When watching New Amsterdam, Max’s whole, “let’s reach for the stars and fix all the problems” attitude has always been equal parts endearing, frustrating, and…well, kinda hilarious. In “Same As It Ever Was,” though, it gave him all of that and more: Our well-meaning, yet often misguided, hero was able to mentor the next generation of big dreamers.
In some ways, you could say the outcome of Imani Moore’s story was more important than any other “big fix” Max has ever tried to snap his fingers and create. After all, without someone to carry on the mission of changing the world after we’ve left it, how will that change last? How will it grow? At the risk of being a little bit too corny here, you could even say that, by helping Imani bring her turnip-based smart sutures to life, he was literally planting the seeds for the future.
And honestly, we needed to see that. Far too often, young people with big dreams have them shot down. Either it’s because of abusive power structures that make their dreams impossible to realize, or there are far too many adults around them telling them to just stop wishing for more. As a dumbest case scenario, “young” is often assumed to mean “stupid,” and you’ve got situations like what happened with The Morning Show‘s cartoonish take on the current generation of feminists.
Luckily, even when you think things are going to go down a very rage-inducing path. New Amsterdam refuses to be that kind of show. After a hard day, a difficult week, or even just nonstop horrible everything for far too long, this series remains the type of special something you can always trust to escape with. It’s nice to know that sometimes the good guys win.
And yeah, the rage fears came more from the whole Sharpwin of it all than anything else—more on that later…But still. It’s nice to have something weirdly resembling hope. Let’s do this.
The Mini, Better-Than-Max, New Max
Yeah, I said what I said.
This young woman was the absolute star of New Amsterdam 4×03, and the feeling came pretty much instantly. Imani Moore wanted to “fix the world,” but she attacked the problem of post-surgical infections with the innovation of someone who knew not only what the issue was, but also how to come at it from a much more accessible point of view than our usual fixer.
“…unless you live in a place where your doctors can’t afford smartphones. Then, this smart suture’s a dumb piece of thread that knows you might die but can’t tell anybody.”
Basically, unlike Max, this future doctor understood the concept of access and didn’t have to try to overdo things on a super expensive level, only to fail and then have to start from square one. But just when it seemed like she might be able to take her turnip-based concept and save some lives, one of the world’s other key problems that nobody seems to be able to solve stepped in the way: Wealth, and the power that comes with it.
Often, we see student loans taking gross advantage of young people who want to make a difference. NovaCo’s science fair scam—and yeah, it was a scam—was just about as abusive. “You can participate in our science fair. We might even give you enough money to send you to medical school, but then we own you.” That was basically the message.
Like, they brought a $500 million lawsuit against a child. Pharmaceutical companies are absolute and complete trash, constantly taking advantage of hardworking people. See also: the whole insulin price-gouging thing—and New Amsterdam 4×03 did a really, truly good job of showing that through Imani’s story. It was a more hopeful, at least in the end, method of making the same point.
Instead of going the usual route of “they’re ripping people off,” the series took an almost better tack: They showed just how much power and influence these companies have. They had a partnership with the hospital, so Karen could have helped Imani get out of her legal troubles, if only she agreed to give up the turnip sutures she’d seen as a way to help people. So, the hospital was out as an ally because she stood by her invention.
And forget going to medical school…because NovaCo had relationships, including people on the Board at Imani’s dream school, at pretty much all of them. Even Max’s initial attempt at saving the day, an impassioned plea about how Imani could work together with NovaCo to save lives and turn their precious profit, didn’t work out. So, then what?
When you’re young, everyone keeps telling you to live your dreams. They try to make you think you can change the world…And then all of this falls in your way.
“You taught me something important, Dr. Goodwin. When someone says they can change the world, don’t listen.”
Of course, not every young person looking to do something with their lives has a Max Goodwin on their side. Yeah, he’s always stepping in it because he tries to help. Sure, he doesn’t get it—to the point where he started off with a quip about how Imani’s turnip was “not the flashiest entry” in the science fair before taking the time to listen and learn—but he cares. And sometimes, that makes all the difference.
Max and Imani found a way; we won this particular battle in the war against billionaire corporations throwing their weight around to the detriment of not just healthcare but also young people’s futures. But Max is supposed to be leaving in five weeks, so it’s nice to see that the next generation is looking even brighter.
We interrupt your thought-provoking content for…Sharpwin
Yes, it’s still that kind of show, Tyler. Sorry.
So, relationships are hard. Living with people…is not fun, to say the least. And Helen is, even relatively early on in her relationship with Max, starting to feel that irritation.
The man snores. I’m on, like, zero sleep right now. And it’s not just the snoring, he’s messy. He’s really messy. Like, Luna is the clean one. And he’s disorganized. His place is cramped. My closet’s bigger than his entire apartment…And to top it all off, he was out of toilet paper. I mean, this is my life now? My God.
…and the complaints went on and on. All of this, after only one night at Max’s apartment.
Between Helen’s concerns about the apartment and the poisonous venom Karen put in her mind about how, if she’s worried about him squeezing the toothpaste wrong so early on, she might know it’s all a mistake…Things were really going down that ragey hate-post kind of review path there for a second. Or, well. At least the response to the Sharpwin content was headed there.
But then, New Amsterdam 4×03 did a really…evil genius sort of thing? The whole setup in “Same As It Ever Was” was literally all about trying to throw yet one more roadblock in Helen and Max’s way. This was it: All those little, irritating things were going to add up to be too much. Dr. Bloom and Karen were both like, “hey, maybe don’t move to London with this guy.”
And, possibly more worrying: Drs. Sharpe and Goodwin barely shared any screen time. By the time they came together, after Max had seen the importance of sticking around for someone like Imani when offering to stand by her side, and after Helen had all those annoyances all stacked up and ready to go, it felt like we were headed into “Doug Ross goes to Seattle, leaves Carol Hathaway behind while we sob about waking up alone tomorrow” territory. Except, like, in reverse.
But all is well. This isn’t your regular kind of show. (And, to be fair, that other great medical drama had reasons for doing that violence to shippers.)
Helen gave Max a rundown of why their living situation was “not great.” But instead of using all of that as an excuse to run, Dr. Sharpe made “a unilateral decision” to go all-in on this thing and move in with Max, to iron out the wrinkles, before going to London. It was Helen talking about what bothered her, saying “hey, you’re not perfect, and this whole relationship thing is tough.” It was her affirming that her one reason for staying in this thing was more important than the 1000 reasons to take the easy way out.
To give a positive shoutout to the OG iconic NBC medical drama ship mentioned above, it was something new. (Or at least new-ish. Work with me here, gang.)
Random As They Ever Were Feelings About New Amsterdam 4×03
- Ok but like. I’m just going to throw another “fuck Big Pharma” out there into the universe. NovaCo was suing a teenager for all that money she didn’t have. (See also: Fuck the RIAA while we’re at it. How many kids did they sue over shitty one-hit wonders?)
- “I was so busy falling in love, I forgot that being together actually meant living together.” I mean, eventually, yeah. But like. What a statement. Nailed it.
- Your regular reminder that Freema Agyeman is too good for all of us. By law, we must continue to stan.
- “You could sue this 18-year-old girl for half a billion dollars that she doesn’t have, or you could walk out of here with a vast, new, untapped market—the entire developing world.” Cute that Max put the emphasis on billion like those monsters would care. It literally means nothing to them. And Imani’s future means even less.
- “He is chaos personified.” Doctor. Ma’am. Like you didn’t already know.
- I’m with Luna. Waffles when.
- Ok but is it hilarious to anyone but me that this episode literally started with all of our major players in bed, talking about Sharpwin? I mean, if that’s y’all’s kink…
- I just think that Leyla, Warrior Princess. That is all. Yes, girl. Take control. Show everyone how badass your skills are. Don’t back down!
- …don’t @ me about my hypocrisy on that last one as it relates to my own personal clownery.
- As long as I’m making ER references: New Chick gives me fake AF Kerry Weaver vibes. Like, early Kerry. When she’d be an absolute monster to folks, yet then try to suck up to one individual at a time to serve her purposes.
- “Go way back” how. Stop with the ending on wtf notes with me, New Amsterdam. (Don’t.)
- Iggy had a storyline.
- Dr. Floyd always gets these great, meaningful pieces of dialogue. And like. Keep that shit up.
- “There were so many this week, couldn’t keep them all straight in my head. I mean, the nightclub shooting, after the high school, and then the…prayer house shooting. And Monday was that shooter at the grocery store near my place. I see him around my neighborhood all the time with his wife and his two girls. He was just picking up groceries, just living his life. That could’ve been you. It could’ve been me. It’s everywhere. I used to feel…outrage, you know? I used to think it didn’t have to be like this—we didn’t have to live like this. But now, it’s like we traded one pandemic in for another.”
- Absolutely perfect from the message to the delivery…except for one thing: We didn’t make a trade. No, we’re suffering through both and dealing with both in the same way: By doing nothing at all to stop the pain.
- Even a show that gives you hope can serve you realism. It’s actually what makes both sides of the messaging so strong. After all, both the bad and the good exist alongside each other. Every day, everywhere. If it’s jarring for you as a viewer, ask yourself why it isn’t equally as unsettling to you out there.