New Amsterdam season 3, episode 13 recap – “Fight Time” knuckle up

June 2, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
4

Summary

“Fight Time” gives Max his toughest battle yet, but he has to decide if it’s one he’s ready for.

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4

Summary

“Fight Time” gives Max his toughest battle yet, but he has to decide if it’s one he’s ready for.

This recap of New Amsterdam season 3, episode 13, “Fight Time”, contains spoilers.


Everyone hates their in-laws, but Max Goodwin has more reasons to than most of us. As we learned in last week’s episode, Georgia’s insufferable parents are seeking full custody of Luna, and they’re insistent that Max’s focus on work makes him an unfit father. Max’s lawyer is all of us in laughing their accusations off. Max is a loving father who also happens to be the medical director of a public hospital in the middle of a global health crisis. No judge in the land would condemn him for saving as many lives as he has, even if the cost of saving them has been closeness with his daughter. It’s ridiculous that anyone would side with Georgia’s parents here.

This is partly why I’ve never gotten along with this subplot. It’s a reach. It’s drama for its own sake, something to force Max into rigorously self-examining, even though all of his subplots thus far have done that too. He already knows that he can’t be a dedicated father while single-handedly trying to end systemic racism and such. His argument that nobody, including Luna, will be safe until everyone else is safe, is the same idealistic big-picture argument he has applied to every problem he has come across throughout the season, and presumably throughout his career. We get it.

This impulse doesn’t make him the best father, but nobody is. Since the show has always been careful to make the point that his hare-brained schemes are always for the greater good and never about his own ego, there’s no ambiguity here. He’s imperfect and sometimes makes the wrong decisions, but always for the right reasons. This should be obvious to everyone who has ever watched a single episode of the show, let alone three seasons of it. And yet New Amsterdam season 3, episode 13, “Fight Time”, nonetheless gives us an entire subplot in which Max tries to use up 1000 rapidly expiring vaccines before they defrost just to make the point clear. The fact he tries mightily to give them to the “right” people and ends up giving them to nobody is supposed to be his big moment of realization, his coming to terms with the fact that his desire to do more might be detrimental, and might be as harmful to his relationship with Luna as his in-laws claim. It takes Helen reminding him that anything worth having is also worth fighting for – notice how she slips “us” into his list of ongoing fights – to convince Max to turn up on Georgia’s parents’ doorstep and demand to take his daughter home. Good on him, obviously, but I hope they let him just so we don’t have to put up with this storyline anymore.

Iggy is the standout in “Fight Time”, even if the conclusion to his stand-off with Chance is ground I believe we’ve already trodden before (commenters, Iggy has intentionally lied for the sake of a patient before, hasn’t he?). Despite this, Chance confronting him while he’s bed-bound with the flu felt like a strong stake-raising payoff to his storyline, and Tyler Labine was great in his initial confusion, his fear, and his resolve. Martin figuring out his coded cry for help was a nice little detail reinforcing how well they know one another, and the fact that Chance never became too aggressive or ridiculous, despite revealing that he intentionally caused the fire that killed his family, kept him feeling like a very damaged young man in need of help rather than a smirking supervillain. I liked how understated the finale was, with the lights and sirens tipping us off to Chance’s arrest, but the focus remaining on Iggy and Martin as the former broke down after his ordeal. Solid stuff.

We were on shakier ground elsewhere, though. I, for one, am totally uninterested in Floyd’s love life, and his griping about whether to have sex with a gorgeous married woman is a first-world problem if I’ve ever heard one. There’s some emotional value in the matter of a five-year-old girl’s organs rejecting transplants, but using that traumatic case just to help Floyd navigate his relationship woes feels a bit… I don’t know, icky to me. Lauren’s case is a bit lighter, involving a man with Dioxin in his bloodstream who may or may not be a Russian spy, but beyond learning that Casey is super into Cold War history and spycraft, there isn’t much to it, really.

Helen, too, is a bit underserved by New Amsterdam season 3, episode 13, once again struggling to bond with Mina. Mina is largely petulant, obviously, but for once I agree with her assessment that Helen “ambushed” her with the undergraduate dean of Columbia University. Luckily, I also feel like “Fight Time” had Helen herself acknowledge that. Her confession at the end of the episode that Mina is right, and that she doesn’t know her, feels like the breakthrough they both need, and the understated little shuffle they both do to get physically closer to one another while looking at family photographs is a nice touch.

All these neat and tidy conclusions and personal breakthroughs make this episode feel a bit like a finale, which it isn’t, so I have to assume that we’re gearing up for something big in next week’s “Death Begins in Radiology”. I guess we’ll see.

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