[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for New Amsterdam Season 4, Episode 6 “Laughter and Hope and a Sock in the Eye.”]
The clock is ticking on Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) and Dr. Helen Sharpe’s (Freema Agyeman) time in New York: They’re moving to London in three weeks! And while they’re looking to the future, a big part of her past comes to the hospital.
For most of this episode of New Amsterdam — the best of the season so far — Max, Helen, Dr. Floyd Reynolds (Jocko Sims), and Dr. Elizabeth Wilder (Sandra Mae Frank) spend their time in a couple of operating rooms on a high-risk, rare, very expensive surgery. Meanwhile, Dr. Iggy Frome (Tyler Labine) spends it running around the hospital trying to find two of his patients who fight to stay in a relationship (against their parents’ wishes) and end up getting married (with their parents’ support).
But the most entertaining part of the episode comes from Dr. Lauren Bloom’s (Janet Montgomery) patients in the ED: delightful comedy partners Bob (John Christopher Jones), who has stage 4 Parkinson’s, and Kit (Timothy Omundson), who suffered a major stroke.
Dr. Wilder, Rockstar
The patient is Helen’s ex-boyfriend, Guillaume (Tobias Truvillion) — more on that later — and he has stage 3 pancreatic cancer. Surgery would be risky, so it’s a good thing Max recently met the best surgical oncologist in the world. That’s where Wilder (with her team, in quite the fitting rockstar entrance) comes in, with a new plan: multivisceral ex vivo surgery. “I’m going to remove all the patient’s abdominal organs, carve out the cancer and shove whatever looks good back in,” she explains. The operation will take 20 hours, has a low survival rate, and costs $2 billion … and Max is on board. “You caught me on my day of yes,” he says.
With that high risk a surgery, is it any wonder that everyone’s watching? It by no means is a walk in the park — among the complications are Reynolds having to rebuild the stomach and the aorta bursting — but Guillaume lives.
After, Wilder asks if Max only agreed as part of his “day of yes,” but he tells her, “When it comes to a patient, I always say yes.” He takes a raincheck on dinner, but before she lets him leave, she asks if he’s found a replacement for Helen, the job he originally approached her for. Not yet. Does he want to fill the position now? “I’ve decided today is my day of yes,” she explains. Yes!
Help From Friends
Bloom meets her patients after Bob falls on the sidewalk. “Nearly stuck the landing. Coach says I still qualify for nationals,” he quips. Then she meets his caregiver: Kit. “What took you so long?” Bob asks. “Waiting for your jokes to land,” Kit replies. We already know we’re going to love these two, and we’re right. Nearly everything they say should land on any best lines roundup.
Bloom gets to know the two, mistaking them for a couple at first. “You think this man represents my romantic potential?” Kit asks. “Wherever my dead wife is, I’m sure she’s throwing up,” Bob adds. They’re comedy partners, who share a three-story brownstone; their office used to be in the middle. They wrote every single late-night show between ’94 and “when Bob ruined everything.” They got “sympathy gigs” until Kit’s stroke made them “too depressing to hire,” Bob adds.
Bloom insists on keeping them both overnight and calls Kit out on skipping over half his physical therapy appointments. He’s more focused on Bob’s care, she can tell. She recommends Bob moves to an assisted living facility, but Kit says he suggests that once a week. However, Bob has a good reason for that: He’s taking care of Kit.
“When I got sick, Kit stuck by my side, even though he was handsome and moody and could’ve had a date at any evening, but it gave him purpose and thank god it did, because when he had the stroke, that purpose became drive,” he explains. “I’m his reason for living. I can’t take that away from him.”
So, Bloom comes up with a plan since “the inmates are basically running the asylum” in their brownstone: a caregiver moves into their old office, cares for both of them, and makes sure they can still take care of each other.
An Awkward Situation Becomes Even More Awkward
Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Lyn Malvo (Frances Turner) finally sit down with her husband, Dr. Claude Baptiste (Andre Blake) — they have an open marriage — to tell him about their relationship and it is as awkward as you imagine … times about a hundred. They’re still stumbling over their words that it’s a relief (maybe more so for us than them) when Baptiste is called away.
Then, Reynolds calls in Baptiste to assist on the stomach reconstruction, and the other man refuses to acknowledge his attempt to bring up earlier. After, Reynolds stops by Baptiste’s office and tells him he should’ve told him sooner. “You should have never told me,” Baptiste corrects him. “At all.” Uh-oh.
After Guillaume initially contacts her (not revealing he’s a patient at New Amsterdam), Helen tells Bloom. It was kinetic between them, she recalls, “like this delicious feeling of butterflies all over my skin whenever he was even remotely close to me.” But Max doesn’t know who the patient is to Helen until Reynolds tells him in the middle of the surgery. That’s also when Max finds out about another side of Helen: the one that used to dangle over a river, with Guillaume holding the rope, while she put art on the side of a bridge. She used to do things fearlessly, Helen tells Wilder during the surgery, and the surgeon can tell that she misses that.
After work, Max brings Helen to that bridge and … gets down on one knee?! But no, it’s not a Sharpwin proposal, just Max playing around to let her know he knows about the art. She admits she’s been feeling insecure — she overheard Max tell Veronica (Michelle Forbes) he might not leave, and she struggled with making Luna’s lunch — and Guillaume reminded her of the version of herself that was confident and fearless.
Max just hopes that he makes her happy now, considering he can’t give her the wild and carefree life she had since he’s a dad. “When I was young, I had a really simple philosophy: follow the butterflies. Whatever made you exited or nervous or feel alive, go there,” she explains. “Guillaume … was butterflies, but so are you. I have hung from bridges, what I’ve never done is be your partner. I’ve never built a shared life with someone. And I’ve certainly never been a little girl’s…” He hugs her, and “there they are now,” she says of the butterflies.
New Amsterdam, Tuesdays, 10/9c, NBC