Chicago P.D. 3×01 “Life In Fluid” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

“Life is Fluid” was without a doubt the strongest season premiere this fall.

Episode Summary: Erin’s partying ways have gone out of control, but if there’s one thing that can pull her out of this coping mechanism, it’s her partner’s life in jeopardy. After Antonio saves one of his C.Is from committing suicide, she promises to reveal Benji Keys’ whereabouts in order to locate his brother Derek (a number one suspect on the unit’s most wanted). However, the meet goes south when Jay’s abducted and tortured, and the only way he’ll live is if all of the Intelligence Unit hands over their C.I files. When Alvin tells Erin about Jay’s situation, she volunteers to make the drop and kills the men in self defense in order to save both their lives.

Review | Analysis: Chicago P.D. is anything but a series about romance; however, it’s dynamics, especially the partnership between Halstead and Lindsay, that make it so riveting. And tonight’s proved that no matter how hard any of these detectives try to run away, they’ll always find themselves coming back if someone is in danger. There’s a partnership throughout the entire unit which continuously proves to be the heart and foundation of the series. “Life is Fluid” fixedly balanced heart, humor, and action setting up the rest of the season magnificently.

If only “dklsajfdl;skfjal kdsfjakldfj adsklfjlfkajsdlfkajdfka” was an appropriate way to describe my emotions after this episode, but I’m sure most readers can understand just what I mean by it. It’s always best to have cases that involve members of the Intelligence Unit personally because those are often the ones that make episodes more interesting.

For starters, Olinsky’s daughter merely using him for money is quite disheartening. I would personally never ask someone I’ve never met for money so it’s baffling that it’s being done to this degree. I don’t know if this storyline is going to further, but I can’t help but think that it had to have been introduced for more reasons than simply a few minutes of screen time. One of the best things throughout this episode were the brief “if you blink, you’ll miss it” moments because they spoke incomparably loud. It was an interesting choice to have Alvin be the one delivering the news to Erin and the reason being because it’s a bit clear his intentions aren’t to force back but to keep her aware. Jay and Erin have a unique partnership and you’d have to be completely blind not to see how great they work together, thereby calling her was his way of playing the father figure role and giving her a choice. He doesn’t tell her to come back but he’s certain she’d want to know and that’s why he does it. It’s ultimately so refreshing how well this team knows one another, and it’s partially why this relationship is one of my favorites. Yes Voight’s the father figure in her life, but so is Alvin — only his approach is calmer and friendlier. However, the part that really got to me was right as they’d found them because the looks Lindsay and Olinsky shared were so incredibly profound, I’m floored. It takes skilled actors to speak with no dialogue and what Elias Koteas and Sophia Bush did in that scene was groundbreaking. Bush’s expressiveness spoke tremendously loud for Erin’s state of mind — she needed the reminder that she does her job because it saves people. Silently thanking him the way she did says more than words ever could — she’s completely and utterly distraught and I say this confidently because Erin’s the kind of person that hates watching people suffer. This is going to traumatize her even more than it will Jay because it’s always worse to be the one who’s watching a loved one in pain. Some people rather endure pain than watch another go through it. And someone like Jay would rather be in the position he was in than in Lindsay’s. It hurts a lot more when there’s not much you can do. Erin’s silent gratitude showcases the fact that she’s appreciative because she was remembered at a time where she betrayed her unit. It was a choice to call her and it was a choice not to give up on her though she’d given up on herself. Olinsky understands this clearly because he knows grief and he knows Lindsay’s heart — he’s going to protect her and he knows that his phone call’s exactly what both she and Jay needed.

In an episode that would’ve otherwise been too heavy it was nice be reminded of the fact that we have a wedding coming up, and I loved the little bits with everyone wanting to be involved. I can’t tell whether Platt’s desire to plan the wedding is a joke or not, but watching that scene was hysterical. She’s such a fantastic character in this little world and it’s scenes with her that are meant to remind viewers this is more than just a cop show. I want her to help out with the wedding. I want her to actually plan it because how hilarious would it be to go dress or center piece shopping with her. I doubt the series would dive into it that deeply but it’s still great to have these little moments that leave audiences wondering of what it’d be like. I’m a little shocked with Adam’s choice in best man but I’m definitely pleased with it. It would’ve made more sense to have him choose Olinsky since he’s such a positive figure in his life, but it’s also great that he’s chosen someone who’s important to both him and Burgess. Atwater doesn’t get nearly as much love as he deserves so this is an incredible gesture. I wish Erin would be chosen for Burgess’ Maid of Honor but the two haven’t really established a strong friendship in order for that to happen.

I don’t disagree with how Roman feels, but at the same time it’s his delivery that comes out wrong. Roman’s choice in words is rarely ever right thereby often making it difficult to sympathize with him. However, I’m intrigued to see what he’s hiding now that Burgess has discovered it. I don’t actually think he’s doing drugs, but perhaps he has a medical condition we’re not aware of that’ll allow us to see more growth with his character.

Unfortunately when it comes to the world of television, series creators seem to believe that we can’t have more than one happy couple with some sort of ridiculous drama coming in between and I can’t help but feel that before they say “I do”, things will get more difficult with Kim and Adam. It’s been an easier road for the two of them thus I feel a bit of challenge in the road will really help fortify their bond. It was also nice to see Adam’s protective side come out as he refused to let Burgess go in to make the trade. For the most part, I understand where his concern comes from, but at the same time, he’s got to get used to this kind of stuff happening. Only the man’s seen his fiance in dangerous situations too often last season so it’s also good they get a little break.

For those who are just joining us here at MGcircles, I’ve strongly disliked the idea of Erin leaving Intelligence for many reasons. One of them being because the whole drug abuse storyline has been done far too many times and it felt so ridiculously unoriginal I couldn’t believe this series chose to do it. However, the way they’ve handled her return was astounding because it’s not just about Jay the man she used to be with, but her partner. And even in the midst of everything that’s happened, Jay’s remained as the constant light in her life. Nadia’s death hit her straight to the core because she wasn’t just her one real girlfriend but the protégé and little sister figure she’d vowed to protect. Spiraling backwards and giving into the consuming pain is easier than fighting through it and for the first time, Erin’s chosen the easy route. What’s incredible is the fact that it’s clear Jay effortlessly forces her to go back into that place of conscious decision making. And we see this numerous times throughout the episode as she deliberately does things in order to stop herself from actually caring. And it’s heartbreaking on all accounts not because she doesn’t care but for the first time in her life she’s genuinely so afraid of losing her loved ones, she’s choosing a path that allows her to momentarily forget them. And it’s so telling that Jay’s her greatest trigger right now because he’s actually the one light that can get through the darkness. Voight’s stopped pushing her, but when it comes to Jay, as we’ve seen in the finale, he makes her feel safe enough to be vulnerable and it’s that same susceptibility she’s trying hardest to avoid and it’s most difficult when it comes to Jay.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it 100x until the day this series ends but there’s no partnership quite like Jay and Erin’s. They don’t know how to give up on each other and they don’t know how not to have each other’s backs. In any other situation, I would’ve been opposed to a man checking in on a woman’s whereabouts, but this is a matter where he knows if he doesn’t get his point across, he may lose her forever. It also takes a real man to tell a woman that she’s made him a better cop, and it’s one of the reasons I respect Jay so much. It’s not easy for men to admit to such things but the fact that he’s so adamant about her knowing just how much she’s effortlessly inspired him says a great deal about his character. Jay Halstead’s seen terrors in life we can’t even possibly imagine — he’s a military man after all, but it’s evident that he’s never felt betrayal quite as formidable as his partner abandoning him the way Lindsay has. And while I don’t condone her actions in any way, there’s a reason she never bothered to say goodbye to him, and it’s the same reason why after he takes her glasses off she can barely look him in the eyes. Jay can get through her — he can pull her out of the state she’s in but her fears are so daunting and she cares so deeply for him, her walls are higher than ever. It’s primarily the reason why she chooses not to answer his question and responds with frustration because she needs him to stop trying. Fear’s been implanted to her core and she genuinely believes anything she touches will turn to ash. Halstead’s witnessed horrors and he’s known heartbreak, and as much as he’s a resilient man, it’s clear this moment destroys him because the woman standing in front of him means the absolute world. Her well-being, mental and physical health is so important to him, it completely drains him that he’s not able to do anything. No one’s inspired Jay the way Erin has — he’s not afraid of showing vulnerability and animosity to her because he knows her potential. He knows the greatness she’s capable of and standing back doing nothing is not an option.

Often times when we have confrontational scenes and there’s a character in glasses or a hat of some sort, it represents the physical walls that are up in front of them. And Jay’s choice to strip her of them is due to the fact that he needed her to be completely bare because his vulnerability’s stripped him of the armor he usually has on. She can’t hide the truth from him anymore like she’s tried to in the past — he won’t allow it this time because for once, the strongest girl he’s ever known is at risk of completely losing it all. And he needs Erin Lindsay to see just how much he cares for and just how desperately he’s trying to bring the real her back to surface. Jesse Lee Soffer is so good at showcasing just how hard Jay’s trying to get through to her by illuminating the fact that he’s experiencing a whirlwind of emotions from deeply rooted heartbreak to unbelievable anger.

Sophia Bush and Jesse Lee Soffer are so good at responding to each other with the right amount of emotions. “Life is Fluid” required a wide range of emotions from both of them and it’s the work they did with their expressions that’s dumbfounded me to a state of speechlessness. This episode required a lot of wordless speaking thereby giving Bush and Soffer ample opportunity to showcase just how much these characters mean to each other deep within. Plus, the spoken dialogue was so meticulously written and felt by both actors that it made watching the scenes that much more painful.

Erin’s choice to immediately go down to the station in order to help Jay seamlessly reveals that it doesn’t matter how terrible she feels and how afraid of she is of bringing harm to those she loves, she’d stop at nothing to protect him. Jay’s not only her partner on the field, but the closest person she’s ever known other than Hank. Jay’s the man she loves — the one person she’d do anything for because she knows with full confidence, he’d do anything for her. I love the fact that she not only made that clear to Voight and the entire unit, but Voight makes it clear that he knows their partnership is so strong, she could’ve potentially stopped this entire thing from happening had she been another eye.

As far as their rescue scene goes it was flat out awesome to see the two of them fight off Derek and his assistant despite being pretty close to defenseless in comparison. It worked so well with the tenderness Erin showed a beaten Jay because while they can be be gentle and loving towards one another, they’re also fiercely strong when they need to be. And best for last, their scene by the ambulance was perhaps one of the most poignant scenes in their history. Erin’s feelings haven’t always been clear but this is the moment where it’s easiest to let her walls down because losing Jay has never been so real. It wasn’t easy when he had a bounty on his head, but that way, he was still under their protection. He hadn’t actually gotten hurt to the degree of this kidnapping, and it’s the one thing that’s shattered her most since Nadia’s death. Jay’s choice in words astounds me because there’s so much depth to his “I’m glad it was you they sent.” It’s riveting and inspiring to see a man written with such impeccable qualities on television. There are countless reasons he’s glad it was Erin but for the most part, it’s never easy for a man to let his walls down. It’s not easy for him to be physically weak and defenseless but it’s easy to feel safe with Erin. He knows how she works, he trusts her abilities as a cop more than anyone else’s. He trusts her skills and the two of them know how to work together in order to get the best outcome. He needed it to be her because it not only meant the situation could remind her of her abilities, but letting her know he wanted her by his side allows her to see that she’s not bad news — she’s irreplaceable to him.

This is one of those scenes that required no further dialogue because what they were able to achieve with their expressions says much more than what words could ever. And that’s precisely why I’m so pleased with this episode. I’m a fan of stunning performances that make me believe there’s so much more than what the audience sees on the surface. Erin hasn’t cried since Nadia’s death — we’ve seen her fight through emotions with anger but this is the first time we’re actually watching her fall apart again. This is the scene where we’re watching her truly come back because tears are a representation of openness and if she’s allowing herself to be vulnerable again, it means she’s allowing herself to feel again. She’s no longer choosing to hide behind temporary cures but rather giving into her heart’s desires even though it could hurt her. She’s choosing to look passed her fears because the man staring back at her is someone who’s worth that risk. As Burgess tells Roman, risks need to be taken — there are 100s of what if possibilities in their line of work but at the end of the day, opening the heart to love is always worth it in the end. And that appears to be the theme we’ll be focusing most on this season — taking risks despite the fact that it could bring about pain from time to time. Bush and Soffer broke me in this final scene because it’s one of those moments that could’ve been over done, but the actors delivered sincerity beautifully. It’s crystal clear that they not only understand their characters, but there’s a great deal they want to make sure they deliver through the poignancy in their still exchanges. Bush delivered Lindsay’s sadness in a way that truly conveys the fact that she’d do anything for Jay. Her little head tilt followed by the the fact that she’s trying desperately to hold back tears tells Jay that of course she’d come. It tells him she’s glad to have done this because that’s why he has back up. Soffer makes sure the audience can see that Jay’s not only grateful, but he completely understands what her expressions are saying to him. It takes a lot of hard work to make a scene like this evocative so kudos to the both of them for selling it exquisitely. I couldn’t be more pleased if I tried. And that’s the thing with Jay and Erin, they understand each other so well it’s what makes it effortless to be both strong and vulnerable around each other. There’s ultimately nothing they can hide from each other — they don’t need words to see what the other’s feeling and these are the reasons they’re so great as partners. You’ll hear me say this often, but for Jay and Erin especially, it’s all about unwavering backup and adoration. A true partner is everything: the anchor that grounds their heart at home and the guiding light which ceaselessly inspires them to be the best versions of themselves.

Now that Erin’s going to be living Voight, it’s surely going to get interesting because at this point, he’s seen it all — he understands that this isn’t some random fling. The first time he warned Lindsay about Halstead, it was because he believed she’d break him and send him off his game, but it’s clear now that they make each other better. And he knows Lindsay wouldn’t have come back for just anyone — Jay means more to her than anyone ever has and keeping them apart serves no purpose because that’s hurting them as well. They need each other in ways they never imagined they would and it’s becoming more and more obvious. Erin could’ve taken the pills her mother had provided, but her adoration for Jay is so strong that his words continued to linger in her even though he wasn’t around. He knows how to get through to her and she knows how to get through to him if the roles were reversed.

This season of Chicago PD seems incredibly promising and whatever material we get, it’s always enjoyable to watch knowing the actors are gifted in their craft. Even the heartbreaking scenes are riveting because there’s always more than meets the eye and the little moments are so impeccably profound, it makes loving these characters so easy.

It’s also worth mentioning that I don’t think it’s going to be rainbows and butterflies from here on out, but because there’s so much love between these characters, it’s all going to be worth watching. Additionally, I’m really looking forward to learning more about this Eddie character and what exactly Voight’s promised him. And if there’s any character I want to see more of it’s Burgess — especially now that she’s upstairs. She deserves shining moments and it’ll be interesting to see how they’re woven into her wedding planning.

Overall, I’d give this premiere an A grade — we were given marvelous performances and excellent story telling. What are your thoughts on this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments below and let’s get to discussing. However, since this is a season premiere I’d like to remind everyone that negativity isn’t welcomed — hateful comments will be ignored. Opposing opinions are perfectly okay as long as we can have discussions like adults.

@GissaneSophia

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