In Search of the Lost Boy
In discussing the medications Leo is taking daily, Leo’s mother find outs that the stacking of the medications is creating his problems. One medication causes sleepiness so a stimulant is prescribed and the side effects of the medications are causing weight gain and ultimately Type 2 diabetes, the underlying cause of his bedwetting.
Drs. Frome and Kapoor huddle to devise a plan to safely detox Leo to find the emotional issues that led to his daily medications when Dr. Goodwin interrupts with an introduction to the Psychiatrist in charge of Leo’s district with the New York City Schools. If Leo is removed from his medication, he will not be allowed back into public schools. An outraged Iggy cites legal precedent which is quickly dispensed with further details from Max. The solution? Take the school system to court.
In the courtroom at New Amsterdam, Drs. Frome and Kapoor face off with the New York City School system all in hopes of reaching the young boy trapped amid a cloud of medications. After presenting their case and viewing video footage of the precipitating incident at the school, Dr. Frome makes one last attempt to reach Leo. When that fails, Dr. Kapoor sees only one way left to prove their case.
A Little Less Sharpe
Dr. Sharpe delivers less than pleasant news to a new patient, Millie. She has a plan for treatment though they both know Millie’s time is running out. Looking for some silver lining, Millie feels fortunate to meet the famous doctor who has lit up her television screen many times. Simultaneously, she laments her appearance considering she was now face to face with such a personality as “The Dr. Helen”. Dr. Sharpe tries to diffuse Millie’s self-deprecation but is instead overcome when Millie speaks and, perhaps for the first time, Dr. Sharpe truly hears the story of a cancer patient. The seemingly unshakable Dr. Sharpe is visibly rattled as she ducks around the corner with an excuse about needing her calendar.
The Razor’s Edge
Amidst his busy day, Max stops in to check on his wife. He makes promises that she doesn’t believe but he really wants to make true. She makes a seemingly simple request of a spouse. Go and do what you need to do, but when you return, let me in. Max agrees and returns to his day.
Dr. Goodwin shows the first cracks in his unorthodox approach when he discovers Dr. Kapoor in the process of detoxing Leo from his medications. He pushes back on Kapoor with the problems that could arise and the liability of the hospital. Undeterred, Kapoor holds his ground with Max. He wonders aloud if Max’s new attitude is the result of a visit with the Dean of Medicine. He finishes his argument with “So patient first or job first?” Amidst Kapoor’s argument, Dora arrives with several more places that Max is needed. For the first time, we see Max’s eternal optimism falter. As he bursts through the door onto the rooftop he is met by Dr. Helen Sharpe who claims the rooftop as her hideout.
On that rooftop, both Helen and Max come to realize that they have been pushed to their limits for this moment. Dr. Sharpe has fallen victim to the contagious attitude of Max and believes she cares too much for her patients. Max faces his guilt of not matching Georgia’s commitment to slow down together. Dr. Sharpe realizes that Max hasn’t shared his diagnosis with Georgia. That seems to Max a load too heavy to ask his wife to carry when he already dumped New Amsterdam on her.
Released from the cloud of medication and with help from Dr. Frome, Leo tells the story of the day he lost his dad and he blames himself. It seems clear that Leo is not a danger to himself, but rather needs time and space to process the grief of losing his father and navigating himself away from his misplaced blame. Following a successful ruling, we see a tender moment between mother and son and a heartwarming smile from Leo.
As Max returns to visit Georgia after a long day that included some straight talk from Dr. Sharpe, he gets an update from her physician. There are still concerns with the pregnancy and Georgia is to remain on bedrest and completely stress-free (physically and emotionally) for the duration. Now what is Max to do? His betrayed wife is looking to him for authenticity and sharing but he now knows he cannot share his diagnosis as instructed by Dr. Sharpe. Dr. Goodwin sets his shoulders, perhaps a little lower, and takes Georgia’s hand. She waits expectantly and asks for a single truth from him. You can almost hear the battle raging in his head as he settles on this one truth: “I love you”.
Dr. Kapoor is found in an empty stairwell, cell phone to his ear leaving a message…for his son. He we find a little insight into Dr. Kapoor’s discomfort around sharing family details and are left to wonder what happened between this father and son. From all that we have seen, Iggy’s assessment of Dr. Kapoor’s paternal inclinations seem spot on. Dr. Kapoor leaves an open offer for his son “I’m here”.
In her closing scene, Dr. Sharpe is very carefully applying nail polish to the brittle, mangled nails of Millie. This small, yet enormous, gesture elicits a smile from Millie and some sense of peace for Dr. Sharpe. It turns out that Dr. Helen Sharpe has many facets and, like many women, hides that softness under a tough exterior for her own protection.
Even more than the pilot, this was a beautifully constructed episode of New Amsterdam. We can all relate to something in the lives of these doctors. We have all been like Max, spinning way too many plates at once, and just hoping to not drop one as we grow tired and they feel heavier. The genuine compassion that Iggy Frome brings to life and practice will hopefully inspire a movement. I loved the measured and thoughtful Dr. Kapoor pushing those boundaries for maybe the first time in his effort to put patients first. Personally, Dr. Sharpe’s softening has been replayed multiple times in my life and if we are honest we have all exhibited Dr. Richards level of obstinance along the way.
New Amsterdam builds on its central theme “How can I help?” in beautiful ways throughout this episode. Diverse personalities and skill sets find their own unique ways to help as they are challenged to help each other and themselves along the way. I can’t wait for my next appointment to check in with the doctors and meet the Dean of Medicine.
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