John Amsterdam, A Master Seducer?

A few weeks ago I mentioned the new TV show New Amsterdam starring Nikola Coster-Waldau in my Writers At Play group blog post.

Nikola Coster-WaldauI’ve been following reviews of the show around the internet, and today came across Sarah Stegall’s review of the latest episode “Honor”, where she said:

But I do have a two-fold problem with this romance. First, I see zero chemistry between Coster-Waldau and Alexie Gilmore. Sorry, but it’s just not there. I still see more sizzle between Coster-Waldau and Zuleikha Robinson, even if they’re sparks of antagonism. So far, the doctor comes across as vapid. Not even the use of The Decembrists’ Angels and Angles in a love scene could rescue it.

I agree with Stegall about the lack of chemistry between the romantic leads. I think this was most evident during the first kiss after the carriage ride scene, where it seemed like these two actors kissed because that’s what the script said to do. I didn’t see much emotional or physical awareness build-up between them to lead to that kiss. It just happened all of a sudden.

Second, it would be nice if John were actually showing signs of attraction to Sara as a person, rather than Sara as potential grim reaper. Because that’s what it’s starting to look like to me—John is rushing into a romance because he’s desperate to be mortal again. One feels he would seduce a fencepost if he thought it would grant him relief from immortality. I need to see more actual proof onscreen that this is a love story literally for the ages, rather than another quick roll in the hay by a master seducer.

I think Stegall is onto something here. This would actually be a great source of conflict between these two characters — that John sees Sarah not as a person or a woman, but as a means to an end. That could be a huge roadblock to meet the terms of the enchantment that their “souls are wed,” which implies a deeper connection than just rolling in the hay with a master seducer. In fact, it may be that all the skills he’s learned over the years won’t be enough to woo her, he’ll have even more to learn about love.

It’s an interesting hook that even after 400 years of studying people and love, John will still have more to learn.