A little more slapstick than usual, perhaps to a fault, but “Croaklahoma” still provided strong character work and the usual moments of emotion.
This recap of New Amsterdam Episode 15, “Croaklahoma”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
In last week’s promo of “Croaklahoma”, I wondered what could possibly have cracked the always-unshakeable positivity of Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold), but after the events of this week’s hour, who could blame him? A broken healthcare system, the abandonment of religious beliefs, absurd security measures, Lamaze class, cancer, and truly terrible puns all in the span of a single working day? It’s a surprise he didn’t chuck himself out of a window.
Then again, would he have even been allowed to? With the Pope in town and his right-hand Cardinal cluttering up New Amsterdam with a Secret Service detail, half the hospital was closed off, and Dr. Kapoor (Anupam Kher) was detained for being a credible threat to the Pope’s life. It was all played mostly for laughs, but it wasn’t funny for Max, who was already stressed out that his chemotherapy sessions are full of jokers who, in his view, aren’t taking their symptoms seriously enough. When one of them fell ill in “Croaklahoma” it was enough to send him as close to the edge as I imagine Max ever gets. He snapped at Helen (Freema Agyeman) and terrified the mothers in the birthing class, before trying to prepare Georgia (Lisa O’Hare) to raise their child without him, if necessary.
As we know, Max is a terrible patient, so he just can’t fathom making light of illnesses that it’s his job to fix. He got there in the end, but it took some frankness from his loved ones and colleagues to help him understand that not everyone sees the world as fixable, like he does. And in the end his puns were terrible, so perhaps it’s best if he just sticks to what he knows.
The major case in “Croaklahoma” concerned a young boy who had recently had a heart transplant and whose body was rejecting the new organ; no surprise, since his poor parents had been spacing out his medication since they couldn’t afford the ludicrous $9000 monthly bill. Floyd (Jocko Sims) was up front with them and they were up front in return – they can’t afford it, period. But if they weren’t married, there’d be a way to finesse medical insurance into coughing up the bill; problem was they’re devout Catholics, as is their nipper, and so they all think they’re destined for hell if they get divorced. If you’re wondering whether or not the Cardinal with the ear of the Pope plays into this plot, well… this is New Amsterdam, after all.
Elsewhere, Helen was charmed by Walter and Sheila, an elderly couple, the former of whom was dying of cancer and wanted to stop his treatments so he could enjoy whatever time he had left with his younger missus. This put Helen at odds with the state’s representative, who determined Walter was a risk to himself and others and had possibly been kidnapped and manipulated by this young vixen – who just so happened to be 75 herself. This was a warm subplot that was nowhere near as adversarial as it sounds; every party wanted what was best for Walter, and in true New Amsterdam fashion they got it by working together.
Iggy (Tyler Labine) and Lauren (Janet Montgomery) had some small moments of their own in “Croaklahoma”. The former realised that even as a psychotherapist he isn’t always a great listener; and the latter that she isn’t as alone as she thought, thanks in no small part to Floyd’s unscheduled and unadvised visit, so it turns out that cancelling dinner with your current partner to spontaneously visit your ex despite being explicitly told not to is a good idea after all. Only on New Amsterdam, folks.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.