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Chicago Fire: Brettsey Is A Dawsey Carbon Copy And Season 12 Better Fix It

It's hard to keep a super-couple going when you're running a procedural. Between cast changes, cases of the week, and spin-offs, romances can easily get stuck in emotional purgatory, with lovebirds forever doomed to warily circle each other because the show refuses to pull the trigger on their passion — sometimes for decades (Stabler and Benson, we're looking at you). On soap operas, romance woes happen all the time. And on certain long-lived ensemble dramas, like those of the One Chicago universe, it's just as commonplace.

To wit, Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) and Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) started their romantic lives on "Chicago Fire" with completely different partners. Though there has always been a vocal contingent of fans who have yearned for them to get together, both were in strong relationships with other people before winding up romantically connected. 

With that in mind, it's hard not to make comparisons between Sylvie's romance with Matt, and Matt's previous marriage to Gabrielle Dawson (Monica Raymund). It's even harder to ignore the fact that the writers are putting the couple through so many of the same familiar beats, instead of letting their love thrive on its own merits. To be frank, it's starting to look like someone pressed the "copy" button and pasted many of the couple's major story beats right into Sylvie and Matt's storyline. 

Brettsey deserves better. So do the folks watching "Chicago Fire." And in Season 12, they'd better fix it — or risk losing audience sympathy completely.

Brettsey & Dawsey: Will they or won't they?

Matt and Sylvie spent a lot of time making the long, slow climb from being friends to being lovers. Fans watched them become closer throughout his marriage to Gabby — though at first, of course, they're simply work buddies, then close friends. That friendship slowly evolves and changes, leading to romantic feelings, and resulting in them getting together. The audience endures a long will-they-or-won't-they period with the two of them, until they finally make things official and became a full-on couple. Note, it takes them a good three seasons before they kiss for the first time in Season 9.

That extra-long period of yearning was both frustrating and rewarding to fans, who just wanted to see their favorite characters kiss, already. Before that, Gabby and Matt underwent a similarly slow burn (albeit, not as slow). Maybe if Matt and Sylvie had gotten together more quickly — or tried being romantic partners right away, then rejected the notion, then circled back around — their slow burn wouldn't have felt so repetitive. Instead, it was just a repeat performance, like watching a magician do the same trick twice. 

And sure, some of the dragged out tension isn't the fault of "Chicago Fire" — actor Jesse Spencer's choice to take a leave of absence from "Chicago Fire," due to personal matters, kept his character out of the action during Season 10 and the majority of Season 11 –  but it still left the new relationship feeling like an echo of the old one. 

Sylvie's adoption story on Chicago Fire is too close to a Gabby storyline

During their marriage, Matt and Gabby are haunted by infertility issues. Gabby has an ectopic pregnancy which results in a miscarriage, then she and Matt try to adopt a child, Louie, who is rescued during one of their calls. This leads to their marriage, and a period of tranquility and joy as a happy family. Unfortunately for the couple, Louie turns out to have a living relative. They prepare to fight for him, but Louie's father has a large extended family, and Gabby and Matt realize the baby will be better off with his biological family. This once again stymies Gabby's hope of ever becoming a mother. 

The heartbreak takes a severe toll on Matt and Gabby's relationship. After Gabby suffers from an aneurism which leads her to learn that carrying children is a medical impossibility for her, Gabby leaves for Puerto Rico to get over her sadness, leading to their divorce.

Guess what happens in Matt and Sylvie's relationship, then? Well, Sylvie's recent adoption of a baby — delivered by an uncaring teen mother at one of her calls — isn't an exact duplicate of what happened with Gabby, but it sure rings a lot of the same bells. No matter what the show tries to convince viewers, the whole thing feels like a setup for the baby to be ripped from their arms. To be fair to the writing staff, the storyline is supposed to be a mirror of Sylvie's own backstory, as an adopted child whose teenage mother gave her up. But Sylvie's hopeful adoption, and her likely choice to form a married couple with Matt and a non-biological child, just reads like a reflection of everything Gabby and Matt already did. Hopefully she won't also suffer an aneurism. 

Casey's disappearence really hampered the development of the Brettsey romance on Chicago Fire

Ironically, one of the more recent echoes of the Dawsey romance featured Matt, not Sylvie, facing a medical crisis. 

Both Matt and Gabby are plagued with a certain stubbornness, which makes them both prone to making awful decisions. In Gabby's case, it's trying to get pregnant even after a doctor told her she'd not only fail to carry to term, but might die in the process. Matt and Gabby fight over whether or not she should risk it, until Gabby leaves for Puerto Rico and eventually puts down roots there, divorcing Matt.

Sylvie, too, eventually puts up with partner-related stubbornness connected to a medical condition. Matt begins experiencing headaches and blurred vision after an accident during a rescue. He refuses to go to a doctor, fearing something serious is wrong, and that he won't be medically allowed to work. Sylvie coaxes him into it, and he's cleared after it's discovered he has post-concussion syndrome. It turns out to be a foundational building block in their romance. While it's not a perfect one-to-one echo of the relationship, Sylvie's patient helping of Matt — who stubbornly refuses to go to a doctor and lie properly still — is an echo of Gabby's refusing to listen to medical advice and plunging along with her own conception plans. At least the relationship doesn't break down in a big fight. 

The fact that the situation ends so differently works well as a mirror to Matt's prior relationship, but in the context of too many mirrors, it again feels repetitive. 

Here's how Chicago Fire can differentiate these two love stories

The funny (and annoying) thing is that it wouldn't take much effort at all to make Matt and Sylvie's story different from Gabby and Matt's. They have years of friendship to lean on, and plenty of shared passion bubbling under the surface of their fiery romance. 

Perhaps giving them a project to work on together at the firehouse might be an advisable idea. There are many ways to show that Sylvie is strong and passionate about her work — one that doesn't just feature her fighting the system in the exact same way Gabby did. It would be nice to see them doing things that aren't related to parenting, and nice to see them actually interacting as a couple in normal ways. The show didn't give us too much of that before Matt took off for Oregon, and the twosome desperately need to build more routines and rituals that help set them apart from other One Chicago entanglements. 

Also, the show should wait before involving the two of them in any sort of pregnancy drama: one adopted kid is enough, and any soap opera material the show might craft out of the complications would definitely just reflect what Gabby went through.

In reality, the series needs to take a little more time and build up the relationship between these two before they march down the aisle. The engagement itself feels like too much of a haphazard band-aid after so much time apart. It's better to build up a strong relationship between two characters with thought, caring, and patience. That's definitely a mistake they can avoid from Matt and Gabby's failed marriage.