New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5 Review: Blood, Sweat & Tears

It was an hour that had some of everything, in a delightfully chaotic sort of way.

And New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5 was another timely installment by addressing the increased bigotry and attacks against AAPIs since the start of the pandemic, the massive blood shortages that are nationwide, grief, and downsizing.

If that sounds like a lot and as if it made for a bleak hour, it’s because it was, but New Amsterdam finds the perfect balance between despair and hope.

Pleas and Reason - Tall - New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5

Again, I have to say that thus far, it’s the one medical drama that has consistently found a way to address the pandemic in beautiful, meaningful, relatable, raw ways without sucking the soul out of you.

They’re touching on so many aspects of it without losing sight of the characters and New Amsterdam’s style. After speaking with the executive producers and hearing the passion in their voices about this season, it’s been a real treat to see that passion translated onscreen by all involved.

At the risk of being premature, it already feels like the series’ best season so far. The writing is compelling and strong, and the performances have been utterly captivating from Labine, Agyeman, and Eggold –all of whom have never disappointed anyway.

But then, the season is also gifting us with incredible performances and more screentime for Alejandro Hernandez and Christine Chang. They have risen to the occasion with their material and made us fall deeper in love with these characters we’re getting to know better.

Gladys: Did you google him?
Iggy: Gladys, I refuse to believe that’s what our profession has come to… Yeah, I did. I couldn’t find anything.

The promotion for the hour teased Iggy’s harrowing case with a patient that left us hyperventilating and wondering when they’d allow Iggy to have a break.

He’s still dealing with personal issues of his own. And it’s that balance of being an effortless and easy psychiatrist capable of helping anyone through the darkest of their days, all the while struggling to seek the help he needs.

Loitering - Tall  - New Amsterdam Season 2 Episode 12

They say doctors make the worst patients, and the same goes for psychiatrists who are in dire need of help in the way that Iggy does. In the opening moments of the hour, you could feel Iggy’s discomfort, and my goodness Labine continues to give us excellence.

Iggy is so resistant to the process of doing what he needs for himself, and it’s refreshing that he’s so impossibly, frustratingly human. But it makes every small step he takes all the more meaningful and gratifying.

So just so I have this straight, you’re letting a random homeless woman live in a hospital closet unsupervised.

Casey

His group therapy session with the veterans was such a shock. It was specifically so when Chance discussed Afghanistan. A veteran recognized he was lying and punched his lights out.

Way too many individuals pose as veterans — “Stolen Valor” for attention or whatever else. It was disheartening that Chance came into a safe space like the group therapy and disrupted it for everyone. He needed help, yes, but now it’ll take some time for Iggy to regain the trust of those there.

Chance claimed that he had endured something awful, and he resented that no one believed him after Iggy approached him with proof that he lied.

The moments where Chance doused himself in gasoline and nearly flicked the lighter with the intent of setting himself on fire were some of the most intense of the series thus far. Iggy had to work overtime and bare his soul a bit to convince Chance to put down the lighter, but each second was terrifying until they got back inside.

It takes a lot to match Labine in such an emotionally wrought scene, but holy wow, guest-star Luke Slattery was phenomenal. Chance’s breakdown as he described how his accident caused the entire barn and house to burn down, killing his family, was heart-shattering.

Sitting Back - tall - New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5

How can anyone live with such profound guilt and grief? It’s a wonder the man is upright and functioning at all.

And yet, that was but one case, in an hour that had so much crammed in it that it was enough to keep your head spinning.

Max: Why didn’t you tell me?
Helen: I didn’t realize I was supposed to.
Max: Well, you don’t have to tell me, I just thought you would want to.
Helen: And you tell me everything? There’s no secrets between us?

Agnes too over Kapoor’s position, running the department while he’s down, and there cannot be anyone better suited. She’s his protege and exemplified his teachings when she correctly diagnosed Rose.

As Max said, it was a prognosis that most would have ignored. Beyond Rose’s medical condition, she and Agnes’ mutual experiences as Asian American women navigating the country when too many people have directed their anger, fear, and hatred at the AAPI community since the pandemic that was enough to give you chills.

Agnes Steps Up - tall - New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5

Anti-Asian sentiment has been on the rise for the past year or so, and it’s only recently getting the type of mainstream attention and traction that it deserves.

An entire community of individuals can’t even walk down the street without getting attacked because of how they look. It’s sickening that people look the other way as if it’s no big deal or somehow justifiable.

Operation blood flow is a go. Oh, I should start knocking.

Max

Coming off of the recent Atlantan murders, the timing of this installment feels as prescient as ever. It was such a powerful moment as doctor and patient– two Asian-American women– shared something that united them.

And later on, when Agnes recounted her experience with a stranger attacking and spitting on her with Max, she did it with that a solemnity that belied how disturbingly normal it was to be on the receiving end of such hatred. She possessed a weariness that was markedly different from Max’s shock and outrage.

Floyd Operates - tall - New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5

Chang shined during that moment, and it’s been such a breath of fresh air having Agnes take more of a central role in the narrative.

It’s something Casey has benefitted from this season, too. He still tends to clock in as Lauren’s sidekick and trusty voice of reason, but their relationship is such a highlight.

New Amsterdam is officially out of blood.

Lauren

Only this time around, he saved the day by snagging Layla’s backpack from the supply closet Bloom let her stay in, but he has some understandable reservations about Lauren going out on a limb for a woman she doesn’t know.

In the end, Lauren and Layla did seem to bond and went out for pizza together. The friendship blossoming between these two women is an intriguing storyline, and the potential for it to go in so many different directions is enough to keep you invested.

Cabloom Talks  - New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5

Countering that, we have Floyd’s return to the hospital, which puts him under Lauren’s charge. It’s a role reversal for the two of them, and it took some time for them to find their footing.

Floyd has a lot to learn about working in the E.D. The quirky things like a hidden drug stash in the ceiling and the absence of lunch breaks are amusing, and the quick care that he must enact because of a daunting workload is different for him.

He can bring creative ways of handling problems to the forefront, though, as he did in surgery, and that’s what makes him an asset, and he and Lauren great partners.

Lots to Learn - Tall  - New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5

The hour appeared to squash any implications that they would find their way back to one another romantically. We’ll have to see if that sticks.

Meanwhile, Helen and Shin are more romantic than ever, and what started as some casual dating feels more serious. They’re making out at the workplace, for starters.

People have given everything this year except their blood.

Woman

Max was so flustered when he walked in on that, and when he wasn’t dealing with blood shortages and finding a way to hire Sandra to avoid her downsizing, he was nothing short of jealous over Helen.

From a shipping perspective, it could be an example of the unresolved feelings that neither of them ever discusses and how hard it is for him now that she’s seeing someone else.

New Boundaries - Tall - New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5

From their friendship perspective, Helen is Max’s person, and he’s used to having her at his beck and call. He’s accustomed to having access to her in a way that no one else does, and the thought of losing his work wife to a new relationship that’s happening at the hospital requires an adjustment he didn’t have to make before.

Their conversation at the end of the hour was illuminating in all the things they did not say. It seems they’re always dancing around the elephant in the room, and they speak in riddles and circles without adjusting it head-on.

Max: Why didn’t you tell me?
Helen: I didn’t realize I was supposed to.
Max: Well, you don’t have to tell me, I just thought you would want to.
Helen: And you tell me everything? There’s no secrets between us?

And they never have these conversations in a place or at a time where it’s conducive. If they sat down somewhere, with no distractions, and they had a real talk about their relationship and what it means, then they’d have to confront it, and I don’t think they want to do that.

Relationship Glow - Tall - New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5

It was killing him that Max didn’t know about Shin, and perhaps it’s because of how he thinks they have the type of closeness where they talk about these things.

But in hindsight, there is so much about one another the other doesn’t know. Max is missing out on sections of Helen’s life, that he probably thought he had a claim on now that Helen is sharing them with Shin.

Helen: You were seeing someone last year. Why didn’t you tell me?
Max: I didn’t tell anyone.
Helen: Why?
Max: I don’t know. It was fragile, and I just thought that I should protect…
Helen: Protect what?

She did an excellent job flipping it back on him when she asked him why he never told her about Alice. He didn’t realize she knew. He started to explain that he was trying to protect (her from Alice? Alice from Helen? Who knows?), but Shin interrupted the conversation.

The Sharpwin nuggets are delicious, and whether this is a slow-burn or a romantic relationship that never comes to fruition, I don’t mind the pace they’re taking with it.

Low Blood Supply  - New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5

The exploration of blood supply shortages was an important one, and it was enough to inspire. Max was doing everything he could to fix the situation, and his efforts were such Max things to do.

He got the best food catered, entertainment, and puppies. You’d have thought he was bribing kids at a candy shop.

And a freshly downsized Sandra, who is a GEM, a TRUE GEM, was right by his side, reluctantly, of course, her annoyance with Max is noted and hilarious.

No matter what he did, people weren’t donating until he voiced his frustrations to one of the bystanders and was surprised by the response.

Sandra - Tall  - New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 5

I appreciate that New Amsterdam can show both sides of an issue. For Max, all he could think about was that the hospital needed blood, and he was rolling out the carpets to get people to do the bare minimum of giving it, and they refused.

He didn’t outright say it, but his voice was laced with the implication that they were selfish or inconsiderate.

I used to do that too, flinch at little movements and sounds. I do that too.

Agnes

But the woman expressed that it wasn’t a matter of people not caring, it’s the pandemic that has taken everything out of everyone, and some have nothing left in them.

And she’s right. She said she was homeschooling her kids, helping to feed people in need, and we all know that food insecurity is on the rise.

A Concerning Trend - Tall - New Amsterdam Season 3 Episode 3

She’s given her energy to taking care of her kids and an ailing parent. She’s given her time to march for social justice and awareness. She’s giving money to causes, food to those who are hungry, and so on and so forth.

The whole country is in need, and there’s not enough left in a person to give. And there Max was asking for her blood, too.

It’s a valid take, too.

Al of this, and we still haven’t touched on the psych-out switched at birth plot. Helen’s patient was a sweet girl who felt isolated from her family and thought she was different.

Smug Helen  - New Amsterdam Season 2 Episode 16

You could sense that there was more to that sentiment that required some to read between the lines. And when they ran Elisa’s blood and her mother’s, they found out they weren’t the same.

I loved the case about a chimera. Elisa was a twin who absorbed that of the lost one, and it affected her blood type, among other things.

I hate that it was crammed into this hour where so much was happening. As I said before, the hour was chaotic.

Over to you, New Amsterdam Fanatics. How did you feel about this hour? Sound off below!

You can watch New Amsterdam online here via TV Fanatic.

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

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