Season 8 of “Chicago Fire” suffers from a common problem for long-running series: writers can only reinvent the wheel so many times. While this season has decent direction and action, many of its storylines are less interesting. Similar to season 3, this season kicks off with the death of a beloved character and follows Firehouse 51 as they handle the aftermath. This time, the unlucky victim is Brian “Otis” Zvonecek (Yuri Sardarov), a woefully underrated young firefighter. Otis’ death doesn’t receive quite the same treatment as Leslie Shay’s, but the series explores some small tragedies that follow his sudden death: In “A Real Shot In The Arm,” Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg) has to sell Otis’ portion of Molly’s Bar to keep the business afloat.
Although the first few episodes successfully capitalize on the fallout of this sad event, the season quickly stalls out. Gabriela Dawson (Monica Raymund) resurfaces in “Best Friend Magic,” and the crew takes part in a “One Chicago” crossover event. Still, these storylines don’t pack enough punch to carry the middle of the season. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted production in March 2020. As a result, season 8 ended three episodes earlier than planned. While the finale, “51’s Original Bell,” works, it isn’t as powerful as other finales in the series.