New Amsterdam is back for the final season! The first episode of season 5 is a big one with Max figuring out how to be on his own without Helen. There are some other character storylines in motion along with the doctors taking care of the patients in the hospital.
Max Without Helen
The episode opens with flashbacks of Max and Helen’s relationship from the last four seasons. After the montage ends, they show Max lying in bed with a sad empty look. The frame zooms out to reveal a letter addressed to him on his bedside table. Helen’s voice reads the letter as Max lays in bed, staring up with an empty stare. As she keeps reading, there’s a montage of various nights of Max tossing and turning before Max is shown reading the letter until Luna interrupts. When she walks over to him, he tearfully holds her.
Later, Iggy and Floyd show up with wine and food and watch the game with Max. The montage continues and Lauren shows up. They all play board games and have a good time. Max looks down still for a moment before Elizabeth shows up. They all share a meal and party some more before they all head out beside Elizabeth. She uses the scrabble pieces to ask Max if he’s still sad. She tries to get him to go out with her using a hand gesture of dragging her hands towards herself and he declines.
A montage of Luna’s 5th birthday party is shown followed by a tearful Max returning to work. Max walks Luna to the bus and answers all her questions until she asks “Why isn’t Mum here?” which stuns Max.
Iggy is struggling with missing the first day of a drop-off with the kids to do the separation and tries to live it vicariously by asking Max about Luna. Max tells him about her asking about Helen which makes Iggy grimace. They go back and forth joking around. Iggy tries to comfort Max and tell him that he’s doing a good job. When he says Max is moving on, Max tearfully tells him he’s not because he can’t without closure and Helen doesn’t even have those answers.
When Max is home, there’s a dream sequence with Max kissing up Helen’s body and saying loving things. When you see her face, she’s staring out blankly and says, “I never should have let you in.” While at work, he’s having flashbacks of Helen and zoning out.
After bumping into each other on the roof that was Max and Helen’s spot, Max talks to Iggy about everything that he didn’t pay attention to or address with Helen. He still loves her and there were so many good moments that made the bad moments feel small. Iggy talks to him about it and Max admits to him that he tried to fix something he couldn’t.
Iggy and Marting seem to be in a good place while in the process of separating and trying to co-parent. The pair have been switching out who’s staying in the house with the kids based on custody. It’s a weird adjustment for Iggy who, as stated earlier, tells Max that he had to miss the kid’s first day drop off for the first time.
At work, Iggy takes on a patient, Alex, with autism that’s the previous doctor, Dr. Lloyd died and the death led to Alex having behavior problems. Iggy agrees to take on the client with the condition that his mom restaffs his whole psych team that he’s had since he was a kid. He explains that it’s because he wants a team for Alex that is for him as an adult rather than the people who knew him as a kid. Iggy also argues that these doctors are too old school. As the two argue about his care, Alex gets agitated and overstimulated and throws something at them.
Alex’s mom tells Iggy that Alex doesn’t respond well to change at all so she can’t change all of his doctors as Iggy wants. To which Iggy replies, that the next person to go could be her. He tells her that she could be the change and she explains all the improvements that have been made for her son through therapy. She tearfully tells Iggy that she wants what time she has left to be peaceful. Following this, Iggy goes in to talk to Alex and Alex doesn’t respond well. Iggy shows him that he knows the method’s that Alex’s previous therapist used and can use those as well as other things to help Alex.
Towards the end of the episode, Iggy types out and erases several messages to Kevin expressing how he feels about the separation but decides to just send one about the kids.
Lauren’s Couch Surfing
In a momentarily shocking scene, Floyd and Lauren are shown in the same bed. It’s quickly clear that looks are deceiving though when Floyd wakes up and yells at Lauren to wake up before telling her that she’s supposed to be on the couch. This leads to a conversation about how she’s been couch surfing while Leyla is at her place due to immigration. Floyd expresses to her that she needs her own place back again despite that. She explains that Leyla was supposed to move out months ago, but it keeps getting pushed back by immigration.
Later in the episode, after Lauren is done at work, she stops by her apartment to talk to Leyla about staying in the spare room. When she gets there, another woman is there.
Wholesome Sex Workers Clinic
The Emergency Department is flooded with patients injured from a sex worker’s rights march after being attacked by protesters. While treating the patients, shouting arises in one of the bays. When Lauren goes to see what’s happening, the patient tells her that a doctor ran an HIV test without her consent. The doctor confirms that he did do that because he thought the patient would want to know. It further upsets her as she feels other people’s beliefs were pushed on her.
Lauren talks to the patient and tells her that while she understands why she doesn’t want to, being aware of her health is important and she should take the results of the test with her. The patient argues that it violates what she stands for to take the results of a test performed without her consent and Lauren understands and doesn’t push further.
While all of this is happening, Karen is pushing Max to accept a branding deal that will get them $10 million to fund a clinch. The string attached is the sponsor wants their name on the clinic. The company, Wholesome Home Goods, has very big beliefs that are harmful to the LGBT+ community and abortion rights, among other things. Max tells Karen that they absolutely won’t do it for that reason. She tries to fight back with the fact that it’ll help so many people even if it does hurt some.
When Max won’t budge, Karen holds a vote with the board and they voted yes on accepting the money. Max tries to continue fighting it, but nothing is changed. Later, Lauren tells Max that her ED treated the sex worker’s march patients poorly. Max tells her that he thinks he can help with it all.
Max, Karen, and someone from “Wholesome Home Goods” meet outside the clinic to reveal what Max got sorted out for the clinic. Max reveals to them a sign that has the company’s branding above “sex workers clinic” making it all read out “Wholesome Sex Workers Clinic”. The Wholesome employee asks if this is a joke and demands their name be taken off. Karen and Max outline that the branding is a non-negotiable per the contract so they can’t do that. Max explains that they’re legitimizing the brand for people who disagree with their beliefs while also helping legitimize sex work as a profession.
An Update in Floyd’s Journey with Fatherhood
In a continuation of his storyline in season 4, we get an update on how things are going with Floyd’s father as well as his own fatherhood. While walking to work, Floyd shows Lauren a video of his daughter, which is interrupted by his dad messaging that he’s going to miss dinner. He’s been bailing on dinners for a while and Floyd doesn’t want to ask for details after losing him for so long. After work, Floyd decides to stop by his dad’s place with food telling him it’s because he said he couldn’t go out.
The Bollywood Musical
Elizabeth is working with a patient that’s a kid, Brady, who was denied his dying wish. She tells the parents that she thinks she can make something work. They ask the kid what he wants and he replies that he wants to be the star of a Bollywood musical which shocks her.
After being denied travel, due to Brady’s condition, by Floyd and Karen, but winning him over by having Brady tell him his story and why he wants to do this, Elizabeth and Floyd go to Max for him. He’s shocked by the request and tells him they have to get Karen’s permission. She immediately shoots it down and their reply is she needs to tell him herself then. After hearing Brady tell her his story, Karen rushes to get the trip all set up. Before she can, he codes and they need to bring him in for surgery.
They do the surgery and learn cancer has spread throughout his whole body. Floyd sadly tells him that he can’t travel in this condition. Following that, Floyd and Elizabeth bring the Bollywood musical to the kid and build it at the hospital. The doctors along with him have a fun Bollywood dance party. His parents happily watch, while Max sadly watches before meeting Elizabeth’s eyes who tries to get him to join using the same “coming here” hand gesture as she used earlier in the episode. The two communicate with hand gestures back and forth. When she gives up getting him to join, she takes a moment to look over her shoulder at Max before she starts dancing again. After, Max goes from a moping look to a smile.