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New Amsterdam - All the World's a Stage - Review


This week’s episode demonstrated once again that the writer’s have learned nothing at all from past mistakes, as they reverted back to telling too many stories at once, which time and time again has been proven to be disastrous. The show received its lowest viewer ratings ever and it is easy to see why. Apparently telling the writers numerous times that the show is better when the ensemble cast works together on one story, isn’t resonating with them. But then again, is anything resonating with these writers? At first, I thought we were going to get an ensemble episode when an onslaught of patients who were part of a pageant and suffered injuries when the stage collapsed, were rolled into the ER. All of the leads, except for Max, came to the ER to help out, but that was the only interaction between the main cast that we would see this episode. 

Not surprisingly, poor Lauren was hit with yet another hardship this episode. The show has a history of tormenting its female characters, just watch previous seasons and try and keep track of the numerous traumas that Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) faced. Lauren has been dealt with so much trauma as well, it is impossible to think that she could handle anymore. At the start of the episode, she was in an AA meeting talking about how hard she’s working at remaining clean. It gave the viewers a bit of hope that maybe things were going to start playing out in her favour. They would be proven wrong, of course, because viewers of this show should know better than to have any hope for anything anymore when it comes to this show. The writer’s and show runners have made it clear that they do not care about what the fans want, and when fans start to get excited about something, the show does the complete opposite. The  motive is completely baffling, but I have long since quit trying to figure out the minds of the team at New Amsterdam. Lauren is working with a young patient who has overdosed on THC. The girl’s mother admits that she has been the one giving her daughter the drugs, using the reasoning of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”. She figured her daughter was going to take the drugs whether she wanted her to or not, so she thought it would be safer for her daughter to access the drugs this way. As you can probably tell, this was a huge trigger for Lauren since her own mother supplied her with drugs when she was younger, which led her into addiction and the downward spiral of her life until now. Lauren immediately judged the mother, but Casey was once again the voice of reason, telling Lauren that she was making the situation about herself. Nevertheless, Lauren stuck to her judgements and called Child Protective Services. The question of whether or not to involve CPS would be difficult for doctor’s without a history of addiction. On the one hand, this mother was trying to do what was right for her daughter, but on the other, she was supplying her daughter with drugs that could have killed her. That doesn’t even matter because the whole storyline was grossly misinformed. Lauren preached over and over to the mother about how THC is more potent than it used to be, because the percentage of THC in weed is now in the 90th percentile. I won’t sit here and provide evidence that disproves this, because it is obvious that this is nowhere near true. The medical staff were acting like this mother was supplying her daughter with Heroin. Do not get me wrong, I do not support giving weed to minors, I am simply stating that the facts that Lauren spewed were untrue. Weed is legalized here in Canada and I can’t find any evidence of someone overdosing from it. I do not understand what the writer’s intention was here. Were they trying to give the message that Marijuana is dangerous? Providing misinformation is not the way to do that. Also, if they wanted to focus on dangerous drugs, the Opioid crisis would have been much more impactful, but I digress. If you think this was the end of Lauren’s storyline, you’d be wrong. At the end of the episode, her sister barged into the ER and shouted that their mother “kicked it.” Yes, their mother died, off screen of course, because having it happen on-screen would mean more work for the writer’s. So now Lauren is faced with yet another trauma to overcome. Her relationship with her mother is definitely complicated and toxic, but at the end of the day, she is her mother and this will have an impact on Lauren. Now we wait to find out just how much. 


Floyd was tasked with caring for the pageant teacher named Marvela, who had issues with her heart. She was a passionate, caring woman filled with so much joy and light. She brightened everyone’s world from the students she taught, to the medical staff at the hospital. Floyd wanted to save her, he really did, but during surgery he realized that she needed a full heart transplant. Sadly, Floyd was tasked with telling Marvela that she was not able to be placed on the list for a transplant because of her age. This gracious and kind woman did not let it phase her. She spent her whole life supporting and fighting for her young students, that she didn’t want a new heart if it meant she would be taking it away from a young child. It was heartbreaking to know Marvela would have to die because of her age, but her legacy will surely live on through the people that she helped throughout her life. Floyd used Marvela’s inspiration and attended the hearing to determine whether or not his father would be released from his Psychiatric hold. The judge told Horace that unless he had a family member that he could live with and that would agree to care for him, he could not be released. Horace stated that he had no one, but Floyd walked in and agreed to take Horace under his care. The way Horace’s storyline came about is disturbing, especially how they handled his diagnosis. I am assuming he received an official diagnosis of Bipolar disorder, because he couldn't have been held in a Psychiatric facility otherwise. Regardless, it is hard to get behind a story that was told in such a sloppy fashion, especially a story based on mental illness in a time when people need more facts and compassion and less touting of fiction and fear mongering. 


Meanwhile in the episode, Iggy was dealing with a janitor, Solomon, who professed to be a medium and was helping Iggy’s patients heal by delivering messages from their loved ones who have passed on. Of course, Iggy refused to believe in Solomon’s ability, so he ran a ton of tests in an attempt to prove that something was wrong with Solomon. He even went so far as to put Solomon on epilepsy medication, even though the tests clearly showed that he wasn't having seizures. Yet another unethical decision made by a doctor at New Amsterdam. Are we surprised? At this point, no. Luckily, Solomon was adamant that he has a gift and proved this to Iggy by speaking to Iggy through his deceased brother. This was definitely impactful for Iggy. He was still unsure if he was a believer, but he stopped challenging Solomon. Iggy moved Solomon to the Holistic medicine ward, where he felt Solomon would be a great addition. Ah, so the Holistic medicine ward still exists at New Amsterdam, even though Mia disappeared. Do you have a piece of paper and a pen handy? Start a list of things that don’t make sense on this show and add this to it. Trust me, there are more items to add coming up. The message that Solomon delivered through Iggy’s brother did give Iggy the confidence he needed to realize what he wanted in life. He goes to Martin’s place to deliver something for their daughter, and it is clear that the writer’s are setting the stage for a reunion between the two. Martin tells Iggy that he looks different, and it’s a good thing and Iggy thanks him for noticing. Of all the couples on the show, Iggy and Martin are the only ones to get a happy ending. Well, maybe not, considering the stage has also been set for another couple to ride off into the sunset… 


Elizabeth and Max started the episode together. Both had come in early to work on something, of course the viewers aren’t told what that is. Max brings her a coffee, and she has brought him one, too. The writers are doing whatever they can do to convince us there is chemistry here, when there clearly isn’t. Chemistry between two characters requires passion, lust, intimacy, trust and these two have had no more than 2 minutes together in 6 episodes (the first episode and the Roe V Wade episode did not feature them together). There is absolutely no way chemistry could even have started to brew between them. Their moment together didn’t last long, as Max was accosted by an angry man named Warren, who wanted to sue the hospital. Turns out his mother passed away from Dementia, and left the family home to New Amsterdam in her will. Max goes to speak to a man he’d never met named Ken, in a department he didn’t know existed. Is this even possible? Max is the medical director of the hospital. Do you still have your list of things that don’t make sense handy? If so, add this one to it. Nevertheless, Max finds out that Ken is providing a service to lonely patients by taking care of them when no one else will, and then sweet talking them into leaving a donation to the hospital in their will. Immediately, viewers are led to feel that Ken is a despicable human being for using people in their time of need, and he doesn’t help us think otherwise, since he speaks about his accomplishments so confidently and eloquently, it is difficult not to think of him as a slimeball. Warren was anything but a deadbeat son. He was fighting for his country and that’s why he wasn’t there for his mother. It is odd that Warren’s mother wouldn’t have mentioned her son being in the military to Ken. 

Mister “my life’s mission is to fix the world’s problems,” Max, decides he is going to help Warren by meeting with the board and filing a complaint against Ken, so that Warren can get the house back. He gave a typical Max ‘the social justice hero’ speech, which would normally win the board over, about how Ken took advantage of a woman who was not in her sound mind, and left a stain on the hospital’s name. The problem is that Max clearly did not do his research. Warren’s mother was diagnosed with dementia after her will was written, not before, so she was in her sound mind and the board decided that her donation stands. After the meeting, Ken shared with Max and Warren that the entirety of the proceeds from the house would be going to the Wounded Veterans Foundation. Warren’s mother was very clear about that stipulation, because she always did everything with her son in mind and wanted to honour him. This made me literally shout, “What the heck?” at my TV screen. What was the point of this entire storyline? Had Ken told Max this information from the start, Warren would have been fine with the donation and this storyline wouldn’t have to exist!! This is just another example of ridiculous, lazy storytelling that has become a trademark for this show. The writers tell a story just for the sake of telling it. No history, no lead-up, they do not even conduct proper research to back up their stories so that they can make sense (aka Lauren’s storyline). This had to be one of the most ridiculous things I have seen on TV, and I watch a lot of TV. Yet another thing to add to your “make it make sense” list for New Amsterdam. 


Elizabeth meanwhile, was busy with a patient. A dancer from the stage collapse accident. Elizabeth saw that the dancer was young and thin and surprise, surprise, came to the conclusion that the girl must have an eating disorder. The girl adamantly denied this, but Elizabeth didn't believe her and wanted to begin treatment based on her assumption. She goes to Max for advice, and he tells her to treat the symptoms not the diagnosis. Her treatment leads to the discovery that the young girl doesn't have an eating disorder after all, she has Lymphoma. Elizabeth apologized to the young girl, which was definitely appropriate, but different from her approach in previous episodes. Hopefully this will lead to Elizabeth actually listening to her patients and their wishes, and focusing on doing what is best for them rather than passing judgement and making assumptions. It is interesting that the head of oncology didn't realize that the girl's symptoms were Lymphoma all along, but that would mean thoughtful writing and it's been pretty clear that thoughtfulness has no place in the New Amsterdam writer's room.

The final scene is Max and Elizabeth working on that mysterious project again. They type messages to each other on the computer in an attempt to be flirty, but let’s face it, the two are like brother and sister and their flirting is creepy and makes me want to shudder. Max asks if she wants to get dinner, and she grabs the take-out menus. He types, “no. Let’s go out?” and she asks him if he means a date. Max replies with yes, a date. Surprisingly, Elizabeth says no and leaves the room, leaving a bewildered Max wondering what he did wrong. Well, Max, so many things are wrong about this situation that I don’t have enough room to write them all down. While it is good that Elizabeth said no, I don’t see that rejection lasting long, as show runner, David Schulner, made it clear in an interview this week that Max and Wilder are endgame. Only a few months have passed since Helen left, and to think that Max would be ready to move on from the love of his life so quickly is just not believable. It took him years to ask Helen out after his wife died and he loved her even when his wife was alive! Now we are expected to believe that he would just move on with her replacement? Viewers have spoken loudly about how they do not want this storyline to happen, but yet again the writers and show runners have chosen to ignore what viewers want and push this relationship forward. They clearly do not care that their ratings are tanking with each episode that goes by. In 5 seasons, Max has not had one shred of growth. Well-written, solid characters undergo major growth as the seasons pass. Max has had none, zero, zilch. He is still the same man that he was before his wife died in season one. Growth for Max would have been chasing after Helen, finding out what went wrong and attempting to fix it. Not reading her letter and making zero attempts to contact her. The chemistry between Max and Helen was palpable. There is no way Max would just take that letter and say “okay,” then move on with a character that is 100% Helen’s replacement from her job right down to her clothing. David Schulner was quoted in an article this week stating that Ryan Eggold (Max) has chemistry with everyone, even a Diabetes patient that was once on the show. This is the same man who raved about Freema and Ryan’s chemistry whenever he could, and claimed that it changed the trajectory of the show. It’s despicable that he would change his story to fit the narrative he is trying to push, and completely diminish the talent that Freema Agyeman brought to the show. Her amazing acting skills and the way she connected with Eggold, created a chemistry that was unlike anything most people have seen before. Now Schulner is trying to say that it wasn’t her at all, that it was all about Ryan? Yet he has no problem using Freema’s name in an attempt to bait viewers into watching, by stating that viewers haven’t seen the last of her. It is all very telling. 


The only good news is that only 5 more episodes remain before this dumpster fire leaves our television screens for good. The only question now is how much more damage can they do before the finale? Redemption at this point is clearly not possible, but if the writer’s and show runners want to attempt to try and make things right with viewers, they could start by listening to the remaining viewers and give them what they want, not what they think makes “challenging TV.” Your turn, Dam fans. Share your feelings about the show in the comment box below, or engage with me on Twitter @ms_c_almeida.

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