Upton's childhood trauma bubbled up to the surface on Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 11.
This isn't the first time the series has touched upon Upton's past, but audiences were able to get a better grasp of the hell she went through while growing up in a household of domestic abuse.
Up until now, she never fully confronted how it affected her into adulthood.
On Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 3, Upton couldn't even bring herself to visit her father after he suffered a heart attack.
The truth is, she's been running from her past for her whole life, but the trauma has finally caught up with her and it's significantly affecting every aspect of her life including her career and her promising, new relationship.
And she's beginning to realize that if she lets this bruised part of herself continue to get in the way, it could jeopardize everything she's ever cared about.
Let’s run a full forensics search. Find out who this family really is. What the hell happened in this house.Voight
The case was solid with or without an anchor to Upton's personal life as it kept audiences on their toes. Also, how gruesome was that scene of the mother with her teeth pulled out and her fingertips burnt off?
Upton responded to a call that involved a young child who has endured a lifetime of emotional and physical abuse.
She immediately felt drawn to the little girl, Becca, as she saw herself in her pained yet hopeful face.
And Upton went to great lengths to help her. On one hand, her determination played a key role in solving the case, but on the other hand, it was dangerous because she was willing to break the rules and go against Voight's orders.
Maybe there’s some part of me that when I hear I love you, I’m always waiting for the punch. For the I’m sorry that’s going to come.Upton
Since she was fueled by emotion, she wasn't thinking clearly, which made it easy for her to misstep and cross a line.
Throughout the episode, I wanted to shake Upton and tell her to snap out of it, but it almost felt like she thought she could save herself by saving Becca.
Upton's past gives her good instincts, and her personal involvement in the case is largely the reason Intelligence found Becca in time.
However, it also forced her to reassess her approach.
After her heart-to-heart with Voight, she realized that she couldn't continue pretending that her past wasn't seeping into her present.
Yeah, but you learn how to be that way. To shut people out. To be invisible. You learn it. Becca’s only 12-years-old. Maybe she hasn’t learned how to do that just yet?Hailey
A childhood fueled by control, manipulation, betrayal, and abuse also made it hard for Upton to form a real connection with another person.
Even before she took on the case, Upton bolted right after Halstead said the L-word.
While it was a huge moment in their relationship, for Upton, it was a trigger because she's only ever known a dysfunctional level of love.
Whenever someone would say "I love you," there was always a catch. So, when Halstead said it, she was waiting for the other foot to drop.
Upton: So every monster I see is my dad?
Voight: Are they?
Upton: Every hurt little kid is me? Am I unfit to be a cop?
Voight: If you’re unfit, I’m unfit.
Instead of allowing herself to get hurt, she wanted to beat him to the punch and run the other way.
That's why her eventual decision to open up to Halstead and be vulnerable and transparent about her fears and insecurities is a step in the right direction.
I also love that Halstead didn't try to "fix" Upton; he listened to what she needed while promising to be patient with her.
I wasn't completely sold on #TeamUpstead prior to this episode because I'm used to the relationships on this series crumbling for one reason or another, but I'm digging the direction that this is going in.
Atwater: Well, con is short for confidence.
Voight: This time it’s short for stupid.
Not every relationship starts in the honeymoon phase, and that's fine.
There's a strong connection between these two as it's clear that Halstead cares about Hailey and wants to support her.
Hopefully, the series doesn't just drop this storyline. While we don't need a whole episode dedicated to her working through her issues, it would be nice to see some continuity whenever #Upstead's relationship gets future screen time.
We got to chat with Tracy Spiridakos, who plays Hailey Upton, about the game-changing episode!
Check out our post-mortem interview below:
Voight: So we’re not longer listening to direct orders?
Hailey: Becca could’ve been in that shed.
Voight: You didn’t have an arrest warrant in hand. You didn’t even have a search warrant!
Hailey’s past continues to haunt her in several aspects of her life, but it’s clear that she can’t keep this bottled up inside anymore without it taking a personal toll on her. Will we see her continue to work through the trauma and confront the people who harmed her in the past?
I hope so! I had a really great time on this episode exploring her past and seeing her vulnerability and I’d love to continue getting to know her. So much of her is still a mystery. We don’t get to dig any deeper in her past this season, but I hope in seasons to come we do.
Hailey saw herself in that little girl and though she almost crossed a line, her determination is what ultimately saved her. Does the good outweigh the bad when it comes to her motivations behind being a cop?
I think she’s definitely trying to have the good outweigh the bad, and I think her motivations are to be good and do the right thing, but we’ll have to wait and see if she succeeds at accomplishing that every time or not.
Hailey: Sarge, it can work. And we’ve crossed worse lines before.
Voight: Did you not hear me say no?
Because of her past, Hailey struggles with romantic relationships. Jay promised he’d be there for her, but does she need to work through her trauma alone before she can pursue something real and intimate with him?
I’m sure more obstacles will come up with her past and yes, I think she will have to work through her trauma before she can be emotionally available. Hailey told Jay a few seasons ago that he should go to therapy, maybe now it’s her turn to do so. Hopefully, we’ll get to see a little more of that in season
He said “I love you” and meant it. She said it back but made it clear that it wasn’t easy for her to open up and be vulnerable. How will this impact them moving forward?
Hailey has someone who loves and accepts her for who she is, including her messy past and that is a first for her. There’s something safe and beautiful about it, but also terrifying because all of a sudden she has something to lose. Going forward we’ll see her struggle with the fear of messing it up as well as balancing her work and her relationship dynamic.
Chicago PD Season 8 has delivered a handful of powerful storylines for several members of Intelligence.
We've tackled Upton's childhood trauma, Ruzek's fractured relationship with both his father and Burgess, Atwater's internal struggle with being a Black brother in blue, and Burgess's fostering storyline with Makayla.
This is the most personal we've gotten in any season! Since none of the storylines have gotten proper resolutions, hopefully, they're weaved into future episodes and explored fully.
What did you think?
Did you like the Upton-centric episode? Are you digging her honest and vulnerable approach with Halstead?
Leave your comments below, and as always, be sure watch Chicago PD online to catch up on all the action!