As we brace for the inevitable changes that the Chicago Med Season 7 finale will bring — as these final episodes before a hiatus tend to do — we’re seeing a couple of doctors doing so already.
Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) has given up the position of chief of the ED permanently to his previously-temporary replacement, Dr. Dean Archer (Steven Weber). In the finale, “And Now We Come to the End,” we’ll see if they can continue to work together after that while treating the son of Med’s general counsel. Also coming up: Will (Nick Gehlfuss) and Hannah (Jessy Schram) clash over a patient in need of a kidney transplant, Crockett (Dominic Rains) is faced with a tough decision when Blake (Sarah Rafferty) is in surgery, and Med’s family grows.
Ahead of the finale, Tee and Weber discuss their characters’ arcs in Season 7.
Ethan tells Dean that being chief isn’t who he is anymore. Who is he? How is he going to figure that out?
Brian Tee: That’s an interesting thing: Who is Ethan? I think people have this assumption of who Ethan is over the course of six into seven seasons. What I love about this season is because of the trauma that he’s experienced from being shot, almost dying, losing the love of his life, and then also his father passing away, I think all of that changes the human. And what I love about the writers is that they evolve as the character evolves.
And so in this evolution, who is Ethan, I think Ethan is no longer Xes and Os, black and whites. I don’t think there’s a right and a wrong. I think he now sees this whole kind of colorful rainbow and/or I would even say the grays in the middle. There’s not always the right answer, but I think for Ethan now, he’s willing to bend, if not break certain rules and also see the humanity in things and I would even say look out for not necessarily the practical — whether it’s within the facility of standards and laws and practices — rules, but I think the greater good, especially when helping his patients. So in that evolution, I think that’s where he’s headed.
Speaking of breaking rules, Dean has that line about it being a good call that he’s not chief anymore [after he clues a patient’s daughter in on how to check his file]. So what’s Dean thinking about this new Ethan?
Steven Weber: It’s hard to say because in one way, he’s impressed with Ethan. He’s impressed with Ethan’s growth. On the other hand, Dean has a streak of arrogance and narcissism and insecurity that allows him to revel in the idea that he’s gonna continue on his chief. That’s kind of the torment of this guy. He really is a good guy, but he’s got bad habits and the person who’s closest to him in that hospital is Ethan, and he can still be a jerk to him a little bit. He can still kind of dine on Ethan’s evolution, which means he’s evolving away from this position of authority, which Dean wants.
By the same token, like I say, he loves this guy. They’re bonded in a really cool way. So he has some concern about Ethan, but also he has great confidence in him, I think, that whatever he does, whatever Ethan will embark on will probably be a success. It may not be something that Dean inherently understands, at least at this point in his own evolution, but he supports it.
Because of who Dean is, does that mean that Ethan might come to regret giving up chief to him?
Tee: Regret? I’m sure there will be moments. I don’t think there can not be moments of regret. I think Ethan has aspirations. I just believe that Ethan, under the circumstances that he is experienced, understands within himself that he is growing and he wants to grow. I think he wants to change. He wants to understand better. But in the sense of regret, yeah, because Ethan still is great at his job and I don’t think he necessarily likes being told what to do. But in certain circumstances, I know that these two will definitely butt heads because with Ethan’s evolution and who Archer is, they’re definitely bound to butt heads. So the sense of regret and judgment will always be there. But what Steven was saying earlier is it’s always filtered through this camaraderie, through this brothers in arms that you can’t necessarily break.
We know that Dean has conflict with pretty much everyone in the hospital. With whom does he have the most conflict going forward?
Weber: The interesting thing is that part of the evolution of this character has included his being less of an obstacle to the rest of the doctors, it seems. He’s not necessarily in people’s faces and stomping on toes. He’s definitely asserting himself, but there’s something happening to him, I think. In many respects, he’s an equal opportunity pain in the ass. However he’s, I think, garnering more respect from the doctors, because he’s becoming a little more even keeled. That’s not to say that there’s no inherent drama in in him or in dealing with him, because there is.
I guess I made the mistake a couple of times of reading some responses from viewers, and I say it’s a mistake because Dean is not a cuddly koala of a guy. He’s not well liked. And I would say almost four to one, people are like, “I hate this guy. How could Ethan have given him …” It kind of rattles you because I know him to be not a bad guy. And I understand that he’s an obstacle to people. I can’t single out any one character that he’s butting heads with. The weird thing is that Ethan and he have this interesting relationship that is both close and contentious. They maybe are feeling more and more comfortable in that relationship because they can trust each other, they’re both battle proven, and so they can kind of let their guards down a little bit.
Tee: Yeah. Jumping off of just that, I feel like that’s one of the great things about these two characters is that they are so tight. They are so, I guess, understanding of one another, like I said earlier, this brothers in arms, which allows you to fight more, which allows you to butt heads more, which allows you to even judge, conflict and do all of these things, because there’s this sense of understanding, there’s a sense of back and forth like you do with your own sibling in that sense.
Ethan was surprised to learn about his father’s relationship with another man. How is Ethan going to be handling that going forward?
Tee: I think he’s growing, as we’ve talked about earlier. I think all of this is very much new to him and he’s experiencing it as he goes. What I love and really appreciate about the writers is this element of surprise. I think everything that Ethan has been going through, especially in this past season, has been this surprise factor, this going away from who he is and what we expect of him, and I think that’s really wonderful. And I think in dealing with his father, the audience is experiencing it as Ethan is experiencing it. I think there’s certain elements that you’ll come to find that are another sense of surprise for him. As Ethan evolves and experiences, this is kind of the same experience that the audience will have. That’s what I really enjoy and love. I enjoy and love to be able to surprise the audience because we’ve been around for a long time and some people kind of expect certain things, but as the show progresses, the characters have to evolve and the writers have done a great job with that.
Chicago Med, Season 7 Finale, Wednesday, May 25, 8/7c, NBC