Spoilers ahead for the seventh episode of Chicago Fire Season 7, called “Whom Shall I Fear?”
Chicago Fire had to say goodbye to Jesse Spencer as Matt Casey in the 200th episode. While the loss was still pretty fresh in the first episode after Casey left for Oregon to take care of the Darden boys, Firehouse 51 is getting back to business as usual, complete with an officer back on Truck: Lt. Jason Pelham, played by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. veteran Brett Dalton. Not everybody in 51 is thrilled about the current state of affairs with Casey gone and Pelham in, but if the job isn’t going to Stella right away, then this new lieutenant is exactly what the show needs in Season 10. But can the show also cut Brett a break?
What worked so well about Pelham in “Whom Shall I Fear?” is really that he wasn’t fully embraced by Firehouse 51 as Casey’s replacement, but also not unfairly rejected by anybody other than Gallo. He’s not a saint, but he’s also not skeevy (or so it seems at this point). He’s a lieutenant who is good enough that Boden wants to keep him on while Stella is still out of Chicago to expand the Girls on Fire program. He has a backbone, feels like an outsider, and is all around what Chicago Fire needs to let the characters process Casey’s loss without shifting too much focus onto a newcomer.
Pelham’s introduction was honestly more about Gallo than about Pelham himself, and it’s easy to understand why Boden thinks he fits in with the dynamic well enough to do the job and fill the Casey void as well as anybody can. Chicago Fire isn’t ignoring the absence of Casey, but also moving the show along with a new character, and characters reacting to him. And honestly, Gallo as a character needed the screen time to react to losing Casey as his mentor.
Jesse Spencer isn’t coming back, and Pelham could be the ideal character to help the transition. He didn’t let Gallo get away with talking back to him about how Casey did things, and that worked with Gallo… until the end of this episode. Whether or not it sticks remains to be seen. But the characters need to move on as much as the show does, and Pelham seems like the ideal way to do that.
Plus, Herrmann set the stage for a dramatic storyline for Pelham now that Pelham got his introduction, wondering why a guy who seems so great has been floating for so long. Excellent question, Herrmann! I’m guessing that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans can share his suspicions. Mouch already agrees.
But it’s impossible to talk about Chicago Fire moving on from Casey without mentioning what poor Brett is going through. She was so excited at the prospect of heading to Oregon in a matter of days for a visit, planning on what she and Casey would do together and gushing about how he’s taking care of the Darden boys… only for Casey to cancel on her via text, because he got into a wildfire-fighting program.
It’s really nobody’s fault, but the long distance relationship seems like it’s going to only get worse and harder on Brett the longer that it lasts. If one of them doesn’t make the difficult decision to end the relationship, Brett might just be miserable on an ongoing basis in Season 10. Brett deserves a clean break and to be part of a story that’s just hers, instead of half of a relationship that isn’t going to continue on screen.
I am glad that Brett didn’t lash out at Pelham for not being Casey, like Gallo did, and I’d actually be interested in seeing more of Brett and Pelham interacting. He already has a couple members of the Truck team with doubts against him, not to mention the lieutenant on Engine. Building a friendship with a paramedic who he doesn’t have under his command could be good for him, and Brett might need a positive kind of change despite her speech to Gallo at the end of “Whom Shall I Fear?”
Will Brett Dalton’s Pelham continue to be a good addition to Chicago Fire Season 10? Find out with new episodes on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, between Chicago Med (which just sent a doctor past the point of no return) at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET for the super successful One Chicago block of television in the fall TV lineup.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.