“This Is Not the End” puts the staff of New Amsterdam through the wringer in the penultimate episode of the season.
This New Amsterdam Episode 21 recap for the episode titled “This Is Not the End” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
There were patients admitted in “This Is Not the End”, including a 17-year-old heroin addict with a life-threatening infection and a kid with tuberculosis whose entire extended family had come along to support him. But for once, these people — who predictably ended up fine — weren’t the focal point of New Amsterdam, which, in the penultimate episode of the season, instead elected to have its staff confront their own illnesses, anxieties, and relationships.
First, Max. Now balls-deep in his experimental double-dosage chemotherapy regimen, he’s barely able to stand, eat, talk or function, which is a bit of a hindrance when it comes to running a hospital. “This Is Not the End” sees him gradually decline even further, becoming more stooped and subdued in each scene until he eventually topples over and has to be sent home by a concerned Helen, who has had quite enough of not being his doctor.
Of course, Max isn’t helping himself — he never does. Along with forming a relationship with the cagey teen addict, he also has plans to ensure that everyone without medical insurance is well aware that they can be treated at New Amsterdam for free. Naturally, this sends the higher-ups into a mad panic, but he nonetheless has thousands of cards printed and distributed to help spread the word; this episode’s touching musical montage is of all the major characters handing them out to random New Yorkers, determined not to let basic logistical matters get in the way of bankrupting the hospital.
Following on from last week, Iggy is still rather ridiculously being investigated for his apparently nonconsensual hug of Avi, who returns in “This Is Not the End” to share more traumatic details about his backstory — the problem is he’ll only share them with Iggy, seemingly his only confidante in the world. This is a problem because Helen and the clearly evil social worker who instigated this scenario in the first place have to sit in on their conversation, and while it swiftly becomes clear that Iggy has his patients’ best interests at heart and always has had, it also allows Iggy to come to the sad realization that perhaps there’s a grain of truth in the accusations. What he’s doing isn’t necessarily inappropriate in the way suggested, but he’s teaching his patients to open up to him, not to confront their problems on their own.
I’m not sure what will come of that — probably nothing if we’re being honest, but it was a nice development in Iggy’s on-going arc, which has mostly skipped right over obstacles and allowed him to continue being a ray of comic-relief sunshine. Vijay had a similarly touching moment in which he recalled the breakdown of his relationship with his family; a lightbulb moment for Floyd, who had just, against his better judgment, decided not to attend his weekly Sunday lunch at home to spend more time with his implausibly understanding missus.
Other people are less understanding in “This Is Not the End”, most notably Dr. Panthaki, who wants to take his and Helen’s exciting talk-show sex tour international. She initially agrees, but after seeing the state of Max, who’s on death’s door, she feels she has no alternative but to stick around and help care for him since he’s done so much for her and rest of the patients and staff at New Amsterdam. Panthaki has a tantrum and leaves, clearly sick of playing second fiddle, but we can rest easy knowing Max has finally relented and gone home to rest.
But we can’t rest, can we? No, because “This Is Not the End” treated us to a last-minute pre-finale cliffhanger. A briefly returning Lauren Bloom (looking good post-rehab) spent a bit of the episode trying to track down Max to officially hand in her resignation, but unable to find him there she instead decided to visit him at home. And Max, still barely alive, answered the door covered in blood. Looks like Georgia’s baby is finally coming.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.