Why Max Needs a New Way to Deal With His Grief on ‘New Amsterdam’
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episode 2 of New Amsterdam, “The Big Picture.”]
When the new season of New Amsterdam began, Max (Ryan Eggold) was at home, with his family, newborn Luna and wife Georgia (Lisa O’Hare). However, as the premiere slowly revealed, Georgia had died.
But Max continues to see her through Episode 2. He sees her greet him and Luna when they come home from the hospital. In fact, in the premiere, when he saw her, she was still in bed, healing, but by the end of “The Big Picture,” she’s up and meeting them at the door. She’s getting better in his mind even though he’s lost her.
But is he grieving? Those at the hospital have mixed feelings. Kapoor (Anupam Kher) doesn’t think he is and tells Iggy (Tyler Labine) that he’s acting like nothing happened. Iggy says they can’t make him, and that’s true. Helen (Freema Agyeman), too, worries that Max isn’t grieving, but Kapoor thinks he is in his own way.
The only problem is Max can’t continue dealing with his loss in the way he is. He can’t keep throwing himself into his work and trying to help everyone else, as he does in “The Big Picture” with his hospital-wide census, then imagining he’s coming home to her.
Right now, it may be what he needs to car for Luna. “You don’t think I want to grieve? You don’t think I want to scream every time I walk into this hospital?” Max asks Kapoor. “Then I see Luna, and I have to change her diaper, I have to make her bottle, and so if I let myself grieve, truly give in, I won’t ever come out, and I’m all she has left.”
But Luna also needs her father to deal with his loss because it’s not healthy for him to not try to move forward. And he can’t do that if he doesn’t accept that Georgia’s gone and stop seeing her at home.
Does Max need to talk to someone? Not necessarily. Everyone grieves in their own way. As Kapoor revealed, he deals with losing his wife by cooking the recipes she used to make for him to this day. And while Helen may wish that he would talk to her — “you’ve always talked to me,” she reminds him — in this case, she may not be the best person for the job. However, considering how close the two became in Season 1, we wouldn’t be surprised if she is the one he eventually turns to.
“Max’s relationship with everyone is going to change,” executive producer David Schulner told TV Insider. “Anyone who tries to help Max is going to be rebuffed. Max does not want anyone’s sympathy or anyone’s support, at least not now.” As he says in Episode 2 to Helen, “it actually makes it worse when people say something.”
But that’s going to need to change. Max is going to have to get used to people asking him, “how can I help?” (as Kapoor does) and letting them if he wants to truly grieve for his loss, not just for his sake, but for Luna’s as well.
New Amsterdam, Tuesdays, 10/9c, NBC