New Amsterdam has a clear, tear-jerking formula, but for all its ridiculousness “Every Last Minute” proved the show to be a winner.
Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) could sell condoms to the Pope. And that’s the secret weapon of New Amsterdam. Yes, his methods are ridiculous. Yes, his self-neglect for the betterment of all is hoary, and his passionate speeches are cheesy. But when Max talks, you believe him. You believe in what he’s trying to do. You believe in people. And “Every Last Minute” proves the show’s clichéd formula to be working a treat. No wonder New Amsterdam has just been picked up for another nine episodes, bringing its first season order to 22.
But it’s this episode we’re concerned with, and “Every Last Minute” was a solid one, even if it wasn’t quite as moving as the last couple (although it certainly tried.) As usual, the various noteworthy faces around the hospital were given their own subplots which intersected at various points here and there. Max was tasked by the Dean of Medicine to schmooze a rich widow with millions to potentially invest in the hospital; Lauren Bloom (Janet Montgomery) found herself attached to a female inmate who was due to give birth and have her baby swept straight into the foster system; while Iggy Frome (Tyler Labine) and Dr. Kapoor (Anupam Kher) teamed up once again to treat a man who thought he was invisible.
The way these subplots crisscrossed helped to give the hospital a sense of interconnectedness, and helped the characters to not feel too distinct and separate. The rich widow had to be shielded from the naked, escaped psych patient so that she could be persuaded to donate her late husband’s money to a program that would allow pregnant mothers on Rikers Island to be able to stay with their babies until the end of their sentences. It all came full circle; New Amsterdam is one big organism, fed by snaking valves and arteries, not unlike a giant heart itself.
But “Every Last Minute” also spared time for characters that were given less to do this week. Max reconciled – sort of – with his pregnant wife, Georgia (Lisa O’Hare), although it must be said she doesn’t seem entirely thrilled with the idea just yet. He also made the decision to receive treatment for his cancer so that he can stay alive long enough to be a husband and a father. Dr. Floyd Reynolds (Jocko Sims), meanwhile, is staffing his new department exclusively with beautiful women of colour, while Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) grappled with the reality that as long as most patients see her as a “TV doctor” she’ll likely never get the respect she deserves as a professional.
Each hour of New Amsterdam is very much like the last, but that’s no bad thing. The show’s reliably entertaining, and packed with nuance and depth if you care to look for it. The occasional – okay, let’s be frank, frequent – corniness will undoubtedly rile some viewers, but as long as it continues to champion pure, weaponised goodness, I’ll continue to champion New Amsterdam.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.