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Spoilers ahead for Chicago Fire's Season 8 fall finale, called "Best Friend Magic."
Chicago Fire ended the first chunk of Season 8 on a killer cliffhanger that will leave fans wondering about the fate of Kelly Severide until Fire blazes back to NBC in January, but the fall finale also ended with the future of Brett and Casey's relationship in question for fans of that dynamic. One of the more unexpected flirtations of the series, Dawson's ex-husband and best friend started making eyes at each other in the same season that she departed. As if it wasn't already a sticky situation, Dawson's return in the fall finale makes everything more "complicated," according to Fire showrunner Derek Haas.
Monica Raymund only returned for the fall finale, so fans of Brett and Casey don't have to worry that the good ship Dawsey will set sail full-time again, but "Best Friend Magic" made it very clear that sparks still fly between Casey and Dawson, who was -- to quote Derek Haas in an interview with CinemaBlend -- "the love of his life." So, what does the heat between Dawson and Casey mean when Dawson is gone but the lovely Brett is still around? Speaking with CinemaBlend about the events of the fall finale, Haas explained what the Dawsey hookup means for Brett and Casey:
I think it's complicated from here because we've got Brett who had a front row seat to the Casey/Dawson interaction for years. If she was feeling attraction towards Casey, it's going to be clouded now, and she's the kind of person who puts other people's feelings above her own. So it gets complicated from here.
It would be one thing if Brett was a newcomer to Firehouse 51 back in Season 7 and hadn't both been witness to a whole lot of the Dawson/Casey love story and encouraged their relationship to the point of having a key part to play in their wedding, but she knew the history of Chicago Fire's biggest love story from the first moment she started seeing Casey in a new light. No wonder she had such "mixed emotions" about Dawson's return!
While Casey didn't come to Brett and explicitly detail what had happened between him and Dawson during their night out together, Brett is smart enough to connect the dots that there are still some big strings attached between Dawson and Casey. In fact, far from delivering closure to their romance, as I suspected prior to the fall finale, "Best Friend Magic" left the door wide open for a future love reconnection between Dawson and Casey.
To her credit, Brett didn't try to sabotage Casey's reunion with Dawson, but genuinely seemed to want what was best for him, even if that meant fanning the flames of his only serious love interest since the early years of the series. Derek Haas said this when asked if he considered not having the Dawson/Casey reunion turn romantic in the fall finale:
No. I wanted her back, with both of them, as Brett says, clear-eyed about that [Dawson] is only going to be there for a couple of days, and I think Casey is going through the realistic swirl of emotions. Seeing a woman that he was as close to as any two people could be and being in her proximity and seeing how much the life that she's led over the last year and a half has meant to her, and what she means to that organization. And put her in a situation where there's an orchestra playing, romantically, where anything can happen. [laughs]
Brett did help Casey find the clarity he needed to enjoy his time with Dawson before she had to leave again; unfortunately for fans of the potential Brett/Casey romance, that clarity helped Casey understand that it wouldn't be a mistake to spend the night with Dawson even though they had to go their separate ways in the morning.
Throw in the fact that the twinkly Dawson and Casey theme started to play over the orchestra as the two former spouses danced, and all signs point toward Dawson and Casey always having those sparks between them. Does this mean that Chicago Fire will never give Casey a love interest as deep and serious as Dawson, or was the fall finale a sign that Casey will be able to be just fine with life without her even while acknowledging that he'll also always love her?
Only time will tell. A lot may depend on whether or not Monica Raymund reprises her role as Gabby Dawson in the future. She did invite Casey to join her in Puerto Rico for his next furlough, and he wasn't visibly against the idea. All fans need is for something to bring her back to Chicago, and maybe that Dawsey theme will play a little bit more often on Chicago Fire. First, though, we need to find out what's happening with Severide!
All three One Chicago shows will return to NBC in 2020 on Wednesday, January 8, with Med hitting the airwaves at 8 p.m. ET, Fire returning at 9 p.m. ET, and P.D. tasked with paying off a potentially deadly cliffhanger of its own at 10 p.m. ET.