Chicago Fire Has A New Role For Cruz After Severide’s Departure, But Is That Actually A Good Thing?
Chicago Fire definitely isn’t ignoring the absence of Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) since the Squad lieutenant left Chicago to participate in an arson investigation training program in Alabama. As expected, Stella (Miranda Rae Mayo) is struggling with the absence of her husband, but she wasn’t the only one at Firehouse 51 who was really missing him. Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso) has had to step up to lead Squad, and went through a lot of challenges before finally proving his mettle as a leader. While that’s great news for now, I can’t help but wonder if it’s bad news in the long run.
Boden (Eamonn Walker) had to bring in a Squad floater to fill the vacancy left by Severide, although he didn’t recruit a floating lieutenant to step in as temporary leader. He thought that Cruz could rise to the occasion, but the firefighter was struggling under the weight of all the extra responsibilities rather than thriving like Stella (more or less) did. The floater, named Bamford (Chris McKenna), was taking his “joking” and “pranking” with Capp (Randy Flagler) and Tony (Anthony Ferraris) too far.
After Stella threw her support behind Cruz, he finally talked to Bamford, and clearly has Capp and Tony willing to follow his lead. By the end of “Acting Up,” it seemed like Cruz could be on the road to becoming an officer. Normally, I’d be excited about that idea, but there’s a catch: Severide is expected to come back, and there’s not room for two lieutenants on Squad 3.
Sure, I’d love to see Severide follow in the footsteps of Casey (Jesse Spencer, who is on his way back) and get the promotion to captain, but that wouldn’t mean that the four-man Squad team could include two officers. Assuming that Severide comes back, it seems that there are a few possibilities: Cruz might not want to move up the ladder of leadership at CFD, might not be able to cut it, or might be transferred out of 51 to become a lieutenant. This leadership role could be great for Cruz for as long as Severide is gone; the future is less bright for him as a leader when Severide comes back.
Am I overthinking things after just one episode of Cruz stepping up as leader? Maybe, but life has been going so well (by One Chicago standards) for Cruz lately that I’m nervous that something will go wrong. The high of Cruz and Chloe getting to adopt the adorable Javi could well be followed by a low later this season; I just hope that I’m wrong and there won’t be any major complications of Cruz as a leader once Severide returns.
At the time of writing, however, there is no news of when to expect Taylor Kinney back as his longtime Chicago Fire character. The actor reportedly stepped away from the show for personal reasons, so we can only hope that he’s getting all the time off that he needs. Fire clearly had time for rewrites to accommodate his absence, and it fits surprisingly well into the season, with Stella even noting in “Acting Up” that she left Severide for a while back in Season 10 for some continuity.
Fingers crossed that the good ship Stellaride keeps sailing smoothly upon his return, without the problems between them after Stella came back! Even though I didn’t get my wish that Kinney’s absence would be explained by Severide heading to Oregon to visit Casey, Fire using Severide taking a break from Squad to give Cruz a juicy plot could be pretty great… in the short term, at least.