“Liftoff” says goodbye to Floyd, or perhaps doesn’t, in a moving episode that also tackles its fair share of modern, unusual topics.
This recap of New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 17, “Liftoff”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
So, is Floyd (Jocko Sims) gone for good?
“Liftoff” would like you to think so. We’ve been building to this moment for what feels like forever, and in New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 17, we finally said goodbye to Floyd Reynolds. But did we?
Well, apparently he isn’t actually leaving the show, per se, just leaving the hospital. Exactly what form that will take remains to be seen, but surely there’s plenty of good material for his character that would be wasted if he absconded with Evie (Margot Bingham), never to be seen again. Who would do the surgeries? And also, let’s be frank, Evie is far too dull to throw your career away for.
Either way, he’s going somewhere, and “Liftoff” gave him a decent send-off with both a life-and-death medical emergency and a bizarre surprise party in which everyone seemed to just hug him and immediately leave. Poor Tevi (Naveen Paddock) got stuck down an elevator shaft with a broken rib and internal bleeding, and Floyd spent much of the episode down there with him, wondering if he’ll be remembered for all the great things he’s done. According to Helen (Freema Agyeman), who lures him to his surprise send-off, he will be.
The rest of New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 17 alternated between some surprisingly modern matters – the ethical perils of crowdfunding, and the trialing of a robotic prosthesis through a kind of mind-controlled flight simulator – and some quirky asides, including Lauren (Janet Montgomery) and Iggy (Tyler Labine) believing there was a ghost in the building. The ticking-clock of “Liftoff” was an impending fundraiser for the pediatric oncology department which Max (Ryan Eggold), his brain thoroughly scrambled by his newfound celebrity after an inadvertent appearance in a viral GoFundMe campaign, almost cancels. Luckily a newly promoted Helen was on-hand to show him the error of his ways, and accidentally inspire him to start a new campaign about gratitude and looking after the patients who will inevitably come next.
Lots was made in New Amsterdam Season 2, Episode 17 about the language we use when we talk about cancer – fighting, winning, surviving – and how it might not be as applicable as we think. This was mostly explored through Jessye (Tyra Joy Smith), who is diagnosed with a recurrence right before she’s due to go on stage at the fundraiser and brag about having won her battle. Her friends, fellow sufferers and survivors, help to articulate to Helen and then to Max how they really feel about having had cancer – they’re terrified. It’s a feeling he can relate to; it’s a feeling I think we all can relate to.
That relatability, and that willingness to wade right into murky, potentially volatile territory in the way “Liftoff” does, is what makes New Amsterdam, at least on balance, such a great show. It isn’t perfect, and it could sometimes stand to make stronger, more persuasive arguments, to actually come down on one side of an issue and make a case. But this is feel-good television designed to lift us up in the same way that Mateo (Danny J. Gomez) took to the skies one last time, and in that it succeeds like almost no other.