Monday, September 24, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Good Doctor' - Shaun and the Other Residents Face Their Reviews from Andrews in 'Hello'

ABC's The Good Doctor - Episode 2.01 "Hello"

Shaun's proposed treatment for a homeless patient puts him and Jared in Andrews' crosshairs. Claire tries to overcome Melendez's reluctance to do a risky heart operation. Glassman must overcome his personal feelings about his oncologist, Dr. Marina Blaize, and face a difficult decision about his health.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of ABC's The Good Doctor.

"Hello" was written by Freddie Highmore and directed by Mike Listo

There is a fair amount of turnover at the start of The Good Doctor's second season. Chuku Modu and Beau Garrett are out. Fiona Gubelmann, Will Yun Lee, Christina Chang and Paige Spara are in. Moreover, there is a House reunion with Lisa Edelstein coming in as Dr. Glassman's oncologist. And now, it seems like she is the doctor with addiction issues. But that is mostly just teased in this premiere with Glassman spending most of his time in waiting rooms by himself. The relationship between Shaun and Glassman is the heart of the show and one of the most complex relationships. Shaun believes he can't do any good just waiting with Glassman as these tests are performed on him again. He spends most of the day just avoiding the waiting room because he believes that Glassman isn't dying. Of course, there's a very real chance that he might be. It's the show continuing to milk this drama for all that it's worth. It's certainly giving Freddie Highmore and Richard Schiff a lot of interesting and nuanced material to play. It's so emotional at the end of the story when Glassman is telling Shaun he needs to take on this long journey by himself and Shaun agrees to be by his side through all of it. That's special and moving. Elsewhere, it's fascinating that Jared gets an actual goodbye while Jessica just completely disappears. Moreover, it seems like Highmore was able to write Jared in a more compelling way than any of the writers from the first season. This premiere actually gives the audience a reason to be sad that he is leaving. He is kind and considerate here. He respects Shaun and is able to help him when it's needed. It shows just how strong their friendship had become. It highlights it right before Jared leaves. Sure, there are also the requisite moments of Jared and Claire saying goodbye. And yet, their romance was never a story that the viewer should have really been invested in. So, this just feels obligatory in a way that the rest of the premiere does not. It's also awkward that so much time is spent on a character who is leaving the show. That means the rest of the ensemble is saddled with a story that just briefly hints at what each of them will be working on this season. Andrews is learning how to be the president of the hospital by delegating while still manipulating things to get what he wants. Melendez continues to learn how to respect and trust his team and their medical decisions. And finally, Claire has to be more assertive with her ideas while Morgan has to be more of a team player. These are clear and concise goals for all of them. Of course, it also leaves Alex in the dark with no real hook just yet. That's significant because he didn't exactly have a memorable personality in the first season either beyond being a former cop. And lastly, Paige's return shouldn't be a surprise to anyone knowing that Paige Spara was coming back or saw her name in the opening credits. However, it also seems incredibly likely that her presence will shock Shaun in a time when he is trying to exert some control in his personal life and career. He may not be able to deal with the uncertainty that comes from both her and Glassman.