I, too, am feeling alright thanks to you, New Amsterdam!
And with New Amsterdam Season 4 Episode 1, the best, most heartfelt medical drama on the air is back with a bang, quite literally. And I love that for us.
We’re also diving all-in on Sharpwin, baby!
New Amsterdam deserves all the credit in the world for surpassing much of the doom and gloom that many medical shows have become and committing itself to not only finding joy but creating it for its viewers.
It’s the message that we need and deserve, and New Amsterdam understands the assignment.
It’s a message of hope, and that bled through in every aspect of the premiere. It elicited goosebumps as much as warm and fuzzies.
The hour took a more non-linear turn as we jumped from mere seconds after the door closed leading into the morning after and then weeks ahead, with cuts of previous moments interspersed throughout the hour as needed for each character.
It made things suspenseful, more so with Max and Helen, as the time issue with Floyd and Lyn felt unnecessary despite how much easier it probably was to transition us into their story.
What is it about Sharpwin?
Is it their incredible chemistry that has left us captivated since the moment they laid eyes on one another? Is it that we love these dynamic characters as individuals and can appreciate how they elevate one another?
Is it that on this great series where romance is so far down on the list of things that make the show compelling, somehow manage to strike that rare type of gold with that as well?
New Amsterdam knows how to tell a love story in such an unexpected way that it makes you do a doubletake.
Typically, it’s the will they/won’t they element that viewers live for, and it’s why most series attempt to suspend that for as long as possible.
However, the journey to Sharpwin was such a beautiful tale and long worth the wait.
To no surprise, now that they’ve made things official, it’s still a satisfying dynamic.
Their lust and love-fueled ascent up the stairs built all the anticipation, and them consummating their relationship was one of the most beautifully intimate scenes on network TV in some time.
Max’s total adoration and whispered nothings were true to his character, but so was Helen’s level-headedness after the fact. You wanted to be disappointed that she was pulling back a bit so soon after such a beautiful moment, but you can understand her perspective.
Max: Is this even real? I have thought of nothing but you and this for so long without it, I didn’t know how to say it, or maybe I was afraid to, and now it just feels like I have a future again with you just like this.
Helen: I should never have let you in.
She brought all the feelings she had after her trip to London with her. While Helen focused most of her time determining where she and Max stood, all of that came flooding back when she sorted out her love life.
However, she knew it made things more complicated, and I wonder if she intended to give into one night with Max for selfish reasons before she ripped the band-aid off about London, assuming the worst.
Helen is still coming off some time of self-reflection and reevaluating her life, not unlike most people have throughout the pandemic. We’ve seen her reconnecting with family and her faith, among other things.
She feels this pull to go back to London. She fled it once upon a time, and now she expressed that these are pieces of herself that she can’t live without anymore.
Helen: Being home broke me wide open and I came spilling out in a way that I don’t have any interest in boxing up again and it felt right. I felt right.
Max: You take some time off, you take a leave of absence, you take what you need.
Helen: Max, I need to go home, for good.
She wants to be closer to her mother, repair the relationship between her and Meena, and take that job as medical director at a clinic that’s in desperate need.
And she didn’t want to be the one to do a long-distance relationship with Max before they even got the opportunity to date regularly. But Max was right about this part.
They’re not the type who are getting to know each other and starting from scratch. Sharpwin developed an intimacy from the moment they met and have built it over time with their friendship. If anyone can manage to figure this out, they can.
Max was too happy with where they were in their relationship and his ability to let go and allow himself to love again that he was typical Max about it. He was all-in, a silly man in love who was willing to make compromises, shouting out his love and threatening to run through the streets naked.
It’s his optimism and that silliness that brings levity to her, and he’s who could cling to the notion that they could make it work even when their busy schedules suggested otherwise.
And Max, a man-in-love, puts Max’s usual exuberance and sunny positivity to shame. But it was refreshing because it’s been a long time since Max was happy, and the joy he was radiating is the type that everyone needs.
The hospital renovations and improvements provided everyone with a fresh start after working through the pandemic. And the montage of people returning to the hospital after months of working from home was hilarious and endearing.
Max’s calls of painting rooms yellow to brighten up the place and his speech to Sandra about joy for one, felt like an amusing take from a guy who had really great sex with the woman he loves for the first time, but two, felt as if we were entering a new chapter.
It felt reflective of the page we’ve turned (or have been trying to) “post”-pandemic, and you could appreciate the nod to that. But it came with a humbling reality via the arsonist.
Mary’s deductions were on point, and the worker was a man in pain who lost his wife to COVID at New Amsterdam and who Max triggered with his “fresh start” spiel.
It’s a rough situation. You can certainly sympathize with this man who lost the woman he loves to COVID and the frustrations he must feel by those dismissing what killed her. You can also understand where Max’s renovations feel like erasure and disrespectful to those who lost their lives in those rooms.
On the other hand, we all need joy. We also don’t need constant reminders of such bleak times, especially a burnt-out medical staff who is still coming into work every day, haunted by what they endured.
If yellow paint in the former COVID room makes them feel a little better — makes it hurt less, then so be it.
One of the biggest shocks of the hour wasn’t that Max calmly talked the guy down and sympathized with him. It’s typical for Max to do that, but he showed more restraint.
The surprise was that he didn’t take that experience and make it a crusade to do something to appease this man and prove some point. Did anyone else expect him to make plans to create a memorial wall for those lost or something to that effect?
His lack of mention about the motivations behind this man blowing up parts of the hospital beyond that scene was enough to throw you off.
But maybe that’s a sign of how much has changed for him now. Perhaps it speaks to him winding down a bit and showing some balance.
He even delegated most of the arson stuff to Iggy, and he let Dr. Wilder take over and do what she pleased, jumping right into the mix.
Dr. Wilder is AWESOME! I love her with every fiber of my being, and the more of her we get, the better.
Initially, the idea of her interviewing for Helen’s job was a bit offputting. But then she started mentioning her experience and how much of a Helen fangirl she is, and Wilder is the perfect fit for New Amsterdam.
You don’t build a good hospital with money. You build it with good people, and you have that in spades. I would love to work here.
New Amsterdam’s matter-of-fact incorporation of diversity and instantly dynamic characters are some of the best things about the series, and the introduction of this incredible Deaf doctor is more evidence of that.
Wilder is lively, funny, confident, has a potty mouth, and she’s in medicine for all the right reasons. She has all the qualities of our favorite characters. She genuinely cares about her patients and making the healthcare system better.
And not only is she funny and cool, but her interpreter, Ben, is a fun character of his own, and they play off of each other nicely.
In the rare cases that you do see a Deaf character on TV with a translator, that person’s personality doesn’t always come through, and also, their interpreter feels distant from the interactions and fun.
The banter between Wilder and Ben was sweet, and they made you want to watch them for hours.
Wilder was smart enough to know that she couldn’t replace Helen, and she didn’t want to be that for Max, but after Max’s decision to relocate with Helen, it’s apparent Max thought of Wilder when he mentioned his replacement.
It’s a lot to unpack with Max’s declaration that he and Luna will move to London to follow Helen so she can pursue this calling she has there. But as record-scratching as this decision is for him, if he had to find a replacement for himself, he did well with this character we’ve only known for a few minutes but is winsome all the same.
She has that similar go-getter approach as Max, and it’s doable. It’s not a doubt in the mind that Wilder couldn’t maintain the integrity of New Amsterdam that Max has cultivated.
The issue is the rash decision-making here. The romantic side swoons over the idea that Max is willing to change his entire life and follow Helen across the ocean to be with her.
But it’s a hell of a thing for him to decide. Is he using his love for Helen to indulge in his impulsivity and whim chasing? If Helen is going along with this, is she enabling him?
Does it start a precedent in their relationship that could veer toward the unhealthy? Is their codependency something of concern now that romance is another element of their relationship?
Will Max really leave New Amsterdam, New York, Luna’s grandparents, his entire life behind, no regrets to move to London and, what, work underneath Helen?
Max: Hi. How was your flight?
Helen: Sad, upsetting. lonely.
Max: More joy. That’s what I told myself. that’s what I learned more than anything over these last 18 months. That’s what I need. And that’s you. You’re my joy.
Helen: Did you find my replacement?
Max: No one can replace you. But I think I found someone who can replace me.
Max: I’m going with you. More joy.
No one said Sharpwin wouldn’t come without obstacles and unique problems that come with becoming a couple.
The same goes for Lauren and Leyla’s relationship. It’s a relief that the two of them are still going strong. They’re wonderful together.
But their bubble was bound to burst once they were both under New Amsterdam’s roof in a professional manner.
Lauren can’t make all of these decisions about their relationship without considering Leyla’s feelings.
If they discussed that they wouldn’t tell people they were dating at work, Lauren should’ve either respected that or explained why part of her working the program means she needs to be open without secrets.
Lauren didn’t even consider how much of an issue she could cost Leyla by sharing that information and then cutting down other residents and interns while praising Leyla.
It’s crucial that Leyla forms bonds of her own while there, and whether hetero or queer, it never bodes well for a woman when people find out that she’s romantically involved with a superior.
It’s doubtful that Lauren apologizing and publically reaming Leyla out will make things any easier for her on that front.
Look, I know your internships were a long, hard slog and you’re probably thinking you see light at the end of the tunnel. I’m here to tell you, that’s not a tunnel that’s a train.
If Lauren is Leyla’s boss at work, Lauren needs to respect their equal partnership and discussions in their personal life.
Initially, when Brandon returned to the hospital after an overdose, it seemed like one of the residents screwed up his dosage. But his dyslexia was the root of his issue instead.
Brandon’s story isn’t unlike that of many. He was an asset and of value as an athlete. Sadly, adults and advisors in his life didn’t give a damn about his struggles with academics as long as he dribbled the ball well.
It’s maddening that the man went through his entire life battling with dyslexia, and he never got the resources, help, or support her deserved because of everyone else’s basketball agendas.
Even with rules implemented where athletes have to maintain a certain GPA to continue playing doesn’t help the thousands of gifted athletes with academic issues.
Brandon no longer plays basketball because of gout, so the poor guy doesn’t have anything else that he can fall back on after all of that.
Lauren’s ability to connect with her patients warms the heart.
And Iggy’s relentless approach with patients burned him out. They didn’t give us flashbacks to show how Iggy settled on taking over the department to teach instead, but it suits him.
Iggy’s too talented and good at his job to leave it behind, but this is something interesting to explore for his character.
He’s the king of pouring from an empty cup, and his assessment that you can’t heal souls without losing pieces of your own is astute and a perfect descriptor of his experience.
You could visibly see how challenging it was for Iggy to spend time with pyro Mary. And Labine and Isabel Keating played off one another so well and were mesmerizing during their scenes.
She was a small, seemingly non-intimidating woman, but she had an edge and this ability to see right through Iggy and voice what she saw, and it was chilling.
When does the white knight stop trying to save everybody? When he stops believing that everyone can be saved.
She didn’t want a savior, nor did she appreciate Iggy’s penchant for being a white knight. She called him the heck out in regards to that, and he knew it, too.
She knew she got under his skin, and she seemed to take pleasure in that. But it was enough to make you wonder if part of Iggy’s journey this season is learning how to practice and see patients again.
He’s rattled easily right now, and he needs to find a balance that works. Maybe teaching his students how to be the best and healthiest at their jobs will help him instill boundaries and follow the advice he doles out.
And what are we to conclude about Floyd and Lyn?
Here at the hospital, they heal bodies. Here on this ward, we heal souls.
They weren’t on speaking terms for a bit, and it took the explosion with the two of them within its reach and Floyd saving her for the pair to hash out their differences.
Claude knows that his wife has feelings for Floyd, right? Their whole thing is a bit confusing.
It would help if all three of them could sit down and have a conversation. It was notable when Lyn said that Claude likes Floyd more than she does, but what does one do with that information?
It was odd to hear Claude prodding into Floyd’s love to get to the root of why his playlist veered toward the depressing, and he was down in the dumps over a girl.
Lyn: If you hadn’t been there.
Floyd: I just wanted to apologize.
Lyn: It’s past, Floyd.
Floyd: No it hasn’t. I thought we could go back to being friends but whenever I am with your husband I think about you and when we’re together I keep thinking about him.
Lyn: You don’t think this is hard on me?! He may like you more than I do.
Floyd: Something’s gotta give Lyn.
Floyd and Claude work well together, but then so do Floyd and Lyn. It feels as if this dynamic among the trio will only grow more complicated with time.
But one thing is certain — Floyd has a kickass surgery playlist. Of course, in addition to a top-notch installment, the music rose to the occasion as per usual. All hail their musical director.
Over to you, ‘Dam Fanatics!
Are you thrilled about Max and Helen’s new stage in their relationship? What are your thoughts on Max moving to London to be with Helen?
Max: Dr. Mezner are you surprised by all of the great changes we’ve been making lately?
Dr. Mezner: No, Dr. Goodwin, this isn’t my surprised face, this is my I can’t believe I have to shower everyday face.
Do you like Dr. Wilder? Do you think she can be a decent replacement for Max? How do you feel about Iggy’s step down?
Will Lauren and Leyla face some issues working together? What are your thoughts on this Floyd/ Lyn/Claude thing? Hit that Show Comments button, and let’s discuss below!
Relive the premiere when you watch New Amsterdam online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.