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Headlong Toward Disaster

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"Headlong Toward Disaster"
Season 3, Episode 15
15 01
Air date February 17, 2015
Written by Michael Gilvary
Directed by Joe Chappelle
Runtime 42 minutes
Episode Guide
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"Call It Paradise"
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"Red Rag the Bull"

Casey wakes up in the apartment of Beth, the woman he went home with after the luau. They both seem on the same page about their relationship - nothing serious, just for fun. Beth explains she is about to finalize her divorce today, and the two appear excited to see each other again.

At 51, Boden announces that he will be taking a furlough to deal with his father's death and to help Donna with their newborn. Chief Pridgen soon arrives to take the helm in Boden's absence, but a bigger wrench emerges moments later when longtime foe Welch waltzes into the station. Turns out he caught a relief assignment, and the whole station braces for the worst. Dawson voices her opinion to Pridgen with both Casey and Severide offering their support, but ultimately Pridgen denies their calls for reassignment.

Meanwhile, Celia, the teenager from the rebar rescue, shows up at 51 to thank Brett with a handmade wristband. She also mentions that she lost her guitar during the craziness of the drug high. Embracing the cue, Brett delivers a replacement guitar to Celia's house as a gesture of friendship. However, Celia's mom rejects Brett wholesale, and the paramedic leaves confused. Cruz recommends she find a less intrusive entry into Celia's life that the mom would approve, so Brett decides to keep the guitar at the firehouse and leaves Celia an open invitation to come by and play it whenever she wants.

A call sends the firefighters to Fireside Bowl and an attendant with an arm caught in the pinsetter. The rescue requires a combination of technical know-how and patience, but in the end the attendant emerges alive and stable. Moments later, Otis takes a nasty fall on the recently waxed floors and Pridgen teases him in front of the whole squad, assigning him the nickname Gutterball. The ribbing continues for days and culminates with Pridgen handing a humiliated Otis a bowling shirt with "Gutterball" printed on the front.

Another wrinkle enters the equation when Casey finds Beth in the lobby - what's she doing at 51? She's delivering divorce papers to her soon-to-be ex-husband... Chief Pridgen. Despite the obvious conflict, Beth convinces Casey to keep their relationship a secret, and they make out behind a fire truck. Even though Casey insists to Beth that they end their relationship, Pridgen suspects something and shakes up the typical rescue squad rhythm during a structure fire by sending Casey and his handpicked team first. Casey chooses Otis who responds by saving a fire victim from certain death... and then cornering himself in a dangerous situation after attempting to impress Pridgen.

Needless to say, Pridgen lays into Otis at 51 for his supposed recklessness, but this time Casey refuses to let the interim chief badger his teammate. They spar in front of the whole station until Pridgen orders Casey and Severide to his office. In private, he punishes them by demanding that they wash the windows and warns them of his power. The two lieutenants make the best of it by smoking cigars while they clean the windows, but the mood shifts when Casey spies Welch in conversation with Dawson on the apparatus floor. Turns out Welch saw Casey and Beth making out - and he cautions Dawson that Casey's carelessness could lead to Casey's untimely exit from 51. Of course, that's not the part Dawson focuses on... Casey can see the anger boiling over in her eyes.

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