Chicago PD spoilers: What happened in season 9 episode 21?

Things are heating up on Chicago PD. The last string of episodes have been tense, but there’s a clear shift in tone in “House of Cards”, which serves as the penultimate episode of season 9. It revisits the sting operation involving crime boss Javier Escano (Jose Zuniga) and the dangerous situation that Anna Avalos (Carmela Zumbado) is in as an undercover worker.

It’s a simple enough premise, with the goal being “grab the bad guy”, but the execution of the episode makes it endlessly more complicated (and exciting). There are some developments that were unexpected, and some that will have us wringing our hands until the finale.

Be warned that the rest of the post contains detailed spoilers for the latest episode of Chicago PD!

What happened on Chicago PD last night? (May 18th)
The episode kicks off with some understandable concern on the part of Avalos. She tells Voight (Jason Beghe) that she’s growing increasingly worried about her undercover status, and Voight assures her that she will be fine as long as she follows the plan.

In a secondary but related operation, Voight and company are keeping tabs on Mateo, a rookie in the local gang Los Temidos. They catch the kid trying to drug and assault an unsuspecting woman, and upon interrogation, learn that he was doing so on Escano’s behalf. Voight then puts together that Escano played a hand in Avalos’ past assault, which the rest of the team urges him to reveal.

Voight makes the questionable moral decision of keeping this information from Avalos, believing that she will be able to carry out her mission easier if she doesn’t know. The decision does shake the confidence of those working under him, however.
After a few tense exchanges and close calls on both sides, Voight and Avalos meet up. The former assures her that she’s doing the right thing, and that life will be exponentially better once she pulls this mission off. It’s obvious that Avalos’ faith in Voight is fading, however, and this is without even knowing about the information Voight is withholding.

Of course, Avalos eventually finds out, and chastises Voight to his face. She feels betrayed, and Voight, genuinely hurt, maintains that he was trying to spare her from additional emotional pain. An enraged Avalos jumps the gun on apprehending Escano, which then leads the rest of the IU into action.

Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), Ruzek (Patrick Flueger), and Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) get into a firefight with some of Escano’s men, but one of them sets off an explosive and takes all three of them out. Ruzek and Halstead quickly recover, but its evident from Upton’s lack of a response that she’s seriously injured. The episodes ends with Upton’s fate dangling life and death…

There’s definitely lots to be resolved in the season 9 finale, and “House of Cards” felt like a part 1 to the eventual resolution that we will get in the next episode.