Following Chicago Med's Emotional Episode, Director Breaks Down Hannah And Archer's 'Unexpected' Final Scene And Being Tasteful With A Tapeworm

Steven Weber as Dean Archer and Jessy Schram as Hannah Asher in Chicago Med Season 8
(Image credit: NBC)

Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 20 of Chicago Med Season 8, called “The Winds of Change Are Starting to Blow.”

Chicago Med packed a lot into one hour with “The Winds of Change Are Starting to Blow,” with patients including a woman who didn’t trust Dr. Charles and Maggie, a cancer survivor whose luck ran out despite Will and Crockett’s best efforts with OR 2.0, and Hannah delivering a baby from a wife while Dean Archer removed a very long tapeworm from the husband. Before the end, a scene went down that may have turned the emotional triangle between Hannah and the Archer men into a love triangle. It was an eventful episode, and director Nikki Taylor-Roberts broke it down to CinemaBlend. 

The final credits rolled with multiple characters no longer on the same page, and Nikki Taylor-Roberts addressed how she approached an episode that she described as “emotionally full,” saying:

It's a lot of miscommunications, assumptions, leading to different outcomes. That was the throughline for me, and the heart of it all is the emotional toll of [how] those assumptions turn out. For some, there's new life. For others, they lose a life. And for others more, it's like, 'I want to try and save a life.' So there's different levels there of the human experience, which I think is quite unique for this episode.

Nikki Taylor-Roberts came to Chicago Med as part of NBCU’s Female Forward program, which promotes gender parity in TV directing by giving women the chance to shadow on a show and then direct an episode later that season. She was also a fan of the hit medical drama (available streaming via Peacock Premium subscription) before she stepped behind the camera on the show. “The Winds of Change Are Starting to Blow” was a game-changer when it comes to miscommunications, and nowhere was that more clear than with Hannah and the Archer men. 

Nikki Taylor-Roberts directing Chicago Med Season 8

(Image credit: NBC)

Hannah has been at the center of what actress Jessy Schram described as an “emotional triangle” with Dean Archer and son Sean Archer, with her unique perspective as a recovering addict like Sean and unexpected friendship with Dean despite their confrontation earlier in Season 8. As Dean (and probably fans) figured out in this episode, Sean had developed some feelings for Hannah, which his dad discouraged him from pursuing.

And that made it quite awkward for Sean when he spotted Dean and Hannah looking very cozy together in the doctors’ lounge, as she wiped coffee off his coat after pranking him. It remains to be seen if this will be a setback with Sean potentially donating a kidney, but it was a sweet (if somewhat ambiguous) scene between Dean and Hannah. Nikki Taylor-Roberts broke down her approach to that scene between Jessy Schram and Steven Weber, saying:

Their relationship is always fun and exciting. There's a lot of chemistry between them. There's a lot of hinting and teasing with the nature of their relationship too, so it called for something playful. It called for something unexpected, and that's exactly what happens. There's an assumption that something else is going on, and it all connects to this element of assumptions turning out to be something else.

Dean certainly wasn’t expecting to be pranked when he opened up his locker, but he reacted a lot better to Hannah’s stunt in this episode than he probably would have before their friendship opened up a new side of him. It’s still not clear if something will happen between them that goes beyond a playful exchange when they thought nobody was watching, and whether or not Sean is correct at all in his assumption.

Nikki Taylor-Roberts directing Chicago Med

(Image credit: NBC)

The Dean/Hannah scene came after they spent the episode treating a husband and wife, with the husband carrying a tapeworm that measured at more than six feet and the wife pregnant with a child she didn’t know she’d conceived. The episode cut back and forth between Archer’s surgery on one spouse and Hannah delivering the baby of the other for a very unique sequence. The director addressed how she combined those two scenes and why she had to be “tasteful” about it:

I tried to be tasteful about it, because those are two different things. [laughs] I'm trying to be careful with my words here, but giving birth is not like having a parasite and delivering a parasite. But for some who have struggled, maybe it feels like that! So I was trying to be tasteful about how I showed that, and shared that they're both exciting moments for both individuals: one because [the husband] will get relief of this medical mystery, and the wife is gonna get relief too of all the trouble she's been having, but it's a child. It's a human being. Both are surprises. Both are exciting surprises, one gross, but the other is very much welcomed and heartwarming and delightful.

Hopefully most Chicago Med viewers are not familiar with the gross kind of surprise that the husband had to deal with in this episode, and the baby was certainly a cuter unexpected arrival than 6+ feet of a parasite. Nikki Taylor-Roberts went on to share that she had to do some research on tapeworms that probably wasn’t the most fun part of her directing gig: 

They're delivering two deliveries out of a couple: one a child and the other a very disgusting parasite. [laughs] Going into the research behind parasites, I learned a lot of stuff that I didn't want to know about tapeworms, tapeworm extraction, and how a person just doesn't know that they have one and how common it is.

Personally, I’d rather not put a lot of thought into how common tapeworms might be in real life, but I think it’s safe to say that this is an episode that delivered a lot for fans to think about in the final episodes of Season 8. Chicago Med has already been renewed for Season 9, so there’s no need to worry that the upcoming finale will be the end of the road… but “The Winds of Change Are Starting to Blow” just created some new complications for the foreseeable future. For now, check out the promo for the next episode:

Keep tuning to NBC on Wednesdays for new episodes of Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Chicago Fire (which is bringing back Jesse Spencer before the end of the month) at 9 p.m. and Chicago P.D. (which has LaRoyce Hawkins “optimistic” about the future) at 10 p.m. The finales for all three will air on May 24.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.