Veronica is a wily one. We all know this, but for some reason, Max and Karen keep underestimating her.
For the most part, New Amsterdam Season 4 Episode 9 was a wonderful hour. Shanthi Sekaran did a beautiful job with the storytelling as the N.A.H. docs treated a series of undocumented individuals while I.C.E. breathed down their necks.
But then those final moments, like almost every single installment of New Amsterdam Season 4 thus far, left you simmering with rage. We can’t continue walking away infuriated like this; it’s exhausting.
They said it was a time to heal and a season of joy, but almost every central plot leaves you broken-hearted or angry. Does anyone else feel like a middle-schooler calling their mother crying and wanting to go home?
The Veronica Fuentes ride is not fun. For some, she stopped being a delightful villain ages ago, and for most, she never was.
By now, the frustration is in how she isn’t anything but a villain. She slithers into a frame, does something evil, and then smirks. We don’t know anything about her, her true motivations, or what she’s getting out of any of this.
We don’t see her in action behind the scenes, pulling the strings. We don’t get to follow her anywhere to see how she works. We only get her particular brand of chaotic evil, wreaking havoc on any and everyone within her path.
In that sense, she’s a one-dimensional villain, and the only thing more irritating than her very existence is how foolish everyone else looks when they keep underestimating her.
By now, she’s shown who she is — some demon spawn of Satan himself. Veronica is playing chess ten steps ahead while everyone around her is playing checkers, if they’re even in the game at all.
Karen: I call a vote to terminate Veronica Fuentes as medical director? All in favor?
Veronica: Seems your one vote shy, Karen. Well, um, given today’s debacle, all in favor of ousting Karen Brantley as board chair, please raise your hand?
They’ve seen what she’s capable of, and everything she does keeps getting progressively more heinous, so why are they treating her like some two-bit idiot who’s easy to defeat?
You would think after the stunt she pulled on New Amsterdam Season 4 Episode 8; they would stop sitting on their hands and come up with something feasible to get the ball rolling on ousting her. And it sure as heck would have required more than Karen and the freaking business-oriented board who hate Max.
Karen’s sudden appearance, as if she didn’t bring this rabid animal into her home in the first place, only to get surprised when she got bitten, was absurd.
Where has she been in all of this time? Has she not been paying attention to everything else that was happening under Veronica’s watch? How did she anticipate hiring the anti-Max would affect patient care?
Karen was fine all of this time, but then she took one look at a sweet undocumented child and knew she didn’t want to cosign Veronica’s actions, but it didn’t seem as if that was enough for her to turn on this woman she hired on a dime.
Karen’s removal from everything that’s transpired since she hired Veronica is a weak point for this storyline, especially when they put her in the game at the end and had her doing the work to defeat Veronica seemingly out of the blue.
Nevertheless, Karen was putting in the work, and while viewers are understandably pissed at Karen for bringing this woman into the fold in the first place, it’s a case of “better the devil that you know.”
But if this was a game of Survivor, Veronica outwitted, outsmarted, and outplayed Karen, and it was embarrassing.
The problem with plotting a coup where you bank on a series of people to vote someone as conniving as Veronica out is that people talk.
It wouldn’t have taken much for Veronica to figure out what was happening. Hell, the fact that Karen expressed displeasure with what was happening, showed up at the hospital that day when she’s been M.I.A., and she was with Max would’ve been enough to suggest something was on the horizon.
You don’t get to where Veronica is without knowing that people are after you. Evan didn’t seem convinced when Karen cornered him, so it was only a surprise to Max and Karen that he betrayed her and voted with Veronica to oust Karen and take her place.
So, Karen got beat at her elementary game, and now she has no power. And Veronica is still freaking there. Oh, joy!
Evan: There is no easy answer, Karen.
Karen: No, but there’s a human one.
Outside of that, the hour was fantastic.
The introduction of the undocumented storyline via a church fire opened the door for a plethora of storylines, each of them more emotional than the last. It also switched up the usual pairings and gave us new dynamics that we rarely see or haven’t at all.
One of the standouts of the hour was Helen working alongside Nurse Kai Brunstetter while attending to Temi.
Brunstetter has always been a recurring background character, but this hour provided them with the opportunity to step into the forefront, and the series was all the better for it.
This body that they tried to destroy… all I can do is fill it with love.
It’s still enraging that characters like Casey and Gladys aren’t around anymore at the moment, but if characters like Brunstetter can step up in their stead, then so be it.
Temi, the Nigerian immigrant who endured so much already, was one of those cases you immediately invested in from the start. Brunstetter knew instantly how to approach Temi. They introduced themselves with their pronouns, asked Temi about his, and gently coaxed Temi into removing his binder.
If anyone was the standout and M.V.P. of “A Strange Land,” it was Em Grosland, and I genuinely hope that we get to spend more time with this character in the future. New Amsterdam handled the topic of trans men receiving proper healthcare and things like mammograms with such sensitivity and made it appear as effortless as ever.
Brunstetter created a safe place for Temi, who already would’ve struggled with that as someone who experienced torture in his birth country and as an undocumented trans person. It was a very layered storyline for it only to be a tertiary one.
The case also allowed Helen to work alongside Lyn as they ran tests and determined that Temi had breast cancer. Your heart ached when Temi pled for a mastectomy. Despite the differences between those and top surgery, Temi wanted it anyway because it would’ve made him finally feel free.
So it was distressing when they realized his cancer was so deep that the mastectomy didn’t matter.
Max’s method of getting involved with patient care directly is one of the highlights of the season.
But, of course, the series is always at its best when Max is doing what he does well. You had to appreciate his level of defiance when the I.C.E. agents mentioned that the church was a sanctuary. Still, they’d come after the undocumented and Father Sanchez at the hospital.
ICE Agent: Where are they? Where are the illegals?
Max: Illegals? I just run a hospital. I have patients.
Aren’t hospitals supposed to be sanctuaries too? It’s hard to keep up with what I.C.E. is doing most of the time since they rarely follow any specific rulebook and operate like outlaws.
Max turning the cafeteria into a church was brilliant, and the diversion to dupe the agents. At the same time, everyone returning to the church was clever and had a subtle Underground Railroad vibe and parallel.
Iggy’s case with Rahel was another captivating one.
The series easily could’ve made a mockery of Rahe’s faith and made it seem like her talking to God was a sign of something wrong with her. And initially, it seemed as though they intended to head in that direction.
But instead, they respected her faith and how in tune she was spiritually. The sequence of her in her mind sanctuary was gorgeous.
Rahel was connected to something beyond what any of them could explain, and Iggy respecting that was refreshing.
She was connected to her brother, and it seemed that she was in part how he was managing to pull through while Floyd and Leyla were performing his surgery.
You wouldn’t think that Lauren’s ex-boyfriend and her fiancee working together would be such a hit, but the two of them got along well, and it gave us more insight into Leyla that wasn’t exclusively about Lauren.
Floyd: Are you OK?
Leyla: I am now. I’m one of the lucky ones.
She needed that space away from Lauren to evolve and for her relationship with Lauren not to overshadow her development as a character and the relationships she forms with others.
As an immigrant, you sensed how the situation impacted her, and her gratitude that she is one of the lucky ones was palpable.
She does well with general surgery; in the future, it would be lovely if she sought Floyd’s tutelage. With Kapoor and Agnes gone, the series lacks a good mentor and mentee relationship.
Of course, Floyd spilled all the tea without realizing it when his compliment of Leyla and her skills revealed the resident discrepancy.
Floyd always talks too much without realizing that he’s dropping information that may ruin something.
It didn’t take long for Leyla to figure out that Lauren probably bought her slot in the residency program. You could see the wheels spinning in her head, and it’s not going to be pleasant when she confronts Lauren about it.
It’s a potential relationship ruiner, and no one wants to see that happen for these two. However, it is about time that Lauren’s actions catch up to her.
She’s been so desperate to keep Leyla that she risks losing her with this stunt. The fallout from all of this should take us on another emotional rollercoaster.
They don’t need another place to hide. They need a home.
Over to you, ‘Dam Fanatics! Are you surprised by the Karen development? How long will it take to get rid of Veronica? Did you find the subject matter moving? Hit the comments below.
You can watch New Amsterdam online here via T.V. Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.