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Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Season 7 premiere of Chicago Fire. Be sure to look away now and come back once you've had a chance to catch the episode!
Chicago Fire gave fans quite the cliffhanger last season when long-time couple Gabby Dawson and Matt Casey faced a breaking point in their relationship that led to a separation. While it appeared to be unthinkable that a couple who we've been watching dance around each other and then finally marry just in Season 5 would already be broken up by the end of Season 6, we knew that this was the cruel twist of fate that we'd been dealt when Gabby's protrayer, Monica Raymund, announced that she was leaving the show. After tonight's premiere, though, we finally know how Gabby and her portrayer have had their storyline wrapped up. And, well, it ain't looking good for all the Dawsey fans out there.
To remind everyone just how contentious things where for Matt and Gabby when Season 6 came to a close, the premiere actually opens with Matt remembering the fight they had which led to her leaving Chicago for Puerto Rico to help with relief efforts, as he stares longingly at her abandoned paramedic jacket in their apartment. Turns out it's been a few months since Gabby left, and while everyone (especially, also, her friend and ambulance partner Brett) misses her, they are all working under the assumption that she'll be back before too much longer.
No one, even Kelly, seems to be able to tell how Matt is really doing. That is, until they get their first call in the premiere, and Matt immediately displays some crazy recklessness in his effort to help a man trapped under a slowly falling elevator, which proves that he's clearly not OK. Later, Kelly asks his friend when he last talked to Gabby and we find out that not only has it been weeks, but that she keeps extending her time in Puerto Rico. She was only supposed to be gone for two weeks, then stayed on for a full month, then two months, and so on. Matt explains to Kelly that at first they would Face Time on a regular basis, and that turned into calls which became infrequent two-word texts as Gabby got busier and Matt got more annoyed at her being gone.
Kelly tells Matt he might need to step up if he wants this long distance thing to work, and after he leaves Matt's office we get quite the surprise when he does just that and places a video call to Gabby. As she updates him on what she's been working on, it's clear that Gabby is very happy with the work she's getting to do and feels like she's really helping people and is totally fulfilled. Which is cool for Gabby, but Matt is obviously gutted by the fact that she doesn't seem to miss him at all, and later, when most of the house is asleep, he's up pacing in his office.
Seems like that pacing helped Matt make a decision, as he ends up telling Boden and Kelly that he's planning to go visit Gabby. But, when he finally gets home from shift, Gabby is actually standing in their apartment surrounded by a lot of luggage. Unfortunately, he notices that these appear to be "leaving bags" instead of all the things she left with originally. Gabby confirms this when she says they've asked her to stay permanently and she's accepted. To Gabby's (minor in my opinion) credit, she does ask Matt to come with her, but he says he's "a Chicago guy." This prompts Gabby to start crying as she apologizes, and Matt tells her that she was meant for this job and he's just glad he was "able to walk alongside her as long as he was" and that he's proud of her. Gabby responds, noting that she's "never known anyone as good as him and never will." The episode ends as they hug it out for the last time.
So, while this was a truly shitty ending for a couple we've all been rooting for since at least the halfway point of Season 1, at least we did get more closure than would have been afforded to us if Gabby went off to Puerto Rico and we just never saw or heard from her again. And, it's also way better than having her die off screen or her and Matt breaking up without us getting the full, gut-wrenching effect of the split.