Monday, March 11, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Good Doctor' - Shaun's Life Is In Danger as He Continues to Fight for His Job in 'Trampoline'

ABC's The Good Doctor - Episode 2.18 "Trampoline"

As a barroom fight sends Dr. Shaun Murphy to seek treatment at St. Bonaventure's, Dr. Alex Park and Dr. Audrey Lim disagree over an elderly woman's post-operative symptoms. Dr. Neil Melendez and Dr. Lim make their romance public. Dr. Aaron Glassman continues to pursue a relationship with a good friend.

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 season finale of ABC's The Good Doctor.

"Trampoline" was written by David Shore, David Hoselton & Mark Rozeman and directed by David Shore

The Good Doctor headed into its second season finale on the devastating note of Shaun being fired from the hospital. He simply can't comprehend that decision and the reason why Han made it. He also doesn't wish to find employment elsewhere despite Glassman already lining up a new opportunity. He just wants to sit in the sadness and anger of why he isn't able to do the job that he wants anymore. And yes, this debate has been interesting and nuanced because Han does have a point. He is completely rational with the arguments that he is making. He did have just cause to fire Shaun. And yet, Shaun is rehired by the end of this finale and Han is fired from his position as Chief of Surgery. That proves that this was just a brief arc at the end of the season for executive producer Daniel Dae Kim. His presence allowed the situation to have more gravitas to it. Of course, it's also odd how Andrews is suddenly an important figure in this conflict after being so checked out of it in the previous episodes. The show still doesn't quite know what to do with him either. This season really didn't make him all that more complex or interesting. He was just in a higher position of power believing that he could continue to perform well with every task at the hospital. It was only after tragedy struck that he was forced to relinquish some of that power. But he still has enough to fire Han here without needing to bring it up to a vote to the board. He is the one who makes the decision to hire Shaun back. He does so because he believes that the situation is still working for the people involved and is beneficial to everyone at the hospital staff. That's a significant move considering he had his own doubts about Shaun at the start of the series. But again, it mostly feels like an easy solution to ensure that order is restored at the end of the season. The audience doesn't have to go into the hiatus worried about Shaun's fate. Sure, there is a scary moment in which Shaun becomes a patient himself. He is sad and angry at a bar. He gets into a fight. Instead of seeking treatment for himself, he is providing care for the man who assaulted him. That just leads to a precarious situation in which Shaun passes out because of his own injuries at the precise moment that he learns exactly what's wrong with the other guy. That creates an uncertain situation in which the other doctors only have a completely innocuous clue to try to figure it out. "Trampoline" doesn't seem to apply to the situation at all. The mystery ultimately isn't as rewarding as one might hope. It's mostly just medical jargon to ensure that everything does come to a happy conclusion here. However, Glassman articulates how all of this was a helpful learning experience for Claire as well. Shaun may not communicate in the same way that the other doctors do. However, his perspective is absolutely necessary because it saved a life and got his fellow resident to see things from a different vantage point. That better serves her own education. That is a gift that Shaun gives to her. That is rewarding because it proves that Shaun isn't the only person who can make these miraculous saves by seeing things others cannot. He is still a normal and relatable guy. One who is terrified of being rejected by the person he has a crush on. It's so moving during those final moments in which Lea believes Shaun is going to ask to start their romantic relationship once more only for him to walk away and instead ask Carly out. That's a surprise. But it's also so amusing to see Shaun delight in getting yes as well. That's a very happy message to end the season on.