The Good Doctor: Season 3 Episode 11 “Fractured” [Winter Premiere] Recap/ Review

In the winter premiere, Shaun finds himself forced to face Carly and what happened with Lea as Claire tries to deal with someone who triggers old memories.

Directed By Gary Hawes
Written By Mark Rozeman
Aired (ABC) 1/13/2020
Introduced This Episode
Kerry Milauna Jemai Jackson
Luca Moises Arias
Dr. Malkin Kelly-Ruth Mercier

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Episode Recap

Not Wonder Woman, Nubia: Kerry, Morgan, Shaun

You know a character is powerful when they barely amplify another character’s story and yet still are worth being named and talked about. In this episode, that person is Kerry. Someone who, 10 years ago, was deep into her addiction but has since recovered, and on top of finding love, she has a child. Yet, after an accident, she finds herself with a terribly broken, if not better said, mangled, leg and limited means to have it fixed without some form of opioid or narcotic.

Yet, despite how Morgan thinks it is irrational, and Shaun is just lost for words, Kerry goes through two surgeries with only something to help with her blood pressure and griping Shaun’s hand with all her might. Showing that, as she says to her child, she is Wonder Woman – though we are going to say she is Nubia, who is cooler than Wonder Woman, in our opinion.

I’ve Come A Long Way: Claire, Luca, Alex, Dr. Melendez, Dr. Malkin

Luca (Moises Arias) speaking to Claire.
Luca (Moises Arias)

As we have known for some time, Claire’s upbringing was by no means normal, and it doesn’t necessarily match up to who we know her as today. Yet, as she takes ongoing to therapy with Dr. Malkin, truly recovers her relationship with Dr. Melendez, and encounters a patient named Luca, she reveals more to us. For example, Claire reveals she used to steal food to survive and if it wasn’t for a security guard letting her go, she could be in jail – if not in the situation Luca is.

Now, who is Luca? Luca is a young man who is unemployed and desperate enough to have 50 bags of drugs in his stomach. Which, being that Alex was a former cop, no sooner does he hear this that he is ready to turn Luca in. That, as you can imagine, makes Luca very fearful of Alex, on top of the fear many of us have of going to the hospital for life-saving treatment and then having the burden of a massive medical bill.

So, to try and protect Luca and save him from Alex, Claire makes a deal with Alex and Dr. Melendez which would give Luca enough time to heal and maybe avoid charges. However, Claire learns, despite all she did, Luca breaks into a closet to steal drugs and then high tails it. This doesn’t necessarily make her feel bad, because she did try, but it does drum up old feelings. Such as Breeze planting the idea no one would love Claire as she does, that they’ll use her, and Claire would eventually be just like Breeze. All of which didn’t come to pass, but the scars left still have yet to truly heal.

I Would Do Anything For Love, Even That: Lea, Carly, Shaun, Dr. Glassman, Dr. Andrews, Morgan

Being that Carly is Shaun’s first real relationship, with titles, it makes what happened with Lea very confusing. After all, Lea put him in the friendzone, and while that happened, after Morgan notes, her kissing Shaun and inspiring feelings, that is his friend. Yet, when he reveals what happened to Carly, so that he can be honest, it leaves Carly confused, angry, and disappointed.

I mean, take note: Carly has been doing research and various types of therapy so that Shaun can be comfortable with her, and that has been for months. Yet, Lea, within a few days, gets to experience all Carly has worked for. She receives the benefits of her physical and emotional labor. So you damn right she is mad.

And as you can imagine, this whole situation is hard for Shaun to figure out since he hasn’t really been in this position before. When it comes to Lea and Carly, and the idea of choosing, he seeks Dr. Andrews out to understand who might be best for him. Following that, he makes pros and cons lists, and after the blow-up with Carly, so come the thoughts Carly will break up with him, and that Lea and Dr. Glassman will follow. Which Dr. Glassman simmers down because Shaun is starting to hit his head and really go down the rabbit hole.

But, luckily for him, by the end of the night, Carly is willing to talk and it seems all she needs to feel secure is Shaun thinking about no longer living with Lea. An idea he jumps on, for he loves Carly, despite her making him feel like he has to work at impressing her vs. Lea who he can just be around or with. Leaving you to wonder, how much is Shaun’s decision genuinely based on love and not fear?

Plot Synopsis (A Quick Recap)

  1. Shaun reveals to Carly the intimate moment he had with Lea, and this leads to Carly asking if Shaun would be willing to no longer live with Lea.
  2. After having a fight with Carly about what happened with Lea, we learn Shaun is under the impression he’ll end up alone with everyone from Dr. Glassman to Lea growing tired of him.
  3. Claire reveals she is going to therapy, her doctor thinks she has PTSD, and she opens up about stealing to survive as a kid. That and Breeze tried to whittle away at her self-esteem.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

How long can you keep secrets from the people you love before they stop being the people you love?
— Shaun | The Good Doctor 3.11

Review/ Commentary


Carly May Not Be A Pit Stop – For Now

I think we’ve reached a point in the Shaun x Carly saga where we’ll have to really take note of what is said and done. Particularly, we need to focus on whether Shaun is acting in fear of losing Carly, under the assumption no one else will like or love him in a romantic way, or if his actions aren’t burdened by his insecurities. Which is going to take a long time to figure as Carly begins to protect herself and her heart.

For, in our mind, with Carly repeatedly pushing Shaun to not bring Claire, Dr. Glassman, and others into their relationship, you can see how things could begin to look isolating. If not Shaun developing this idea that he shouldn’t speak to someone about the issue in his relationship out of fear it could get back to Carly and upset her. And, again, I don’t think Carly is testing what sway she has over Shaun or is trying to tip any sort of power dynamics in their relationships. But, I do believe, as she asserts herself and further sets boundaries, it could be misconstrued what she is doing to maintain their relationship could appear she is trying to control Shaun.

Claire Opening Up

As noted in our 3A Recap, one of Claire’s issues, like Morgan, is there isn’t consistency. Not in terms of the information we learn, but us continually focusing on them and building upon what we’ve learned about them. But, there might be hope. For with Claire FINALLY going to a therapist, there comes the possibility of us getting to gather all the pieces of her past and finally get some glimpse of what her future is.

Claire wishing her therapist wouldn't bring her down and allow her to remain happy
Claire: Can’t I just have a good day?

After all, let’s take note, Claire’s struggles with intimacy, due to her mother, has plagued her in ways that has made her repeat past mistakes over and over. One could even say, as much as she is cordial with Shaun, Morgan, Alex, and even Dr. Melendez, her inability to be close with someone, like we saw with Jared, has kept her as a person and character from evolving. So, one can only hope that, with someone to listen, challenge her, and awaken her from this stupor she sometimes finds herself in, there may finally be growth.

Dr. Andrews & Dr. Glassman’s Moment with Shaun

Something I’ve come to love about Shaun is that when he knows something or knows how to find the answer, he is very self-sufficient. Yet, when it comes to an area where he doesn’t know where to begin? Well, Shaun has no issue seeking people over books for answers. Case in point, he turns to Dr. Andrews due to him not being divorced and seeming very happy in his marriage. A marriage we have barely seen in action for most, if not all, of this season, so maybe Isabel might make a comeback? For if Shaun is using Dr. Andrews and his wife as an example, or puts them on a pedestal, surely they will be seen right?

But, Dr. Andrews aside, as much as I don’t find it entertaining to see Shaun break down, I must admit his fears of being alone while speaking with Dr. Glassman walloped me. Probably because, after hearing what Morgan said, what Shaun’s father decided to make some of his final words, and other things that have happened in Shaun’s life, it forces you to realize how long those feelings may have been festering.

Then, to piggyback on the topic above, all things considered, this is probably the most atypical time in Shaun’s life. He has a girlfriend, a career, the respect of his peers, at least one good friend, and it likely seems far too good to be true. So Ethan’s words, following by a fight with Carly, it may have seemed like the beginning of the end. An idea that we may know is unlikely, but Highmore’s performance really pushed you, or perhaps just me, beyond this idea that most shows fall into – the sense that it will all be right in the end.

The Guest Stars

Kerry (Milauna Jemai Jackson) trying to avoid being given narcotics
Kerry (Milauna Jemai Jackson)

Let me say this, whoever is casting and writing the guest stars lately, bless them. Jackson as Kerry reminds me why Don Cheadle mentioned, years ago in an interview, how important it is to have up and coming actors, rather than big-name stars, in guest-starring roles. Jackson, for example, doesn’t have a storyline that bolsters any doctor on this show. One could submit her whole thing about keeping a secret does parlay into Shaun’s situation, but her storyline transcends bolstering Shaun’s predicament and represents the struggle of addicts to maintain their sobriety.

The same goes for Arias as Luca. Which isn’t to disregard him being a former child star and all he has done since his days on “Hannah Montana,” which includes “Five Feet Apart,” amongst others. However, him talking about being someone who feared medical bills due to not having insurance, the desperation we saw, it is the kind of performance some characters from the beginning have yet to deliver.

On The Fence

Dr. Melendez Moving Onto Claire

Like Dr. Melendez. Who, I swear, I’m not picking on, but with disappointment comes the need to continually question what is going on here? Why is it Dr. Melendez’s storylines always seem to push him towards being someone’s boyfriend for now until it is no longer convenient? Why is this man slowly becoming a village bicycle, and can he become more than that? These are serious questions.


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Carly May Not Be A Pit Stop – For Now - 85%
Claire Opening Up - 86%
Dr. Andrews & Dr. Glassman’s Moment with Shaun - 87%
The Guest Stars - 89%
Dr. Melendez Moving Onto Claire - 75%



  1. In my opinion, every family member either makes one appearance or shows up sporadically. This show belongs to those who work at the hospital, and anyone else is filtered through their eyes. That includes Claire’s mom, Shaun’s dad, Dr. Melendez’s sister, and I’m betting will also include Morgan’s mom. Whether they are in one show or 10, I don’t feel that any family member is completely three-dimensional like those people that work at the hospital.

  2. I was just enjoying not seeing Alex’s ex-wife and son so I never gave any thought to how it might have affected the writers. ( I wonder if Debbie falls into the “failing spectacularly” 🙂 category for the writers also? She does for me!) And with the show focusing so heavily on Shaun, Shaun and Carly, and Claire, I forgot there were other characters with families we don’t see. I am curious about Dr. Lim’s family. And it would have been interesting to see if Dr. Andrew’s position changes had any affect on his marriage and child-pursuing plans. And my greatest interest is in Morgan’s family. I wonder if we will ever see any of them.

    1. Based on the preview for the next episode it seems we will meet her mom. Which I appreciate, but with her grandpa going AWOL and being so confused about who her parents are, since she lied originally, I must admit I’m somewhere between happy to see her grow as a character yet also worried that this could be a one-episode appearance. If not, like Claire, Morgan’s mom will show up so sporadically that it’ll feel like we don’t truly get a three-dimensional view of who Morgan’s mom is since she’ll just grind into our heads a sole viewpoint.

  3. You may be right about the writer’s avoiding Morgan’s personal business, but there’s always hope! Regarding Dr. Melendez’s sister, I guess if I was going to face reality, I would admit that you are right and we will most likely never see his sister ever again. I feel that is a shame, because even if it is for just one episode, it would be nice to have her back again. Oh well.

    1. I wonder if due to Alex’s storyline with his family failing so spectacularly, maybe that’s why the writers have been so slow to introduce new family members and make it so, similar to Breeze, they are reoccuring. Because, surely, Dr. Glassman has had to have more people in his life beyond his daughter and Dr. Lim surely has family, right? Heck, it feels like it has been ages since we saw Dr. Andrews wife and followed up on the pursuit of those two having a child.

  4. A part of me thinks Morgan is so deep in other people’s business so that they’ll avoid being in hers. And, let’s be real, introducing Dr. Melendez’s sister was purely about softening up his image. They had no intention of going further with that.

  5. I’ll start with Dr. Melendez. I cringed while watching that scene at the end with him and Claire. I just wish they would give him some sort of story line (maybe involving his sister with Down’s Syndrome?) that has nothing to do with romance because even though he and Claire would make a cute couple, I hate it because he is her boss! And because you’re right, that’s the only story line he ever gets – as somebody’s boyfriend. I love how the writers have given Claire something interesting to do. Now they can think up something for Dr. Melendez to do, too.

    I agree with you about how the scene with Shaun and Dr. Glassman was very powerful!

    I was surprised at how quickly Shaun agreed to give up Lea for Carly. I thought Carly asked Shaun to completely give up Lea, not just stop living with her. I guess I misunderstood what she said. Either way, I’m still surprised, and I wonder how much, if any, influence Morgan had on Shaun’s decision. Between “Lea is a flake!” and “you should thank whatever Gods you worship for Carly…”, Morgan is definitely Team Carly. I got a kick out of how Morgan not only sticks her nose in Claire’s business, but in Shaun’s as well. But I also agree with her; Lea is a flake!

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