Season 4 Rewatch: 4×07 The Uncertainty Principle

The Good Doctor Argentina on Twitter (@TheGoodDoctorAr) is currently running a ’20 Days Countdown to The Good Doctor Season 5’, and on Day 7 we’ll be recapping episode 4×07 The Uncertainty Principle.

Quick word of “warning”, I will have to cut the next few recaps shorter, as I’m writing these as we go through the daily countdown, and there’s only so many hours in my day… 🙂 Please accept my apologies that this and possibly the following ones will be shorter and focus on Shaun and Lea more than the other characters.

(Freddie Highmore fans might also appreciate that I made the mistake of giving the Bates Motel pilot a try the other day, expecting very much for it to not really be my thing, but, boy, was I wrong! One series Blu-ray collection purchase later, and I’m full on hooked, wishing my days could have 48 hours. Gah.)

Apologies too that the screencaps are sub-par. I honestly don’t get why Sony isn’t releasing the show on Blu-ray. I would buy the shit out of those, stat. DVDs, not so much.

Patient Stories

Patient #1 is Hannah Palmer, who comes in with a bruise on her chest. Her husband seems distracted, he works a lot. Hannah has a history of breast cancer and melanoma (skin cancer).

They find that Hannah’s cancer is back (thyroid carcinoma), and that’s not all. She has a genetic predisposition that makes her more susceptible to contracting cancer. This sends her husband into a crisis of faith. He’s already been through the cancer battle and the massive uncertainty twice. How can he commit to that over and over again? He doesn’t think he can, so he is ready to leave his wife to protect himself.

However, he changes his mind, realising that his wife is worth more to him than his work. He wants to be all in, screw the fear of losing her. What’s important is making as much of the time they can have, no one knows what the future will bring anyway.

Patient #2 is Wyatt who comes in with frostbite on his foot. He says it’s from cryotherapy. Wyatt is a little obsessed with finding a way to live forever — to the point where he modifies his own DNA to reverse the aging process by messing with his telomerase activity.

The molecular biologist in me was super intrigued with this story, actually. CRISPR is a real thing, and I only recently saw a documentary that featured it. Anyone can order the ingredients online these days to do exactly this kind of genetic modification without even knowing all that much about molecular genetics, and it’s equal parts mind-blowing and scary. Some trivia for you here: The CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technique earned Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna a 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

When they operate on Wyatt, they realise he has Hirschsprung’s disease, which is only seen in babies and young children. So something is clearly messed up in Wyatt’s DNA.

They want to reverse Wyatt’s DNA changes so that he doesn’t keep having these issues, but he doesn’t want to. He wants to prolong life, but his girlfriend (or was it wife?) has a change of heart. She’s not buying into a committment that means she has to watch her loved one suffer. It’s either regular lifespan with her or eternal life without her. Wyatt doesn’t appreciate the ultimatum, and decides on embracing life rather than love.

Shaun & Lea

Shower sex. That’s where it’s at. Because Lea is very much into it, and Shaun is…. not. It could be inconvenient and possibly dangerous and how would they be able to both fit under the stream of water at the same time? Shaun cracks me up here. “Bottles could be disarranged.” Yes, Shaunie, that’s a huge problem. Lea understands. She will reset Shaun’s phone alarm.

Shaun gets all enamoured with the idea of finding out whether shower sex should be put on the agenda or not. He runs a department-wide poll. “I know it’s wrong to discuss shower sex at work, so I did a poll instead,” he proclaims in the OR. Andrews is unimpressed. “Dr. Murphy, do you really want people to know the details of your personal life?” This throws Shaun. “You don’t think they took it as an abstract question?” Nope, not even remotely, Shaun.

Shaun gets home and finds Lea on the floor, putting together some kind of exercising device (does Shaun really call it ‘skewer exercise thing’?). “I made a poll to test the popularity of shower sex,” Shaun proudly tells her. “I heard. I fielded some questions about that,” Lea responds. “Approve has won, but don’t get too excited, Lea. It’s only 50:38 with several complicated non-committals, so clearly my attitude is reasonable.” Can’t argue with your logic, Shaun.

Cue the big Lea reveal here. She tells Shaun that she has an ex-husband. She married him more than 10 years ago. “We got married. Not long, right out of high school. Literally the boy next door. We grew up together, people expected it, it was a big mistake. We both realized it pretty quickly.” Shaun is not thrilled to hear this.

It makes Shaun ponder the longevity of relationships. If you could live forever, would you want to be with the same person your whole forever-life? The votes on this one from his colleagues seem to be pretty unanimous. Because, no. But the discussion is hypothetical anyway. We’re not quite there yet that we’ll be surpassing our normal human life span, so who could really say?

Shaun then goes to Lea to discuss her ex, and what that means for their relationship. She tells him that her ex-husband is not important to her anymore, that he’s not someone she still even thinks about. That only underlines Shaun’s fears. “At one time you felt he was important enough to your life to marry him, and now you barely think of him.”

Lea tells him that change isn’t all bad, knowing how much Shaun hates change. “I’m working to be a better surgeon, a better boyfriend. Better at the things I’ve chosen, but this other change, it’s unpredictable, you don’t choose it, it just comes at you.” He compares it to hurricanes before there was a weather warning system. Lea wants to reassure him. “Shaun. Our relationship will not end in natural disaster.” He looks at her and shrugs. “It did begin in one.”

And the way that Freddie Highmore delivers that line is so perfect, and it makes me laugh every time. Shaun’s humour is the absolute best when it comes out, and I love it so much! One of my all time favourite lines this season. Lea also gives him an amused smile.

When Lea gets home after work, Shaun has an announcement to make. Shower sex is a go, because he’s been thinking about change over time. And he made graphs. “I realized that the problem isn’t really change. It’s whether two people change in the same direction. We want to keep our coordinates close to each other for the rest of our lives.”

And Shaun has a solution as well for what to do if they do happen to drift apart. Because surprises are awful. He got them a cowbell that they’re supposed to ring when there’s early warning signs of the two of them heading in different directions. Shaun made especially sure he wouldn’t like the sound, so that he’d pay extra attention.

He then proceeds to tell Lea he’s already moved the shampoo bottles. Lea’s all like, ‘What, now?!’ Shaun nods. “Don’t worry about putting the bottles back. I’ll do it later.” She laughs. “I love you.” He smiles too. “It’s no trouble. I remember where they all go.” He closes the bathroom door behind them.

Dr. Murphy’s Teachings

No teaching going on in this episode. None that we see on screen, anyway.

The First Year Residents

We get to see Jordan’s entrepreneurial side in this episode. She approaches Hannah’s husband about marketing an idea she has. He’s a venture capitalist, and she sees an opportunity ripe for the taking. Olivia isn’t much in favour of getting side-tracked. Jordan talks about her large family, she gew up with five brothers, she took care of people her whole life. Now she’s finally getting paid for it.

Enrique has a bit of an awkward thing going on with Claire. He asks her to have coffee with him. She thinks it may be a date. Morgan says it’s a date. He says it isn’t. Claire does say yes, and they meet for Turkish coffee in front of Enrique’s trailer. Enrique neither believes in categories nor in monogamy, and Claire insists that their relationship should stay purely platonic.

The Others

Lim got rid of the Ducati and now uses her Subaru, which doesn’t slip by Shaun’s keen senses. I mean, she didn’t so much get rid of it, right? It’s just trashed from her nightly escapade gone wrong, which she doesn’t want to admit. It’s at the very end of the episode that Claire actually discovers this when she spots the wrecked motorbike in the parking garage. Just one more piece of the puzzle.

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