Chicago Med season 3, episode 12 recap: Born This Way

CHICAGO MED -- "Born This Way" Episode 312 -- Pictured: Norma Kuhling as Ava Bekker -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)
CHICAGO MED -- "Born This Way" Episode 312 -- Pictured: Norma Kuhling as Ava Bekker -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC) /

Chicago Med shakes up the hospital’s status quo this week, but at what cost? Here’s what happened in Chicago Med season 3, episode 12.

This week’s Chicago Med is all about not being comfortable—maybe for the better and maybe for the worse. But one thing’s for certain, this isn’t the same hospital anymore.

Tuesday’s episode is called “Born This Way” and it opens the morning after the last episode ended. It’s not a shocker that Dr. Connor Rhodes (Colin Donnell) took his colleague Dr. Ava Bekker (Norma Kuhling) home with him and they slept together.

What is a bit surprising is how awkwardly eager Connor is in this new situation. He offers to make her coffee, and then they talk about getting together later—although he has plans. By plans, is he referring to another date of his? We don’t know, but Ava seems as perplexed as we do.

Well, come on. You didn’t expect things to be perfect between them, did you?

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Moving on, Chicago Med brings us to the rest of the team. Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) was working the night shift, and we find out that he’s been talking about reaching out to his estranged sister.

But before they can go home, Choi and Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto) are stopped in the parking lot by a young woman who says her pregnant friend needs help. Choi is totally down for a field operation and enlists a very skeptical Natalie to assist.

She quickly deduces that the girl has an infection, which is bad because her water already broke—a whole two days ago.


Back at the hospital Ava and Connor are in the ED when a familiar face returns. They’re familiar with Luke, who has cystic fibrosis and now a collapsed lung. Connor admits to the kid, in his most adorable Connor Rhodes way, that things are bad but he’s going to get through it. Ava, however, disagrees with his choice of treatment.

Elsewhere Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) treats a man who’s been coughing up blood for a few weeks. He and April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta) quickly figure out the patient has cancer, but Will can’t believe the patient wants to die—because he’s a child molester.

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Chicago Med throws two more curveballs up in cardiothoracic surgery. Connor is surprised that Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt) asks him to order a head scan for Reese’s father (returning guest star Michel Gill).

And Ava tells Luke’s family that some lungs have become available for transplant—only for her to be thrown again when Connor tells her what they’re going to have to do in order to ensure Luke is ready for the procedure.

She gives Connor a death glare when she comes back to deliver the first round of test results, as they indicate a possibility of early liver failure. Ava thinks that means they need to take him off of the ECMO that Connor’s put him on, but Connor argues that taking him off means he could die before the lungs arrive.

Luke’s parents ask why they can’t agree, but defer to Connor because he’s treated Luke longer. And Ava’s reaction is a very interesting comparison:

"Ava: He’s a snowball rolling downhill and this is our last chance to stop it."

But when Luke starts crashing the very next time we see him, Luke’s mother changes her side and tells Connor to pull him off the ECMO. Unfortunately at that point, it’s too late and Connor rightly is more interested in finding solutions than arguing with everyone. Because everyone dislikes him at this moment.

Speaking of arguing, April asks why Will doesn’t just let his patient die, which does not go over well with Dr. Halstead. He wants to have his patient declared mentally incompetent, but Reese doesn’t want to do that yet, which further frustrates Will.

Elsewhere, Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson) finds out that the hospital is being sued by a homeless man, thanks to Maggie Lockwood’s (Marlyne Barrett) idea earlier this season of trying to get the ambulances to bring in more patients. We knew that would backfire, just not like this.

The allegation is that the driver ignored the homeless guy in favor of a patient with health insurance, at Maggie’s direction. She claims she only wanted to bring in more patients, not that she specified insured patients. This is going to be very thorny, so Goodwin insists on a word with the driver personally.

Goodwin confronts the driver in the hospital’s TV room, where he repeats what he said in the legal paperwork. She asks where he got that idea; he points out where they are, and you can’t fault him when he says the room is “a ploy” to bring in “paying customers.” Goodwin kicks him out, but that is enough for Maggie to realize her idea’s been badly misconstrued.

Chicago Med has Reese ask Charles for his opinion on Will’s patient; Charles says that they need to let the guy make his own decision, and he suggests that there’s a chance pedophilia “could be hard-wired into the brain.” Well, that’s going to be a discussion topic amongst some viewers, for sure.

And in cardiothoracic surgery, Luke’s parents directly ask Ava if she disagrees with Connor. She gives the polite answer of “it’s a complicated situation,” but we still get the scene of the parents going on about how hard it’s been for their family. You’ve seen this coming, but it works here as it does allow us to see a compassionate, non-snarky side of Ava. Along with Connor, who of course just happens to be nearby.

"Ava: When you do something out of love, it can never really be wrong."

With just ten minutes before the lungs arrive, Luke is entering multiple organ failure, so our heroes need a drastic solution and they need it fast. They get one: the ECMO has been working too slow this whole time. Connor and Ava are forced to work together in order to find the clot in the line and save their patient, which takes just a matter of moments and then it’s transplant time!

Connor even takes a second to tell Ava she’s an excellent surgeon and he wants her to finish the procedure. Dude, your random compliment is as random as Ava’s random snark about your love life earlier in Chicago Med season 3.

Charles has Dr. Sam Abrams (recurring guest star Brennan Brown) look at Reese’s dad’s head scan results. Abrams is not impressed, which is normal for him, but he takes it to another level with his deadpan comment about suffocation. Lines like that might get him sued someday.

Lest you think Chicago Med forgot about the pregnant girl, she’s delivering her baby. It’s painful as heck, because the baby gets stuck near the end, but Natalie is able to make it work and we’ve got an adorable little girl in the world.

While Reese hears that the pedophile wants to die as his “reward” for behaving, Reese’s dad is upstairs with Dr. Charles being diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder in addition to his heart issue. And Charles points out he can’t just expect Sarah to take care of him either. At least not without full disclosure.

"Charles: It would be very much in your best interest to share this with your daughter."

Speaking of daughters, Choi and Natalie are heartbroken when the mom tells them to take her baby to the hospital without her—essentially giving up the child so that the kid can have what she perceives as a better life. We’re not crying, you’re crying.

At the end of the day Goodwin finds out that the hospital is settling the lawsuit. She also tells the hospital attorney that she shut down the TV room. You’d think they’d be happy about that, but he orders her to leave it open since they’re making 14 percent more money off it—despite getting sued. Head, meet wall.

Back downstairs, it’s time for Will to make the final decision on his dying patient. He sends April out of the room and then Chicago Med makes a point of showing us him putting the tool down and allowing the man to die as per his wishes. When April returns, she knows what he did. And we know, thanks to Nick Gehlfuss’s excellent reaction shots, what it took for him to do it.

Time to wrap up the episode’s main storyline. Luke is doing well after his transplant, so Connor and Ava can go back to talking about other things. She admits he was right professionally; he’s still giving her compliments. And he’s cancelled his plans so they can go out, but she’s not interested anymore.

"Ava: Last night was a mistake."

Natalie and Choi return to the hospital with the baby. Natalie wants to talk about what she’s done today; Will isn’t interested in hearing it. He needs some time and space. So does Choi, who decides to finally seek out his sister (that’s Teen Wolf alum Arden Cho).

And so does Reese, who has heard from her father—but just thinks that’s dad being “selfless” as he only mentioned the heart problem, not his personality disorder. This poor girl is going to take a hard, hard fall.

“Born This Way” marks an interesting return for Chicago Med because it has many of the things that have made this season great, but also some of the things that have made this season a little frustrating.

Obviously the Connor-Ava development is a talking point, and it’s kind of weird that after he’s been playing the field so contently for awhile now, he sleeps with Ava and suddenly he’s back to being adorable and wanting to make date plans. We’ll chalk the coffee up to him being Good Guy Connor, but what makes her so different that he’s treating her differently?

We’re not sold on that yet, but what’s great about the episode is that the personal is pushed aside when it’s time for the script to focus on the medicine. We get to see them still have differences of opinion in treatment, and we also get to see that Ava does have that vulnerable side that we’ve only really seen once with her. The episode doesn’t become about the fact that they hooked up; that’s just a thing that happened—yet, anyway.

At the same time, the whole ambulance driver debacle just reminds us how stupid that whole idea was in the first place. And April pressing Will on the pedophile, while understandable to a point, is off-putting; it comes off as her passing her own moral judgment on the patient. Whether or not he wants to die is something separate, but she shouldn’t be judging him regardless. At least she does admit that.

Ditto Natalie as she once again makes her opinion very clear, but give her credit for having more of an open mind and coming around to help save the day.

Plus, we’ve got Reese’s dad and now Choi’s sister to deal with. Where’s all this going to go? (And does anyone in this hospital have a family without some kind of issue in it?)

There are a few weaknesses here, that seem like they’ll resolve themselves, but there’s a few big things here to work with. Even though we’re not fans of the whole Connor-Ava ship, it’s handled in a decent way so far and the case of the week gives both Colin Donnell and Norma Kuhling some great moments, too. Mix in another solid performance from Brian Tee, and this is a strong return for a show we definitely missed.

Next: Colin Donnell dishes on tonight's Chicago Med

What did you think of this week’s Chicago Med episode? Leave us your reaction to “Born This Way” in the comments.

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