Chicago Med 2×09 Review: ‘Uncharted Territory’

If we’ve learned anything watching Chicago Med it’s that it can be so incredibly moving and painful simultaneously in a way that hits you in your gut. It’s that powerful emotion that makes it such an amazing show and one that often leaves you talking afterwards.

In Chicago Med’s midseason premiere, “Uncharted Territory,” three distinct cases were treated each involving a significant emotional element. Dr. Choi dealt with the admittance of two fighters, including a Muslim fighter whose condition took a turn for the worse. Dr. Manning And Dr. Charles had to make the call on whether a patient in need of a heart was worthy of that heart. And while you’d think that was an easy decision, it was anything but.

Let’s break this down:

It Goes Deeper Than a Fight

One of the beautiful things that Chicago Med – and One Chicago as a whole – manage to capture are the very real realities that we face in this world. Whether they’re controversial issues or episodes that provoke thought, it really makes these shows really special.

In “Uncharted Territory,” one of the main treatments came when two fighters were admitted to the hospital. Immediately there was a difference that was pointed out: one was white and one was Muslim. As the episode continued to unfold, we were reminded of how this kind of prejudice looms large in our world. When we learned that the ref could’ve stopped the fight sooner – when Cyrus Hammad was winning – but chose not to because people wanted to see a Muslim boy get killed, it reminded us of the harsh reality that we face as a country.

But more than that, Chicago Med managed to capture the power of the human spirit and the power of faith. When Cyrus fell into a coma – that he would probably never wake up from – his family arrived to pray at his side. And when his opponent, who ended up being discharged, learned that things had taken a turn for the worse, he showed up to see how Cyrus was doing. While Cyrus’ brother wanted to throttle him – the man that beat his brother into this coma – the most beautiful thing happened. Cyrus’ father extended his hand to Rickey essentially flipping the script from hate to love.

Dr. Choi brought up an interesting thought when he said that he doesn’t know if he could do what Cyrus’ father did. And to be honest, I don’t think I could either. It takes a great courage to extend your hand to someone who hurt someone you love. I admire Cyrus’ father for being strong enough to do that. How he was able to look for the good in the bad; to believe in the good over the bad. It’s something that also stuck with Dr. Choi, as he reached out to one of the fighter’s friends and decided to try to forgive instead of never forget.

April’s Challenges

I’m not going to lie, I was already worried about April before the massive spoiler that a major character is going to die a couple episodes before the season finale. And given everything that April’s currently going through, I’m beyond terrified it’s her.

Despite that smile on her face, things aren’t going so well for April. She’s the kind of person who doesn’t like to show when things are wrong. I’m like that, too. But she’s currently experiencing two incredibly trying obstacles simultaneously, which definitely has an effect on someone. Not only is April struggling to accept her Tuberculosis situation, but in the midseason finale she learned she was pregnant. More than that, the medication she has to take for her TB could harm her baby. But she can’t not take the meds because then her health, as well as her baby’s health, would be in incredible jeopardy. Basically, she has no choice even though she fought for her child in the midseason finale.

This was an interesting episode for April and Tate as it really tested their relationship much like we all expected it to. We saw the good (when they were at the sonogram) and the bad (when they conflicted on their beliefs regarding this situation with the TB meds and the fetus). The doctor made it pretty clear that the further along this pregnancy goes, the more dangerous it becomes for both April and her baby. And that’s something that Tate was far from okay with. Being concerned with April’s health, he suggested that perhaps she should think about an abortion given there was still time to do that. Because who knows what risk April’s life will be put in the further this goes. But April was adamant about her stance. She’s Catholic. Abortion is not an option. Tate wanted them to have a discussion about it, but April shut him down. This issue – one of many on the way for the couple – ignited some tension that’s not going to ease up anytime soon.

Beginning of the End for Manning and Clarke?

To be honest, the relationship between Manning and Clarke was never destined to work out. Not that they’ve officially called it quits, but as far as I’m concerned this was the beginning of the end for Manning and Clarke. While their relationship makes some sense – given that they’ve known each other – it also has been incredibly awkward given the history between them. Clarke is the best friend of Manning’s late husband, who just so happens to have the same first name, Jeff. Weird. So these two never had strong odds.

While Manning and Clarke have managed to date and be in an easy enough relationship, it’s clear that they haven’t taken it to the next step. Something’s been in the way. Something’s been holding Nat back. We saw her address it in the midseason finale when Halstead moved in with his current girlfriend. We saw Nat allude to the fact that it’s too soon. Sure, she was talking about Will and Nina. But she was also talking about herself. In a way, she’s been skeptical about this relationship. And we know why. The history speaks for itself.

This episode saw the first wrench thrown into their relationship – and it was a pretty big wrench. Clarke revealed that back when Nat’s husband was alive and they went on a double date, that he confessed to Jeff that he liked Nat. And Jeff didn’t take it so well. He flipped out. And it wasn’t a surprise to see Manning shaken by the revelation.

While some would be quick to say Nat was overreacting – and maybe she was – you have to remember the history that these two have going against them. Not only were they both previously married and involved with others, but Clarke was Nat’s husband’s best friend.

While Nat didn’t need to justify her feelings, we learned why she was so shaken by the revelation. It was incredibly hard for her to move on after her husband Jeff’s death. Not only that, it was hard to move on with her husband’s best friend. But it was the belief that her husband would approve of her and Clarke that put her at ease. And Clarke let her believe that. And now he’s taken that from her.

No doubt Med is setting up a future breakup for the two. And we all know where it’s going. We’re likely to see something similar with Halstead and Shore. I know how this game works. I’ve watched Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire. The main couple is apart in season two and gets together in season three. Why should Med be any different? (I am so ready for Halstead and Manning!)

Five Things…

  1. Looks like the beginning of the end of Manning and Clarke. To be honest, I never thought this relationship was long term yet alone endgame. As far as I’m concerned, this – as well as Halstead’s relationship with Nina Shore – is temporary before a certain pairing happens. The only question is: When will they call it quits?
  2. Which also means this looks to be the beginning of Halstead and Manning. I’ve watched enough of these One Chicago shows to know how this script works. There’s a central ship on each show (Fire has Casey and Dawson; P.D. has Jay Halstead and Lindsay). Med has set up Natalie Manning and Will Halstead from the pilot, much like it’s predecessors. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s not a matter of if for Manstead. It’s when?
  3. As far as who dies near the end of the season, the obvious guess right now is April. It physically pains me to say that. But with the current situation she’s in – having tuberculosis and being pregnant and all of the risks – it just feels like something ominous is in the air. Perhaps it could be a fake out. But the fear is real, people.
  4. This show can literally rip your heart out sometimes. As was the case with Dr. Manning’s patient Ted, a young man who showed up at Med with what appeared to be a minor condition and presented with something far worse. Just when it looked like he was being given a second chance, he died during radiation (which was supposed to help him).
  5. How is this going to affect Manning moving forward? Obviously Nat, who encouraged the radiation along with Halstead, feels responsible for Ted’s death. She suggested the thing that should’ve saved him. But that thing actually killed him. But it’s not her fault. Ted’s condition presented as one thing and turned out to be something else entirely. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t going to haunt her.

Chicago Med airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.

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