Helping hands are not handouts.
Max’s mission on New Amsterdam Season 5 Episode 2 was to prove that point, emphasizing self-care as preventative medicine. And he took a few steps forward to cement the possible relationship between him and Wilder.
Of course, the family dynamics on this show are complicated too, and Iggy, Floyd, and Lauren can attest to that.
Max’s quest to help the masses with preventative care measures was the strongest arc of the hour. It aligned with the typical formula of Max discovering a problem and coming up with outlandish plans to resolve it before settling on something more sustainable.
But they’ve done a decent job as of late of humbling Max in his quests and making his wins somewhere within the realm of plausibility and reality.
It’s true that, for whatever reason, I dare not speculate why Americans resist the notion of socialized medicine and can’t grasp what it’s supposed to mean.
Max could make his pitch to the board, and the numbers didn’t lie. It was the one thing he had going in his favor and allowed him leeway in enacting his plan of doling out cash in place of prescriptions people may not need.
It’s a system that definitely suits the working class and poor. The play on the NA-TM was cute, and it seemed to go well for a while. People could use the money from their prescriptions to address other needs, like buying groceries.
However, an expired prescription declining a woman who needed a bus pass exposed the flaws in this method. And the board couldn’t get behind giving out money to people and not knowing how it would get spent.
As much as you don’t want to side with the board on this one, its points were valid. No, not everyone in need who gets money will abuse the system. However, there really isn’t any way to account for if everyone uses the money as they should, if it will help, or anything else.
It wasn’t a sustainable plan. However, Max’s “How Can I Help?” website is a solid plan. Everyone listed has such minor needs. When you can put a face, name, and voice to the person you’re helping, it brings out the humanity in people.
Our detractors already accuse socialized medicine for being handouts, so your solution is to literally give them handouts?
Twenty dollars to an unknown person without knowing what it’s for can feel like a risk, but giving it to someone with an idea of what they’re using it for, and seeing them and knowing their story? It’s a breeze.
The woman beside Max’s patient didn’t bat an eye at giving the woman money for her bus pass because you see this sweet senior-aged woman with asthma, hear her story and how real this was for her, and who wouldn’t want to help?
On a personal front, it was interesting to see that Max hasn’t bothered to learn ASL all this time. You’d almost expect Max Goodwin to have implemented a mandatory ASL initiative at the hospital for everyone to learn it, not just for Wilder, but to accommodate their patients and be as inclusive as possible.
It’s genuinely surprising that Max is only just now getting around to trying to learn it.
And if we’re separate the fact that Goodwilder is stepping over Sharpwin’s still warm, bleeding-out body without looking back– it’s a bit disappointing that Max learning to communicate with Wilder on her terms was wholly dependent on using that to continue building this romantic pairing.
When you see a person in need, you just help them. That’s not a handout. That’s humanity.
It shouldn’t have taken that for him to learn it. But he’s gotten around to it, and it’s better late than never. Wilder genuinely appreciated the gesture, despite his fumbles and missteps. And the tension between them was thick.
The show is committed to this new dynamic; I’ll give them that. It’s not leaving much to the imagination, and Eggold and Frank have great chemistry; they always did, so that was never a problem. The timing, on the other hand, will never stop being insane.
It was a strong hour for Wilder, even though she went off the deep end with some of her choices. She went out of her way to deem Ochoa unfit to make medical decisions.
Instead of spending more time trying to convince him or sharing her real thoughts and perspective out of the gate, she almost cost herself and everyone in that room their medical license and violated a patient’s rights.
Yes, he needed that arm amputated, and there were layers to why he’d rather die than lose his arm as a professional athlete. It’s hard to sit back and watch a person die when they don’t have to, and Wilder will fight for her patients to her last breath if necessary.
But she was wrong in how she handled all of it. Her perspective on the issue was that Ochoa’s response was offensive to her as a Deaf woman. The implication that death was better than disability enraged her, and it’s a far too prevalent mindset among non-disabled individuals.
Fortunately, that conversation was enough to change Ochoa’s mind, whether he changed his way of thinking or felt shamed into the option.
However, I believe there is more nuance to the situation and even Ochoa’s perspective that maybe he didn’t have enough time to breathe before it was shut down because he was unconsciously ableist.
Iggy’s main arc of the hour was serving as Wilder’s foil and voice of reason. But he also had the strangest situation with joining a dating app.
He spent the entire day in his feelings that no one responded to his profile at all, proving yet again that for this man who is fresh off of separation and a long history of self-esteem issues, he needed THERAPY instead of a dating app.
Martin is a sweet, good man because most people wouldn’t have the grace to help their tech-challenged husband to adjust his dating profile setting to include age-appropriate men. Personally, I wouldn’t have said anything about Iggy’s snafu in his settings.
Iggy also got to drop the gem that Floyd’s dad may be Bipolar. One can only hope there will be a legitimate diagnosis rather than a random Iggy speculation about a man he hasn’t met based on what Floyd said.
Nobody forced you to be here!
Nevertheless, the situation with Floyd is tough. Floyd wanted to hang out with Horace for ages. Finally, he gets the opportunity to do so, and he doesn’t like the terms and outcome of it.
It’s designed to make Floyd look ungrateful, which may be part of Horace’s intent. He can say that he tried and let himself off the hook.
It’s nothing fun about a fishing trip that results in two people fleeing the authorities because they were trespassing. It’s not the father/son fuzzies one would like.
And there’s nothing fuzzy about Lauren and her sister, either.
Everything about this remains confusing. We got no real follow-up to Leyla’s living in Lauren’s apartment, presumably with another woman. It seems Leyla’s immigration has gone through, and that’s it.
It again leaves a sour taste in the mouth about how Leyla and her immigration arc were used for Lauren’s storyline. What started as an interesting, sort of starcrossed queer love story, a first, at least onscreen, for Lauren, went all the way left and devolved into a series of microaggressions that remain icky.
It doesn’t make sense that Lauren can’t find an apartment somewhere else or stay in a hotel. Now, she’s trying to stay with her estranged sister, and it’s not the type of environment that’s copacetic for a recovering addict.
It was nice to see Finding Carter’s Kathryn Prescott, though. The Bloom sisters will have a lot to work out, and they both seem like works in progress in more ways than one.
Iggy: If you force a surgery on that man, you will lose your license, you will never practice medicine again. Is that what you want?
Wilder: Prep Canaan Ochoa for surgery.
Other highlights from Lauren’s portion of the hour came in the form of Walsh not wanting anything to do with serving as Lauren’s best friend while Casey was away and, of course, the tragic dry-drowning case.
Over to you, New Amsterdam Fanatics. Sound off below!
You can watch New Amsterdam online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.