'Chicago Med' Season 6 Premiere Review: Strong episode with April as this week's MVP and Will's personal turmoil
The NBC medical drama has certainly raised standards over the past five seasons and it looks like the show will continue doing so in the sixth season
Spoilers for 'Chicago Med' Season 6 Premiere
We are finally back with brand new episodes of NBC's 'Chicago' franchise, starting with 'Chicago Med'. Right from the first minute, the allure of 'Chicago Med' is visible – the show isn't afraid to take a deep dive into how difficult and tough the medical field looks. When the sixth season of 'Chicago Med' kicking off with the pandemic, the tension is high – Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) is headed to the hospital in an ambulance with Dr. Hannah Asher (Jessy Schram).
It isn't Covid-19 yet, but – Hannah overdosed! From what it looks like, Will and Hannah have been going quite steady since the end of the last season – he even tells her that he loves her. It's Dr. Crockett Marcel (Dominic Rains) who is treating her. Meanwhile, Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) and nurse April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta) may be broken up, but Ethan is concerned that April has been working for three weeks straight in the Covid-19 ward. However, the hospital is short-staffed, so April feels it's her duty to work as long as she can. Ethan speaks to her later about it, but she does not want to abandon the patients – it is well-known by now that the ones who are most vulnerable are the ones who are generally discriminated against by America's healthcare system.
Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt) is back at work after battling the coronavirus himself. His first patient is Will, who is visibly stressed out. Will defends his relationship with Hannah, but Dr. Charles wants to focus on Will. The latter says he is managing and refers to the PPE shortage but admits that the pandemic would be over by now. But Will has to get to work immediately and his first patient is a lady with bruises. It turns out she had fallen in her home three times in the past week. Maggie Lockwood (Marlyne Barrett) suspects the patient seems a little high, and when they test her blood alcohol level, it is indeed high. However, the patient insists that she is not drunk and she never has it either. Maggie is suspicious that they are dealing with an addict, but Will is giving her the benefit of the doubt. Will is also approached by the new character, Dr. Sabeena Virani (Tehmina Sunny) but he rejects her offer of working on a clinical trial because he has too much to deal with.
Ethan's and April's coronavirus patient – whom they convinced to go on a ventilator – is doing worse. Ethan is tasked with calling his wife to get her permission to put her on life support, however, Dr. James Lanik (Nate Santana) cancels it because resources are low and he feels the system won't help the patient recover.
Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto) is dealing with a leukemia patient. When she needs a surgical consult, she does not want it to be with Crockett, given that his daughter died of leukemia. Crockett is not happy with this and lets her know that.
When Will's patient refuses electrolytes and gets violent, he believes that Maggie is right and is clearly frustrated. Hannah may have regained consciousness, but her claims of getting better for him do not seem to convince him. It could be because of what he is going through with Hannah, but Will wants to report the patient's apparent alcoholism to the FAA (she is an air traffic controller). However, Sharon Goodwin (S Epatha Merkerson) cautions him to be absolutely sure of it first. Will goes to see Dr. Charles again and admits that he has not been honest. Will then reveals that he has been afraid throughout his relationship with Hannah of her relapsing, and realizes that his relationship with Hannah is not strong enough. He reveals that before Hannah overdosed, they had a huge fight and Will stormed out. He also says that he may have been waiting for it to happen.
April talks to her Covid-19 patient's wife and reveals the disturbing news that her husband will not be put on a life support system. She also promises the wife that she will be with the patient so that he will not die alone. She holds the tablet to the patient while his wife bids goodbye – Ethan watches on as the patient dies. It is through April (and Ethan) that we get the true emotional toll the pandemic has on doctors and nurses, as they keep losing patients to the virus. We also see that the doctors and nurses of the Covid-19 response team get together to light candles and say the names of the patients they lost and the lives they led – perhaps a far better remembrance than their country has given them.
Will then does more research for his patient and finds out that she has an autoimmune condition. He talks to the patient about it and realizes that the patient's paleo diet triggered the condition. He also apologizes to her for doubting her. Meanwhile, Hannah is discharged and she tells Will that she wants to leave Chicago. She plans on going to Los Angeles and asks Will to go with her. Will rejects the idea straightaway. Hannah confesses that she is afraid that without Will, she might start using again. Will recognizes how toxic their relationship is and the two doctors finally break things off.
As expected, 'Chicago Med' has done pretty well when it comes to depicting real-life medical situations and it has done well in showing how difficult it has been for healthcare workers who not only have Covid-19 to deal with but quite a lot of other issues as well. From the start of the episode, we saw the medical protocols in place, as well as the personal toll on the doctors and nurses – this was shown especially through Will's stress and April's empathy as she continues to fight for her patients. Then there is Natalie, who has to stay away from her son so that she won't infect him. The episode also gave a glimpse at the racism that has prevailed when Natalie's patient's father laments that a lady in the park pointed at them and blamed them for the pandemic.
'Chicago Med' has certainly raised the standards for medical dramas over the past five seasons and it looks like the NBC drama will continue doing so in the sixth season. This year's premiere is much stronger than what we got last year, so our hopes for the show's sixth season are high. The pandemic manages to ramp up the drama in new, original ways without needing soap opera, and as heartless as it sounds, it might be just what 'Chicago Med' needed after a weak Season 5.
'Chicago Med' airs on NBC on Wednesday nights at 8/7c.