Weeks have passed since the 3rd season finale, and with “The Good Doctor” integrating COVID-19 comes a show with renewed energy.
|Writer(s)||Liz Friedman, David Shore|
|Introduced This Episode|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
And So It Began – Mildred, Rochelle, Lily, Martin, Ambar
First, there was Mildred, someone who had a simple cough but ended up on steroids, a ventilator, and so much more – with her daughter Rochelle pushed further and further away for her own safety. Following that, Martin, who had mild symptoms, but his essential employee wife, Lily, pestered him, and with learning he had COVID, she was lucky that his phone kept them connected.
Lastly, there was Ambar. A young woman, pregnant, and due any day now, with no one. Yet, even if the father, her parents, or anyone was in the picture, how could they get close when she had COVID? Never mind, as more and more was learned as days went on, and information sometimes changing as soon as you believe something is a fact, how to handle a newborn in a COVID infested area?
The Stress Of It All – Dr. Lim, Claire, Morgan, Shaun, Dr. Glassman, Debbie
As you can imagine, the stress of not being able to treat people, just try to focus on one symptom at a time, usually by severity, is frustrating. Add on losing patients, being unable to do much, if anything, for their loved ones, it’s taxing. Add in Dr. Lim and Claire are trying to grieve their own loss, and it becomes a lot.
For Dr. Lim, she has the benefit of at least trying to negotiate for PPE and other supplies. However, for Claire? There is no distraction, and her ability to be empathetic and the nice one wears thin. Mind you, not in front of patients, but she does snap on Shaun, who is joyous that people are forced to understand how difficult things are for him. Alongside people having to verbalize what they need which makes his job all the more easier.
However, this joy isn’t taken well by Claire, so she snaps at him, and when Morgan tries to defend Shaun, Claire unloads on her noting Morgan is probably happy there aren’t any surgeries being done so, like her, no one can perform them. This leads Alex, who is Shaun’s roommate during the pandemic, to step in since clearly, Claire is cutting with her words.
Switching to Dr. Glassman? Well, his whirlwind romance with Debbie, once again, takes its toll as there is a reminder that while they share some interest, there might not have been enough time between them dating and marriage. Case in point, while you understand Debbie’s frustration of not being an essential employee, so she can’t work, her consistent pushing against Dr. Glassman is not just irritating to him, but could be for you.
After all, imagine being the president of anything, feeling responsible for people’s lives, and rather than, like your staff, Dr. Lim, for example, being in the thick of it, you are at home. Granted, working around the clock but feeling you are not where you could contribute the most. This isn’t to downplay Debbie’s feelings, because going stir crazy is a real issue, but you continue to see that, as much as they can bond over cars, these two have a real difficulty seeing eye to eye it comes to living their lives together.
The Toll It Takes – Lea, Shaun, Mildred, Rochelle, Claire, Lily, Martin, Dr. Andrews, Ambar, Dr. Park, Walter, Morgan, Nurse Deena, Dr. Melendez
Before the lockdown, Shaun and Lea were having sex, Shaun was talking with Lea about her sleeping over, and while you can see Lea was adjusting to it all, she was making it work. However, once the pandemic hit, as much as Shaun deeply misses Lea and having sex with her, he is amongst COVID patients all day. Making it so, to avoid possibly infecting her, he lives in a bubble with Dr. Park.
Someone who, when it comes to his patient, Ambar, he is struggling with since she has no noted next of kin yet, with a baby on the way, and her on a ventilator, what can they do? After all, as Shaun bluntly tells Martin and Martin’s wife Lily, the ventilator is not only a last resort but not something many people come off of alive. Case in point, Mildred dies after everything Claire tries to do, and all Rochelle can do is wait outside the hospital and deal with getting hit with the news without a chance to even say goodbye.
Heck, her mother’s necklace, if it wasn’t for Claire breaking down after saying no so many times, she’d have to wait until after the pandemic was over to get said necklace. Yet, all Claire finds down there is the ghost of Dr. Melendez. Meaning he isn’t written off the show just yet.
Beyond those characters, we see Dr. Andrews, who is often paired with Shaun, forced to sleep in his garage to keep his wife safe and then with Morgan? Well, you knew at least one person had to get exposed of the doctors, right? Alongside Nurse Deena, she was with a patient named Walter, someone who is asymptomatic, and Morgan realizes he has COVID and was all through their non-COVID-related floor.
Thus leaving them having to deal with a potential spread featuring dozens of people.
Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Where was Allegra during that board meeting?
- Did anyone else feel shocked by the number of times people spoke without masks? Especially in the hospital?
- Is Jessica going to join Claire and Dr. Lim in mourning? She was engaged to him.
It Reminds You Of When The Good Doctor Got You Consistently Emotional 
Admittedly, we’ve not only built a tolerance to a lot of the characters and storylines of “The Good Doctor” but have long set expectations to that point of expecting far too much. Which, after the first season, I hope you can understand. With nearly every episode causing an emotional reaction, it makes you think this show can’t get better, and when you realize, in fact, it can’t, that’s frustrating.
When you add in forgetting this show is about Shaun, featuring these other characters, and their journeys are by no means the priority, you can have misplaced emotions. Yet, with a late start and being topical, “The Good Doctor” seems to have really broken out of its rut. Its focus on COVID finds a way to both continue sometimes slow and season-long storylines with an added sense of urgency.
This helps the guest stars as you aren’t sure if they will live or die because everyone, including Shaun, can’t pull out some random medical journal article and discover a cure. They are facing the unknown, and their frustration is your frustration. Especially since you and the doctors are so used to a last-minute save due to an obscure procedure.
Take Mildred’s situation. Watching her daughter, Rochelle, outside, pushed room by room, floor by floor, until she is waiting outside to hear about her mother’s state, was heartbreaking. Then when she was told she would have to wait to claim her mother’s possessions? It helps you understand the utter rage that many have because they felt helpless and like they abandoned their family.
But, as shown with Claire, what can you do? You are given orders, and while some, like the necklace thing, you can maybe bend? The others? Well, bending and breaking those could mean someone’s life, if not yours. Add in your job is to help and heal, and now you are just putting bandaids over gashing wounds, and it pushes you to understand that while there can be a certain amount of PTSD in the medical field, COVID has taken it to the next level.
Dr. Lim’s Role In The Pandemic 
Yet, there is also the need to note Dr. Lim’s role. Her negotiating deals bring about the business, for a lack of a better word, aspect, and tough decisions like choosing what is an elective surgery. Which, going by an interview in the recent season of “Black Love,” can include cancer treatment! So here is hoping, rather than see Dr. Lim on the phone, talking to no one there, we can also see the flip side of people like Rochelle who don’t quietly accept what is told.
This isn’t to say I want to see Dr. Lim cursed out, but there is a certain amount of catharsis that can come from seeing patients speak for those who may have felt too powerless in the moment.
Dr. Park Paired With Shaun 
Dr. Park may never be our favorite, but having them live with Shaun does make them feel less separate. This could help the character since Shaun is the lead and look at what his connection to Claire, and especially Morgan, did for those characters. So here is hoping the close proximity could revive a character who seemed a bit more expendable than Dr. Melendez.
A Reminder That Asymptomatic People Exist 
Being asymptomatic has exited the conversation, at least in our lives. For with numbers peaking again, the active and clear carriers are far more important than those stealthy. Yet, people like Walter remind you that wearing your mask, inside, maybe even outside, is critical. Because you can look fine, maybe have what appear to be unrelated symptoms, yet be a carrier. And while no one wants to create a sense of paranoia, you have to appreciate “The Good Doctor,” showing the evolution of how doctors responded to the coronavirus and how, with as many precautions taken as possible, it is nearly impossible to safeguard against everything.
On The Fence
Morgan’s Storyline Swept Under The Rug, For Now 
Morgan no longer being a surgeon was a major storyline for a character who pushed and shoved her way to being second to only Shaun. So her now being benched a bit, and their personal storyline set aside, we admittedly are disappointed. Yet, look at Claire, she gets benched every handful of episodes. So I guess with Morgan getting a bit too much spotlight, it was time to redirect the resources pooled into her – especially as new residents are on the horizon.
Dr. Glassman & Debbie Fighting 
It remains immensely challenging to get into Dr. Glassman and Debbie’s relationship. Likely because Debbie is just so rude and can come off self-absorbed. Granted, there is such a need to give her the benefit of the doubt and push the narrative that she doesn’t mean to come off as she does. Debbie just wants to have some fun, yet also keep Dr. Glassman safe. Two things which sometimes, in his mind, come in conflict.
Yet, there are times when you really do feel the need to wonder at what point should we just consider her selfish? What does Debbie need to do to not be seen as someone judged too harshly but deserving of criticism? It’s honestly hard to say since the character is made into such an easy target.
|With “The Good Doctor” returning with COVID-19 as its focal point, you can see how a lot will be shifted around the current pandemic. Yet, with the show in need of a shakeup, taking on the deadly disease and showing the lives of front line workers, patients, and those fearful for loved ones, is just what the show, and people, need.|
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