Chicago P.D. 10×05 “Pink Cloud” is the equivalent of Chicago Fire‘s 11×04 “The Center of the Universe” in that it’s very much an episode about grief and about how you cope with loss. Except for Hailey Upton hasn’t really lost her husband, not for good. He is still alive. He still loves her. He’s just …taking a step back to focus on his mental health and to be the person she deserves.
To Hailey, though, even if she understands the reasoning, that still feels like a loss. She still has to get up every morning to an empty bed, have breakfast alone, and go to work without her partner to watch her back. Plus, she still has to go through every day without someone to confide in, someone to lean on. She is effectively alone, and though one could argue Jay made the best decision for himself (and by Jay I mean the writers, because Jay is a fictional character) — he still made the wrong decision for Hailey.
So, let us talk about loss, and the way TV treats female characters, as we review Chicago P.D. 10×05 “Pink Cloud.”
Hailey Upton is, obviously, not alright. She’s nowhere near alright. She’s mourning. And everyone is trying to give her space, to treat her like she isn’t breaking, because sometimes that’s what you need. Sometimes, that helps. But that only helps when you’ve looked your pain in the face. When you’ve accepted it. The kind of normalcy one wants is the one Violet was asking for in this week’s Chicago Fire — not the one that’s just avoidance.
And of course, Hailey’s grief is in some ways harder, because what she’s grieving is not the loss of Jay’s life, but the loss of her security. Hailey trusted Jay would always be there for her, and now that he isn’t …that he can’t be …she’s forced to face the fact that she never really dealt with her abandonment issues. She just put a bandaid on them, and that bandaid was ripped right off.
Love sometimes feels like the cure-all, but you cannot really be cured by love. You can be made better, yes. And you can be supported as you go through your own journey of healing. But healing comes from the inside. Healing is personal. And though I wouldn’t have chosen this to be the way Hailey gets there, I hope “this episode”Pink Cloud” means the show is finally going to take Hailey Upton on a journey that allows her to do what she needs to be better — for herself. Just as her husband is doing. Because if that’s so, that will mean that when they come back together, they can be even better than they were before.
But also because, selfishly, I believe Tracy Spiridakos has what it takes to carry this show — even when the writing seems to want to sabotage it at every turn. Chicago P.D. isn’t …won’t be what it was without Jay Halstead, but whatever the show can be now …it has to start by focusing on characters other than Voight. It has to start with Hailey. With Kim. With their relationship. It has to start with rebuilding a team they had forgotten to invest in. Well, that and it also has to stop just hurting my girls just for the sake of hurting them.
FEMALE CHARACTERS ARE MORE THAN THEIR PAIN
This isn’t a One Chicago issue or a Chicago P.D. issue, but this show is as guilty as they come. It’s not just Hailey, either. Kim has also been hurt, over and over again, because …storytelling? And “Pink Cloud” extends it to the case, as well, which would be bad enough as a separate thing. But instead, it’s part of a pattern of storylines about women being all about their suffering.
And that’s not even the worst part (even though it’s bad). No, the worst part is that most of the time, these storylines don’t even have any real follow-through. Remember when Kim was kidnapped and almost killed? Neither does Kim! She’s gotten over it, and we haven’t had to see her dealing because that part is boring, right? It’s all about the pain, not about the healing.
In a way, we should probably be glad this episode allowed Hailey a chance to have some emotions about being left behind. But even that wasn’t truly explored; it was just the foundation of Hailey’s pain. And then, of course, the show had to add some more — and some guilt and rage and impotence to it. And this is going to be an ongoing issue — which is good. The show should have more cases that aren’t solved in one episode — and at some point, they’re going to catch the guy. And when they do, Hailey is going to feel like she got justice. She’s going to feel like she got closure. But she won’t.
Because the women in this show are never allowed that. They’re never allowed real healing, and especially not healing we can see. Sometimes, they’re not even allowed the closure of knowing the bad guy was caught (see Kim!). And this isn’t just getting old — it’s been old for a while. As someone who watches (and reviews) a lot of procedurals, I can say for certain it isn’t just par for the course. It’s par for the course for One Chicago. And it absolutely sucks.
Things I think I think:
- DOMESTIC BURZEK. How hard was that? Oh, wait, not hard.
- I hope no one’s believing Hailey when she says she’s good
- Distraction does work, Trudy. I’ll give Hailey that.
- I hate this case already.
- So Shady Boss has a son. And I care because?
- We’re now calling him Not-Red-John, because he might not have been a serial killer then, but he’s shady now.
- I appreciate Kim being the one to stop Hailey from giving Not-Red-John a piece of her mind, but Not-Red-John deserved it.
- A couple of throwaway comments don’t translate to Hailey dealing with her feelings about Jay.
- Not-Red-John’s kid being evil is actually the right play here. That makes him — and Not-Red-John — more interesting.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Chicago P.D. 10×05 “Pink Cloud”? Share with us in the comments below!