(Moving on from) COVID-19
With the previous two episodes having heavily focused on the global pandemic and how it affected St. Bonaventure, the show chose to move on and dream of better times, which is being explained by Freddie Highmore as a lead-in to the episode. “The following episode portrays our hope for the future — a future where no one will have to wear masks or take other steps to stay safe from COVID. Until then, please protect yourself and others.” (I wonder how many viewers went: OMG, he’s a Brit?! :-D)
And with that, The Good Doctor moves further into season 4, away from COVID-19 and its effects, which a lot of people embraced, and I also welcome because sometimes we just want to get away from all the restrictions and suckiness, right?
Patient #1 we’re following this episode is a firefighter whom Morgan initially examines at the Clinic. She does an ultrasound of his chest and finds a large tumour on the wall of his heart. And there’s our first surgery patient whose case one half of the new resident applicants, Will, Asher and Olivia, will observe, while Morgan and Claire get into an argument about what the best surgical approach should be.
Our patient’s heart tumour is giving the surgical team trouble, the tumour is inaccessible with the approach they initially planned. As Morgan’s patient, she suggests taking the patient’s heart out of his chest, remove the tumour, and then put the heart back in. Risky move, but it would give the guy a fighting chance.
Patient #1 was, in part, a springboard for illustrating Morgan’s struggle this season — involuntarily giving up her career as a surgeon and moving into internal medicine, and her difficulty of letting go of a specialty she was incredibly invested in and eager to excel at. Adjusting is hard. Shaun can probably tell you a great deal about that, too.
Patient #2 is a 17-year-old girl with tuberous breasts who is at St. Bonaventure for breast reconstruction. The other three applicants, John, Jordan and Enrique, are following this case, and Jordan has an issue with the plastic surgery. “You’re beautiful, and your breasts look fine just the way they are.”
Shaun and Jordan get a telling off by Andrews about it, seeing how Shaun openly challenged the approach in front of the patient and Andrews expected more of him in his new mentoring role. And Shaun is confused as to what he did wrong.
The breast reconstruction surgery and Jordan’s reaction to it gives us reason to examine the pros and cons of elective plastic surgery. Is it wrong to use invasive medical procedures just to conform to a beauty ideal propagated by society? Shouldn’t you be able to be seen as beautiful, just the way you are? Surely a hot topic these days, particularly with social media influencers and constant peer pressure all around.
Jordan very much has balls during the conversation with Andrews. “I also understand the cosmetic surgery industry is dominated by male physicians with a sexist bias.” You go, girl!
During the surgery, the patient develops complications and nearly dies. Was the plastic surgery worth it? Andrews works his magic and they manage to restore blood flow and save the girl’s life.
Shaun & Lea
This episode introduces the concept of Shaun, as fourth year resident, now slipping into the role of mentor. And he’s definitely struggling. We’ll be seeing a lot more of this as the season progresses.
Shaun and Lea’s big theme this episode seems to be “honesty”, which we explore by means of compliments and the way these can be misguidedly expressed or misconstrued.
Over lunch with Lea in the cafeteria, they invite the resident applicants to join their conversation, and it very quickly becomes Awkward Central™ when Shaun tells them Lea’s breasts are excellent (TMI, Shaun) but he doesn’t like her adenoidal voice. Mah boy, you have much to learn about giving compliments to a woman.
During their small talk ‘it’s 5:00 somewhere’ soiree to get to know the resident applicants better, Jordan tips Shaun off that he’s pretty much insulted Lea and her mother earlier during their earlier lunch conversation. Shaun is completely thrown. What’s he done wrong now?
He goes to investigate, only to find out that Lea is indeed mad at him. “I said your voice doesn’t bother me. It was a compliment,” he tells Lea with confidence. “Actually, what you said is that you love my breasts so much that, with the help of noise-cancelling headphones, you’re willing to put up with my annoying voice.” Shaun nods. “Yess.” Lea puts him in his place. “Not a compliment.”
Poor Shaunie is so confused. He loves Lea (complete with excellent breasts and adenoidal voice). What has he said that upset her? Lea walks out on him, letting him down gently that she needs some space and he should leave her alone for now. And then Shaun does what he does. He asks everyone else what he should do. And he gets a wealth of different advice from different people. He probably made a pros and cons list afterwards.
The ensuing conversation between Shaun and Aaron is fun, with life lessons to be learned here. Aaron tells him, “Women are sensitive. When commenting on their flaws, total honesty is a high-risk procedure.” Shaun doesn’t agree. “That sounds sexist, aren’t men also insecure about their flaws?” Aaron knows where it’s at. “Men are much, much worse. And also, we’re really stupid.”
Shaun takes some time to process all this newly learned information, and then he tries to make it right. He approaches Lea in the hospital hallway. “I think I’m sorry.” Shaun wants to be totally honest with Lea. “I don’t like your body because it’s excellent, I like it because it’s yours. And I love hearing you talk. When I hear your voice, especially when I’ve had a difficult day, I find it comforting. Now I want to hug you. Can I?”
Aw, Shaun. You’re making all our hearts melt here. Stop it.
“I’d like that,” Lea responds. Their hug is sweet and loving, and he tells Lea he loves her. “Thank you for your total honesty,” she thanks him. Never stop being honest with Lea, Shaun, okay?
The First Year Residents
As per the episode title, we get to meet the newbies, how exciting! New first year residents to join the program! What are they like? We have six resident applicants on the shortlist (for four actual openings).
- Jordan Allen:
Ambitious, entrepreneurial, competitive, assertive
- John Lundberg:
Hard-working, smart, professional, mature
- Asher Wolke:
Rebel, somewhat nerdy, gay, eager, also a little ballsy
- Olivia Jackson:
Musically inclined, knowledgeable, a little insecure
- Will Hooper:
The jock, smarmy, privileged, poster boy son-in-law, arrogant
- Enrique Guerin:
Laid back, surfer-dude, adventurer, jovial, open-minded
Shaun cracks me up when he opens the conversation with Enrique with, “Why are you wearing a swimsuit?” Yes, Enrique, why are you wearing a swimsuit? (Apparently they are hybrid board shorts…?) You can already tell this is going to go great! The Fourth Years are being asked to evaluate the applicants and boil down the shortlist from six to four.
Audrey is very adamant that Hooper should be high on the list, seeing how he’s an olympian, graduated top of his class at Stanford, and is ranked first by every top program, though she also asks the Fourth Years to keep an open mind. “Don’t judge a book by its board shorts.”
Alex organises a fun get-together in the break room so that they can get to know the resident applicants as people. Interestingly, we learn more about the Fourth Years here than we do about the newbies. Alex is a former amateur martial arts competitor (Will Yun Lee is actually also a martial artist), having sparred with Mike Tyson. Olivia asks who Mike Tyson is. Come on. Really? I couldn’t like boxing as a sport any less, but even I know that…
Morgan is a huge musical buff and has seen Wicked over 50 times. Yeah, I can kinda see that. Claire loves music but hates musicals, and doesn’t like to talk about herself. Okay, this we already knew. Shaun talks about how he used to not like music but how Lea changed his mind. He likes to watch The Weather Channel, and, “Ugh, I think pickles are disgusting.” This, we also already knew.
Audrey and Marcus have an interesting conversation about the resident applicants too, and about their mentoring and supervision. Marcus is concerned that Shaun isn’t fit to teach, but Audrey seems to think otherwise. “Murphy’s smart, brutally honest, has no regard for social convention. It works for Bill Belichick…”
Meanwhile, Shaun puts his foot in it in every way he possibly can. Small talk with the applicants consists of all the taboo subjects. Religion, sexual preference, deeply personal questions… Shaun doesn’t understand how that’s inappropriate. Yep, no regard for social convention. There it is.
The time of judgment comes when Lim asks the Fourth Years to give their recommendations whom of the applicants should be keepers. Next to Hooper, the residents vote for Allen, Wolke and Lundberg. Turns out Lundberg pulled out on his own. And we learn that Lim doesn’t really like Hooper either, and wanted to test the residents to see if they would speak up for themselves. So then the choice is clear. Jordan, Asher, Enrique and Olivia are staying.
“You helped pick ’em. As senior residents, it’s now your job to help train ’em.” They toast to their four new first year residents with a glass of whiskey. Bottoms up!
We pick up Morgan’s predicament that wasn’t featured much in Frontline, which is the issue of her arthritis and her inability to keep working as a surgeon. She transferred to Internal Medicine and is now working under Glassman, who has a tête-à-tête with her that he cleverly disguises as a friendly check-in conversation, when really he wants to tell her off that she’s being a little too abrasive with the Clinic nurses.
It’s pretty clear that Morgan isn’t too happy with her involuntary change of specialty. “Not the same adrenaline rush, but internal medicine can be rewarding, given time, if you’re patient.” Aaron tells her. Morgan isn’t very impressed. Sometimes, Glassy is kind of a saint.