New Amsterdam 4×09 “In A Strange Land” is, as always, because that’s what this show is at its core, about people. But more importantly, it’s about how we treat people. Not just the people we live with, the people we see every day, the people we work with or the people we love, but how we treat strangers. How we treat people who are different than us, or who come from a different background.
Deep down this episode is about humanity, about the things that bring us together even when it looks like we have nothing in common.
Some might call that thread that binds all of us together faith, and for some, it certainly comes back to that. Faith in something bigger than ourselves, but also faith in each other. For others, however, faith isn’t the answer. Or at least, it’s not a definite answer. You can believe things will work out, and you can trust they will, but that’s no guarantee.
There are no guarantees in life.
New Amsterdam 4×09 “In A Strange Land” doesn’t try to pretend every story we see in this hour will have a happy ending, can have a happy ending. And the episode itself doesn’t have one – getting rid of someone like Dr. Fuentes was never gonna be that easy. But this episode isn’t about the conclusion, it’s not about whether things will work out or not, instead, it’s about the journey.
For Max, for Helen, for Lauren, for Floyd, for Iggy, and for the people around them. Because if this episode shows sometimes is that the culture in New Amsterdam, the people in New Amsterdam, are what make this place special. And that’s the one thing Dr. Veronica Fuentes can never, will never understand.
This is proven again and again by the way everyone goes out of their way to be not just sympathetic, not just understanding, but helpful in this hour. It isn’t just Max leading the way, though he is. It’s Helen saying things like “we’re willing to try” when faced with a patient that needs more than just the regular care from her. It’s Kai stepping in when he felt he was needed. And it’s the show reinforcing, once again, that even when you don’t have an answer, and can’t fix things, caring and empathy are always the right choice.
It would be easy to say this is the legacy of Max Goodwin, and in some ways, it is, but Max didn’t make these people who they are. He did, however, foster an environment where acting the way they did in this hour wasn’t just excused, it was welcomed. It was encouraged. And that stops with Veronica Fuentes as the Medical Director of New Amsterdam.
We’re here, at the impasse. We’ve known it all along. Dr. Fuentes isn’t what’s best for the hospital. We know it, and Max knows it. He’s tried to wage this war and he’s won some battles, but in order to even come close to winning the actual war, Max is going to have to stay. He’s going to have to say goodbye to Helen and pick New Amsterdam.
For anyone else, it would be unthinkable. For Max, well, you could argue he’s already picked his career, or his desire to make the world a better place, over the people he’s loved before. That, in many ways, makes him a hero. But it also makes him a martyr. You can’t go around leaving pieces of yourself behind and then turn around and pretend you’re whole. And more importantly, I don’t think Max wants to. Not anymore.
Is he leaving for good? We will find out next week, but I think the answer is, should be yes. Not just for Helen, or for Sharpwin, but for Max Goodwin. He’s put everyone before himself so many times. And yes, this episode is about people. About humanity. About always doing the most. But when we think of people, we hardly ever think about how we should include ourselves in that equation.
Max Goodwin’s journey has led him here, to putting himself first. To prioritizing the one thing that makes him happy: Helen Sharpe. And though I’m sure, since this is TV, that he and Helen will find their way back to New Amsterdam this season, and I’m also sure next episode is going to make us suffer, and doubt, for now, it’s time for Max to prove to Helen, and to himself, that he does have his priorities in order. That he can choose to be whole and happy, with her.
As much as I want things at New Amsterdam to be better, and as much as I really, really want Dr. Fuentes to go, I will be cheering for Max anyway. Fixing the world the way he wanted to was always really, really hard, but it was made even harder by the way he did it. Perhaps there’s a better way. Now it’s just up to him …and the show, to show us what that is.
One thing is for sure, I’m in for a chance of scenery. London’s nice this time of the year, isn’t it?
Things I think I think:
- If the hospital is already falling apart without Casey and Gladys, imagine how it’ll be once Max and Helen are also gone.
- JUST SAYING.
- Appreciate “frustrated but not wavering” Max more than I can say. And, honestly, he’s allowed to waver. He’s human. But it’s a measure of his growth that he’s not giving into what’s best for everyone, not him.
- I’m not sure calling Iggy is the right call here, to be honest.
- This storyline with Kai made me EMOTIONAL from like, second one.
- “This body, which they tried to destroy” and “This body is my home” are such powerful, emotional lines, and I’m not the right person to put into words how important this Temi storyline was, but I will say that it touched me deeply and I hope that it reaches the people it really needs to reach.
- Deep down I always knew Karen wasn’t that bad.
- “They don’t need another place to hide, they need a home.” BROKE ME.
- And again, this is one of those things New Amsterdam does really well …there are no answers. There can’t be. But that doesn’t mean the questions don’t need to be asked.
- “You are my home,” is such a powerful statement of love, in this case familial love.
- The thing with the ambulances was brilliant, Max.
- MY SHARPWIN CRUMBS.
- Been waiting for this Leyla thing to blow up since the beginning of the season, it’s about time.
- “I don’t need to know, I have faith.”
- So do I. I have faith in the writers. Feels strange, doesn’t it?
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of New Amsterdam 4×09 “In A Strange Land”? Share with us in the comments below!
New Amsterdam airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC.