Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of Chicago Med Season 6, called “Do You Know The Way Home."
Chicago Med has returned to NBC after nearly two months of hiatus and then one extra week of delay, and “Do You Know The Way Home” set up the doctors and nurses of Med for some dramatic storylines. As Ethan tried to settle into his job as ED chief at just about the most stressful time imaginable to take over the department, he faced resistance from April, and that conflict isn’t anywhere near done. In fact, it’s going to get “very personal,” and April won’t even be Ethan’s only source of stress in the ED. Chicago Med showrunners spoke with CinemaBlend about the episode and what comes next.
With some of the biggest drama of the 2021 return coming from Ethan pulling April from her work on the COVID ward and April definitely not being happy about it, Chicago Med showrunners Andrew Schneider and Diane Frolov broke down what the changes mean for their relationship, such as it is in Season 6:
Andrew Schneider: So you saw that he pulls her out of the COVID ward, because she can't stay in there so long because it's too dangerous. And so that right off the bat causes stress and conflict between the two of them. And then there'll be some other issues with how he has to deal with staff that aren't performing in the way that he expects.
Diane Frolov: And it will get very personal, with a story with Noah, her brother.
In “Do You Know The Way Home,” both April and Ethan had some valid points to their arguments. While Ethan had wanted to bring April back to the comparative safety of the ED throughout Season 6, he also needed her back for very pragmatic budget reasons that had nothing to do with his feelings. As for April, her work in the COVID ward has been meaningful to her, but the decision about her future there ultimately lay in Ethan’s hands. And apparently, the conflict will get “very personal” with the return of Noah instead of get better!
Diane Frolov revealed that April will get to return to the COVID ward after this episode, “but not as full time,” and instead will “rotate in.” The conflict in the 2021 return with April begrudgingly returning to the ED fortunately resulted in Ethan and April along with Dr. Charles saving a young girl who had been kidnapped, but the issues aren’t going away. April also won’t be the only source of stress for him and his ED relationships. The showrunners explained:
Diane Frolov: [The ED job] puts a strain on them.
Andrew Schneider: A lot of them. He will have a lot of conflict with Will, who is running his clinical trial in the ED, and that is not emergency medicine, and that will rankle Ethan. And then there's some medical and personal issues with April, which will cause continuing conflict between the two of them, specifically one involving her brother Noah.... He comes back in Episode 5.
Noah Sexton, played by Roland Buck III, was last seen in the second half of the fifth season that was cut short back in the spring. His return to Med in Season 6 might not be a happy homecoming if it results in even more conflict between April and now-ED Chief Ethan. Fans won’t have to wait long to see Noah back in the mix, though, and Ethan will evidently have to deal with Will tension as well.
Will initially didn’t react too well to Ethan landing the top job in the ED, after getting his hopes up that he would be named chief before learning from Goodwin that he had never been a contender. When I asked if Will had ever been considered for the job by the Chicago Med writers, the showrunners shared why Ethan was the right choice:
Andrew Schneider: I think [Will as chief] was on the table but we thought it would be a very interesting dynamic to have Ethan as the new chief, given his military background and how he approaches things. He is very much a by-the-book guy, and Will has never been a by-the-book guy.
Diane Frolov: We figured Will would give people leeway.
"Leeway" definitely sounds like Will! Despite the big promotion at the end of last year, 2021 is shaping up to be a rough year for Ethan. As if taking over the emergency department of a particularly crisis-prone hospital in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t complicated enough, he’ll be dealing with stress from his former fiancée and the man who wanted his job. The showrunners summed up what Ethan is facing:
Andrew Schneider: Well, you know, he is a naval officer, and he tries to bring those sensibilities of a tight ship to the ED and that will often put him in conflict with his colleagues.
Diane Frolov: He also sets a very high bar for himself that he might not always be able to reach, and that can cause him a lot of pain.
Andrew Schneider: And stress. So, he feels it's his duty. He wants to do it, but it will put him in conflict with people that he had had better relationships with.
Ethan is seemingly facing some mighty challenges in the new year, and he won’t necessarily be helped by April or Will, with Will focusing on his clinical trial instead of exclusively on ED work. In a twist that few might have seen coming before Season 6, Will and April will actually join forces on an endeavor that could further their divides with Ethan:
Well, at least things are going well for one pairing on this show! Chicago Med will return to NBC with the next new episode on Wednesday, January 27 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, followed by new episodes of Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET. If you’re still in the market for some new and/or returning viewing options in the new year, be sure to check out our 2021 winter and spring premiere schedule.