How are we feeling after the hour?
As fans of Sharpwin, fans of incredible dialogue, powerful acting, some compelling writing, and laudable direction (thanks to Darnell Martin), and stunning cinematographery (thanks to Andy Voegeli), New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 12 was a sensory overload in the best way imaginable.
I’m still reeling from the wave of emotions from the hour, but let’s discuss it.
After most of the season was devoted to Max finding a mission of the week to consume all of his time and focus, it was a refreshing change of pace for the hour to go back to its roots a bit.
It wasn’t Max railing against the system or some specific issue. Instead, he focused on something that plagued the hospital and set out to address it, and it was Max falling in line with the traditional nature of his job.
The chemical spill was shocking, worrisome. It was a great way to bring some medical, character, and relationship angst. It’s fascinating what an event like that can do for a hospital such as New Amsterdam.
Can you imagine showing up at a hospital seeking help for a freak accident like getting impaled by shears and ending up going blind and nearly dying because of a chemical spill in the hospital?
Bertha would be more than entitled to sue after that experience. Fortunately, the humorous, spirited woman saw that Floyd was doing everything in his power to save her, and she found herself reassuring him.
One of New Amsterdam’s writers, Y. Shireen Razack, shared that they were inspired in part by the Bhopal disaster, among other sad instances, and kudos to them as it made for an intense hour.
One by one, it seemed as if patients and some doctors were dropping like flies. The patients you couldn’t fault at all. The skin rashes blooming on them, and other issues ranging from breathing complications and blindness were concerning.
However, it’s the doctors who risk their lives to save others but still don’t comprehend that not taking care of themselves costs the patients in the long run that is annoying.
Of course, the recurring offenders are Lauren and Max.
Lauren is so used to running herself into the ground while saving lives and running the E.D. that she didn’t hesitate to repeat the behavior.
The second she noticed that she had a rash on her arm, she should’ve taken some precautions or figured out what course of action Floyd was taking to treat the patients and applied it to herself.
Lauren: We need to evacuate the ED?
Casey: Evacuate, why?
Lauren: That’s not dirty water. It’s a chemical spill.
Instead, she carried on until her vision failed her. It left her blindly working on a patient, stumbling through the roped-off portion of the E.D., falling into the chemical, and intubating him while all she saw was darkness before passing out, her colleagues unaware of her plight.
Apparently, they cut the scene where Casey found her and carried her to safety. It’s too bad, as it would’ve been an endearing and gripping moment, though their friendship was on full display when he was by her bedside and conceded that he isn’t leaving New Amsterdam after all.
Lauren can’t function or run the department without her trusty second and best friend, and my goodness, we love Casey, so we wouldn’t want him gone.
Floyd took over providing treatment for the chemical spill himself, coming up with the perfect solution to address the myriad of symptoms that everyone faced while his colleagues were down and out.
Floyd is a bit of a badass since his return to New Amsterdam. It’s almost to the point where I don’t remember he ever left in the first place.
On a personal note for him, he’s still entangled in this relationship with his married colleague. While he tried to draw a line because of her marital status, attempting to renege on the “date” she invited him to at her home, Floyd is all-in.
He and Lyn have an undeniable rapport, and they make it easy to root for them, but the infidelity aspect of things looms over this pairing, and it puts a damper on what they have.
He knows that they’ve entered some dangerous territory and stuck to his morals, but for how long? Maybe if we knew more about Lyn other than she and Floyd vibe well with each other, it could give us something to work with here.
But their romance wasn’t of interest compared to what was happening with Max and Helen.
No, Max wasn’t running around the hospital with some renewed purpose in some topic or another, but he still reminded us that he’s pure of heart but dumb of head.
He tracked down the source of the chemical spill, and bless his heart, to borrow from TV Fanatic’s own Whitney Evans, the man tried to stop a chemical leak of epic proportions with a Hanes shirt. Bless his handsome heart.
By then, we knew how dangerous these chemicals were, so witness them gushing out all over Max as he tried to keep the pipes from bursting was stressful as hell.
But then, it only got worse from there, or better if you live for angst.
Helen knows Max all too well, and it was only a matter of time before her special Goodwin senses led her to the boiler room where he was trapped, and from there, the two of them argued over who was staying and leaving, as he told her to get help.
The hour belonged to those who ‘ship this pairing. It was the little things that felt the most meaningful. After Max approached her like a puppy, claiming that her part of the hallway seemed better and she dismissed him, it was probably a relief that Helen was the one who finds him.
Helen is always the one who finds him. And as his vision faded to black, it’s hard not to note that the last image he had was of her.
Agyeman is without a doubt one of the series’ strongest performers, and her sheer desperation and panic as she figured out how to free Max and damn near dragged him to safety were enough to have the viewer hyperventilating.
She made you feel everything that Helen was feeling at those moments, especially the pure terror when Floyd told her there wasn’t any form of treatment that appeared to work.
No one could’ve anticipated that their first shower together would look like this, but by the end of the scene, how could you not be grateful for it?
And here is where I’m in awe of Darnell Martin and her beautiful direction, and when you think about how all of the pieces and parts that go into a series click into place, you think of scenes like that shower moment.
Everyone brought their A-game, and it was nothing short of a breathtaking, stunning sequence. It’s a bold choice to write a scene that lasted that long and relied solely on beautiful shots and the actors’ chemistry to convey so much without a single word uttered.
It’s proof that under the right circumstances and in the hands of the best people, you don’t need clunky dialogue to communicate such intimacy and raw emotion.
Helen only saw Max and the dread and fear of losing him when she undressed him and placed him in the decontamination shower. She clung to him every bit as much as he did her, and while he couldn’t see anything, he knew she was there, and therefore he felt safe in her arms, pressed to her chest.
You sensed the trust and love there. Both of them, unguarded in the worst of moments, gravitate to one another. There has always been something symbiotic about their bond. It was such an exquisite way of showcasing that without resorting to their usual fare of rooftop moments where the world disappears around them.
Max clung to Helen like a lifeline, a close-up shot of his wedding band still on his finger, until he couldn’t anymore, and when he woke up, she was right by his side.
After such a terrible scare and the intimacy of that moment, where Helen’s feelings for Max were out there in the open, it was understandable that Helen would try to downplay it when she felt he didn’t remember.
But then he did, and we got an even more intimate scene, and that’s when it was clear as day that the director of the hour was a woman. Only a woman artfully capture such a profound level of intimacy without the barest hint of sexual undertones, strategically using touch and framing it just so.
Max and Helen felt as if they were in a bubble of their own. Max didn’t give Helen time to walk away from his this time and stifle all of those feelings she keeps trying to keep at bay. He acknowledged them, addressed her presence in one of the scariest moments.
You were there, weren’t you? I’m sorry. That sometimes, it takes me a minute. To remember. What matters. More than anything …you.
And this time, their dialogue added to the scene in the same way the silence did before. When Helen asked if he could see again, he stated that he could see HER, and you heard the meaning beneath that.
When she was ready to bury things down again, take the copout of referencing them as friends again, he apologized to her and stated that sometimes it takes him a minute to remember what matters more than anything, and that was her.
Ryan Eggold and Freema Agyeman are incredible on their own. Both of them can work absolute magic with their characters, this writing, the dialogue, and this show.
So, of course, when you put the two of them together, well, you can’t replicate their specific chemistry if you tried, and they have to be amazing scene partners who seem tuned in to one another enough to play off each other so well.
Helen: Can you see?
Max: I see you.
Max’s vulnerability at that moment was overwhelming, and you could sense that he’s been on the verge of sharing his feelings for some time. You could tell he was tired of keeping them in and not addressing the elephant in the room.
And then we got him trailing down her neckline and the collar of her throat, and that’s where the hour encapsulated the feeling of a sensory overload. I couldn’t be the only one who didn’t realize I was leaning in and holding my breath, holding my own throat until the spell was broken.
That’s intimacy done, right folks. If you can master evoking and conveying so much without so much as a kiss exchanged, then you’re a talent.
The cap is off the bottle, and they can’t put the contents of it back inside. It’s been a slow-burn that is the sweetest type of torture, and I’m not even mad at the powers that be of New Amsterdam playing with our feelings like this, but there’s no turning back from here.
Max and Helen shattered the last of their defenses, and they can’t walk it back, so it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.
Of course, curse the very existence of landlines for interrupting the two, stopping them seconds before they kissed.
We knew it was coming. Georgia’s parents love Luna, and they didn’t want her to leave their home the first time.
Gwen is hypercritical of Max, and she’s had a lot to say about his parenting and working. It also works against him that Georgia confided in her parents about her issues with Max working too much before she died.
It was the reason the Goodwins separated in the first place; Max would’ve had strikes against him no matter what.
Sadly, Max got too comfortable relying on them without considering that they would use that against him. It’s enraging to hear that Gwen’s response to Max nearly dying is to take Luna away from him.
Gwen wants Luna because of her serving as a connection to Georgia, and I’d rather she say that than the implication that Max is an unfit parent for working.
No judge in the world would rule that Max should lose custody of his daughter because he’s a doctor. It’s ludicrous, and they sure as hell wouldn’t go there while we’re coming off a global pandemic, hailing doctors as heroes.
If anything, the focus would be on finding Max more resources to help him take care of his daughter. Gwen thinks she’s doing the best for Luna, but tearing her away from her father isn’t in Luna’s best interest.
How much pain can this man take? Good grief.
Speaking of pain — there was nothing wrong with Iggy’s portion of the storyline at all. The only issue was that so much other stuff was happening during the hour that it was difficult to direct focus to Alex, his mothers, and other such things.
Iggy’s message about toxic positivity was a great one, and I wish it appeared in another installment where the hour could’ve delved into it more.
My son, he’s my miracle, but sometimes I, sometimes I wish he hadn’t been born.
I also loved the support group he had for parents and families of kids with issues. Young Alex had ODD. As someone who dealt with a relative’s diagnosis growing up and the mental illness of other relatives, it was a powerful message in giving the families and caretakers space to air their grievances.
Mental illness is still heavily stigmatized, but on the flip side, there’s no space for those who live, love, and take care of those with mental illness either.
Often, the focus is on the mentally ill person’s battle and how to make things better for them. And sometimes that comes at the expense of their loved ones.
Caretaker fatigue and burnout, etc., is real; it’s draining when you’re on the receiving end of someone with ODD, and they’re directing their anger or whatever else at you. Knowing why they’re behaving that way doesn’t make it any easier to deal with it.
The parents talking about all the things they wouldn’t dare say out loud was a great, cathartic, honest scene.
Iggy’s situation with Chance remains disturbing, though. He didn’t want to file a restraining order on Chance, but it’s not only him that this is affecting.
It’s affecting Iggy’s family, and Martin has every right to be concerned and put his foot down on the matter.
Of course, Chance didn’t react well when he got the paperwork, so this can only end badly.
Over to you, ‘Dam Fanatics. What are your thoughts on the Sharpwin progression? Do you think Gwen has a good case for getting custody of Luna? What will Chance do next?
Hit the comments below!
You can watch New Amsterdam online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.