Chicago Med season 3, episode 16 recap: An Inconvenient Truth

CHICAGO MED -- "An Inconvenient Truth" Episode 316 -- Pictured: (l-r) Norma Kuhling as Ava Bekker, Colin Donnell as Connor Rhodes -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)
CHICAGO MED -- "An Inconvenient Truth" Episode 316 -- Pictured: (l-r) Norma Kuhling as Ava Bekker, Colin Donnell as Connor Rhodes -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC) /

Chicago Med’s doctors made some big mistakes this week, so did they recover from them? Here’s what happened in Chicago Med season 3, episode 16.

This week’s episode of Chicago Med was not anyone’s finest hour, so how bad was the damage and how did our characters recover from their mistakes and bad breaks?

Tuesday’s episode is called “An Inconvenient Truth” and starts with Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) looking majorly hungover, much to the amusement of Dr. Connor Rhodes (Colin Donnell).

But before we can find out why Will’s so messed up, Connor is pulled out because Dr. Sarah Reese’s dad has had a heart attack. Reese (Rachel DiPillo) can only watch as Connor manages to save her father for the time being.

Yet she doesn’t want to go upstairs with her dad, and we can’t blame her.

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Connor is also confused by that, but can’t dwell on it as he has to tell Dad that he needs a heart transplant and needs one quickly. When Dad asks about Reese, Connor pretends he’s not sure if she’s working. Nice save, Dr. Rhodes.

Downstairs, Reese’s would-be boyfriend Dr. Noah Sexton (guest star Roland Buck III) and his sister April (Yaya DaCosta) treat a patient who’s decided he’s so over everything. So what are they going to do if he doesn’t want them to do anything?

Elsewhere, Will and Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) help two boys burned in a fire, one of which is Carter, the son of a huge hospital donor—and the godson of their boss Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson). There’s no way this can go terribly wrong, no.

Goodwin somehow gets there in about 30 seconds and assures Carter, and his parents, that he’ll be fine. But what about the other kid? Uh, not so fine.

"Will: That’s terrible news to come home to."

Back upstairs in cardiothoracic surgery, Chicago Med gives us more banter between Connor and Dr. Ava Bekker (Norma Kuhling), who’s gloating about getting his spot on the twin surgery. Both of them are called in for another patient, and disagree again about what to do with Bruce.

This time, Connor shuts up and goes along with the majority opinion, clearly chastized by what happened last week.

That leaves Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto). When she’s not staring at Will wondering what his problem is, she’s dealing with a nine-year-old girl who appears to be missing her uterus and ovaries, but has testicles. Um, we’re not sure how that works, so maybe Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt) can help us figure it out.

We’re quickly told that genetically, this little girl is male, and they need to perform a surgery for her. But first, how do they break the news about this?

Hey, check out Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) visiting from Chicago PD to tell his brother that the fire that hurt Carter started because the kids were trying to get high. This scene also gives us the confirmation that Will did, actually, stupefyingly, make out with Dr. Maya Frisch (guest star Emma Duncan) because she happens to be there and says this:

"Dr. Frisch: I think after last night you can call me Maya."

While we gawk at that, April’s patient asks her and Reese to help locate his son while there’s still time for him to make amends. And Ava takes the lead on Bruce’s surgery, too, only to realize that she left one of more than 200 instruments inside the patient. Connor. Is. Not. Happy.

Latham blames both Connor and Ava for the mistake, and tells them to go get the thing out and then report to his office for further chastizing. So Ava decides to take this moment to declare this is Connor’s fault, calling it his “second strike.” Really, do you want to play the blame game right now?

Dr. Charles and Natalie explain Emma’s situation to her mother, explaining that she may develop “male attributes” as she gets older. Emma’s mother wants to go several steps farther and have the testicles entirely removed so that her daughter can be a girl. Natalie says they won’t do such a thing without getting specific consent from the actual patient, even if she’s nine.

And speaking of kids, Carter is shell-shocked when it’s clear that his friend has died. Will suspects that there’s more to that story, and he and Choi agree to run tox screens to find out. Will brings his suspicion that Carter started the fire to Goodwin, pointing out that only Carter had drugs in his system. Goodwin. Is. Not. Happy.

Natalie and Dr. Charles try to tell Emma what’s up, but her mother is there to spin the diagnosis in her own direction, trying to sway Emma’s opinion. Obviously this won’t work, so what now? At least this gets her to talk to Will for a minute.

We need some good news, STAT, and it happens when Maggie Lockwood (Marlyne Barrett) is able to locate the son of April’s dying patient.

Ava discovers what was inside Bruce is the “tip of the suction catheter,” which proves that it was her fault because only hers had a tip on it. Bruce starts bleeding out as Ava’s trying to fix her error so it’s going to have to be Connor to the rescue, whether she wants it or not.

She storms out of the OR like she’s throwing a temper tantrum, and he walks after her and makes his mind very clear. Of course, because she’s in the locker room crying, then it’s all suddenly decent and he switches to comforting her.

"Connor: This isn’t some reflection of your surgical skill. It’s human error."

Everyone say hello to Chicago Med’s attorney Peter Kalmick (recurring guest star Marc Grapey), as Choi advocates Carter facing charges for his friend’s death. Goodwin is reticent to hang her godson out to dry, so Peter tells her to “let PD be the bad guys.” We’re sure Chicago PD would love to hear that.

Speaking of legal issues, Natalie is stunned to hear that there’s no way she can stop Emma from the surgery her mother wants. But when Emma takes a turn for the worse, Natalie makes one last plea for Mom to change her mind and only do what’s medically necessary. She gets through and the mother finally agrees with her.

Carter’s mom and the mother of his dead friend meet in the hospital, and it’s really hard to watch as his friend’s mom is apologizing when we all know it’s Carter’s fault. Choi just has one of those looks on his face, while Natalie has decided she’s not upset at Will anymore and invites him out for the evening.

Goodwin decides to speak to Carter herself. She implores him to come forward to the police on his own. But will he?

Chicago Med opens the final act of “An Inconvenient Truth” with Carter’s mom angry that her son has decided to speak to the cops, and Peter warning her that means the hospital will lose all of the money Carter’s parents donate.

Meanwhile, after seeing April’s patient get one last moment with his son, Reese admits that she is still on the fence about her dad—but does eventually go to see him.

As she does that and we see that Emma is okay, our cardiothoracic surgeons fall over each other trying to take the blame for Ava’s mistake. For some odd reason, Connor lies to protect Ava. At least, unlike Will and Natalie, Dr. Latham can tell that there’s something up here.

Latham doesn’t know which of them to trust anymore and slaps them on the proverbial wrist, before Ava wonders why Connor was willing to further get in trouble for her. We’re wondering that, too.

And Natalie is wondering why Will went home with someone who wasn’t her and his explanation is terrible, which only makes her more angry. He says they just made out and then he fell asleep on Frisch’s couch, but forgive us if we’re just as skeptical as she is, before she leaves him at the bar.

“An Inconvenient Truth” is a Chicago Med episode that isn’t flattering to many characters on the show. We find out that Will drunkenly fooled around with Dr. Frisch, a plot development that is not only a needless complication, but wrong on so many levels that we’ll address it separately in a future article.

But is anyone else confused about how Natalie is suddenly interested in hanging out with him again? He listens to her for maybe two minutes and she’s missing him? That seems like a very quick turnaround, or at least we don’t have enough context in what’s shown on-screen. It feels like Natalie’s back on Will’s good side just to create drama because we know he slept with someone else, not that they’ve actually worked through anything.

Meanwhile, Ava behaves like a bit of a brat when Bruce winds up in trouble. Her first thought is to snark about how it could be Connor’s fault. It’s a shame, because seeing these other sides of Ava in recent episodes has humanized her a lot, but here she’s back to having a huge ego. She’s about herself, rather than swallowing her pride and putting the patient first.

The fact that she ends up in tears later seems like getting her off the hook. You can’t be a diva (to use someone’s words) one moment and then start emoting the next and it’s all okay. As much as we like to see Good Guy Connor in action.

Then there’s the whole gender dilemma for poor Emma, and her mother massively overreacting and trying to sway her daughter’s opinion so blatantly. Sure, finding out that your child has male body parts is a shock, and we’re not saying she should’ve instantly been okay with it. But she’s so not okay with it that you just want to shake her.

It’s a pleasant resolution that she finally does come around, yet because it happens so quickly in the heat of the moment, we don’t get that full sense of reward. It’s not clear if she’s sincere or just making an emotional decision in a few seconds. Like Natalie, some context would’ve gone a long way here.

Next: Read our Chicago Med interview with Norma Kuhling