Wednesday, October 2, 2019

REVIEW: 'Chicago Med' - A Blackout at the Hospital Forces Many Doctors into Precarious Positions in 'We're Lost in the Dark'

NBC's Chicago Med - Episode 5.02 "We're Lost in the Dark"

A power outage at Med puts multiple patients at risk and tests the skills of the staff and their enthusiastic med students. Natalie returns following her traumatic brain injury. Ethan and April wonder if a family is in their future.

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 next episode of NBC's Chicago Med.

"We're Lost in the Dark" was written by Jeff Drayer and directed by Alex Chapple

The doctors at Chicago Med need to be able to take care of each other. They each have to go through such extraordinary things every single shift in order to save as many lives as possible. It does bond them together. In fact, their personal bonds can often grow quite complicated. Sure, there is no love lost between Dr. Lanik and the rest of the staff. However, there are still so many unresolved feelings elsewhere. These characters are always trying to express their opinions even at the most inopportune times. Natalie wants to push herself during her first day back at work following the accident. She isn't completely healed though. Sure, Lanik is misogynistic in a way because of how condescending he is towards her. However, she has to battle through migraines in order to save a life while trapped inside an elevator. That's the fate for her during this story. She pushes through it all and does end up as a life saver. She keeps her patient alive long enough for the doors to open and the surgeons to come in to operate. It's only after all of this that Will decides to come up to her to forcefully share that he doesn't think she was coming to him to tell him about her engagement to Phillip that night. He then even berates her about whether or not she actually loves Phillip. That isn't Will's place. He knew when to step away from this situation in the premiere. However, it is now becoming clear that these feelings will always be at the forefront of his mind and the narrative. He needs to express himself in this way even though she is doing her best to heal. She sees Phillip as only being helpful during this recovery. Sure, it's all based on a lie. That sheer fact is basically set up to inform the audience that hope remains about things working out between Will and Natalie. That really shouldn't be the case because Will's behavior is no better than Phillip's. Sure, the audience is suppose to have more empathy for Will because he too is a main character trying to heal people at the hospital. However, this may not actually be a healthy work environment. Across the series so far, many doctors have come in trying to improve the system. And yet, very little has actually changed. April sees the value in taking care of each other even when the situation reaches its most dire points. She sees that Ethan is tending to patients and putting the new intern through a trying first shift. It's enough for the newcomer to be disillusioned to what a career in trauma actually looks like. April knows the power going out and the doctors fighting to keep all of their patients alive isn't demonstrative of every shift at the hospital. But a lot of drama does happen here. In fact, this doesn't even seem like a novel concept. It feels familiar. Yes, the power going out and forcing the doctors to rely on their training and not the technology now available is a concept that is common across medical procedurals. However, it also feels like something this show has done already. That familiarity is powerful throughout the proceedings here. As such, it feels simply like one of the tricks this show can utilize in order to increase the stakes at a random point in time. But again, it may all be worth it if the character drama was engaging. However, that aspect of the show feels defined by the characters choosing to withhold information that may actually compromise their lives. Will believes an infection is spreading and has taken ahold of Maggie. In actuality though, his patients are suffering from mass hysteria while Maggie just received a round of chemo. Her immune system is compromised. She is still determined to keep on working though. These characters can be incredibly stubborn. Sharon may not agree with Maggie's choice but she does respect it. She is allowed to offer that to her friend. Not everyone is given that luxury. In fact, it makes it seem like Sharon and April are the most compassionate and well-rounded physicians at the hospital. That is a little startling and an apparent trade off for the drama the show believes it needs to produce in order to keep things interesting in the long term.