Back with a bang, including a couple of literal ones, “Code Silver” locks down New Amsterdam for impromptu therapy sessions, armed takeovers, and some tough decisions.
This recap of New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 10, “Code Silver”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
As if to justify the recent news that New Amsterdam has been renewed on NBC through to a fifth season, “Code Silver” was the show returning from its Christmas hiatus firing on all cylinders. Everything you expect from an episode — complex character drama, a high-stakes setup, and oodles of sentimental unburdening — was present and then some in New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 10, as the previous episode’s cliffhanger led to the hospital in complete lockdown and virtually every character trapped where they’d least like to be.
This kind of dramatic trick isn’t new, to network TV or New Amsterdam specifically, but it’s executed pretty masterfully here, relying on one-and-a-half seasons of unpredictable characterization to ensure that an armed takeover by Rikers Island inmates is the perfect opportunity for relationship counseling, rehab, and chewing over the big decisions in one’s life, such as what to do in the immediate aftermath of a severe demotion.
Yes, Helen’s (Freema Agyeman) reduction in rank is still a thing, though “Code Silver” barely has time to deal with it; will she go or will she stay, given that the hospital clearly can’t see how much value she brings? It’s something for her to think about throughout New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 10, as she and Max (Ryan Eggold) find themselves alongside the severely wounded Dominique (April Hernandez Castillo) and ringleader Jackie (Ashlie Atkinson) in the latter’s plot to assassinate another inmate who has turned state’s witness, and currently resides on Floyd’s (Jocko Sims) operating table.
This was the big tension-building plot of the episode since it tied directly into the overarching siege setup. But it also found time to work on a character level, as Max’s typically altruistic solution — to slyly lead Jackie out of the hospital in order to protect everyone — was usurped by Helen’s much better idea of leading her on a merry trail “to the OR” and directly into the waiting arms of law enforcement. Their obligatory end-of-episode heart-to-heart revealed what we’ve known all along — they both need each other. And thus, she has her reason to stay.
If she stays, though, she’ll be ceding some measure of control to Valentina Castro (Ana Villafañe), who cropped up once or twice in “Code Silver” to remind everyone that she’s a cartoon careerist vulture who can’t wait to pick through Helen’s carcass. As a character, I’m still not entirely sold on Castro, who seems too nakedly self-serving to have even succeeded in oncology in the first place, but you can never tell quite what New Amsterdam has planned for its characters, so let’s not get too hung up on that for now.
A surprise, for instance, was Floyd, who had a challenging day at work trying to save the witness, and then trying to save the witness after an inmate posing as a surgeon had managed to stab both her and him. Duke (Ian Duff) was able to step up and help him through the procedure, despite a couple of trademark blunders, but Floyd’s worldview in the aftermath is suddenly very different. Now, instead of trying to figure out how a long-distance marriage to Evie (Margot Bingham) is going to work, he has decided to instead ship out to San Francisco with her. Was he imagining that conversation in a drug-induced haze? Or is he really about to jump ship?
On the subject of drug-induced hazes, Lauren (Janet Montgomery) and Dr. Ligon (JJ Feild) reached the next level of their relationship — his admittance that he’s an addict who fell off the wagon and has been gobbling all her pain pills. Luckily this damning revelation came on the back of a superstar team-up during which Ligon had to literally hold Lauren upright while she performed impromptu surgery without damaging her leg even further, so she was a bit more receptive to the news than she might have otherwise been. She still told him that once he’s out of rehab she never wants to see or hear from him again, obviously, but at least she didn’t attack him or anything. The bittersweet kissy conclusion to this arc is classic relationships-are-never-simple fare but again done about as well as such things ever are.
If you thought that New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 10 might have neglected the wrenchingly emotional subplot in all this chaos, never fear — Iggy (Tyler Labine) and Martin (Mike Doyle) have you covered. Locked up together with Tabitha (Adina Verson), one of Iggy’s apparently unassertive employees due for a performance review, they were forced to analyze their relationship on the back of Iggy trying to adopt another child without Martin’s knowledge, and… well, goodness me. Rarely is network TV as profoundly frank and moving as this exchange, during which Martin opened up about how he feels as though he isn’t enough for Iggy, and Iggy, in turn, opened up about how his obsession with helping others is to stave off intense feelings of self-loathing and inadequacy. Tabitha did a bang-up job steering the conversation through awfully emotional terrain, eventually asking Martin to reel off three things that he loves about his husband, and if there was a dry eye in the house it was inevitably wedged into the skull of a psychopath. Tremendous stuff by any standards, even if Tabitha’s diagnosis of Iggy’s Narcissistic personality disorder threatens to have some long-term repercussions for a character who is all too often demoted to the role of comic relief.
And finally, since we’re talking about comic relief characters, Vijay (Anupam Kher) and the pregnant, rapidly unraveling Ella (Dierdre Friel) were smushed together for the duration of New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 10, with the panicky barista convincing herself that she couldn’t hear her baby’s heartbeat. While it began with typical vibes of odd-couple shenanigans, Vijay guiding Ella through her anxiety made for a strong emotional throughline, with both grappling with what they want from each other and the future. Vijay’s last-minute suggestion that she move in with him might have seemed a bit short notice, but perhaps that’s exactly what she needs — Idaho is a long way to go, after all.
Back in a big way, then. New Amsterdam at its best is, in many ways, network television at its best, and “Code Silver” was proof that the show can churn out dynamite episodes without even trying. Business as usual has resumed and shows no sign of halting for the next few years at least. It’s difficult to be mad at that.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.