A new chief of surgery comes about, and his style disrupts Shaun’s life as much as a talkative guy when Dr. Glassman gets chemotherapy.
|Writer(s)||Liz Friedman, David Renaud|
|Introduced This Episode|
|Jackson Han||Daniel Dae Kim|
Identity: Shaun, Larry, Dr. Glassman
Being that cancer has stripped Dr. Glassman of so much, naturally, he doesn’t want to own his diagnosis or feel like it owns him. Making this very talkative young man, Larry, who is getting chemo next to him, a pain in the behind. Not just because he is so positive, and pushes the idea of community, not even because he is pushy, but the problem with him is that he makes Dr. Glassman feel wrong about the way he handles cancel. Due to that, to some surprise, Dr. Glassman confides in Shaun.
In doing so, he questions how Shaun deals with being autistic, especially due to the new chief of medicine. Shaun’s response conveys he wishes he wasn’t the only one, with the weight of being an example on his shoulders, but being autistic is part of his identity. So while it comes with a few negatives, it is part of who he is and, considering his savant syndrome, why he is able to do what he does.
You Can’t Put The Tumor Back: Dr. Melendez, Dr. Han
We’re introduced to the new Chief of Surgery, and his name is Dr. Han. He is well paid, recommended, and pretty much jumps right in. This rubs some the wrong way since he not only is challenging to residents but staff as well. Take Dr. Melendez. Generally, he doesn’t do preventive medicine procedures, but with a rich patient coming in, he is forced to change his routine.
Why you may ask? Well, Dr. Han seems to be the type who doesn’t like people good at just one thing and they ignore the rest. Also, he realizes that rich patients usually help offset costs for poor patients, so Dr. Melendez is expected to do as told – which he does. He even finds a tumor and ultimately learns, when it comes to making decisions, you can’t always ponder and be patient. Sometimes you have to take action, deal with the consequences and move on. After all, you can’t usually undo what you did.
This Isn’t The Best Line of Work For You: Dr. Han, Shaun
Whenever someone new comes to the hospital, Shaun always ends up on their radar – Dr. Han is no different. The problem is with him, there is no Dr. Glassman to prep Dr. Han and Dr. Han may recognizing the hospital is about learning, but he also takes into account the patients aren’t guinea pigs. So, after Shaun is a bit too honest with a mother whose baby could die, wheels start turning. Especially when Shaun’s savant syndrome kicks in and saves the child.
This leads to Dr. Han deciding pathology would be a better place for Shaun since it has less patient interaction but could utilize Shaun’s savant syndrome. As you can imagine, Shaun doesn’t like this change but, like Dr. Melendez, it seems he may not have a choice. Also, if he pushes back too much, he may go from changing departments to being out of a job.
A New Department
While, realistically, Shaun isn’t likely to be in a new department and we rarely see anyone in surgery again, a change of environment might be good. For one, most of the surgical staff’s storylines have become a bit stale. So even if we’re given a break, it could make Shaun being transferred back quite nice.
Also, considering how big the hospital is, it would be nice to meet some of the other staff members. Especially since the show has increasingly pulled back this being all about Shaun little by little. So getting to know some nurses by name, and them being around enough for it to stick, that’d be cool. Heck, seeing the people who run the lab again, who have been absent all season, could help this show transfer into an ensemble and maybe make it so Highmore could get to direct and write more, without maybe getting overwhelmed?
The Identity Conversation
As Shaun has experienced countless times, being someone with autism, even with savant syndrome and being high-functioning, it leads to difficulties. The kind which attracts being discriminated against and people making things hard, on top of Shaun’s own attempts at trying to be comfortable while making others comfortable. Yet, despite the challenges being autistic presents, Shaun owns it.
There is something really beautiful about that since there is a universality to it. For many, be it race, sexuality, gender, among other things, you are faced sometimes with setting precedents in the situation you’re in. For Shaun, it is showing people with autism can be doctors, can be in the medical field, and are capable of adapting. Yes, it requires effort, but they are capable of it, and while being this one thing makes things difficult, it is part of who they are. Rejecting it isn’t really helpful because they can’t feasibly change it. It’s either they own it or let it own them.
But it was also a good thing for Shaun to bring up since it gave us an opportunity to see Dr. Glassman talk to Shaun in a way he rarely does. During most of their conversations, Dr. Glassman challenges Shaun to think critically or hone on his social knowledge. In this situation, you get the rare opportunity of Dr. Glassman looking to Shaun for insight, to help him understand, and perhaps see Shaun beyond their almost father/ son relationship. Something Shaun may not notice but was quite a highlight to me.
On The Fence
Larry Could Get Annoying Quick
While Larry can likely be adjusted by talking more about the life he is missing, if he is going to step into Dr. Glassman’s life and be an annoying sidekick, I hope he brings something good. Right now, his energy and pep, it’s annoying. It’s Shaun annoying, without the charm, backstory, and the story we’ve experienced thus far. But, considering chemo is something that’s been mentioned for awhile, but hasn’t been happening, they have to fill out the cast of characters for that now don’t they?
Right now, I’m hoping like Morgan, who kind of reverted back to her old ways this episode, Dr. Han is the type who grows on you. Him coming in like a hurricane left me feeling a bit uneasy, but one of the obstacles he side steps, compared to Morgan, is nothing seems personal. Even moving Shaun to a different department seems to be about keeping Shaun and his skills but taking note of what he has and can do vs. pushing his limits.
After all, in the long run, the people who are getting tested on for him to do so are patients. People in life or death situations and Shaun has, repeatedly, been a bit too blunt, unfiltered, and that has caused complaints. The last thing Dr. Han would want is a lawsuit against Shaun which attracts negative attention and then having some weird Jared situation where he has a troublemaker he can’t fire. For in trying to fire Shaun, you can bet a rights advocacy group could and would get involved.
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|Season 2, Episode 17 “Breakdown”|| |
Shaun tries to assert himself with Dr. Han as he feels largely unsupported. As that happens, Dr. Lim and Melendez contemplate coming out.
|Season 2, Episode 16 “Believe”||Everyone is forced to be an advocate in some form, but the big challenge for many is being an advocate for themselves.
|Season 2, Episode 15 “Risk and Reward”||A new chief of surgery comes about, and his style disrupts Shaun’s life as much as a talkative guy when Dr. Glassman gets chemotherapy.|
|Season 2, Episode 14 “Faces”||Guilt and regrets are prominent themes and emotions in “Faces” as old, and new, faces enter the characters’ lives. |
|Season 2/ Episode 13 “XIN”|| |
Shaun finds himself confronted with the idea of being alone as he works with a patient who has autism, and a relationship, as well as Lea and Dr. Glassman asking for space.
|Season 2/ Episode 12 “Aftermath”|| |
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