Chicago P.D. 10×22 “A Better Place” is one of those episodes that shows just how predictable this show has become. In the end, no matter what, the same things will always end up being true. Voight will, somehow, be the hero of the story – regardless of what the story is. The team will look to him, even if he hasn’t actually done much to deserve the deference. He will pretend he cares about their well-being above all other things. They will trust that he does, even though there is only anecdotal evidence to back this up.
It is also one of those episodes that, somehow, feels like a new low, even for a show that continues to center on Hank Voight. But hey, humanizing nazis will do it. And though this storyline has skirted that line from the beginning, the show spends a lot of time this hour treating Samantha and her kid as the “not so bad nazis” in a sea of “worse nazis” without ever really being unequivocal with the message that there are no good nazis. There are just nazis. And they are all bad.
There is indeed something to be said for the fact that we are not born with hate, it is something we learn – and just as it is something we learn, it is something we can unlearn. But presenting Samantha as someone who literally did not care about other people until she had a kid is a CHOICE, and not exactly a good one, especially for a show that isn’t familiar with the concept of nuance unless an actor somehow manages to convey it in a performance.
Of course, this is all made even worse by the fact that, once again, this show has Kevin Atwater acting as the one person with common sense, because as the designated POC he gets to be the one to explain to the white people in the room how the world works. It’s infuriating to see Kevin be reduced to this role over and over again, and it’s especially so to see him be relegated to this and then be reduced to one who gets to take the shot at the end, and therefore becomes the bad guy in the eyes of this kid who will then see Kevin as the thing to hate.
Worse yet, the kid won’t just see Kevin as the thing to hate — the storyline also sends some kind of sickening message that the kid now has a “good” reason to hate him. “Oh, the big Black cop shot my beloved nazi granddaddy, so that’s how I never unlearned how to nazi.” It’s…Well. It’s certainly a choice. Especially when, in general, it’s the white cops shooting the unarmed POC instead of what happens here — the Black cop shooting the nazi grandfather, who brainwashed his grandson into being just like him and even shooting a “good” cop like Adam.
In the end, the nazis will “learn to hate,” no matter what we do, apparently. That is the very deep lesson Chicago P.D. wants to leave us with, in the year of our Lord, 2023. There is no fixing the police, and there is no way to fight nazis, so we should just give up, or something? It’s hard to follow what the messaging is supposed to be at this point, probably because the show has long given up.
That’s the part that’s the plot, or an attempt at it, at least, but then there’s Adam, bleeding out and calling Kim. Then, there’s Chicago P.D. just being a trauma fest, Kim running and asking Adam to hold on, the fear and the worry, and the ambulance. There’s Kim telling Adam she’s not going anywhere, she’s right by his side, the way he kept looking at her, even while his vision was swimming as if he wanted to be sure she was the last thing he saw. And that part hurts, because of Patrick Flueger and Marina Squerciati, and boy, does it hurt. But they deserve better than the way it hurts. Adam and Kim deserve better.
So does everyone on this show. Because the thing is, with Season 10 ending, if we sit back and take stock of the overall lessons of this season …it’s hard to think of what they are. What did these characters learn? What changed? Very little, in the grand scheme of things. Some individual character storylines moved along, particularly when it comes to Adam and Kim – and thankfully, Kim’s individual trauma, but some of those individual character storylines were painfully out of character (like, you know, Jay leaving and ghosting his wife, we could have done without that), some didn’t get nearly enough focus (hello Kevin’s family and Dante’s everything), and others were left way too vague for the long hiatus that awaits us (so, eh …no Upstead …anything?).
It’ll probably be a long, painful wait until Season 11, especially with Adam’s life hanging in the balance. Let us hope the upcoming Season brings us a healthy Adam, some good news for Upstead fans, and the deal writers deserve so we can get the stories this cast deserves. Because Season 10 …. well, we gotta admit, that left a lot to be desired.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Chicago P.D. 10×22 “A Better Place”? Share with us in the comments below!
Chicago P.D. aired Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.
This is a fitting episode. A disappointing episode to conclude a disappointing season. In ways that matter, this episode didn’t make a lot of sense. We have Samantha saying that once her son was born, she no longer wanted to follow her father’s path, huh??? Her son is not an infant, he’s 10. So despite “not wanting to follow her father’s path,” she continued to do so for TEN YEARS, another decade. One of the problems with this episode is that it is one episode. If instead of having Episode 20-Fight, this was a two part episode where Samantha explains to Adam that she has tried to leave and was forced back or that she had no choice but to help her father it would put into better context her attempt to break away from her father. This would not make her sympathetic and I have no sympathy for her, but it could have served as a better explanation for her actions than what was given. It would have also spared us from Fight, which would be a better episode for next season if there is no chance of Halstead coming back.
I also did not like that Torres was not in this episode. He deserved more screen time this season and for his character to develop. While Kevin and Kim were right, we all know that giving Samantha immunity saved lives and they had very little choice but to do so. I hated that Kevin shot the grand father. Hailey or Hank could have and should have been the one(s) to do it. Since Samantha fled after Adam was shot, there are criminal charges that can come her way now. I hated that Adam made Kim promise to take care of Callum. Where is that going??? We are not going to have Kim and Adam foster Callum while his mother goes to jail are we? At the end of the episode, why is Hank having a drink with the DA instead of being at the hospital? Another instance of this episode making no sense.
kim also pointed it out samantha was guilty and should be punished. it wasnt just kev who pointed that out.