The Good Doctor: Season 4/ Episode 17 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

The aftermath of the last episode pushes the idea Shaun may have potentially made a mistake that goes beyond not being the partner Lea needs.

Lea crying onto Shaun's chest

The aftermath of the last episode pushes the idea Shaun may have potentially made a mistake that goes beyond not being the partner Lea needs.

Episode Name Letting Go
Aired 5/17/2021
Network ABC
Directed By James Genn
Written By Doris Egan
Newly Noted Characters
Marian Cynthia Stevenson
Dr. Nakano Hiro Kanagawa

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.


If The Results Were Good, Does It Matter If It Was Based On A Lie? – Marian, Morgan, Claire

Marian Clarke, a senator who ran for president recently, comes into the hospital due to a twitch in her face that she thinks undermines her. Now, somehow Morgan is involved because we gotta rope her in somehow, and while Claire fawns over Marian, Morgan does her best to be polite.

Marian (Cynthis Stevenson) smiling at Claire
Marian (Cynthis Stevenson) smiling at Claire

This becomes a problem as Marian reveals that, while she isn’t a horrible person, the woman Claire saw as the reason she applied to colleges and became a doctor, that isn’t her. A lot of Marian’s speeches are based on embellishments or lies, and this cools Claire’s heels a bit. However, a patient is a patient, and Marian’s lies have allowed for great advancements for disabled people in congress and have inspired those like Claire.

So, luckily, despite the dangerous surgeries that had to be done, Marian’s twitch gets fixed.

Avoiding The Snowball Effect – Dr. Nakano, Dr. Andrews, Shaun

Dr. Nakano, who was Dr. Andrews’ mentor when he was a resident, comes to the hospital due to one of his patients needing surgery. Shaun, being that seniority doesn’t consistently mean much to him, has the audacity to imply Dr. Nakano made a mistake in a bypass he did and recommends not just to Dr. Nakano a procedure but also talks to Dr. Nakano’s patient.

Now, being that Dr. Andrews is adjusted to Shaun, he is pissed but has no intention of going nuclear. However, with Shaun trying to avoid going home and confronting what happened to him and Lea, he stays at work. Which, luckily for him, does lead to him catching an acceptable reason to keep butting in, as it saves the patient’s life.

But, while finishing up the surgery Shaun recommended, Dr. Nakano barely misses causing an accident, and with that, he realizes it is time to retire.

There Are Good Days – Shaun, Lea

Lea is struggling with losing her baby and has been avoiding her mom, who doesn’t know yet. But, like Shaun, Lea isn’t much for being idle and staying in the house, so she heads to work, seemingly to do a few minor things, but all the condolences she gets become a bit much. However, while Shaun wasn’t necessarily the best partner initially, throwing statistics of how many pregnancies end in miscarriages versus seeing Lea would rather cry, be held, or have some kind of emotional moment, he gets it in the long run.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

We want the symbol more than the reality.
— Marian

Commentary/ Review

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Dr. Andrews Not Bringing Up Shaun’s Autism When He Was Rude

What The Good Doctor tries to do, as often as possible, is not boil down every awkward or negative moment with Shaun to be about his autism. Sometimes, Shaun is just written off as callous, oblivious, or in Dr. Andrews’ case, it seems he wanted to paint Shaun as brilliant but also pompous. So while Dr. Nakano might have found Shaun to have done things worth being fired over, it seems Dr. Andrews, between knowing Shaun didn’t mean to be rude and recognizing his loss, let it slide.

Dr. Nakano (Hiro Kanagawa) smiling
Dr. Nakano (Hiro Kanagawa) smiling

After all, Dr. Andrews has gone through how many miscarriages at this point? You could even submit that part of the reason he is absent as he is, that can be due to being with his wife and providing emotional support.

But, getting back to the Dr. Nakano situation, considering Dr. Andrews put Dr. Glassman’s career on the line and ended his term as head of the hospital because of Shaun, this really does show that Dr. Andrews has evolved and not just adapted.

Lea Getting Space To Grieve Outside of Shaun

While it certainly matters how Shaun feels about the miscarriage, there is no denying that Lea would experience it to a degree which would probably eclipse Shaun. As shown, he was ready to understand what happened logically as Lea had to emotionally. Never mind, Lea’s world exist outside the hospital so while everyone that knew Shaun was aware, Lea’s mom had to be told and who knows who else. Thus, an additional layer that is hard to talk about, as Dr. Andrews pointed out.

So it was a bit of a surprise Lea was given the space to mourn, as an individual, and not be used to push further what Shaun was going through.

[ninja_tables id=”46813″]

Lea crying onto Shaun's chest
The Good Doctor: Season 4/ Episode 17 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Trajectory: Plateau
By making it so there are no bells or whistles, nor downplaying what happened, the miscarriage storyline hits the right tone. As does watching Claire continue to realize there is a gray area she has to recognize exists, even when it comes to those she has put on a pedestal.
Community Rating6 Votes
Dr. Andrews Not Bringing Up Shaun's Autism When He Was Rude
Lea Getting Space To Grieve Outside of Shaun
On The Fence

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  1. Cognitive therapy is about changing maladaptive patterns of thought. Therefore, the therapist probably would challenge Claire to take a different perspective regardless of how she presented the case to them.

  2. Very intersting about the women behind the scenes, Andreas! This is especially since TGD was brought to American television by 2 men, Daniel Dae Kim and David Shore. And David Shore is also one of the show runners for TGD, too.

  3. Hi Emily and Amari!

    Claire, as presented in “Letting Go”, was an interesting case study again. We have speculated before how Claire is in many ways a mirror image of Shaun.

    In the very beginning, Claire was made to appear as the perfect opposite of Shaun: socially well adjusted, empathetic and wise beyond her age. This facade quickly became its first cracks as we saw how she treaded Jared (thinking of it, there wasn’t much difference to how Morgan treated Park lately…) and the rest… well, Amari summarized it quite nicely.

    By season 4 it is safe to say that Claire is just as naïve as Shaun, albeit for different reasons. What makes the difference is that Shaun always knew that he had some deficits and limitations while Claire is currently learning it the hard way.

    1. Amari – So that’s why my comments did not appear in the comment section right away like they used to? Now I just have to be patient, which is a virtue I do not possess?!

      1. Believe me when I say I don’t know why it is holding it. The only reason people with previously approved comments should get hold in moderation is if they put in a link.

  4. The Good Doctor makes a serious effort to carve out more space for its only non-doctor. On the first glance, this might come as a surprise for a character that has been around since episode 1.03, but on closer inspection, there are many good reasons for doing so.

    First and foremost, Lea isn’t a simple love interest anymore. Both Shaun and Lea pretty much made it clear that they are in this relationship for life. As the protagonist’s “significant other”, the character must be fleshed out so that the audience can relate to her and understands why and how important the character is to the main character.

    This also disrupts to some degree the routines of the medical procedural which sure is more than needed after three seasons.

    Yet, there’s another factor at work behind the scenes that sure can be felt here: every season, The Doctor is becoming more female! Season 4 saw more women in the director’s chair and responsible for the scripts than ever before (episode 4.20 still TBA). So far, seven episodes this season have been directed by women – which, as I have been told, is a lot for this industry. Eleven episodes were written by women, some with a male co-writer, some single or by a female team. “Spilled Milk” and “Dr. Ted” were exclusively written and directed by women.

    This is bound to change the perspective of episodes and the season as a whole. It influences which themes are presented and how. This season took a closer look at the women in the cast (with the unfortunate exception of Morgan). How does Lim cope with being a woman in a prestigious and stressful job without anything resembling a private life or family as support network?. Can Lim and Claire form a career-boosting mentorship that is a given for their male colleagues (e.g. Nakano-Andrews)? Jordan and Olivia breaking free from expectations placed upon them. Lea’s struggles with her parents’ perception, against the gender bias in her profession, the pregnancy and her loss all fit nicely into a season that consciously tries to achieve a better balance between the male and female perspectives.

    1. This is such a great question about Claire – how does she talk about these moments in her therapy sessions? I know there is patient-dr. confidentiality, but I would really like to know how Claire described Marian to her therapist. In order for therapy to work, you have to be completely honest. But would Claire see how judgmental she was being towards Marian, or would her therapist be able to point that out to her? Or would Claire be so blind to that attitude problem that in therapy it would come across as Claire is right and Marian is wrong, period.

  5. Hi Amari! I like the updated design! Very sharp!!

    I’m glad you pointed out how Dr. Andrews didn’t mention Shaun’s autism to Dr. Nakano. First of all, I did not catch that when I watched the show. But it is an excellent point because when Dr. Andrews first met Shaun, all he could see was his autism, and pretty much nothing else. To me that is another way Dr. Andrews has evolved.

    Regarding Claire’s storyline, I chuckled at how you described Morgan getting involved! Her presence on this case was only to insult Claire at every turn, which got on my nerves. I almost always cut Claire a lot of slack because she is my favorite character (next to Shaun). But I was even more annoyed with Claire then Morgan at the end of the show during the elevator ride with Marian. I don’t think Claire realized “…there is a gray area she has to recognize exists…” as you wrote because she spent the whole elevator ride asking Marian if she was lying to herself in a rude, accusatory tone of voice. So much so that I half-expected Claire to have told the press the real reason Marian was in the hospital. So to me it seemed Claire thought Marian was a liar and there was no decent reason any of the lies should have been told, taking a holier-than-thou position.

    1. For Dr. Andrews, I think it is like a friend said to me about the show “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay,” the issue for most people is that until they are exposed to someone different than them, like someone who is autistic, there is no prep. They rely on stereotypes, and often prejudice, and lock those in as soon as they feel they are validated by someone’s actions. So with Shaun being in Dr. Andrews life to the capacity he is, he has come to realize Shaun’s autism is part of him, but doesn’t summarize who he is. So he can factor in that there is a spectrum and for Shaun’s, it makes him a bit of an ass sometimes.

      I think the issue which is starting to emerge with Claire is that she lives in a bubble. One which is way too black and white, good or evil, and it strangely doesn’t take note of her own moments of living in the gray. Be it how she treated the young doctor in the first season, stringing him along, how she has treated Morgan at times, and other situations as well. Lest we forget, Claire had an entire phase, more than once, of having unattached sex, not necessarily for pleasure but to take her mind off the issues she needed to address.

      Which makes me wonder, in her therapy sessions, how does she talk about these moments, since she struggles to extend grace to others, does she even do that for herself, unless pushed to do so?

    2. Thank you! It seems with changing things, it has me approving comments again, even if people have previously been approved.

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