Well, that was painful and uncomfortable.
We were told it would be a season of joy, so the level of angst the series is peddling at a breakneck pace is something else.
As it stands, New Amsterdam Season 4 Episode 5 was another installment that left us emotionally wrung out and downright uncomfortable, but perhaps that was the point.
You kind of had to have to sit for a moment and reflect on how the episode made you feel and why you felt that way in the first place.
The entire scenario with Iggy and Helen was a perfect example of this. It was a discomforting storyline that felt icky, but it was also an incredible intentional and well-executed plot.
You get the sense that the entire purpose was to displace viewers and make them feel uneasy and cornered as it challenged what should be true versus what is logically sound.
We live in a time, now more than ever, where it’s almost ingrained in us to be considerate and validate others’ experiences, truths, and words.
Iggy’s storyline challenged that mindset, and the thing is, it’s something worth pushing back on, no matter how difficult it is to face and process.
It felt wrong to have Helen on the stand affirming the words and experience of a sexual abuse survivor recovering a memory only for her friend and colleague to take the stand and discredit her and the victim.
Helen: Now look me in the eye and tell me my memory isn’t credible.
Iggy: In a court of law, it’s not.
Helen: It’s a good thing you aren’t seeing patients anymore because I would tell any woman who walked through your doors to run.
We emphasize a culture of “believe victims,” and you can’t push back on that without coming across as a terrible person, even if questioning things is a natural process. While most victims of sexual assault aren’t lying about their experiences, it doesn’t mean it never happens either.
In this case, it’s possible that the patient in question experienced trauma from a sexual assault or something else. Her memory itself is the trauma, but none of that can hold up in court.
Iggy wasn’t wrong, and yet you hated him regardless. He recognized that it was the most challenging part of the job for him.
He felt awful the case got thrown out, and the victim didn’t have peace. However, he also couldn’t compromise on the factual parts of his field.
As a woman, Helen was outraged at Iggy standing on the side of something that she felt actively harmed women who were victims of sexual abuse, and her words and tongue lashing were as harsh as it gets.
Things got ugly between the two, but it also made you think about how close they consider themselves if it could get that dark and still survive on the other side.
Helen brought up her recalled memory of the day her father left to support her position, and it was a rollercoaster of emotions, getting flashbacks to a young Helen and her parents, delivering some more background on this character we love.
But to double down on the distress, Iggy went out of his way to prove his point. It went beyond necessity. He researched the weather to disprove her memories of it raining. He explained the physics of how her necklace broke.
Iggy: I hate that I did that to you.
Helen: And I hated you for doing it. It was violating. But you were right. I’m about to cross an ocean to be close to my mom, and I have no idea who she is anymore. I’ve always thought of my dad as a coward, but he was holding me. He was holding me like he wanted me, and he tried to reach out so many times, I never answered, and I was okay with it, but what if I was wrong. The fact that he died knowing I hated him.
In a way, it felt as if he actively prodded and dissected her trauma, prompted her to retraumatize herself to examine this memory further, and by the end, who’s to say if what she remembered was accurate either?
So much of the storyline felt gross and ugly. But the execution of it was well-done — the updated version of Helen’s memory was heart-shattering.
But the acting was sublime. Agyeman, Labine, Montgomery, and Gershon were simply incredible.
The idea that Helen’s entire life and everything she knew to be true got upended is painful but compelling. Technically, there’s no certainty that this new version of her father clinging to her while her mom ripped her away is any more or less accurate than what she believed all her life.
But now, her outlook on everything has changed. She spent her life despising her father for abandoning her and starting another family. She never responded during the times he reached out.
She’ll never get the closure she probably needs now, and the guilt will eat away at her. But now she’s left trying to figure out how she feels about her mother.
Her mother is still alive, and part of her moving to London was to be closer to her again. But now, she’s uncertain if she even knows the woman who raised her anymore.
Iggy told her to focus on the things that make her feel safe, and after a distressing day, she thought about Max.
Max makes her feel safe. He’s who she had to cling to for comfort. But arriving at their rooftop, which has served as their sacred place, seeing Max there, but also Veronica, and overhearing that Max won’t leave New Amsterdam in her hands, shattered whatever Helen had left.
Max confirmed everything Helen feared with that errant line he shouted out in frustration, and it’s hard to say where that will leave them.
They’ve thrown Sharpwin into the thick of it with relationship problems and angst before we’ve even had time to enjoy this new phase for them. It’s exhausting.
But it also is an interesting way of validating Georgia. Max is still Max. The issues Georgia raised about him weren’t absolved with her death. He’s bringing similar problems into his relationship with Helen.
For Helen, the concerns are there that he can’t prioritize her or them over New Amsterdam. Arguably, the Goodwins made the same point often regarding Luna, too. New Amsterdam and work have that much of a hold on him.
As fans, we were looking for an outcome where he and Helen didn’t leave, so it’s to our benefit that all hell breaking loose with Fuentes will do the trick. But at what expense?
Everything Veronica does seems designed to get under Max’s skin. By the time she all but asked him if he was still leaving, it felt as if she was deliberately doing things to get him to stay.
The “NAH” sign at a hospital was hilarious. It’s a hell of an acronym to use. And poor Max almost lost his mind when, as Iggy said, she literally whitewashed over the Black Lives Matter display in the hallway.
Usually the white-washing isn’t quite that literal.
The entire situation with the harp was upsetting. Veronica made it clear she’s not in the business of making amends to wronged parties or pissing off donors, the board, or allies.
Veronica is so business-minded that not a hint of compassion comes through. She’s like a robot with a cup in her hand, detached from anything beyond numbers and figures.
Another ethical conundrum came with Lauren, Jeanie, and Leyla’s storyline.
Leyla continues to be the balance that Lauren needs. It was infuriating that Lauren allowed her family drama to overtake her duties as a doctor. Lauren became one of the worst types of doctors — one that women often encounter who don’t believe them or trust that they know their bodies.
Thirty years, no one’s ever believed me.
It was pure ugliness what the Bloom women were doing to each other. Lauren dismissed her mother’s presence, accusing her of only wanting pills before she even checked her out to make sure there wasn’t something else going on.
And Jeanie cut Lauren down and emotionally abused Lauren at every turn, too. They both tossed their dirty laundry out there for all of New Amsterdam to see.
Montgomery was fantastic throughout; the screeching as she spoke of her mother being a poor one imbued all the hurt from a child of an addict.
Jeanie’s biting words about Lauren’s addiction and her relationship with Leyla falling through stung like a slap to the face.
Lauren allowed all her resentment, anger, and pain to blind her from seeing that her mother did have an issue. Endometriosis is a beast, and it’s one of the things that women have to fight like hell to get diagnosed.
Jeanie spent years with doctors telling her she was crazy or blaming things on her addiction. And the odds are so much of her substance abuse may have been rooted in self-medicating.
Lauren apologizing to Jeanie marked her growth as a doctor and a woman who works her steps and is committed to sobriety.
Maybe one day, Jeanie will be able to do the same. Realistically, she wouldn’t acknowledge her wrongdoing yet.
Lauren apologizing was for herself, and in the meantime, you never wait for the apology you may never get. It’s not something she needs to dwell on.
Floyd’s segment, at least with Lyn, continued to be the weakest.
Sadly, we still live in times where we have milestones on someone being the first of their kind to do something. His artificial heart transplant was groundbreaking, and it would’ve put him in the medical history books.
But it was a good thing and the New Amsterdam way that he put his patient first after giving her the impression she was inconveniencing him or wasting his time.
Veronica: If that’s how you really feel then maybe you shouldn’t leave.
Max: You know what? If it means leaving this hospital in your hands then maybe I won’t.
It was a tough hour for women on the receiving end of medical care, among other things.
But Floyd thinking that Claude was the one to cut him out of surgery because of his relationship with Lyn was aggravating. This entire storyline is, and it’ll be a blessed day when it all blows up, or we can move on from it.
The worse part is that we don’t get much from Claude’s perspective about all of this, so it’s a bunch of silly secrecy, and the only thing Floyd and Lyn have going for them is chemistry.
Otherwise, this storyline isn’t doing either of them any favors.
Over to you, ‘Dam Fanatics. How did you feel about this one?
You can watch New Amsterdam online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.