‘Chicago Med’ 2×23 Review: ‘Love Hurts’

Curse the person who invented the season-finale cliffhanger as a way to emotionally incapacitate audiences. As much as cliffhangers are so good in terms of storytelling, they’re equally, if not more, inconvenient and infuriating when they come on the precipice of a four month hiatus from hell.

I have to give Chicago Med some credit. They did all they could to give me a false sense of assurance as we wound down an impressive second season. The biggest hurdle I expected was Robin dealing with her psychological issues, which interestingly enough ended up not being psychological at all.

The rule of television season finales is simple: If you’re preparing a massive cliffhanger, do all that you can to instill this sense of reassurance in your viewers. Then, following the deliverance of some pretty big moments aka Manstead rising, rip it all away with a final scene that cuts to black and instigates a bout of screaming.

“Love Hurts” was the perfect title for this episode. Because while we saw the different romances throughout the show either rise or fall, it also perfectly describes the audience’s relationship with this show.

My love for Chicago Med knows no bounds. I came for Colin Donnell and I stuck around for a sensational cast of characters that breathe life into this world and city so effortlessly. I loved Med so much it prompted me to finally binge Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire, thus beginning my One Chicago deep spiral and obsession.




As we wind down this final episode of season 2, let us look to the future and freak the f**k out as hellatus 2017 kicks in.

Let’s break it down for one last time this season:

CHICAGO MED — “Love Hurts” Episode 223 — Pictured: (l-r) Torrey DeVitto as Natalie Manning, Nick Gehlfuss Will Halstead — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Manstead Rising

Of all of the things that happened in Chicago Med’s season finale, I’ve honestly got to say that Manstead finally being a thing was by far my favorite. Hey, to each their own. I just so happen to be in love with Manstead and their relationship so this is something I’ve been waiting seasons for. And it’s finally happened.

MANSTEAD IS RISING.

It’s been a long road for Will and Nat to this point. They’ve both been in different places when it’s come to their relationship. In season 1, it was Will pining after Nat, who was mourning the loss of her soldier husband. She was nowhere near ready to be in another relationship, as we saw when Will first kissed her later that season.

This season has been an interesting one for Manstead. Both were with other people for different reasons. For Nat, she was trying to find a way to move on from her husband, and she was finally able to realize that there is life after her husband. She can be happy. She had to be with Clarke in order to figure that out, which is totally logical. For Will, he was trying to avoid his feelings for Nat and find love after her. While he wasn’t able to find forever with Nina, that relationship did help him mature and grow. Both of these journeys brought Will and Nat together.

Also, I’d like to point out how much I loved Jay Halstead calling brother Will out by telling him to get his act together. Not only was the scene gold and completely true, but it showed that we never had anything to worry about on the Jay/Natalie front. See, these writers aren’t stupid. They’re not going to jeopardize relationships just in order to stir up some drama.

On the one hand, I don’t mind what they did with Jay. If only because I liked getting to see more of him on Chicago Med, especially when there was no new Chicago P.D. on Wednesdays. It also gave me us some good brotherly bonding moments.

But then again, there was no need for this show to use Jay like that. There was never going to be a storyline where Jay, who is in love with Erin Lindsay, would date Nat, the woman he knows his brother has a thing for much like he did in the beginning with Erin. It’s just not plausible. So it was nice to see that Jay was trying to light a fire under his brother’s ass and push him to tell Nat about how he really feels.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that this was Chicago Med’s way of telling us, “MANSTEAD IS A GO” in all caps. But I was expecting them to seal things with a kiss – or more I was selfishly expecting them to. But just because they didn’t lock lips doesn’t mean this isn’t a thing. If anything, it shows that this show is going to take all the time to explore these two exploring a relationship. Perhaps we’ll get a first date and then the first kiss and then the first time and all of the many firsts that we’ve gotten to see with Linstead and Dawsey on Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire.

When it comes to relationships on television, it’s not so much about the final destination than it is about the journey. Sure, it’s nice when your couple is endgame. But who really cares if the journey isn’t worth it – or if you don’t even get the journey at all. It’s the ups and downs, the firsts, the heartbreaks, and the reunions that make you feel. And when it comes to feels, Manstead meets the criteria.

As we head into season 3, things for Will and Nat seem brighter than ever. In season 1, Nat wasn’t ready to be in a relationship with Will. In season 2, Will wasn’t ready to be in a relationship with Nat. But season 3 will be when these two love birds finally come together to start a beautiful relationship. And these four months will be the death of me. Bring on the Manstead!

CHICAGO MED — “Love Hurts” Episode 223 — Pictured: Colin Donnell as Connor Rhodes — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Robin’s Fate

Perhaps the most focal storyline heading into the season finale was Robin Charles and her psychological break, which we witnessed firsthand in the final moments of Chicago Med’s penultimate episode.

It raised the question, in Dr. Charles’ mind and our own: Did Robin inherit her father’s psychological issues?

I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with how they handled this storyline. It would’ve been easy to just make Robin “crazy.” To blame genetics for her condition, which is a totally real thing. But television-wise, too easy.

These doctors at Med are just too good. Charles had a theory that this wasn’t psychological as much as it was a physical condition. And he was right. Turns out that there was a tumor causing the psychological issues, which Dr. Latham was able to remove with ease and right what was done wrong.

But perhaps the biggest draw of the storyline was the dynamic between Daniel and Robin. We don’t get enough father/daughter dynamics on television, so getting to see one — and a flawed one — was a real treat.

Daniel and Robin’s relationship wasn’t so great heading into her debut on the show, but they worked to get to a respectable place only for it to be shattered when Daniel admitted Robin into a mental health facility against her wishes. But after everything was said and done — with the tumor removed — all was forgiven.

Because despite everything, they’re family. And Daniel was not looking out for her. Even if he was way out of line. It was all for her. Which makes that cliffhanger all the more tragic. Poor Robin has to deal with that, as well

CHICAGO MED — “Love Hurts” Episode 223 — Pictured: Colin Donnell as Connor Rhodes — (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)

Rhodes’ New Co-Worker

One of the season finale’s most surprising storylines was the introduction of a new addition to Dr. Latham’s team alongside Dr. Rhodes in Aussie Dr. Bekker, who resembled Dr. Latham more than Dr. Rhodes. As far as Rhodes and Bekker working well together…don’t count on it.

When new characters are introduced, I try to figure out what purpose they’ll serve moving forward. The introduction of Bekker feels more like a season 3 storyline, which has me wondering what purpose she’ll serve?

What I hope: I hope Bekker will serve to challenge Rhodes as a surgeon and ultimately as a successor to Latham. What I don’t hope: That they’ll try to push Rhodes and Bekker romance, which would feel beyond unnatural and forced.

It’s a damn shame that every time a new female character is introduced that I tend to assume that it’ll have romantic implications. But that’s the biz, and unfortunately that’s what ends up happening. Not to mention there were subtle hints at those feelings from Bekker, which has me cringing already. Just please make this about Rhodes’ career and not personal life. No contrived drama here.

CHICAGO MED — “Love Hurts” Episode 223 — Pictured: (l-r) Brian Tee as Ethan Choi, Yaya DaCosta as April Sexton — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

New Romance

Manstead wasn’t the only romance in the books for Chicago Med’s season finale. The Sextons each found themselves on one end of new romance, both of which are very recent.

April and Ethan, which was literally introduced two episodes ago, was sprung upon us as this up-and-coming romance. It’s not that I have a problem with it, it’s just that it’s so random and lacking build-up that it takes away from it. I wanted to feel a natural progression from friends to romance. But all I felt was surprise like, “Oh, that’s happening? Okay, cool.” I want the struggle, the angst, and the payoff. The likes of what we’ve seen with Manstead and hell even Noah and Sarah, who are next on the agenda.

I’m not going to lie, I was a little angry that Chicago Med decided to split Sarah and Joey up so that they could introduce a Sarah and Noah romance pissed me off. But I get it, Noah’s character is a regular unlike Joey’s. And I’ve started coming around to the possibility. But unlike April and Ethan’s relationship, it feels like they’re taking their time with it. Who wants to rush a relationship on television anyway? Milking romances and ships are what TV shows do best.

But with a new season on the horizon, I’m looking forward to seeing how these two relationships are explored. Do justice by these characters and their relationships in a way that the audience can enjoy, as well. I have faith.

CHICAGO MED — “Love Hurts” Episode 223 — Pictured: (l-r) Mekia Cox as Robin Charles, Oliver Platt as Daniel Charles — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

THAT CLIFFHANGER

Honestly, I should’ve seen this coming. But I was distracted by Manstead’s beautiful progression and Jay Halstead cameo-ing that I didn’t see the makings of a killer season finale cliffhanger when I could’ve and should’ve.

It’s never a good sign when you leave a good, happy environment like Noah’s graduation party and go back to Med for an uneventful scene that soon turns eventful as that camera follows Dr. Charles outside. And when that crazy man that had been looking for Charles all day walked up to him, hands in his jacket, I knew exactly what was going to happen.

How the hell did I not focus more on the crazy guy in the lobby? There was a reason he was introduced. But they did it so well that we didn’t realize exactly why until the moment he was standing right in front of Charles. Then he pulled the gun, shot Daniel, and then shot himself.

Holy. F***ing. Cliffhanger.

As Charles fell to the ground and police surrounded the scene, the camera panned out and faded to black as my future flashed before me: Four months not knowing. But then again, there’s no way they’d kill Charles, right? Sure, Reese is a psychologist in training, but it’s too soon for her to take over. More than anything this feels like one of those cliffhangers that could serve a grander purpose or might serve it at all.

Now that Robin’s condition is under control and the tension between father and daughter on the mend, this is just another thing to add to that dynamic that could make it interesting. Guess we’ll have to wait – FOUR. FREAKING. MONTHS. – to find out.

CHICAGO MED — “Love Hurts” Episode 223 — Pictured: Rachel DiPillo as Sarah Reese — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Five Things

  1. I’m beyond happy that Manstead has risen, but where was our kiss?! I mean, Ethan and April locked lips in this episode after like two episodes of indicating there were romantic feelings between them. Just feels odd that we’ve been building up to Will and Nat for two years for there to not be a kiss.
  2. I AM NOT OKAY WITH THAT CLIFFHANGER. Like I should’ve seen it. I really should’ve. But this show did a damn good job of distracting me with Manstead and Jay Halstead that I didn’t see it. But it reminded me once again that any time a character leaves a setting and the camera follows them that something bad is going to happen. And when that psycho showed up, I knew it instantly. Didn’t stop the screaming.
  3. I’m very impressed with how they handled Robin’s condition. It would’ve been easy to chalk it up to her inheriting her father’s psychological issues, but Med was able to make this a condition that shocked the hell out of us and the doctors. Not to mention it was nice to see that beautiful moment between father and daughter when it was all said and done – after Charles found the problem.
  4. What is the purpose of this new woman working with Rhodes? Please let it not be anything with romantic implications. We don’t need that kind of drama. If it’s to test him professionally, I’m all for it. Let’s hope it stays that way.
  5. Am I the only that thinks that these in-house romances came out of nowhere? Not Manstead, that’s been a slow build for two seasons. But as we wound down the final episodes, there were these big pushes for Ethan & April and Sarah & Noah that kind of came out of nowhere. But let’s see where this goes.

Chicago Med will return this fall for its third season.

Alyssa Barbieri

Senior Managing Editor, DC TV & One Chicago Writer

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment. Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes. Proud shipper. TV and Sports Editor. I write about DC TV and One Chicago. Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.

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