New Amsterdam 3×09 “Disconnected” made me angrier than an episode of TV has in a while. And it did so sneakily, too. The whole setup for the episode was the same thing the show always does: engaging storylines, Max trying to fix the unfixable and both succeeding and failing miserably in the ways only Max can, at least one case that made me weep like a baby, and me feeling very emotionally connected to these doctors. You know, on par for the course.
Then the racism just hit me straight in the face.
Other things happened in this episode. Max and Helen had parallel storylines about struggles with parenting, storylines that are bound to come together at some point, because Max and Helen always do, that’s the one constant of New Amsterdam. Lauren – and Max – fought medical misinformation, the kinda battle you never truly win, even if you do. Iggy made the right decision with a difficult patient. And Helen chose compromise in her job, and gifted someone with a chance to live out the rest of his life on his terms.
I just couldn’t pay attention to anything other than that poor little girl who almost died because her dad bought a gun to protect himself from “blacks or latinos” and left it loaded somewhere where she could reach it. I couldn’t process anything other than the utter gall of the mother to claim she wasn’t racist to Reynolds face. I still don’t know what words I should even be using here.
We know this happens. We’ve watched the news a lot the past few years, more than we’ve probably wanted to. We’ve seen shooting after shooting. We’ve gone out and protested. We’ve cried and we’ve felt defeated. And yet we’ve gotten up and continued trying. Or at least I have. There’s always people like this couple. People who think that anyone who doesn’t look like them is the problem, anyone who doesn’t look like them is a danger.
People who truly believe they are not racists, they’re not the problem, even as they actively engage in racist acts, and admit to it, freely.
And New Amsterdam doesn’t try to pretend there’s an answer. There’s no redemption for racism, no cure, no moment of realization. No one learns that racism is bad just because it was Reynolds who saved their kid. There’s no magic fix.
There shouldn’t be. That’s why this had to be Reynolds’ storyline. The last thing we needed was well-meaning Max trying to fix racism, again. We needed to be reminded that this is the world we live in, and it sucks. It sucks for Reynolds who’s got to go out there and give everything he’s got for people who would run away from him – or worse, shoot him – if they met him on the street. It sucks for the little girl who will likely grow up to be just like her parents. And it sucks for all of us, because we’re still so far away from truly making a change.
Yet anger at this point is probably …good. The worst thing that could happen is that I – that we – get too complacent. The worst thing that could happen is that we forget, for even a minute. Forgetting is a privilege, and even those who are afforded that luxury should remember that, at this point, silence is complicit.
So, yes, I’m angry. Thank you, New Amsterdam, for not letting me forget that anger. May we hold onto it as we continue to work for a change.
Things I think I think:
- Lauren’s hair looks AMAZING. Like, no one wakes up with their hair like that, right? Right?
- Yes, there’s something Gwen wants to say, Max. But you already know it.
- “Don’t I get a vote?” Hell no. You do not get a vote, you’re a teenager.
- “Maybe black, or latino, I don’t know?” FUCK. YOU.
- No, this is not what happens when you defund the police.
- Iggy, it’s totally unfair to put this on Agnes. Grow a spine.
- Max’s suit is his secret weapon.
- I know Reynolds took an oath, but I would have punched that woman in the face.
- “You got us gas, but no stove.”
- “I am not your family, I am your therapist.”
- Weeping at what Helen did. WEEPING.
- Oh, Agnes. The mistakes you made.
- Helen broke my heart. And then Max broke my heart too, in a separate scene. Can they start breaking my heart together in their issues?
Agree? Disagree? What did you think about New Amsterdam 3×09 “Disconnected”? Share with us in the comments below!