“The Big Picture” tries to get to the bottom of dissatisfaction in the hospital, and potentially fatal mistakes are made.
This recap of New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 2, “The Big Picture”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Everyone has their own way of coping with grief. For Max (Ryan Eggold), it’s trying to solve impossible problems. The one he’s confronted with in New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 2 is time — there simply isn’t enough of it. That’s according to a workplace census, anyway, which he makes everyone take after enduring a PowerPoint presentation about how the hospital staff can’t care for their patients unless they care for themselves. Pot, meet kettle. It’s a nice throwback scene to the first season premiere when Max brought all the departments together and ended up firing half of them. This time, they all parrot his catchphrase back at him.
On some level, everyone knows Max is doing this because if he doesn’t he’ll have to deal with Georgia’s (Lisa O’Hare) death. For Vijay (Anupam Kher), who lost his own wife, this is obvious. He doesn’t have a medical case of his own in “The Big Picture”; he just spends the episode following Max around and trying to convince him to start grieving. It takes him the full hour to determine that he’s already grieving — this is just his typically bizarre way of doing it.
Learning to deal with pain — emotional, physical — has always been central to New Amsterdam. It’s set in a hospital, after all. But the mechanisms for coping are all over “The Big Picture”. Max’s card-playing cancer troupe uses the age-old tactic of lowered expectations to stave off disappointment; by the time Dr. Castro (Ana Villafañe) has finished pitching them the new targeted therapy program that saved Max, it’s only Helen (Freema Agyeman) who still has her hopes up. The fact none of them qualify bothers her more than it does them. Iggy (Tyler Labine) helps a Rikers Island inmate see himself as more than his crime by giving him a new purpose. He thought he was grieving the loss of his freedom, but he wasn’t, really. He was mourning the loss of his value. Nobody had bothered to tell him that losing one didn’t necessarily mean losing the other.
Lauren (Janet Montgomery) has to find a way to deal with physical agony in New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 2. She’s being rehabilitated by a smug, handsome physical therapist, but doing so without any painkillers. Squeezing a little ball doesn’t work. Playing with a fidget spinner doesn’t work, either. She lashes out at her own staff and at Floyd’s (Jocko Sims) intern when he makes a mistake that almost results in someone’s death. She’s able to find a solution by getting extra physical with her therapist. See? There’s always a way. Although sleeping with your colleagues usually isn’t it.
“The Big Picture” contained all the hallmarks of your typical episode of New Amsterdam, but it made the doctors themselves the patients. This second season is, thus far, different from the first. Like Max, everyone walks and acts the same. But they’re not — not really. They’ve all endured their fair share of emotional and physical hardships, and like everyone at the hospital, they’re all slaves to a merciless ticking clock. The time until the next calamity is gradually running out. But at least, thanks to Max, they’ll get there on time.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.