Chicago Med season 3 finale recap: The Tipping Point

CHICAGO MED -- "The Tipping Point" Episode 320 -- Pictured: (l-r) Torrey DeVitto as Dr. Natalie Manning, Nick Gehlfuss as Dr. Will Manning -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)
CHICAGO MED -- "The Tipping Point" Episode 320 -- Pictured: (l-r) Torrey DeVitto as Dr. Natalie Manning, Nick Gehlfuss as Dr. Will Manning -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC) /

Chicago Med’s season finale featured a death, saving a life and a marriage proposal. Here’s what happened in Chicago Med season 3, episode 20.

The Chicago Med season finale went full circle of life on us—we had someone dying, someone who didn’t die, and someone wanting to start a new chapter. Who was which and how did the season end?

Tuesday’s episode is called “The Tipping Point” and begins with the hospital trumpeting how important the conjoined twin surgery is. While there’s natural media interest in such a unique procedure, it also kind of makes you wish the hospital could do big things without big fanfare. Just save lives and take credit later, rather than having to call press conferences.

Inside the hospital, Dr. Ava Bekker (Norma Kuhling) tells Dot and Lily’s parents that Dr. Connor Rhodes (Colin Donnell) won’t be on the surgical team. That stuns both the parents and a nearby Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto), who reminds him that the family’s counting on him. Ava is quick to correct her, “They’re counting on the team.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) still hasn’t heard from his sister—but has learned that she did, indeed, steal those drugs. And Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) is all smiles as he plots how he is going to propose to Natalie.

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But first, he has to treat Sharon Goodwin’s ex-husband Bert (guest star Greg Alan Williams), who’s wheeled into the ED with carbon monoxide poisoning. He’s not doing well after the death of his girlfriend Lyla (Garcelle Beauvais), who took a turn for the worse earlier this season.

Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson) is paged immediately and easily deduces that her ex was trying to commit suicide. She does not take it well, and brushes off a request for her to meet with the hospital board after criticizing Bert:

"Goodwin: Can’t you think of anyone else but yourself?"

While she stews, Choi finds out that two of the homeless kids from the encampment he and Natalie visited in the same earlier episode are in the ED, and they both have Hepatitis A. He and Natalie agree to go back to the homeless encampment to see if anyone else there has contracted it, leaving Will in charge of the two girls.

Chicago Med updates us on the condition of Robert Haywood (recurring guest star Michel Gill), who needs to find a home he can recover in, before Connor continues to second-guess his backing out of the surgical procedure after Dot and Lily’s mother begs him not to let the babies die.

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Natalie, Choi and April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta) arrive at the homeless camp to discover Choi’s sister Emily (Arden Cho) is among the homeless. While he processes that shock, Dr. Charles talks to the parents of the college student he thinks Robert may have killed, and then goes to check on Bert. But Bert doesn’t want to talk to him either.

Both Emily and Laura, the homeless girl whose baby Natalie and Choi helped deliver during “Over Troubled Water”, are hauled into the ED. They’re both incredibly worse than the first two, which means a fresh wave of guilt for our Chicago Med heroes on both counts.

Upstairs in the operating room, Connor is watching the twin surgery—along with a bunch of other people. But when the surgery hits a snag, he can’t keep his mouth shut and invites himself into the OR. Dr. Isidore Latham (Ato Essandoh) agrees with Connor’s possible solution and orders him to scrub in after all. Ava is not a fan:

"Ava: You realize if those babies don’t pull through, your career is over.Connor: Yeah, I do."

Charles pleads with Goodwin to try getting through to Bert, but to her that comes off as him saying she owes Bert something, and she rebuffs the idea. Meanwhile, Natalie and Will tell Laura that she has both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis C, and she may have passed it on to her baby. The new parents are bringing the baby in to be tested, and Laura asks to see her child.

Speaking of parents, Dr. Sarah Reese (Rachel DiPillo) can’t get her father to choose a rehabilitation facility. While Robert plays the poor Dad card a little more, Goodwin finds out the board still wants to see her, and Connor is fully in the middle of that twin surgery. Nothing like undertaking a life-changing operation with a full audience. But he does the job, which gets him another staredown from Ava.

Emily finally wakes up and apologizes to Choi for her behavior. Choi tells her not to worry, and is surprised when April suggests sending Emily to a group home:

"Choi: Let her be somebody else’s problem? That’s how I’ve always dealt with Emily. Can’t do that anymore."

Charles and Robert have another snarky interaction, during which Charles reminds Robert that he still has a personality disorder. This motivates Charles to meet the family of the missing girl Olivia, and they take him to visit her still-preserved bedroom, which is just sad. But it also reveals an important clue: Charles notices that the room is missing one of three monkey figurines—which look exactly like the one he found in Robert’s apartment!

After getting to see her baby (and the show confirming for us that the baby is fine), Laura crashes and dies.

Then Goodwin reconsiders talking to Bert after all. She reveals that Lyla asked her to look after him, and Bert apologizes for the pain he caused her by leaving. Goodwin replies that she didn’t need an apology, but that she won’t sugarcoat how hard it was for her after he walked out. Even so, she points out that they still have three kids:

"Goodwin: Don’t you dare do this to them. You let these people help you."

Goodwin returns to the ED floor to find out that the hospital hired a new Chief of Trauma that she didn’t even know they’d employed. His name is Dr. Jimmy Lanik, and he was what the board was trying to meet with her about. Plus, they’ve also just hired a new Chief Operating Officer from a pharmaceutical company, which means Goodwin has to work with Gwen Garrett. And you know how pharmaceutical companies have so much experience doing what’s best for patients.

Elsewhere, Chicago Med continues Dr. Charles’ investigation. He tries to get into Robert’s place to retrieve the monkey, but can’t legally do so without Reese. While he ponders Plan B, we find out that the twins have been successfully separated and all is well—in large part due to Connor and his ability to solve that big problem. Everyone admires the babies in the NICU and applauds the team, before Connor is pulled aside by one of the bigwigs watching the surgery.

But Dr. Frisch tries to chat up Will again, this time in front of Natalie, who gets enraged all over again realizing who he was kissing during their break. She storms off, which prompts Will to chase after her and propose on the spot. A stunned, confused Natalie does not have an answer—at least that we get to see.

Meanwhile, April makes clear that if Emily comes home to Ethan’s apartment, she won’t be there. It’s amazing how she’s advocating so much against Emily when she’s always stuck up for Noah and his many mistakes (although at least Noah never committed a crime).

And we find out that the bigwig offered Connor a position at the Mayo Clinic. Ava accuses him of orchestrating the whole surgery to get ahead; he asks her if she’d take the job and she gets all stone-faced again and says “Absolutely.” That just ends the conversation right there, and he’s right to leave her standing there. Sorry, Ava, but we’re not going to care about you crying when you just insulted him, again.

But the Chicago Med season finale’s not done yet. “The Tipping Point” concludes with Robert saying Reese has agreed to let him move into her apartment. Charles uses this to confront him about his suspicions, which only cause Robert to gloat more. “Why don’t you just admit you lost?” he says, but that’s moments before his new heart gives out.

Charles takes his pulse, but hesitates to do anything else. Reese comes in to find Charles sitting beside her father’s clearly dead body, and before he can explain—blackout. Well, that’s a couple of startling notes to end Chicago Med season 3 on, and a lot of uncertainty.

One Chicago fans know that this franchise loves cliffhangers, but Chicago Med takes it to a new level with “The Tipping Point.” The Chicago Med season 3 finale has three unresolved moments in its final few minutes—with Will and Natalie, with Connor, and with Dr. Charles (again).

Obviously the show wants to build up its excitement for next season, which it will definitely do, but for right now it’s somewhat of a mixed bag. Look at the Charles storyline for example; the good news is that we finally get rid of Robert Haywood.

The bad news is that he dies in front of Dr. Charles, with Dr. Reese coming in just moments too late. Please tell us that Chicago Med season 4 isn’t going to involve Reese thinking Charles is to blame for her father’s death, and thus further prolong a storyline that should’ve been resolved weeks ago.

And speaking of weeks, all that build-up to the conjoined twin surgery pays off to an extent. It’s great to finally see the procedure, and we’re glad to get our happy ending, plus some much needed good PR for the hospital. But was it worth waiting months for? Not necessarily.

Chicago Med also takes a big risk by leaving the season with both of its couples semi-on the outs. April is mad at Choi, and Natalie’s mad at Will (although he did just propose). After spending the season getting us excited about both pairings, the finale then knocks them both over. That could be tough for some fans to swallow, although at least with Chexton you figure that they’re going to make up before the new season starts. They’ve always been good about resolving their issues in a calm and quick manner, compared to the huge fights Manstead has been stuck with.

The Chicago Med season finale really is a tipping point at the hospital, but like Chicago Fire, it tips in the direction that doesn’t give audiences a lot to be happy about. These are big surprise, but it’s mostly bad news, and that’s a far cry from how things finished in season 1 or season 2. At least we know there’s going to be a fourth season to give us some answers, because the show has once again essentially cleared the deck with this episode.

Next: Read our interview with Chicago Med's Brian Tee

What did you think of the Chicago Med season 3 finale? Leave your reaction to “The Tipping Point” in the comments.

Chicago Med returns Wednesdays at 8/7c on NBC.