Monday, February 18, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Good Doctor' - The Hospital Gets a New Chief of Surgery Who Quickly Clashes with Shaun in 'Risk and Reward'

ABC's The Good Doctor - Episode 2.15 "Risk and Reward"

Shaun's blunt honesty with a distraught mother of a critically ill newborn baby causes the new Chief of Surgery to question keeping him on as a resident.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of ABC's The Good Doctor.

"Risk and Reward" was written by Liz Friedman & David Renaud and directed by Freddie Highmore

Even though this episodes marks Daniel Dae Kim's first onscreen appearance as new Chief of Surgery Dr. Jackson Han, he has actually been involved with the show longer than anyone else. He was the person who first secured the rights to the Korean format. With his production company, he shopped the series around to various outlets and partnered with a number of people to find the most effective take on the material. Eventually, it became a successful show for ABC. Of course, it's very telling that he is appearing onscreen now as well. The show and the network may be hoping for a boost in the ratings by bringing him on as an exciting new addition to shake up the formula of the series - even though it has already been renewed for a third season. Han arrives here and is immediately a big presence. Andrews and Allegra casually note that he can help with their recent problems with the government because of his connections. He comes to the hospital with a huge ego and the understanding that he is the best surgeon who deserves to be recognized as such. However, that's not a new personality type for this show. Both Andrews and Melendez have felt that way about themselves in the past. In fact, they still see themselves as these incredible surgeons who can do no wrong even though they have made plenty of mistakes over the course of the show. Meanwhile, Han's initial dynamic with Shaun is the same as what Andrews and Melendez had in the early going. They were skeptical of how he could effectively serve as a surgical resident given his autism. Han immediately sees a problem as well as Shaun's inability to see himself as having done anything wrong. He simply answered the questions that the parents of his young patient had. He didn't notice just how devastated they were by his answers. And yet, those answers are what shade their understanding of the case and their decision-making process for the rest of the hour. Shaun never interacts with them again. But that's enough for Han to recognize that this is a problem that can't change because of Shaun's condition. Shaun has been making a ton of progress. He believes he's getting better at reading social cues and understanding how other people are acting around him. However, he hasn't shown the most personal growth amongst the characters this season. Claire has actually stepped up as the star resident lately who shines in every aspect of the job. As such, the argument may no longer be there for the doctors to support Shaun considering he is better and more innovative than anyone else in the hospital. He will more than likely fight to keep his position as a surgical resident. All of this may mostly just ensure a ton of drama during the final portion of the season. Han comes in to shake things up. He has a much different reaction to Shaun than Melendez or Andrews did. He sees the autism as a problem and immediately seeks out a solution that works for everyone. He believes Shaun can have a thriving medical career as a pathologist. He could use his phenomenal diagnostic skills without having to interact with patients. That may be a convenient solution to all of this that may be healthy in the long run. However, Shaun sees himself as a surgical resident. He may not understand fully what's going on. But he won't let anything change how he views himself. He is proud of his autism and his ability to excel in the operating room. He comes up with the miraculous save to keep the newborn baby alive when all hope seems lost. And so, all of this signals that Shaun is smart and capable. But that still may not be enough for his new boss.