Monday, November 19, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Good Doctor' - Shaun and Claire's Patient Has a Problem With Impulse Control in 'Stories'

ABC's The Good Doctor - Episode 2.08 "Stories"

Dr. Shaun Murphy, Dr. Audrey Lim and Dr. Claire Brown's E.R. patient is forced to reveal a secret to her husband after their treatment caused a complication. Dr. Neil Melendez, Dr. Morgan Reznick and Dr. Alex Park struggle with a patient whose parents don't believe in vaccinations.

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.

"Stories" was written by Sal Calleros and directed by Michael Patrick Jann

This episode isn't entirely bad. It just feels empty and unnecessary in a way that the rest of the season hasn't up to this point. There is still continuing drama with Glassman's cancer. However, that is mostly confined to a scene at the end of the hour that confirms that he is having memory problems because of the radiation treatments. That's very ominous. But again, it's basically the only story of actual substance here as well. Elsewhere, the show continues to flesh out Alex Park as a character. And yet, he just isn't as interesting as the other residents he is competing with. He even has to steal a story from Morgan in order to seem like he has lived a life and can offer an anecdote to his patients this week. That's just lame and uninspired. It mostly establishes a new competition between them. However, it's a competition spun out of the anti-vaccination movement. Now, that is a very real concern throughout the world. The Internet has spurred the idea that people don't have to vaccinate their children any more. That's not true at all. It can lead to many dangerous side effects if they don't. However, The Good Doctor doesn't really find an interesting or new spin on this story. It has been featured on numerous medical procedurals already. As a viewer who watches many shows in this genre, it's an important story but one that doesn't seem to have much intrigue or nuance to it whatsoever. And so, the story here mostly seems like a non-starter. Moreover, Shaun's instincts once again are proven right because he is able to see things that the other doctors cannot. He believes that his patient has trouble with impulse control because of a tumor. There is a moment where he believes he is wrong and that the world is just a sad place because people lie even to those they love. That's still a lesson for Shaun to learn. It's depressing and tragic. But it's also the world as well. However, he is ultimately proven right. He and Claire are able to perform the surgery and heal this broken marriage. It's just mostly presented as a story that becomes predictable from its very first moments. There is never really a twist that takes the audience or the characters by surprise. It's all very standard. That makes this episode feel more like a filler hour. That's strange for a show that doesn't have to produce a full season of 22 episodes though. Moreover, the conclusion to Claire and Melendez's disagreement is absolutely bad. Andrews believes he doesn't have to get in the middle of it. When he does though, he sides with his friend and the attending. He intervenes because the optics are pointed out to him and how they could damage the hospital's reputation if Claire leaves. And yet, he still basically sees this as Claire's problem to fix. She stands her ground though. She has really stepped up as one of the most engaging and compelling characters this season. She was told to be more assertive and she has done just that. She has done so without losing her sense of compassion either. She is still able to help her patient's husband. And yet, she still apologizes to Melendez because she is forced to care about how he is perceived throughout all of this. The show believes itself to be aware of racial and gender optics. However, it also presents a standard story of a woman trying to make a man in a position of power feel better even though she has done absolutely nothing wrong to deserve his contempt. It feels out-of-place and should really make the audience question the point of all of this.