Spoilers ahead for the midseason finale of Chicago Fire Season 7.
Chicago Fire knows how to deliver a cliffhanger after all these years, and the midseason finale featured more than one twist guaranteed to keep fans on the line to return for the second half of Season 7 next year. In fact, they were twisty enough that showrunner Derek Haas came up with some reasons why he expected fans to be mad by the end of the episode. Here's how he put it:
Those last six or seven minutes, I was like, 'Oh man, people are going to be mad about Casey hooking up with Naomi. Then they're going to be really mad about Severide and Stella.' And then I was like, 'Oh, and then we'll throw one more thing at them 30 seconds later. That apartment we've known for five years is engulfed in flames.'
In his comments to TVLine, Derek Haas explained that the cliffhanger with Casey and Naomi's lives in danger combined with the relationship problems between Stella and Severide had him prepared for an angry fanbase. To really understand why, let's start by taking a look back at Casey's story.
Yes, Casey hooked up with reporter Naomi, less than half a season after his divorce from Dawson became official. They fell into bed together after seemingly successfully landing a win over the Gramberg Trailer Company, which had put people in trailers with fire hazards in them. They celebrated with a kiss and ultimately a roll in the hay, and that undoubtedly came as a surprise to fans trusting Jesse Spencer's comments about Casey not rushing into things with somebody else after the end of his marriage.
Of course, Casey will have more on his mind when the show returns than just his hook-up with Naomi. The cliffhanger happened when Casey woke up beside Naomi, opened his bedroom door, and discovered the apartment engulfed in flames. He and Naomi are in grave danger, although honestly, if you're going to be trapped in a burning apartment with somebody, a fire department captain is a good person to be trapped with. Way to go, Naomi?
We probably don't need to worry that either Casey or Naomi will bite the dust in the fire, although we also shouldn't count on true love between them. Derek Haas previously stated that Casey and Naomi get close because he "catches a little of her intensity and gets into it himself," explaining that the flush of excitement can lead to impulsiveness, so we probably don't need to be worried that the relationship will last.
That said, the threat from the company they took on together isn't going away. Here's what Derek Haas said when asked if Gramberg Trailer had something to do with the fire:
That's part of the mystery that we're going to unravel when we get back in January, but the clues are there with the guy who was watching them out in Indiana, then was following them out of the diner. I would be highly suspicious of the Gramberg Trailer Company.
As if the Casey/Naomi twists weren't enough, the Chicago Fire midseason finale dealt up some drama for Stella and Severide as well. The formerly solid couple has been shaken up thanks to the presence of Stella's old friend Tyler. Severide didn't take well to Tyler from the very first time he met the guy, arguing that he has feelings for Stella.
Stella didn't believe that her longtime friend had such feelings, and she definitely didn't appreciate when Severide accused her of leading Tyler on. It didn't help that Tyler and Severide were telling different stories about what happened when they met. Stella came to suspect that there's more to Severide's jealousy of Tyler than what he'll admit, but he wouldn't come out and explain himself. Oh, Severide. It was going so well for a while.
Derek Haas describes the relationship as "on the rocks" as of the end of the midseason finale, then went on to say this about Tyler sticking around Stella and Severide:
He's not good for this relationship. He's got his own feelings that he's dealing with, and Severide thinks he's got more on his mind than [friendship] with Stella, and Stella thinks Severide's being a little too jealous. So we'll see that play out more.
Will Stella and Severide's relationship survive Tyler in Stella's life? Will Casey and Naomi escape the fire unscathed? Will anybody comment on how quickly Casey moved on from Gabby? Only time will tell. Unfortunately, the midseason finale was the last new episode that will air in 2018. You'll have to wait until 2019 to find out what happens next.