How 'Chicago Fire's' Latest Cliffhanger Will Have Big Repercussions For Firehouse 51

An explosion and the return of Emma Jacobs shook things up for Firehouse 51.
by Lauren Piester — 

Taylor Kinney in 'Chicago Fire'


Warning: This story contains spoilers for the Season 11 midseason finale of Chicago Fire, titled "Nemesis." Read at your own risk! 

It's going to be a long few weeks for Chicago Fire fans. 

The NBC drama just closed out the first half of Season 11 with a literal bang, and of course two of Firehouse 51's own were caught in the blast. 

The squad was called in to assist with an armed assailant holed up in a house, just after Severide (Taylor Kinney) had been warned that Martucci's next move would be a decoy. That decoy involved Pryma (Troy Winbush) with an unexploded bomb stuck through his leg, so Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) decided she and Carver (Jake Lockett) would be the ones to suit up and take care of Pryma. Of course, as if in an homage to one of Grey's Anatomy's most famous episodes, the bomb squad guy only made it a few feet away before the bomb clicked into action. Kidd and Carver quickly pulled a table between them (and Pryma) and the bomb, but the fate of everyone inside that house was left unknown as the story faded to black and credits came up. All we know for sure is that Severide was outside in a full panic.

So, Metacritic got on the phone with showrunners Derek Haas and Andrea Newman to find out what happens next. You can actually probably guess that Severide will immediately run right inside, toward the danger. 

"We're gonna pick up one second later with Severide outside, and I think Severide is all of us — feeling hopeless, stressed, and pissed off at the writers for having put him in this situation for three weeks over the holidays," Haas teases. "We're going to have him run in, because firefighters don't run away, they run towards danger, even though the SWAT guys are like, 'We don't even know if the building's clear!' He's gonna run right in and we're going to go into the fog and it's going to be gnarly."

The explosion happened just a few scenes after Severide had helped Pryma one last time and decided he was ready to put the Martucci case behind him, never imagining his wife would end up trapped alongside Pryma. 

"We start this episode with him really haunted by this case, and it's gonna follow him to some degree," Newman says. "The repercussions of this call are going to be big for him going forward; it doesn't go away." 

Of course, the rest of the squad wasn't just sitting pretty while all this was happening. A harrowing call involving a biker and his bike stuck on a raised bridge ended with Carver getting in trouble with internal affairs, because the guy in charge of the bridge refused to break protocol to lower the bridge with the biker stuck. Carver kicked in the door to the control room to do it himself, which got him a visit from IAD. 

A visit from IAD is pretty typical, but it was the face of the IAD officer that sent shockwaves through the firehouse. Emma Jacobs (Caitlin Carver) is back, baby, and she's got some dangerous power in her hands. When last we saw this former 51 paramedic, she had left in disgrace after abandoning her partner (and blackmailing a colleague). Now, she's somehow weaseled her way into the Internal Affairs Department and claims she's an ally to 51. Is she though? Yes and no. 

"What we love about the character is that in her own life, she is not the villain, and she believes that 51 is the right place for her, and she doesn't see anything wrong with pursuing that, come what may," Newman says. "And yes, she's in a position of power now at Internal Affairs, and there's a big question of how did she get there. Our guys want to know that, and there's also the question of what will the fallout be on 51." 

Everyone was walking on eggshells around Emma except for Violet (Hanako Greensmith), who was most affected by Emma's meddling last season. 

"Violet's passions are running high coming in having lost Evan, so she can't help herself," Newman explains. "She's got a lot of anger swirling and she steps in it a bit with Emma, and there are repercussions far beyond Violet when that happens." 

And if you too are wondering why Emma is so obsessed with these people who clearly hate her, Haas says she has simply disconnected. 

"We saw it last season when she was like, 'Well, if you manifest it, it will happen.' That's what Emma is doing in her mind," he says. "Now I can help 51! They're gonna love me!" 

"Then that doesn't go as planned, because nothing with Emma does," Newman adds. "But she sees them as this big happy family and she wants to be a part of that. What a childhood she must have had." 

Elsewhere, the episode's big running gag was that Gallo (Alberto Rosende) was desperate to get Herrmann (David Eigenberg) in a good mood so he could break the news about having slept with his niece. The perfect opportunity seemed to arise when there was an election to send one of the squad members to the winter conference in Miami. Gallo worked his ass off to get Herrmann the trip, only for Herrmann to blow a gasket when it was discovered that the conference is actually in Miami, Ohio. So no, Herrmann is not so thrilled with Gallo right now, and the poor kid's dating woes are also not over. 

Haas promises that Gallo will "get into another mess" before the season ends, offering another pleasant break from the fiery, explosive messes that everyone else keeps getting into. Never change, Gallo. 

Chicago Fire Season 11 returns to NBC at 9 p.m. on Jan. 4.