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New Amsterdam - Big Day - Review

This week's episode dealt with a very disturbing, yet very prevalent problem in the United States. The New Amsterdam team worked together to save the groom of a wedding, who was severely injured when the venue went up in flames. However, something just did not feel right about the circumstances of the situation, especially since the flower girl had gone into a catatonic state. After some pretty decent work from Iggy (yes, I said Iggy), we find out that the girl wasn’t the flower girl after all, she was actually the bride. The concept of child brides is one that often feels foreign to those that live in well developed countries such as the US, however, it is more common than anyone cares to admit. Child marriage is currently legal in 44 states. Although I believe that this is definitely a topic that needs to be explored and brought to life, it felt out of place on a medical drama. Yes, the story is an important one to tell, IF you can flesh it out and highlight the effects of child marriage on those involved, especially the victim, and expose the fact that even if the young bride goes to the police, nothing will be done and then what are the long term effects of that? To me, the storyline would have made a great episode of Law and Order: SVU. They would have definitely done it justice. 

So many things felt really out of place and were morally questionable in this episode. For one, Max and Wilder fly to Bermuda of all places, to secure a donor to save the groom who has a very rare blood type. This trip felt unnecessary and it was clear that it was only written to further push the writer’s agenda to have Max and Elizabeth fall in love. What was even more awkward about it, is Ben (Wilder’s interpreter) tagged along, making him the proverbial third wheel. Every interaction between Max and Elizabeth felt forced. Love stories need time to develop and 13 episodes just isn’t enough. Especially since Max spent the first four seasons of the show madly in love with Helen, and the audience is now being forced to believe he is over all that and ready to move on in such a short amount of time. It is truly upsetting that the writers have basically set Sandra up to be Freema’s replacement in every way. She has immense talent and instead of providing her with story arcs that display her brilliance, they have instead decided to rush her into a pairing with Max. On top of this, the writers have demonstrated that they are completely out of ideas because literally every scene between Max and Wilder is a parallel to scenes he shared with Helen. The final scene where he’s sitting with Wilder outside the hospital chatting, is something he did often with Helen. The storyline next week sees Elizabeth face an injury to her hands leaving her unable to communicate- Helen had a stroke last season, which also left her unable to communicate. The blatantly obvious reuse of Sharpwin scenes to try and sell the Max and Elizabeth narrative is quite ridiculous. The point is- Helen and Max had a chemistry unlike any other TV couple. Every scene between them was electric, you could feel the electricity through your TV screen. There is zero electricity between Max and Elizabeth and trying to recreate what Sharpwin had just so their white saviour can run off happily into the sunset in the final episode, is a terrible writing choice. No matter how hard the writers try, they cannot create chemistry that isn’t there. What’s even more ridiculous, is that the writers literally wrote this line for Elizabeth in 4x01, “Dr. Sharpe is not replaceable, and if I were you, I wouldn’t let her go.” Too bad Max didn’t follow that advice. It’s also laughable that the writers are pushing this narrative when they themselves wrote that line just a mere season ago. 

The most upsetting part of Max and Wilder’s quest to track down the person with the Golden blood type, was the unethical way that they went about doing it. Max is a medical director, Wilder is chief of oncology, they know better than anyone that blood banks cannot give out information, yet they felt entitled to the information anyway. When their use of charm doesn’t work, the show plays upon the fact that when someone has a hearing impairment, their other senses are heightened and Elizabeth is actually able to see the donor's address through the reflection in the glass. Max, Elizabeth and their third wheel Ben, rush to the donor’s house, who turns out to be a woman of colour. Remember in 4x17 when Helen shared how she did not want a hysterectomy because of the dark history of using people of colour to advance science? Clearly the writers don’t and neither does Max as he and Elizabeth proceed to guilt and twist the donor’s arm into agreeing to donate her blood. The woman literally states that it has been a blessing and a curse to constantly be pumping her blood out for others until she is too weak to stand, yet Max and Elizabeth continue to make her feel like it’s her duty to do so. Their behaviour is appalling and quite frankly, inhumane. You can justify it and say they were trying to save their patient and follow the Hippocratic oath, but that is far from true or just. The way they went about finding this woman and invading her privacy, then guilting her into saving a man who, let's face it, would have been better off dead, is astounding and shameful. 

Another big flop for me this episode was the storyline between Floyd and his dad, Horace. Last episode, Iggy unprofessionally diagnosed Horace with bi-polar disorder, despite only meeting him for a total of two seconds. Floyd takes this information to his mother and sister and expects them to show Horace some compassion and understanding, but they don’t and they shouldn’t! Mental illness does not take away culpability and in this case, his father hasn’t even been formally diagnosed! It’s ridiculous that the writers expect viewers to believe that Floyd would take Iggy’s half-cocked diagnosis and run with it. The Floyd that viewers know is smarter than that. But, we know that the writers do not seem to even know their own characters, so they have Floyd confront his father with his “diagnosis” and basically pardon him for every wrong thing he’s ever done. This is blatantly wrong on so many levels. Why would anyone just accept a diagnosis based on nothing?? Even if he was formally diagnosed, discussions should happen about Horace’s actions and how they have affected Floyd. No relationship can ever truly heal without that. I said it last week and I’ll say it again, I really hoped that this was Floyd’s season to get a solid storyline. Looks like he’s being set up to have one of the worst instead. 

Lauren’s arc may be tied with Floyd’s for the worst this season. She has a lot of money, as we’ve come to learn over the seasons. So can someone explain why she has to stay with her sister, who is a full blown addict and houses other addicts? Can’t she rent a hotel room or another apartment? Instead she’s choosing to put her sobriety at risk by staying in a place where drugs and alcohol are aplenty. Didn’t David Schulner state that he essentially used the character of Leyla to test Lauren’s sobriety? And now that is done and she passed the test, so it’s time to bring her closure? If they were going to have Lauren slip back into narcotics, could they not have done it through her relationship with Leyla? Why instead did they choose to introduce a new character with only 13 episodes left in the series?? There was no reason to let Shiva Kalaiselvan (Leyla) go, none at all and it’s infuriating. 

With only 10 episodes left, the show would do best with sticking to the medical storylines and stop attempting to develop their characters' personal story arcs. They clearly have no idea where to take these characters or their storylines which is actually quite sad, considering the talent at their fingertips and the fact that they set up these characters so well in the first 3 seasons. I still need to understand what went wrong in the writers room that they’ve completely forgotten who their characters are and what makes them shine. I’ve never seen anything quite like this and I watch a lot of television. 

What do you think, New Amsterdam viewers? What were your thoughts on the child bride storyline? Are you enjoying the character arcs this season? Share your thoughts below and engage with me on Twitter @miss_c_almeida.

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