Spoilers ahead for Episode 2 of New Amsterdam Season 2, called "The Big Picture."
New Amsterdam dealt Max a devastating blow in the Season 2 premiere. The episode revealed his wife Georgia was killed, shortly after giving birth to their daughter, Luna. The Season 2 premiere took its time in delivering the news that Georgia was the one to die, as Lisa O'Hare actually appeared with her character seemingly alive and well. That was a red herring, as Max was imagining his wife alive and well in their home. Well, the second episode revealed that fans should still worry about him.
Max spent most of "The Big Picture" running around the hospital, trying to solve problems using the census data. Dr. Kapoor grew concerned that Max was going out of his way to avoid grieving; later, when they shared a heart to heart on the roof, Dr. Kapoor confessed that his way of grieving and connecting with his own wife after she passed away was to cook what she always cooked for him.
Max finally came clean and admitted that he wanted to grieve for Georgia, but he had to take care of Luna, and he didn't think he could come back from his grief if he allowed himself to start.
The kicker came at the very end of the episode, when Max arrived home -- with Luna adorably strapped to his chest -- and smiled to see Georgia waiting for them, happy to see her husband and baby daughter again. Max lit up with a smile, and he actually shared a few words with his wife, seeming ready to spend the rest of the night with his happy family. Uh-oh?
Now, I'm all for almost anything that puts a smile back on Max's face after he lost his wife last week, but jumping from not allowing himself to grieve to imagining his wife alive, well, and ready to interact with him and daughter is a bit too troubling for my taste. There's no way Max can sustain this fantasy in the long run, and prolonging the inevitable could be worse for Max and, by extension, Luna.
Given the fact that he greeted imaginary-Georgia and smiled at imaginary-Georgia's reaction to Luna, I think this goes deeper than Max just pretending that his wife hadn't died. That's not to say that New Amsterdam is delivering an Izzie Stevens-esque twist that she's hanging out with her love interest as a symptom of a brain tumor a la Grey's Anatomy Season 5. Poor Max is going through hell with a smile on his wife.
While Dr. Kapoor seemed satisfied by the end of the episode that Max was grieving in his own way, I have to wonder if he'd change is mind if he knew Max was pretending to hang out with Georgia at home. Helen didn't seem quite as convinced as Dr. Kapoor.
We already know that New Amsterdam probably won't deliver a romance for Max and Helen in Season 2 (or possibly ever), but he may need her friendship more than ever. Will that "shocking reveal" that's coming her way interfere? And will Lauren Bloom have time to help out, what with her own recovery from the crash and her new romance?