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Chicago Med – Just as a Snake Sheds Its Skin – Review

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Once again in this episode of Chicago Med, the amazing Wolf team of writers deal with many issues like addictions, homelessness and the reality of mental health distress in people employed in high risk and high stress jobs in a very real and sensitive way. Thank you Dick Wolf and your amazing team of writers for your willingness to bring light to these very real issues, and start important conversations that will hopefully assist in reducing stigma around these very real struggles for many people. There have been several shows addressing these issues over the last few weeks. Thank you for seeing us and letting us know it is okay to be seen.

Dr. Marcel, Dr. Blake and Avery

The episode opens to Avery and Marcel having drinks at Molly’s and flirting. He gets a call from Dr. Blake even though he is not on call and he tells her he is unavailable because he had started drinking. Avery invites him over for an nightcap but he declines. This is a very interesting dynamic as there is a definite attraction between them, but also that concern since Marcel is working so closely with her mother AND she was his patient.

Marcel sees Dr. Blake and tells her he is sorry that he could not scrub in with her and she tells him he missed out on a once in a year surgery. He says his rule is if he wouldn’t drive he of course wouldn’t operate, and Blake accuses him of not having his priorities straight, being more interested in socializing and thinks she miscalculated and that he is not committed. She tells him to decide if he really wants to shadow her as she does not want her time wasted.

He later asks if her pushing her staff in that way works for her because pushing beyond limits created an issue for a friend of his that day. She says that for her giving something up and having to pay a price is what she has to do every day and that not doing that is what keeps her up at night and she thinks he is likely the same way. She tells him to check his email and she invites him back to the OR. It seems that these two certainly share a passion for doing what is right for their patient at all costs, and we saw that last season with Marcel and Manning, but Crockett seems to be displaying his passion in a different way now. It will be interesting to see where his transplant mentoring takes him as the season progresses.

Dr. Marcel, Dr. Choi and Dr. Archer

Dr. Choi is doing well with his recovery and Dr. Archer is impressed with him and his current level of productivity. Dr. Choi and Dr. Marcel begin treating an MVA patient, Marcus Clemons, who has an incarcerated hernia from his abdomen striking something in the crash. Marcel tries to manually reduce it but it does not work and the CT shows that he has no organ injuries but does have an incarcerated hernia, so Dr. Marcel says they need to take the safest course and he books Mr. Clemons in for surgery.

Dr. Choi talks to him and when he finds out all that is going on for him at home with his pregnant wife who is ill with pre-eclampsia, Ethan wants to try manual reducation again with a technique he learned in the military to reduce his recovery time as opposed to surgery. Marcel says no as the risk he feels is to great for both of them, but Dr. Archer supports Choi to try manual reduction again. Dr. Marcel is upset as it is not safe for Ethan to try, but Archer says they are both there and it will be fine.

When Choi tries to reduce the hernia, he takes off his back brace as he feels it is to restricting, and Dr. Archer lets him do it. Ethan is successful in reducing the hernia for the patient, but injures himself and has to get an urgent MRI. Marcel is there to help support Ethan and help him to get the scan. Ethan herniated some disks and will now need more surgery and rehab and Dr. Marcel tells Archer he should have stopped him and been watching out for Choi when he wanted to try something that was risky for him. For the first time in a long time, Archer is speechless after Crockett speaks his mind. It feels like for the first time, Archer is seeing that maybe he is not being the friend or mentor Ethan needs any more, and there is merit to the distain staff have for his leadership. We can only hope this will prompt some changes in him in the episodes to come.

Ethan goes to speak to Goodwin about his options and that he has decided with Dr. Abrams for a spinal fusion and will need more surgery and rehab. Goodwin says to take the time he needs and they will welcome him back when he is ready. Ethan reassures her also that he knew what he was doing and it was his choice. However, one can only wonder if the true motivation to push himself like that was instrinsic from his desire to again be the doctor he once was before his injury, or extrinsic, wanting to prove himself to Archer. We hope it is a speedy recovery for Dr. Choi, as we really need him back (and to get Archer out of that Chief seat). Sending you healing thoughts Ethan!

Maggie and Vanessa

It is the annual drug test in the department and Vanessa is worried that the Adderall she took will show up in the test. Maggie finds Vanessa vomiting in the ladies room and Vanessa tells her it is food poisoning from a sketchy food truck, and Maggie suggests for her to go home, but she will have to take the test first, so Vanessa says she is over the worst of it and that she will stay.

Maggie then finds Vanessa on the patio, and she has been crying when they go to go back inside, she has a panic attack and comes clean to Maggie about what has been going on. Maggie tells her to drink lots of water and they will figure it out together. They do a preliminary test, and there is still Adderall showing in her system, so Maggie gives her some Lasix which will dilute her urine and says to take it 30 minutes before her test. Vanessa assures Maggie she is done with the medication and this is not to just get by this one drug test.

Vanessa gives her sample and as they wait for the result Vanessa thanks Maggie for sticking her neck out for her and she says she does not need to thank her for anything. Vanessa recognizes she has been giving Maggie a hard time, and it is nice for her to recognize the error of her ways, and that Maggie really does care for her, just like she cares for everyone. We love you too Maggie!

Dr. Halstead and Dr. Hammer

Stevie shares with Will that her mom took off, and that in the past she has tried to numb herself with drugs. Will offers to go with her for back up and while she initially says no, he convinces her to let him join her. Her mom’s friend Misty says she was headed to a pawn shop for money, and Will offers to involve Jay but Stevie does not want her mom arrested as she has already been to jail once.

They go to one of the nearby shooting galleries and search for her mom, and Stevie finds a young girl in the heroin den with her mom, who is an addict and is passed out high. Will calls the police and they hold on to the girl when the police arrive and her mom runs off but they get girl into DCFS custody and safety. Stevie breaks down and says she knows how the girls feels and she should have been there to take care of her mom and Will says no, it is not her fault and her mom should have protected her. They have a consoling hug as he provides her support, and this is a moment where it seems to really hit Will that Stevie has not always had it all together like he thought and like she tried to project to make others think.

Stevie thanks Will when she drops him off at the hospital for being there to help and he says he was glad he was there too. Is this the start of Hamstead? One can only hope, but there is definitely some great chemistry with these two, whether they are fighting or being friendly.

Stevie's mom shows up outside of her home as she is returning at the end of the day to return some of the money from what she pawned as she used the money to get her van back and she tells Stevie she is heading out on the road. Stevie wishes her luck and says she loves her and will always be there. Her mom drives off as the episode ends. It was likely very hard for Dr. Hammer to not jump in and try to get her mom to stay, but it seems she is taking Dr. Charles's advice to heart and focusing on taking a different and less parental role when dealing with her mother.

Dr. Halstead, Goodwin, Dr. Cooper and Jessa

We open this storyline with Will briefing Goodwin that Cooper almost admitted something to him, and that he will try to talk to him later when his wife is not visiting. Then Jessa from Vasik comes in with a basket for Cooper and asks Will if it is her fault that this happened as he may have overheard her questioning him using the Vascom with Eleanor, and Will reassures her that is not the case.

Will goes to see him when he returns from his time helping Stevie, and says he seems distracted, but Cooper says he is tired and Will does not get much else out of him. Will goes to talk to Goodwin and she says they need to put the issue with Dr. Cooper on hold. She says the stress is affecting her diabetes and blood sugars and the increase in her cortisol levels (the stress hormone) is making things worse. Will says he can continue but Sharon says she is not willing to let him take it on himself, and that they need to cease the investigation for now.

At the end of the episode, as he is leaving the hospital, Jessa invites Will to a tree lighting and he accepts. This is an interesting development and one can't help but be curious if this is truly a spark, a crush, or perhaps our writers creating some competition for Dr. Hammer when it comes to Will's love life. I guess time will tell, but Jessa certainly seems starry eyed when Will is around.

Dr. Scott, Dr. Charles and Uncle Joe

When we open at Molly’s bar, Dylan is drinking with his dad when an old cop buddy Dylan calls Uncle Joe comes in. He wants to way hello but his dad tells him Joe has been having a hard time lately with a Sergeant at work and it might be best to leave him be. Uncle Joe then gets into a fight with another bar patron and Marcel and Dylan have to break it up.

Dylan takes him to the hospital and while waiting for Plastics to suture his head, Dr. Scott talks to Uncle Joe about the incident at work and about how he is dealing with the fallout and Dylan convinces him to talk to Dr. Charles. When they talk, Joe asks about medication as his wife thinks he needs something to even him out. Daniel asks for more information about what has been going to get all the facts, and Dr. Charles finds that Joe seems obsessed that he is being persecuted by the sergeant and seems to have detailed knowledge of the sergeant and his wife and worries he may be stalking them. As they talk further, Dr. Charles finds him paranoid and delusional and a possible threat to the sergeant. Joe leaves before Daniel can finish with him and after talking things through with Sharon, he decides that despite the stigma that can be involved, he has to call and report Uncle Joe to the police as a possible threat. He is worried Dylan will never bring him another colleague in trouble, but he also would not forgive himself if anything happened by not reporting his concerns.

Dr. Scott is furious at Dr. Charles and says that Uncle Joe’s life is blown up now and he has been stripped of his weapon and that he knows Uncle Joe may talk tough but would never hurt anyone. Dylan says he told Joe he could trust him and he destroyed everything for him, and Dr. Charles tells Dr. Scott that he has to trust him that Joe is a powder keg.

Uncle Joe then disappears and Dylan and his dad are looking for him and calling everywhere, and are worried he may do something to himself. Joe comes to Dr. Charles’s office and threatens him with a box cutter, and says he needs to make a call and fix what he did. Dylan recognizes Joe's car outside the hospital and goes up to Dr. Charles’s office to check on him and ends up having to break in and save Daniel by tackling and restraining Joe.

Afterwards Dylan apologizes for how he behaved, and says that he never thought Joe would do something like that. He thanks Daniel for not pressing charges and Dr. Charles says that is the last thing Joe needed when in crisis and he is glad he is finally getting the help he needs. Dr. Charles tells Dylan he recognizes that he is in a tough spot straddling two worlds (Law Enforcement and Medicine) and that he has loyalties to both. They discuss that there is a real stigma related to mental health and first responders seeking help, and Dr. Charles tells him to give himself a break. This was another great example of how Dick Wolf and his writing team deal with these very real issues in such an eloquent way, bringing awareness and a voice to so many everyday heroes who feel they cannot feel or show distress from how their job affects them. It is only through de-stigmatizing mental health support and letting people know it is okay to not be okay that we will ever be able to help our everyday heroes be completely healthy. Thank you Wolf World - your efforts are appreciated!
What did you think of this episode of Chicago Med? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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