It Ain't Easy - Recap

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The episode begins with Karen leaving in the morning after spending the night with Severide. She sees Shay at the breakfast table and bids her goodbye before leaving. “She is not 100 percent lesbian” Severide tells Shay with a smirk. Shay isn’t too happy that he and Karen have slept together. Later Boden and team arrive at a scene. It’s a factory that has caught fire. Boden mobilizes his team. At a distance Otis sees Ernie the kid who Boden had invited to the station during Thanksgiving dinner. Boden also sees him and is visibly unhappy. Inside the factory there are propane tanks, which the team ensures are removed before they catch fire.

Vargas and Severide are trying to gain entry from the roof. Vargas breaks a window and ends up inhaling lot of smoke. He falls to ground and begins gasping for breath. Dawson and Shay rush him to the hospital with him still barely able to breathe. Severide sees Ernie sitting on his bike at a distance and goes to have a chat with him. Severide asks Ernie, if he torched this place. Ernie counters that he is simply watching. Boden pulls Severide away before matters get worse. Later at the station Boden tells the team that Vargas still isn’t out of danger as he has burns in his lungs and the upper respiratory tract. Severide’s addiction for the pain meds is slowly increasing. Boden pays Ernie a visit at his home. Boden asks Ernie about the fires but he tries to close the door on Boden’s face.

Boden stop him from doing so and tells Ernie about Vargas and the condition he is in. Ernie says he doesn’t know anything, but Boden counters if he knows something “now would be the time to speak up”. Ernie says he is ready to talk but wants to bring along his grandmother. Boden is fine with it and asks Ernie to come by the station later. The team later arrives at a building where someone is trapped in the elevator as it’s stuck. The doorman informs Casey the elevator could be stuck anywhere between the lobby and the 10th floor. The team immediately springs into action. Casey harnesses himself and then proceeds to rescue the person stuck in the elevator, by climbing down the elevator shaft. Casey discovers that the elevator is empty except for a safe. He then sees a guy hanging from an elevator cable.

The man is possibly a burglar who says he doesn’t want any help and doesn’t want to tell Casey his name either. Casey assures the man that he isn’t a cop. The man says his name is Mark. Casey and team rescue Mark, by pulling him out of the elevator shaft. Cruz later gets a call that his brother Leon is in jail for petty theft. He leaves to bail him out. Vargas returns to the station and is seemingly fine. The whole team welcomes him back with hugs. Boden calls in Casey and Severide for a chat. A doctor is also present in the room. He tells the two that Vargas’s lungs have taken a severe beating and the condition of his lungs will slowly deteriorate. Boden concludes that Vargas wouldn’t be able to handle the demands of being a fireman and decides to place him in “long-term disability”.

Boden says he wanted the two to know what was happening. “We’ll tell him” Severide says. They give Vargas the news and inform him that he would get 75% of his salary. Vargas before leaving tells Severide “you and me should both take 75%”. Casey finds this comment rather odd but realizes what Vargas means. Casey asks Severide about his shoulder and says everyone has noticed its troubling him. Severide lies to Casey that he has seen a doctor, who told him there is nothing to worry about. Casey counters that it’s none of his business but “if it’s an issue for you, it’s an issue for all of us”. Severide assures him that he is fine. Just then they get a call. At the scene they see a woman trapped in a car.

Basically the car hit an electric pole and a live wire snapped and has fallen on the bonnet of the car. Severide rescues the woman after getting rid of the wire. Outside the prison, Cruz gives Leon a piece of his mind after bailing him out. Leon doesn’t seem repentant despite Cruz trying to explain to him that he is going down the path of self-destruction. He in the end hugs his brother and takes Leon to live with him. Boden is waiting for Ernie to arrive at the station. Hermann suggests Boden hand Ernie over to the authorities but Boden feels it wouldn’t do any good. Hermann says Boden doesn’t really have a choice, as he feels Ernie is beyond help. The woman Severide rescued earlier pays him a visit at the station.

The woman introduces herself as Renee Royce and hands Severide a box of chocolates for his help. She then gathers her courage and asks Severide out. Severide is reluctant to say a yes and tells her it’s a well known phenomenon that people who are rescued by someone, become attracted to their rescuer, but the attraction wears of really soon. “Thank you again” Renee tells Severide and leaves. Vargas asks Mills to try for his position in squad, now that there is an opening thanks to him leaving. Vargas packs his things and steps out.

Outside he finds that the whole team has gathered to see him off. He is gifted a fireman’s hat with messages written on it by the whole team. Boden steps up and tells Vargas that it was an honor working with him. Vargas then leaves. Boden reports Ernie to a higher authority, as Ernie does not show up at the station as promised. All of Ernie’s details are handed over by Boden. Cruz meets a goon named Parco, for who Leon works. “He ain’t cut out for your crew” Cruz tells him. Parco says he has put in his time and money to groom Leon, so if Cruz wants to bail him out he has to hand him 10k. Cruz says he doesn’t have the money and even if he did he wouldn’t give it to Parco.

Parco says Cruz has got heart and says he is impressed by Cruz’s loyalty to his family. Cruz assumes Parco has accepted his request and is ready to let Leon go. Before leaving Cruz warns Parco and his crew to stay away from Leon. Renee is at the station to see Severide again. She tells him that her attraction towards him hasn’t worn off like he had assumed it would. Severide seems impressed by Renee’s persistence and agrees to go out for dinner with her. There is another dumpster fire and Boden sees Ernie at a distance. Boden arrives at Ernie’s house and sees Ernie with another man who claims to be his uncle. Boden finds something fishy, but Ernie claims the man is his uncle Wright.

The man then walks out of the house and Ernie runs in the other direction and disappears, before Boden can catch him. Severide and Renee go out for their date and Vargas joins them, as he is very lonely. After Vargas leaves Renee kisses Severide. “You’re a good man” she tells him. Cruz is waiting outside his house for Leon. He sees an SUV stop in front of the house and drop Leon on the road, the SUV then takes off. Cruz rushes to Leon and sees that he is badly beaten up and is bleeding all over. Boden finds out that Ernie’s uncle is a man named Raymond Martin, who has done prison time for arson.

Casey who is at Dawson’s home fixing her window and is about to kiss her, gets a text about Vargas. He arrives at the scene and sees Severide trying to talk Vargas down from a ledge. Vargas is in tears and is ready to jump off the ledge. But in the end, Casey convinces Vargas to come down from the ledge. The episode ends at this point.