Chicago P.D. 4×05 “A War Zone” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

And all good things must come to an end.

Case Summary: After Will Halstead calls in the unit to notify them of yet another overdose and a body’s later found, the unit scatters together to find the dealer. Tay’s sent back to her old unit. Jay gives Mouse his blessing to leave and Platt hands him the cleared record.

Review | Analysis: “A War Zone” was solid, but unsurprisingly one of the more heartbreaking episodes. One of the things Chicago P.D. is best at is showcasing the importance of a person’s agency. And in doing so, it’s always done a riveting job of revealing the depth of adoration our heroes carry in their hearts. However, most importantly it reminded us of the fact that soldiers carry admirably selfless passion within them, and we need to remind ourselves of how vital they are everyday.

As a sweet commenter pointed out last week, episodes were filmed out-of-order; thereby, I take back all my frustrations about the series not giving Greg (Mouse) a proper closure. But thankfully, “A War Zone” did everything I wanted it to.

Mouse’s frustrations continue to grow ultimately showcasing just how badly he wants an escape. Some people are born to serve — it isn’t for everyone. Some come out of the Army more broken than ever, some come out engulfed with survivor’s guilt. Jay Halstead for instance is the latter, and while their time as Rangers damaged Mouse, it essentially fueled him. It gave him a sense of purpose. Those who give their lives to protect our country are different — there’s something in them that’s so indescribably selfless we couldn’t understand if we weren’t in their skin.

Mouse and Jay are both prodigiously different from one another, and while they’ve served and carried each other through the dark times they faced, they both came out completely different. And it’s interesting because while some people move forward and build relationships, families — others have a much harder time seeing that. It’s a little heartbreaking that Mouse doesn’t see how vital his skills are in the unit, but because he sees himself in a more intense scenario, it makes sense. And as much as Jay tried convincing him, he wouldn’t want to join intelligence. He wouldn’t want to be an officer because it isn’t how he sees himself. And the way we see ourselves is incredibly important and sometimes, all we need is for those closest to us to see that as well. We know our value and our worth in a way that’s much more different from how our loved ones see us.

Where we are today and where we were yesterday are two completely different places, and sometimes as human beings it’s easy to believe that because we’re in one boat, those closest to us are in the same position. But it came down to Erin reminding Jay of the fact that he needs to listen to Mouse in order to truly hear what he’s saying. And as much as loyalty is of great importance in any relationship even greater is perhaps the ability to listen. It’s easy to step in front of those we care for with the belief that we’re helping them, but the best thing we can do is respect someone’s agency. And Jay’s especially good at that when it comes to Erin, but it’s clear that he’s always seen Mouse like a little brother thereby, forcing him to approach the situation with a different kind of precaution.

And I loved hearing Jay essentially give Greg his blessing because he needed it. Almost as much as I loved hearing Jay call Mouse, Greg. He needed to know that the closest person to a brother he’ll ever have supports him with every decision he makes, but above that, Jay’s blessing ultimately authenticates the fact that he trusts and believes in Greg’s strengths. He believes it won’t end the way it did the first time because he’s grown so much within the last few years, he’s physically and mentally in the right place — the decision is best for him.

Additionally, I loved that when it came down to choices, Kim chose to remind Voight that though she said no to Intelligence once, she’s now ready to take it on. She needed to take the time to stay on Patrol in order to learn a bit more about herself, but this time, her decision is for herself. And that’s what this team is best at — recognizing what their team needs above all things. Voight could choose to say no to her because she rejected it once, but he understand that her decision was right for her. And telling her to get ready felt right.

Ultimately, Chicago P.D. is best when the team is the ultimate focus, and I loved that this episode took the time to shine the spotlight on characters who’ve been struggling. It’s done a wonderful job of revealing the importance of agency in every relationship — romantic, platonic, and even within the team.

Most Exquisite Moment: Surely there’s no surprise amongst our readers when I say that the break room confrontation wins in this category. Erin stepping in to calm the boys down felt right. And most importantly, calming Jay down by reminding him of the fact that she’s willing to carry the burdens with him were beautiful. A part of me wonders whether Jay didn’t want to Greg to go because he’s the only one who knows just how much he carries. And while he trusts Erin with every part of him, opening up about his past isn’t easy.

Fundamentally, with his concerns large at bay, it wasn’t easy to listen to Greg. It wasn’t easy to understand that just because he feels as though he has a purpose, it doesn’t mean those in front of him do. And when Jay says “he’ll be alright”, it’s clear that at that moment, he’s the one who isn’t alright. He’s the one who’s genuinely so concerned and perplexed, it’s breaking him. Jesse Lee Soffer does an exemplary job of revealing the fact that in this moment, Jay’s lost — he can’t fathom what’s in front of him because of the fears and memories that have captivated him. The fears and memories that are there to remind him of the fact that Greg may or may not be okay this time. Jay carries the guilt of surviving everywhere he goes, it was evident in “Forty-Caliber Bread Crumb” and it was evident in “A War Zone”. But while he’s dealt with it alone in the past, today he knows that Erin’s willing to carry it with him. Mouse may leave, but Erin will be his side sharing whatever burden he needs her to. But she’s not going to push him because she needs him to give the approval — just as he often waits for her to open up whenever she’s ready.

Jay and Erin respect each other’s agency in a way no two people on this show ever have, and it’s why they’re so special as a couple. When they promised to have the other’s back, they meant it with every fiber of their beings. Because they’re completely and incandescently in love with one another, watching the other suffer isn’t an option. They’d happily hold them through anything while reminding them of the strength that resides within. And the tenderness in Bush’s expressiveness this week broke me because Erin needed Jay to really listen to her. She needed him to understand that she sees what’s within him, and he needs to find the strength to be honest with himself. And that desperation cobbled with the strength she stood with was riveting to watch because she needed to manifest the uneasiness she experiences when he isn’t okay. She needed to showcase strength for the two of them, but apprehension could still be seen her eyes.

Most Noteworthy Performance: It wasn’t easy to choose this week’s performer because both Jesse Lee Soffer and Samuel Hunt were incredible — reminding us all of the fact that we’ll miss this dynamic tremendously. Soffer and Hunt are such riveting scene partners; their conversation in the break room was a real treat. Both Soffer and Hunt did magnificent jobs of showcasing what lies in the very core of their characters. And both men made sure to really give their all in a way that felt authentic. Scenes such as the one they had could easily be over dramatized, but the men were phenomenal in their art playing off one another perfectly.

Worth Mentioning:

  • As per usual, watching Olinsky comfort a fallen citizen is one of the best things that has come from this show. It’s always wonderful to see that when it comes down to delivering news of a death, he isn’t cold or distant from the remaining family members, but rather warm and friendly revealing the fatherly side of him we all adore.
  • I’m actually super bummed Tay’s gone and back in the company of a man who has zero respect for her. I’m almost annoyed we were introduced her because it was so easy to get attached, but just like that she’s gone.
  • Ruzek has been getting some hilarious lines lately and I’m digging every minute of it.
  • Is anyone still having a hard time grasping the fact that Antonio will be leaving soon? I just can’t see him anywhere but in Intelligence.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode? Remember if there’s anything you’d like us to discuss, let us know in the comments below.

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