Spoilers ahead for Episode 8 of New Amsterdam Season 5, called “All the World’s a Stage…”
The ED was overrun by teenage beauty queens in New Amsterdam’s latest episode, but Max’s struggles didn’t involve any of the young women injured by the collapsing stage. After some ups and downs with trying to mediate between the bequests department and a veteran whose mother had donated her home to the hospital, he ended up with as close to a compromise as was possible. He seemed ready to celebrate with Elizabeth Wilder by the conclusion of the hour, but she shut him down in his first earnest attempt to move on after Helen. He was certainly sad about it, but I’d say that it’s a good thing.
Max and Elizabeth have been slowly but surely getting closer throughout the fifth and final season, to the point that it seemed inevitable that she would be the first woman he fell for after the abrupt end to his relationship with Helen. They were hanging out at the end of “All the World’s a Stage…” and chatting back and forth via typing on a computer, when he suggested dinner. She was all-in… when she thought he meant ordering in for a friendly takeout meal. When he clarified that he was thinking they’d go to Benihana “like a date,” she immediately said “no,” with no hesitation.
While I can’t say that I’m rooting for Max to get disappointment after disappointment in Season 5 (especially with episodes quickly running out), Elizabeth not immediately saying yes so that the two could head out on a date before the end of the episode seems like the best scenario for both of them... as well as for fans who may still be hung up on Helen and Sharpwin.
In the grand scheme of things, Max’s relationship with the woman he intended to marry and considered the mother of his daughter ended just months ago, with little to no closure. Fans saw the Sharpwin relationship slowly burn and build before they finally got together, and it might have been hard to buy Max just happily moving on to a new potential romance so soon with ease. Even accounting for the firm foundation of friendship with Elizabeth that made Max comfortable enough to make a move, he may not have fully thought it through.
And even if he was 100% ready to move on by the end of “All the World’s a Stage,” Elizabeth might not necessarily know that, and she may also have more practical concerns. After all, he is the medical director and therefore her boss at New Amsterdam. Max and Helen got away with it easily enough thanks to their decision to leave New York and move to London, but it could be a problem for Elizabeth.
Plus, the series hasn’t really shown her in a relationship, and the catastrophic karaoke episode of Season 4 suggested that she preferred casual hookups at the time. Her scenes with Max in Season 5 have been flirty but not explicitly romantic, so neither was leading the other on. No matter what her reason was for saying no, I think it was for the best at this point in time. The characters are sweet together and seem to be a solid match, but there are some issues that should at least be addressed before they get together.
Even if New Amsterdam doesn’t have a checklist of complications to resolve (and workplace relationships are par for the course in primetime), it wouldn’t have felt right if Max made his big step forward from his heartbreak with Helen so casually at the end of an episode. If and when he moves on, there should be more to it than an invitation to Benihana at the end of a work day, and they should both be ready.
All of this said, I do enjoy the dynamic between Max and Elizabeth, and can’t imagine a better choice for him to have another shot at romantic happiness in the remaining episodes of the series. Her turning down the date this week might just be the beginning of the show fleshing their relationship out.
Find out with new episodes of New Amsterdam on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, although fans are in for a treat on November 22 when two episodes air back-to-back starting at 9 p.m. Those are the last episodes on the schedule for 2022, so be sure to check out our 2023 TV premiere schedule to plan ahead for the new year and last episodes of the medical drama before the two-hour series finale
Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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