Spoilers ahead for the October 4 episode of New Amsterdam Season 5, called “Big Day.”
New Amsterdam is slowly but surely counting down the episodes until the very end with this fifth and final season, and the latest episode didn’t close on the kind of feel-good note that Max Goodwin strives for. In fact, the devastating twist about the wedding guests who were brought into the ED was dark enough that even though I’ve resigned myself to the medical drama losing Freema Agyeman’s Helen Sharpe, I was really missing Sharpwin by the end.
Why “Big Day” Was So Devastating
The doctors were having a stressful time trying to treat all of the wedding guests who were brought into the hospital after a fire at the venue, but that was no surprise for the ED. Most of the injured guests seemed more or less okay and more or less normal. The two biggest problems were that the groom had an extremely rare blood type and would die without an infusion, and a little girl was catatonic after what she witnessed.
While Max and Dr. Wilder found themselves heading to Bermuda to retrieve a donor who could come back to New York and donate blood in person (without getting that blood seized by customs), Iggy did what he could with young Lily, including telling the story of the flower girl at his wedding.
Now, this being New Amsterdam – a.k.a. the medical drama with a knack for finding a silver lining even in some of the darkest stories – I was thinking that Max and Wilder would be able to save the groom in time for his wedding to a perfectly lovely and age-appropriate bride, and Lily would recover in time to carry flowers down whatever aisle they could manage at the hospital.
But I was very wrong. Lily was not the flower girl, but the bride for the very adult groom. It was a child wedding, and the fire was actually a smoke bomb from her 15-year-old brother, who was trying to save her. The doctors were all appalled that the people who seemed like perfectly normal wedding guests simply caught in a crisis were actually people who supported a marriage between a grown man and little girl, but no arrests could be made.
Lily’s mother got a legal marriage license in West Virginia, and no federal laws were being broken with the wedding. All of the doctors were on the verge of tears after getting the news that nobody would be punished, and the closest that the storyline had to a cathartic ending was Iggy visiting Martin and just asking to see the kids, and Max going home to Luna and suggesting that he sleep right by her bed that night.
Why It Made Me Miss Sharpwin
On the surface, this episode actually didn’t touch on Max’s heartbreak after losing Helen (with only her letter narrated by Freema Agyeman in a voice cameo to go on). to give him closure. In fact, it continued building the bond between Max and Wilder. Unlike the Season 5 premiere, none of the devastation had anything to do with the Sharpwin love story ending. But I found myself remembering that some of the happiest parts of last season came from when they were on solid ground together, and it felt like New Amsterdam really needed some solid ground at the end of “Big Day.”
Max really could have used some companionship at home to go along with Luna, who could be a comfort to her father but not understand what had happened. His conversation with Wilder seemed to give them both some comfort, and she has clearly been somebody for him to lean on through his heartache.
It was just hard not to miss the happy Max who was planning his future with Helen when the big twist of the episode was such a downer. (Interestingly, “Big Day” was directed by Lost alum Nestor Carbonell, who directed one of the most devastating episodes of Season 4 as well.) Maybe I just missed the lightness of the peak Sharpwin era rather than the relationship itself, but hopefully there will be a little bit more joy next week.
Find out with new episodes of New Amsterdam on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, and you can catch up on any you might have missed with a Peacock subscription. For some more viewing options in the coming weeks, check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule.