Monday, December 3, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Good Doctor' - A Mysterious Disease Sends the Hospital into Lockdown in 'Quarantine'

ABC's The Good Doctor - Episode 2.10 "Quarantine"

Dr. Shaun Murphy and Dr. Morgan Reznick treat two patients who collapse at the local airport and whose symptoms point to an infection that may become airborne. The staff races to contain the infection before it spreads to the rest of the patients in the ER, resulting in a hospital quarantine during the holidays.

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.

"Quarantine" was written by Liz Friedman & Lloyd Gilyard Jr. and directed by Mike Listo

The hospital going into lockdown in order to contain an infectious and mysterious disease is a go-to trope in this particular genre to increase the tension for a high-stakes episode. Many medical procedurals have opted for this kind of a situation for a finale. It's understandable why. The doctors are facing a medical mystery that places their own lives in danger. It's an intense situation where they are running against the clock in the hopes of survival. It always seems inevitable that one character of note will perish. It's that type of storyline. Of course, the audience can also get the sense that The Good Doctor's approach to this story is even more manipulative than usual. It creates conflicts that ensure that Morgan, Alex and Melendez have some kind of personal stake in the outcome of this story - even if they aren't trapped in the quarantine. That means that Morgan suddenly has a paramedic who is interested in taking her out on a date and Alex's son makes his arrival only to land in peril. Moreover, Melendez and Lim have slept together. That's not a completely surprising development. It's just a bit random and blunt. There was no real proper buildup to it onscreen. The underlying chemistry and admiration was always there. It's just weird how most of this actually happens offscreen in between episodes. It just ensures that Melendez isn't in the right headspace when he needs to be making crucial medical decisions. That's another key point about this specific episode. This hour doesn't keep things confined to what is happening within the quarantine. Instead, it expands the world to check on a number of individuals. Some of them are at the hospital and some aren't. Glassman and Lea are far removed from this conflict. And yet, their story is trying to be just as dramatic with the shocking reveal that Glassman's tumor has returned. That will be a huge development in the remainder of the season. It just seems like the wrong time for that reveal given all of the other tension happening at the moment. Meanwhile, Melendez and Claire are distracted by their own medical case. They believe that everything is running smoothly until their bone marrow donor gets stuck in the quarantine. As such, they are trying to find a way to keep their patient alive long enough despite how compromised the donor could be at this moment. They even float the idea of expanding the quarantine and exposing more people to the deadly disease. They want to do so with a patient with no immune system. That's so dangerous. And yet, it features Melendez and Claire breaking the rules together instead of separately. That is meaningful. But again, it's a distraction from the real tension happening in the quarantine. That's where an escalating sense of tragedy is occurring. The paramedic dies. Then, Lim shows symptoms of the lethal disease. Then, Shaun and Morgan have to improvise a surgery. Then, Shaun gets distracted by caring for another patient and has a complete breakdown. It shows just how rigid Shaun has to plan his life. This quarantine can't abide by those rules. He can improvise with the surgery and taking care of Glassman's appointment. However, the buzzing of the light is enough to make him completely useless in a situation that is only going to get more dire. It's also just a cheap way to build a compelling cliffhanger as the show goes into a mini-hiatus for a month. It's still effective. It's just a little too obvious with the emotional and situational manipulations.