“Things Fall Apart” goes back to the show’s roots a little to powerful effect.
This recap of New Amsterdam season 3, episode 12, “Things Fall Apart”, contains spoilers.
See how much better this show is when Max isn’t reading aloud from the Green Party manifesto every week? “Things Fall Apart” finally realizes that the best way of showcasing Max’s do-gooder altruism is not by having him solve all the world’s systemic issues but to put himself on the line for the benefit of others. There’s – for once – no performative aspect to his attempted self-sacrifice this week; no onlookers, no higher-ups to impress, no point to prove. He sees a problem – a chemical spill that is blinding and potentially killing half the hospital’s patients and staff – and he does something about it, to his own detriment. That’s exactly what he should be doing.
Of course, New Amsterdam is very experienced at this kind of thing by now, so it used the chemical spill to further a lot of character dynamics and unpack a number of attendant issues, at times rather expertly. Floyd, of all people, was low-key the savior of the day; his treatment of the good-natured Bertha, who entered the E.D. with pruning shears lodged in her body and had to undergo all manner of injustices before having them removed, was what led to a just-in-time revelation about how to combat the effects of the chemical. By then, though, thanks in part to circumstance but also Max and Lauren’s determined efforts to put the safety of everyone else above their own wellbeing, it was almost too late.
Bloom’s insistence on keeping on despite worsening rashes and failing eyesight was really an excuse to double-down on her relationship with Casey, one of the show’s undersung heroes, who was planning on transferring to a private hospital for more money and less chaos. New Amsterdam season 3, episode 12, like several before it, is finding a softness in Lauren that has been missing from a lot of her storylines in the past. Her tearful admission that she can’t run the E.D. without Casey was a meaningful moment for her. It’s nice to see her lightening up.
Of course, with her relationship with Leyla, that teased reconciliation with Floyd doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. His staying in New York and breaking up with Evie frees him up, romantically, but he hasn’t been having much luck and his fortunes don’t change in “Things Fall Apart”. His latest beau, Lyn, turns out to be married, and her revelation that her husband’s business trips apparently open up their marriage doesn’t do much for Floyd. Lyn’s insistence that she has never actually capitalized on this arrangement is an odd one. It’s hard to tell at this point whether it’s something that justifies her husband’s extramarital excursions or if they’re both just kinky. Maybe next week.
That isn’t to say there wasn’t romance in the episode, though, despite the whole chemical spill. We had a moment of closeness between Max and Helen last week and boy, do we get one in “Things Fall Apart”. Of course, it’s Helen who discovers Max, blind and dying, trying to prevent the leak from worsening by pointlessly wrapping a shirt around the burst pipe. Her face is the last thing he sees as he loses consciousness, and it’s the first thing he sees both as he briefly comes to during a weirdly romantic decontamination shower and when he finally wakes up, on the mend. This is obviously a turning point in their relationship. There’s little more that needs to be said at this point. The toothpaste is out of the tube. Of course, New Amsterdam season 3, episode 12 once again interrupts their first kiss, so shippers will have to wait for that moment just a little longer, but it’s coming, folks. “Can you see?” Helen asks him, inquiring about if his vision has returned. “I can see you,” Max replies, dropping bars. Even a chemical spill can’t keep this man down.
What might keep him down, though, is Georgia’s absolutely insufferable parents, who have now decided to essentially kidnap Luna from Max’s apartment and file for full custody of her on the grounds that Max… is a doctor? Surely no judge in the land would even consider this? We’ll have to wait and see.
Elsewhere, we get a bit more development in the ongoing “Chance is stalking Iggy” plot, though Iggy has some issues to resolve in the meantime with parents whose group therapy involved admitting to occasionally hating their kids. There was a lot of meat on the bones of that subplot and frankly, it would have been better served in an episode that didn’t have so much going on. There just wasn’t enough time to properly unpack what is quite clearly an important and relatable topic. With chance looming, though, you have to imagine that Iggy will be getting some more focus in coming episodes.