‘Chicago Med’ 2×21 Review: ‘Deliver Us’

You’d think I’d realize by now that it’s the episodes that on the surface don’t appear to be game-changers that actually surprise as being some of the most emotionally-heavy and shocking hours.

You’d think I’d no better with a show like Chicago Med.

“Deliver Us” was an hour that packed a lot into such little time. It had an emotion-grabbing lead case that left a particularly profound effect as a mother fought valiantly to save her cancer-stricken daughter. Then you had the personal connections for us, as an audience. There was an intriguing development involving Robin’s mental health that left us actually questioning someone else’s actions as a response. Also, as Will and Natalie appeared to be poised to have a breakthrough moment in their relationship we were teased with a potential romantic relationship that I hope never comes to be.

Chicago Med never ceases to captivate my attention and incite my fury, rage, and love for these characters and the relationships that are the heartbeat of this show.

Let’s break this episode down:

For crying out loud, Will, you had your opening with Natalie and you slammed the door.

As we’re all well-aware, One Chicago shows have a history of playing with this “will they, won’t they” dynamic for their main ships. They played it with Gabby Dawson and Matt Casey. They played with Erin Lindsay and Jay Halstead. And now they’re playing it with Natalie Manning and Will Halstead.

One of the good things about being three shows deep into this pattern is seeing the path that it takes. It’s usually in the second season where the main couple starts making major strides to becoming an item. And we’ve seen that with Will and Nat in these past couple of episodes.

Manstead’s history dates back to the very beginning of season one when Will took a liking to Nat. Things weren’t ideal, of course, given the timing as Nat had lost her husband in the military. Nat was just stumbling to get by as she developed a close relationship with Will. When Will finally made his move and kissed her, she pushed him away because she wasn’t ready.

Well, flash forward to season 2, and Nat has officially experienced a rebound relationship with Jeff Clarke and accepted the fact that it’s okay for her to find love after her late husband. And you can’t tell me that Nat hasn’t felt what Will feels, as well. So when in this episode we got to see the two confront this friends situation, it was something quite significant to behold.

For weeks, we’ve seen Nina Shore’s jealousy surrounding Will and Nat’s close relationship. But in “Deliver Us,” we saw it come to a head as Will directly confronted Nina about it, and she laid it out for him about his feelings for Nat. After that, Will almost took on this noble knight persona, where he attempted to act as if things with Nat weren’t killing him.

But when Will finally had the chance to tell Nat that he still has feelings for her, he shut down. Here was Nat opening up to him about their closeness and what they mean to each other. And it’s true. Will and Nat’s relationship is special. They don’t just work together, they have a friendship that is as beautiful as it can be intimidating to others because of said closeness.

Will chalked it up to them being “good friends,” which is true but also bullshit because there so much more than that.

“Are we Will? Are we just good friends?”

To which he replied:

“Yes, that’s exactly what we are.”

For Will, it’s been far easier for him being open with Natalie about how he feels. But we haven’t seen Nat really allow herself to open up or even consider the possibility – let alone out loud in front of Will himself. Yet here was Natalie taking a risk by opening a door for Will to walk through. To finally break that friends/lovers boundary that’s been shadowing them since episode 1.

But Will didn’t just close the door, he slammed it.

I’ll be honest, it’s something that’s concerning as we only have two episodes remaining this season. But at the same time, it feels like Med is setting things up for this big moment in the season finale. I typically don’t have to worry about these shows doing what’s best for these characters, so I’m going to try and remain confident heading into the final two hours of season two.

To be frank, I feel like more than anything Will is remaining somewhat reserved when it comes to being vulnerable with his feelings for Nat, again. He’s already put himself out there only to be rejected. How can he be so sure this time?

But you can see that he still wants to take that risk. Because after he turns down Natalie and she accepts it, you see his reaction to want to try to right what he wronged. He wants to reach out to her. He’s feeling the regret from not taking this opportunity. But something tells me that another opportunity isn’t far off. And Will better not choke again.

For the love of all that is holy, they better not be making Jay & Natalie a thing

I’ve had a lot of faith in the writers of this One Chicago franchise to avoid the typical clichés, such as contrived drama that serves no purpose. But for some reason – whether it’s the repeated nature of it lately – I’m afraid that I’m going to be wrong. Because as I watched the final scene where Jay invited Nat to the Blackhawks game after Will bailed, I couldn’t help but realize there’s been a focus on their dynamic for some reason.

The first thought that goes through my head in that scene is: Aww, that’s so sweet of Jay being a good friend to his brother’s future wife. Plus, who doesn’t love hockey? Except the Blackhawks, but I digress. They’re two friends that’ll have a great time together.

But then my second thought, stemming from this apparent fixed focus on Jay and Natalie interactions is: There’s no way they’re going to make Jay and Natalie romantically involved, right? They cannot do this. Think of the cheap drama this would cause? Not to mention, neither one of these characters would betray their friends or family and become involved. Don’t. You. Dare.

I’m not someone who has ever worried about these One Chicago shows becoming like soap operas when it comes to romance and the different dynamics regarding relationships. From what I’ve seen from Linstead, Manstead, and Dawsey, the hardships that they faced make a lot of sense, as in real-world sense. It’s something that, while I don’t always necessarily like, I understand. It progresses the story in a way that doesn’t compromise the characters.

But I’m worried. And I hope I’m worried for no reason because this would be something that would fundamentally affect these characters and their relationships for the worst. Like I don’t understand why or how or even what is happening here.

While I’m worried, I try to calm myself with the understanding that these are characters that are well aware of where they are at present. Natalie is coming off a rebound relationship with Clarke while also dealing with these reawakened feelings for Will. Feelings that she wasn’t able to fully understand because she was still grieving her fallen husband.

Jay is coming off a breakup with Erin after he made the difficult decision to take some time for himself before being ready to be in that relationship. Jay is not ready to be in a romantic relationship at this time. He’s working through his PTSD that he’s suppressed for years, and he thinks the only way to do that is to carry the burden by himself. Jay hasn’t stopped loving or caring for Erin just like Nat hasn’t stopped caring for Will.

Then you have another obvious reason why this couldn’t and shouldn’t be a thing: these characters would not do this. Jay would not date the woman his brother deeply cares for; Jay would not date someone that’s not Erin during a time when he only ended things so that he could get in a good emotional headspace. And Nat wouldn’t certainly date the brother of the man that she’s feeling romantic feelings for, as well as she wouldn’t do that to her friend, Erin, who loves Jay.

Wow, I think I actually talked myself off of the ledge through this rant. There’s no way Jay and Nat are going to happen.

For some reason, it appears as if Chicago Med wants us to assume that something is happening when it actually isn’t. It’s a way to hike up the stakes without even really doing it in the story. Jay and Nat are just two friends going to a hockey game. What we, the audience, infers from that is our doing. But you know damn well they want us to freak out.

But there’s no way that Jay and Nat are going to become a thing. This, more than anything, is another moment to strengthen these bonds of characters crossing over different Chicago shows.

This whole storyline with Robyn’s mental state & Dr. Charles took it to a new level of wow.

While the focus seems to be on Robyn’s current mental state, it cannot go unnoticed that Dr. Charles went to new heights of wow in “Deliver Us” when it came to snooping around and going behind people’s backs to admit his daughter into treatment.

Dr. Charles went to Robyn’s apartment looking for an excuse to admit her for further psychiatric help. I mean, sure, there’s obviously something wrong with Robyn – that apartment showed it – but there is one reason, and one reason only, why Dr. Charles stole Robyn’s keys and broke in: He wanted to have a valid reason for going to extremes to find out what’s happening with Robyn.

My, oh my, how times have changed since just an episode ago. Dr. Charles approached Robyn as a “father” rather than a shrink, and you could see the wonders it did. He got her to seek help – to try and find out if something was wrong. But in this episode, Dr. Charles lost it completely.

Honestly, I think it has something to do with Dr. Charles giving up control in the situation. He’s somebody that needs to have some sort of control over a situation. So, when the situation involves his daughter, he wants to be the one directly involved. So, when he wasn’t, he tried to find a way in. First, he tried to spy on Dr. Reese’s records on Robyn. Then, he took matters into his own hands and spied on Robyn himself. Finally, he took things to extremes when he, behind Reese’s back, had Robyn involuntarily admitted for further psychiatric treatment.

While Dr. Charles completely lost it here, the sad thing is that Reese was actually making progress with Robyn. She was talking it through with her and was close to having Robyn voluntarily admit herself for further treatment. But Dr. Charles’ rash intervention just ruined all of the progress that she’d made with her patient. That’s right, her patient.

Look, I love Dr. Charles, but he’s making this an awful lot about himself. He’s honed in on the fact that he, himself, has a history of mental health issues and he’s more than projecting it onto his daughter – in the worst way as in assuming that she’s in as deep as he was, whatever the extent was.

Now, Robyn is worse off than she was. After being hauled away – forcibly – she’s shut down and it appears as if things are going to get worse before they get better. You’d think that Dr. Charles would face some consequences for intrusion on Reese’s case. But that’s to be seen.

The important thing here is Robyn and her mental health. There are proper procedures to go through with handling this. And you’d think Dr. Charles, more than anyone, would understand that you can’t just dive in to these kind of things. Not when mental health is a concern.

Five Things

  1. Will finally had his opening to tell Natalie how he feels for her, and he shut the door! Like seriously, it’s not a rule that a couple can’t unite until the season finale. Will hasn’t stopped feeling the feelings he’s had for Natalie. And Natalie gave him an opening – “Are we really just friends?” And he just had to slam that door. Ugh.
  2. They better not be setting up a Jay/Natalie romance because just NOOOOOOOO. First off, you can’t convince me that Jay would, in any way, be okay with getting close to a woman that he knows his brother has strong feelings for – like Linstead-level feels.
  3. Like forget Robyn’s mental state for a second, can we look at Dr. Charles? Because he’s surpassed “concerned father” and trespassed upon private medical records and even went to far as to break into his daughter’s apartment to find an excuse to have her admitted.
  4. Would you look at that, Noah might actually have it in him to be a doctor. He’s always possessed this “everything has been handed to me” attitude that doesn’t make for a good doctor. We all know it should’ve been April that went to med school. But Noah finally put in some hard work and showed promise.
  5. This storyline with the mother trying to save her cancer-stricken daughter emotionally killed me. Like it was something that extended past your typical “saving my child” storyline. This woman was having a baby in order to save her cancer-stricken daughter – and she was willing to die in order to save her daughter. But we got to see the daughter’s pained reaction, which broke me. Well done.

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

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment | Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes | Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters | Co-executive Editor for Fangirlish | Contributor for Bears Wire at USA Today SMG | Producer/Co-Host of Buffone 55 for Bears Barroom Radio Network | Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.