Is Chicago Med better off without Manstead?

CHICAGO MED -- "We're Lost In The Dark" -- Episode 505 -- Pictured: (l-r) Torrey DeVitto as Dr. Natalie Manning, Nick Gehlfuss as Will Halstead -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)
CHICAGO MED -- "We're Lost In The Dark" -- Episode 505 -- Pictured: (l-r) Torrey DeVitto as Dr. Natalie Manning, Nick Gehlfuss as Will Halstead -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC) /

Chicago Med season 5’s midseason finale featured a bombshell for Manstead, so is Chicago Med better with Will Halstead and Natalie Manning being apart?

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains discussion of the Chicago Med midseason finale.

Manstead fans who were hoping for a reconciliation in Wednesday’s Chicago Med midseason finale wound up being heartbroken instead.

“I Can’t Imagine the Future” saw Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto) finally remember what she was going to tell ex-fiance Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) during the season 4 finale, before they were hit by a car.

Of course, it was that she still loved him and wanted to get back together. But Will didn’t welcome her back—instead, he rejected her.

In a lengthy and surprising monologue, Will explained that after Natalie had told him to get out of her life earlier this season, he had done just that and was finally happy. He explained that all they did was hurt each other, and that without Natalie, “I’m free.”

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It wasn’t what fans expected, but it made an awful lot of sense. So that prompts the question: is Chicago Med a better show without Manstead?

Will and Natalie have been the show’s favored couple since the first season, when Will harbored an obvious crush on Natalie and they eventually shared a kiss. This time last year, they were about to get married. The writers—and a certain group of Chicago Med‘s fans—have invested a lot of time and energy into their relationship.

In that sense, it would be disappointing if the show never paid all that off. But thanks to the writers’ use of relationship drama, it’s also impossible to say that Will doesn’t have a point.

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Chicago Med, more than any other One Chicago show, loves to make its relationships dramatic. And no relationship has been more dramatic than Manstead. Will and Natalie have been in a loop of getting close to each other, dating other people, dumping them, and going back to each other that got old a few seasons ago.

Plus, there’s the fact that they argue 75 percent of the time. If they’re not having some romantic moment, they’re fighting. This is the second midseason finale in a row where Will has left Natalie crying someplace (though last year wasn’t his fault).

Chicago Med isn’t letting Manstead be happy together. This isn’t like Chicago Fire, where Dawsey circled each other for awhile and had some false starts but then hooked up and stayed together. They had challenges, but they maintained their relationship.

Manstead has been a constant train wreck where Natalie drops Will when she’s upset, then runs back to him later, and Will is hung up on her to his own detriment (and the detriment of the other people who form their love triangles, or squares, like Jeff Clarke and Nina Shore).

There’s no doubt they both deserve better. The question is, does the show need to move on? That should be the case, but it depends on if the writers are willing to take that risk. Chicago Med would have to let go of the Manstead drama that’s been a big part of the series, and enable both of them to move on to other, healthy, well-developed relationships (emphasis on healthy).

But the writers seem to love the big moments they can deliver out of Will and Natalie’s ups and downs, like the one we saw in the midseason finale. And they like all their characters to be in some kind of romantic relationship.

It’s unlikely they’d let either Natalie or Will just be single, and with the rest of the main cast all involved with other people, they might take the easy path of putting Manstead back together yet again rather than have to develop new recurring characters for them to date. As much as Chicago Med season 5 ought to move on from Manstead, that actually happening is easier said than done.

Next. What else happened in Chicago Med's fall finale. dark

For the latest Chicago Med season 5 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Med category at One Chicago Center.