Monday, February 25, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Good Doctor' - Shaun Adjusts to a New Work Environment at the Hospital in 'Believe'

ABC's The Good Doctor - Episode 2.16 "Believe"

The new chief of surgery, Dr. Jackson Han, believes Dr. Shaun Murphy is a liability more than an asset and works to keep him out of the operating room permanently.

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.

"Believe" was written by Sal Calleros & Karen Struck and directed by Alrick Riley

Han is noble and genuine enough to admit when he's wrong. However, the show is defining so much of his character as him wanting Shaun out of the surgical residency program. Again, that's a character trait that has defined some of the other characters in their early interactions with Shaun. And yet, the show has mostly moved away from telling that kind of story in order to find new, potentially interesting avenues worth exploring. It has mostly done well in that regard too. As such, it feels a little regressive for this conflict to come up once more. The season did start with Andrews telling the residents how they needed to improve in the surgical program. Claire has absolutely flourished in this environment. She is the standout amongst the residency class. She can communicate effectively with her patient here even when she doesn't want to use the word miracle in order to talk about his cancer shrinking with no medical intervention whatsoever. Meanwhile, Shaun still has communication problems and an inability to really acknowledge when he has done something blatantly wrong. The show gives Han more of a leg to stand on in this debate as well. He found a solution that allowed Shaun to remain at the hospital changing lives. He just won't be interacting with patients now that he is in the pathology department. It's a different environment. One that can still be shiny and exciting. And yet, Shaun is also realizing that he enjoys seeing the cases through to their natural conclusions. He enjoys formulating ideas with a team and having his input heard and respected. This environment features him in a more isolated way. Sure, he has a friend here already. But he's not exactly happy with the changes. He is still willing to try to change to the circumstances. He doesn't quite know how to push back and fight for what he has worked hard to achieve as a surgical resident. Instead, he's mostly taking his frustrations out at home by reorganizing the canned goods in the kitchen. That doesn't serve anyone well though. And yet, it's still horrifying when Shaun sneaks into a patient's room and goes through her purse. That would be just cause for Han to take even more action against Shaun. But it's ultimately behavior that is rewarded because Shaun's hunch about this case actually turns out to be true. This woman isn't dying from a tumor that can't be fully removed. Instead, she simply has a worm in her brain and can live a very long and happy life. It's a very uplifting outcome. It may also be the show trying to get the audience on Han's side by pointing out that no matter how much Shaun wants this it may not be the best career for him. It's still very appreciated to see him fight back. This has to be something that he wants and can make the argument for him being in the program. It can't simply be Lim or Claire going to Han saying that Shaun deserves to be there. Shaun takes that step here even though it doesn't change anything. As such, it will remain fascinating to see if this will remain the conflict that defines the final episodes of the season or if some additional twist will occur which will complicate everything. Glassman does complete chemotherapy here after all - which is a little lame considering he just learned to appreciate the community of people also getting treatment alongside him.