New Amsterdam season 2 episode 10 review: “Code Silver”

NEW AMSTERDAM -- "Code Silver" Episode 210 -- Pictured: Freema Agyeman as Dr. Helen Sharpe -- (Photo by: Karolina Wojtasik/NBC)
NEW AMSTERDAM -- "Code Silver" Episode 210 -- Pictured: Freema Agyeman as Dr. Helen Sharpe -- (Photo by: Karolina Wojtasik/NBC) /

New Amsterdam returned with an action-packed, heartfelt, moving episode which means we’re back to our regularly scheduled dose of goodness!

Dam Fam, we survived the hiatus! And, boy, was it a long one, but at least it brought amazing news: New Amsterdam is set to warm our hearts and inspire us for the next three seasons!

Depending on the character, I’m not sure how jazzed we’ll be about the potential spin-off NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy hinted at, but he said, “I can imagine a whole world around New Amsterdam,” so something may come down the pipe we’ll have to be on the lookout for. In the meantime we have the return of our show to flail about.

Before we launch in, I’d like to give a big round of applause to Leah Nanako Winkler. “Code Silver” is the first episode she’s written for New Amsterdam, and she hit it out of the park! What’s the one thing you have to have when you’re trapped with people in an emergency situation? Trust. And Winkler took that theme and used it to test the bonds between our favorite characters.

When “Code Silver” opens, Helen is looking for a reason to stay at New Amsterdam. She’s been demoted and stripped of her titles because she took her patient–who self-medicates with heroin–to a safe injection site (SIS) which is illegal in the U.S. (though there may be a site coming to Philadelphia). While Helen is thankful she wasn’t fired, the boards handling of the situation has her questioning her position at New Amsterdam and whether or not she should leave and seek employment elsewhere.

Max’s reaction, of course, is to fight the decision. Ever the rebel, he tells Helen he’ll do what he has to do to reinstate her as Deputy Medical Director and Head of Oncology (a title she’s been sharing with Dr. Valentina Castro since she blackmailed her by threatening Max’s continued care under her stewardship). For Helen, Max’s fighting spirit is admirable, but it’s come down what she needs not what the hospital needs and not what he needs.

Max has needed Helen since the beginning of the series and that hasn’t changed–from his cancer diagnosis to the death of his wife, Georgia–she has seen him through it all. And Helen consistently put Max before everything last season. He was her patient and her friend. But this season, after Max spent months pushing her away and grieving on his own, Helen has reevaluated her priorities. As she’s told Max before, she will always be there if he needs her, but her patients come first and in “Code Silver” she asserted that she comes first.

On the surface, the strain in Iggy and Martin’s marriage is an argument that’s also about patients coming before a relationship, and Iggy’s needs coming before Martin’s. Prior to code silver being called for a person with a weapon stalking the hospital hallways, Iggy and Martin were trying to work through their marital issues. The two have been unable to have a productive conversation about Iggy’s near adoption of a child in need without consulting his husband and addressing the change that would bring in their already full and happy family.

But, per usual, Iggy put off the discussion because of his responsibilities for the hospital which this time was an evaluation for a Dr. Tabitha Park. Iggy tries to convince Martin that the evaluation should only take an hour, and he needs to do it because he’s been putting off telling Tabitha that he doesn’t think she’s suited for psychiatry because she’s not assertive. Martin, tired of not being prioritized by his husband, attempts to leave, but then code silver is called which forces him to stay. Trapped in Iggy’s office, the two figure they can finally have their much needed airing out of grievances alone until Tabitha makes her presence known.

Bloom and Zach are stuck in the same room as a patient whose appendix is about to rupture. And Vijay and Ella are holed up in a closet while the stress of the lock down has triggered Ella’s anxiety. Both situations deal with Bloom and Ella relearning to trust. Lauren must trust herself as she does a surgical procedure whilst injured and in extreme pain. Ella must trust that Vijay can help her through this situation and that she can care for her child and give them the life she wants in New York not the life she feels she has to live with her parents because of her OCD.

With all of this going on, you would think Winkler would give us somewhat of a breather with Reynolds and Duke in the operating room. A medical mishap is bound to happen, it’s a medical drama. That mishap involving one of the inmates disguising themselves as a nurse to finish off her target is not the kind of heart-stopping moment one would think to prepare for and yet it happened.

Wielding a scalpel, Suzan stabbed and stabbed and stabbed doing her best to kill Fran on the operating table. In her quest, Suzan ends up stabbing Reynolds as well whose valiant–and foolish–attempt to continue operating would have resulted in him collapsing on his patient if it weren’t for the quick thinking of Duke who put pressure on Reynolds’ wound to help him focus and staunch the bleeding.

Down in the hospital’s basement, Max and Helen are experiencing a different kind of pressure. In the midst of evacuating patients, they come upon a woman whose sutures have been ripped open. Helen is the first to clue-in to the fact that this woman is one of the inmates conspiring to kill a state’s witness. Despite this, the two of them help Dominique in exchange for information on who the target is so they can inform the police.

Dominique provides the information but before Max can tell anyone he’s held up by Jackie, the inmate who’d helped them on Riker’s Island as cover for her planned attack at the hospital. She leads him, Helen, and Dominique on a walk through the basement in order to find a way out. But her plans change when she finds out that her target still hasn’t died. Threatening Max and Helen at gunpoint, Jackie demands to be taken to OR 7.

Initially, Max refuses, but Helen steps in and promises that she can lead Jackie to where she needs to go. This scenario is another exercise of trust Winkler puts our favorite characters through. Either Max trusts that Helen knows what she’s doing or he doesn’t. Stepping back and trusting Helen with his life, as he puts it, Max learns Helen’s plan was to take Jackie to the center of command where she knew the police would be stationed as they monitored the events unfolding at the hospital.

“Code Silver” is a non-stop adrenaline ride, but it’s also fueled by emotion. While Bloom is operating with the assistance of Zach, Reynolds is operating while stabbed, and Max and Helen are trying not to get shot, Iggy and Martin are being put through the wringer with Tabitha.

At first, Iggy tries to deflect by saying that Martin is overreacting about the adoption situation. He says he had no intention on adopting a child without consulting his husband first. Those are bold statements for a man who was basically through the adoption process when his husband wasn’t even aware he’d been speaking to an adoption agency in the first place. And when Tabitha suggests that Martin doesn’t feel like he’s enough for Iggy, he says that she’s way off base. It’s not until Martin agrees with her assessment that Iggy sits his behind on the therapy couch and starts to listen.

Martin questions whether he is capable of making his husband happy the way he is when he helps someone. He brings up Barney the goat, an animal they took in and cared for until it was necessary to give him up. Iggy seems to be at his happiest when he’s helping people, and he is constantly helping others. Noticing that there’s an emphasis on the help Iggy provides outside the home, Tabitha asks him how he helps Martin.

Unable to answer, Iggy replies that he loves Martin with his whole heart. Tabitha, unwilling to let him slide with a non-answer, pushes by asking if Iggy helped Martin tell their kids that they had to give Barney up. Iggy admits he didn’t help him tell them. Tabitha then points out that it was Martin who had to tell the adoption agency they couldn’t adopt the child Iggy was seeking to bring into their family. She asks him, “How often do your efforts to mend hearts wind up with Martin having to break them,” which was the realest question and neither I nor Iggy were prepared for it.

The following conversation–where Tabitha posits that maybe it’s not that Iggy won’t change his behavior but that he can’t–unearths a deep-seated loathing in Iggy that until this point was unseen. He admits that he feels the need to help people because if he doesn’t then it will reveal him for who he truly is, a loser unworthy of Martin’s love.

I doubt anyone had their tissues ready for that tearjerker moment because the trailer promised an action-packed episode not a heartbreaking one. But I guess this was a reminder to stay ready so you don’t have to get ready when it comes to New Amsterdam.

Ever the devoted and loving husband, Martin lists everything that he loves about Iggy and calls him the love of his life. While the two aren’t out of the woods considering the implications of Iggy’s admission–and the wtf diagnosis Tabitha gives Iggy concerning his potential narcissistic personality disorder–they are on better terms, thank goodness.

By the end of the episode everyone is pretty much on better terms even if those terms come with parting ways like Bloom and Zach. After seeing Lauren perform surgery in immense pain and save someone’s life despite it, Zach admits that he took her pill. Bloom gives him a literal kiss-off and firmly states that they can’t be in each other’s lives anymore.

Vijay asks Ella to move in with him so he can help her care for his grandchild. And after waking up in a hospital bed, Reynolds and Evie discuss the potential of a long distance relationship. Evie tells him that she’s not taking the job in San Francisco, but Reynolds tells her that San Francisco sounds really good to him right now. It’s unclear how long the Bay is going to appeal to Reynolds but even the idea of him leaving is sure to shake up things at New Amsterdam.

Speaking of leaving, in true New Amsterdam fashion, we get another Sharpwin moment before the episode concludes. Poor Luna must bear witness to her father’s awkward stumbling through a necessary speech he gives to Helen in which he says:

"It was the only thing to do. It was brave. Selfless. Smart. It was you. And you deserve to be at a place that sees you, that appreciates you. A hundred percent. If that place isn’t New Amsterdam then you should go. You should go. No matter how much I want you to stay and I…it’s not about what I want. And, yeah, it’ll be weird not seeing you every day. And I will miss you, but we live in the same city, right? So we can always get a coffee. Or eat something…food…together…or…um…"

Finally, Helen puts Max out of his misery and tells him that she’s not going anywhere. He asks if she found a reason to stay, and she nods. And this is where shippers come out of the woodwork–including me–and say that Helen’s reason for staying is Max. The prolonged looks are the evidence, we will not be taking any constructive criticism at this time, thank you.

All in all, “Code Silver” is one of the best episodes of the season and was just what the audience needed after the long hiatus. Next week, we’re gearing up for another adrenaline rush by the looks of it. Check out the promo below:

Helen’s clearly not done testing the patience of the board or the limits of how far she’ll go to help her patients. And look, I’m not going to lie, if the next couple of episodes focus on her and what she’s being going through since the accident, Dr. Castro taking her department, and feeling like everything she’s known has been turned upside down then I’m going to be here for it completely. It’s time to let Helen speak.

See you next episode, Dam Fam!

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How did you feel about “Code Silver”? Tell us about it down in the comments.