Why Chicago Fire's Huge Cliffhanger Might Not Be As Devastating As It Seems


chicago fire season 9 finale nbc squad 3 eating firehouse 51

(Image credit: NBC)

Warning: GIGANTIC SPOILERS for the ninth season finale of Chicago Fire on NBC, called "No Survivors."

Chicago Fire is known for delivering the kinds of cliffhangers that can be quite literally killer, with even major characters not guaranteed safety from various crises. While Season 8 didn't get to end on a major twist due to production shutdowns, Fire more than made up for that with Season 9 by serving up a cliffhanger that is guaranteed to keep fans on the edges of their seats during hiatus. The forebodingly-titled "No Survivors" ended with the whole Squad 3 trapped under a flipped boat that was sinking, with their air tanks all exhausted.

When showrunner Derek Haas previewed the return of scuba Severide all those months ago, I didn't think that Severide back in his scuba gear meant that he could very well be drowning in the finale! The flipped boat wasn't exactly big, and despite what I kept telling Severide, Cruz, Capp, and Tony from my couch, they kept taking their masks off in the air pocket rather than heading back up to the surface. So, when a piece of debris shifted and blocked the exit, the firefighters didn't have the space, time, or – most importantly – air to work out a way to safety by the time the final credits started to roll.

Basically, Chicago Fire did a pretty stellar job of setting up a pretty terrifying cliffhanger for Squad 3, especially considering Fire fans are used to seeing the heroes of Firehouse 51 put their lives in danger in burning buildings, not the waters of Lake Michigan. At the same time, however, I'm feeling good that the cliffhanger isn't going to lead to a wholly devastating resolution when Chicago Fire returns in the fall, and it's actually thanks to Fire going above and beyond in raising the stakes that I'm not ready to panic about Squad 3's fates.

The fact of the matter is that Chicago Fire sent all four members of Squad 3 down into the belly of that boat, and all four are at imminent risk of drowning if there's no way out of their predicament. Unless Fire is planning on killing off the entire Squad team in one fell swoop, then I think it's safe to say that even if not everybody makes it up from below the surface, some of them will. Squad firefighters are highly specialized, so it's not even like somebody from Truck or Engine could just sub in for a shift or two. My money is on most of those four men surviving being trapped underwater, if not all.

Then again, who could have guessed that Otis was going to be gruesomely killed off to start Season 8 as payoff of the Season 7 finale cliffhanger? It's never safe to be 100% confident about characters' lives when it comes to Chicago Fire, and Fire definitely raised the stakes for several of them in "No Survivors."

Severide just got engaged to Stella, and the celebration of the engagement actually reminded me enough of when Casey and Dawson announced her ill-fated pregnancy all those years ago that it made me nervous even before Severide donned the scuba gear and went under. Maybe I've been nervous about the wrong thing when it comes to Stella!

Cruz and Chloe are expecting a baby, and Capp either has had a secret girlfriend or talked a woman into pretending to be his secret girlfriend on short notice. Tony is the only one who didn't get development in the finale, which could mean that Tony is doomed. If somebody does die, my money is on either Tony or Capp, but nobody is altogether safe. And unfortunately, we're in for quite a wait before we get the news of what happens next, for better or for worse. Showrunner Derek Haas did describe this finale as "life-altering," and I'm guessing he didn't just mean Brett and Casey hooking up.

The wait to find out what happens next on Chicago Fire may not end any time too soon, but at least fans can rest semi-comfortably knowing that NBC has already renewed the series for another couple of seasons. Both Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. have already been renewed through the 2022-2023 TV season as well, so it's just a matter of waiting (and checking out the 2021 summer TV premiere schedule) to see what Fire has in store in the fall.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).