New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 2 Review: Essential Workers

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Tyler Labine. That’s it. That’s the sentence.

On an hour like New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 2 where so much is happening at once, including Kapoor’s fight for his life, Floyd’s return, and the birth of Ella’s child, you’d expect some difficulty pinpointing a standout storyline or performer.

But for this hour, hands down, that honor goes to Tyler Labine.

In some ways, New Amsterdam can feel like “business as usual,” but COVID and the longstanding effects of it still linger even if the selective mask-wearing confuses or distracts at times.

The world stopped when the global pandemic hit, and now, everyone is trying to find their footing, but on the other hand, the world couldn’t stop, and all the things that plagued us before still existed.

Iggy’s eating disorder is a perfect example. It didn’t go away because the world was in crisis; if anything, the pandemic compounded it. It’s just one of many ways where this series’ capability of capturing what we’re presently experiencing while still incorporating the storylines we expected is on display.

The timing of delving deeper into Iggy’s eating disorder couldn’t be better as fluctuating weight is something many have experienced and can relate to during months of quarantine.

And by showing what an eating disorder can look like, this storyline is of importance and enlightening.

Iggy: I’m fine. I haven’t eaten.
Lauren: Iggy, how many meals? How many days?
Iggy: Two? Maybe three.

It’s also such a refreshing take that the series is exploring this from a male perspective. Eating disorders aren’t something fictional pieces typically touch upon deeply and meaningfully, but what’s rarer is seeing men who battle them represented onscreen.

Too often, we write off body dysmorphia and related struggles as those that only affect women, and we expect men to be exempt from them or “stronger” than that.

It’s such a taboo topic to address in some ways. Labine’s raw performance during this installment is commendable. It takes guts to put oneself out there in such a manner. The bravery and authenticity he exuded in advocating for such a personal experience – his experience- is laudable, too. 

That level of vulnerability is enough to leave one in awe, and it bled through in every scene.

What’s worse is if I had a good weigh-in, which was not very often, I would be over rhe moon because it would make me feel loved. 

Iggy

Iggy went from consuming healthy snacks and bragging about his diet on New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 1 to nearly passing out after days of going without food to the dismay of Gladys and Lauren.

I can’t think of a person who was better equipped to work through this with Iggy. For one, the root of addiction is the same, and Lauren’s experience leaves her more astute than others, so it took her no time at all to piece together everything.

By the time she opened up Iggy’s snack drawer and saw those awful, demoralizing words, you knew she would never let this go.

What transpired from there was such a journey of emotions that I almost wished they devoted the entire hour to Iggy and Lauren.

I love that this series isn’t afraid to show that even professional psychiatrists are human and need help sometimes, too.

I don’t like it when we’re fighting and you agree with me!

Karen

It was interesting that Iggy recounted his history with food and weight insecurity, and you could sense he knew he had a problem the entire time. He went from a more clinical tone to a vulnerable one while speaking about his father’s ritual with him, the verbal abuse and shaming, all of it.

By the time he got to his suicide attempt, he was an utterly broken man. It was heart-shattering.

And like most people, when they realize they’ve shared too much, his shame and regret shifted to outrage and resentment, and he lashed out before Lauren could finish processing it all.

Lauren is a straight-shooter, no-chaser. She’s a tough-love type of person, so she offered up unconditional love, empathy, and more, but she wasn’t holding back.

Iggy: Then this one time, I guess I would’ve been in middle school by this point, I hated everything about myself so I tried to hang myself.
Lauren: What? Jesus Iggy! 
Iggy: No, it’s okay. It didn’t work obviously. Ironically, I was too fat for the rod in the basement closet to hold me up, and it crashed down on my head and my mom came to help me.

Her outburst in the hall made me wince. However, Iggy wasn’t above lashing out, and he said the most hurtful things, flinging her addiction and the mistakes she made because of it back at her.

Iggy wasn’t operating from his position as a therapist by doing so. I imagine the only way he could subconsciously allow himself to say such things is that he knew deep down, however hurtful it was, he’d fail in pushing Lauren away.

Lauren bringing up his kids is what it took for Iggy to make some progress. He didn’t want to teach his children what his father instilled in him, that people who look like him are not worthy of decency, compassion, and love — that they wouldn’t be worthy of it if they didn’t fit a certain size.

Iggy’s disparaging remarks about himself and his poor self-esteem could easily trickle down to his kids. Children have a way of keeping you honest and compelling you to fix and improve yourself on their behalf.

Iggy: What are you doing? Are you comparing your issues to mine right now? Let me mirror that back to you. I am on the Jimmy Kimmel diet, and you almost killed a patient because you are a drug addiction. Not the same. 
Lauren: That was way out of line. 
Iggy: I’m out of line? It’s not hard, Lauren. This is a hospital; there is only one like that matters. You were hurting people. I am not. Plain and simple.

No matter how much he probably tried to keep things away from his children, he was exposing them anyway. And if Iggy struggled with loving himself enough to set himself free from all of this and get the help he deserves, then the love he has for his children is enough motivation right now to break the cycle.

It’s a breakthrough, not an end to this chapter. I would love to follow Iggy’s journey toward self-love and improvement so that he can love himself as much as those around him and the viewers do.

Hopefully, it includes the therapist seeing one of his own.

It was such a full-circle moment for him and Lauren, too. He was there during her time and need and helped her with a breakthrough.

And Vijay thinks I’m a great father. I’m teaching my kids that someone who looks like me doesn’t deserve to be loved, and that is the same lesson that my dad taught me. He just used different words.

Iggy

And she got to return it in kind. But also, it marks the growth Lauren’s character has gone through over time. As Casey previously stated, she saved them all during the pandemic.

Lauren’s value is felt and appreciated by those around her. She’s an influential figure who touches those around her, and there was a time when maybe she had doubts about her purpose, but not now.

The other compelling story of the hour was Max, the drug dealer. It’s quintessential Max to get arrested for trafficking Narcotics in a well-intended attempt to help patients.

What’s a felony among doctors, am I right? Max and Helen are true partners in crime since they’ve both gotten arrested for similar things. One of these days I would love to see Max’s mugshot. You know he’s the sort to smile brightly like it’s a school photo.

Bike Messenger: So we’re delivering drugs?
Max: Technically, yes, but, did I mention there’s a 25% tip?

We’re accustomed to rooting for Max with his out-of-the-box methods of solving problems and idealism, but he flies too close to the Sun often.

After such a heartachingly wonderful arc about the opiate crisis, Max implemented a plan to curb abuse. But it’s not something that ended there.

By revisiting this story, we got to see the negative or realistic repercussions of Max’s seemingly fool-proof plans. Stopping physicians from doling out Narcotics as if it’s candy resulted in many patients who need them not getting them.

Patients in need felt as if their physicians were treating them like addicts instead of individuals with a reasonable expectation of pain management.

Max: Whoever is treating you stops today. You’re a patient at New Amsterdam now.
Brenda: But my doctor is at New Amsterdam.

Their newest orderly spent the better part of a year stealing oxycodone to give to his mother because of a New Amsterdam doctor cutting her off under Max’s new plan. Max got to see how his unorthodox plans and solutions can have the opposite effect.

It also shed light on why Max and Karen’s relationship is crucial. She’s grown more dimensional over time, and she expressed that it’s her job to keep Max in line and deal with the realities when he has his head in the clouds.

It’s a symbiotic bond. New Amsterdam as a hospital doesn’t function without it, as Karen has the pleasure and burden of holding Max’s leash.

Max’s sudden attempts to rectify the drug situation because of one patient making him aware had him scrambling to undo what they worked hard to do by curtailing drug abuse. Others hailed New Amsterdam for the measures they took, and it inspired other hospitals to follow their model.

Karen: I wonder if you’ve ever considered how exhausting it is to be your boss. All your wonderful ideas, they come with such chaos, every single one. It’s funny, the thing you’re best at is the part of my job I hate the most. You ignore reality.
Max: That’s not fair.
Karen: Says the man who just sent 70,000 milligrams of oxy out into the street via bike messenger. I know it seems like a good idea. It may even be a great idea, but it’s my job to deal with the reality of your idea. In this case criminal reality. Optics matter. 
Max: Patients matter. 

Drug abuse is an issue close and dear to Karen, so Max walking it back upset her. But I appreciated her exasperated but frank exchange with Max about accountability.

It brought him back to reality a bit, and because of that, he orchestrated a new plan that kept what they were doing intact. It also helped serve those suffering under the hospital policy.

By marking their narcotics, they can and will be accountable if they hit the streets.

Floyd’s arrival presented a unique notion. He moved across the country, and the pandemic didn’t affect him the way it did his colleagues.

I’m glad your helping people, Max, truly, but your plan has no accountability. 

Karen

Only three people died at his hospital. He returned to NYC with this air of positivity and a naivete to how much the others endured.

The longer he stayed in New Amsterdam, the more the reality of what they endured and how it has changed everyone and everything hit him.

Some of his favorite colleagues passed away from COVID. Our beloved Adele died, based on that memorial wall. Max isn’t the same beacon of positivity that Floyd left behind. Lauren is forever changed.

Everyone has their demons, and Floyd felt guilty that he didn’t see as much or go through as much.

Floyd: I should’ve been here.
Lauren: You’re here now. 

It’s not a competition. It doesn’t speak to Floyd’s capabilities as a doctor, and yet, he felt as if he didn’t hold up to his colleagues and didn’t do enough.

He felt like he should’ve been there in the thick of it. It’s a mindset he didn’t think about before arriving in New Amsterdam. It shocked him that Kapoor, despite his age making him a high-risk, would still come to work every day and treat patients until he contracted the deadly virus himself.

He did everything he could to save Kapoor. He pulled off miracles to save Kapoor’s heart and keep him alive.

I will say that despite the seriousness of the storyline and the unfavorable prognosis after prognosis, the stakes didn’t feel as high.

Floyd: What happened to how can I help?
Helen: The virus hit us hard. Nothing is the same.

I didn’t think Kapoor would die, and way too much was going on, so the emotional elements of his life hanging in the balance didn’t hit as they should’ve. Kapoor’s arc during this installment felt like the C-storyline, and it deserved time to breathe on its own.

One of the most lovely aspects of that arc was Kapoor seeing his wife in an afterlife and her sending him back to be with his granddaughter. It was a simply beautiful moment. 

On that note, I look forward to Kapoor spending time with Ella and the baby. Their relationship is such a special one.

Thank goodness she finally had the baby. It feels as if Ella has been pregnant for a lifetime! Between worrying about Vijay and her doula not being available, her OCD reared its ugly head while she was in labor.

I would love to say Helen was a great support to Ella. Eventually, Helen was able to push past her issues to help the pregnant woman, but Ella did most of the heavy work herself.

Mrs. Kapoor: Eat this. 
Kapoor: I don’t need it. All I need is you.
Mrs. Kapoor: It will give you strength for our granddaughter.
Kapoor: Granddaughter? 
Mrs. Kapoor: She needs her grandfather.

Looking back, it should be something of which she’s proud of herself. Her severe OCD didn’t win.

The scene of Helen grabbing Ella’s hands and the two touching foreheads– it was such a beautiful, striking image.

It was also beautiful when Helen took a big step, placing Shin’s hands on her face. Again, the raw vulnerability in Helen’s eyes was breathtaking.

We still don’t know much about Cassian Shin. We haven’t experienced what his and Helen’s relationship and flirtation looks like, not really.

Helen: I’m not ready.
Shin: OK.
Helen: I mean I’m not ready to call it. 

He seemed invested in their connection enough to keep pursuing her, but he also immediately assumed he knew about Helen’s feelings better than she did.

It seemed as if Helen’s genuine struggle with reconnection warranted a deeper discussion between the pair from the beginning. But Cassian’s response also could lead one to believe that maybe he’s picked up on the Helen and Max thing too.

Helen hasn’t exactly avoided Max during the plague, right?

Helen did make her choice and voice what she wanted. Cassian must believe it this time.

It’s OK Helen. COVID took away a lot of things. We focus here on the lives lost but there were other casualties.

Shin

Now that Helen has taken this step toward welcoming touch and intimacy, perhaps the series will flesh Cassian’s character out more on a personal level so that we get to know him better.

Over to you, New Amsterdam Fanatics. Let’s discuss everything in the comments 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.

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