‘Chicago Med’ season 2, episode 12 review: Mirror images; a search for meaning

One of the challenges for a show like “Chicago Med” comes in trying to weigh out some of the various stories over the course of a single hour. How do you give all of them time, and find a way to extract enough meaning to make them worthwhile? It’s a tricky thing, but for the most part Thursday night’s episode “Mirror Mirror” was a prime example of how it can work, and how the show can manage to bring a lot of emotional out of its character.

The one that will probably stay with us the longest is Dr. Halstead’s own journey to do the right thing for his patient, while at the same time dealing with the frustrating presence of a film crew documenting his every move. First, he did the wrong thing in coercing his patient into signing a release form as a way to get leverage to continue his line of tests — which eventually were proven to be correct. Then, he tried to come back so that said patient knew precisely what they were getting themselves into as they realized that they were facing a very small chance of survival.

This man telling the camera that Dr. Halstead was one of the best doctors at one of the best hospitals in the city was a powerful moment, and he wanted it to be in there. He explained to Halstead that he just wanted one moment where his life was worth meaning, and this was it after working at a parking attendant that many people — including Will — never recognized despite running into him fairly often. It was an interesting choice to not completely resolve the story, but the point may have been more around allowing him to have this moment of glory in the present rather than knowing if he survives in the future.

Natalie’s frustrations – How do you help a child with a rare psychological disorder, one where her behavior patterns mirror those around her, when she’s not getting any help from those who are supposed to care the most? This is what both Manning and Dr. Charles struggled with as the child’s mother was more concerned with her job than anything to do with her child. We’ve seen that sort of character before, so watching the process of diagnosing the child was to us the more interesting part of this storyline. The hug at the moment was all the resolution we needed as to the parent coming around.

Jeff and Ethan’s danger zone – This show really challenged itself with this one, as the two men were tasked with removing a gun that was stuffed up a patient’s rectum. The obvious thing to do here is to start playing the Benny Hill music and making it into a joke, but thankfully they didn’t go that route. Instead, the focus was more on what caused someone to get to this place, and the sort of pressure that they were under to do it and take consequences after the fact. Basically, this story ripped out your heart by the end of it, and the level of concern Natalie felt for Jeff while he was doing the operation made you wonder just how much she was over him — if at all.

Rhodes and Latham’s operation – After last week’s revelations and treatment, we saw Latham prepared to take on a difficult surgery, only to realize in the process that he had work to do with trying to cope with change. He realizes that he cannot be cured from Asperger’s, but he wants to get better and therefore has to allow himself to adapt. He did that, both in terms of the operation and also when it comes to going out to Molly’s afterwards and seeing Connor and the rest of the team there.

The big takeaways from this episode are mostly that Latham is making progress, there may still be something unresolved between Natalie and Jeff, and in looking after Jeff and Ethan’s patient, Reese is learning more and more of how to relate to other people. This was a story about mitigating heartbreak, understanding value, and progress. Grade: B.

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