Give Freema Agyeman all the awards.
It’s never been a secret that Agyeman is one of the series’ strongest performers. Mixed feelings about the latest obstacle to befall Helen aside, Agyeman knocked it out of the park in New Amsterdam Season 4 Episode 18.
In many ways, the hour felt quintessentially New Amsterdam, even if it did bring the return of that wretched woman none of us missed.
Helen had such a difficult time with her aphasia. It must have been difficult to see that others who were affected by that bartender’s concoction overcame its effects fine and carried on with their lives with ease.
But the incident left Helen fighting for her words, voice, dignity, and more.
Helen’s frustration was palpable, and so were her pain and fear. Sadly, all of that combined had her pushing Max away, and it was certainly a human, relatable response.
Max is such an optimistic person, so much so that it can hurt at times. It has to be hard on a person who doesn’t know what’s in store for them when you have someone as aggressively optimistic as Max around.
It doesn’t always make space for the other feelings — the fear and sadness. Everything is still so fresh to Helen, and she’s processing that something this significant happened to her and could affect her for the rest of her life.
She took a more realistic approach of bracing herself for the possibility of never recovering or being at the top of her game again.
Helen: I’m broken.
Max: No, you’re not broken.
Helen: You see perfect.
Helen was also embarrassed, ashamed, and frustrated. Her aphasia left her feeling insecure and inadequate, and it had her questioning everything, including her relationship and future with Max.
It’s a hell of a trial to put this pairing through when they just got engaged. It’s putting the “for better and for worse, in sickness and in health” to the test, and naturally, Sharpwin passes with flying colors.
It’s beautiful to see that when Helen feels that she’s at her absolute worst, Max is there to encourage and uplift her and, more importantly, remind her of just how much he loves her and how that love doesn’t come with limitations or limitations conditions.
Max’s love for Helen is endless.
He doesn’t need her to be “perfect” or as close to it as she thinks that she has to be; he just needs her in any way — all the ways.
Everything was much better when Helen opened herself up fully to leaning on Max and trusting that this man truly loves her unconditionally and will be with her through it all, no ifs, ands, or buts about it indeed.
Their final scene was one of their cutest and most heartwarming yet.
An attentive Max was Helen’s biggest cheerleader, helping her with her speech. He turned it into a cute and sexy game for them. With his patience, positivity, and encouragement, Helen made a breakthrough she wouldn’t allow herself to have during her therapy sessions.
Max’s moments with Helen were all about her, and there’s something sweet and gratifying about that. But he made some progress on the Veronica front.
Initially, it felt as if we were right back into the same old pattern of Max looking foolish in his attempts to take this woman down and her getting the upper hand.
It was maddening when he told her her intentions. It hasn’t made a lick of sense that he hasn’t figured out that it’s best to move in silence. However, just when it seemed his exposing her to patients was pointless and his board vote was premature, we got that final scene between Max and Karen.
Karen back into the fold has made things interesting, and she and Max’s relationship has developed into an amusing one where she’s equal parts adoring and exasperated by him.
Max: I want to be here. I want to be here to support you.
Helen: You, no sport. You no see… what you see?
Thankfully, part of their mysterious plan was for Veronica to buy out the urgent care facility. It’s hard to say what their long-term plan is, but at least the Resistance is strong, and Veronica may finally get vanquished by the end of the season.
Sadly, Leyla and Lauren’s relationship could get vanquished, too. I still don’t even know what to do with this development in their relationship. As a unit, it’s upsetting that Lauren and Leyla have come down to this.
We got Leyla sliding a brown paper bag of money to Lauren as if it was a sandwich or payment for something nefarious. It’s hard to see how they can overcome this whole transactional aspect of their relationship, which is about how generally imbalanced they are.
It hasn’t served Leyla as a character, and as time goes on, it almost feels like they’re reducing Leyla and this relationship to a stepping stone in character development for Lauren.
In that sense, it remains frustrating for a myriad of reasons.
But for Lauren, yes, she went on a bit of a journey during this installment. She revealed that her vices and other things that kept her balanced weren’t substantial.
It felt like a reference to how she poured so much into Leyla and that relationship and how she used that to ground her, which applied to her as an addict and someone with ADHD.
We’ve been saying all season long that Leyla was Lauren’s latest crutch and addiction, which isn’t necessarily a negative thing but rather something that can have consequences if it goes too far.
Lauren also realized that if something that makes her happy hurts her, it may require she let it go. She got that from her time with Kyle, her patient, but it seems like a reference to Leyla and their relationship.
And that’s where it’s frustrating that Leyla got reduced to this. After everything they went through and some of the messy actions between them, it’s tailor-made to shape Lauren’s growth.
Throughout the hour, Lauren was back to lashing out at Mia and talking down on her way of medicine. Clearly, she directed her anger at someone, and Mia was an easy victim.
But she acknowledged that, and once she did, Lauren was able to partake in Mia’s form of healing and treatment. Lauren’s cupping session seemed to bring her some peace if the smile on her face was an indication.
Lauren: Something I love is hurting me, I’m just not really sure how to let it up.
Mia: How can I help?
And there was also chemistry between her and Mia that made you wonder if they could be a thing too. One moment there’s strong Mia and Floyd energy, and the next, it’s Mia and Lauren. Hell, that still would’ve been a better poly relationship than the Floyd, Lyn, Claude thing.
While we’re on the topic of Floyd, his quest to get Oren surgery without paying was inspired. You can’t blame the man for refusing to see Floyd again after he got a bill for thousands of dollars after his insurance paid some of the expenses.
Floyd’s connection with Oren and his willingness to make things right was endearing. And it’s a relief that he got the assistance he needed to help.
The whole thing prompting Floyd to think about his father was a nice character moment for him, although there are conflicted feelings when it comes on the heels of him giving up his kid so Lyn and Claude could relocate and be happy.
And Iggy’s time with Juliet and Isaac helped him reach some realizations about his personal life.
Juliet remains one of Iggy’s best patients ever. Every time we see her again, you can see the growth and progress that she’s made.
It was surprising to learn that she experienced her first puppy love, but it didn’t come without complications.
Juliet wasn’t accustomed to the feelings she was experiencing, yet there was realistic logic to how she approached things. Juliet kissing other boys to see if she felt the same way as she did with Isaac actually made some sense, given her unfamiliarity with the sensations she was experiencing.
Juliet: If you hurt a person that you really like even back accident, can you get them back?
Iggy: Only if you really try.
And is there anything more “normal” than her breaking things off with him and sabotaging her relationship, hurting Isaac before he could do the same to her?
Hell, there are grown adults without personality disorders who do the exact same thing all the time. Juliet grasping emotions has always been compelling, and Emma Hong is a fantastic young actress and a pleasure to watch every time she guest-stars.
Ironically, Iggy saw himself in a pre-pubescent psychopathic girl, and there’s something absurdly funny about that.
Isn’t he just another person whose self-esteem sucks and prompts him to sabotage good things before he can get hurt? His entire relationship with Martin consists of that.
We’ve been begging anyone who would listen for Iggy to go to therapy, and FINALLY, he’s made the healthiest decision to do that.
He displayed a shred of accountability and awareness by the end of the hour when he recognized that he and Martin don’t need couples counseling.
Their marriage and Martin — they aren’t the problem. Iggy is at the core of their issues and has been for ages. Until he can work on himself, they’ll always have issues.
Let it stick, for heaven’s sake!
Over to you, ‘Dam Fanatics. What do you make of Leyren’s relationship? What are your theories about Max’s plan to take down Veronica? 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.