New Amsterdam 4×21 “Castles Made of Sand” is an episode about expectations, the ones others place in our shoulders, and the ones we choose to shoulder. And it’s also an episode about letting go of those and finally accepting who we are, what we really want.
As always, this is the case for everyone, even if the episode is framed around Helen’s desire to get married in a castle, or not get married at all …or, finally, to just elope. Neither answer is wrong, of course. But there’s only one that’s right for Helen, and sometimes one of the hardest things is to do is to just … own what you want, not what you think other people expect.
For Floyd, that means looking for his father. For Lauren, it means moving back in with Layla, giving a relationship that broke both of them before another chance. And, for Helen, it means …saying yes to Max, if not to the big wedding. Everyone’s journey is different, and everyone has to decide for themselves where the journey is meant to take them.
So, let us wax poetic about Sharpwin and families — and complain about Iggy — as we review New Amsterdam 4×21 “Castles Made of Sand”:
I AM NOT THE PROBLEM, YOU ARE
Every time I think Iggy cannot get any worse, he somehow manages a way to dig the hole even further. And this isn’t even me reacting to the actor — though again, the irony of complaining about relationship drama on this show when Martin and Iggy get all the worse drama is RICH — it’s one hundred percent about Iggy Frome as a character.
Because you know what it is with him? He never learns. Not the right lesson, at least. And even the ones he does learn, well, it feels like he quickly forgets. He’s supposed to have more tools to figure out his feelings than anyone else on the show, and yet he’s constantly the one making the worst mistakes in his personal life. It’s infuriating, and at this point, insulting.
Relationships rarely break down because of one person, and there might be some sliver of truth to Iggy’s sudden realization about Martin. Except that realization isn’t fully about Martin, it’s also about Iggy himself. Whatever their dynamics that he resents, Iggy contributed to them. And then, then …he responded by placing the entire blame on Martin, even when Iggy was the one who almost cheated, the one who adopted a child without telling his husband, the one who never, ever puts his family first.
Every show needs an antagonist, and New Amsterdam has found one in Iggy. If that’s what they meant, then kudos. If not …it might just be too late at this point to take it back. Martin, his kids, and us deserve better.
I’VE BEEN WAITING MY WHOLE LIFE FOR YOU
I said it in my last review, but I want to repeat it: New Amsterdam is many, many things, many of which we have discussed ad nauseum, but it’s above all a love story. And Max and Helen are at the center of that. At one point, this might have been confused for the Max Goodwin show, but of course, it grew from that. Stories always do.
But even as something set up as Max’s story, it’s easy to see that New Amsterdam was always aiming for …well, a grand romance. One that started with a place, with a dream, grew into a family, and ended — or will end next season — hand in hand with the person that saw Max for who he was, from the beginning, the one Max always had the number of, in return.
This is what makes Sharpwin such a good couple. Who Max Helen were before they met seems like a mirage. They were better people together. And not only that, they’re better people because of each other. They actively made each other better long before they were ever a couple; they were already each other’s soulmates long before the first kiss.
And yes, there was Georgia first. And there is Luna. I never want to minimize Georgia’s place in Max’s life, just as we shouldn’t minimize Mohammed’s place in Helen’s. Life doesn’t give you a finite number of loves, or even great loves. You can love a person and lose them and move on, and that doesn’t mean you loved them less. And those people that love you, they will always want your happiness …even after they’re gone.
Max and Helen are each other’s happiness. Because they compliment each other. Because they challenge each other. But also because they have decided to be. They’ve made the choice to put each other and their relationship above everything. Love carries a great deal of the weight, but choice, choice is always the most important part. You can love, but you have to choose to let that love rule you. And that’s the one choice these two have made, together, over and over again.
It’s complicated, and yet, despite what Helen’s mom thinks, it’s also super simple. Luna hasn’t had a choice. She lost her mother, and she spent a great deal of time without her father in the middle of a devastating pandemic. And she is, of course, too young to consciously make a choice, but if she could …Luna would choose to have a family. She’d choose a father and a mother that love her, and that love each other. She’d choose Helen.
Helen Sharpe always wanted to be a mother. And one day, Helen Sharpe might get to carry her own baby. But Helen Sharpe is a mother now, even if she didn’t give birth to Luna. And that’s not something Georgia would begrudge her. Instead, it’s something she would thank Helen for.
What Max and Helen have built in Season 4, the thing that they are fighting for, is a family. Their family. Not his, not Georgia’s, theirs. And that doesn’t require a big wedding, or Helen’s mother who never seems to put her daughter’s happiness first. It only requires the presence of the few friends that have become family, Luna as the flower girl, and the two of them, staring at each other with all the love in the world. What could be more perfect than that?
Things I think I think:
- Who leaves the door to the bathroom open?
- Look, Martin, he doesn’t deserve you being nice, THAT’S ALL I’M SAYING.
- I would hate to have gotten married in a castle, I promise.
- “Sounds so over the top it might just match how much I love you” IS a line, though.
- A GONORRHEA OUTBREAK!
- Floyd is really, really not a good manager.
- Helen’s mom really has a way of ruining every moment.
- The way she says THAT man and HIS daughter.
- She always projects her issues on Helen, and it’s gotten way out of hand.
- Do I care about Iggy’s storyline this episode? Or Iggy in general?
- I do not.
- So, WHAT IS YOUR POINT, IGGY? People should quit their jobs and not pay their bills?
- That moment with Helen’s mom near the end does not make up for the rest. Not at all.
- I’m not sure I buy Floyd being on the right in this one. Time management, you know. It’s a thing.
- Editor’s note: They killed Niles from The Nanny. Some of us are in mourning.
- Did Iggy REALLY just put it ALL on Martin?
- But, is it a bad idea, Lauren?
- I mean, it is — but also, it can be the beginning of a great one.
- Honestly, I think we need a lot more of the two of them together. Building something. Little by little. Together.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of New Amsterdam 4×21 “Castles Made of Sand”? Share with us in the comments below!
New Amsterdam airs Tuesdays on NBC, with next week marking the season finale. The show will return for Season 5 in the Fall.