Chicago Med sometimes likes to come up with new and creative ways to make your heart begin the process of slowly shattering into various bits and pieces, and we saw plenty of that over the course of season 4 episode 17 tonight.
What did we see? Well, consider this an hour where feelings were expressed, but relationships did not change. For Will, he was left to do nothing other than survey his history with Natalie after the two had a front-stage ticket to one of the show’s most-tragic love stories — two young people with cystic fibrosis who had to contend with painful decisions surrounding a lung transplant. When Ben was unable to receive the lungs as his condition worsened, Lisa received the opportunity to do so instead — at first, she didn’t want to since she thought it would leave her boyfriend to die alone, without anyone able to be there in his final moments.
Enter Will Halstead. For a good chunk of this season, empathy hasn’t been his strong suit. To be fair, he’s been through a traumatic experience, but tonight, he managed to come through in a way that was meaningful both to Lisa, but also probably to Natalie as she saw that caring, giving side of him again. He encouraged Lisa to actually go in and make physical contact with Ben, something that she’s never been able to do for their entire relationship. He was going to die and they both knew it, and with her already receiving treatment at the hospital, this was a way for them to create a memory that she would remember for the rest of their lives — and one that Ben would also be able to die knowing that he had. It was a way to end his story with something poignant, something that he’d always wanted and was taken from him through no fault of his own.
While Natalie continues to be close to Phillip these days and Will is forced to watch and wonder what if, maybe we are inching closer to the two improving their relationship. Tiny steps; they’ll have plenty of time to work together and rebuild. Will’s line at the end — a reminder to Natalie that they have a lot of good memories — is perhaps what they have to build on.
Other small steps
Tonight, April Sexton had quite an in-your-face reminder of how much Ethan cares about her — it was just in a far-from-ideal setting. After a car crashing into the ambulance area left a man on death’s door and left her in jeopardy, Ethan debated bringing the man in for treatment, thinking that doing so at that time would put April’s life in jeopardy. He hesitated to save a life, thinking that in turn, it could end up costing April her own. Medically, it was the wrong thing to do; personally, it did show April something important, something that she’s been waiting to see.
Maybe the remainder of season 4 can be about healing — not just for patients, but also for each other as we see these characters start to gravitate closer to each other again and discover if some element of redemption is possible. For Daniel Charles, he has still so much further to go given the years of distance between him and his ex. Yet, he spent some time with her tonight as she underwent her treatments … and started to realize by the end of it that being micro-managed was not the way to make her better. Instead, the best way to help was just to be there and allow her to make decisions for herself. That also came about in the hospital for a woman with multiple sclerosis who was convinced that a self-administered tapeworm was helping to take away the symptoms; he also incurred a lawsuit trying to keep her there. Consider this one of the few times this season where Elsa may have had a slightly-better idea than what he brought to the table.
Maybe steps backward
While all of this was going on, Ava had to watch Connor seemingly grow closer to his ex Robin as she helped amidst a heart procedure, and she was there at the end with him to speak with the patient. She and Connor have been a time — at times romantically, and certainly professionally since her arrival. To see someone potentially intrude on both fronts is trying. Ava, as we’ve learned over time, is not the sort of let a whole lot of her vulnerability show. Yet, at the same time, she is someone who may have to learn to do more of that. She and Connor can be good together — we’ve seen it. They just need to actually communicate and get on the same page. Their strength — their ability to compartmentalize and get the job done — is also their weakness when they cannot get out of it.
Chicago Med may at times be a tad too procedural and relationship-heavy. We do want more material outside the hospital, and also more of the other relationships in these doctors’ lives. Yet, we’d be lying if we told you that the story of Ben and Lisa was nothing short of devastating and it struck the perfect emotional chords from start to finish. This installment was vintage Chicago Med, at least in that the patients seemed to help the doctors — maybe not as much as the doctors helped the patients, but they clearly got something from their time with them in the ED and beyond.
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What did you think about Chicago Med season 4 episode 17 overall, and were you