Spoilers ahead for Episode 5 of Chicago Fire Season 8, called "Buckle Up."
Chicago Fire kicked off Season 8 on a heartbreaking note thanks to the death of Otis, who was part of Firehouse 51 from the very first season and whose loss was arguably the biggest of the series since Shay. After the events of "Buckle Up," however, I'm beginning to suspect that Firehouse 51 is going to lose another firefighter in Season 8, and not just because somebody new joined the team.
The good news? I'm not suspicious that Fire will be killing off another major character so soon after the loss of Otis. The bad news is that "Buckle Up" did set the stage for somebody to potentially leave Firehouse 51, at least for a time. Here's what went down.
While the major plot of the week concerned a scheme by some criminals to crash cars and then turn the incidents into paydays, Stella Kidd spent most of the episode at the leadership conference, which had only one other female attendee, who revealed to Kidd that she thought the conference was supposed to be officers only.
Kidd had a hard time while being somewhat frozen out early in the episode, but she showed that she has the skills and leadership to stand out even among the officers who were sent to the conference. The chief who ran the exercises at the conference filled Boden in on Kidd's stellar performance, and Boden was happy to hear it.
All signs point toward Kidd as the next firefighter of 51 who could become an officer, and Firehouse 51 is already packed with an Engine lieutenant, a Squad lieutenant, and a Truck captain. If Stella does become an officer or find out that she's being looked at for advancement, does that mean that she'll have to head for a new house?
Or might somebody else leave Firehouse 51 so that Stella's journey to becoming an officer goes off without a hitch and/or any suspicion of favoritism? The first responders have dealt with relationships complicating professional dynamics in the past, as when Gabby Dawson became a firefighter on Truck under Casey's leadership long before her departure from the series.
Could Severide leave 51 for Kidd's sake? Their relationship is going very strong at this point, and just last week he spun a story about having kids and grandkids with her someday. Now, even on my biggest conspiracy theory days, I wouldn't even dream that Chicago Fire would move Severide out of his longtime firehouse... if not for a tweet from Fire showrunner Derek Haas:
Either Casey or Severide won't be at Firehouse 51 by the time the winter break kicks off, which is at the conclusion of Episode 9 of Season 8. I doubt Derek Haas would have made such a reveal if one of the two leads of Fire was going to be killed off in the winter finale, so it's possible that one of them will decide to leave 51.
Severide has been 100% supportive of Kidd on a potential leadership track so far; if he's going to leave Firehouse 51 without being killed off, grievously injured, or kidnapped, I could see him doing it for her sake. Of course, it's entirely possible that Casey will be the one gone from 51 before the winter break, but the tease from the showrunner is certainly fuel for the speculation fire.
Derek Haas also teased something else that could point toward a big development on the Severide/Kidd front:
What would be a bigger show of love between Severide and Kidd than Severide willingly switching houses to Kidd's sake? He'd undoubtedly have an easier time somewhere else than Kidd would. Female firefighters are still vastly outnumbered, and Dawson's temporary stint at a firehouse other than 51 proved that not all houses are willing to welcome women with open arms.
I'll admit that there are more reasons why Derek Haas might describe the winter finale as a love story. Cruz and Chloe got engaged in "Buckle Up," which meant Cruz finally caught a break in Season 8, Fire is packed with strong (and some surprising) relationships, and the Casey/Brett relationship, which one Fire star described as "really cute," could heat up. Honestly, it could even be a reference to the Casey/Severide bromance, right? There's love there!
We'll have to wait and see. At this point, Derek Haas has seemingly confirmed that either Casey or Severide will be gone from Firehouse 51 sooner rather than later, and Kidd's future as an officer looks quite bright.
Find out what happens in the lead up to the winter finale when new episodes of Chicago Fire air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, between new episodes of Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET.