The Good Doctor: Season 4/ Episode 10 “Decrypt” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

One of the residents gets fired, and Lea is put into a position where she asks Dr. Glassman to trust her beyond what could be expected from their complicated relationship.

Lea talking to Shaun

One of the residents gets fired, and Lea is put into a position where she asks Dr. Glassman to trust her beyond what could be expected from their complicated relationship.

Director(s) Freddie Highmore
Writer(s) Thomas L. Moran, Adam Scott Weissman
Aired (ABC) 2/22/2021

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text may contain affiliate links, which, if a purchase is made, we’ll earn money or products from the company.


Not All Heroes Use Scalpels – Morgan, Alex, Asher, Jordan

Morgan continues to make the best of a situation that wasn’t in her original plans. For as a doctor, and patient advocate, with a network of surgeons, she knows who is the best, who is willing to go the extra mile, and with the help of Alex, Asher, and Jordan, she finds a way to get one person to give up their kidney and another to give up some of their liver. All through this convoluted process that makes it seem, while Dr. Glassman and Morgan may not talk about her future in the hospital, she may have the knack for administration beyond her current job.

No Longer Living Life Based On Someone Else’s Ideas – Olivia, Claire, Dr. Lim, Dr. Andrews

For nearly her whole life, Olivia, to appease members of her family, stuck to the path they chose for her based on what they saw as her aptitude. The problem is, she fell out of love with medicine a long time ago, and when she found an out, she took it.

How? Well, a patient named Cort Graham (Kurt Yaeger) comes to the hospital, and he is a high-profile patient. Not high profile enough to get a fancy room and be courted for donations, but big enough that there is a certain amount of privacy that is supposed to be considered. So when he reveals, unlike what he got famous for, that he isn’t this marathon runner who beat cancer, this is a shock to Claire and makes her apprehensive about treating him.

Cort Graham (Kurt Yaeger) in bed
Cort Graham (Kurt Yaeger)

Thus, when it is leaked to the press that Cort lied, Dr. Lim already has her sights on Claire and, pending an investigation, is all but ready to fire her. However, with seeing an out and not wanting Claire and Dr. Lim to ruin what makes the department great, Olivia throws herself to the wolves to save Claire’s job and end her career.

But here is the kicker, Olivia told Dr. Andrews about Cort’s lie, and he is the true leaker. For with him believing no one would trace things back to him, he thought it would be safe to reveal what he knew. However, in the end, he gave Olivia what she needed more than an opportunity at the hospital and any leg up he ever gave her – a means to get back her life and figure out who Olivia is without all the ideas other people have for her.

Lea Saves The Day – Lea, Shaun, Dr. Glassman

Lea’s role as the IT director has been downplayed for most of the show, outside of Dr. Glassman asking a question or two. Hence why, when there is a major data breach, Dr. Glassman goes back and forth between letting Lea do what she was hired to do and just paying a random. For on top of underestimating Lea, there is just a lack of knowledge when it comes to tech. Though one could submit, like what we’ve seen Claire and Dr. Lim go through in their careers, Lea gives a taste of how women deal with other male-dominated professions in her world. For with, according to Recruiting Innovation, around 25% of people in computer-based jobs being women, 14% in engineering, they are very underrepresented in that field.

Thus, when it comes to the insurance adjuster and Dr. Glassman, each comment, lack of faith, and undermining action frustrates Lea more and more. It even makes her snap at Shaun a bit and leads to her believing he doesn’t respect her or what she does either. The truth? He just doesn’t know much about what she does, what’s appropriate, and what’s not. After all, Shaun’s whole life is medicine, and how the machine works isn’t as important to him as it doing what he needs to do a procedure.

But in the end, Lea does triumph and saves the hospital nearly $2 million, and you could even say she earns a newfound respect from Dr. Glassman. I’d even throw in, between getting Dr. Glassman’s approval and Shaun supporting her, once he had an idea of what he should say, it might have healed her a bit. After all, you saw Lea’s relationship with her parents – clearly finding love and validation, the way she needed it, wasn’t easy. So to get that from a curmudgeon boss and boyfriend who is always honest and clear-cut with you? It’s a good feeling.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Who were the two people playing poker with Dr. Glassman and Lea?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

You didn’t let me down, you confused me.
— Dr. Andrews


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Olivia’s Exit

Did Olivia have potential? Yes. She opened the door to learning more about Dr. Andrews, would have been the perfect mentee for Claire due to some of their similarities, and more. However, with a rather large amount of residents, with stronger personalities, quirks that raised an eyebrow, and storylines that allowed them to exist without a crutch, Olivia was the weakest link. So her leaving is bittersweet yet necessary. I dare say, it wouldn’t be terrible if others left as well for as much as, with Olivia, they show potential, not many are getting to live up to that.

Olivia saying goodbye

Everything About Lea

Lea has really come into her own this season and stepped out of the role of being a love interest or catalyst for growth in Shaun’s life. We’ve met her parents, were told she was married, and rather than just being told about the life she has, when not in Shaun’s proximity, we got to see it first hand. This episode is no different since it exposed us to her professional life as not just Lea, but also a woman in tech and good with her hands.

For as much as you could say Dr. Glassman didn’t mean to come off sexist or present a form of ageism, he did. You could even say he gaslit her for making it seem she was overreacting. But lest we forget, Dr. Glassman, while a good person, he can be ignorant, arrogant, and even a tad controlling. Hence why Shaun had to hit him back in the day.

Yet, Lea’s relationship with Glassman is different than Glassman with Shaun since he doesn’t hate her but doesn’t understand her. Like Shaun, Glassman can be very tunnel vision, and what he knows, he knows well and can both do the thing and explain it. However, when it comes to stuff he doesn’t know, you recognize it makes him feel vulnerable, not as intelligent as he often feels, and so he can be a little gruff.

Getting this back to focusing on Lea, through Glassman’s actions, Shaun, and the adjuster, you get a taste of what it is like to be a woman in tech. Be it the unseen assumption that a man has your job, to expectations being lowered since you are a woman. Add in the need to be on defense, after years of undermining and disrespect, it makes it seem any and every slight should be considered an attack, even if, like in Shaun’s case, it is more about ignorance than malice.

All of this pushes you to understand why Lea, just in general, seems to have to have this smile that requires effort. Why she can sometimes make Glassman uncomfortable, yet also why Shaun loves her. Because of the career path she chose, she has to be strong, despite very few pushing her forward, and in finding that strength, she also found audacity.

Shaun noting he respect Lea
Shaun: I respect you

Which for Shaun seems joyous for while Lea does sometimes play down how she feels about things said or done, generally speaking, she tries to be as straightforward as Shaun is. Making it so, because of what she went through and getting a taste of that in this episode, you can see why she loves Shaun’s honesty and why they are a better match than I probably ever gave them credit for.

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Everything About Lea - 86%
Olivia's Exit - 83%


In an episode mainly focused on Lea, we get to see more beyond how Shaun views her and, alongside getting to see Lea as an individual, Olivia pushes to reclaim her own individuality, even at the cost of her career.

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  1. Putting Claire in Melendez’s shoes might be a quite interesting learning experience for her, since she is a quite “stubborn” character in regard of character growth. And we should not forget that Claire and Lim’s close friendship is problematic as well.

    Lim has demonstrated this episode that she can act coldhearted while still Claire can’t separate duty from emotions. This might bring some problems further down the road when the race for a post-residency position starts (perhaps in the very next episode).

  2. There’s no need for Andrews to convert back to season 1.
    In 3.01 “Disaster”, all that Glassman wanted was to work in a charity clinic and enjoy his life with Debbie. Aoki actually had to bribe him to accepting presidency by re-opening the free clinic at St. Bonaventure.

    And episodes 4.01/02 spent considerable time depicting how Glasmann’s marriage collides with his duties as president, boring both of you, Emily and Amari.

    All that Andrews has to do is to suggest the idea that two jobs are too much in Glassman’s age and that he should make arrangements for a transition of power in the near future.

    A transition in which he could bring up Lim’s name to take Glassman’s position as president while Glassman continues to run the free clinic.

    In turn, Andrews, who held both positions before, could climb up the ladder again while secretly continuing to mentor Lim; building up his power within the hospital while everyone’s interest is served (in contrast to his first attempt for presidency, when he used more destructive methods).

    1. I think Amari has posted this before – Andreas, you could write for The Good Doctor! I like your storyline of how Andrews takes over the presidency by getting Glassman and Lim to shift their positions within the hospital. Very well done and quite interesting! I’d watch that!!

  3. Hello Emily, I also think that if another resident is to go, it will be one of the men, if just for gender parity.

    As for Andrews, I see some indication that he will play a more important role again. How so? Episodes 4.10 “Decrypt” and 4.09 “Irresponsible…” made sure to remind us of his past as a schemer and backstabber. Now I might be reaching here, but in episode 4.02 “Frontline Part 2”, Glassman, at age 65, expressed his fears of becoming less useful and expandable to Debbie (a reminisce to the fear voiced to Shaun during his cancer arc in season 2, as Amari noted back then).

    Which is why it should give Spock’s brow a rise that, after “Decrypt” focusing on Lea and Glassman, the subsequent episode 4.11 “We’re All Crazy Sometimes” revolves around Glassman, challenging the other residents and (obviously) being challenged by Dr. Andrews in return (information derived from promo and synopsis).

    Being the hospital president for more than 10 years, working a second job at the free clinic, and having a quite demanding wife, Glassman might feel his energy, if not his time, running short.

    As any aging gunslinger, he might want to prove more to himself than to others that he is still on top of the game or at least exit in a blaze of glory. Thus, he presents a case no other doctor would touch—as Andrews stresses in the promo—to residents eager to brush up their resumes.

    Of course, when decline is in the air, hungry predators catch the scent. Sure enough, Andrews has his tailored suits stored in some closet, living a career vicariously through his niece was cut short, Chief Lim is still reeling from her PTSD, and the hospital president’s retirement is only a question of time now. A mix that could give any ambitious man ideas. As in becoming chief of surgery instead of the chief of surgery when the career carousel starts spinning.

    1. While I welcome more screen time for Dr. Andrews, i hope it is not to see him become his former back-stabbing self from season 1 when he practically leapt into the President’s job when Shaun screwed up and Glassman got cancer. I like how nice Andrews is now.

      Regarding Glassman, it’s been good not seeing Debbie. I hope it is because there has been no storyline for her and not COVID (in real life) related. Anyway, the character Debbie bores me, so I have not missed her. But Glassman trying to prove himself or going out in a blaze of glory both sound like an interesting storylines.

  4. Hi Amari! I agree with you that Olivia’s exit was necessary. The cast is overcrowded so one of the newbies leaving was a good thing. My only regret with Olivia leaving is we might see less of Dr. Andrews with her gone. Next to go should be Boardshorts. (I don’t remember his name.) He wasn’t even in this episode and yet he was not missed. If he is written out of the show, he also won’t be missed.

    Hi Andreas! I enjoyed watching Morgan, like you wrote, connect emotionally to a patient. Like Amari pointed out, Morgan did very well advocating for her patient, which was nice to watch.

    1. It depends if boardshorts and Claire have something romantic. Which, considering how The Good Doctor likes to revisit things, it is likely to happen to flip the script on Claire and Dr. Lim’s relationship with Dr. Melendez, but now with a woman in the authoritative position.

  5. Before I dive into the episode let me emphasize how much I enjoyed your style of writing with this review again, Amari. Reading your reviews surely influences my use of a language foreign to me.

    Now on with the story of that unlikely family of choice that keeps St. Bonaventure Hospital running… It’s striking to me that you again referenced the slap Shaun gave Glassman at the end season 1, episode 10 “Sacrifice”.

    Back then, Shaun broke free from Glassman’s overbearing father role, running into the wild for new clarity about what he wanted out of life. As it turned out, Shaun ran right into the arms of Lea and created a bond which now has come in full fruition for all three characters.

    Three seasons later, another sacrifice is made and another character breaks free from overbearing parental figures. And while we will not see the continuation of Oliva’s story, it reminds us of the way Andrews has come so far. Being a proud man, Andrews had to learn to let go of his ambitions, his career and now of a surrogate daughter by whom he tried to live the former vicariously. Yet, we also got a glimpse of the old Andrews – the schemer and backstabber – although he acted out of modesty rather than selfishness this time. While being on good terms with him right now, Chief Lim better watches her rear.

    As to keep the balance, while one surrogate daughter is lost, another is gained. Because as much as Lea ached for being deprived of validation by her family and on her career path, there is also still a gashing wound in Glassman’s heart caused by the guilt over Maddie, the daughter that died the night Glassman closed the door on her.

    For the little we know about Maddie, she was a rebel who struggled to find her way and failed. With a rebellious Lea proving that she has the literal balls to play with the big guys, Glassman opens the door to his house for her and has her sitting by his side when doing a guy’s thing, mending a wound that will never close.

    More healing is underway with Morgan’s identity as medical professional and human being. Connecting emotionally to patients that are conscious for a change, the armor of abrasiveness the ex-surgeon donned to survive the competition called the Reznick family is not depleted but set aside more often now, revealing the person that Morgan is when she lets down her guard while having her sights still on her goals.

    Goals that very well might include to deepen her bond with divorcee and roomie Park as they clearly both now enjoy the other’s touch. Just as Shaun and Lea matured and flourished together as roommates over petty fights such as how to hang the toilet paper, Morgan and Park grew closer while figuring out how to deal with a mouse. It is just that Chief Lim could have done without it.

    Because avoiding any personal ties for a support system, Chief Lim relies on her sense of duty alone for doing a demanding job while feeling constantly questioned for her gender and ethnicity. Soldiering through the heat of the war on the pandemic has left her shell-shocked. And neither her job nor her mental health get any better by Claire repeatedly confusing her boss with her late mother. It is just in “Decrypt” that this odd surrogate family wannabes can declare a ceasefire and start negotiating their peace treaty.

    Which leaves Shaun, the lead character, who seems oddly at peace within all the turmoil around him that lead up to this mid-season episode.

    Season 3 closed with a song that juxtaposed the concepts of Death and Love, the circle of life. It set the mood for the following one. Again, “Decrypt” seems to suggest that life within the show’s universe moves in patterns and cycles that do not necessarily mean repetition but renewal; and the season makes sure to check on every character’s state of affairs. There is ex-cop Park whose moral code was flexible enough in 1.15 “Heartfelt” to talk a convicted killer into putting a gun to his own head so that a boy could receive the convict’s liver. Now, Park welcomed and supported the idea of another killer donating another organ and stood silently by while Jordan, the Christian supposedly bound by the 8th commandment, lied to get the recipient into accepting the organ donation.

    This episode tied a nice ribbon around many storylines. Lea gained the acceptance she sought. Glassman is even more at ease with her now personally (“Parenting”) and professionally. Lim and Claire had a bumpy road but reconciled, the PTSD is in remission for the time being. Morgan obviously has found purpose and satisfaction in her new specialty. The rivalry between Park and Morgan has been transformed into appreciation. Shaun and Lea’s relationship rests peacefully on mutual honesty. Which sparks the question: what now?

    Staying with the theme of renewal, a new mini-cycle within the season must begin. The synopsis for episode 4.11 has Shaun going into battle with Morgan, while all the other residents are challenged by a case Glassman brings in. The second half of the season draws new battle lines.

    The script separates Shaun and Morgan from the others. So, we may assume that now the story might concentrate on what sets these characters apart from the others and what these two can learn from each other.

    Morgan is assertive, Shaun is not. Morgan is a keen observer of social interaction, Shaun is not. Shaun rather quickly overcame his reluctance for teaching and now is professionally somewhat in a rut, in fact his character has become stagnant professionally since 4.06 ended. Shaun knows his procedures, but he still needs to learn about having a career. Having found more clarity for herself, Morgan could be the one to provide what Shaun needs right now for being successful. Morgan might be the one pushing Shaun forward again on his journey to become a good doctor.

    Lea is where she wanted to be in life. She has a boyfriend who respects her, and boss who trusts her abilities. She even got to scrub in for her fist surgery symbolically. Is she ready to take the relationship to the next level? And is being the respected Head of IT all that she aspires to? (There has been a significant spike of pregnancies this half-season… just saying.)

    And will there be a point when Andrews is fed up with wearing humble sweaters and eyes for some opportunity to wear his expensive tailored suits again? For all we don’t know, we can be sure new ruptures are bound to come. Because no family is harmony only all the time.

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