Chicago Fire Boss Talks Mouch’s Fate and What’s Wrong With Herrmann — Plus, Grade the Premiere!

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Chicago Fire’s Season 12 premiere. Proceed at your own risk!

Someone up there must be watching over Chicago Fire’s Mouch, because the Season 12 premiere revealed that the firefighter miraculously survived last May’s life-or-death cliffhanger, which found Mouch bleeding out after he was wounded on the job.

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This Wednesday’s season opener began with a little bait-and-switch: Picking up six months after the finale incident, Herrmann got mad at another firefighter when he ripped Mouch’s nametag off his locker, leading viewers to think Mouch had passed away. But just seconds later, he entered the locker room, now in the best shape of his life after six months of physical therapy.

Given the dire state that Mouch was in at the conclusion of Season 11 and the fact that the NBC drama has never been shy about killing off characters in the past, Mouch’s odds of survival were truly 50-50.

Ultimately, it was decided that “there are still lots of stories to tell with Mouch,” showrunner Andrea Newman explains to TVLine. “Going through something so traumatic, then making it all the way back, in a lot of ways, it changes him and gives him a new approach to firefighting.”

Chicago Fire Season 12 Premiere

While Mouch returned to work rejuvenated, Herrmann was dealt a blow that will greatly impact him moving forward. After being thrown to the ground while saving the firehouse from an explosive device, Herrmann insisted to Ritter that he was OK, but his expression said otherwise.

“That save will have repercussions, both physically and mentally,” Newman previews. “Herrmann has to decide how to handle that, and it’ll take an assist from Ritter to get him to confront the truth of what he’s going through.”

Elsewhere in the episode:

* Stella and Severide kicked off the hour with a steamy, tension-filled shower scene. (Stella: “Who invited you in here?” Severide: “You want me to go?” She did not.) Since his return to Chicago, the couple have been pretending like everything is normal while avoiding the A-word: arson. But with a serial arsonist targeting firefighters, Severide was drawn back to OFI, leaving Stella worried that arson cases are like a drug to her hubby. She encouraged him to take on the investigation, but also noted that the trust between them has taken a hit. After Severide solved the case and saved countless lives, Stella told Severide that she’s proud of him, and he confessed that he wants to find a way to keep arson investigation in his life without pushing them apart. However, one case is not going to make the scars from when he went MIA go away despite how much she loves him, Stella added. (Get scoop on the upcoming tension between Severide and [Spoiler] here.)

* Gallo briefly returned to the firehouse to say his goodbyes before he moves to Michigan with his aunt to be closer to his mom’s side of the family. The surprisingly emotional scene included a group hug with Violet and Ritter, followed by Gallo grabbing the axe that Casey gifted him.

Chicago Fire Season 12 Premiere

* Congrats are in order for Brett, who’s engaged to Casey and planning their impending wedding, which will take place in a month and a half in Chicago. After the nuptials, Brett plans to move to Oregon to be with Casey. (Get scoop on Brett’s farewell and Kara Killmer’s exit here.)

* Brett suggested that Violet and Carver go to the wedding together, which led Violet to defensively insist to Carver that she doesn’t need a pity date. (Methinks the lady doth protest too much.) Brett felt bad about reigniting Violet and Carver’s bickering, but as Stella pointed out, do you argue with somebody if you don’t care?

* Ritter, who was filling in on Truck, was caught between Stella and Herrmann, who both wanted him on their team. On Cruz’ smart advice, Ritter stayed silent and let the problem resolve itself: As a thank you to Herrmann for his heroics, Stella will send Ritter back to Engine as soon as she finds a replacement.

* Kylie is now a rookie firefighter at another firehouse. (How cute was that wordless high-five from Severide?)

Fire fans, what did you think of the season opener? Grade it below, then hit the comments!

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