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New Amsterdam - Give Me a Sign - Review

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If you’re wondering if this show could get any worse, the answer is yes, it can, and it has. Every episode this season has been even worse than the last, leaving the only silver lining to be that there are only seven more episodes to suffer through. I tried to have an open mind while watching this episode, and intentionally tried to look for the positive. That immediately went sour when the episode started with a montage of Iggy’s dating life, followed by yet another parallel of a Max and Helen scene that had me shaking my head and chiding myself for foolishly believing that there was still a chance that I could be pleasantly surprised by this show. The parallel followed a montage of Max and Wilder jogging together and, what I’m sure was meant to be flirting, but absolutely did not land due to the lack of chemistry between the two. Enter the parallel- as they approached the hospital, Wilder was nearly hit by a car at an intersection and they witnessed another car hitting pedestrians, leaving the pedestrians badly injured. Sound familiar? Just last season we saw Sharpe and Max witness an ambulance crashing while walking to work. The lack of creativity in the writers room is actually disturbing. How can so many writing professionals not be able to come up with a unique story? 

The accident leads Max to decide that he is going to use his white saviour complex to make New York City safer, starting with the dangerous intersection where the accident occurred. How this relates to his job at the hospital is questionable, but I digress. He meets a loud but headstrong lawyer, Callie Cruz, whose office happens to be a desk set up at the park. Max, always rooting for the underdog, tells her his plan and she offers to take the case for $10,000. He counters with $5000 and only if they win. With what money is he using to pay her? How will he even justify this to the New Amsterdam board? If this storyline isn’t already sounding ridiculous, trust me, it gets worse. Callie gets them a hearing in front of a judge that same day. Are we expected to believe that this is even remotely possible? A lawyer that practices in a park can twist the necessary arms to get a hearing within minutes?? Max and Callie argue their point to the judge, that the paint on the crosswalk has faded making the intersection dangerous, and they win. Max learns that just because they won, doesn’t mean that the lines will get re-painted. In fact, Callie has fought that same case and won 4 times previously. Max then takes it upon himself to try and guilt a painting company that he passes on the street to take care of it. They decline because for one, they have a schedule that they need to adhere to, and more importantly, it’s illegal. Max continues to try and guilt them into it, which is completely inappropriate, but that seems to be the trend this season. The company stands their ground and refuses to help. A defeated Max is walking home at the end of the night, when he runs into Callie at the dangerous intersection. She reveals that she has spent the $5000 that he paid her on paint and supplies, and she has recruited volunteers to help get the job done. This leads to our second Sharpwin parallel of the night, because somehow Wilder ended up on the scene which makes absolutely no sense since the lawyer doesn’t even know her, and Max had no clue this was going on. Like I said, ridiculous. Anyhow, Wilder and Max end up side by side with paint rollers in their hands, just like Sharpwin last season, except Sharpwin did it way better. It is clear that the writers are trying the slow burn relationship with Max and Wilder, like they did with Sharpwin. The problem is, they only have 13 episodes, now 7, to make it happen and zero foundation to build from. Slow burn romances take character development, time to build chemistry and develop trust between characters. Giving this pairing two short scenes per episode is not gonna cut it. It feels rushed, the parallels are making it feel cheap, and there is definitely no momentum or moments leaving fans wanting more. The fact that the writers think that this imitation romance could even come close to Sharpwin is completely delusional. Viewers didn’t ask for a replica relationship for Max. They asked for justice for Helen and her relationship with Max. The writers are clearly intent on doing whatever they want without any regard to what fans want, and are willing to sink their ratings as a result. 

Iggy’s storyline, aside from his awkward dating life, was helping a set of parents to communicate with their son, who is deaf. The parents explained that their primary physician, the Audiologist and Speech and Language Pathologist all agreed that learning sign language would be detrimental to their son's social well-being, as it would isolate him from his peers. The medical professionals suggested instead that the parents wait, and allow him to develop language naturally with time. The problem is, the boy has only learned 78 words and is now unable to communicate, causing him to lash out in inconsolable tantrums. While the ableist views of society is an important topic, I am not sure this storyline did it justice. Iggy takes the young boy to observe Dr. Wilder performing a surgery and Iggy shares that she is deaf, but that hasn’t stopped her from being a surgeon and the head of the Oncology department. That is great, but the reason Iggy was introduced to this family was to help the boy and his parents learn to communicate, not to convince the young boy that being deaf is not a detriment. For a storyline about ableism, Iggy then presents the family with a pretty ableist solution. He wants them to send their son to an immersive ASL school in Boston. First off, is the best thing for this young boy who has been sheltered by his parents his whole life, to be sent away to live on his own with strangers in a different city 4 hours away? How is this plan inclusive, when he will be living in a setting with other ASL learners, away from other peers of different abilities in a regular school setting? This storyline had potential, but was another miss for me. The connection to Dr. Wilder felt out of place and the plan for the boy was far from inclusive. 

Elsewhere in the episode, Floyd was assisting the young boy and his grandmother that were hit by the car at the intersection. The grandmother suffered from an injury that required spinal surgery or a less invasive procedure. Because she was unconscious, they needed her medical proxy to make the decision, which turned out to be her teenage grandson. He hesitated, but ultimately chose the surgery. When his grandmother came out of surgery unable to feel her legs, he immediately felt guilty and Reynolds gave him advice that the boy made the best decision that he could with the information that he had at the time, and that is all his grandmother would have wanted. While this was going on, Floyd received numerous phone calls from his father. When he finally called him back, Horace was erratic and walking on what sounded like a busy roadway. Floyd goes to meet with his father, but his intentions are not to give in to his fathers demands, instead he invokes a 5150, which is a 72 hour hold for patients that are considered mentally unstable, to be detained in a psychiatric facility. There are SO many problems with this. First, his father was never formally diagnosed with Bipolar disorder by a licenced professional. It is unethical that Iggy met him for 2 seconds, and informally diagnosed him. The fact that Floyd took that information and ran with it is absolutely ridiculous. While I am not arguing that Horace has a mental illness, the way that it was handled is completely unethical and offensive to viewers who suffer from mental illness. As it is, people with mental illness have to fight against stigma and a medical system that makes it difficult to get treatment. To even suggest that a random psychiatrist could diagnose a man that he does not know nonchalantly, and that the man could get committed based on an opinion, is a gross misrepresentation of the system and it sends the wrong message that people could be committed based on an opinion of their mental status and not fact. 

The only bright spot in this episode was the return of Casey. He immediately got on Lauren’s case for reconnecting with her sister, and made her see that having her in her life right now is not healthy for her. Lauren spent the episode obsessively texting her sister and when she received a missed call from Vanessa, the voicemail revealed that it was a butt dial. The message did disclose that Vanessa was headed to a liquor store and a simple Google search revealed the address. At the end of the episode, we see Lauren heading to an unfamiliar address and assume she is going to find her sister. In reality, she was at a church to attend a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. It is great that Lauren is focusing on her sobriety again, and that Casey was the voice of reason as he often is. Leyren fans will be happy to know that there was mention of Leyla. Lauren announced to the ER staff that Leyla got a job at Baptist, but that was all that was said. I assume that was the writer’s way of closing the book on Leyla once and for all? Such a waste of a great love story, and a waste of the talent that was Shiva Kalaiselvan. 

Seven more episodes remain, and I wish there was something to be hopeful for but at this point, I am hoping for the finale to occur before the winter break, rather than in the new year. The sooner this train wreck is off our screens, the better. The ratings suggest that most people would agree with me. What were your thoughts on this episode? Do you agree with my analysis of the storylines? Share your thoughts by commenting below or by interacting with me on Twitter @ms_c_almeida.

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