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Chicago Med

Chicago Med Review – Gaffney Takes on COVID-19 (6×01)

CHICAGO MED -- "When Did We Begin To Change" Episode 601 -- Pictured: (l-r) Yaya DeCosta as April Sexton -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)

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Chicago Med feels different this season. 

It has nothing to do with the PPE or COVID procedures, although, that definitely brings a new dynamic to the series, it has more to do with the doctor’s being able to finally admit when they are wrong. 

Halstead even apologized for jumping to conclusions! What a change. 

While we’re not fully there quite yet – Natalie and Crockett disagreeing on a patient’s treatment in front of a patient is proof of that – it’s a massive improvement from the ego-driven storylines from previous seasons. 

Choi judged April for putting her life on the line by volunteering in the COVID unit for three straight weeks, but eventually, he saw how important her dedication was. 

April has always been a bit of a martyr who doesn’t listen to reason and puts herself into rather questionable situations, but in this case, she believed that her mission was to be there for COVID patients who didn’t have anyone else by their side.

April’s choice to risk her life was selfless. While this is just a TV show, the scenes unfolding in front of us were snippets from everyday life as we live through a pandemic. 

I’ve written numerous stories of families who lost loved ones and couldn’t be there with them as they took their last breath because the possibility of exposure to the virus was too dangerous. 

For those people, nurses like April are angels, who allow them to have one final moment with their mother, father, brother, sister, or husband via Facetime. 

A big thank you goes out to the healthcare heroes who have lived heartbreaking moments like this in real life. 

It was equally as heartbreaking to watch it play out on screen, but necessary as cases continue to surge and many people refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of COVID. 

Natalie and Crockett didn’t see eye-to-eye on treatment for a young girl with leukemia. This isn’t new for them as they often disagree, but it didn’t help the patient who made it clear that he’s trying to do right by his daughter while the world is upside down. Truer words have never been spoken. 

Eventually, Natalie and Crockett confessed that their personal lives affected their treatment of the patient, which always seems to be the case. 

Doctors and nurses told to remain impartial, but that’s impossible as we live through such unprecedented times. They’re burdened with their own tragedies as they try to save patients and make the right calls. It was just good that they acknowledged exactly what transpired. 

Will Halstead also took on a case that was a little too close to home. 

The episode kickstarted with an ambulance rolling Hannah into the ED due to an overdose. 

Through the course of the episode, and while dealing with a patient who seems to be in denial about alcoholism, Will realized that he and Hannah have both been in denial about her addiction. 

Even worse – he’s very much intertwined in her sobriety, which Dr. Charles warned him about. 

Any misstep in their relationship, like an explosive fight, set Hannah back. And, in return, Will was walking on eggshells waiting for her to relapse. 

It wasn’t a healthy environment for anyone. 

The only way Hannah would become sober, and stay sober, was if she did it for herself and not anyone else.

It was nice to see Will finally get some clarity and admit that he was wrong and Dr. Charles was right. 

This also helped him treat his patient, who wasn’t an alcoholic but suffered from a rare condition called auto-brewery syndrome that turned her carbs into yeast and made her feel drunk. 

It’s a good thing Will did some more research before jumping to conclusions and ruining this woman’s career with the FAA. The old Will wouldn’t have been so level-headed, but it takes strength to apologize and admit you were wrong. It’s the first time we’ve seen Will take ownership of his actions. 

There was also a very powerful scene between Dr. Charles and his daughter Anna, who felt guilty about going out to see her friends and unintentionally getting her dad sick with COVID. 

“You could have died,” she says. Living through a pandemic is scary, and it echoed a fear we’ve likely all had when it comes to our elderly parents or those who are immunocompromised. There’s fear, anger, blame, and all sorts of other emotions that are all valid. 

While the episode juggled COVID and non-COVID stories well, it was focused heavily on the former, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Viewers tend to want to escape reality when watching a TV show, but a medical show simply can’t ignore the very real global pandemic that’s taken upwards of 240,000 lives. They weren’t overly realistic to the point where it was downright scary, but they did hone in on the fact that COVID affects everyone. 

I’m not a medical professional, so I’m not sure if some of the scenes were dramatized for television, but regardless, everyone should take this episode to heart to fully grasp the impact of the pandemic.

It was a powerful season premiere with a final scene that was heartbreaking to watch as the doctor’s paid tribute to all those who died of COVID. 

And for those who were wondering why no one was wearing masks in the ED, Wolf Entertainment cleared the air on Twitter writing: “Because all staff are quarantined and tested/sanitized each time they come into the hospital, they save the PPE for the nurses and doctors in the Covid ICU. When leaving the hospital, they wear masks!”

Again, this may not be realistic to how real-life hospitals operate, but I don’t think the series was aiming to downplay the severity of the virus. If I were to guess (and this is just my opinion), I’m betting that it would be hard to film a show that the audience could enjoy with the actors wearing masks the whole time. 

Other Noteworthy Moments

  • Will said what we’re all thinking: “I thought we’d be over it by now.”
  • Sharon Goodwin and I have something in common – we have Zoom fatigue! 
  •  Natalie left Owen with Nana and moved into a hotel aka “Club Med” so she could fully dedicate herself to her patients. 
  • There’s a new doctor with a British accent, Sabeen Virani, who is most definitely going to be Will’s new love interest. 
  • Once again, thank you to all the healthcare professionals who are putting their lives on the line day-in and day-out. 

What did you think of the Chicago Med Season 6 premiere?

Sound-off in the comments! 

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Lizzy Buczak is the founder of CraveYouTV. What started off as a silly blog in her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago turned her passion for watching TV into an opportunity! She has been in charge of CraveYou since 2011, writing reviews and news content for a wide variety of shows. Lizzy is a Music Business and Journalism major who has written for RADIO.COM, TV Fanatic, Time Out Chicago, Innerview, Pop’stache and Family Time.

Chicago Med

Chicago Med Review – Get by with a Little Help From My Friends (912)

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Chicago Med Season 9 Episode saw a lot of people overwhelmed by work and life in general. 

It all started with Sharon Goodwin, who is coming to the realization that her life is going to be a lot different now that Bert is experiencing memory loss. 

The incident that kickstarts everything involves him forgetting to turn the stove off, but as Cruz informs her, it had a good outcome but may be the first of many. As Goodwin’s ex-husband is treated for smoke inhalation, she struggles to figure out how to manage it all. Eventually, when Bert has another meltdown, she realizes that she’s the only person that can calm him down. Even when he’s disoriented, he recognizes her and feels comfort when she’s around, which again, puts an immense burden on her. 

As he pleads for Sharon to take him home, she agrees to be his caregiver, a situation that Dr. Charles informs her cannot be permanent. But it’s easy to see why she feels responsible—this is the man she’s loved her whole life who still needs her. It’s almost like he’s regressed to an infant mentality, not really understanding the what and why behind what’s going on. Bert is doing a fantastic job portraying all of those emotions and vulnerabilities on screen, providing audiences with a heartbreaking look at the disease.  There’s no reasoning with him, all she can do is provide care, though hopefully, not at the expense of her own mental health and sanity. 

Newcomer Jackie, played by La Brea’s Natalie Zea, arrives in the ED for her second shift in a row, when Maggie immediately notices something is off. Jackie isn’t her usual self, and paired with the stress at home and the blood dripping from her arm—a cut she claims to have sustained earlier in the day while leaving the house—there’s definitely room for worry. 

A quick diagnosis from Dr. Charles reveals that the cut may have been self-harm, as he suggests Jackie is distracting herself from the daily pain she witnesses in the burn unit. This is proven to be true after Jackie loses a patient, runs off to the bathroom to cut herself, and then collapses in Maggie’s arms, revealing scars from previous cuts. Intervention becomes necessary at that point, even though to Jackie, it feels like the ultimate betrayal, but eventually, she comes around to see that Maggie was simply acting in her best interest. It’ll be interesting to see if Med finds a permanent place for Zea on the team as I think she’d make a great addition—plus we all know Maggie needs a new friend around. 

Dr. Marcel also wasn’t spared from the harsh realities when his celebration over his young patient Colin’s new liver quickly soured when he realized the child had an infection. While he tried his best to advocate or Colin, knowing that the boy might not live to see another donor match, he ultimately had to make the hard, yet right, call and give up the organ to someone who could survive the surgery. It’s not the outcome anyone wanted, including Colin’s disappointed father (this is why as a doctor, you never make any promises), but due to the illness, he wasn’t strong enough to move forward. The final gut punch was Colin asking if he was going to die, making Crockett question every decision he’s ever made. 

Hannah teamed up with Ripley—while also sealing their romantic fate—to help his childhood friends, Lynne and Sully, welcome their new baby, born prematurely at 30 weeks and not breathing. Thankfully, they were able to save the child, which was comforting considering everything Sully is already going through. They need a shred of happiness. 

Archer also got a little scolding from Sharon, who didn’t take kindly toward his harsh attitude toward the new intern, reminding him that this is a teaching hospital after all. Turns out, when Archer wants to, he can be a great mentor—and that’s something some students need when they are letting their fears and doubts cloud their judgment and get the best of them. None of us are born with the knowledge and skills—it takes patience and practice.

Thankfully, in every situation, the good outweighed the bad as everyone was supported by loved ones—friends, family, and staff who truly cared about their wellbeing. 

What did you think of the episode?

If you are having a mental health, substance use, or suicidal crisis, call 988. 

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Chicago Med

Did Dr. Zola Ahmad Leave ‘Chicago Med’ Already?

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Did Dr. Zola Ahmad Leave 'Chicago Med' Already?

Chicago Med introduced a new third-year resident to the fold in season 9—Zola Ahmad played by The Wilds’ Sophia Ali.

Ahmad’s character was initially described as “impulsive” and a troublemaker who tends to cause “headaches” for her Gaffney Medical fellows, which we saw play out in real-time when her unconventional approaches rubbed Crockett Marcel (Dominic Rains) the wrong way.

Marcel tried to give Ahmad the benefit of the doubt on numerous occasions, and Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson) even acknowledged that she was taking a big chance by hiring her on a prohibitionary basis given her track record with previous hospitals—but ultimately, Ahmad’s behavior and decisions to overstep and not follow protocol got the best of her.

When Ahmad decided to declare a patient—letting the fact that he wasn’t a good man dictate her reasoning—dead prematurely (and then attempted to justify it), nearly killing him, Dr. Archer (Steven Weber) chose to suspend her. It was very obviously a fireable offense, so it’s a good thing that the series writers held her accountable. Plus, it seemed like the perfect chance for a teachable moment and a redemption arc, not to mention, there was definitely some chemistry with Ahmad and Crockett that could’ve been explored down the line. She had potential as a character at Med, if she just reeled it in a little bit—and that would’ve been interesting to explore on a more granular level.

However, by Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9, it was over for Ahmad. 

Did Dr. Zola Ahmad Leave 'Chicago Med' Already?

CHICAGO MED — “A Penny for your Thoughts, Dollar for your Dreams” Episode 9008 — Pictured: (l-r) Sophia Ali as Dr. Zola Ahmad, Dominic Rains as Dr. Crockett Marcel — (Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC)

The series seemingly listened to the Chi-Hards fanbase as Ahmad paid the ultimate price for her reckless decision; Goodwin very briefly (and in passing) informed Crockett that Ahmad was let go, something he called a “shame.”

And that was that. There was no further mention of it, nor is there any indication that she’ll return anytime in the future. Her final episode of the season was listed as Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 8—and it seems like she’ll just be a blip on the radar of the show’s long-running tenure. 

It’s a drastic decision for the series, especially after hyping up Ali’s character at the beginning of the season. Why wouldn’t they give her arc a proper conclusion? Many of the complaints from the fan base were that her character was written inconsistently—her intentions were good most of the time, it was the execution that suffered—and crammed into an already shortened season due to COVID, so they weren’t able to build her character up in a way that would’ve given her the necessary nuance; her portrayal was overly negative and it was hard to defend her actions or keep her around when each week, she was pushing buttons and creating unnecessary issues without having the tenure to excuse them or back her up, like her predecessors Will Will (Nick Gehlfuss) and Natalie (Torrey Devitto). When those two acted irrationally back in the day, they had a history with Med and Goodwin that allowed them to stir the pot. 

It seems that the writing was on the wall for Ahmad from the get-go—the lack of good character development in the writing sealed her fate prematurely and gave fans whiplash with her quick arrival and departure. 

Would you like to see her return to the series?

Vanessa Morgan Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves With ‘Wild Cards’

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Chicago Med

Chicago Med Review – I Think There’s Something You’re Not Telling Me (911)

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CHICAGO MED -- "I Think There is Something You're Not Telling Me" Episode 90011

Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 11 was Ripley-heavy, but I doubt most fans minded all that much, especially as he was sidelined last week due to the flu. 

The episode not only saw Ripley catching up with his childhood friend Sully, who previously refused cancer treatment, but we also met Sully’s pregnant girlfriend, Lynne, who also clued in Hannah on Ripley’s difficult childhood—helpful, since he wasn’t forthcoming with any information when she asked. 

His past was also brought up during the deposition with Pavel’s lawyer, who tried to get him to crack while bringing up the personal matter of institutionalization to discredit him. While it certainly struck a chord, Ripley proved that he’s done the work to get through it, though Charles, who feels partially responsible for the situation in Ripley’s past and the lawsuit, took it upon himself to encourage Sharon Goodwin to convince Ripley to settle. 

He figured out that Charles must’ve said something, but it was nice to see him not get upset by the fact either. These two have come quite a long way in their relationship this season, as Charles suggested that his past is his story to tell on his own terms. 

As for Sully, his coughing symptoms only worsened, landing him in the hospital, as Rip nudged his buddy to come clean to the mom of his future child. Sully’s hesitation to seek out treatment also stemmed from his past, noting that when his father was sent to prison, it was the best day of his life and that maybe Lynne and the baby were better off without him. Naturally, Ripley pointed out that it was just the fear talking and that he needed treatment in order to be a present dad to his kid and to break the cycle of abandonment and trauma. All in all, these two have made a lot of progress. 

Lynne, thankfully, wasn’t in early labor either, so the storyline had somewhat of a positive ending, though I’m sure we’ll see more from them soon. 

Loren’s helicopter incident in the woods the episode prior was also at the forefront as he essentially told Maggie he didn’t remember what they talked about (so he has no clue he professed his feelings for her!) and tried to minimize his injuries to prove himself to Archer for the trauma fellowship. However, Archer can’t be fooled as he’s also one of the people who tried to downplay his symptoms, so he was able to detect what Loren was doing right away. And he gave him some key advice—know when to pull back and prioritize your own health first. As they say, the job will always be there, but you can’t help your patients if you aren’t helping yourself.

As for Maggie, I think she owes it to the both of them to address what was said in such a dire state head-on, but I understand wanting to give Loren space for healing and recovery. She should’ve learned from that life-or-death situation that you should never leave anything unsaid.

Dr. Charles teamed up with a new intern, Naomi Howard, who experienced a bit of a rough start due to nerves. She was assigned to a patient named Jay, who ended up being misdiagnosed with depression when he should’ve been on mood stabilizers to treat what Charles assumed was bipolar disorder. It was a pretty intense case for Naomi to witness, even if she was sitting on the sidelines for much of it, as Charles had to get to the bottom of Jay’s motivations—proving his dad wrong about his career in the arts. Thankfully, by the end of the hour, he managed to persuade him to make the necessary change to his treatment by suggesting that you don’t have to suffer for your art.

What did you think of the episode? Are you digging the flirtation between Asher and Ripley?

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