Chicago Fire “Completely Shattered” Spoilers Ahead
The third episode of the season started strong and ended with the kind of blow I never expected from Chicago Fire. Yet, at the same time, I did to a degree. It still doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking or bearable. And it has more to do with how it happened, when, and why.
It’s understandable that ensemble shows like this cannot always make someone a series regular or keep a story flowing through the end. Executives need to make decisions and weigh options for the overarching stories. I get it. I know how television works. Still, more often than not, the best parts of a story end up being the surprising elements that go unplanned. Characters meant to die but stayed to the end were added to the storyline. Characters came in for one episode, but people reacted so well to them they became regulars. It happens all the time, and rightfully so.
And sometimes, writers stick to their guns. From certain shows, you go in expecting only pain and pain you receive. You expect all sorts of terrible options, but you walk in with a little more hope on a show like Chicago Fire, and today, there’s none of that.
From the moment Hawkins and Violet got together, I’ve believed that this wouldn’t be an endgame relationship. Something was bound to break them up—throw a wrench in the whole thing, bring the story to a conclusion, etcetera. But what never crossed my mind was the series killing Hawkins off, which makes me utterly livid as a viewer. Death is a part of life, and so is grief. It’s inevitable, natural, and ugly, and it doesn’t care how people will feel in the aftermath, but scripted television doesn’t have to go down that route for the sake of realism. It especially doesn’t need to take that route when it comes to shows that have, more often than not, been inconsistent in properly addressing narrative beats that are supposed to advance characters.
So I humbly ask, what in Christ’s holy name was the point of killing off Evan in Chicago Fire’s “Completely Shattered?” (I would have asked the same question if I was covering this show when Shay and Otis were killed too.) One Chicago universe has excessively tortured its female characters too many times, making this a terrible blow that doesn’t do anything good or poignant. And no, death is never truly poignant, but fiction is supposed to push narratives that drive its characters, not the other way around. It’s not edgy to kill off characters. It doesn’t make it any more prestige to do so. It doesn’t make the writing compelling or thoughtful.
“You walked into a show about firefighters; you should’ve expected death,” someone will argue. I did and still do expect it, but I never expected it to be any of the key players. I also don’t expect this show to ever care about maintaining its edge when characters like Hank Voight still rule the mighty corrupt kingdoms over on Chicago P.D.
No one consumes fiction to be tortured by it; we watch because compelling storytelling equates to hearty escapism. Like I said and will continue reaffirming, I didn’t expect this show to give me a happy ending with these two—I expected something more like Brett and Casey, a hopeful end. A relationship that’s run its course. The one that got away…maybe someday.
And I suppose an even more significant reason for my rage is because it seems the series is once again trying to push Violet and Gallo down our throats when a natural showcase of that relationship has proven that they’re better off as friends. How long will Violet grieve before the series goes, “lol Hawkins, who?” If I’m proven wrong by this, I’ll happily bite my tongue—I’ll admit to my mistakes, but I don’t trust when something like this comes from nowhere. And I don’t trust shows that throw female characters through one wringer after another.
Hawkins deserved so much more, and the audience deserved to get to know him before.
To not only have Violet see it but to watch it happen from the first rumble? She will need years of therapy to overcome a trauma like this, and I hope Chicago Fire walks her through it. And through it all, we need to talk about Hanako Greensmith’s gut-wrenching performance through all this. Awards never acknowledge the performances brought on by procedural shows on network television. The way she wept the words “he was just looking at me” will haunt me for a long, long time. The way Chief Boden uttered the words, “I got you,” sent me bawling. None of this was okay, and it’s entirely the execution of it all that makes it so much worse. I don’t care how realistic it is; I hate it with every fiber of my being.
The thing about Chicago Fire is that the heart of this show remains—if it were any other series, I would’ve turned off my TV and never looked back. I’ve done it multiple times in the past. But you can’t do that here because all these characters are special, and I want to know more about them and hear their stories. The quiet moments and the loud ones all feed into the series’ heart beautifully, which makes it even more heartbreaking to lose Hawkins this way. Because in the same way that Chief Boden had to tear Violet off of Hawkins, the same thing will happen to us as viewers—they’ll likely walk us through it.
Hawkami was a special relationship—a quiet friendship that turned into a forbidden romance and evolved into a beautifully warm shared partnership. They were always willing to go the extra mile for each other, share their heart’s burdens transparently, and love unabashedly. They were so achingly sweet, and I would’ve taken all the angst if it meant we got to keep them this way, drowning in each other’s love whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Chicago Fire’s “Completely Shattered” was a great episode until it led to this moment. It gave us women who care about each other and a team who’s willing to go all out with small gestures. While I still don’t like Carver, he didn’t bother me as much this week. Still, in all this, we were left with a character death for someone whose journey had been worthwhile and beautiful. How Hawkins started and where he ended wasn’t at all satisfactory. He had so much to show and bring forward; it’s utterly heartbreaking that we won’t be getting any of it. But maybe when I’m a little less sad, I’ll write a character deep dive for him. He deserved it in the end.
Now streaming on Peacock: What are your thoughts on Chicago Fire’s “Completely Shattered?” Let us know in the comments below.