Monday, November 26, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Good Doctor' - Shaun Learns How to Drive in Order to Better Help Glassman in 'Empathy'

ABC's The Good Doctor - Episode 2.09 "Empathy"

Dr. Neil Melendez, Dr. Morgan Reznick and Dr. Claire Browne grapple with a patient's wish to perform an operation that would keep him from acting on his pedophilic urges. Dr. Shaun Murphy learns a lesson in empathy.

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.

"Empathy" was written by Karen Struck and directed by Joanna Kerns

Andrews really hasn't been an active character this season so far. There was always the idea that him becoming president of the hospital would shake up the status quo in a significant way. And yet, that really hasn't been the case at all. He's managing things in practically the same way that Glassman did. There just isn't that personal connection into the office to keep him a major character in the show. When Glassman was president, his relationship with Shaun meant that he was vital to the foundation of the series. Andrews really doesn't have any strong relationships with anyone on his staff. As such, it was easy to forget that there was a competition for who would be named the Chief of Staff for the hospital. Melendez and Lim were competing for that prize. Here, the residents are actually betting to see who will prevail. But then, it's nothing more than inaction because Andrews decides to keep the position himself. He doesn't make a choice. He would rather just stick with the status quo believing he is the best. As such, there really isn't any point to any of this. It just offers a way for Andrews to creep into the various stories even though he doesn't offer any valid positions on any of the medical cases. That's weird. If he was in the room with the surgeons, he was bound to have an opinion and would see the value in voicing it to ensure his doctors came to the right decision. Instead, that doesn't occur. It's much more important that Melendez and Lim realize that they need to have each other's backs. They can't be constantly thrown into competition against each other. That's not the way that this should work. They should respect each other and lift each other up to ensure that greatness is spread throughout the hospital. They are good influences on the residents as well. Sure, the episodic stories are mostly confined to how the residents can relate to their patients. It's easy to see Shaun changing his mind about a cosmetic procedure for his patient after learning his injuries were sustained by an abusive father at a young age. The show is smart not to overplay that melodrama though. It's there for the audience to be keenly aware of Shaun's backstory without needing to over-explain his sudden change of heart in this regard. Elsewhere, the show continues to delve into murky moral territory with Claire and Morgan's patient who suffers from pedophilia impulses. He wants to get these thoughts out of his head. It's a story that just leaves him in agony because the doctors don't know what to do. It has such a tragic ending as well. He would rather walk in front of a bus then allow them the time to figure out the best path forward. Of course, the show somewhat sends a mixed message as well because it concludes with Morgan saying that the world is better off with this guy dead. It wanted to be more complicated than that for most of its running time. And then, it takes the simple way out at the last possible moment. That's not really earned or all that exciting. Meanwhile, it's just a lot of fun to watch Shaun learn how to drive. He believes this is something he needs to do for his independence and as a way to continue to help Glassman with his treatments. And yes, Lea is right to point out that driving is similar to how Shaun conducts himself in the operating room. He shouldn't freeze up just because of loud noises and unknown variables. The same is expected of him as a doctor. It's just something new that he has to understand and learn how to conquer. But he's on the right path by the end of the hour as well.