Chi-town is filled with off-their-rocker exes, deadly web trolls, and contagion this week
Credit: Parrish Lewis/NBC; Elizabeth Sisson/NBC

This week, One Chicago stepped into some new territory within the landscape of wild society, covering everything from maniacally jealous exes to cyber trolls who take things way too far to toeing the waters of patient consent and then some. Here’s what happened on all three Chicago shows this week.

Chicago Fire season 5 premiere: “The Hose or the Animal”

Annnd we’re back! Last season left off on a serious cliffhanger, with Stella’s looney ex lurking around Stella’s apartment with a knife as she and Severide engaged in some sad sex after Borelli’s brother’s badge ceremony. Humina humina and also dun dun dunnnn. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Casey had finally come to his senses by ditching his flirty campaign manager and making his way back to Dawson and Louie, thank jeebus.

For anyone else, there might have still been be a ton of repair work left to do before their relationship could be considered good as new, but Casey and Dawson just aren’t the kind of people who drag out the he said-she said drama, so they’re already good. Phew. Casey’s newfound commitment to making their foster situation work is all she needed, so now they’re a full-fledged family… better late than never, right?

There are practical issues involved here, like finding a proper babysitter and Dawson’s recent return to squad. If she and Casey are both running into burning buildings all the time, knowing the risk that they might never come out of them alive, well, Louie’s no better off than he was at the group home. Right? As usual, Dawson’s the first one to take a step back from the job, which… the fact that this is all sparked by an actual garbage fire might bear some metaphorical significance here, considering she’s yet again putting the pause button on the position she fought so hard to get… grunt.

Anyway, Borelli just so happens to be in career limbo himself right now while he snaps at the Chief for allowing his brother to get smushed on the job, so there’s a vacant seat in the ambulance. Dawson sees it as an opportunity to dial back on the danger factor of her work, albeit temporarily, by taking his place. She does get a key reminder that even that job can be deadly sometimes after she takes a look at the rig’s decal bearing the name of the late, great Shay. Plus, she just so happens to be caught in the middle of a crowd swarm saving a street violence victim, but, she brushes it off. Hey, no job is completely devoid of peril, yeah? If nothing else, this show has certainly taught us that.

We don’t exactly have to imagine her delight when Chief offers her the spot on a more permanent basis, after he’s forced to let Jimmy back on squad. Her blissed-out grin says it all, and that smile is even more pronounced when Severide decides to offer up his more family-friendly apartment unit to her, Casey and Louie, so they don’t have to all be squeezed into Herrmann’s slightly shabby guest house and risk losing him to a swankier home. See? He can be a thoughtful dude when he wants to be! (#TeamKellyFTW.)

Decidedly less happy is young Grant, whose demons have come out in full force against Stella and Severide’s budding relationship. Yes, he still has her kitchen knife, and yes, he’s totally following her around everywhere looking to confirm what he already knows about them. Dr. Charles from Med kindly warns her that he’s on the loose, both physically and mentally, but Grant lulls her into a sense of cozy security by texting a promise that he was leaving town to get better. Of course, that’s not true, and she should’ve guessed that he wasn’t done tormenting her yet.

In another instance of a dumpster coming into focus this week, Grant tries to jump Stella while she’s taking out the trash in an alley, and Severide steps in to diffuse the situation before it escalates into violence. Grant’s not one for using reason to resolve his issues, though, so things still get out of control very quickly, and Grant tries to stab Kelly. Severide knocks him on his you-know-what with a shovel, and unfortunately for Grant and these lovebirds, that defensive act is more devastating of a blow than intended, and now Grant’s bleeding out on the street… Grant started it and all, but this isn’t going anywhere good any time soon.

On a lighter note, Sylvie’s bringing some much-needed levity to House 51 in more ways than one. Not only are she and Mouch secretly joining literary forces to produce firehouse fan fiction stories that have everyone in a curious tizzy, but she and Antonio Dawson from P.D. are quickly acting out their own slash fic dream come true as they’ve clearly developed some hots for each other. Gabby’s return to the ambo scene is putting her in an unexpected third wheel situation, and it’s pretty hilarious. Who would’ve guessed that Sylvie and Antonio would be the next couple bringing some heat to Chicago Fire? Sizzle!

Grade: B+

NEXT: Viral violence erupts …

Chicago P.D. season 4, episode 4: “Big Friends, Big Enemies”

The Chicago series have been touching on some pretty heavy subjects lately, haven’t they? This week, P.D. tackles the matter of social media threats and how they could incite real retaliation and violence. In this era of people shutting down entire schools with creepy clown Twitter threats and extreme online bullying having disastrous societal consequences, it’s a relevant conversation indeed.

In this case, a kid named Alex Santos ignites an all-out gang war between the competitive factions by adopting multiple social media personalities to pass threats back and forth between the groups, all for the sake of having them cancel each other out so that another rival gang could gain some new traction.

The bait tactic works and causes several “bangers” to lash out and target their competitors, with child casualties along the way, after a local 16-year-old rapper is gunned down at a show by a maniac who also plows into the crowd of pedestrians (the scene’s so grisly that they first suspect terrorism to be afoot in the incident).

Kevin Atwater’s most deeply affected by what’s happening because it hits too close to home. His family — particularly Jordan — is on the fringe of these groups and could easily get swept up into the turf war, even despite his best efforts to protect them from that scene (he and Victor Cruz from Chicago Fire have a lot in common in that respect).

The second social memo contained in this episode is a commentary on the aggression of rap lyrics and music videos. TK Ice, a young M.C. who was the first victim of this attack, was considered to be a good kid with a clean record before he was swept up into a label and encouraged to brag about committing violence while wielding weapons on-screen.

The upside to all of this, from the police perspective at least, is that the increase in digital communications between those below the law line has created an all-new breed of investigative opportunities. The department now has a system that monitors gang activities so thoroughly that they can even pinpoint a particular profile’s affiliation by the kind of syntax they use in their postings. That’s either brilliant or terrifying or both, but no matter which way you slice it, it’s effective for narrowing the suspect lists down for the Intelligence Unit.

There was a little humor to be found in this episode, believe it or not, thanks to our computer-savvy new friend Jenny. She used to work at the “ivory tower” and knows a good deal about Hank Voight’s past. As a result, she’s a little shaken up by his presence, and who could blame her? This is a guy who grabbed not one but two peoples’ facial hair as a prime method of intimidation this week and then threatened a person of interest with the brilliant line, “I’ll tell you the problem of letting us speak for you. We get to decide how it ends.” He doesn’t even bother to pretend there’s a good cop/bad cop routine to the interrogation room procedurals at C.P.D.

Also worth nothing: Did anyone else catch that subtle hint from Antonio Dawson that he was getting pretty sick of the badge? As he stood over the dead kids in the street, he said he’d seen too much of this in his line of duty. His hop to Chicago Justice is definitely drawing nearer.

Grade: B+

NEXT: What happens when a patient can’t say yes? …

Chicago Med season 2, episode 4: “Brother’s Keeper”

First thing’s first: Clarke and Manning? Love ’em or leave ’em, that ship is charted for disaster — the same destination that Halstead and Shore are headed to right now, too. This week proved that there’s still something totally a-brewing between Manning and Halstead that no amount of deflective small talk can cover. Count on this love quadrangle to get a re-shape and soon.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the patient fold for this week. First of all, we’ve got poor Mr. Hall, an 82-year-old man who may be demented but is most definitely swimming with the sharks right now. On the one hand, he’s got the younger girlfriend, who’s a total champion of his continued existence but who may have ulterior motives for keeping him ticking away. Then, there’s the son, who repeatedly insists that it’s time for his old pop to kick that proverbial bucket (and probably bestow upon him all kinds of cash to justify his “don’t save my dad” demeanor). His situation puts Dr. Choi in a very tough place because of his duty is to save people and because surgery will definitely help prolong Mr. Hall’s life if only someone would agree to it. Considering Mr. Hall himself can barely put two coherent sentences together, given the deteriorating state of his mind, he has to rely on the good graces of those in charge of his care decisions… and that would be the nay-saying son.

Choi’s not a quitter, though, and he lurks around Mr. Hall long enough to hear the “save me” signal he’s been waiting for to proceed, and what do you know? Mr. Hall pulls through like a champ and musters up a self-deprecating joke to prove he’s still got some wits about himself.

Meanwhile, Reese is dealing with a situation that escalates completely out of her control, leaving her in the darn-it doldrums of that “what else could I have done” self-inquisition. She’s assigned to a 19-year-old bowel obstruction patient who’s resistant to being handled by physicians (particularly male ones) but who opens up to her with a little friendly banter about the weather — yes, really. She and Dr. Charles (who’s dealing with his own piece de resistance from his daughter who’s joined the hospital but is still peeved about him being an absentee father, apparently) recognize an over-stepping mom when they see one and try to delay his release. Sure, he’s a heroin addict, which explains away the symptoms that brought him there, but something more sinister is going on with his situation. By the time they get to the bottom of it, though, it’s already too late.

Turns out, the kid’s a sex trafficking victim and the woman who came in claiming to be his mother is really his “boss” (if that’s even the right word), who only found out where he was based on the blimey tracking device she had installed in his chest. She scoops him up and off-site before they can catch up, so the poor boy is back within the woman’s horrible clutches again. Awful, awful stuff here, guys.

Also tragic? The little girl with cancer who’s been diagnosed with CRE, a bacteria-resistent disease that’s been spreading around town. She’s already got enough on her plate with, you know, trying to survive her often fatal disease, so throwing this on her plate is just too much for her little body to handle. She develops an abscess in her airway that Manning miraculously drains — albeit, in an extremely painful way. She and Halstead are left with no choice but to coax another patient with the same illness to remove his breathing tube (which might very well kill the guy) to answer some questions about the hows and whys of his contraction so that they can stop the spread. The young hero of a dude agrees to it and, after struggling to get his all-needed air, manages to breathe on his own long enough to help them figure out what happened before this thing becomes an all-out epidemic. If the ends justify the means, then sure, that was a great idea. Luckily for both patients, their antibiotics manage to suppress the infection, and they’ll walk away from this today.

Last but not least is Maggie’s patient at The Farm — which is the hideous nickname they’ve given the hospital’s coma unit. (A doctor once explained this term to me, and it ain’t pretty.) She’s grown attached to one of the patients there because, as she took her last conscious breath, she called her “Maggie Pie,” just as her mother used to do when she was little. Thus, her unusual affection for the woman. She takes Jeff Clarke down to see the woman, just to give him something to do this episode I guess, and afterward he decides to take it upon himself to locate the woman’s sister and tell her about her long-term residence on life support. In his mind, it was a noble enough gesture, but he comes to regret that decision once the sister orders them to pull the plug. Maggie’s completely devastated as she watches the woman slowly die; it’s like watching her mother pass all over again. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, all of it.

One deeming bit of positivity from the show arrived by way of Dr. Latham, who surprisingly enough happens to be a giant Star Wars fan who’s hung up, mid-surgery no less, on a movie goof he noticed in The Force Awakens. If that personality tick wasn’t adorkable enough, he’s also a rad pianist who likes to jam on the roof with Manning on her violin. Dr. Rhodes was questioning his decision to stick it out under his new mentor, but seeing a late-night jazz session with these two in play might just be the ticket to keeping him around for a little while longer.

Grade: B

Crossover notes:

  • It’s good to see that Trudy’s back in the swing of things, but it’s especially great to get a secondhand glimpse at her love life with Mouch (cross that one off the list) by way of his steamy romance stories.
  • Dawson’s return to the ambo was perfectly timed to coincide with her delivery of Mr. Hall to Med. Don’tcha just love when that happens?


Chicago MVP of the week: A lot of the docs were in peak form this week: Reese proved some serious merit by paying special attention to her mysterious patient; Manning worked her rear off getting to the bottom of the CRE outbreak to save Hailey; Choi made a difficult decision about green-lighting surgery on a patient that barely was capable of giving consent; and even Maggie had to hold the hand of her substitute coma mom as she went off life support. But Lt. Severide stepped up in two major, major ways. Giving Casey and Dawson his apartment to secure their fostership of Louie was heroic enough, but he also literally saved Stella’s life from her cuckoo husband, so gotta give it to Kelly. (Although, it looks like the Justice squad’s going to have some issues with his actions against Grant.)

Steamiest Chicago couple of the week: Points to Trudester and Mouch for keeping their bedroom situation interesting enough to write about, and huzzah to Antonio and Sylvie sparking up something. Also, Drs. Halstead and Manning are in an excitingly weird place with their non-relationship. But you gotta give it to Casey and Dawson this week for being not just a couple, but a bona fide family unit with their little Louie. It’s really all just too stinkin’ cute right now. No more pretty politicos allowed here, please and thank you.

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