Regardless of what we want, no one can have it all.
It's a hard lesson Max had to learn on New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 17 when after the storm died down his partner in crime forced his hand.
The hour picked up where New Amsterdam left off, but while Max and Helen's talk was put off until the end of the hour, everything else was more pressing, so the hour was edited beautifully.
What was the most striking about this hour was how Max unraveled. We're accustomed to Max being the person who keeps the faith and keeps his head in the game during any crisis.
Max always has a fix and solution. He knows by some innate ability bestowed on him by the universe how to figure his way out of any obstacle in his way.
Max consistently keeps it together. He's battling cancer while attempting to run this hospital, but rarely does it slow him down or catch up to him, and even when it does, the wheels in his head churn.
He can always muster a positive outlook, or he's thinking ahead in some way.
While we are familiar with Max when he's down and out; we are less familiar with a helpless Max who doesn't know what to do.
If this hour didn't do anything else, it highlighted how flawed he is as a person. Before, his quirks and flaws were endearing enough and made him the male equivalent of a Mary Sue.
Helen: You are risking everyone's life.
Max: I'm trying to save everyone's life.
Helen: Well that is not possible
His passion for his work and his chronic do-good crusade was heroic, and his risk of burning out along the way or upsetting his wife who didn't understand the nature of his job only compounded his selfless, self-sacrificing heroism.
It was a softball flaw which had little room to be offputting or put Max in any real danger of being unlikable or frustrating.
However, during this hour, Max's dogged attempts to save everyone and his refusal to make real life and death decisions jeopardized the same people he wanted to be of service to and made him ineffectual at his job.
He couldn't and wouldn't make tough decisions while under pressure and in distress, and he was running on fumes due to his chemo too. It was frustrating for Helen who had to step into the authoritative position while refraining from "I told you so's" as a feeble Max fell short during the moment of crisis.
Helen was a damn rockstar, and the installment showcased how valuable she is, how much of a natural leader she is and why she and Max work so well together. Dare I say she possessed the levelheadedness and efficiency she exuded during New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 1.
Helen: We have no power, no blood. It's freezing!
Max: It doesn't mean someone has to die!
Helen: But someone will. That's just a fact now. Your job is no longer to save everyone, it's to minimize the damage. Do you understand that?
Max: I thought it would work. I just didn't see a scenario where it didn't.
Helen: I know, but now we have to choose. You need to let go.
Max: I can't ... choose. I won't.
Helen: Then I will.
Something switched inside of her when the power went out. It's as if the Max fog she was in lifted. I never got the impression she had him on a pedestal, but I do feel it's the first time his flaws were on full display and didn't work to his advantage.
It was a reality check, and it was a better depiction of the Max of whom Georgia was likely speaking about -- the Max who ended up estranged from his wife and sleeping on the couch.
Helen was at her most supportive and soothing when Max had a meltdown in the room alone. He was out of his depth and tired. Their fearless leader was but another man like the rest of them.
The best relationships regardless of the context you choose to view them in are those where a pair balance one another out and can excel in areas where the other person falters.
Helen applied pressure, and when she realized Max honest to goodness couldn't handle it her entire demeanor shifted as she knew she had to take charge.
While everything miraculously worked out in the end, Max screwed up and made some questionable decisions. I have mixed feelings on whether or not taking a risk on Burl was one of those decisions.
Iggy: Full disclosure though he sort of murdered his coworker.
Helen: Oh my God.
Iggy: But it wasn't premeditated. He's not a psychopath; he has behavioral issues.
Max: A rather big one, you think?
It was a hell of a risk to put lives and the hospital's needs in the hands of a pissed off inmate who was in prison for killing someone. Neither Max nor Iggy could make sense of Burl enough to know for certain he would be of service without starting anything.
On the one hand, many of his inquiries gave the impression of someone who was plotting his escape under the guise of fixing the generator.
However, I have firsthand knowledge of how people come together and support one another during snowstorms. People who wouldn't otherwise get along or cross paths with each other can set aside just about anything to help one another under the extreme conditions.
You can see the real beauty of humanity during those moments, so I had faith Burl would come through, but there were many moments when doubt crept in.
Max's one dicey decision (trusting Burl) spared him from making the difficult, pragmatic decisions which should be within his purview as medical director.
It's a relief Burl proved himself worthy despite the scare when he took off on his own. I'll admit to getting emotional when he told Iggy he wanted help.
Max: What do you want? Anything. I'll make it happen.
Burl: I want to get better.
Once again this series knows how to play your emotions and use the music to do so. James Vincent McMorrow's cover of "Higher Love" will leave you misty-eyed by itself nevermind being utilized during such a touching hour.
It worked out for Max, but Helen was a reality check. The rooftop is their place -- it's where she and Max embarked on their journey as doctor and patient on New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 2, and it's where Helen ended it.
I can't help but wonder if Helen planned on unpacking more than their doctor/patient portion of their relationship, but upon Max's meltdown she held off?
Their connection remains wonderfully ambiguous, but Helen got to put some boundaries up and reclaim some of her agency she lost in the whirlwind of all things Max, which appeases everyone.
She doesn't know which role to step into when Max needs her; it has to be draining and irritating. Helen is trying to balance multiple roles. She cannot be an efficient doctor for Max when he disregards her professional opinion because of her being his friend.
Max made her his deputy and has done a poor job of listening to her opinions, advice, and solutions in that regard as well when she has proven how capable she is and why he made her his second in the first place.
They can't compartmentalize all parts of their relationship, so Helen was right to make their decision for them. In a way, Marlene's psychic reading came true; Max lost Helen.
He can't respect her as his doctor, and his ability to take her for granted had him dismissing her as deputy too. Fortunately, she took over when she had enough.
Max: Really, there is no way I would have gotten through it without you. We make a good team.
Helen: That's what I wanted to speak to you about actually before the power went out. This thing where I am your deputy, and your doctor, and your confidant, and your friend --
Max: That is a lot.
Helen: Yeah, it is, and it's not working. All last night we needed to choose who to save and every time you chose all of the above.
Max: Yeah, I --
Helen: It's OK. That's not a criticism. I'm glad you did. You saved everyone.
Max: We saved everyone.
Helen: Yes. It worked out but sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you have to choose, and you couldn't.
Max: You just said it all worked out. I'm not sure what me not triaging patients has to do with, with us?
Helen: It's what you do with your cancer as well. You want to stay healthy for your family, but you want to stay in charge of the hospital as well. You want the chemo -- the strongest that we have but not any of the side effects that come with it. From the day this began, from the day we met, you have refused to choose.
Max: I'm not refusing. It's not that easy. Look, Helen, all I want is --
Helen: Max. You want everything. It's who you are. You are all of the above, and then you come to me with these demands -- with all of these inspiring completely impossible demands -- and I don't know who I'm supposed to be.
Max: You're supposed to be you!
Helen: I've tried. I have tried to be all of the above. I can't. I can't be your friend, and your doctor, and your deputy, so I have to choose. I have to triage us. You can expect Dr. Stalton to take over for me. She's an exceptional oncologist.
Max: No. No --
Helen: She will be your new doctor, Max. She'll handle your care effective immediately.
Max: But what if I want you?
Helen: I'm afraid that's no longer an option because we all want you.
Max wants it all, and he thought he could have Helen as all these things, but something had to give.
As his friend and his doctor, she couldn't in good conscience allow him to continue to ignore her treatment plans and advice when it was to his detriment, and it sounds like he won't be able to take advantage of the new oncologist as he did with Helen because of their lack of rapport.
It'll be interesting to see how the series explores this potential chasm in Max and Helen's relationship. She is no longer his doctor, but will she step back and distance herself in other aspects of their relationship?
Floyd's patient Hugh also learned how to draw boundaries. Hugh earned the right to dictate how the sheets should be folded after being impaled, getting carried six blocks in a snowstorm, waking up during open surgery and nearly dying.
The only thing missing for this story was Hugh's husband somehow making it through the storm and reuniting with him in person.
Hugh's survival prospects were grim, so thank the heavens he survived the ordeal. Although, we should thank Candelario. Dr. Efficiency is a total badass.
Doctors who are also veterans with field work under their belt usually are. They're innovative and can think quick on their feet and make due under any conditions.
Floyd and the others didn't know how to carry on without a generator and power, but Candelario who spent time in Afghanistan could work magic as she was familiar with doing the most with the least.
She was impressive throughout the installment along with the other women of the hour.
Agnes had a moment of triumph as well. Helen gathering the majority of the hospital together on one floor was smart. It was easier to keep up and attend to people, and they could use the body heat of everyone around them too.
It also made it easier to enlist the help of others.
You can be a hero tonight Burl. I'm trusting you.Max
Max appealed to the kindness in others asking them to donate blood for Hugh's surgery (did anyone else get emotional when everyone was lined up outside the OR ready to have their blood transfused?).
Also, it was lovely when the sweet senior aged woman took care of the baby when its mother collapsed from her stroke.
Agnes is a mousey character who was unsure about anything, but she made the right call moving the mom with the stroke right in front of the elevator where both neuro docs were trapped.
There should be a rule that all doctors with the same specialty shouldn't share elevators to avoid situations like this.
The antics between Kapoor and Clint were humorous, especially Clint being forced to give Kapoor a foot massage.The hole looked big enough for at least Clint to crawl through, but I suppose it was too much of a risk.
I got into neurosurgery so I didn't have to touch my patient's bodies let alone their feet.Clint
It was more difficult treating the mom when her baby needed to breastfeed while she was unconscious, but Agnes kicked butt.
The hour embodied the community vibe the hospital is known for, as everyone came together and looked out for each other and helped in the way natural disasters and such tend to instigate. After a long enough break, the show was back with one of its best episodes yet, and hopefully, the Kleenex box was close by.
Over to you 'Dam Fanatics. What are your thoughts on the Helen and Max relationship? What case touched you the most? Who was the MVP?!
You can watch New Amsterdam online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.