New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 16 Review: King of Swords

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A winter storm hit New Amsterdam, but an emotional storm took the characters by surprise.

New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 16 was teased as an extraordinary hour, and it lived up to the hype giving us one of the most emotonally impactful, intense, stunning hours of the series yet. 

It's incredible how this series not only continues to improve with each installment but carve out a tried and true formula which keeps people coming back for more. 

Braving the Storm - Tall - New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 16

This series is a medical drama, but at its core, it's about human connection, relationships, and the complex nature of the human spirit.

Nothing is more complicated than the relationship between Max and Helen. From their first interaction, there was something special about the pair. It was enough to spark 'shippers who gravitated toward them and affectionately referred to the duo as Sharpwin.

They had an instant connection with one another; one of which cannot be denied or ignored, so kudos to the series for addressing it and bringing to the forefront. Rarely does a show address the elephant in the room head-on.

Max: My wife and I have been through a lot this year, but we're good now, so, I'm not going to lose her.
Mrs. Gallagher: I'm not talking about your wife. You and your wife are fine. There's someone else. Someone you care for deeply. And you are going to lose her.

Everyone had something to say about their "vibe." Helen can't bring herself to say no to Max. When he calls for her, she goes to him no matter how often she pretends to put up a fight.

It's interesting how Panthaki has picked up on their vibe so soon. He's the only one on the series who bothered to question Helen about it. He told her he could tell Max was the one who called her based on how she behaved.

It seemed as though he were implying Helen and Max may have been something more once upon a time, perhaps due to him not knowing the extent of their relationship or how long they've known one another.

Helen is Concerned - Tall - New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 16

He approached the issue from several angles. For one, he implied there were romantic feelings of some sort there, but he also suggested Max may not view her as his doctor or take her seriously in that regard.

It was enough to have Helen reeling for the rest of the hour. She couldn't shake what Panthaki said, and what's interesting about it, is I don't feel Helen has ever given much thought to the nature of her and Max's relationship before this.

It's the same way for Max. They're so in whatever it is they have going on in their bubble; it never crossed their minds to analyze it.

Pathanki: I just wondered if the things you guys have made it very difficult.
Helen: Excuse me Max and I don't have a thing.
Pathanki: The Vibe?
Helen: What are you talking about? There is no vibe.

Panthaki was the first to get into Helen's head, and their patient Marlene got into hers and Max's too. Marlene was a clairvoyant who had strong feelings about each of them.

She tapped into something when she told Max about his fear of losing Helen. Naturally, he assumed it was about Georgia at first, and she reassured him his relationship with Georgia was fine. They're on the right path, and they're OK.

Related: New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 15 Review: Croaklahoma

It took no time at all for Max to realize it was Helen Marlene was speaking about, and the phrasing suggested the same thing Panthaki suggested: at some point, Helen and Max could experience some friction if he spends too much time looking at her as a colleague and friend and not as his doctor.

Ruined Plans

Yes, it was quintessentially Max to come up with a plan of sending doctors out to help others in the storm who couldn't make to them. It was 100% Goodwin to trudge out into a blizzard with Helen behind him taking for granted she wouldn't let him go alone without her.

She's his doctor, and when she tells him things about what he can expect and advises him as she would any patient, he tends to dismiss her as he would his friend. Helen cares about him too much to let it continue, so I can see where it would be an issue down the road.

As for the other aspect of their relationship, it was captivating how they never thought about trying to figure out what they were to each other or attempting to define it.

Marlene: I just sense a strong vibe. Honey, I'm sorry, but it's never going to work out between you and Max.
Helen: I don't need it to work out between me and Max. Max is married. I have a boyfriend. Most importantly, I am his doctor.

Relationships are fascinating; we try hard to define them or put them in a comfortable category when sometimes they don't require a definition. Sometimes a relationship just ... is.

Love is similar in that vain. Helen and Max care about each other, and they do respect and love each other, but it doesn't necessarily have to mean something more than what it is right now.

If I had to call them anything at all, I'd say they were a perfect example of twin flames. It's okay for them to be each other's person or have a profound connection of which there are no real words or explanations.

Besties - Tall - New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 14

They have the gravitational pull; they orbit around one another and connect on a mental and spiritual level. It is what it is. The funny thing about dynamics is one can enjoy certain ones without it needing to be specifically romantic.

Max wanted to speak to her at Marlene's house, and the gist of what he wasn't able to say but seemed to want to was he appreciates her, cares for her, and respects her, and in response to Marlene's ominous message, he doesn't want to lose her.

Related: Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 10 Review: Re-Birthday

After his scare out in the storm, it seems Helen wants to address their issue too. It's hard to guess what she'll say to him about their relationship or what it could mean for them in the future. She never got the chance to say anything else because of the storm knocking the power out.

Helen: Do you believe in all that stuff?
Max: I don't know. You?
Helen: I don't know either. Max, we need to talk. About us.
Max: Okay.
Helen: This thing between us ...

I for one cannot wait for the series to return, as their conversation will have me enthralled. What will Helen say to him? Do you think she'll stop being his doctor? Will she take a step back and attempt to set up boundaries?

Sharpin wasn't the only thing giving people anxiety. Iggy's entire arc during the hour was a nail-biter. Was I the only one who stopped breathing when he fell on the roof and started sliding?

How about when Javi was about to jump? Why is this show so gosh damn emotional and stressful?!

The Honorable Iggy - New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 16

One of the least surprising revelations during this hour was finding out Iggy is a weather nerd. It suits him, and he wasn't the least bit discouraged by the kids losing interest either. Perhaps if he weren't geeking out over the weather, he wouldn't have gotten locked up on the roof in subzero weather.

Been there done that, could write a book about it. It's not fun, but nothing compared to Iggy nearly watching Javi kill himself.

It's not a classic installment of New Amsterdam until Iggy moves you to tears with encouraging words and being the best psychologist on television.

If people can't get to this hospital, we need to bring this hospital to them.


The moment Javi started to talk, it was a heartache waiting to happen. He was discouraged, sad, and felt as though no one would miss him if he were gone, and it was enough to make you want to reach through the screen and squeeze him tight.

Also, the real hero of this story is Gladys. Gladys is and will forever remain the best.

Iggy had words for Javi, but Kapoor had the most emotional monologue. He was willing to move heaven and earth to get to the husband of his patient.

A Sad Confession - Tall - New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 16

He needed desperately to tell the man his wife was dying, and he hoped he would get the husband there in time. While Kapoor's actions felt as though he weren't doing anything abnormal for him, there was more to his desperation.

If you weren't already in an emotional heap on the floor, Kapoor's recount of his last experience with his wife was devastating. They argued about Rohan, and she died before they could make up.

Anupam Kher was exceptional during the scene where Kapoor spoke of what he would tell his late wife if he could.

We both went to bed angry, and then she didn't wake up. All these years I thought I was hurting because I didn't get to say I was sorry. Now I know it's because I didn't get to tell her that I loved her smile, her mischief, her heart.


Meanwhile, Floyd was representative of the best traits of humans. He embodied fortitude and compassion. He was relentless and awe-inspiring in a way humans are when properly motivated.

Floyd's interactions with Hugh were fraught with all the feels. Hugh was hilarious, brave, and sincere in his love for his husband. The two men connected, which made it harder with each passing second knowing Hugh could die with that spike in him.

Floyd was his most impressive when he hoisted the man on his back and walked the six blocks to the hospital while trying to keep him alive after the severe impalement.

Heroic Feat - Tall New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 16

It was moving beyond words, and the intensity of the hour reached new heights when Hugh made it onto the OR table, but the power went out and the hour ended before we knew if he had a chance in hell of surviving.

Hopefully, he survives. We're too invested in his outcome for him not to make it.

The show has found a way to incorporate Lauren and her rehab journey wonderfully. She's struggling with the notion of not being able to practice again, and as a result, she's not motivated enough to get well.

Floyd: Right now I'm trying to figure out how this spike is penetrating you.
Hugh: Well, it definitely doesn't feel like missionary.

She couldn't help stepping in when a fellow patient overdosed and required medical attention. Healing and helping is in her blood, but she's struggling to figure out her purpose outside of that.

It was disheartening when she swiped the pills from the patient, but she 'fessed up to her misdeed; it's a start.

Her counselor is right; Lauren wants to get better, but she has to allow herself to get better.

She can get there, though, and it seems the talk she shared with the counselor was another mini-breakthrough for her. It's a slow process for Lauren, but she's getting there.

A Bloom Breakthrough?

One day soon, she'll be able to forgive Helen and recognize Helen did what she had to do for Lauren's behalf and others.

Over to you 'Dam Fanatics! What are your thoughts on Helen and Max's relationship? What do you think Helen will tell him, and what did Max intend to tell her?

-Related: Get Starz via Prime Video Channels for Captivating Original Series & Hit Movies! -

Will Hugh survive? How impressive were Floyd's actions? Did your heart break for Kapoor? Hit the comments below with your thoughts, feelings, and reactions.

Unfortunately, New Amsterdam doesn't return until April. 9.

You can watch New Amsterdam online here via TV Fanatic to hold you over until then.

King of Swords Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (13 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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New Amsterdam Season 1 Episode 16 Quotes

If people can't get to this hospital, we need to bring this hospital to them.


Pathanki: I just wondered if the things you guys have made it very difficult.
Helen: Excuse me Max and I don't have a thing.
Pathanki: The Vibe?
Helen: What are you talking about? There is no vibe.