We knew things were bad last week when Pridgen (Matthew Del Negro) came on board, and it was obvious they were about to spiral out of control after Casey’s (Jesse Spencer) little fling with Pridgen’s ex-wife came to light. Well, it actually didn’t take long at all with Pridgen taking the first opportunity he saw to run Casey in the ground, even if it meant lying and putting Casey’s career at risk.
The episode begins with Casey walking into the firehouse at the beginning of shift, and before he can even get to his office, Pridgen is already giving him grief.
How do you want to split up the alimony payments? — Pridgen to Casey
WTF, dude? You know it’s going to be bad when you are ambushed by your boss before you even have the chance to get your morning coffee. And, it does before they are able to get through their first call of the day.
The call is at an apartment building fire, and when they arrive on scene, they are told a little girl and the building manager are still inside. Casey and Severide (Taylor Kinney) want to work together in a combined effort, but that plan is derailed when a teenage girl runs on the scene and pleads for help for her father who had fallen down some stairs. The man had hurt his leg in the fall, but his life wasn’t in any danger. Even still, Pridgen opts to pull Casey’s team on Truck 81 out of the fire to assist with the accident. Casey very loudly protests, but with Pridgen already feeling like he has something to prove, the complaints fall on deaf ears.
While Casey leaves for the scene of the accident, Severide and his team are successful in pulling the young girl more or less unharmed from the fire. However, before they have the chance to go back in the building to search for the building manager, there is an explosion, and the manager comes hurling out of the 2nd story window and lands on the sidewalk below. Pridgen is horrified, Severide is horrified, everyone is pretty much in shock. Miraculously he survives the fall, but it is clear he has suffered major injuries, and it’s unlikely he’ll ever walk again.
As it turns out, the sister of the building manager is an attorney, and so it doesn’t take long for the brass to show up and place Firehouse 51 — specifically Chief Pridgen — under investigation for how it handled the fire. The sister is contesting that had there been enough firefighters on the scene, her brother could have been rescued at the same time as the girl and would never have been injured when the explosion occurred. Most people would be torn up by the situation, by the thought that their bad decision may have cost someone his life. But not Pridgen.
Instead, Pridgen sees this as an opportunity — an opportunity to save his own ass but throw Casey under the bus at the same time. So, he fires back by saying that he was led to believe that the man was having a heart attack, which is why he deployed Casey’s team to the scene.
The real question is what took Lt. Casey so long to realize it wasn’t a life-threatening emergency — Chief Pridgen
Severide overhears the conversation, Pridgen sees that he has overheard it, and we know there’s going to be real trouble really fast.
Severide’s first approach to the problem is to try and convince Welch to do the right thing and help. Besides Severide, he’s the only other person who heard the conversation between Pridgen and the girl who came running for help. Of course, as expected, that goes completely nowhere. So, Severide does the only thing left to do and that is to give a formal statement to Chief Tiberg, who is leading the investigation.
What Pridgen does next demonstrates just how despicable this man is. When he learns of Severide’s statement, he does what an immature kid would do. He tries to strong arm and bribe Kelly into altering his statement with promises of a promotion to Captain, and when that doesn’t work, a threat.
You come at me, then you better not miss, Severide — Pridgen
Of course, Kelly doesn’t budge, and so, Pridgen’s last resort is Welch, who is a sure thing, right? After all, Pridgen is the one who got Welch the job at Firehouse 51. Well, Welch ends up shocking the crap out of all of us by refusing to sign a statement supporting Pridgen, which ultimately costs him his job.
With no one being able to support Pridgen’s version of the story, he is relieved of his duties, and to make it even better, Boden (Eamonn Walker) is coming back to work ahead of schedule. Yay. However, I think this situation is far from over. Let’s think about this. Pridgen is the ultimate alpha male, and in a matter of just a few days, he’s lost his wife, one of his subordinates bangs his ex, that same subordinate undermines his authority, and to top it off, he loses his job. Can you imagine how burning hot made this guy is now?
Make no mistake this guy is out for blood. And, just because he’s not Chief anymore that doesn’t mean he’s still not going to try and get revenge. If the first half of the season was about Leslie Shay, I’m willing to bet the 2nd half is going to be about Pridgen coming after Casey, Severide, and anyone else tied to Firehouse 51.
Other random observations
Chicago Fire airs on Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC.
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com
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