My Frustration with the Writing of Jay Halstead Part 2
Gina and Bryna both write for the pop-culture website, Talk Nerdy With Us. Back in April 2017, Bryna wrote a part two to her original post regarding her frustration about how the Chicago P.D. writers were handling Jay’s past. You can check out the original part two here or keep reading to see the whole thing.
This is not a new opinion: I have a problem with how the #OneChicago shows handle continuity, not just within each separate show but between them as well. Especially because this is supposed to be a shared universe. I’ve written previously about how frustrated I am with the way Jay Halstead’s past was being handled on Chicago P.D. Now, my problem is with Chicago Med and the way they recently featured Jay on their show.
At the end of episode 2×21 of “Med,” Jay stops by the hospital, dressed in his hockey jersey, ready to go to the Blackhawks game with Will. However, Will blows him off, saying he needs to spend extra time with Nina. Natalie walks by, right after Will leaves, and Jay asks if she would like to attend since the ticket would go to waste otherwise. Although she hesitates, at first, Natalie eventually agrees to go with him.
Many people on the Internet are freaking out about this so-called “date.” Since I did not watch the episode when it aired, I heard about the scene and immediately went to watch.
Afterward, it immediately became clear what this was. Earlier in 2×21, we saw Will tell Natalie the two of them are nothing more than good friends. We recently learned Jay will be around for 2×22 as well. According to the episode synopsis, “Dr. Manning seeks help from Det. Halstead when a sensitive case involving a young girl turns into a crime.” From this description, it seems like Jay and Natalie will be spending a lot of time together in the next episode. Based on these two things, it became obvious they’re going to have Natalie use Jay to make Will jealous. Since the season is almost over, I don’t see Jay being anything more other than a pawn for drama.
However, if they plan to proceed with Jay and Natalie in a romantic relationship, even just for one episode, I would not have a problem with Jay finding comfort and solace in someone other than Erin. I do have a problem with the writers continued, time and time again, cheap, poorly written storylines for Jay. They don’t follow up on the complex, emotional issues he already has, especially when he appears from show to show.
I’ve seen many people on the Internet talk about how Jay broke up with Erin and moved out so he could work on bettering himself, yet in recent episodes he’s looked completely fine and unbothered. None of that, in my opinion, could be farther from the truth. Here are a few of my thoughts on the whole situation:
First, Jay and Erin are not broken up. They are simply on a break, as they have never had a conversation that led me to believe they are over. Saying “I need time” does not mean “this is over for good,” while “I love you and I want you to stay” does not translate to “I want to see other people.” Jay moved out of their place because he loves Erin more than anything. He has his own issues, just as she does, and he does not want to hurt her while he is trying to figure out what the hell is happening in his life.
This brings me to my second point. We all know Jay has PTSD and that he’s had it for a long time, but there is not just one type. PTSD comes in many different forms and is different with every single person. Jay is not a person who wears his emotions on his sleeve and the type of PTSD he has is not one that includes recurring nightmares. He has been able to work as a cop and, for the most part, cope with what has been going on. That doesn’t mean when he, or someone with PTSD, does experience problems he is expected to sit and think about them. Distractions are useful and necessary. If helping Natalie with a case, and attending a Blackhawks game with her, can help with that I’m all for it.
All of that being said, these inconsistencies in fan theories go back to the underlying problem of the writers not delivering the continuity necessary to create a proper shared universe. While I personally do not agree with some fans on where Linstead stands in their relationship, I cannot blame them for thinking what do. The writers completely dropped the ball on that storyline and the one about Jay dealing with his past and PTSD. They have chosen to not show any of the progress Jay has made working towards bettering himself, most notably by deleting a scene in which Jay talks about going to a PTSD support group. Now that Jay has made some recent appearances on Med, it seems as if those writers have chosen to completely ignore what his character has recently gone through on P.D., the show where Jay is actually a main character.
The bottom line is that the writers really should start paying more careful attention to how they write Jay–and all of their characters in general–especially if he is going to continue to pop up for story arcs on other franchise shows. If they don’t, they are going lose fans faster than they can fix the problem.