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One Chicago - The Poison Inside Us & What Will Define You & Trigger - Reviews

12 Dec 2018

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There was very little cohesion between this week’s One Chicago episodes, save for the mini crossover on Chicago Med after an unhinged man released toxic chemicals in the ED. So naturally, both characters from Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. showed up. This bout of life-and-death stakes is usually reserved for the other two shows rather than Chicago Med, but with Chicago Fire taking a week off from the drama to mourn the loss of Benny Severide, giving Taylor Kinney ample material to work with. I guess it makes sense that Chicago Med stepped up in a sense, but it was Chicago P.D. that faltered this episode, as the case of the week failed to connect to Jay Halstead’s past military service, which is unfortunate as Jesse Lee Soffer knocks it out of the park when given adequate material.

Chicago Med

WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS | So just as fast as one storyline ends for Ethan, another begins. The episode starts with Emily and her still married, alcoholic baby daddy heading to Las Vegas for a fresh start, and though he’s not even a little bit comfortable with the idea, Ethan doesn’t protest. It seems he’s finally learned that he needs to let his sister make decisions, albeit extremely bad ones, for herself. However, the emotional roller coaster that is his life doesn’t let up, as he finds himself the target of a chemical attack. An unhinged man, who holds Ethan responsible for his wife’s death, decides the best way to get his revenge is to release some toxic chemical – we later learn it’s cyanide – in the ED. However, it seems the man may have not thought this entirely through as both he and Ethan are exposed, putting the two in jeopardy. And while viewers knew Ethan would survive the ordeal, despite the seemingly dire medical condition the doctor was in, April was less sure. Earlier in the episode, Maggie had commented that now that Emily was gone, there was really nothing standing in the way of April and Ethan being together. Of course, it wasn’t enough for Maggie to point out the obvious for April to realize she was still in love with Ethan. It took Dr. Choi almost “dying” for April to realize the truth, but as she was about to profess her love to the bedridden doctor, an old love interest randomly popped up to throw a wrench in the pair’s reconciliation. As it turns out Ethan’s ex Vicki Glass – the VA doctor last appeared in season 1 – is still his emergency contact, so doing what any ex-girlfriend would after her ex-boyfriend is poisoned, she rushes to the hospital to make sure he’s not dead, with April being forced to watch this unfold from the hallway. So it definitely wasn’t the happy ending fans may have been hoping for, but Ethan and April’s love story is far from over. While they’ll end up getting back together in the future, I really hope the series doesn’t force viewers to sit through a repetitive love triangle. It seems as though Ethan and Vicki are on the road to rekindling their relationship, but I don’t really feel like watching April pine for the rest of the season. Besides that being completely predictable, it will just make the character even more insufferable.

A TOUGH PILL TO SWALLOW | “The Poison Inside Us” just reiterated what all viewers have seen time and time again: Will is incapable of letting things be. Despite being told repeatedly by the FBI and his brother to stop treating Ray, Will decides to do the exact opposite and bring Ray into the hospital for an MRI. Also, the MRI just so happens to overlap with Ray’s bridge game criminal meeting, which both the FBI and Ray’s sons are very keen on Ray attending. Having the utmost confidence, Will is certain Ray can still make his “bridge game,” except there just so happens to be a forced lockdown, which automatically means Ray isn’t, and wouldn’t be, going anywhere. Don’t you just hate it when your plan to get your Mafiosa patient to his super illegal criminal meeting on time goes sideways because some guy released cyanide in the ED? Me too. So along with having Ray’s two scary sons on his bad side, Will managed to piss off the FBI too. This guy sure knows how to pick his battles. So while he can count himself lucky he didn’t “die” from a toxic chemical or at the hands of Ray’s two goons for sons, he did have the pleasure of coughing up blood, thanks to an ulcer. With all the stress he’s been under – playing secret agent, lying to the woman he loves – it was only a matter of time before it took a toll. The only up to this new development is that it seems Natalie is finally starting to realize something is wrong, or at least she’s no longer buying her future husband’s excuses that everything’s all right. No Will, everything is not all right. You could be charged with obstruction of justice by the FBI – I’m not 100 percent sure that would happen in real life, but this is television, so the rules don’t exactly apply – or killed by either Ray or his sons. The hypothetical stakes that have been looming over Will all season have become very real, and his decision to keep Natalie in the dark is going to be his own undoing. The cracks are already starting to form, and I think we may have passed the point of no return. This certainly would have been the time to come clean, but I fear the final Chicago-verse OTP is speeding toward a breakup. Even if this does happen, and I think it will, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end of Manstead, just the end for the time being.

MATTERS OF THE HEART | I guess life and death circumstances can really put things into perspective, as Connor did a complete 180 by the episode’s end. Things had been on the up and up for Dr. Rhodes as of late – his hybrid OR was running smoothly, more of less; his flirtationship with Ava was maybe heating up, or not – or rather nothing had gone catastrophically wrong in a while, until he found out Cornelius had just become a hospital board member after the elder Rhodes had funded Connor’s pet project. So he’s not exactly in the best mood when he finds out that Ava already knew and hadn’t bothered to tell him. Feeling betrayed and angry, Connor isn’t particularly concerned with the reasoning behind Ava’s choices, and it only took her nearly “dying” after donating her blood to their patient on the operating table while they were sealed inside in the hybrid OR during the lockdown for him to come around. If not for the “dire” situation the pair found themselves in, Connor probably would have come around in a few episodes, especially after learning Ava only went to Cornelius so Connor could stay at Med. However, the writers seem to have chosen the most extreme circumstances they could think of to compel Connor to forgive Ava in less than 42 minutes. So the big, explosive secret I thought would tear the non-couple apart was actually the thing that finally motivated one of them to confess their feelings to the other. Everything was seemingly swept under the rug with that kiss, but I can’t help but feel like we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. The show has been oddly vague about what exactly went down between Ava and Cornelius, when she approached him about funding Connor’s hybrid OR. It’s no secret that Cornelius had ulterior motives, whether it be finding another way to control his son or getting Dr. Bekker into bed – probably both – but it’s still unclear how far Ava was willing to go to keep Connor at Med. I’m pretty sure nothing salacious happened, but I’m sure that awkward dinner will manage to rear its head in the future. Couples can’t actually live happily ever after in the One Chicago universe, can they?

Chicago Fire

DEAD AND BURIED | It has been a rough few weeks for Severide, but “What Will Define You” was a particularly hard episode for the captain. Along with carrying the guilt about not being able to make amends with Benny before the elder Severide died, Kelly was determined to take care of everything. From refusing Stella’s help in find his father’s medal to campaigning the CFD for a full department funeral, despite Benny not having died in the line of duty, it’s almost like this massive undertaking was some form of self-imposed punishment. Or it could have been it was easier to focus on asking the white coats to make an exception rather than perseverating about his final words to his father. Whatever the reason, it’s clear Severide was struggling with Benny’s death. And because it’s Severide, he shuts everyone out, instead of leaning on them for support. But because Firehouse 51 is a family, those around him still show up for him. Stella takes it upon herself to find the medal, enlisting the help of Truck and Engine. Boden calls some of Benny’s former colleagues and asks them to come to the funeral. Even the white shirts come through in the end, as uniformed firefighters stood outside the church to give Benny a proper sendoff. While all these are nice gestures, what helps Severide the most is the conversation he has with his mother Jennifer Sheridan. Before the funeral, Jennifer finally gets Severide to admit he’s struggling with how he left things with Benny. However, Jennifer reminds him that nothing he said to Benny would have made his father’s passing any easier, and he does seem to take her words to heart. Yet, he’s still plagued by that intense guilt, stating it took him too long to realize that though Benny may have not been the best, his father would still come through to those when they needed it the most during the eulogy. It’s a bittersweet moment, as Severide only truly seems to understand his father after the smoke eater’s death. Benny may have not been the best father to Severide, but the elder Severide came through for the lieutenant when it mattered most. I hope that moment of understanding will bring Severide some peace, but I’m afraid he’s still going to be wracked by his guilt and will continue to push everyone away. They say time heals all wounds, so I wonder how long that’ll take for Severide.

HUNTING FOR BRONZE | In what was arguably supposed to be the lighter subplot of the episode, Stella takes it upon herself to find Benny’s missing medal of valor, enlisting the help of 51 to visit a slew of the late firefighter’s exes. There was plenty of awkwardness and hilarity to go around, most notably the woman who wanted to sleep with Casey, with the home visits providing some much needed comic relief. However, there were some more somber moments beneath the surface, as this whole subplot was just a continuation of the building tension between Severide and Stella. While Severide was grateful for Stella’s help, he initially refused. Whether he was unwilling or incapable of letting Stella help him, I’m not sure, but he made a point of stating he didn’t want her to search for the medal. Despite being told no, Stella visited Benny’s various ex-lovers, of which fans are familiar with. It was the only way she could think of to help her boyfriend, as he refused to let her in emotionally. I really wish that Severide would lean on Stella during his time of need rather than pushing her away. Losing a loved one, especially a close family member, is never easy, but Severide has a history of pushing people away when things get tough. He completely shut down after Shay died, wrecking his burgeoning relationship with Lindsay in the process. One can only imagine the self-destructive lengths he’ll got to following the death of his father, and unfortunately, it seems like Stella will get the bulk of it. As you’ll remember, Stellaride was already on shaky ground beforehand, so this turn of events and Severide’s past track record almost surely spells destruction for the couple. Again, it’s a shame that this couple is being put through the wringer, but at least Benny’s death feels like a realistic obstacle rather than a contrived plot device to create problems. While sudden, people do lose family members, and unlike Stella’s high school bestie Tyler, Benny has been a prominent recurring character, popping up almost every season. We may not be mourning the loss of Benny like Severide, but his death feels more natural than the introduction of an old high school friend who’s not so secretly in love with Stella.

CAUGHT BETWEEN A CAR AND A HARD PLACE | With most of the episode focusing on various plotlines revolving around Benny’s funeral, the series also featured a storyline about Brett and her new love interest. After responding to the scene of the accident where a teenage girl had hit a pedestrian, Brett had the suspicion the driver had been texting and driving. So since the police in this city are essentially useless unless they’re members of Intelligence, it fell on Brett to decide what to do. Foster told Brett to report it and move on, which is sort of ironic given that we’ve seen the new paramedic overstep her fair share of boundaries this season. Despite there being plenty of people Brett could have asked at 51, she instead turned to new chaplain and love interest Kyle for his opinion. Decidedly taking a neutral stance, Kyle tells Brett to trust her heart, which the firefighter just so happens wears on her sleeve. In the end, Brett is saved from having to make a decision, as a little tough love is all it takes for the teenage driver to take responsibility. But the outcome doesn’t really matter, as the whole point of this plot was to continue planting the seeds for a relationship between the pair, which is achieved as the duo awkwardly flirt outside the funeral. So while there has been no formal romantic entanglements yet, it’s definitely heading in that direction. For me, the jury’s still out on Kyle. He seems like a nice enough guy, but I still have a ranking system of sorts of who I would rather see Brett with. First and foremost, would be Foster, as the series hasn’t featured any LGBTQ+ relationships since Shay. There’s always the possibility the show could be building to that, but I doubt it. Then there would have to be Cruz. I feel like both characters have changed a lot over the past few seasons, and it seemed like the series was heading toward a reconciliation last season. And then there’s Antonio, as I feel these two never really got a real chance, due to Kara Killmer and Jon Seda being on separate series. We all know cross-showmances are doomed, save Mouch and Platt, but I wish the writers had let this relationship evolve rather than be an on again, off again thing.

Chicago P.D.

BLIND MAN WALKING | Chicago P.D. has been the weak link as of late in the Chicago-verse, and this week’s episode was no different, as the series delivered one of its worst episode of the season. This episode could have easily been a standout as Halstead once again took front and center, and the case of the week tackled biases and Islamophobia. The majority of the episode centered around Intelligence trying to figure out who was responsible for a bombing at an army recruitment office, and then later a second one at a VA hospital. The team’s initial prime suspects were mosque leader Akeem and fellow worshipper Tariq, both of whom were obviously Muslim, while they completely disregarded military veteran Jake Miller. Things started to become a little fuzzier when Jake didn’t recognize Tariq, who Intelligence suspected as setting off the second bomb, as Tariq had served as a translator for Jake during the veteran’s time in country. You would think Jake would have recognized the person he knew so well as was sponsoring for U.S. citizenship, something Upton found suspicious. However, Halstead was willing to let Jake’s lame excuse of only getting a brief look at the bomber slide. He refused to see what was right in front of him until he was face to face with security footage of the guy buying the same exact type of nails used in the bombs. At least, he finally acknowledged his bias by the end of the episode, admitting to how he’d been blind to Jake’s involvement because he was a white man who served overseas. The idea that Jake, who blamed Akeem for the deaths of his whole unit while overseas, may have been the bomber never crossed Halstead’s minds, and to be honest, it may have not occurred to every viewer if this wasn’t a television show. It’s a sad reality that we live in where we are still guided by stereotypical assumptions, but it’s what the world is. It’s also worth noting that Halstead also opened up a little more about his time overseas. His past military service has been shrouded in mystery for most of the series, with bits and pieces being revealed over time. We all know his time overseas did a number on him, but unlike Jake, it doesn’t define him. Yes, it’s a part of who Halstead is, but it’s not his whole identity.

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME | One of the more overlooked episode was that Halstead, once again, ran straight into the belly of the beast. Viewers have been seeing Halstead ran head first into danger with increasing frequency ever since Lindsay left. During episode 2 of this season, Halstead enlisted Severide to apprehend the arsonist who started the fire at his father’s apartment complex, decidedly not waiting for backup to catch the man responsible for his father’s death. This episode, he ran into the mosque where Jake was holding hostages, despite being told by Voight to wait. Both of these situations could have gotten him killed, yet he seems have to decided it’s more important to singlehandedly apprehend the bad guy, even if it means putting his life in danger. This is one of the more noticeable qualities Halstead shares with his brother, but his reckless decisions put himself directly in danger, whereas Will’s mostly affect his patients and his career as a practicing physician. What I continued to be surprised is that Halstead doesn’t seem to be reprimanded for his recklessness. Sure, he was forced to see a therapist last year, but there hasn’t been any sort of real consequences for his behavior. This could in part be that no one has really gotten hurt, or at least no civilians really have, save the young girl who was accidently shot last season. I guess that could change if more people were injured or killed, but Halstead seems to get a free pass from Voight and the Ivory Tower. Of course, Voight also protects his team at whatever cost, so long as they don’t betray him or put him in a compromising situation. So Halstead has never really been on his own when he makes these rash decisions, but there may come a time when Voight can’t save him. If, or when, that happens, I’d be curious to see how Halstead handles it. I have to wonder if that would be a wakeup call for him, or he would continue down the path he’s taking. If this were real life, he’d probably be dead by now, but as this is a TV show, he has at least nine lives.

Some stray thoughts:
- I have mixed feelings about Dr. Charles this episode. On the one hand, he lied to Natalie and essentially forced her to perform a C-section blind. On the other, it was an emergency situation, and there was no other option. If he hadn’t tricked her, both the mother and child could have died. It still was a pretty shitty thing to do though.
- I’m really glad we got a couple scenes between Otis and Katie. Their relationship ended rather abruptly when Katie moved away – granted, she had a good reason – but fans never really got closure on that front. Also, their conversation confirmed that Otis is still with Lily, even though we haven’t seen her in like a season.
- It sort of seems like Chicago P.D. missed an opportunity to reacquaint viewers with some of the more prominent federal agent characters, as according to IMDb, the two credited actors who appeared as FBI, have only been in one episode apiece, both from season 1. To be honest, none of those type of characters easily come to mind, so maybe the show could have used this opportunity to introduce some.
So hit the comments below. What are your thoughts on the romantic woes on Chicago Med? What does Benny’s death mean for Severide and his relationship with Stella? What are your thoughts on Halstead’s actions this episode?