Warning: major spoilers ahead for Episode 13 of Chicago Fire Season 9, called "Don't Hang Up."
ChicagoFire has spent Season 9 piling the pressure on Stella Kidd's capable shoulders, but "Don't Hang Up" guaranteed that the last shift before she would finally take the lieutenants' exam was about as far from conventional as imaginable. A teenage girl called Firehouse 51 to beg Stella for help to survive where she and her brother were being held by deadly gang members, with the inconvenient catch that she couldn't bring CPD (or the cast of Chicago P.D.) into the mix. Chicago Fire showrunner Derek Haas and actress Miranda Rae Mayo spoke with CinemaBlend about the episode, Stella's future, and the Season 9 finale that is going to make history and change lives.
The episode fortunately ended with Stella saving the day (and the young girl and her brother), with some help from Severide and Boden as boots on the ground, and she was as prepared as possible as she headed off to take the lieutenants' exam. The two siblings might not have survived their situation if not for Stella's exhaustive efforts to reach out to teenage girls with Girls on Fire, delivering the kind of payoff that has been more than a year in the making. Miranda Rae Mayo shared her reaction to Stella getting this payoff:
Oh, my gosh. I felt overwhelmed by the storyline. I felt overwhelmed by the script and just kind of continue to be. It's very much, it's like, that's Stella. Seeing this amazing opportunity that's being presented to me and seeing that there are people around me who believe that I, kind of a tornado of a human, could deliver. And then doing my best to deliver. I think that's, that's Stella. So, you know, true to form, when I saw the script, I was like, 'Fuck! Okay, wow, wow, this is me. This is Stella and she comes through and oh my God, it just was overwhelming.
"Don't Hang Up" ended without showing the exam or confirming that all of Stella's preparation paid off and she passed, but I for one can't imagine that she went through everything in Season 9 just to not make lieutenant with flying colors! Miranda Rae Mayo opened up about the prospect of Stella making lieutenant and therefore holding the same rank as Severide, saying:
It would be confronting. I think a lot of her stuff, a lot of her trauma, would get activated. I think, I wish, I hope. Like, it sounds delicious. I hope that that's what we do, and that that's where we go. And I think that deep down, Severide supports her all the way. His intentions are great. Like, even when he kind of distanced himself from her, he didn't do it in the best way, but he wanted her to succeed. And that's all he really wants for her. So I think that even if it is, you know, confronting in their relationship, I think that intentions are important. You know, with good intentions and constant communication, I think that's where magic can happen.
Some Stellaride magic sounds pretty good after all of the obstacles they ran into earlier in Season 9, even if a lot of those obstacles were technically of Severide's own making. Chicago Fire showrunner Derek Haas weighed in on what it would mean for Stella to hold the same rank as Severide, as well as what's to come with the future of the Stellaride relationship:
There’s a lot to play with that idea. Because here's a power couple in every sense of the word, physically a power couple. And so I love the idea that the two of them will be at the same rank, because that's definitely how Stella sees herself in that relationship. ... We have three episodes left after this one. And we're going to be building towards a major major event in Stella and Kelly's personal life and professional life.
Stella and Severide have been equals in their relationship, and passing the exam would mean that they would be equal in rank at the CFD! Sure, Severide would have seniority, but they'd both have bugles on their shirts. When I asked if they would have to rename the apartment as "Lieutenants' Loft," Miranda Rae Mayo previewed:
MRR: Yes! Yes, yes, yes. Oh, my gosh, that's amazing. Pretty much! [laughs] I think, too, that there's a part of Stella, where it's like, she's excited about making lieutenant, but that also means that she'll have to leave 51. So I think that that is kind of that's something that's happening in her mind. ... 1000%. So I think [leaving 51] is something that she's kind of mulling over.
Viewers probably shouldn't count on the apartment officially being renamed "Lieutenants' Loft" in the event that Stella gets her bugles, but if Casey sticks around, that will officially be a loft full of CFD officers! The question is, as Miranda Rae Mayo, noted whether Chicago Fire will have to send Stella to another firehouse. After all, there's already an officer on Truck, Squad, and even Engine. Derek Haas weighed in on whether Stella passing the test would mean a departure from 51 or a Herrmann-esque situation of waiting at 51 for an opening there:
It's funny – you know, Pam Golum, she does the publicity for Wolf [Entertainment], and she grills me more than anyone else. She reads every script. And then she asks me 20 questions about what's going to happen. And that is one of my main answer to her around that time of year is 'That's next season's problem.' That's how I'm thinking about Stella.
Based on Derek Haas' comments, Chicago Fire fans might not get all the answers about Stella's future at Firehouse 51 before Season 9 ends and another hiatus begins, but at least fans don't have to worry whether or not Fire will be coming back! Chicago Fire, like fellow Dick Wolf productions Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Law & Order: SVU, all received multi-season renewals last year. As for what will happen in the Season 9 finale, the showrunner previewed an ending that nobody will want to miss:
The last two episodes really are almost like a two-hour finale, even though they're a week apart. There's so many giant history-making events that are going to happen in these last two episodes, big life-altering for characters. And then the last ten minutes of the finale are so big that I had to write the last ten pages of the script way back in January before the last five episodes had been written, just so that we would have the prep time to build and shoot what we're doing.
A finale that spans two episode, qualifies as "history-making" and "life-altering," and has been planned by the showrunner himself since all the way back in January? Something tells me that fans should be ready for an intense end to Season 9. As for what exactly is going to happen to make Chicago Fire history and change characters' lives, viewers will just have to wait and find out. Derek Haas did confirm to CinemaBlend earlier this year that Severide will be back in his scuba gear, and that will happen in the finale.
Catch the final three episodes of Chicago Fire (hopefully with Stella riding the high of nailing her lieutenants' exam) on NBC Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET, between Chicago Med at 8 p.m. and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. For when all the One Chicago shows and others will wrap for the 2020-2021 TV season, check out our rundown of season finale dates!