Wednesday, December 2, 2015

REVIEW: 'Chicago Med' - Connor Deals with Family Issues While Natalie Helps a Young Musician in 'Fallback'

NBC's Chicago Med - Episode 1.03 "Fallback"

When Connor takes the case of a close family friend who's been impaled by glass shards, he's reunited with his sister, Claire, and forced to confront his past. Natalie convinces a young musician to undergo a surgery that will save her life but could destroy her hearing.

Chicago Med hasn't been subtle or slow at all in peeling back the complicated layers of Connor's family life. He escaped from a situation that was bad for him and didn't look back. But now, he is back in Chicago and forced to interact with his family again. They have influence over this city because they own a chain of high-end department stores. They have enough money to be heard and taken seriously no matter where they go. It's still unclear what exactly happened between Connor and his father that made him want to leave town. And yet, it is interesting to force those two into the same situation. Connor is the type of man who stitches himself up so that the rest of the medical staff can treat more critically injured patients. Connor will go running outside the hospital in order to save a dying baby. In his father's eyes though, he is just a screw up who can't be good at this job.

Connor is forced to prove his father wrong when a family friend ends up in the hospital. The hour begins with showing the accident that causes such a traumatic injury. It's pretty brutal too as this glass chandelier falls down on him as he pushes Connor's sister, Claire, out of the way. The story is fraught with tension immediately after that. This is the first time Connor has seen Claire since he left. His beef is with his father but he still cut Claire out of his life too. She is more forgiving and trusting of Connor in this situation. But it's still an awkward dynamic. It gets worse when his father shows up. He believes he can just walk around with his influence and get whatever he wants. He confronts Sharon about letting his son perform the life-saving surgery. Sharon is confident with Connor's abilities as a surgeon. She trusts the man she hired to work at this hospital and she's not going to let a family feud derail a perfectly reasonable surgery. In fact, Connor is the reason why the man survives. It doesn't mean that things will get any better with this family. But it does showcase that they will be important throughout this season. He can't just avoid them now that he is back in Chicago.

Everything that is happening with Connor is really the only story that is of much interest in "Fallback." There is some nice carry over from the events of last week in the Natalie and Will story as well. And yet, it also showcases a really petty side to them. Natalie is still taking it very personally that Will told her she was thinking as a pregnant woman and not as a doctor. This episode is all about mending the bond between these two friends. It's something that starts out very chilly and ends up back to normal. It doesn't feel as if the show put in enough work to make that transition completely work though. As soon as Will stopped trying too hard to be forgiven and focused on the patients again, she forgave him. It was as simple as that.

Will also had Natalie offer a second opinion on his case of a young musician with hearing loss and dizziness. It turns out that Natalie wanted to be a musician but couldn't commit to it fully so she became a doctor instead. That's a fun little detail for the character. And yet, it really only establishes an understandable connection between doctor and patient. This young woman is faced with losing her hear because of a tumor. She has invested all her hopes and dreams into being a musician. She feels lost because of this news and would rather take the risk of dying just to do her recital. It's a pretty formulaic story. As soon as she mentioned that she didn't have a fallback plan like Natalie did, it was clear that the story was going to take a tragic turn. But it still had the uplifting beat of getting to play one last time as well as not being broken by the loss of her hearing. It will only motivate her further to pursue her passion.

Elsewhere, Choi is treating a fellow military man who felt light-headed before getting into a minor fender bender. The case features some unusual results which forces Choi to reach out to Charles for a consult. It leads to high stakes drama when the man gets up to leave and promptly falls to the ground. That was an exciting act break. But that kind of temper was never seen again. It certainly didn't make it understandable for why his wife would go so far as to poison him just to have him return home full time - instead of going out for his eighth tour of duty. It was an interesting case because it forced the hospital administration to notify the police of the domestic abuse crime. But the resolution was pretty lackluster with the man choosing to stand by his wife even after learning the truth. The character beats of the story just didn't make that seem like a particularly interesting or earned place to end on.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Fallback" was written by Simran Baidwan and directed by Tara Nicole Weyr.
  • The Sarah subplots continue to be bland and completely unnecessary. This week she continues to be horrible at sticking patients with needles. It gets to the point where Maggie has to force her to do the minor task on her in order to get over her fears. This is really the only important thing about Sarah. Hopefully, this means she can actually move on from this and develop a personality.
  • Connor also catches the eye of attending surgeon Dr. Zanetti. His quick thinking in the surgery saves the man's life and also impresses her. That's a dynamic that should be interesting moving forward since she's technically his superior - but she still respects his skills to do whatever it takes to save the patient.
  • It was very weird when Natalie went to Choi's patient and his wife to thank them for their service and sacrifice. It felt out-of-place in this episode. It happened simply to draw attention to the fact that she's still not over the death of her fianc√©.
  • Connor's big speech to Sharon about his grandfather's advice to work hard to avoid proving people right didn't work as well as it should have. I'm not quite sure why though.
  • Severide pops up to help the doctors remove the chandelier from the man's chest. That was a seamless appearance that didn't detract from the true drama of that sequence.