The Good Doctor: Season 2/ Episode 4 “Tough Titmouse” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Maddie forcing Dr. Glassman to talk about what happened the night she died.
Maddie: This has got to happen, Daddy. You know it.
56.9% (2)

Everyone’s baggage becomes an issue and while some unpack and deal with it, others barely unpack and just try to not let it hold them back.


Network
ABC
Director(s) Steven DePaul
Writer(s) David Hoselton
Air Date 10/15/2018
Characters Introduced
Gabi Brenda Isabel Santiago
JL Teryl Rothery
Kitty Leah Lewis
Marc Isaiah Lehtinen
Nicole Lesley Fera
Sybil Brooke Smith

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What I Needed Was Support: Sybil, Shaun, Lea, JL, Dr. Melendez, Dr. Park

It remains unclear how long it took Shaun and Dr. Glassman to reunite after Steve’s death, but what is made clear is Shaun had to bounce from house to house growing up. One of them, owned by a woman named Sybil, Bill for short, was tough. Not abusive, maybe not even neglectful, but she did coerce Shaun to be tougher and expect life not to be easy.

Yet, with Shaun being young at the time, maybe just 18, when all this was said, and not having much stability, it was probably too soon. However, one thing Sybil said that perhaps had a positive effect was Shaun hearing that sometimes things are not all about him. For with Lea still being quite mad at him, he asks, in the OR as usual, what to do? Dr. Park says to go with a big gesture, Dr. Melendez makes it seem you apologized and that’s enough, and JL, tired of both men and their advice, says to just be nice.

But, of course, because listening to a woman is never the first option, he tries to go big, in a few ways, before just being what Lea needs now and Shaun needed there – understanding. Someone who cared and would listen. Be honest. Which, Shaun does. Albeit by saying he only cares about Hershey because he cares about her but something is better than nothing. Plus, Lea doesn’t have a huge amount of choices right now.

Commentary

Is it just me, or are the people in the OR seemingly getting tired of side-eyeing the doctors and shaking their head? Especially when it comes to the men. JL, the anesthesiologist, making a comment when Shaun is asking for advice makes it seem the whole sexism and toxic masculinity storyline won’t just be owned by Claire. Many, if not every, woman is going to speak up more and address the situation at hand.

Sybil (Brooke Smith) revealing to Shaun she can't keep him anymore.
Sybil (Brooke Smith): Not everything is about you.

Leading to the Sybil storyline. Now, while I love flashbacks, I kind of felt this was one of the weaker ones. I get Sybil’s part in this is about how Shaun hasn’t been handheld and treated in a delicate way all his life. However, in doing that, it brings back that old question of why Shaun seemed so sheltered in season 1? For with Sybil being the third house he lived at, out of who knows how many, you’d think Shaun would have adapted better to life and people.

Not to downplay him having autism but with him being high-functioning, there is the constant need to wonder what does that mean exactly? Is it simply, when it comes to memorizing medical terms, he is a savant, but socially he only really adapts to the point to keep himself from harm? Because, again, thinking back to season 1, between people like Sybill and college, there is so much you have to feel Shaun should have asked about and been through by now.

Take this Lea situation. Considering how well Lea and Claire get along with Shaun, are you telling me no girl in college talked to Shaun at all or high school? He didn’t get into any arguments or had maybe the slightest romantic interaction? I get making him a blank slate makes him easier to write but it’s not like he is 13 or 16. Shaun has to be in his mid to late 20s by now. Making even his decision to get that two bedroom apartment strange since Shaun has been rather frugal since we’ve known him. But, I guess even Shaun might be subject to the pangs of boo hunting season – assuming the show is on the same timeline reality is.

Is It Baggage or Experience?: Dr. Melendez, Kitty, Morgan, Claire, Gabi, Marc, Nicole, Shaun

Gabi asking if her parents are coming?
Gabi (Brenda Isabel Santiago): Are mom and dad coming for me today?

For both Dr. Melendez and Claire, their past strongly informs their decisions with patients. For Dr. Melendez, as noted in the first season, has a little sister, Gabi, with special needs he has helped take care of for years. So when a woman named Nicole comes in with her son, Marc, who is similar to Gabi, he understands more than she knows. For like Gabi, Marc needs more attention than the average person his age. Problem is, Nicole has been a single parent since Marc’s dad left and he is becoming too much. She even, upon hearing he’d be in and out within a day, gets saddened by this news. If only because she wanted a night off.

Leading to her coming back in a few days later and it being clear that Marc is probably going to become dangerous within months or years. Especially as Nicole gets older. Yet, that is her son and he has no one else. So the idea of putting him in a group home, or something like that, it feels like abandonment. Yet Shaun, who is part of this, tries to help her realize it may feel like that at first, but it isn’t. Then, to double up, Dr. Melendez pushes that this may be a need and not a selfish desire if Marc is to have a chance and Nicole to be happy.

Kitty (Leah Lewis) in bed, with a neck brace on.
Kitty (Leah Lewis)

Speaking of happiness, Morgan and Claire get a patient named Kitty whose happiness seems to be rock climbing. Going free solo – meaning no ropes. Something which has led to many an injury and at this point, she needs the kind of surgery which may keep her from having full mobility. Something which Claire advocates for, the surgery which would cause that, while Morgan is on the other end and wants a riskier surgery that would allow full mobility.

Now, these two don’t battle it out but more so Kitty and her parents. Though Morgan decides to, in what is not a one on one setting, call out Claire’s decision making being based off her mom. Which she admits to Kitty’s parents and even to Dr. Melendez to a point. However, with him believing baggage accounts for experience and that is what patients need, he doesn’t see Claire’s as a bad thing.

Though, when it comes to Kitty, while she at first doesn’t appreciate her parents making it seem she is mentally unfit, possibly suicidal, she gets why they did what they did. However, she doesn’t seem to connect Claire likely is the one who helped them know this option existed. But when you’re dealing with paralysis and stuck in a bed, would you really start to question how your parents knew how to medically retake control back over you? Even when you are past 18?

Commentary

Dr. Melendez putting a positive spin on what Claire is saying.
Dr. Melendez: Maybe you’re confusing baggage with experience?

With us seeing Gabi, is it worth hoping to see Claire’s mother return? Maybe see Shaun’s parents? How about Morgan’s family? Due to the topic of baggage being brought up, it drives you to wonder when are we going to see these characters truly unpack and deal with their baggage? Granted, at this point, it isn’t negatively affecting any of their abilities to do their job. However, story-wise, things remain unresolved between Claire and her mom and with Shaun? Can you imagine the tears when Shaun sees his mom again? Much less the anger when he sees his dad?

Taking it all in, the reason Steve is dead is because of his dad’s cruelty. The reason Shaun ended up in the foster system, is because his mother loved his father more than him. I mean, there are layers to that which will surely lead us all to need a couple of tissues.

Then with Morgan, honestly, I just wanna see where she comes from. With it being clear she is here for the long haul, I wanna get to know her past a smart aleck remark here, and a passive-aggressive battle there. Same goes with Dr. Melendez. With us meeting Gabi, does that mean we may get to know Dr. Melendez on a more personal level?

As the show continues, this is some of the stuff I hope for because this show doesn’t rest on Shaun’s shoulders. Unlike many programs, there isn’t really a need to pick and choose favorites for each character provides something for you to latch to. The only thing is, for the majority of them, we don’t get to know who they are when they leave the hospital. Also, as noted a handful of times, any and all flashbacks have focused on Shaun and a little bit on Dr. Glassman. I think it is time to spread the screen time a bit more.

Bye Maddie: Maddie, Dr. Glassman

Maddie forcing Dr. Glassman to talk about her death.
Maddie: Let’s talk about that.

It is finally revealed to us why Maddie died – kind of. After long trying to negotiate and talk to Maddie about being a rebellious, weed smoking, teenager, Dr. Glassman locked her out of the house. From there, he expected her to apparently go over Jessica’s or her aunt’s but instead, one thing led to another and she died. Something Dr. Glassman seemingly was trying to avoid talking about, that guilt, but Maddie forces him to. Making it so he seems to have made peace with what happened. Not in a perfect way, but at least enough to not feel haunted by his memories of Maddie.

Commentary

Maddie recounting what happened the night she died.
Maddie: So you dragged me outside and locked the door.

Admittedly I don’t have the best memory but I do believe Maddie died due to an accident right? A fall I want to say? But, I could swear Jessica was somehow involved right? Isn’t that what was said in episode 8? How Jessica got lucky and Maddie didn’t? Which, with Jessica no longer part of the show, I guess we won’t get a different viewpoint of what happened that night and Maddie’s final moments.

With that said, I wonder if we are going to go into the dissolution of Dr. Glassman’s marriage and him meeting Shaun again? Also, since Jessica would be over Dr. Glassman’s house so much, what was her first take on Shaun? This is all assuming Shaun met Dr. Glassman before med school. We have assumed Dr. Glassman was Shaun’s adopted father because of how much he tried to compensate being there for Shaun since he wasn’t for Maddie. Yet, for what we know, Dr. Glassman may have had one seminar, taught a class, maybe just bumped into Shaun, and since then they have been in each other’s life.

Needless to say, there is a lot of stories left to tell with Dr. Glassman’s past. But, it does seem that, with getting some type of closure when it comes to Maddie’s death, will he continue to live? Seeing her like that could have very well pushed him to want to die. After all, the hospital is running without him, Shaun is more independent by the day, and while physical therapy can do wonders, there are no guarantees. Plus, what will Dr. Glassman do after? You think Dr. Andrews is just going to give up the presidency without a fight? Maybe not use some Morgan tactics and question if, after brain surgery, Dr. Glassman can make the decisions necessary for the job?

Let’s just say, if Dr. Glassman survives the season, I’ll be surprised.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Though I believe the answer is no, despite Maddie talking about Shaun as a person, they never met in real life, right?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Good memories are like a beautiful song. You don’t ever want them to end.
— Dr. Glassman

Maybe you’re confusing baggage with experience.
— Dr. Melendez

Highlights

  1. Glassman and Maddie scenes are guaranteed to make you cry.
  2. With all the addressing of baggage and people’s past, it makes you giddy with hope we may get more into who the characters are outside the hospital.

On The Fence

  1. I want to recognize that because Shaun has autism, he is on a learning curve when it comes to socializing. However, with every person we meet from his past, and taking note of their personality, it makes you wonder how is he so naïve? It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Especially since we see him learning now so are we supposed to believe, all this time, no one had the patience to explain to Shaun how the world works and how to navigate through it?


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Everyone’s baggage becomes an issue and while some unpack and deal with it, others barely unpack and just try to not let it hold them back.

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About Amari Sali 3332 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

3 Comments

  1. I completely understand Shaun. I’m in the spectrum myself and was bullied at school. I was 25 when I got my first boyfriend. Before that I always thought boys were making fun of me. Looking back I now realise they were trying to flirt with me. That’s autism for you, we’re like blind when it comes to social clues.

  2. Great recap, but with one mistake – It was Dr. Melendez who said “Maybe you’re confusing baggage with experience”, not Claire.
    I got my wish to see more Shaun and Lea, but I do not like the thought of them living together. That seems like overkill. As far as Shaun being too naive, I look at it two ways. First, whenever someone tries to guide him (i.e., Morgan in the previous episode, Dr. Melendez, Park, and JL in this one), it’s been either bad advice or Shaun has screwed it up. So that would put him behind the curve. The other way is to just suspend disbelief. I figure if I can watch “Timeless” and believe that one time machine is chasing a 2nd time machine through history, then believing an autistic person has zero social skills is a piece of cake!

    • The issue which comes from doing too much >.< I try to suspend disbelief as much as possible, especially to get emotionally into the show, but I do think just my lack of understanding of what it means to be autistic hampers that. For even with multiple examples in media, being that there isn't a one size fits all, it makes it hard to get a full grasp on Shaun's development. So, as I try to suspend disbelief, at the same time, since I don't know autistic people in my personal life, I'm look at Shaun and comparing him to other characters with autism like Sam on Atypical and Dean on Claws. Making it where my questions hopefully don't seem judgey. Particularly since it is just a written expression of me stumbling as I try to take in a character that is fictional but also has a lot of traits people with autism have. Then trying to compartmentalize what is something I should take serious and what is just for the sake of story and drama.

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