When the dust settled on a very intense and emotional Chicago P.D, we still had more questions than answers. Kim was in surgery – and her prognosis was unknown, though it is a rare, chaotic showrunner who would have a character survive the finale in the way Kim did, only to then proceed to kill off the character in the next season premiere.
Yes, I’m looking at you, Shonda Rhimes.
Hailey, in the meantime, was standing in front of the love of her life, going all in. She’d done the right thing, she’d proven to herself – the only person she had to prove it to, really, Jay had always known – she was the person Jay saw in her, and she still ended up in the mud, somehow. And the fear, the adrenaline, the possibility of loss, all collided and made her basically propose to Jay.
These two women are on very different places at the end of season 8 of Chicago P.D, but one thing is for certain, they’re the MVPs of this hour. And I just really want to focus on why.
Let’s start with Kim, who literally dragged herself into that car, and gave the team a chance to find her. She didn’t get all the way out, her body gave out on her, but she survived, and so much of why she survived was on Kim, and Kim alone. Every decision she made inside that warehouse, the way she kept her cool, the tourniquet, the way she turned on the blinker lights on the car – Kim Burgess was a total badass this episode, as she always is.
Surviving vs. not surviving, in most situations, isn’t something you can control. Kim really needed help this hour, and she got it, because she’s got a team of people who love her, and who have her back. And when you have that, you know that all you have to do is hang on a little longer, if that’s within your possibility. Kim put all of her focus into doing that, into making it easier for others to find her, and that’s why she’s got a chance.
Hailey, on the other hand, fought a more emotional battle, but a battle nonetheless, one against herself. Because, the thing is, Voight’s words had been weighing heavy on her. You could see it in her face as she confronted him. A part of her wasn’t sure what she would do. A part of her thought she might actually be like Voight. And it turns out she isn’t. Hailey Upton isn’t like anyone. She’s Hailey Upton.
Frightened, yes. Messy at times, absolutely. But a good person, not so deep down. Someone who believes in doing things the right way, and who also believes in people. Who loves so fiercely that, sometimes, the lines get blurry. But that’s actually okay. We aren’t our worst impulses. We aren’t even our best impulses. We are a combination of all those, and the decisions we end up making.
Hailey made the right decision this episode, and then she made the right decision again, and again. You could say she made the wrong decision at the end, not telling Jay what happened, but in that moment, Hailey was focused on something else. On the relief she felt at Kim being okay, at Kim being who she is. On the fear that brought up in her, as she stood in front of Jay, especially after all the time she spent with Adam, breaking apart in front of her. And especially, on that helplessness she sensed in her friend, as Adam realized he could lose Kim, and if he did …he would have lost her without really making their relationship what it could be.
So Hailey Upton, the one who proved this episode she has her own light, she doesn’t need someone else to light her way, just reached for what she wanted. What she needs. What she loves. She learned from her friends that life is too short, and sometimes you have to take that leap of faith and hope the person you’ve put your faith in is there to catch you.
That might not seem as badass as taking two shots center mass, literally dragging yourself out of a warehouse, into a car, and hanging on till your people could find you, but most of us will never find ourselves in the situation Kim Burgess found herself in. Most of our battles are internal. And in that regard, as much as Kim is a role model, so is Hailey.
And they should both be celebrated.
The women of Chicago P.D made this episode – this season, and hell, have made this show what it is. It’s time we celebrate both of them, and what they bring to the table. Comparison isn’t needed. We can lift up both of them, and celebrate them for what they are, while we cross our fingers and hope the show remembers the two of them can also lean on each other.
We just want them to be friends, okay? That shouldn’t be too much to ask, Chicago P.D.
Fangirling over you and your words, Lizzie. Thank you for putting this together, they’re everything you say. Powerful, amazing. Thanks!!