Chicago Fire “Winterfest” Review: The Missing Heart

Chicago Fire “Winterfest” Spoilers Ahead

CHICAGO FIRE "Winterfest" Episode 1009 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kara Kilmer as Sylvie Brett, Hanako Greensmith as Violet, Christian Stolte as Mouch -- (
Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

Chicago Fire‘s “Winterfest” could have been a perfect holiday episode, and yet, it misses the mark in a way that’s sadly surprising from this show. Where Mouch is concerned, Christian Stolte is at his best, delivering one of the finest, most heartwarming performances to date. Where Sylvie’s Paramedicine program is on the brink, we get a satisfying conclusion too. In more ways than one, the episode is excellent, so much so that in true Chicago Fire, even the victims made me cry. But the unnecessary elephants in the room take the show to a place no one wants to see or believes. 

Kelly Severide might miss Stella Kidd, but he has some serious competition with some of the fans. We all miss her, buddy. And in short, that opening scene with him staring at his phone was so heart-crushing, it was devastating to watch. But more than that, it’s how Chicago Fire “Winterfest” is trying to make it seem as though something is going on when we all know there isn’t. It’s been 10 Seasons with Kelly and Stella’s story developing since Season 4. We don’t need added drama like this.

The fans know better. The characters know better. The writing should know better. Stella Kidd, of all people, understands the importance of communication, and thus, to harp on a storyline like this feels cheap. And that’s especially the takeaway in an episode as lovely as this.

Does any of this feel even remotely threatening for the duo? Not even a little. Kelly and Stella are solid. They have been for quite some time now, and all the drama they’ve been through has led them here today. They’re at a place where they both know better and, more importantly, where they have solidified that they want to spread the rest of their lives together.

Stella’s return will prove that, and thus, the tension is more frustrating than anything else because where we could have had a gorgeous reunion (one they should’ve had in “Mayday,“) we get cold tension instead. And again, it doesn’t concern me because we know the two will be fine, but still. Insert Schmidt’s why can’t I have the things I want gif here.

This storyline, along with the love triangle Gallo got himself stuck in and then got out of while jeopardizing the whole beer squad? Unnecessary once again. Chicago Fire “Winterfest” showcases Firehouse 51’s heart so beautifully that these bits of drama then brought it all to a strange, bizarre place. 

It was surprising even to see how much heart Hawkins decided to exhibit when he states he wants to witness Sylvie and Mouch’s routes firsthand. He is the last person audiences could have expected this from, and to see it come to pass like this touches on the spirit of Christmas the episode’s dealing with.

Thereby, Sylvie finally getting approval, and watching Mouch and Violet stand so fervently beside her as she spoke up in court made for the kind of heartwarming scene the episode was itching for.

Chicago Fire is about family more than anything else, and “Winterfest” illuminates that when Mouch and the squad give the victim and his wife the kind of Santa/Mrs. Claus visit they know kids would be missing out on. It’s moments like this where the show is at its best and how it differentiates significantly from the rest of One Chicago. Thereby, bringing in unnecessary drama within the family amidst such beautiful moments equates to the missing heart that’s achingly palpable while watching. 

In short, Chicago Fire “Winterfest” is a frustrating hour where it could have been strictly beautiful. It’s a frustrating hour because it makes viewers roll their eyes at scenes where the characters should know better, and the writing shouldn’t have to dig into these strange places to create dramatic climaxes. But here’s to hoping the new year brings less in-house drama and more of the familial heart. 

What are your thoughts on Chicago Fire’s “Winterfest?” Let us know in the comments below.

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