“Death Begins in Radiology” poignantly turns the page on many subplots and relationships, effectively laying the groundwork for the next season.
This recap of New Amsterdam season 3, episode 14, “Death Begins in Radiology”, contains spoilers.
Well, it finally happened. And it only took three full seasons, several ups and downs, multiple deaths and personal calamities, and months of will-they-won’t-they close calls. It’s probably fitting that the third season finale, “Death Begins in Radiology”, played that uncertainty card right until the very last moment, but finally, blessedly, it happened. Max and Helen hooked up.
However you feel about this pairing, it’s a relief to see them get together just to put an end to all the toing and froing. You can’t say it wasn’t built up organically. And it opens a lot of potential storytelling avenues, including but not limited to Max no longer being a mopey, idealistic widower. How determinedly is he going to try and right all contemporary culture’s systemic wrongs if he has a beautiful woman waiting for him at home? It’s like Marvin Hagler saying how hard it is to get up and run at 5 am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pajamas.
I often divide these recaps up by character, and New Amsterdam season 3, episode 14 does the same thing. It picks up a month after the end of the previous episode and starts with Max both leaving a long-winded and weirdly intense voicemail for Helen and discovering he has misplaced his wedding ring. His quest to find it drags him through everyone else’s storylines until he meets Helen in the middle, and we get that big moment of them solidifying their mutual attraction. (It plays a little weird given the voicemail, honestly, but beggars can’t be choosers.) This means that for once Max is largely side-lined, or at least doesn’t hog the limelight completely. That leaves room for several other characters to turn the page on their respective subplots, many of which have been developing for the whole season (or at least several weeks.)
So, “Death Begins in Radiology” starts with Helen, who is in London parting ways with Mina; it’s an unceremonious way to write that particular character out of the show, which I assume is its purpose, but she was a bit whiny for my tastes anyway. Helen also runs into her mother while she’s in Blighty, and when she discovers she’s coughing blood she takes her to the clinic where Helen herself volunteered as a youngster. Her mother is… kind of awful, honestly. She’s nasty about Mina, obliquely blames Helen for the fact she’s hacking up claret and doesn’t offer a word of thanks when Helen greases a few palms, figuratively speaking, to get her examined. As it turns out – we don’t learn this until later – she has really bad bronchitis, not cancer, but she didn’t know that at the time!
Speaking of greasing a few palms, that’s largely what Lauren has to consider when her section of the episode reveals that Leyla was turned down for a residency at New Amsterdam, despite her recommendation, and will instead be going to Spokane, Washington. It’s a good opportunity but it’s not quite good enough for Lauren, who, after passing off a girl with flipped-around organs and a dagger in her stomach to Floyd (more on him soon), goes to berate Hank, whose decision this was. Hank suggests not-so-subtly that the Dean of Medicine might be willing to take a bribe, which Lauren is furiously against given the illegality of it, but when she and Leyla are later enjoying a romantic dinner, Leyla gets a call informing her that she is being offered a residency at New Amsterdam after all. She asks Lauren if she had anything to do with this, and while she says not and we don’t actually have any confirmation that she did, I think it’s pretty obvious from her face that she has made a risky decision here.
New Amsterdam season 3, episode 14 shifts focus to Floyd, who we learn finally gave in to his urges when it comes to Lyn, but clearly isn’t a-ok with the whole husband thing. This is only made more awkward as “Death Begins in Radiology” develops, since Floyd’s obvious expertise in surgery – saving the girl with the dagger in her stomach – earns him the attention of the Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery, who recognizes his talents are being wasted and offers him a position as his “right hand” as the Deputy Chair; a promotion he eagerly accepts right before learning that this guy is Lyn’s husband. Yikes.
Finally, there’s Iggy and Martin, who are on a camping trip through upstate New York with the kids, having obviously taken some time off after the whole ordeal with Chance. This whole subplot feints in the direction of calamity a couple of times, but it ends up being quite a laidback thing, a chance for Martin and Iggy to bond with each other and the kids, and for us to get a sense of where Iggy’s mind is at after what he has gone through recently. He’s still adamant about not seeing patients anymore, but he does resolve to stop running from his problems, which is clearly a breakthrough. Good on both of them.
It’s low-key for a finale, then, but that big moment at the end is three seasons in the making and lands with a real impact, especially with Max symbolically losing his wedding ring just prior – and taking it off before he runs back to Helen’s house! – as a metaphor for him finally getting over Georgia’s death and deciding it’s time for him to be happy with someone else. Will he? Well, you know what he’s like. But it’s about time he gave it a good go.