Spoilers ahead for the Season 9 premiere of Chicago Fire on NBC, called "Rattle Second City."
Chicago Fire rewarded fans who have been waiting longer than usual for new episodes with an intense Season 9 premiere that delivered a doozy of a cliffhanger. The episode introduced a brand new paramedic to replace Foster and partner Brett, and their first day together resulted in a very dangerous encounter with a drug addict that led to a potentially deadly twist. Ambulance 61 was sent speeding over a guardrail and plummeted a frightening distance below. Now, I find myself wondering: is Fire moving too quickly with the newest bad guy who made it happen?
"Rattle Second City" introduced Adriyan Rae as Gianna Mackey, who joined Brett in Ambulance 61. On their first call together, their efforts to revive a man who overdosed went sideways when his strung-out brother pulled a gun on them and threatened to kill them if they didn't save his brother. The man, named Joe Halleck, followed them all the way back to the ambulance with his gun drawn, but they managed to get away from him on the way to the hospital. His brother unfortunately died at Med.
Thanks to a surprise cameo from Chicago P.D.'s Burgess despite the COVID protocols that are preventing major One Chicago crossovers, Brett, Gianna, and more at Firehouse 51 found out that Joe Halleck is a very bad guy, with a rap sheet including aggravated assault, robbery, grand theft auto, multiple drug charges, and weapons charges. The paramedics insisted that 61 should remain in service despite Boden's instinct to pull them for their own safety, and Brett went home to find her door unlocked.
The unlocked door initially seemed like it might have been more of an excuse for Chicago Fire to put Brett and Casey alone in an apartment together overnight, and the premiere never confirmed whether or not Halleck was the one who entered her apartment. The culprit could technically be her landlord, and I was expecting Fire to play out the mystery a little longer and build the suspense. Instead, by the end of the episode, Halleck began chasing Ambulance 61 on the street in his own car, ramming the bus and holding his drawn gun.
The result was both vehicles speeding over a bridge, and they crashed hard onto the pavement. An image from the next episode of Chicago Fire reveals that the crash is pretty bad:
Obviously I don't want to wish arcs full of suffering and scares on the heroes of Chicago Fire, but Joe Halleck was enough of a wild card that I really find myself wishing that the show had played him as a bad guy waiting in the shadows for a while longer. Chicago Fire knows how to deliver thrilling cases of the week after eight full seasons and counting; imagining the uncertainty of Halleck out there, possibly gunning for Brett and Gianna, during those cases of the week could have been incredibly suspenseful.
Of course, it's entirely possible that he'll make a miraculous escape from the crash and live to menace the paramedics another day, but I won't be surprised if he's dead in the opening minutes of the next episode. He made a a very good very bad guy in the premiere, and I just wish I could have counted on seeing Brett and Gianna brave knowing that he's out there for a while longer.