Warning: Spoilers for New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 6, entitled “Righteous Right Hand,” are discussed below.
When it comes to accepting the big death that rocked New Amsterdam, Max is not there yet. If you are concerned about that, you are not alone. The medical drama’s first season ended with a gigantic cliffhanger by way of a tragic ambulance crash. After an entire summer, New Amsterdam returned and revealed who succumbed to their injuries during the finale.
It took the whole Season 2 premiere until New Amsterdam finally confirmed that Max’s wife, Georgia, was the one who died. As the season got underway, it has been clear that Max’s grief has included some ample hints of denial. One concerning symptom being that Max has still imagined his wife being alive.
In Season 2’s sixth episode, Helen attempted to help Max, something that he was in need of, considering he had not even removed the bloodstain from Georgia’s medical emergency from the apartment. Asked about Max’s state of mind and why he cannot bring himself to accept help despite trying too, New Amsterdam’s executive producer Peter Horton told TV Insider:
That's a really good description of why. When Helen tries to reach out to him — which he's in conflict about, it's not like he's against it, he knows he needs to accept help at some point — he just can't do it yet. So when the cleaning duo come[s] and he doesn't let them in, it's because they would be doing things like cleaning up the bloodstain on the ground. It would be erasing what happened, and for him, he's just not quite ready to fully accept she's gone.
What Max does not want to erase is the visceral reminder of Georgia’s placental abruption, which occurred in New Amsterdam’s first season finale. It's a medical emergency that led to the risky at-home c-section and that fatal ambulance ride to the hospital. Miraculously, Max and Georgia’s daughter, Luna, survived the harrowing ordeal.
As New Amsterdam's executive producer Peter Horton points out, Luna is a living reminder of his wife and their relationship. However, Max still wants to hold onto one of the tragedy’s grimmest visible reminders. While Max is on the way to accepting his wife's death, the one thing Max has had trouble letting go of is that bloodstain. Horton explained more about why he has struggled to let it get cleaned up, saying:
Seeing that bloodstain on the ground is both a reminder of the tragedy, but also more darkly a reminder of her. That's what he's got left, which is what's so sad about it. Here he is, holding this little baby, that was supposed to be this moment of shared celebration between them.
That's rough, but will Helen be able to help Max through his grief? She is one of his best friends and she did make some progress in the latest episode. Max is still not ready to entirely accept her help, however, which is something that New Amsterdam’s showrunner, David Schulner, had previously teased when discussing Helen and Max’s relationship in Season 2.
One thing that fans have to remember is that New Amsterdam actually flashed forward in time with its Season 2 premiere. This meant the medical drama picked up three months after Georgia’s death. At this point in the New Amsterdam timeline, is it time for real grief intervention? Max has experienced some powerful imaginings since we've seen him in Season 2.
It may do him some good to talk to someone outside of his personal/professional life, in my opinion. Whether New Amsterdam explores that route or not, it will undoubtedly continue to sift through Max’s grief as the season continues. The series also has big plans for Iggy, who took the huge step of moving forward on adopting again, without his husband’s knowledge. Oh, Iggy!
There should be lots of drama to come, no matter which plotline you are most invested in. New episodes of New Amsterdam air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. The series’ second season is one of this year’s many fall premieres.