Monday, October 15, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Good Doctor' - Glassman Continues to Hallucinate a Conversation with His Daughter in 'Tough Titmouse'

ABC's The Good Doctor - Episode 2.04 "Tough Titmouse"

Shaun recalls his own past to help an intellectually disabled teenager face separation from his mother. Claire is put between an injured teenage rock climber and her worried parents. Glassman's post-op hallucinations force him to confront a personal tragedy.

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.

"Tough Titmouse" was written by David Hoselton and directed by Steven DePaul

The effectiveness of this episode may rest entirely on how well the viewer accepts Glassman suffering a psychosis and having a conversation with his deceased daughter. It's a plot device that is annoying and problematic to me. It seems like it's utilized for no other reason than to highlight the melodrama of the situation. Sure, it's very informative about this past trauma in his life. The first season largely talked around the accident that killed his daughter. That was true even though Jessica was a major part of the show. And now, she's gone as well with no real explanation given as to her absence. Plus, it just takes a long time to actually reveal what happened the night that Maddie died. She is pleading with her father to just accept that he can't sleep until he deals with these issues. But it just grows annoying after awhile as well. It feels as if the characters understand that they can't talk about the big development until closer to the end of the hour when the other doctors are aware that Glassman is talking to someone who isn't there. Shaun notices it at first and only waits thirty minutes before telling the attending. There is strong acting from both Richard Schiff and Holly Taylor throughout this story. It just feels overwrought in a way that just didn't work for me. It also comes on top of a really busy episode where there are two stories with morally complicated medical cases and a flashback to Shaun as a teenager. The show featured flashbacks with Shaun in almost every episode during the first half of the first season. It was a device established in the pilot that was continued in subsequent episodes even though it didn't need to be. And now, the show continues to explore that world and the relationships that Shaun has had in his life. This story proves that he did have at least one good experience in the foster care system. It proves that sometimes there are major changes that happen in his life that have absolutely nothing to do with him. In fact, he may only contribute to the problem. Things are simple in the past. He can no longer stay here because his foster mother is dying. He learns how to be strong because of her. That spirit is still felt to this day. However, he has been making Lea's shocking return to town all about him and how it suddenly impacts their relationship. She came back hoping to count on her friend to get through a traumatic moment in her life. Instead, she was embraced by a guy who was acting entirely like a jerk. He never really listens to her. He says the right thing in the end. He knows that there has to be a reason why Lea left Hershey just after moving back there. But he doesn't really care to know about it just yet. That appears to be a new mystery that the show will just keep teasing out in the next few episodes. It's clear the melodrama is still strong between Shaun and Lea. He continues to try these grand romantic gestures to prove that he isn't a jerk. And yet, he has no idea how his actions are coming across. Now, he fully expects things to be okay because he buys the apartment that she loves with the expectation of continuing to live together. That makes no sense. It's him continuing to be a part of her life even though she has been telling him that she needs distance. As such, it's clear that everything will remain just as complicated moving forward as it has been. That makes it play as just as real a relationship as any of the other characters have in their personal lives.