New Amsterdam 3×10 “Radical” focuses on change. The change we can make, the change we can’t control, and the change we welcome. Floyd and Lauren get to deal with a relationship that might not adjust to what they consider normal (especially Floyd), Agnes gets a taste of the nightmare that she created by not trusting herself, Helen tries to take control of the change in her life, lest in control her, while Max, per the norm, discovers something else that’s wrong with the world and tries to fix it, only to find that change doesn’t happen in a day.
It feels like Max learns this lesson every day. It isn’t even a lesson anymore. We should just get him a plaque that reads: you can’t fix everything in a day. Or maybe just a general you can’t fix everything, period. And yet, I won’t deny that it continues to be great to see him try. I don’t watch this show to see Max disillusioned because he can’t fix the world – I know he can’t. I live in the world! I watch this show to see Max continue to try. I watch this show to believe that some things can be changed. I watch this show because it gives me hope.
Mostly, in people. Because Max can’t fix the world, but he can take tiny steps forward. Because Helen can’t fix her niece, but she can try to be there, and hold her as she breaks down. Because Floyd shouldn’t hold others to his own standards, but accept that people have a right to be, to feel whatever they want. And because Lauren can’t fix ….well, she actually can fix herself. She’s just gotta try.
And she doesn’t have to do it alone. Just like Helen, Max, and Floyd. Neither of them has to do it alone. They’ve all got people, for better or worse. They’ve got each other.
Of particular note, in this regard, is Lauren a step that feels less like an acceptance of her sexuality and more an acceptance of the fact that she deserves good. Normal. Real. Of course, this is just the first step, and the promo for next episode already promises trouble, but I was truly happy to see Lauren choosing what she wanted, instead of constantly sabotaging herself because she felt like she wasn’t worth it. Lauren’s an amazing character, and other than her brief fling with Floyd, we haven’t had a chance to explore this side of her. So I’m all in for what this bring. Let’s hope it’s not all pain.
Like, you know, the pain I felt when Helen told Max “I’m really glad that we’re friends” as they were about as close as two people can be without kissing. Because what Helen was saying in that moment was basically I see it, Max. I feel it too. But I can’t do this now. I need something else from you. I need you to be my backup.
I need you to be my friend.
And Max, who has needed this same thing from her before, who has asked this same thing from her before, doesn’t just understand, he respects that. This has been a slow burn OTP, but the weirdest of slow burns, for the longest time. Because I’d argue Helen and Max haven’t really been in a slow burn until now. This is where it starts. Now. Before they were just …very good friends, two people who were highly compatible, two people we, and probably even them, in the back of their minds, realized would be good together.
But they were also two people who were never even remotely in the same place at the same time for that to happen. And maybe they aren’t there yet now. But now, I think it’s very clear to both of them that they want to be. Not sure how Helen could miss the signs, what with Max saying all these things, in quick succession:
WE NEVER DATED
WE JUST SPENT TIME TOGETHER
AS PEOPLE DO
OTHER PEOPLE GET IDEAS
AND THEY TALK
Only to then pivot back to his idea, stop, and go back once he noticed that the past tense meant she and Cassian weren’t dating now, something he had to ask for confirmation of right then and there. You know, all normal friend stuff.
That’s not all, though, because Max isn’t exactly an oblivious guy, and there’s no way he could miss what Helen is asking, or how big it is that she is opening herself up to him, especially considering he now knows she just broke up with Cassian, and can probably at least imagine the reason why. But she’s reaching out to him. She trusts him to be the person who’s there for her.
Neither of them has to be alone. They haven’t had to be since Max first stepped foot in the hospital and challenged Helen. They have each other.
Everything is said without words in that hug, in the way Helen reaches for Max, in the way he cradles her head, smiles like just having her close is enough to make his world better. And yes, after that …there’s a chance. A chance for more. A chance maybe Max would have taken, because Max is in a better place emotionally right now. But he isn’t ready either. He’s standing there, and maybe he wants it, and he would have leaped into it without thinking, but a leap with wedding ring on is …not the leap we want.
Kudos to Max, though, because in that moment, just as he listened when Helen told him she needed to step down as Deputy Medical Director, you could see that he truly listened to what Helen was saying in this episode – with her words, and with her actions. She’s been there for him through thick and thin. She’s been his rock. She’s been his confidant. She’s been his support. And now Max gets to be the same for her, in a way he never truly could before, not just because of his issues, but because Helen wasn’t letting him in.
Concerned about the ending, Sharpwin fans? I don’t think you should be. I have never felt more hopeful about the future of this couple. This is where the show is going. This is where the show should be going. This works. It really, really does. And when we finally get it, it’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be earned. And, more importantly, it’s going to be real, in that way that scared Lauren, in that way that is almost impossible to explain, but that you absolutely know when you stare into each other’s eyes.
If you’d told me this show could somehow get better before season 3 started, I might have laughed at you. But now ….now every little thing is clicking, and it’s a sight to behold.
Things I think I think:
- “Lauren, because of you I can be a doctor again.”
- Oh, so she wasn’t expecting the kiss. She wasn’t? Wait …she wasn’t?
- I love Helen. So, so much.
- No one can make up for 400 years. But – I’m really glad this show is highlighting Native Americans.
- “I made you a playlist?” That’s some high school shit.
- AGNES, YOU DONE F*CKED UP.
- Thank GOD it’s an OT3 and not a cheating situation.
- OKAY, BUT WHO IS TALKING ABOUT MAX AND HELEN? WHO? WE’VE NEVER SEEN THAT. I DEMAND THAT FIC.
- One day, Max is going to have ideas that are actually doable. But I’m kinda glad that day is not today.
- Is this Iggy storyline ever not gonna make me cry?
- Helen is ON POINT this episode. I will build a statue to her.
- “Being fat is okay.”
- Teenagers are mean, man. MEAN.
- “What makes a person yours to share anyway?”
- “Dying for change. I couldn’t think of a better legacy.”
- Yeah, Lauren is right. No way it ends well for you, Max.
- AGNES FOR THE WIN.
- “It’s terrifying to ask for something when you can’t put a name to it.”
- OKAY, FINE, MAX’S IDEA MADE ME CRY.
- Damn this show.
- “It’s a start.”
- Yeah, I figured Chance was going to be a problem.
- How many times did I cry this episode? HOW MANY TIMES?
- The way I screamed at Lauren taking the plunge. Being real with herself.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think about New Amsterdam 3×10 “Radical”? Share with us in the comments below!
New Amsterdam airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC.