New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Rituals

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How many times did you get emotional during this hour? If you're anything like me, you lost count. 

New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 2 stayed the course, and if there were ever any doubts whatsoever after that fantastic series premiere that New Amsterdam is in the business of giving you ALL the feels, the second installment put them to bed.

Dam fam, it was a beautiful hour for what is easily the best new show of the season.

Making a Plan - New Amsterdam

Ryan Eggold is the heart and soul of this series, and he has earned and deserves to be leading something. He's such an underrated but phenomenal talent, but as gifted as he is, one person cannot carry an entire series on their own.

That's why it's so satisfying that the series' supporting cast is exceptional, too. We're only two episodes into the season, and we already have a grasp on these characters. They already have depth, intrigue, and relatability.

Related: New Amsterdam Series Premiere Review: How Can I Help?

There isn't a single character introduced yet that can't hold their own. Often the risk of having a magnetic lead is that the attention of viewers wanes in their absence. It's not a slight to Eggold but rather a credit to the rest of the cast that one doesn't miss Max when he's not onscreen.

Kapoor and Iggy Team Up - New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 2

Singling out a particular character is a matter of twisting an arm, but Iggy, in particular, is a standout. Iggy is one of the best characters on the show, and the majority of them are pretty decent so far.

It's a relief that Iggy's position as a Pediatric Psychiatrist isn't just for show or plot convenience. He's not wandering around the 'Dam left to his own devices and twiddling his thumbs until he's needed. He's shown doing his actual job full-time.

It's one of the few times a medical drama has done the psychological field justice. In fact, out of all the patients and cases, Iggy's have been the most consistently compelling.

Judge: What are you proposing Dr. Frome?
Iggy: Well, Leo needs to be able to process this displaced guilt, and he can't do that if he's buried in a drug-induced haze. He needs to be able to feel. He needs to be able to talk to somebody. Let him talk to me. Let me help him.

The case with little Leo was no exception. Admittedly, it touched me personally because I saw firsthand with relatives how pushy schools were about medicating special needs kids or kids with behavioral issues.

It's heartbreaking when a vibrant, energetic, expressive child becomes a lethargic, unrecognizable vessel-- a shell of what they used to be.

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Yes, that woman's job of trying to do what's best for 3000 children in NY's public school system is unimaginable in its difficulty. But on a micro-level, there are too many children just like Leo who slip through the cracks.

Leo was mislabeled a disruptive, violent, and difficult child. That label would have carried over into the rest of his life and affected him in a plethora of ways. If he had another outburst, that would have prevented him from going to any other public schools.

Iggy: I know this looks bad.
Kapoor: I'm not sure bad is the right word to describe it.
Iggy: But what we saw on that tape is rage, OK, and there is usually a reason for rage. It's situational, not chemical.

Private and Charters schools are options but can sometimes be even worse. He could have ended up in one of those schools for troubled kids, and once he's in a school like that, the very reputation that goes along with it would follow him for his entire future.

That meant anytime he so much as walked the wrong way, he could have landed in juvenile detention just because of labels on his file. It's not an exaggeration when people discuss the school-to-prison pipeline or how poor experiences with education can impact the rest of a person's life.

All of that could have happened because a school psychologist or counselor thought medicating Leo to mask problems was better than getting to the root of his problems by talking to him.

The answer was right there for the taking. Leo's father dying should have been enough to give the kid the benefit of the doubt anyway, and it's freaking incredible how the situation subtly addressed the issue with bullying in schools, too.

Taking it to Court - New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 2

Most of the time, unless it gets physical, it's not enough for the adults to take notice. No one noticed that Ryder was verbally harassing and taunting the boy who lost his father. Nope, they only jumped in when Leo had enough and got physically violent.

There was also the larger point that surpassed Leo's situation. It's not just children who are getting overmedicated within an inch of their lives to makes things "easier" for everyone else.

The same happens to adults, too. Prescriptions are practically handed out like candy, and it has become the first, quickest, resort instead of the last, as it should be.

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Iggy and Kapoor passionately fighting for Leo was a highlight of the hour, and it was worth it in the end when Leo smiled for the first time in a long time. If anyone can help that adorable young boy process his feelings and guilt, Iggy can.

Kapoor: There are too many children in the public school system in need of psychological help and not enough mental health professionals to help them.
Judge: But you think you and Dr. Frome can?
Kapoor: Yes. In a way that won't further endanger Leo's health. We shouldn't have to choose between the physical and mental well-being of our children.

Kapoor is so understated compared to the others, but that is also what makes him such an intriguing character. He takes his time when he speaks and acts. Everything he does is well-thought-out and carefully crafted, and that makes him successful.

There are so many dads on this show, why was it such a shock that Kapoor is one of them?! Hopefully, Kapoor will make amends with his son. That was such a lovely personal revelation for his character after such a moving case.

Max is the opposite of Kapoor. While Kapoor is slow and steady, Max is a whirlwind of energy. He's incapable of slowing down, but he needs to slow down for the sake of his health.

It's so frustrating because you want to reach through the screen and tie him up or something. He needs to be at least open-minded to tweaking some areas. He's ripping and running around the hospital like a madman -- that montage of all the changes he's pitching and making spoke volumes.

Reflecting on Life - New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 2

If he's going to do that, then why can't he eat a freaking apple like he's told? At least get the nutrition in, Max! He spent too much time avoiding Helen and avoiding minor changes that could help him in the long run. It was infuriating but also relatable.

Max and Helen's scenes continue to be some of the best of the series. They have such an easy and natural chemistry that is irresistible. The rooftop scene was emotional but also felt like a moment where time stopped for a while so that they could have this conversation.

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If Max doesn't have a best friend, already, he should consider Helen his new best friend. She has so far served as an excellent confidant and support, but it doesn't feel imbalanced, which is very important.

Helen: The changes you made are going to help thousands of people.
Max: What about the one I married?
Helen: Oh Max, you haven't told her you have cancer, have you? What are you waiting for?
Max: To not have cancer.
Helen: You can't carry this load by yourself. Not as a medical director. Not as a patient. Certainly not as a husband or father. You've been telling everyone: put the patient first, so why don't you take your own advice? Consider this our first appointment, and your first order of business is to tell your wife you have cancer.

Ryan and Freema sparkle when they're onscreen together. Plus, he listens to her in a way that he likely doesn't do with others. She knew how to get through to him by reminding him that he can't go preaching about putting patients first when he's not taking care of himself as a patient.

If he can't take care of himself, then he's no good to the patients, New Amsterdam, or his loved ones. It was a wake-up call for him, and one that nudged him in the right direction after his conversation with Georgia.

We now know why he has a lot of making up to do with Georgia. He ran himself ragged and burned himself (and their marriage) out when he was revamping that clinic in Chinatown. He promised her that he would slow down, and she did her part by cutting back on dance, which is her passion.

Georgia: Hey, what's wrong?
Max: I, um, I--
Georgia: Hey, remember you promised. Let me in. Just tell me one thing. Just one true thing.
Max: I love you.

But when he got the call for New Amsterdam, he couldn't say no, and he took it without consulting her. That's enough to put the guy in the doghouse, and it's out of concern for him more than anything. I like that Georgia doesn't come across as the nagging, unsupportive wife.

She knows her husband, and she wants what's best for him and their family. Max is that person who is so focused on making sure that everyone else is OK, that he doesn't take care of himself or let anyone know when he's suffering.

It was such a kick to the gut when he finally reached that point where he was going to open up to Georgia and tell her the truth about his cancer but couldn't. Now he has to keep this secret from her to avoid stressing her and the baby out. That final scene of him silently crying into her belly unbeknownst to her was rough.

Obstetrician: She can't be under any stress physical or emotional. It could hurt her and the baby. You understand?
Max: Yes.

If he's not in a position to tell her the truth just yet, maybe he'll take other precautions like remembering to eat and slowing down as much as he can. He has Helen in his corner, and that's something.

Helen is such a compassionate woman, and while she didn't come across as an Ice Queen on New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 1, she hid her emotions well. She's done a 180 in that sense, now that she's back to consulting with cancer patients.

Oncology is such an emotionally tolling field of medicine. Millie got to her, and it was heartbreaking for both women during those scenes. Helen's sweet gesture of painting Millie's nails was such a seemingly insignificant but beautiful scene.

Overwhelming Feelings - New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 2

It's still difficult to feel strongly for the 'ship part of Floyd and Lauren's relationship. They're both nice enough characters, and they get along well. Their romantic chemistry is OK, but the vibe they have while working is much stronger and better.

It's jarring when one of them (usually Lauren) says or does something that serves as a reminder that they're dancing around a relationship. Their relationship is about them balancing one another out, but that doesn't have to be limited to romance.

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There is also the fact that so far it has been about Lauren prodding Floyd to loosen up and be open-minded. We haven't seen where his demeanor serves as a balance for hers. Lauren could run the risk of being overbearing if that keeps up.

This time, it worked. Before Lauren even pointed it out, Floyd turning his nose up at Jolette's culture and rituals were absurd in its hypocrisy. It's a well-known fact that most doctors have some routine, ritual, trinket, or whatever that they rely on before surgeries.

The ritual isn't about you, or what you believe, or your abilities. It's about her. It's about what she believes; what she needs. I mean, why can't you just give her that?

Lauren

It doesn't matter if they're religious, believe in good luck, or rely on mantras and affirmations. Somewhere there is a quirk. Whether or not the protection ritual worked is up for interpretation, but Josette lived!

The ceremony was fascinating. It was also interesting watching Floyd, who is presumably a multi-generation African-American, eventually, allow and then witness this cultural routine so unlike the broad and generic black culture that binds African-American descendants of American Slavery.

Floyd's racial identity, culture, and heritage are very important to him. That scene was particularly striking as a result. His most emotional moment of the hour, however, was when he massaged Josette's heart and her back to life.

Ritualistic Healing - New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 2

We're two installments in, and the series is overwhelming with the number of feels -- in the best possible way, of course.

Alright, 'Dam Fanatics, over to you! Is Max's health situation stressing you out? Are you enjoying the focus on pediatric psychology? Are Max and Helen (Ryan and Freema) the next best dynamic duo?

Hit the comments with your thoughts and feels!

If you want to stay in the moment a little longer, you can watch New Amsterdam online here via TV Fanatic!

Rituals Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (16 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Patient's Husband: I just want to know how much this is going to cost me.
Billing: I'm sorry, but I can't tell you.
Patient's Husband: So I can compare prices on my Subaru, but not on my wife's double bypass?
Max: You know, it's funny, Congress actually made it illegal for hospitals to disclose prices to you, so it's the only industry in America with a non-compete clause. But, call your Congressperson. Resist!

Iggy: Based on your extensive experience--
Kapoor: You mean to say old?
Iggy: Yes, exactly. How long do you think this Max guy can shake things up before the Dean steps in?
Kapoor: Not long. Dean of Medicine does not like things shaken up. Based on my extensive experience.