Now we know why the Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 2 trailer featured Cruz but was named after Mouch… er, sorry. McHolland.

Sorry, I can’t do it. Mouch‘s determination to go out in a blaze of glory, remembered for being a brilliant firefighter rather than the half-man, half-couch he’s been known, lights a fire under Cruz, especially after Severide gives him a railing.

That was the prevailing story during “Call Me McHolland.”

Cruz has been part of 51 for a very long time, and taking the lieutenant’s test is a good idea. He’s earned the honor.

But taking it because he’s not thrilled with his command isn’t the best reason to plunge forward.

During Chicago Fire Season 11, Cruz struggled to adjust to leadership. Finding his groove took him a while, and he didn’t hide that fact.

Now, Severide is back, and Cruz has lost respect for his command. If that’s how he feels, what are the odds he’s ready to run his own unit?

You seem pretty relaxed for a guy who almost died getting a kid’s toy.


The trailer made it seem so dramatic that the anger alone was driving him away. But it’s far more nuanced than that, even if I don’t necessarily believe it makes the most sense right now.

I want to take the lieutenant test. It’s time for me to leave 51 and run my own unit.


Going after that drone was idiotic. Cruz wasn’t in control, and he let other things motivate him, like his relationship with Javi and his need to prove to Severide that he’s got the right stuff.

Instead, that backfired.

As she does, Stella tried working with both Severide and Cruz to get them to common ground, but this doesn’t look like a story with an easy solution.

Severide’s apology was half-assed and defensive, making Cruz even less likely to trust him going forward. Cruz was out of line by not waiting for an order and giving one to Capp, but Severide was wrong not to appreciate how Cruz stepped up for him.

So, where does that leave them? For now, at an impasse.

Things went better with Mouch, and calling him McHolland (which sounded very cool with an Irish brogue, mind you) didn’t last the episode.

Mouch has a new lease on life, but after the surprise at learning the meaning behind his nickname, he should have realized that it’s more a term of endearment and a part of him than how the name came to be.

But the way Boden put it (Bless Boden and his fierce yet compassionate way of addressing every issue — a true leader) laid the issue to rest.

The Mouch I know will always be a hero, no matter what name he chooses to go by.


Mouch isn’t likely to have a new pillow sewn up any time soon, but he’s also not letting go of all the wonderful things the half-man half-couch brought to the table.

How many times will one of their own pretend as if they’ve never seen how vital emergency services are and take their medical conditions into their own hands?

Is there anyone who has gotten hurt on the job who sought medical advice before it was almost too late and at the persistent urging of their team members?

With everything Herrmann was through with Cindy, it makes no sense that he’d consider leaving her and the family without income for even a minute, and the longer he went without having his ears checked, the more likely there could have been permanent damage.

Message for the writers: Just because one particular character hasn’t been through something before doesn’t mean it’s a new story.

I’d love for this to be the last time someone got injured on the job and thought he was more than a mortal man and, therefore, did not need help, but I’m sure it won’t be, and that’s a drain on the mind.

He’s going to get himself — or someone else — killed.

Herrmann’s logic as an older member of 51 won’t get an argument from me.

I’m fine! The older you get, the more you get used to living with stuff like this. I’ve got a crick in my neck that’s been around longer than you.


Between Herrmann and Mouch, Chicago Fire had me feeling my age. My mortality is in danger from this job, and the way I ignore the doctor won’t do me any good, but I don’t have anybody else’s life in my hands.

That’s what Ritter didn’t point out to Herrmann when he tried compelling him to seek help. In their profession, thinking about yourself first can’t be the priority in that job, not when your team depends on you.

Of course, Herrmann knows that, but fear is a crazy thing. My problem is that fear seems to drive every one of these firefighters when they spend their lives walking into danger.

It doesn’t make much sense unless we’re to believe it has something to do with their lack of control over the situation when they’re injured versus saving someone from the same.

Sure enough, at the next call, when Kylie was in jeopardy, Herrmann couldn’t hear what was happening. If it weren’t for Mouch, he might have put the whole unit in serious trouble.

Seeing all those bikes on fire, the first thing that came to mind was that they would have all died if they were electric bikes. Have you seen how often the batteries in those things catch fire? And they aren’t easily distinguished. Thankfully, it was just plain old bicycles.

But, back to Herrmann.

What was it that finally set him straight, sending him to the doctor? Was it almost endangering the unit or Ritter‘s persistent nudging that he needed to do it?

Either way, the news wasn’t good, and if that were me getting the news, I’d blame myself for not going sooner. They didn’t mention whether addressing the issue sooner would have mattered, but it’s not going away, and that’s worrisome.

At least it’s already out there that he has the issue. But will Herrmann really contact the doctor if his hearing gets worse? The more likely you are to get bad news, the harder it can be to go in the first place.

That is probably precisely why Herrmann sat it out for so long. Would you have done it any differently?

The other stories revolved around Sylvie‘s wedding plans (sorry, boring), Carver trying to get on Violet‘s radar (he’s already there), and meeting the new guy, Gibson.

Stella’s new Truck guy was on the call with Kylie as a floater, and it looked like he had a thing for her. That’s a good way to keep Kylie around as often as she was in the office, and it’s a nice segue to a new character introduction.

This was an action-oriented episode that wasn’t too taxing. It set up conflict and romantic pursuits for the remainder of the truncated season, and that’s what you need for the second episode of a new season.

What do you think of Chicago Fire Season 12 so far? Will there be a miracle cure for Severide and Cruz’s relationship or Herrmann’s hearing?

Hit the comments and share your thoughts!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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