What the ??? was that (episode)?
End-of-season cliffhangers work when there is only one and it either is the end of a long-build up or plausibly comes out of nowhere. You either have to care or have to be shocked. Think "Who shot JR" from Dallas several decades ago.
Here, it's as if every story/character had to have some cliffhanger and the writers did whatever it took, even if it was out-of-character, out of nowhere or made no sense.
In the out-of-character world, I give you the Dr. Charles fiasco. As far as we know, he is a rational, trained professional psychiatrist who has seen his share of psychopaths, personality disorders, etc. Yet Reese's father has him all bollixed up. And, when he suspects this guy could be a murderer, instead of going to the police (who investigate crimes) so they can take them to the attorneys (who prosecute crimes -- Law and Order, does this sound familiar?) so that the guy could be brought to justice, he decides to conduct a one-man investigation and leap to conclusions instead of turning over the evidence he was sent to the police, who actually do this for a living. For example, how does anyone know that the dead student didn't give the monkey to Reese's dad? How do we know it's the exact same one? This is why there are trained investigators. And, then, Dr. Charles -- who has always put his patients first no matter how nutty they are -- decides (we are led to believe) to allow Reese's father to die b/c he (Charles) has decided the guy is guilty.
In the out of nowhere world, I give you the Goodwin's ex-husband story. Obviously they had to have not one, but two cliffhangers for her. So her ex is brought in after attempting suicide though we've had no indication that he has any mental health issues. Yeah, his GF/wife died, but they hadn't known each other for long. It's not unheard of for a surviving spouse to contemplate suicide after losing a spouse of many years. This relationship was closer to many weeks.
In the makes no sense world, I give you the proposal. Halstead is proposing to Manning based on what (other than writer delusion)? When last we saw him, he was in a bar looking for love. How does he know Manning is ready for marriage -- have he ever discussed the concept with her? What about her kid? When last we saw them together (other than the brief car scene after the shooting), her kid was lashing out at him. Has he tried to get to know the kid? In real life, most rational adults actually have conversations about the future before one person proposes.
As an aside, I did not care one whit whether the conjoined twins lived or died (and the dolls they used looks so fake, it was almost laughable). Anyone who has read anything about separating conjoined twins knows that often one is missing leg or an arm and they have huge scars, etc. It's a very traumatic procedure -- I would have expected some support for the parents from friends, family, social workers (but I guess on TV you have to pay more actors and that ain't happening with the size of this cast). I pretty much FF'ed through the entire plot line.
It was all one convoluted mess and causes me to question whether I actually want to watch again in the fall.