) for expressing concern about his well-being in previous Chicago Fire episodes. Gallo says he hopes it all works out. 

Herrmann sees the potential in Mason and he tells Mouch all about him. He’s invited Mason to join them at Molly’s and reassures Mason that Mouch is “good people”. Herrmann asked Mason how he became such an amazing fireman and Mason explains that there’s nothing else to do in prison but train. 

At another table, some of the others are drawing straws to see who gets to “handle” Boden’s parking problem (Ritter draws the short straw),

Brett apologizes to Grainger for canceling on their ski trip. She explains that she didn’t want her friend to go through the medical stuff on his own. She offers to make it up to him by taking him to a pop-up omelet festival because omelets are “very trendy right now”

At another table, Severide has an honest discussion with Casey about his issue and how he didn’t tell Severide about it. Casey admits that he tends to shut people out and Severide reminds him that he shouldn’t be going through this alone. He tells Severide that he’s not alone and that Brett will be going with him to his MRI.

Herrmann is trying to get a meeting with the Fire Commissioner so he can discuss CFD hiring policies. He’s referred to Deputy Commissioner Hill, the woman who dropped by to congratulate Stella earlier. He explains that he needs a policy change and he is told not to get his hopes up. 

Casey and Brett wait for his MRI and talk about the music he will listen to throughout the testing in the machine. “Have fun?” Brett says awkwardly.

Ritter Takes his parking spot guarding duties seriously and puts Herrmann’s old recliner in the street to save Boden’s parking spot. Herrmann approaches Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) and asks her to help him get that meeting with Hill since she’s been “bragging about her new friend”. Before she agrees, she asks what he needs to talk to her about. 

Back at the firehouse, Casey is now anxiously waiting for his MRI results and Brett is missing a bunch of phone calls while talking to Casey including several missed calls from the pop-up omelet festival that she needs to confirm reservations for.

Gallo and Ritter are getting a group of young firefighters together for a meeting at Molly’s and decide that they need a guest speaker.

Bowden is irritated that his spot is taken again and Ritter is shocked to find out that someone moved the recliner in order to steal Boden’s spot. Boden leaves a nasty note on the offending car. 

Stella runs Herrmann’s request past Severide, but she thinks it’s considered “special treatment.” Severide points out he did a lot of dumb things as a teenager and just didn’t get caught, and that Herrmann doesn’t go to bat for people often, encouraging her to go ahead and try and do the favor for Herrmann. 

Having overheard all the phone calls Brett missed, Casey has decided that Brett doesn’t need to tag along anymore. Before she can even respond, Chicago Fire has Ambulance 61 respond to a tennis machine accident where a girl named Amber has her arm wedged in a tennis ball launcher. Amber has a compound fracture, and says if she can’t play tennis she “might as well be dead.” Brett gets slightly distracted as she draws a parallel to Casey.

The guys are now staking out Boden’s parking spot while Stella tells Herrmann that she got them (both of them) a meeting with Deputy Commissioner Hill. She also wants them to prepare their remarks in advance like they’re doing a show at the Steppenwolf, stating that she NEEDS to make a good impression. 

Ritter and Gallo ask Mouch to be the guest speaker to their firefighters’ group. He’s thrown and says he’ll check his schedule. 

Brett insists to Casey that she’s coming with him whether he wants her to or not. She says that she knows that firefighting is his whole life and that he’s scared, but she is too. He says that he feels like he’s been selfish taking up her time and she responds by telling him to call her when he gets the results,“or else.”

Stella and Herrmann are waiting for Hill with their note cards. Unfortunately, she doesn’t think the hiring policy will change and believes making an exemption for Mason will open them up to lawsuits, and she actually sounds pretty cold about it. Even after Stella delivers a monologue singing Mason’s praises and begs her to give him a fair shot. Hill calls the department an elite group of men and women “exclusionary on purpose.” 

After the commercial break, Stella gets a call that sounds a lot more promising.

Boden has discovered who has been parking their truck in Boden’s spot. It’s a man who has been helping a nun. Boden is shamed for his behaviour and mobilizes his team to help her and makes sure he gets rid of the last angry note he penned before giving up his parking spot for the greater good. Unfortunately for him, the nun saw the note first and ordered him to do 10 Our Fathers and 15 Hail Marys as proper penance for his language in the nasty notes he left.

In its final few minutes of this Chicago Fire episode, Herrmann gives Mason a challenge coin from Firehouse 51 before telling him that they did get him a job interview in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mason is completely blown away both by the opportunity and what Stella and Herrmann have done for him. 

Brett gets a call from Casey while on her date with Grainger. Casey is visibly irritated and it’s apparent he’s figured out the friend she’s helping is Casey.  “I think you have some stuff you need to figure out, Sylvie,” Grainger tells her before he walks off. Brett runs off to the hospital where the doctor explains that Casey’s problem is a shoulder injury, not a brain one and that he’s going to be fine. Everyone breathes a deep sigh of relief and Brett and Casey share a relieved hug.


In addition to Dick WolfChicago Fire executive producers include Derek Haas, Todd Arnow, Andrea Newman, Michael Gilvary, Michael Brandt, Reza Tabrizi, Arthur W. Forney, Peter Jankowski. 

Chicago Fire is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.

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