New York at the height of the pandemic was a scary place. It was one that I will forever remember. It will forever haunt me and change everything about who I am. The ambulance sirens that were a consistent noise coming from the streets, the lines of people waiting for food, the mobile morgues that lined streets… there is nothing about it that won’t haunt me.
Covid took a lot from this city, but the harsh reality is that death wasn’t the only thing that it left us with. The repercussions from the pandemic will be felt for a long time all over the world. I know this. I know that New York wasn’t the only place that was affected.
But the thing about New York, no matter what tears us down, we come back stronger. We are resilient. New York will change, but it’s people will always have a special connection, and no matter where we go, it will always be home.
WHAT HAPPENED TO HOW CAN I HELP
Dr. Reynolds is back in New York to help Dr. Kapoor (Vijay). He’s still in a coma from the virus and it’s done so much damage to his heart that they don’t know what to do. Max was told even the best heart surgeon in the world wouldn’t be able to help – but Dr. Reynolds is family and if anyone can help, it’s him.
But here’s the thing – Dr. Reynolds is prepared to do whatever it takes, but sometimes even what it takes isn’t a possibility. Vijay’s heart is weak. The virus has damaged all of his heart muscles. There is nothing to sew a new valve into. And right there, in that moment, it’s almost impossible to not think about what we don’t know about Covid and what we have yet to learn.
He says that he can’t operate on him, but he can put in a clip.
Dr. Reynolds didn’t experience the same thing that the doctors of New Amsterdam did. His hospital had three deaths. He feels bad for saying it, but it’s true. Sharpe tells him that he was spared, but it wasn’t like that here. New Amsterdam was hit hard. Nothing is the same for them, because as most people in New York will be able to tell you – the pandemic changed everything.
Reynolds is an amazing doctor. He was an amazing character. Seeing him leave New Amsterdam was a hard moment for us all, but I feel like it was a necessary thing for his character. For Reynolds, he needed to go to find his way home.
And New Amsterdam is home.
Vijay needs surgery and Reynolds is doing an amazing job. In the operating room, he is talking to other ppl about how they got covid, what was going on, and he wants to know why Vijjay was there. He was high risk, he was older. But how could he not. They all knew that they needed to be there. I will forever be thankful for the essential workers in the world, but being as I was in New York for the majority of the pandemic, lived next to a hospital, and saw what New York went through – this just feels like watching all the people that I wanted to go and hug and save. Because they saved us.
Him and his team get the clip in Vijay’s heart and everyone thinks that it’s going to hold. VIjay is important and for Reynolds, this is a win, but also a reminder of why he’s there. Why New York means so much to him. Why the people there mean so much to him. Why he needs to be there.
And for him it’s a matter of feeling like he should have been there all along.
He’s on his way out when he runs into Max and he asks if there is anything that he can do. Reynolds says no, that he’s just going to see a few people.
But here’s the thing about the best laid plans… they change. And sometimes they change in a way that will break you.
POLICIES DON’T ALWAYS WORK
Max always has the best of intentions with his policies. He wants to make the world a better place, and he wants to be there for all of the patients. He gets called down to security, as they’ve found the person stealing oxy from the hospital.
Paul is annoyed, but it’s not what you think. Paul has been stealing oxy, and admits it. But he’s been stealing it for his Mom. And in typical Max fashion – he brings the Mom in to figure out what is wrong.
She’s got bone cancer and her doctor took away her meds, saying she had to be weened off. Max wants to help – tells her that as of that moment, she’s a patient of New Amsterdam. Only she has been one and Max comes face to face with the fact that his policy could have been wrong.
When he talks to her doctor, he explains he did it because Max ordered him to or he would get fired. And Max has to realize that the best of intentions don’t always solve an issue. Karen comes to ream him out for changing the hospitals policy, but he explains to her why it needs to change. Sure, she’s not happy with it, but the thing is her and Max need to learn when to balance each other out.
And when to listen to everyone around them. Max tries to apologize to the patients who have had their meds taken away, but inadvertently tells them that they could be drug dealers and he needs to make sure it’s safe.
He tries then to get their meds to them by bike messenger. That results in him getting arrested by the DEA. And Karen has to come get him. She says the DEA said they wouldn’t press charges because of the fact he’s an essential worker, though she had half a mind to leave him in there. She has to tell him the truth – that it’s exhausting to be his boss, that his ideas cause chaos, and she has to be rooted in reality. She gets what he is trying to do, but she needs to to remember that opioids aren’t’ always medicine to everyone, to some they are what killed people they loved.
Max does end up coming with a great idea. The medicine would be watermarked, so that if it was sold and out on the streets, they will know. And the best part is that the opioid manufacturers would have to pay for it as part of their settlement.
Karen and Max may not always see eye to eye, but when they find a solution together, it’s a beautiful thing.
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE IN LABOR
Ella has always been one of my favorite characters, because she’s real. And her relationship with Vijay, how they are there for each other and how he’s determined to be a good Grandfather to her baby and how he’s a good man to her. I just love their friendship.
And I know that her OCD has been something that she’s struggling through, but Vijay has been there for her. He’s made her feel less alone. He’s made her feel empowered. He’s made her feel loved.
Dr. Sharpe gets coffee as an apology to Dr. Shin. You may remember in the last episode she curled away when he tried to touch her and she wants to make it right. Though when she gives him the coffee, he says he doesn’t need an apology, but he’ll take the coffee. The thing that I don’t like about Dr. Shin is that he’s so cut and dry, and doesn’t really seem open to emotions at all. He seems so cut off and not wanting to understand. She’s trying to explain it to him.
They’ve lived through the pandemic and being around people is weird. Being touched, being close, all of these things are something that no one is used to. But he’s not hearing it. He’s like sure, if that’s what it is and I don’t get why he’s not taking her at her word, instead being like there is not reason to force something. But the next thing he says makes so much sense, that it hit hard – Covid took away a lot of things, we focus on the lives lost, but there are others things.
When he leaves her, Helen walks down the hallway and see Ella. She knows that she needs to be there for her, Vijay would want them to. Ella is sitting there freaking out, her OCD has her thinking irrational thoughts. She is afraid if she moves Vijay will die. Her legs are cramping, her back hurt, and Sharpe asks how long that’s been happening. Ella is oblivious to what is happening, but she says an hour or two. Sharpe hits her with what she doesn’t want to hear – it sounds like she’s in labor.
Ella is really in labor and she’s scared. It’s not what was planned and Vijay is supposed to be there. She’s supposed to have three more weeks, and Sharpe tells her basically that plans change, but in a lot nicer way than I just said. She asks if she can call someone for her, but there is no one.
So Helen does what she needs to do and cancels her plans to be there for Ella. She’s there when the epidural doesn’t work. She’s there to talk to Ella when she’s filled with anxiety over the needle. She’s there when Ella doesn’t think that she can do it.
Delivery isn’t going according to plan and it’s a lot for Ella to take. Her OCD is in overdrive, and Sharpe is doing everything to help her. She’s telling her that she can defeat it, but what these two are going to do – is push each other. In that moment Ella and Helen Sharpe need each other to heal and get through. They need each other’s strength.
Helen realizes that Ella is breaking down and she needs comfort. She gets over her fear and grabs Ellas face and brings her face to hers. She’s going to give her all the strength that she needs.
Vijay’s granddaughter is born.
HOW MANY DAYS HAS IT BEEN?
Not going to lie – this episode fucked me up. The pandemic storyline is difficult. The opioid storyline is difficult. But nothing hit me the way that Iggy’s storyline hit me.
Gladys comes to get Lauren, because Iggy is pale and shaky. He can barely even stand. He’s had a covid test, it’s negative. Lauren looks a little annoyed, because she’s ready to go home, but the thing we can always count on is that the doctors of New Amsterdam are there for each other.
She goes to see Iggy and he about passes out standing up. She tells him if he’s got the flu that he needs to go home. He is insistent that isn’t it. Staring at him – you can see that something is desperately wrong. He claims he’s tired, which is plausible because it’s a pandemic and they are all working overtime. Lauren says for him to sit down and that’s when he admits he hasn’t eaten.
And he admits he hasn’t eaten in two days, maybe three.
Iggy lies and tells Lauren that he is okay, but she tells him that his staff notices and there is something that is wrong. She tells him the harsh truths, because she’s his friend. And if anyone can tell you something, your friends should be able to. He lies and says that he doing a cleanse and it is fine.
She says he sounds like every first timer dragged to rehab and asks him if he hides food. Sometimes people who binge eat restrict calories after a binge.
Let me tell you, at this moment was the first time that I lost my shit. Tears starting falling down my eyes. She started looking for his stash of food, and as much as he tried to deny that it is there, she finds it. She finds it with a note that tells him not to eat and calls him a fat pig.
The fact that New Amsterdam is doing this story line is amazing. The fact that the storyline with an eating disorder is with a male character is even more powerful. All too often in television we see the person with an eating disorder be a female character. But the way that New Amsterdam has constructed Iggy’s story is powerful. It’s engaging. And it will change someone’s life.
Iggy feels judged. And trust me, I get it. I have binge eating disorder and it’s a hard thing for people to understand. And it just so happens hours before I watched this episode, I had been on the phone with my therapist, because I was having a breakdown over food. During the pandemic I have put on 30 pounds, and I am having an extremely hard time with it. I didn’t expect to see what I saw on the television screen, but sitting there watching Iggy, I felt seen. I felt understood.
And I felt less alone.
Iggy knows how it looks, but the words on the note aren’t his. They are his Dads words. Growing up he had to hear them almost everyday. See, his Dad had always struggled with his weight and he was determined that his son wouldn’t. So as young as nine years old, Iggy had been placed on crash diets. His father would make him take off his shirt so he could take pictures to “track progress.” If there was a chance that he had a good weigh in day, he would be over the moon, because it would make him feel loved.
For Iggy as a child, it had gotten so bad that he tried to hang himself. When the awning broke and his Mom heard everything come crashing down, she went to help him, but his Dad – well he acted like nothing happened and he took another picture for the wall.
The words – Iggy claimed – didn’t control him. But we can all see what is written all over his face. He felt judged. And when you’re in the position that he is, judgement is the last thing you need. You’ll start fighting back.
But that’s the thing – Lauren will start fighting too. They are both addicts – sure, addicted to different things – but addicted. And if she feels judged, she will fight back too. So she tells Iggy what he’s doing could kill him.
What – for me – was the hardest thing about realizing that I had a problem with food was where it came from, but also knowing that I wasn’t able to hide it from people – when I thought that I was in control. But when someone reminds you that you aren’t in control of it – everything hurts.
The two of them fight and say the worst things that they possibly can to each other, because that’s what you do. And you see is these two fighting for control because at this moment defending your disease feels important. It makes you feel in control when control is the last thing they have.
But all it takes is one knock at the door to be reminded of that. Gladys tells them that it’s Dr. Kapoor.
I don’t know about any of you, but the pandemic took eight people from me. Eight people that I loved and spoke to and cared about. Eight people who one day who were telling me about how I would survive and telling me that I could make it through the pandemic and the next moment, I was getting phone calls that they were gone.
And that’s the worst call in the world, knowing that you couldn’t even say goodbye.
Vijay’s clip didn’t hold and nothing has changed about the valve. The muscles around his heart are weak. There is nothing to sew the valve into.
Reynolds has called everyone down to say goodbye, because he doesn’t know if Vijay can survive this. Telling someone that they need to say goodbye is like stabbing them in the heart, but they are all thankful to be there for Vijay.
Vijay wakes up and opens his eyes, Iggy right beside him. Their friendship has always been special. He asks Iggy to come close and asks him to take care of Ella and the baby if something happens. Iggy is trying to tell him that everything will be fine, but when Vijay managed to force out the plea of please, I lost it.
I lost it for so many reasons, because I know that Ella’s baby girl deserves the loving grandfather that Vijay would be. I know Ella needs him. I know that that the staff of New Amsterdam needs him.
Hell, I need him.
Iggy and Lauren are in the waiting area and she takes a moment to talk to him. She apologizes fro dragging kids into it, but what his response was, was something I was never expecting.
He says a few nights ago he was wearing a sweater his husband gave him and his little girl looked at him and said that he looked handsome. He grabbed his stomach and told her that she was wrong. He knew that his little girl was giving him a compliment and he couldn’t take it. He realized that he’s been teaching his kids that someone who looks like him doesn’t deserve to be loved.
And I’ve never felt anything so strong. Lauren tells him she knows that these aren’t his Dad’s words. They are his and he’s gonna keep suffering if he doesn’t stop. For him, hearing the worst words are the things that ring most true, they feel the most true. And she tells him that he can talk to someone, that therapy saved her life.
These two have been through hell and back, but what they have got is each other. What all of these people have is each other.
The worst can happen and they will always have each other.
Surgery seems to be going well, but the stitches aren’t holding. Everyone is breaking, but holding their shit together. Vijay is in his head, he’s seen the light and he sees his wife. She’s standing there in all her beauty and her smile – well, it feels like home. He’s ready to go with her. He’s ready to be with her. But she’s trying to feed him for strength. He needs to go back. Their granddaughter needs him.
It’s not his time.
When he wakes up, his friends are all there, ready to welcome him home.
The greatest thing about this show is that it gives you faith in medicine. It reminds you that all of the essential workers out there really put your care, your heart, and your spirit first. And this episode reminded me of how human they are.
They all need each other. And we all need them.
- Max thanking Karen for holding him accountable – I loved it
- Iggy and Lauren’s friendship may be one of my favorite things from now on
- Sharpe and going to tell Shin that she’s not ready to call it, and them holding each others faces. I cried.
- This pandemic changed us all, but I am thankful that we can see shows like this which remind us it’s okay to take time and your own speed to heal.
- The in memory wall to all the people that they lost. Reynolds staring at it. Lauren sees him and goes up to him. And sits next to him. He says he shoulda been there. She’s like you’re here now. PLEASE LET HIM STAY!