Spoilers ahead for Episode 2 of New Amsterdam Season 3, called "Essential Workers."
New Amsterdam returned last week to reveal the new normal for the doctors and nurses after fighting the pandemic, which cost the lives of multiple workers and left Dr. Kapoor on a ventilator with significant heart damage. The good news is that Max was able to call Reynolds back to New York to treat their friend and colleague; the bad news is that Reynolds returned to discover that the new normal is bleaker than he expected after his hospital in San Francisco was spared the worst of COVID. Jocko Sims spoke with CinemaBlend about his return to New Amsterdam as Reynolds, the powerful final scene, and more.
New Amsterdam star Ryan Eggold had previously hinted that Jocko Sims would be sticking around for a bit, and "Essential Workers" ended with a somber Dr. Reynolds showing no sign of returning to his job in San Francisco. Sims opened up with his feelings about coming back on a longer term than a one-and-done and how long Reynolds will be around on Season 3:
Well, I like this space of the unknown. It's interesting. Normally, when you have series regulars on a show, you tend to get very comfortable. And I think from a storyteller perspective, I like that discomfort. I like for people to not know and take that ride and it causes them to have to tune in. So I will echo what Ryan said in that Reynolds will be around for a while. But as far as permanently, look, just like in real life, this character has things to do. He has a fiancée, a new position, and a new city. And right now, a friend needs him. So we'll have to see where we go from there.
Jocko Sims didn't confirm one way or the other whether he's back as a series regular, but viewers definitely don't have to worry that he'll be gone in the first five minutes of the next episode, and the uncertainty about Reynolds' future should keep fans on their toes. As the actor noted, Reynolds still has some strong strings attached to the life he left behind to come help Dr. Kapoor.
Reynolds left New Amsterdam in Season 2 with a new job secured in San Francisco, where he would build a new life with fiancé Evie. In fact, his final episode of the second season suggested that the next time his friends in New York might see him would be at the wedding. That was of course before the pandemic, but there is no sign that Reynolds and Evie are done, and he never said that he had come back to stay.
That said, the final scene of the episode saw Reynolds realizing just how much he missed while working at his hospital in San Francisco where there were only a few deaths due to COVID. New Amsterdam honored those employees who had died in the pandemic with a tree memorial that showed their hospital IDs, paying tribute to them and giving Reynolds a stark visual of the lives lost. He even told Bloom that he should have been there, to which she noted that he's there now.
It was a powerful final scene, but Jocko Sims revealed that there's more to it than what those hospital IDs represented to Reynolds as a character on the show. There were "hidden gems" in that tree, as the actor explained:
The first thing that comes to mind, again, a laughable moment, is that our art department, they are very funny. So they do little hidden gems of things. And they splattered some crew members' pictures on there, and some some cast members who actually did not pass away on the show, but they put them on the wall. So I spent a lot of time during that scene trying not to laugh at what I was actually looking at, which is so inappropriate, given the circumstances of the situation. But that just shows how much fun we have. But for New Amsterdam to do that, it just gets back to the heart that the hospital has, you know, puts its patients first. It cares, this character of the hospital. And I wouldn't expect anything else out of the staff, out of Max, then to have a sort of tree to remind us of our fallen heroes during this time.
Based on Jocko Sims' performance as Reynolds (and Janet Montgomery as Bloom) in the final scene, who could have guessed that there was anything funny on the memorial tree? The wall featuring the faces of crew members and actors rather than random images is a fun bit of trivia, and definitely worth rewatching that scene with a closer eye on the wall!
That tree is very fitting for New Amsterdam under Max's leadership, though. The "fallen heroes" obviously embraced Max's "How can I help?" mantra if they gave everything to try and save lives during a deadly pandemic. It also seemed like the ideal visual to really make Reynolds feel everything he missed.
The return of Reynolds may have happened because of tragedy, but fans who were upset to see Jocko Sims go in Season 2 definitely got some good news that Dr. Kapoor's heart pulled him back to New Amsterdam. Sims explained what it has meant to him to return to the role that became so beloved over two seasons of New Amsterdam:
It feels great, it feels amazing to have the support of the fans. Not to mention, you know, the bated breath we've had here in America, figuring out what's going to happen with Reynolds. But also I think that the network and the studio dropped New Amsterdam on Netflix all over the world, not here in America, but in many, many countries. And the love and support we've gotten for those first two seasons in the past week, have been mind-blowing. So they're loving it. And we have people in Argentina and Chile and Italy and Spain and Canada, Netherlands and Romania. To hear these many countries, people from these countries wondering what's going to happen with Reynolds, it's just been incredible. It's been an incredible journey.
New Amsterdam may not be available streaming on Netflix in the United States like for new fans who have discovered the shows internationally, but that doesn't mean there are no options for watching the series online. All three seasons of New Amsterdam so far are available streaming on Peacock. As for what comes next on the hospital drama, at least there's no reason to worry about saying goodbye to Reynolds a gain too quickly, and the plot is thickening when it comes to relationships.
New episodes of New Amsterdam air on NBC Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET, as one of several medical dramas on the air in the first few months of 2021. The show has picked up where Season 2 left off as much as possible, considering how it had to cut an episode that introduced a key new character. The next episode will see Max facing the reality that the hospital still isn't safe due to the pandemic.