‘Chicago Med’ Season 2, Episode 13 Review: ‘Theseus’ Ship’


How important is it to listen to what other people are saying? This week’s ‘Chicago Med’ teaches us a valuable lesson about communication, while taking us along for the ride.

You ever have one of those days where it feels like no one is listening to you? That’s what this entire episode of NBC‘s Chicago Med feels like. “Theseus’ Ship” has several instances of people just not paying attention.

Dr. Connor Rhodes (Colin Donnell) asks Dr. Isidore Latham (Ato Essandoh) to make a trip to treat a patient who needs a complicated surgery and can’t be brought to the hospital. This sounds like the next Planes, Trains & Automobiles, but it’s actually really cool. It’s interesting to see our heroes at work with people who don’t know them.

And then there’s Latham. In a bar. Getting hit on and not knowing it. This is all kinds of amazing, including Connor trying to be his sort of “voice of reason,” it not working, and Connor’s expression when it doesn’t work. The Med writers have become great at using the natural comedy between the two characters, without disrespecting Latham’s condition. And you feel for him when he wises up too late to the woman’s ulterior motive.

Plus, Connor going back into the bar and confronting the bartender who was the woman’s accomplice is awesome. It’s reminiscent of Colin Donnell’s days as Tommy Merlyn on Arrow. Can we get more storylines like this, please?

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We finally get a reference to Dr. Natalie Manning’s (Torrey DeVitto) son; apparently he wrecked her stethoscope. But two minutes later Natalie is treating a young cancer patient named Gabe who’s brought into the ED with seizures. She finds out that Gabe hasn’t had medication in three months but his father insists that his son decided not to continue with treatment.

Natalie argues that Gabe can’t make an informed decision at eight years old and tries to convince everyone otherwise, including the kid. We know she’s got good intentions, and nobody wants to see a dead child, but this is another one of those instances where Natalie’s convinced she’s right and keeps pushing. April (Yaya DaCosta) urging her to call DCFS doesn’t help either.

The fact that withholding chemotherapy suddenly seems to be the right call seems like an easy way to wrap the storyline and get out. And isn’t this the second time Natalie has been involved in calling the authorities and then being wrong? “Theseus’ Ship” is not a good look on her.

Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) gets the woman who didn’t realize she had a heart attack and doesn’t want to listen to anything he says. Turns out she has a brain parasite. The best part, though, is when the patient hits on Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt) – by asking his daughter Robin (Mekia Cox) if he’s seeing anyone! That’s worth having Robin in this episode just for that joke.

And Natalie finally gets in the way of Will’s relationship with Dr. Nina Shore (Patti Murin) when she asks him if he and Natalie “ever had a thing.” Well, you knew that was coming. At least Chicago Med doesn’t use this to blow them up like Chicago PD just did with Sylvie Brett and Antonio Dawson.

Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) handles a car accident victim who proves to be more complicated than that. She thinks that she’s got another sentient being living inside her body. Choi’s face at that says it all. Time to call in the psych squad! Of course this goes back to the patient feeling alone, and it winds up turning into a story about Dr. Sarah Reese (Rachel DiPillo) learning that psychiatry is not as rigid as physical medicine. It’s the least interesting story but it gives us an excuse to show a cat video! Who doesn’t love cat videos?!

“Theseus’ Ship” is like last week’s “Mirror Mirror” in that some storylines work exceptionally well and others are just average. They’re not bad, but they don’t register as much and so the episode has highs and lows.

The decision to continue Latham’s storyline by putting him in an unfamiliar situation is a nice move; the show is obviously making an effort to develop his character, and not just as it serves the series or Connor’s story. Speaking of, is Dr. Connor Rhodes not the best wingman ever? We want him on our speed-dial.

But on the flip side, we should try developing Natalie in a new direction. We’ve discussed this before but Chicago Med relies on her to be the emotional person in the room and there are times like this when it becomes a fault. It’s wonderful that she cares so much but she has to, at a point, stop and listen to what the patient wants, not what she wants. And the fact that the right thing just happens at the end is far too easy.

And if we had a drink for every time someone said “tulpa” this week we’d be drunk. But at least we avoided the part where someone brings up the title of the episode.

Overall this is another solid if not exceptional effort, and next week looks like it’s going to be the mother of all episodes, so we’ll give this one a solid B while we wait to see how much snow gets dumped on the hospital.

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Chicago Med airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.