‘New Amsterdam’ Season 1, Episode 18: Our Road to “Five Miles West” [SPOILER REVIEW]

Hope you are ready for a feast, DamFam because I have an uber recap/review for you. We’ve been riding one helluva roller coaster and the time has come to break down the last three episodes of NBC‘s hit freshman series New Amsterdam… so buckle-up!

“Croaklahoma” is as bittersweet as the name suggests. We try to make lemonade out of lemons, but sometimes life tastes sour no matter how much sugar you try to add. It is natural to feel torn between reality and optimism – even if you have faith. In this episode, doctors and patients overcome obstacles, gain a new perspective and discover great insight.

NEW AMSTERDAM — “Croaklahoma” Episode 115 — Pictured: (l-r) Michelle Federer as Millie Tamberlay, Katie Lee Hill as Willow, Jimmy Gary Jr. as Big Mike Higgins — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC)

Lamazerables

Max’s (Ryan Eggold) cancer group uses humor to cope, but he has a hard time joking about their terminal condition. His battle with cancer has taken a bit of a back seat in the past few episodes. He’s been focused on work, drinking his meals while helping whomever he can. This week, he confronts his mortality when Willow (Katie Lee Hill) has a close call.

We are so used to seeing calm and controlled Max, so we are concerned when he freaks out the mamas-to-be in Lamaze. These ladies are there to remain calm under pressure, not think about all the ways labor can go wrong. Afterward, he has a touching heart-to-heart with Georgia (Lisa O’Hare).

He needs to know Georgia and the baby will be taken care just in case treatment doesn’t work. Alright, Max, now you’re starting to make us feel like those Lamaze mamas – stop talking like this. It isn’t his style to spiral. Luckily, Georgia says everything he (and we) needs to hear:

That’s right! Max still has work to do and fretting over “what ifs” won’t help at all. Her comforting words snap him back into Max Mode and change his perspective a bit. With Willow on the mend, he is able to join in their pun-filled shenanigans that add levity to their lives. Hence, “Croaklahoma.”

Pope Assassins

The Pope’s visit puts New Amsterdam on high security and His Holiness has some serious bodyguards who hilariously accuse Kapoor (Anupam Kher) and Iggy (Tyler Labine) of threatening the Pope’s safety. What is intended as a gesture of goodwill is perceived as an assassination attempt and Kapoor digs himself into a deeper hole with everything explanation he gives. You know it’s bad when Max recuses himself. Then Iggy tries helping and only gets himself into trouble too.

Iggy and Kapoor’s bromance is one of New Amsterdam’s highlights. They are so fun to watch! They are movingly honest and vulnerable with one another, which is very sweet and inspiring to see. They also aren’t afraid to call each other out when one is in the wrong.

For being a professional listener, Iggy isn’t hearing his daughter out. Like Kapoor and Agent Hayes (Alex Morf) said, the museum is creepy, especially at night. I love how Martin (Mike Doyle) supports their daughter and encourages her to be honest with Iggy. He owns up to his short-sightedness and admits he wasn’t listening to her. Iggy was caught up in what he thought would be fun. What could’ve been a disastrous event leading to years of resentment turns into an adorable daddy-daughter playdate that brings them closer together. Too cute!

Our good-intentioned therapist also misread Bloom’s (Janet Montgomery) needs. He chastized Reynolds (Jocko Sims) for seeing her in rehab so soon after admittance. However, his visit gave her the kind of support and encouragement she requires to start healing. Don’t get me wrong, Iggy is awesome. But he was a touch off his game in this episode. Hopefully, he’ll get back to being on-point in the next one.

NEW AMSTERDAM — “Croaklahoma” Episode 115 — Pictured: (l-r) Dennis Flanagan as Neil Corrigan, Catherine Combs as Patricia Corrigan, Jocko Sims as Dr. Floyd Reynolds — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC)

Til Death Do Us Part

Two lives depend on the status of relationships and both take very different turns. A husband and wife are forced to separate for the sake of their ill child. Meanwhile, an ailing gentleman has found love in the twilight of his life and embarks on a legal battle to spend his last days as he sees fit. I applaud the clever juxtaposition of these cases which demonstrate the healing power of love.

Jimmy’s loving and devout parents can’t afford his life-saving medication. They tried stretching the prescription out and gave pills on alternating days, but he immediately got sicker. Reynolds reaches out to Max for out-of-the-box ideas and he can think of only one option – divorce.

Patricia and Neil are people of faith and they love each other. They do not take their vows lightly, but Jimmy’s well-being is more important than legal documentation. They agree to divorce on paper and pray they’ll be forgiven. But poor Jimmy fears his parents will be damned to Hell and it is all his fault. Awww.

Max calls in a favor with the Pope’s right-hand holy man and has the Cardinal give his blessing for their divorce. God will understand their special circumstances. The burden lifts from Jimmy’s shoulders as he realizes they will still live a blessed life together as a family. While one pair divorces, another couple weds for salvation.

Sharpe’s (Freema Agyeman) patient, Walter, wants to stop chemo. He’s fallen in love and wants to enjoy the time he has left. However, his state-appointed legal guardian disagrees. They go to court and the judge has no choice but to rule in favor of Walter’s safety, which means he can’t travel the world with his lady love. Despite all of their elderly PDA, it is still sweet to see how much Shelia genuinely cares for Walter. The caseworker is overwhelmed and only wants what is best for his ward. Sharpe discovers a loop-hole. If Shiela and Walter marry, she will become his legal guardian and caretaker. They’d be able to live as they please.

NEW AMSTERDAM — “Croaklahoma” Episode 115 — Pictured: (l-r) Freema Agyeman as Dr. Helen Sharpe, Frankie J. Alvarez as Carl Jimenez — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC)’d

Love wins all around! It is always a relief and comfort to have hopeful endings on medical shows. Real life is rough enough. We can relate to the patients’ and doctors’ lives on different levels. We often know how it feels to be in a heartbreaking, scary and despairing situation – after all, we are human. The beauty of New Amsterdam is that each week provides a healthy dose of optimism with the grim reality we must face. And, no matter what’s happening, we can all learn from Max’s motto and see how we can help.

NEW AMSTERDAM — “The King of Swords” Episode 116 — Pictured: Jocko Sims as Dr. Floyd Reynolds — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

New Amsterdam promos for the highly anticipated blizzard installment delivered ER vibes from the start. As the DamFam takes to the streets and brings their care to snowed-in patients, buried feelings and suppressed secrets come to light. Chilling accidents, clairvoyant claims, and unavoidable fates challenge these determined and dedicated doctors in new ways. The nerve-wracking two-parter, “King of Swords” and “Sanctuary” stuns viewers and sets the increasingly intense tone for the season’s final four episodes.

Is This Love?

Max (Ryan Eggold) and Dr. Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) have grown closer since she became his oncologist. They shared very intimate secrets – his cancer diagnosis and her desire to have a child. Both have been supportive friends and confidants. Their blossoming friendship, brutal honesty, mutual respect, and cheeky banter are fun to watch. But now, outsiders seem to read into their relationship and it has these two buds reevaluating their feelings for one another.

There has been no romantic connotation to their interaction so far. Sure, Sharpe continuously caves at Max’s every request, but he has that effect on everyone. Max uses his charisma and intellect to get his way – and his way is usually the best course of action, as we’ve seen in a variety of scenarios. They have a work-spouse dynamic, but I didn’t really read much into it. Maybe I should have.

NEW AMSTERDAM — “The King of Swords” Episode 116 — Pictured: (l-r) Ryan Eggold as Dr. Max Goodwin, Freema Agyeman as Dr. Helen Sharpe — (Photo by: Zach Dilgard/NBC)

Sharpe’s boyfriend, Dr. Panthaki (Sendhil Ramamurthy), is the first to mention it in a half-joking manner. She always jumps to answer the phone when Max calls and she never musters the courage to say “No” to him. He’s her boss – but is that really the only reason?

Max and Sharpe brave the storm to help a psychic who prophesizes their romantic and doomed future together. Exsqueeze me? I understand how their behavior throughout her care demonstrates why their relationship can be perceived as more than a friendship. Sharpe always expresses her concern for Max’s well-being and when he doesn’t listen to her advice, she simply tags along to ensure his safety. We’ve seen her quite literally have his back whenever he stumbles.

Still, I’m surprised by how heavy-handedly this romantic twist is happening. Suddenly they are looking at each other differently than before. They haven’t had any stand-out “will they or won’t they” moments throughout the season. At one brief point, I thought Max might volunteer to be Sharpe’s sperm donor when she started fertility treatment. However, her relationship with Panthaki put a pin in that whole theory.

In the first episode, I’m not sure what to make of this. Max and Georgia (Lisa O’Hare) are in a good place with their marriage and they’re eagerly anticipating the arrival of their baby girl. Sharpe seems committed to Panthaki and even loves that he has kids. It almost feels like romantic tension is being forced to create more drama. Thankfully, this doesn’t take a soapy turn in part two.

After a dark and frightening night full of disagreements, leaps of faith, and medical marvels –  Max wins once again. While Sharpe takes a pragmatic approach and prepares to decide which patients’ lives can be saved, Max washes his hands of playing God.

New Amsterdam
NEW AMSTERDAM — “Sanctuary” Episode 117 — Pictured: Olafur Darri Olafsson as Burl — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

He takes a chance on letting a convict, Burl ( Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), fix their generator and refuses to comply with Sharpe’s requests. He doesn’t want to triage and holds onto hope. Lives are on the line and just when Sharpe is about to start making the tough calls on her own – the power turns on. Once again, Max wins (in a manner of speaking). Now that everyone is safe, it is time for a heart-to-heart.

I hold my breath for a cheesy “I love you, but can’t do this” speech. Luckily, that doesn’t happen.  I really appreciate the sincerity of the relationships on New Amsterdam and am relieved their bond turned into a cliche. Sharpe and Max aren’t necessarily falling in love, but their relationship is in murky waters.

Sharpe is playing way too many roles in Max’s life and she can’t continue juggling them all. It isn’t fair to either one of them, especially since it prevents her from doing her job. He confides in her as a friend and then refuses to take her advice as his doctor. She’s his second in command and he ignores her professional opinion in the middle of a crisis. He can’t continue having it all and the time has come for her to choose.

Since Max won’t make the tough calls, she’s making this one for him too. She can’t be his doctor anymore and she’s already assigned him to a colleague. I guess this still counts as a break-up of sorts, but thankfully, it isn’t a cliched one. It will be interesting to see how Max gets along with his new oncologist. Hopefully, this won’t impact his friendship with Sharpe because I do like their honest and supportive dynamic.

Gettin Iggy With It

New Amsterdam
NEW AMSTERDAM — “Sanctuary” Episode 117 — Pictured: Tyler Labine as Dr. Iggy Frome — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

I love Iggy (Tyler Labine)! He is the kind of cheerleader we all need in life. He knows just what to say to get through to someone – whether it is a isolated teenager or a gruff murderer. Like Max, he is always willing to take a chance and has faith that everything will work out. They also know exactly what to say to inspire and bring out the best in others.

His hunches can be misguided on rare occasions and he’s the first to admit his faults when they are. When Burl appears to have escaped, Iggy assumes responsibility. But his instincts prove to be intact when Burl returns, showing how he genuinely wants to change and be a better person.

Iggy’s friendship with Kapoor (Anupam Kher) is one of my favorite relationships on New Amsterdam. They share an honest vulnerability that is refreshing to watch. Kapoor took a big risk going out into the storm to inform a husband about his wife’s sudden passing. She seemed to be on the mend so he went home to rest and his worst fear comes true.  He goes to great lengths to deliver the news and give this man a chance to say goodbye to his wife because he knows what it feels like to lose the love of his life and leave everything unsaid.

They often share moments like this together and I get goosebumps every time.

New Amsterdam
NEW AMSTERDAM — “The King of Swords” Episode 116 — Pictured: (l-r) Tyler Labine as Dr. Iggy Frome, Anupam Kher as Dr. Vijay Kapoor — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Old-School Doctoring

We’ve all become too reliant on technology to assist with all aspects of life – professionally and personally. When the power goes out, these new doctors are at a loss and feel like their patients’ treatment will be put on hold. But there are some physicians who know how to save lives without a safety net.

Dr. Candelario (Nana Mensah) was a combat surgeon and knows how to perform surprisingly complex procedures in the roughest conditions. Reynolds (Jocko Sims) has gone through great lengths to keep his impaled patient alive. When he thinks conducting open-heart surgery in the dark is not an option, Candelario steps in and shows him how it is done on the battlefield. Talk about a badass woman! Reynolds jokingly touts his ego in the end, but we know who really saved the day.

New Amsterdam
NEW AMSTERDAM — “Sanctuary” Episode 117 — Pictured: Jocko Sims as Dr. Floyd Reynolds — (Photo by: Zach Dilgard/NBC)

Elsewhere, Kapoor helps a young doctor, Agnes (Christine Chang), get creative with her treatment by guiding her through it while he’s trapped in an elevator with a colleague. I have to give New Amsterdam bonus point for putting a new spin on cliched medical drama scenarios. At one point, Kapoor is being hilariously tended to by his reluctant coworker while he’s still instructing Agnes on how to save their patient.

In the end, everything turns out well, for the most part. Several lives were side. Doctors discovered and executed alternate methods of treatment. Lives were saved and changed for the better. We’re often forced to confront our true nature in the midst of a crisis. When things got rough, the best came out of New Amsterdam’s doctors and patients.

Now that one crisis has been averted, Max must face his new oncologist and tackle his cancer head-on.

https://youtu.be/YfVJBh8HF-Q

Reynolds (Jocko Sims) struggles to help a young Cystic Fibrosis patient (Guest Star Lilly Knowles) with curious symptoms while Kapoor (Anupam Kher) finally comes face to face with Ella (Guest Star Dierdre Friel) after their awkward encounter. Meanwhile, Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) takes a major step in her personal life. Also starring Ryan Eggold as Max Goodwin, Janet Montgomery as Lauren Bloom and Tyler Labine as Iggy Fromme. Also guest starring Nana Mensah as Dr. Camilla Candelario, Alejandro Hernandez as Casey, Sendhil Ramamurthy as Dr. Akash Panthaki, Judith Ivey as Dr. Virginia Stauton, Zack Robidas as Michaela Archer.

New Amsterdam airs Tuesdays at 10 pm ET on NBC.

About Tiffany Tchobanian

I'm a Bay Area-based freelance journalist with an insatiable passion for TV, film, and pop-culture. When I'm not watching TV, I'm talking about it...

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