New Amsterdam's Helen Had An Heartbreaking Revelation, And Freema Agyeman Absolutely Crushed It

freema agyeman as helen sharpe new amsterdam nbc
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for the October 19 episode of New Amsterdam Season 4, called “This Be The Verse.”

New Amsterdam has thrown a lot of hurdles in the way of Helen and Max when it comes to their plan to move to London and start a new life together, and “This Be The Verse” introduced a new obstacle even beyond the interference of Michelle ForbesDr. Veronica Fuentes. Helen experienced a heartbreaking revelation after a confrontation with Iggy of all people, and their points of view leave a lot for fans to talk about. What shouldn’t be up for debate, if you ask me? The fact that Freema Agyeman is absolutely crushing this storyline!

Helen took the stand in “This Be The Verse” as a witness for a patient, who had experienced a physical reaction to what she claimed was a recovered memory of a sexual assault from years earlier. Helen was professional and spoke plainly, and seemed like the kind of witness who could seal the case in her patient’s favor… until Iggy showed up as a witness for the defense, to debunk recovered memories as “inherently unreliable.” He was seemingly affected by the hurt and hopeful look on Helen’s face, but stuck to his guns, and the case was ultimately dropped. 

In a confrontation back at the hospital, Helen accused him of letting a sexual predator go free and attacking a victim of sexual violence himself with his testimony, then dropped a heavy comment about how “distressing” it must be for him not to be believed. Iggy defended his scientific testimony about recovered memories being unreliable. This prompted Helen to drop a bombshell on Iggy: she has a recovered memory of her own. Helen shared that when she was caught in a rainstorm at university, a recovered memory resurfaced of the day her dad stormed out on her and her mom on a rainy day, even breaking her string of beads when he pushed her. 

And that speech was powerful enough as delivered by Freema Agyeman as Helen told the story of the “strongest memory” she had from a bank holiday in London at the age of five. But she upped the ante later, when confronted by Iggy saying that some of the details in her story didn’t make sense, telling her that the weather at the time didn’t match what she said. He didn’t seem to take any joy in proving her wrong, poking holes in her story in ways that were absolutely clearly news to her. 

As she relived what she thought she knew and realized that she was wrong in her recovered memory, Freema Agyeman showed Helen’s conflict as she wanted to stick to her guns. When he pointed out that her father pushing her wouldn’t have snapped her beads, it was what finally connected the dots for Helen that her mother kicked her father out, and broke the beads when she pulled her daughter away from her father. It was clear just by her expression that her strongest memory was falling apart, causing her to question everything. 

The storyline culminated with a powerful speech from Helen, when she visited Iggy’s office. After he said that he hated forcing her to face the flaws in her recovered memory, she said:

And I hated you for doing it. It was violating. But you were right. I’m about to cross an ocean to be closer to my mum, and I have no idea who she is anymore. I’ve always thought of my dad as a coward. But he was holding me. He was holding me like he wanted me. And he tried to reach out so many times. I never answered, and I was okay with it. But what if I was wrong? The fact that he died knowing that I hated him… There’s just no making that right, is there?

Helen was sobbing by the time she finished her speech, and I was about ready to reach for a tissue myself from Freema Agyeman’s performance. Iggy got her to laugh, then told her to rely on the present, what makes her feel safe, and what makes her feel pleasure and love. She smiled, and the scene shifted to Max… in time for everything to fall apart. A heated conversation between Max and Fuentes ended with Max declaring that maybe he wouldn’t leave for London so that the hospital wouldn’t be in her hands. Helen arrived just in time to hear that declaration, and the look of hope and hurt was back. 

And basically, this episode was a showcase for Freema Agyeman that just makes me hope that she continues to get meaty storylines on New Amsterdam, although that does probably mean more suffering for poor Helen. The promo for next week indicates that the focus is going to shift to Dr. Wilder, who will be doing a surgery at New Amsterdam in what looks like a pretty special episode. See what happens next with new episodes of New Amsterdam on NBC on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET in the fall TV lineup

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.