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Chicago Med - You Can't Always Trust What You See - Review: The Winds of Change are Blowing Hard

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Unlike our other One Chicago shows, Chicago Med does have a short time lapse between when Season 6 ended and Season 7 began. However, for the evolution of the storyline, this was a necessary step.

In the season premiere of Chicago Med, we have several storylines intertwining throughout the episode, providing an introduction of new characters, closure on some past storylines and the continuation of others from Season 6, and the ongoing development and evolution of some of our character stories, interactions and conflicts in a way only Wolf Entertainment writers can deliver.

Goodbye Natalie...

We open on a scene with Will helping Natalie to pack up the last of her stuff before moving. She and Will have a long tender hug goodbye, she reassures him she will be fine and tells him he needs to call Goodwin and Chicago Med needs him. This was definitely an unexpected beginning to this season, as we know that Torrey DeVitto has left the show. However, it was wonderful from the viewer perspective to have some closure on Natalie and Will’s storyline from last season, and know that things ended on good terms and Natalie and Owen are okay.

Dr. Archer and Dr. Charles - part one

We jump to the parking lot, where we see Dr. Charles and Dr. Archer looking at Ethan’s parking spot and thinking about what happened to him and receive an update that his rehab is going well. Dr. Archer then stirs the pot, as it seems he loves to do, essentially stating he feels Dr. Charles is the one to blame for what happened. Dr. Charles tactfully reminds him that his actions also contributed to the event, and that the gun was pointed at him when it happened…way to go Daniel! This is the first of many uncomfortable Dr. Archer moments this episode and reaffirms the tension between him and many of the other staff, and is definitely foreshadowing more friction to come both in this episode but likely in the season to come. Personally, I wonder if pitting Dr. Archer in this way against Dr. Charles is an intentional move on the part of our Chicago Med writers to vilify him even further this season, as Dr. Charles is a fan favorite, and there is an enduring love for his character by most viewers of the show.

Meeting Dr. Dylan Scott
In the ED, we get an introduction to Dr. Dylan Scott, whose initial introduction shows his softer and compassionate side with a young boy with a snakebite. In this interaction, we also get a glimpse into his life, as the writers begin to build his story and reveal some of his past. He knows about gang colours and initiations and uses this to connect and get the truth from his young patient. We also learn not only that he was a cop, but so is his dad, and later in the episode, he reveals that he knows Jay when speaking with Will. As a viewer, this backstory certainly creates excitement about the possibility of some PD crossover stories and connections this season, which we all would love to see after the lack of ability to have crossover connections last season. Also, revealing this information left a lot of questions in our minds about why Dr. Scott would have made this type of significant career change. Undoubtedly, this will be revealed over the course of this season and may make for some interesting future storylines.

Sharon Goodwin and Dr. Halstead

Next, we see Will and Sharon Goodwin in her office, where Will expresses his desire to return to Gaffney, and Goodwin is willing to have him return under one condition. Goodwin wants him to engage in an investigation of another doctor (Dr. Cooper) who is suspected of taking kickbacks by utilizing a particular equipment (Vascon) and perhaps more often than it is warranted. Goodwin needs solid proof, preferable on tape, as his father in law is on the board of directors at the hospital. Will objects, but Goodwin states this is his only way to return. Personally, this scene felt very strange as this type of suspicion and deception is quite unlike the Goodwin we have known the last 6 seasons, who could be tough but always backed her staff. Perhaps it is COVID fatigue or the financial state of the hospital, but this is certainly a new side of Sharon we have not seen before, and I am curious what other changes we will see in her in the season to come.

Welcome back Dr. Halstead...sort of...

We then see Sharon welcoming Will back to the ED and welcoming two new staff members and it is at this point that we find out that Dr. Stevie Hammer and Will went to medical school together and she was a bit of a know it all who loved to rub her accomplishments in Will’s face back then. You can also sense a bit awkwardness between them, perhaps indicating a past personal relationship…it will be interesting to see where their relationship goes and what we learn about their past as the season moves forward.  Maggie welcomes him back and says Natalie would be happy and they discuss all the changes in the department. It is wonderful to see this friendship rekindle as we know that Maggie and Will have always had a special bond, and with them both going through some emotional changes it would be wonderful to see them lean on each other for support.

We also have another uncomfortable moment with Dr. Archer as he and Will have a bit of a passive aggressive conversation, Archer reaffirming for Will that he did not want him back and Will commenting on Archer being Interim Chief, which is what he wanted all along.  It is clear that there will be a great deal of tension between these two characters this season, which will definitely make for some interesting interdepartmental turmoil for the ED.

Will and Marcel treat a former Kender Trial patient

Will and Marcel seem to have put some of their differences aside, but there is an air of discomfort when Lois, a Kender trial patient whose records are all locked, arrives in the ED and Marcel pulls Will in to consult on the case to provide some patient history. Dr. Archer cannot resist another jab at Will about no longer having records because of the loss of the trial. Will and Marcel treat his trial patient, and end up having to take her to the OR after disagreeing about what treatment she needs, and Dr. Cooper suggests they use the Vascon treatment. Marcel declines and as it turns out, Will is correct that she does not need a new valve but rather it was a vessel outflow issue, and Marcel changes course and provides the correct treatment. This interaction definitely give weight to Goodwin’s concerns about Cooper, and after she presents evidence of how this treatment has negatively affected the outcome of some patients, Will reluctantly agrees to help.

Dr. Archer, Vanessa and Dr. Charles treat Gemma and Emma

Dr. Archer and Vanessa are treating a pair of twins, Gemma and Emma. Gemma is ill and they do not want anything done unless the other has the exact same treatment as they always have to match. Dr. Archer clearly finds this unsettling and strange, and he asks Vanessa to call Dr. Charles in. Dr. Charles dives in and uncovers that the girls have a very strong bond and that causes them to see things differently like they are one person as they never properly developed differentially as most people and twins do. He indicates they may be delusional but they do have decisional capacity, and this upsets Dr. Archer. Gemma worsens and Dr. Archer again gives Dr. Charles grief, as the girls will not consent to surgery unless they both have it.

Dr. Charles proposes some ideas to Gemma and Emma regarding how they identify as one person and what might be some treatment options that would allow Gemma to receive the lifesaving treatment she needs, despite the fact that Dr. Archer disagrees with the approach. Archer indicates that he feels the concerns and not choosing surgery is silly. In the end, the girls end up trying to deceive the doctors into giving Emma the same treatment as what Gemma needed (an operation to remove the ovary) so that they could still match, and Dr. Charles stops the surgery in time, but not before Archer has made an incision in Emma’s abdomen. Dr. Archer is furious and again he and Dr. Charles butt heads about the best way to treat the patient. It is clear that Dr. Archer has very strong feelings about psychiatry and mental health patients, which is a very interesting storyline for Chicago Med writers to be exploring more with these characters, due to the increase in mental health distress overall in society with our pandemic, and the ongoing stigma that mental health patients have always endured. We have touched on this theme of mental health stigma throughout the years on Chicago Med. I do find it interesting that Dr. Archer trained Dr. Choi, and we have seen similar ethical battles between Ethan and Dr. Charles about the treatment of mental health patients in the past, like a bulimia patient in Season 3 and a plastic surgeon operating on himself in season 6. Perhaps Dr. Archer’s views on mental health or the stigma of mental health conditions in the military have had an effect on both the practice of Dr. Choi and Dr. Archer.

Let's meet Dr. Hammer and Dr. Scott

Meanwhile Dr. Hammer and Dr. Scott are caring for a child with sickle cell anemia. She has not been getting the right preventative care as her mother was not informed what she needed and as a result, she has had a small stroke. Her mother is devastated, blaming herself and Dr. Scott and Dr. Hammer provide support to the mother and then afterward discuss privately how unfortunately sometimes there can be significant inequality in healthcare for marginalized populations. This is an all-true reality and I feel that our Chicago Med writers did an excellent job of dealing with this issue in a realistic and sensitive way. Dr. Hammer also notices that some of the issues the mother is having may relate to socio-economic issues (homelessness in this case). At the end of the episode, it is revealed that Dr. Hammer mother is homeless and suffering from medical issues. They do not specify what the issues are, but from her responses and mannerisms, they seem to be eluding to possibly some type of psychiatric issue, or perhaps a medical issue that more widely effects homeless populations (TB perhaps) but time will tell. This is a very interesting reveal, since we know what a perfectionist and how competitive Dr. Hammer was described to be in Medical School…perhaps to compensate or hide what was really going on in her personal life….we will have to wait and see!

And in the end...

At the end of the episode, we see Will and Marcel discussing Natalie leaving and discussing how they both miss her. It was a great note to conclude on with these two characters, as perhaps they are starting to understand one another, share that sadness and start to move forward as friends and colleagues. With Archer on the loose, the doctors of Chicago Med ED will need as many alliances as they can.

By the end of the episode, Chicago Med writers left us with a little closure, many strong emotions and questions, and have definitely set the stage for an exciting season ahead that will keep us glued to our screens on Wednesday nights. With a number of character changes this season, there is a unique opportunity for the show to evolve and explore even more new and different storylines, and provide opportunities for character development and growth. And if anyone can deliver a successful and exhilarating transition through these changes, it is the cast and crew of Chicago Med and Wolf Entertainment. I for one cannot wait to see what lies ahead.
Let us know your thoughts on this first episode of Chicago Med Season 7 and what your predictions or hopes are for the season ahead.

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