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Chicago P.D. 2×23 “Born Into Bad News” Recap

Spoilers Ahead 

“Born Into Bad News” was solid – a finale with an intriguing plot, excellent performances, and unanswered questions that’ll leave fans anticipating season three.

Episode Summary: Retired officer Commander Perry chooses to help his nephew clear his name from a narcotic unit who are using their job to get additional money from drug busts. And in order to prove their doings, Lindsay and Voight act as though they want in on their crimes as well. Antonio asks some members of the unit if they’d be willing to invest in a boxing gym. A woman from Olinsky’s past has secrets of her own. There’s a wedding in the future. And a beloved character decides her time in the unit is up – but we all know it’s temporary.

Review | Analysis: The last few episodes of Chicago P.D. haven’t exactly been my favorites, and I suppose having little to no expectations for this finale worked for my benefit. At this point as an avid television viewer, I’ve established that there’s such a thing as the “season two curse”. Okay maybe I made it up, but I’m sticking to it. Kuddos to the very few shows that haven’t fallen victim to it – ultimately I would describe the “season two curse” as the most ridiculously dramatic season. And it often happens towards the end where we’re given so much frustrating build up, it’s nearly tempting to send writers medical bills. That said, “Born Into Bad News” has actually left me believing that season three will be even better than season two, and the further development we get will exceed all expectations.

Tonight’s case was interesting but what made for good television is the fact that it effortlessly tugged on the heartstrings. And mostly what I personally loved is that it involved members of the Intelligence unit directly. The element of shock was will played when audiences learn that Perry’s nephew is indeed covering something up, but it’s unfortunately too late when the truth is revealed because Perry’s already dead. It gave the audience an opportunity to not only see the pangs of lies but the importance of what remaining an honorable cop means.

Additionally, the case fit in with Lindsay’s situation really well and grounded her character in the way I feel is most true to her. And that’s precisely what makes the finale shocking – while it’s something I felt was coming due to reading teasers floating around, judging by the way the episode was written, it wasn’t at all what I had imagined we’d get. I’m thrilled beyond words that Lindsay hasn’t willingly gone back to doing drugs because that’s the one thing that I felt wouldn’t at all be true to her character.

There are numerous similarities between Erin Lindsay and Once Upon A Time’sEmma Swan which may or may not be the reason they’re my favorite characters on both series. And (spoiler alert) much like the way Emma Swan has refused to give into the darkness, I ultimately wanted to see Erin Lindsay do the same. Both females are incredibly strong willed and continuously fight to make sure other people are safe and happy; therefore, while Lindsay’s pain is entirely understandable, at this point in her life she knows better than to give into a life where she’s harming herself.

And as I’ve stated in past reviews, though it’s evident that relapses happen, it also doesn’t mean it always happen after a traumatic event. Frankly, what’s been most frustrating for me as a viewer is the way everything’s been hyped up. I understand that for the sake of drama it’s necessary, but really this is a cop show not a soap opera – let’s not put our leads through nonsense. Again, as a huge fan of ABC’s Nashville, I can take a story on relapsing if it’s well executed; however with Chicago P.D., it’s the fact that it feels as though Nadia was killed in order to drag Erin down this path. And truthfully, I’m still really bitter over that darling girl’s death. It’s not fun to see one out of the only four females on the series killed in a horrible death. Sorry for beating a dead horse, but when you grieve, you grieve.

Sophia Bush has been delivering a remarkably realistic sense of exhaustion and heartbreak. It’s undeniably her delivery that’s making these storylines riveting to watch because Bush’s mannerisms are phenomenal. That said, Erin Lindsay needs to take time to grieve. All she’s been doing since the moment Nadia died is repressing the pain in ways that are entirely unhealthy. Enduring pain isn’t weakness, coming out of the vulnerability by fighting for it is precisely what makes someone strong. It’s great to know that she’s still got her moral compass straight because the way she stood up for the little girl and took charge of the situation is solidification that the Erin Lindsay we know hasn’t really gone anywhere. She merely needs time, but the only unfortunate thing is that Bunny’s not the right person she should be around. At a state of complete vulnerability, like Voight states, it’s easier to emotionally manipulate someone and it’s clear that’s exactly what Bunny’s done. She’s taken this time of grief and warped it into her own perfect storyline where she can appear as the only hero in her daughter’s life by giving her pointers on how to grieve without the interruption of those who really care for her. Bunny believes she’s the only real family Erin’s got, but this episode proves that she’s the furthest from family. And it’s so heartbreaking because even though she’s the woman who actually gave birth to her, if she knew what was right for her, she wouldn’t have taken her away from the place that’s not only kept her grounded, but it’s brought out the absolute best in her. Sadly, it isn’t even Bunny’s fault because she’s never really known what it’s like to be a parent – anytime she’s been given the opportunity to get real help, she’s followed her own selfish desires believing that her way is the right way. Erin’s choice however is still incredibly selfless because she’s quitting her job with the hopes that it’ll prevent those she cares for from getting hurt. She’s got it in her head that everything she touches is tainted and that because she’s somehow born into bad news, she cannot be an honorable figure who’ll save lives. It’s shocking but makes complete sense that she’d feel this way at such a vulnerable time because what we’ve learned from Erin Lindsay over the past two years is that her immense capacity to love is unlike any other. And all she wants to do is protect those she cares for.

Voight is Erin’s father – blood or no blood – their bond is thicker and tougher than DNA. And there’s absolutely no way he’ll give up on trying to help her find herself again. I don’t always believe in his tactics, and I feel he should be a bit more graceful in such a demanding situation, but his love for her is stronger than any paternal love she’s ever known. And his faith in her will ultimately play a role in their lives next season. Is anyone else hoping Voight will reach out to Halstead for help? I can’t help but always notice the subtle ways in which the direction continuously illuminates that Jay and Voight are two of the most important male figures in Erin’s life – two men who’d without a second thought take a bullet for her if it meant they’d save her life. In “Born Into Bad News”especially the way the camera panned into their reactions constantly couldn’t have been more obvious. The entire unit will undoubtedly fight for Erin Lindsay, but judging by tonight’s episode, Hank Voight and Jay Halstead will play the most pivotal roles in her future.

I’m in awe of the profound poignancy in Jesse Lee Soffer’s performances this week each time Jay shares a scene with Erin. Anytime we need to see vulnerability from Jay’s character, Soffer’s meticulous acting choices always make for evocatively raw moments. With the sincerity Soffer conveys through his expressiveness, the audience can see that Jay’s adoration for Erin is through the roof. And the subtle manner in which Soffer’s voice would break weaved in with the tenderness in his eyes allowed the audience to understand that Jay clearly feels a great amount of pain because he knows Erin’s hurting deeply. One of the reasons my respect for Jay’s character is strongest is because of the admirable way in which he values Erin’s agency. And for those who are familiar with my reviews, you know it’s something I’ve been saying from the beginning. Thereby, his choice to once more remind her of the fact that he’s looking out for was exactly what she needed. In Jay’s eyes, Erin Lindsay is the toughest cop he’s known because he knows how much she’s overcome to stand where she is. And if a man with military background, endless bravery and commendable passion sees her as the toughest, then we can be certain she’ll overcome all of this as well. We can also be certain that as her partner who’s promised to ceaselessly have her back, he’ll never give up on bringing her home.

Chicago P.D. is anything but a love show; however, the romance they’ve set up through Jay and Erin is easily one of the strongest bonds on television right now. It’s hard not to root for them – believe me, I’ve tried. Through their distinctive and selfless partnership we’re shown a duo who protect each other with unwavering dedication even when there aren’t guns in their faces. It’s in the ways they look to each other when it appears chaos is about to detonate or in the way they know something’s off even before it’s said out loud. Objectively judging by the way this finale was set up, Voight and Jay are going to play colossal roles in Erin’s life next season. And that’s something I’m certainly looking forward to because the girl who’s fought so hard for everyone else’s lives will now see that she’s got endless potential and a life worth fighting for. It’s nice to know those you care for will always fight for you. Side note: someone should seriously give this girl the biggest hug in the world and let her cry on their shoulders until she’s okay. It’s what she would’ve done.

It’s so great to have gotten a bit of insight on what’s going on in Antonio’s life. He’s one of the most riveting characters on the series and if you ask me, we don’t get enough of him. My favorite kind of character development is the subtle kind, and I love that we learned about the fact that Matador’s Boxing is a place Antonio’s received training since he was 14. It’s also a place that contributed not only to his growth but as he states, it saved his life. And since the owner can no longer pay for it, he asks his unit if they can help out in order to keep the place open so that other kids can be positively influenced by it. And that’s what was so exceptional about this entire storyline and great to see, we’ve never known this about Antonio, but now that we do it only solidifies all our positive opinions we’ve ever had. He’s an impeccably caring figure, police officer, friend, and a father – if there’s one thing I’m hoping to see from next season, it’s more time with his kids. It was admirable of Voight to use the money from the case in order to help Antonio’s cause.

Alvin Olinsky has a sixteen year old daughter he’s just now learning about. WHAT? Linda Sovana (an ex from back when he worked undercover) comes to remind him of the fact that she once saved him. Also she makes sure to clarify whether or not he was married when they were together to which he states that he was. That’s such a tough situation to be a part of. On one hand I can’t imagine what it must be like for Linda or anyone in that situation, but on the other, we know for a fact that some people unfortunately get hurt in order for more lives to be saved. And that’s the life of a police officer. It plainly, simply sucks (excuse the lack of eloquence in this sentence). When she reminded him of what she’d done, I had imagined that she’d be back again because you don’t just randomly come back after 16 years and remind someone of the favor you’ve done for them without expecting something in return. It’ll be interesting to see where this storyline goes with Alvin’s new family and how his current one will react to it. However, I’m also pretty excited for the focus we’ll have on Olinsky because much like Antonio, he’s one of the most fascinating characters on the series.

If I had to choose a favorite moment from this week’s episode it’d without a doubt be Atwater’s “What I did last night, I would’ve done regardless. It was Lindsay.” The sole reason this show is one of my favorites is because of the gorgeous way the Intelligence unit cares for one another. I’ve said it a million times by now and I’ll say it again until the very last episode. It never fails to amaze me and I’m unashamed to admit that it even makes me a little bit emotional. Okay I lied, really emotional. I’m sad for Burgess, but I’m incredibly happy Atwater’s been cleared. He saved the day and Hawkins’ slays in his performance in the fragmented moment where he was able to shine most wonderfully.

Even more shocking than Lindsay’s choice to quit was Adam’s choice to propose. However the proposal was pleasantly surprising. I love the fact that this time, it’s more obvious that Adam’s ready for a marriage. It says a lot about his character that he’s willing to settle down and so quickly because it’s not for show but wholeheartedly out of love. And please for the love of God, let’s not go screwing this one up as well. Although in a sense I’m certain it’s not going to be easy for the two as things will definitely come in the middle of them, but what I want to see is the fight to keep at it no matter what happens. Ever since they’ve gotten together asides from Burgess’ life being threatened, we’ve yet to really see any complications or disagreements between them, and at some point, every couple has their roadblocks they need to overcome. I don’t doubt that they’ll conquer them, but it’s what I want to see in order to really feel that both of them want it bad enough.

And that’s a wrap on this season two. Thank you all so much for reading these every week – it’s been an honor writing them. I’m excited to be back next season and hope you are too. Remember, if there’s anything you’d like us to discuss, as long it’s not hateful, I’ll gladly do so. And stay tuned for Spring ’15 Finale Week Roundup for a performance review on the lovely Sophia Bush.

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