This has been a season of loss on Chicago Fire and that theme continued this week as Firehouse 51 lost a brother. Thankfully Peter Mills’ departure was his own choice and not because of tragic circumstances, but the pain of it still very feels real and I suspect will continue to be felt as the season progresses. The boys were right, Mills. We were lucky to have you for those three years and I’m already hoping your new restaurant will be so successful that it launches some franchises back up north in Chicago so we can have Charlie Barnett come back around.
Speaking of Barnett, I’ve got to say that it deeply saddens me to see another one of my favourites say goodbye. Barnett had the leading man build and good looks but he always made Mills come off as such a nice and approachable guy with a little bit of goofiness that endeared him to us all the more. There are still times I can’t understand how Dawson could ever break up with him. But it’s all those endearing qualities that Barnett brought to Mills that made his choice to spend more time with his family make total sense and something completely in line with the character.
It was hard not to feel excited for Mills as he regained his spot on the squad. His enthusiasm was catching and everyone at the station was glad to have him back. This is a guy who has overcome his share of obstacles and injuries and it was great to see him putting that fire hat back on and springing into action. But it became increasingly clear to Mills just how important family is and that we are all living with borrowed time. You never can know when that time will be up so you should make the most of it while you have it.
The gang at Firehouse 51 is a family, there’s no getting around that, so of course they were sad to see one of their own leaving. It was cute to see Casey, Cruz and the guys at first refuse to accept Mills’ decision and force him out on one last shift. But like any family, they just had his best interests at heart and wanted to make sure he was absolutely certain in this choice. They were all looking out for their younger brother. Cruz perhaps said it best when he said it takes a rare breed to do this job and Peter Mills definitely fit that bill. I’m pretty sure after that group hug at Molly’s that Brett wasn’t the only one crying as we watched Mills say goodbye. Those are the moments that make this show for me–the family at 51 and their bond. Just because Mills is leaving that doesn’t mean he’s out of the family and as I said before, I sure hope we see him back in Chicago some time soon for a visit.
As sad as I am to lose Mills, and Barnett from the cast, I can see why the show may want to trade Mills for Scott Rice (Warren Christie, who also stars on Canada’s Motive). After three seasons, there’s only so much more the show could do with the Mills character. He’s already had romantic entanglements with Dawson (though props for not giving up hope there bro!) and dating Brett would just be awkward given their friendship and partnership. There’s nowhere new relationship-wise for him to go and he’s already been back and forth with his struggles to join the squad. That has all come to a nice and satisfying conclusion.
With Rice a whole new set of stories open up for the writers. He’s got history with Severide, which makes me think they could form a bromance to rival the one Kelly has with Casey. Also, there’s no denying that Scott’s pretty good looking and he could become a potential love interest for either Dawson or Brett. I’m leaning towards the young paramedic at the moment but I don’t know how her need to go out on the town would really mesh with a guy who has a young son. Speaking of his son, there’s plenty to explore as Rice deals with the struggles of raising a young son while working on the squad.
So as sad as we all are about losing Mills I think there’s definitely a silver lining to be had here. While Rice initially rubbed many the wrong way we quickly saw that he’s a pretty good guy to have a around. It just so happens that resident “good guy” role has an opening now that Mills is gone and I’ll be interested to see if Rice fills the void. But first things first: there’s a crossover next week to worry about! Are we all strapped in and ready for what’s sure to be another thrill ride?
Bulletin Board Material:
Glad to see that Dawsey agreed their night together was a “great night” but for the time being are just staying friends. I think this is the right move for them.
I had a bit of a side rant all prepared for the Severide and April story but didn’t want to take focus off of Mills’ departure. I’m hoping this is the end of their romance for the moment because it has felt completely separate from everything else on the show. I haven’t been a fan of this romance since its inception, and while I understood its purpose (to set up the character for Chicago Med), I’m hoping that’s all done and taken care of and Severide can now move on.
Speaking of Severide, I swear there are magical powers in those Taylor Kinney smiles.
I loved all the scenes of the guys guessing how the man got impaled on the light post or trying to decipher what “banana” meant. Good comic relief during all the emotional scenes with Mills.
Are you sad to see Mills go? What was your favourite Mills moment from the last three seasons? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Chicago Fire airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC and Global.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.