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Heading down Memory Lane with Sharpwin- a TV Ship Destroyed by it’s own Makers

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With the recent announcement of a new spin-off under development at NBC by controversial showrunner, David Schulner, as a once devoted fan of “New Amsterdam,” and loyal Sharpwin supporter, I feel compelled to revisit their remarkable love story and the disappointing turn it took. Indeed, Freema Agyeman’s decision to exit the series was likely a significant blow, given how integral her character was to the show. However, the manner in which the writing team handled Helen’s departure, can only be described as objectionable and petty. The narrative could have preserved her dignity and left Max and Helen’s relationship intact, especially considering the series had already been cancelled, and was only given a 13 episode run to close out the show. Instead, the writers chose to tear Max and Helen apart and paint Helen as an evil woman who ruined the life of their protagonist. It’s challenging to understand the justification for this decision from any perspective. If that wasn’t bad enough, Schulner doubled down and damaged Helen’s stellar reputation at the hospital, by accusing her of initiating a racist drug trial. There is nothing anyone can say that would make this storyline seem even remotely necessary. If there is a rationale behind this narrative decision, I am all ears. Otherwise, it is difficult not to imagine the myriad of ways that Max and Helen’s love story could have evolved, perhaps with Helen operating from London, allowing Max and Helen to sustain their relationship through the series’ final 13 episodes.

While we cannot turn back time and what’s done is indeed, done, this article aims to emphasize why audiences should be wary of any future projects by the team behind New Amsterdam. Meanwhile, it feels appropriate to reminisce about the days when Max and Helen’s relationship was beautifully portrayed, a testament to the undeniable, organic chemistry between Ryan Eggold and Freema Agyeman. It is important to note that their compelling dynamic, rather than the writing, is what truly brought Max and Helen’s love story to life. After engaging with the dedicated Sharpwin fanbase on “X,” below is a list of the most memorable Sharpwin moments. These highlights remind us of the exceptional bond that Eggold and Agyeman shared on screen. They truly set the standard for the perfect TV couple: mutual love, respect, trust and an undeniable passion for each other. While there are many memorable pairings in TV history, there will never be another Max and Helen and that is a fact. Here’s hoping for a reunion between Eggold and Agyeman on our screens in the near future. Until then, let’s celebrate the top Sharpwin moments, a tribute to the magic Eggold and Agyeman created together.

 

1. The Pre-Canon Break-up – Episode 1.17 Sanctuary
It is a fact that all of the best ships have a pre-canon break-up, and Max and Helen’s moment in this episode was an emotionally charged one that revealed so much, yet left so much more unspoken. Helen’s decision to no longer be Max’s doctor reflected her internal conflict between her professional ethics and her growing personal attachment to Max. The moment was a turning point that hinted at the depth of their bond and foreshadowed the developments to come. Max’s line, “but what if I want you?” was so ambiguous and artfully captured the complexity of what he was feeling. On the surface, he meant the line reflected his desire for Helen to remain his doctor but it subtly unveiled a deeper yearning for her beyond a professional capacity. This admission gained even more gravity, considering Max was married at the time, adding a layer of tension as Max teetered toward the thin line between what is right and his burgeoning feelings for Helen. 

2. The Moment Everything Changed – Episode 2.16, “Perspectives”
After Dr. Valentina Castro submitted her resignation, Max demanded to know what happened between Helen and her. Viewers know that the women came to an agreement after Helen found out that Castro was fixing her drug trial. In a moment brimming with tension, Helen attempted to shrug it off as Castro letting her ambition get in the way of her talent. Max would not accept that answer and demanded to know why Helen gave Castro half of her department. Helen finally confessed with a line that will be burned in the minds of Sharpwin fans forever, “I did it for you. Everything that I have done, I have done for you.” Max walked towards Helen, and the two stared into each other’s eyes in a look that was filled with so much sexual tension that could literally be felt through the screen. Viewers at home were likely erupting, thinking the two would finally share a kiss. But alas, Max stroked his wedding ring and relented, ending the moment.

3. The Decon Shower – Episode 3.12, “Things Fall Apart”
In a pivotal moment of vulnerability and raw emotion, the decontamination scene between Helen and Max stands out as a beautifully crafted display of their relationship. As they are in the decontamination shower, it is not just the physical barriers that are washed away; their emotional defenses are stripped down as well. The water serves as a metaphor for cleansing and renewal, with each drop revealing more of their feelings for each other. This scene was originally written with dialogue, but at the last minute the show runners decided to scrap it. But no words were needed. Their gazes locked on numerous occasions, conveying a depth of understanding and connection that words could never capture. This scene perfectly encapsulated the trust, intimacy and unspoken bond between them, leaving viewers captivated by the intensity of their interaction.

4. The Moment they became Canon- Episode 3.14, “Death Begins in Radiology”
In the season 3 finale, Max’s dramatic change of heart and his decision to take off his ring and run to Helen, captured the hearts of Sharpwin lovers worldwide. This scene, charged with emotion and intensity, represented a significant turning point in their relationship. After seasons of build-up, tension and unresolved feelings, Max’s run is not just a physical act, but a metaphor for breaking down the barriers he’s built around his heart. His realization that life without Helen is unimaginable, propels him to embrace his true feelings. This moment, underscored by the beautiful “Honest Man” by Luke Sital-Singh, left audiences captivated and eagerly awaiting the future of Max and Helen’s journey together.

5. Two Become One – Episode 4.01, “More Joy”
The entire episode was a Sharpwin lovers dream come true. Max and Helen finally surrendered to their feelings, after years of challenges, obstacles and near-misses. This intimate moment between them was not just about physical desire, it was a profound expression of their deep, emotional bond. The heartfelt way that Helen expressed her love for Max, saying it again a second time with meaning so that he knew she meant it, and him choosing to go with her to London, expressing that she was his joy was an absolute chef’s kiss.

 

6. Butterflies – Episode 4.06, “Laughter and Hope and a Sock in the Eye”
In a poignant scene on the bridge, Helen and Max confess their vulnerabilities to one another, creating a moment of raw emotional honesty and propelling their relationship forward. Helen confesses her insecurities after overhearing Max state that maybe he wouldn’t go to London. Max, in turn, revealed that he feels like he is not adventurous enough for her with being a parent. This candid exchange allowed them to confront their fears together. Helen’s beautiful analogy about butterflies and her reassuring Max that he is her butterflies not only soothed Max’s fears, but also deepened their connection. Every moment of this scene was perfect from the gentle kisses on each other’s faces to Helen resting her head on Max’s chest and tapping his heart exclaiming, “there they are now” referring to the butterflies.

 

7. Luna calls Helen, “mum” – Episode 4.07, “Harmony”
Passionate viewers know that all Helen has ever wanted in her life was to be a mom. In this tender and heartwarming moment, Max made her wish come true. Max initiated a conversation with Luna about what she should call Helen, now that they were embarking on a new chapter as a family. Together, they come to the touching agreement that Luna will call her, “mum.” As Luna said, “mum” while waving at Helen, Helen’s huge smile encapsulated how she felt about finally achieving her dream of being a parent. It also solidified Max’s bond to Helen as he made the significant decision to embrace Helen in the role of Luna’s mom.

8. Max Chooses Helen – Episode 4.10, “Death is the Rule, Life is the Exception”
Max’s choice to step away from New Amsterdam, a place that was central to his identity and mission, underscored the depth of his commitment to Helen and their future together. It was a poignant testament to his character growth and solidified the depths of his love for Helen. Reflecting on this moment makes it even more infuriating how the writer’s completely diminished Max’s character growth at the end of season 4 into season 5.

 

9. The Almost Proposal – Episode 4.17 “All Night Long”
This entire episode was a win for Sharpwin fans. From Max rehearsing his proposal to Helen, to him jumping off the stage during his karaoke duet with Wilder, excited about seeing Helen. Helen’s intuition that Max was preoccupied, coupled with her tender admission of missing her little girl, added a layer of sweetness. The highlight, however, came when they arrived at home and Helen couldn’t keep her hands off Max, while he so desperately wanted to propose. When he came out of the bathroom with the ring, he found her asleep. He sweetly covered her with a blanket and kissed her forehead, in awe of her. It is like he was thinking, “I am the luckiest man alive. I can’t believe I get to marry this woman.”

10. The Real Proposal and Baby Talk – Episode 4.17 “Unfinished Business”
This episode felt as though it was lifted straight from a Sharpwin fanfic, fulfilling many a fan’s dream. It showcased the urgency that Max had to ensure that his love would be okay as she battled blood clots from being poisoned at the karaoke club. His tender care for her, complete with memorable lines like, “easy tiger”- was a phrase so cherished by fans and by Eggold himself, that he immortalized it with a tattoo. Among the episode’s highlights were Helen’s vulnerable expression of her desire for a child and Max’s instant, heartfelt assurance of his shared dream, sweetly imagining their future child as looking like Helen, making her “freaking adorable.” Then came the proposal, which was pure television gold. Max, ever the spontaneous and passionate character, has always been driven by his emotions and this moment was no different. Amidst the bustling background of their life-saving work at the hospital, he decides that now is as good as any time to propose. It is a scene that captured the essence of their relationship- raw, real and beautifully unpredictable. Helen, caught off guard but visibly moved, is a picture of someone torn between her past and a future she barely dared to dream of. This proposal wasn’t just a question; it was a culmination of all of their moments, challenges and the unspoken love that they have for each other. This was a stand-out moment that I am sure fans still re-watch multiple times to this day.

 

Notable mentions:
-Episode 4.11 “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution – The montage at the beginning of the episode where Max and Helen were so completely in love. The paint fight was definitely a highlight, as was Max’s statement to Helen, “I am in awe of you, and everything that you are.”
-Episode 4.18 “No Ifs, Ands or Buts” – Max’s unwavering support during Helen’s Aphasia was a testament to how much he loved her, no matter what. His reassurance that he would never leave her, eased her insecurities and helped her become stronger.
-Episode 4.14 “Unto the Breach” – Helen supports Max in remaining in New York to support the doctors in taking down Veronica. He asks her, “but what if I lose you?” and she reassures him with, “losing me is impossible.”
-Episode 4.02 “We’re in this Together”- The opening montage where the two are finally able to express their love in public. From Max peppering Helen’s face with kisses, to handholding, to the huge smile on Max’s face the entire time, showcasing how extremely happy he was to finally be with Helen.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, Sharpwin fans! Did I miss any of your favourite moments? Let me know in the comments below and interact with me on Twitter at @middleofCanada.



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