Chicago Fire “A Beautiful Life” Review: Where Trying Matters

Chicago Fire “A Beautiful Life” Spoilers Ahead

CHICAGO FIRE -- "A Beautiful Life" Episode 1108 -- Pictured: Alberto Rosende as Blake Gallo --
(Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC)

Where last week’s episode, “Angry is Easier,” did nothing but thankfully follow up on Cruz’s adoption storyline in “All-Out Mystery,” Chicago Fire Season 11, Episode 8, “A Beautiful Life,” dug into one of the most heartbreaking territories. This is Blake Gallo’s episode as much as it is an episode that emphasizes the importance of consistently trying to make the world a better place.

Chicago Fire’s “A Beautiful Life” is also the type of episode that tries a little too hard to push something forward when it could’ve merely left things as is, but for now, we’re not going to focus on that detail. Sometimes, the series is at its best when it allows its characters to be reckless and messy because it acts as a reminder of what the real world is like. 

A Beautiful Life

CHICAGO FIRE 11x08 Pictured: (l-r) Jake Lockett as Carver, Miranda Rae Mayo as Stella Kidd, Christian Stolte as Randy “Mouch” McHolland, Alberto Rosende as Blake Gallo --
(Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC)

The episode’s title says a lot, but it hurts more than it heals. For a man whose full story we didn’t get to know, life was anything but beautiful. It was difficult, treacherous, and too much to come back from. Chicago Fire targets many heartbreaking losses, but some are harder to cover than others. The loss we witness here is the latter. It’s hard to address it, and it’s even challenging to question whether or not the series does a proper job of commemorating it. 

Sometimes, we fail at something we’re trying to accomplish. But Gallo did try. He tried his hardest, following his instincts and doing everything he could to be gentle and understanding. But sometimes, even when we fail, the fact that we tried still matters profoundly, and I hope that’s something he grows to understand.

But the question here remains, what is the point of putting Gallo through this? So, Carver could feel something and stop being pretentious about everything? So we could make it clear that despite his immaturity at times, Blake Gallo is deeply empathetic at heart? There were plenty of other ways to get to this place without bringing in something this painfully traumatic in his life.

We’re only eight episodes into Season 11, and all we’ve had are traumatic, difficult losses that aren’t easy to come back from. What’s the purpose? Why is Chicago Fire pushing so hard this season? Carver and Gallo go from 0-20 so quickly that it’s the equivalent of getting whiplash. Sure, losses bind people and make it easier to open up, but it’s still a bit jarring, especially when all we get are crumbs about Carver’s past. Crumbs that aren’t making it any easier to care for the character yet. 

Something New?

CHICAGO FIRE -- "A Beautiful Life" Episode 1108 -- Pictured: (l-r) Hanako Greensmith as Violet Mikami, Kara Killmer as Sylvie Brett --
(Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC)

As someone who often searches for signs to find lost ones looking out for us in the world, I suppose that Sylvie and Dylan’s meeting works. It was sweet in a way that I wasn’t expecting, but more than anything, for the time being, it pushed me away from my fear that they’d have Sylvie and Carver get together. Now that’s a hard, hard no. These two can bond over their fear of clowns instead, and I’ll take it.

It’s also significant that the series still showcases Violet’s grief by having her acknowledge that sometimes it’s easy, while other days, it feels nearly impossible not to be sad or angry. We can’t ever predict how grief will manifest itself when we wake up in the morning, and that’s a truth we get to see through the character as she continues to mourn the loss she should’ve never had to witness.

Chicago Fire’s “A Beautiful Life” is a tough one, but it thankfully balances the heartbreak with a reminder of how well Stella and Kelly work together, as well as how hilarious Hermann can truly be when he’s in his head about something. These quiet moments (or very loud screaming matches) are why the series still holds up amid the darkness it continuously rides through. And again, it’s a procedural that deals with some harrowing occurrences, I get that, but sometimes when it feels too fabricated for the sake of television, it’s hard to look over. 

Further Thoughts

  • Will Kelly and Stella eventually sign the form to free the man who attacked them in the season premiere?
  • We need more of Ritter, always.
  • Trudy giving Hermann a ticket should not have been as genius as it was, but here we are.
  • I also really wish we got to see more of Cruz telling Javi the adoption is officially happening, but I’ll wait to hopefully see it when all the paperwork is done.
  • I will never understand why we had to kill Evan. Still, never.

Now streaming on Peacock: What are your thoughts on Chicago Fire‘s “A Beautiful Life?” Let us know in the comments below.


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