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Chicago Med - Speak Your Truth - Review: "Only Time Will Tell" + POLL

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Despite a delayed fall premiere, Chicago Med returned tonight with a strong season opener. “Speak Your Truth” didn’t waste much time in revealing whether Dr. Charles survived the shooting, and thankfully, he did. Following that initial scene, the series jumps ahead a few months and focuses on where the doctors are three months later. Dr. Charles is still struggling with the aftermath of the shooting, butting heads with both Reese and Goodwin in this episode. Relationship drama is also at the forefront with Connor and Robin adjusting to their new normal and April and Choi dealing with their new work dynamic now that they’re sleeping together. We also get a major step forward Manstead front, which fans of the series have been patiently waiting two seasons for. So how will these new developments affect our favorite characters going forward? Let’s dive in and take a look.

Chicago Med’s season two finale ended with Dr. Charles’ life hanging in the balance after being shot. Fortunately, viewers don’t have to wait too long to find out his fate, and I am happy to report, he survives. While I was more worried about who would survive Chicago Fire’s explosive season five finale, I am nevertheless glad that Dr. Charles is out of the woods, medically speaking. As we saw in the season premiere, he seems to be struggling emotionally. The hospital staff knew he was going to testify at Jack Kellogg’s (also known as the shooter) trial, but it comes as a complete shock to the Reese (and the audience) that Dr. Charles actually switches sides, so to speak, and testifies for the defense, arguing that Kellogg was legally insane when he shot Dr. Charles and then himself. Reese, of course, isn’t exactly thrilled about Dr. Charles’ “change of heart.” She believes that while Kellogg was in need of psychiatric help, he didn’t meet criteria to be deemed legally insane. She then goes and testifies for the prosecution, completely undermining Dr. Charles as Kellogg is found guilty. While Reese notes Kellogg will still get the psychiatric help he needs in prison, Dr. Charles counters that his chance of rehabilitation is virtually nonexistent and he’ll probably end up dead in prison due to his temper.

Both doctors accused the other of being too close, but who is right in this situation? In Reese’s opinion, she is trying to keep a dangerous man off the streets and prevent Kellogg from hurting anyone else. Dr. Charles believes Kellogg shouldn’t be punished for his illness, but rather treated and get the help he needs; something that can’t happen in prison. While I would like to believe Dr. Charles is only fueled by a desire to help, we know that’s not the case. As we learned, Dr. Charles came back to work before he was cleared, with Goodwin pointing out that Dr. Charles is torturing himself, trying to be a one-man champion for his shooter. Goodwin believes Dr. Charles’ is fueled by guilt and his ego as he missed the signs about Kellogg, so he’s then trying to make up for his mistake by testifying for the defense in an attempt to regain control. While both Reese and Goodwin are worried about Dr. Charles, his repeated assurances that he is fine only prove to me that he’s anything but. This shooting has deeply unsettled him on a psychological level, and we’ll probably see the aftermath play out for at least half of the season. I’m looking forward to Dr. Charles bumping heads with Reese, Goodwin, and the rest of the hospital staff. I hope this incident provides some more insight into the emotionally secluded psychiatrist. We know very little about him personally, so while I don’t want to see any character in prolonged pain, I hope the writers take this as an opportunity to delve a little deeper into the character.

Meanwhile, Robin is finally sprung from the hospital, but it’s not all rainbows and puppies as one might expect. Things seem to be going great until Robin starts be exhibiting hypersexuality and paranoia, both potential side effects of her disease. Connor has a lot on his plate at work, and being Robin’s caretaker is not making his life any easier. He is constantly worried about her well-being, trying to figure out if he’s dealing with Robin or her illness. While I have no doubt that Connor cares for Robin, him being solely responsible for her health may be too big of a job for him. Robin, on the other hand, feels like Connor doesn’t trust her, believing he thinks her feelings for him are a result of her illness. By the end of the episode, she even starts to doubt what is real or not. It’s a horrible situation to not be able to trust yourself or your feelings. Despite Dr. Charles’ advice for Robin to trust her heart, it’s evident that the cracks are beginning to form in her and Connor’s relationship, with the couple most likely breaking up in the near future. Given that Mekia Cox is now a series regular on Once Upon a Time, it’s likely that Chicago Med was only able to use her for a limited number of episodes. I’ll be sad to see Robin go as she gave us a window into Dr. Charles’ past and some character growth when it came to Connor. There’s always a chance she could stick around, but I’m not confident due to where the story seems to be heading. With Robin gone though, it’s only a matter of time before Connor and Dr. Becker hookup, right? I mean the sexual tension is there, and I can see them having some sort of fling or just a purely physical relationship that may evolve into something more substantial down the line. I’m all for Connor having some fun to mend his broken heart, but I’m going to need to see a different side to Dr. Becker before I jump on the bandwagon.

As we saw this episode, Dr. Becker manipulates Dr. Latham into letting her perform a difficult surgery – a surgery that was supposed to be performed by Connor – under the guise of teamwork. She is just as much of a snake as I remember her. She claims Connor will be relieved not to perform a tricky procedure as he is probably stressed and focused on Robin’s recovery, and Dr. Latham interprets her motives as pure as opposed to stealing a difficult surgery from Connor. Despite her manipulation, Connor actually comes out ahead after Dr. Latham gives him a more difficult and rarer surgery. While Dr. Latham still struggles to understand certain social situations, he does realize that maybe Dr. Becker wasn’t as genuine as she initially appeared. He understands that surgeons compete for the most difficult procedures, so he gives Connor a more difficult procedure to make up for his error in judgment. He may not understand the whole situation, but Dr. Latham did piece together enough information to realize something was off. I really enjoyed the character of Dr. Latham last season and am ecstatic that he is back. I’m also glad the series continues to tackle his difficulty understanding certain social situations as well as revisiting his Asperger’s diagnosis. In some shows, autistic characters and their difficulty with social communication and interaction is used as a cheap gimmick to entice laughs. Most of these series fail to capture what life is really like or the struggles individuals on the autism spectrum face. I want to applaud Chicago Med for handling this subject matter with such care and attempting to educate its audience.

Elsewhere, Choi and April have been covertly dating or sleeping together for the past few months. However, it appears there cover is almost blown when Doris, another nurse, calls April out. Doris is fed up with having to do clean up after patients while April gets to run labs and believes April is getting special treatment due to her and Choi hooking up. Choi doesn’t really care if people at the hospital know about him and April, but April, rightfully so, has her reservations. It has nothing to do with Choi, but his status at the hospital; April’s a nurse and Choi is a doctor. April doesn’t want people to judge her or think less of her because she’s sleeping with a doctor. She’s afraid people will think she’s getting special treatment because of who she happens to be screwing, not because she’s good at her job. In the end, Choi lets April decide whether or not to tell people at the hospital about them. We’ve all seen various forms of this scenario on several medical dramas, and it usually doesn’t end well. The one exception may be Turk and Carla from Scrubs, but it’s always tricky when a subordinate is sleeping with his or her superior. I’m assuming April and Choi’s relationship will be a focal point this season, with it being only a matter of time before everyone at the hospital accidentally finds out. It’ll be interesting to see how Chicago Med takes this trope and makes it their own.

Next up, we have a philosophical dilemma, something that has been a pretty big staple during Chicago P.D.’s fifth season. After the shooting at the hospital, Dr. Stoll wants improved security and a police to stand guard. Not a completely unreasonable sentiment in light of what happened to Dr. Charles. However, when a patient overstays his welcome after being discharged, Dr. Stoll is not happy. The EMT told Maggie the patient would mostly likely end up getting shot again if he was by himself. Maggie, being the kindhearted nurse that she is, decides to let the patient crash in the emergency department for another 24 hours, but Dr. Stoll isn’t as understanding initially. While Dr. Stoll does sympathize, he said it’s not the hospital’s job to provide a safe haven, telling Maggie that they “treat ‘em and street ‘em.” Not giving up without a fight, Maggie makes the argument that the streets Dr. Stoll and the patient live on are very different. Dr. Stoll doesn’t have to worry about being shot where he lives, but there is a very good chance the patient will end up with another bullet somewhere if he goes home. She also makes a big push for how Dr. Still can take about improved security to the hospital, protecting the staff, but completely ignore protecting an innocent life. It’s an interesting premise to consider about the reality of privilege when it comes to something as simple as safety. Dr. Stoll isn’t afraid of walking alone at night in his neighborhood, taking something as pedestrian as that for granted. Maggie has been exposed to the realities and violence on the streets. She understands what is at stake, explaining her passionate plea. In the end, Dr. Stoll sees the value in Maggie’s argument and lets the patient stay. I’m curious to see if Chicago Med will continue to tackle potentially controversial philosophical arguments in the future and think this could be a fascinating direction for the show.

Last but not least we have Manstead. Yes, you read that right. This ship is full steam ahead. After a slightly awkward initial interaction and spending most of the episode focusing on the medicine, these two finally confront their feelings that they spent two seasons dancing around. After an emotionally charged case about living with regrets, Will throws caution to the wind and explains why he and Nina broke up. He admits his feelings to Natalie and tells her he doesn’t expect anything in return. Natalie, in turn, explains that she took a three-month sabbatical to figure out her feelings, and what she needed to think about was Will. Cue the shipper feels as the episode ends with these two kissing. So what does this mean going forward? Well, it looks like Natalie and Will are going to start a relationship and live happily ever after; if only it were that easy. The show’s staple will they won’t they couple are finally together, but it may not necessarily be smooth sailing. Besides the complications of dating a co-worker, Natalie also has a son which factors into the equation. These two will probably have to face a few hurdles before getting their fairytale ending, but I’m rooting for them. At least one of the Halstead brothers deserves happiness.

Some stray thoughts:
- While it was nice that we got a cameo in the form of Chicago Justice’s Peter Stone, Philip Winchester’s character didn’t have any dialogue. Was it even worth the effort or did his lines end up on the cutting room floor.
- Reese mentioned her dad who she hasn’t seen since she was six during the premiere. With the news that Michael Gill will recur as her estranged father, how soon should we expect this family reunion?
- Also, it looks like the Reese/Noah romance is a slow burn.

So hit the comments below to let me know what you thought of the premiere. Will Dr. Charles eventually go off the deep end? Is this the beginning on the end for Connor and Robin? Can Dr. Becker just disappear into the hospital abyss or be transferred to Lakeshore? Which couple will have the hardest time this season: Manstead, Connor/Robin, or Choi/April?

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