Chicago Med is back, and the winter premiere was worth waiting for.
Chicago Med Season 5 Episode 10 could have gone in a predictable direction with Will and Natalie's conflict, but instead it delivered an emotional storyline that is just beginning.
And that was far from the only part of the hour worth watching.
Dr. Charles' grief over Cici's death was so realistic that I almost forgave the rushed nature of her relapse and death.
She seemed fine until Chicago Med Season 5 Episode 9, then suddenly she was on her deathbed.
And now it was six weeks later, and she was gone.
That last part was fine, though. Terminal illness stories are tough to watch, especially if you've lost someone to that kind of disease in real life, and viewers didn't need to see Cici suffer.
Anyway, Dr. Charle's grief was so real and raw that I wondered why he was back in the office.
He didn't seem to have any interest in taking care of patients, and I was sure that he was going to give Elsa bad advice that negatively impacted the patient.
Instead, Chicago Med went the less predictable route of Charles realizing what was wrong with that patient and trying to encourage Elsa, who was beating herself up because she didn't listen to his earlier advice.
Elsa often goes rogue, but this time, I didn't blame her. Charles was in a depressive stupor, and she was justified in thinking he was shooting down her idea because of his mood.
Dealing with the patient seemed to help Charles rejoin the land of the living, and that last scene where he sang out his grief at karaoke night was beautiful.
Sharon seemed especially impressed with Charles' decision to sing. Cici helped reunite Sharon and Burt shortly before Cici's death, but could a Charles/Sharon pairing be in the future?
Will's storyline also might have gone in a predictable direction, but thank God, it didn't.
After five years of Will and Natalie's on-again-off-again relationship, I was fully expecting Natalie and Will to become partners to save Lynn from herself and then decide to give their relationship one more go.
It's my fault she's addicted. I have to make this right.Will
Instead, Natalie and Will went from being willing to give a friendship a chance to not talking again, and the odds are that Will won't let Natalie comfort him following Lynn's death.
Will and Natalie's relationship (or lack thereof) was a sideline this time, too. The story was mostly about Lynn's addiction and Will's guilt.
Will believed that Jesse was the only thing keeping Lynn sober, and he might have been right about that.
But Natalie was also right to call Child Protective Services.
What Will seemed to have forgotten is that doctors are mandated reporters, and a six-year-old told her that he "takes care of Mom" when she overdoses.
That is not a situation where Natalie had any choice in the matter. By law, she had to report this.
The situation could have been handled better, though.
Before making the call, Sharon and Natalie could have given Will a heads-up so that he wasn't blindsided by the CPS worker's arrival.
Also, why did nobody think to call a psychiatrist or an addictions specialist in on this situation?
While Dr. Charles was mostly holed up in his office, surely there was SOMEONE who could have spoken with Lynn and helped her understand the severity of her situation without freaking her out.
The most interestiing aspect of this whole thing was Will's guilt.
Will: You under the influence of something, Lynn?
Lynn: Me? No.
[Will rolls up her sleeve and sees needle marks]
Will: There are treatment programs I can recommend.
Lynn: You really didn't recognize me in there, did you? 5 milligrams of oxy, 8 times a day. You said it would be fine. That was four years ago. You want to point the finger at someone? Try looking in the mirror.
Lynn blamed Will for her initial addiction, and the opioid dosage and schedule he gave her sounded excessive.
But that guilt clouded his judgment and he became focused on stopping CPS from taking Jesse, risking Lynn's life with a dangerous detox procedure and asking Natalie to break protocol so he could do that.
Now that Lynn has died, Will will likely blame Natalie. But he will also continue to blame himself.
That should take the story to interesting places, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
My only quibble with it is relatively minor: Will's brother got shot on Chicago PD Season 7 Episode 9, and Will didn't seem to be aware of that or concerned about it.
Sometimes Med and PD are written as if they are stand-alone shows, and that doesn't make sense when something in one Chicago show should affect characters in another.
But perhaps that will come in a future episode.
The only other problem with Chicago Med Season 5 Episode 10 was that too much time was wasted on April's relationship drama.
This storyline is typical soap opera fare, plus Marcel has been coming onto April so strongly for a while that it was hard to believe that he was the one who stopped the kiss from going any further.
In any case, April created this entire mess by sabotaging her relationship with Ethan instead of telling him she couldn't have kids in the first place, and now she was upset because Ethan coming home meant she might have to face some consequences for her behavior.
April: Ethan's coming home tonight. I don't know what to say to him.
Marcel: You haven't communicated at all?
April: He's been incommunicado. Navy protocol. I have been agonizing for six weeks over what to tell him.
Marcel: How about 'Hi, Ethan. Good to see you.' We agreed that what happened between us was a mistake.
And while the rest of the storylines were unpredictable, so far the same can't be said for this one. Now that April's decided to keep her indiscretion to herself and Ethan's proposed, the only question is when the truth will come out.
On most soap operas, betrayals come to the surface at the wedding, so it won't be surprising if that's what happens here.
Noah wants to know what's going on and Maggie already does, so that doesn't bode well for April.
April: You may be okay with leaving people in the dark, but you can't assume that I am.
Marcel: Is this about the patient or about Ethan?
April: Ethan? What? I just wanted Alex to know he has options.
Marcel: Alex has no options. This surgery gets riskier every second we wait. If we end up rushing this man into the OR cause he's in shock, that's on you.
As for the medical storyline, April again let her personal life cloud her judgment just like she used to when she and Ethan were broken up and had to work together.
She needs not to work with Marcel. Between the kiss and his mentor relationship with her brother, her continued presence in his OR is asking for a disaster worse than the one that almost happened.
Maggie and Ben's story was a welcome distraction from the April nonsense.
Ben: So, big day, huh? Your first radiation treatment.
Maggie: Uh huh. 3 pm in the basement.
Ben: I'll stick around.
Maggie: You don't have to.
They were so sweet together, and Maggie was genuinely happy for Ben that his cancer was in remission even though hers wasn't.
Nice fake-out with Dr. Singh coming to deliver news, too. It had all the hallmarks of something terrible but turned out to be great news.
Even though the beginning of this love story felt rushed, Maggie and Ben are one of the best things to come out of Chicago Med Season 5, and every week I'm enjoying this couple more.
Your turn, Chicago Med fanatics. What did you think of the winter premiere?
How emotional was Will's storyline?
And am I the only one who finds April annoying and unprofessional?
Hit the blue SHOW COMMENTS button and share your thoughts.
Missed an episode? No problem.Just watch Chicago Med online to get caught up.
Chicago Med continues to air on NBC on Wednesdays at 8 PM EST/PST.