You have to love a show that finds their niche and sticks to it.
New Amsterdam has found a formula that works best for them, and as a result, it has become one of the strongest contenders for best new shows of the Fall.
New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 8 was another heartwarming installment that left you dabbing at your eyes or at least considering it more than once. Yes, there was an allergy flare up, no judgment, please!
While the doctors get attached to patients on this series, it isn't often that they lean heavily into that "becoming invested in a case because it's on-the-nose relatable" trope. It's the first time that the show toyed around with that and with more than one doctor at a time.
Max had a beautiful connection with his rabbi patient who also had cancer and had to make decisions regarding his best option for surviving it, and Kapoor connected with Mrs. Chang through an understanding of Asian culture and stigmas that plague them.
In the end, both doctors were able to take something away from their experiences with their patients (or parent of a patient), but it's hard to say if that was a positive outcome for both.
Max is a sucky patient. Helen knows this too, but that's why she's the perfect doctor to guide him through his cancer treatment, whatever treatment he opts to participate in. She has the patience of Job when it comes to Max, and their scenes together continue to be a highlight of the series.
Helen: There's a 90% chance of dying during surgery.
Max: Or a 10% chance that you'll live.
Rabbi: Not good odds.
Setting aside the fun 'shipper stuff, the genuine friendship that has developed between the two is divine. They haven't known each other very long, but they have been thrust together into this situation where they're tending to each other emotionally, and it's a beautiful, deep bond that leads to some of the most nuanced scenes of the series.
It's crazy that they haven't known each other long, but they get one another. They understand each other, and therefore they understand how to work with one another and handle each other, and it's endearing.
The two of them being on the case with the rabbi together was nice because there were two characters whom we love and respect with differing opinions on treatment and the best course of action, and we were able to consider both of their viewpoints without taking a side.
It forced the viewer to consider both of their beliefs, which was refreshing in a time where many of us have fallen victim to our close-mindedness and obstinacy.
Max was shellshocked when the rabbi refused the surgery. He's accustomed to looking on the bright side of matters, so in his mind, a 10% chance of survival was still a chance. In addition to his positive outlook, he was guilty of projecting his feelings about the situation based on his experience onto the rabbi.
Max overstepped, there is no questioning it. He may not have had much pull on his patient, but he crossed a line. The good thing is that he knew it and owned his actions.
It's also fortunate that the rabbi was fond of Max, and they had some of the best interactions between a patient and a doctor on the show so far. It's probably because Max benefited as much from their interactions as the rabbi did.
Even though the patient was a rabbi and they spoke a bit about faith, it wasn't heavy-handed. Their ongoing back and forth about Abraham and Isaac was moving, and the fact that Max was touched and sought guidance from the rabbi and allowed himself to be vulnerable and honest with him, made their interactions more touching than ever.
That's why it was a bit frustrating when we didn't get a resolution to the rabbi's case unless I missed it. Did he survive the surgery?
Max: Oh, would you cancel that chemo tomorrow? I want to try precision targeted therapy.
Helen: Clinical trials?
Max: Chemo is going to take the life out of me, and I want to keep running this hospital. I want to be there for Georgia and the baby.
Helen: Max, we had a plan.
Max: I don't want to be a patient. I just want to be myself.
Helen: It's too big a risk.
Max: It's a risk I have to take.
Max was confident that surgery was the best option when he first started the case, but he had his reservations by the end. It transferred over to how he viewed his treatment. He was willing to go along with chemo, but after that case, he wants to try precision target therapy instead.
It was just like Max to slide that in last minute while attempting to leave Helen's office. He knew how she would react to his decision, and you can't blame her for it. They had a plan in place, and now Max is opting for something riskier.
Max's choice makes sense for someone like him. He's not good at being a patient, he can't stay still long enough, and chemotherapy would destroy someone like him.
He has a lot going on in his life, and he needs to be an active participant in it, which is something he can't do if chemo wipes him out.
The other poignant case involved a depressed young woman who was too afraid to tell her mother the truth about her depression. New Amsterdam once again chose to touch upon another issue, and this time it was mental illness stigmas in the Asian/Asian-American community.
In general, we are making strides with understanding mental illness, but on a micro-level, it's stigmatized in certain communities more than others.
Unfortunately, for most people of color, mental illness is something you don't talk about or entertain. The reasons for that vary depending on the specific community, but it's something shared by most of them.
Amy was ashamed to tell her mother about her depression because she felt her mother would treat her differently and be disappointed. There is shame associated with mental illness in the Asian community, and there is concern about how it looks to others or a perception of weakness.
Kapoor: You have to understand, they're afraid of what others think.
Iggy: Yeah, but who cares what others think?
Kapoor was able to explain this cultural perspective to Iggy, and it was through his understanding of that cultural perspective that he was able to get through to Mrs. Chang. It was one time where Iggy, even as a therapist, wasn't equipped to understand or handle the situation the best way.
He was frustrated because all he wanted to do was help Amy, but he couldn't understand certain aspects of her culture to help her.
It was heartrending for a bit because Iggy, Kapoor, and Max had to resort to downcoding (never has there been a hospital who gave a damn about the patient well-being over the profit enough to downcode over upcode).
In the end, their approach was best because they were able to get Mrs. Chang to understand her daughter, and Amy got the help that she deserved. Were you misty-eyed when Mrs. Chang told her daughter that everyone needs help? How could you not be?!
Amy: I'm sorry. I need help.
Mrs. Chang: We all need help.
That case was a classic example of giving someone else advice that you should take. Kapoor was tasked with getting through to Mrs. Chang and persuading her to break the cultural cycle of "shame," but he had to take his advice in the end with his son.
It was infuriating when he dismissed his son being a year sober by reminding him that he shouldn't have been an addict at all. It was not Kapoor at his finest, but he made up for it when he showed up at his son's ceremony.
The look on his son's face said it all. He was proud of himself, but he was also thrilled that he could show off his chip to his father. Their relationship is on the mend, and it's all anyone could want for them.
The Floyd and Evie relationship may be on the rocks when he's done celebrating his birthday. First off, Floyd is a colossal dork. How adorable was he geeking out over the new machine?!
He was as enthusiastic as a child when it came to his birthday, and Evie wanted to do something big for him. Unfortunately, she leaned on Lauren for help.
It's odd that Evie never picked up on Lauren's moodiness before it was too late. It was inevitable that Lauren would spill the beans about her sexual past with Floyd. It's horrible that Evie had to process the news and fake a smile at his party.
Evie: One more quick question. How old is Floyd supposed to be?
Lauren: I don't know. He's not my boyfriend. We just slept together a couple of times.
This love triangle is messy, and Lauren didn't seem to regret what she did. It was a matter of time before her feelings got the better of her and she did something vindictive.
The sleep-deprivation and Adderall addiction got the better of her. Lauren was a hot mess during this entire hour, and she shouldn't have been anywhere near that ER.
She lucked up with her patient Roger, but she could have killed someone with the way she was behaving. She wasn't the only doctor working the ER, was she? Why were the nurses calling on her when they saw she wasn't in the best mental space, and they feared she was doing things wrong?
I don't know why Lauren won't go home, refuses to sleep, and is popping Adderall like breath mints, but nothing good can come from this. She needs to get it together.
Over to you, New Amsterdam Fanatics! Should Max stick with the chemo plan? How upsetting was Helen's story about her lover who died? What the heck is going on with Lauren?
Hit the comments below. You can watch New Amsterdam online right here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.