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When we last saw Bode Leone, he was in the back of an ambulance pleading his case to Cara.


And because this show never passes up an opportunity to escalate the drama, seconds later, said ambulance was thrown off the road by a falling tree.


Toss in the fact that Gabi’s fiance — and Bode’s romantic rival — Diego was behind the wheel, and it might have been the biggest cliffhanger in Fire Country history.


Thankfully, Fire Country Season 2 Episode 5 didn’t do the thing where it opens on some unrelated storyline and forces us to wait to find out what happened, or the equally annoying thing where the important characters are already laid up, recovering, and swapping war stories in the opening scene.


No, true to form, the writers plunge us right into the thick of the emergency, with Bode, Cara, and Diego fighting for their lives in a mangled and stranded ambulance.


The show is at its best when it manages to intertwine the emergency situations with the interpersonal drama, so an ambulance wreck in which Bode is handcuffed to a gurney and trapped alongside his ex and his other ex’s new fiance is truly Fire Country’s time to shine.


Toss in a fire tornado, and we’re really in business.


Oh, and in case that wasn’t enough, Cara is impaled on a piece of jagged metal, the fire tornado is headed for Edgewater, and Eve is dealing with a mutiny.


In Fire Country Season 2 Episode 4, the beleaguered captain informs Cole that he’s being sent back to prison, and not surprisingly, the decision has affected morale among the Three Rock crew.


Speaking of grudges, Diego is not exactly thrilled that Bode declared his love for Gabriela.


Fortunately, he’s still willing to help his rival by removing the cuff keys from the dead cop in the passenger seat. Unfortunately, Cara opens her wound when she attempts to catch the poorly tossed keys.


Viewers who didn’t realize that Cara’s fate was sealed might have pieced it together moments later when Jake revealed to Bode’s parents that Genevieve is their grandkid.


Diane Farr is always this show’s comic relief goldmine, but she really outdid herself with her reaction to the news.


It seems that we say this every week in our Fire Country reviews, but it certainly bears repeating here: All of that happened before the opening title card!


The season finale vibes (to be clear: this is not a season finale, just a midseason episode so bonkers that it feels like the End Times) continue as Eve takes her crew to shelter in place at an abandoned Smokey’s Tavern, where the owner promptly pulls a gun and instructs her to GTFO.


It’s unclear why the guy thinks a bunch of folks in prison guard and firefighter uniforms (some of whom are his regular customers) are there to loot the place, but the episode takes another wild turn when Cole promptly disarms the cantankerous owner.


Now Eve has the weapon and command of the situation — and a stronger-than-ever moral imperative not to send Cole back to prison. It’s a fire tornado of moral ambiguity!


As for the link between the interpersonal and the inflammatory that we’ve been talking about all season? The thing that this show does so well when it’s at its best?


Well, the case of Jake stumbling upon a storage shed full of frightened children as Vince and Sharon debate the joys and challenges of parenthood might be a little heavy-handed, but we respect that this episode has more on its mind than just action.


And the scene in which Bode and Diego clash over the best approach to the Cara situation feels a little more organic.


But all nit-picking aside, this episode effectively ties together disparate themes and plot elements to create a sum that’s far more intense and dramatic than any of the individual parts.


It’s like a swirling cyclone of heat and destruction that threatens to destroy everything it its path. If only there were some simpler analogy we could employ to more succinctly describe this level of random devastation!


Anyway, there’s a moment of genuine poignancy when Sharon comforts one of the frightened soccer players with a memory of her own late daughter.


And the situation at Smokey’s impressively highlights the complexity of the Eve-Manny-Cole situation.


In short, it’s an action-heavy episode that pulls some tricky balancing acts and never loses sight of the fact that it’s the characters that keep viewers coming back to an hour-long drama week after week.


And we’ve barely touched on this episode’s most heart-rending storyline:


We’re talking, of course, about the slow, courageous death of Cara, portrayed in heartbreaking fashion by Sabina Gadecki.


Her outcome begins to feel inevitable early in the episode, but the impact is heightened by the decision not to spare us a moment of her suffering or the ill-fated attempt to save her life. It’s powerful stuff, to put it mildly.


In an episode loaded with strong performances and unexpected emotional heft, the scene in which Eve and Cole share their backstories stands out as another heartbreaking highlight.


It serves as a powerful reminder of this show’s central themes — namely, the idea that we’re not defined by our past, and opportunities for heroism present themselves every day, provided we know where to look.


Sharon and Vince enjoy a tender moment beneath a fire engine; Eve gains the respect of her inmates, and the 42 crew enjoys the satisfaction of rescuing an entire soccer team.


But the hopeful, wholesome moments are all overshadowed by what might be Fire Country’s most harrowing scene thus far:


The moment of Cara’s passing is highlighted by a devastating performance from Jordan Calloway that subtly conveys shock, disbelief, and the awareness of an enormous grief that’s just beginning to settle in.


And the scene in which Genevieve stands in front of Bode and next to Jake at her mother’s graveside similarly speaks volumes with just a few subtle gestures and expressions.


We could nitpick about how Bode probably wouldn’t be permitted to leave camp to attend his ex-girlfriend’s funeral, but we’ll set aside our cynicism out of respect for a genuinely impactful moment.


The episode ends on a hopeful note of reconciliation as Bode and Gabriela renegotiate the terms of their relationship.


But there’s no denying that this might have been the bleakest episode of a show that’s never shied away from darkness.


Cara emerged as a beloved character in recent weeks, a starkly realistic portrayal of a single mom struggling with a very difficult set of circumstances.


But a show like Fire Country occasionally needs to remind viewers of the stakes — the risks that first-responders face every time they suit up. And sometimes, that can only be accomplished with the loss of a character whom we’ve come to care about.


What do you think, TV fanatics? Was this the most heartbreaking episode of Fire Country yet? Hit the comments section below to share your thoughts.

Tyler Johnson is an Associate Editor for TV Fanatic and the other Mediavine O&O sites. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, and, of course, watching TV. You can Follow him on X and email him here at TV Fanatic.



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