Wednesday, September 25, 2019

REVIEW: 'Chicago Med' - Connor Learns the Truth About What Led to His Father's Death in 'Never Going Back to Normal'

NBC's Chicago Med - Episode 5.01 "Never Going Back to Normal"

Will and Natalie face the aftermath of a horrific car incident and are left to battle for their lives. An investigation is launched following the suspicious death of the elder Cornelius Rhodes, Dr. Rhodes' father. Maggie receives life changing news. Dr. Charles cuts his honeymoon short to tend to a young patient he suspects might have schizophrenia.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of NBC's Chicago Med.

"Never Going Back to Normal" was written by Diane Frolov & Andrew Schneider and directed by Michael Pressman

Back in the spring, it was announced that Colin Donnell and Norma Kuhling would be leaving the drama as series regulars. However, the season finale did not properly give them the exits that they deserved. As such, the burden was on this premiere to do justice by their characters. Now, Connor Rhodes and Ava Bekker have had some tumultuous moments as characters on this show. In fact, this episode highlights how the show never actually knew what to do with Ava. It explains here that she was the one who killed Connor's father in the hopes of reuniting with Connor as a couple. She saw his father as the reason why they were no longer together. Connor's open hostility may have been a more pressing concern to achieve that goal though. Plus, his relationship with his father was making some improvements. It would have been interesting to continue watching him develop as a character knowing that his father was taken away from him before they could have a genuine relationship. But it's also understandable why he would want to leave Chicago Med after learning that Ava killed him and then died from suicide. This hour is ultimately all about his reaction. That's not an inherently bad thing because Connor was always the more engaging character. Sure, the show sometimes struggled giving him compelling material to work with. However, he was always trusted to lead stories. Ava was rarely given that responsibility. In fact, she was largely defined through her dynamic with Connor. It wasn't always romantic. It was mostly just competitive. But that ensured she remained one note until the very end. With Connor, there is a more layered and textured response to his decision to leave the hospital. His final conversations with Dr. Latham and Sharon are wonderful. Of course, it also proves to be quite a chaotic and stressful day for Sharon. The show absolutely runs the rest of overbearing the audience with tragic and near fatal circumstances for a wide variety of characters. Some of them are in immediately danger. Others will have to deal with their mortality on an ongoing basis this season. Maggie is diagnosed with a form of breast cancer that has already spread. It is aggressive but she plans on still working while getting treatment in secret. She only lets Sharon in on what's going on with her health. Meanwhile, Natalie was in grave danger after she and Will where slammed into by one of the men from the family Will sent to prison. She has the more extensive injuries. But the uncertainty of it all comes entirely from Will wanting to be by her side because he doesn't know what she wanted to say to him. And now, he won't get any immediate clarity because she suffers memory loss from this traumatic injury. That mostly presents itself as more outrageous drama though because Phillip is passing himself off as her fiancée even though he never proposed. She never agreed to marry him. That is terribly manipulative and abusive. So, this clearly isn't a relationship built to last though it is good for some melodrama in the meantime. Plus, Will may be putting his own health in jeopardy just because he needs to get out of the hospital as soon as possible. He can't be admitted to this place while enduring all of this emotional upheaval. But his treatment may not be wise. It may only cause more pain and complications. That too has the potential for juicy and engaging drama. But again, it may be more effective if the show stopped treating Will and Natalie like they are destined to be together simply because he is better than Philip. They have serious issues that still haven't fully be resolved. Meanwhile, Ethan and April are stable as a couple once more. In fact, they are involved in a fairly regular medical case-of-the-week. It's routine and solid. The same goes to Dr. Charles' case even though it's weird that the show has him missing his honeymoon just in order to introduce the new doctor in the ER - Dr. Marcel. He seems like a fine addition. It just may not be worth it in the long run for Charles even though he and Caroline are still happy and healthy.