Home TV Series The Good Doctor: Season 4/ Episode 20 [Season Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

The Good Doctor: Season 4/ Episode 20 [Season Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

by Amari

While a noted end of an era for one character, it is also the beginning of a rather special chapter for one of the pairings.


Community Rating: 82.43% (5)


 


Episode NameVamos
Aired6/7/2021
NetworkABC
Directed ByMike Listo
Written ByPeter Blake, David Shore

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.

Recap

It’s Nice To Have Someone There When Life Is Hard – Dr. Andrews, Nurse Morales, Lea

As Lea helps a new mom keep her daughter alive, Dr. Andrews is forced to admit he has been flirting with Nurse Morales. Why? Well, because his marriage is falling apart. His wife is seeing someone new and it seems the sudden joining of this trip was to clear his head.

However, don’t think Dr. Andrews is going to move on to Nurse Morales as, with her noticing him still having his wedding ring on, she recognizes he isn’t ready to leave his wife. And even when he pawns it for the sake of a patient, it seems her feeling he isn’t ready yet hasn’t changed, nor his about trying to give it one more go with his wife.

Taking Chances – Morgan, Alex, Claire, Dr. Osma, Dr. Saravia, Dr. Lim

Morgan in a vulnerable state

Morgan in a vulnerable state

For both Morgan and Claire, they are presented with a situation where they can either step up, or someone could die. For Claire, with the encouragement of Dr. Saravia, she leads a surgery, and even when she struggles, due to the patient’s BP dropping, she listens to her gut, saves them, and presents the miracles Dr. Osma wanted the surgical team to produce.

As for Morgan? Behind the scenes, as the season primarily focused on her off and on thing with Alex, she was doing physical therapy and apparently was experiencing minimal, if no pain. Because of this, she decides to glove up and perform surgery but, towards the end of it, she is forced to tap out. Thus having to hand it over to Alex who, thankfully, finished the surgery he was tasked with in time for Morgan to scrub out.

On a non-surgical or life-threatening note, it seems, despite her pain and struggles, Dr. Lim has a desire to open up again. For with every question, Dr. Osma realizes Dr. Lim is looking for more than an exotic quickie – she wants real intimacy. Because of this, he pushes her to open up as much as she expects him to and this leads to her originally shutting him out.

But, then she decides to reveal she has PTSD, needs to run to clear her head, and are on three different medication to help her get through the day. Leading to, eventually, Dr. Osma revealing the reason he hasn’t returned to the US is that he likely has an active warrant from skipping a court date. However, he does wonder, if he got that cleared up, would Dr. Lim mind a visit?

A New Dawn, A New Day – Claire, Morgan, Alex, Shaun, Lea, Dr. Lim, Dr. Saravia, Dr. Osma

After all the planned, and handful of unplanned, surgeries are done, it is a time to reflect. Dr. Lim reflects on her time with Dr. Osma and having not just physical but emotional intimacy with someone once again. Claire finds herself forced to think about her time in Guatemala, especially under the tutelage of Dr. Saravia, for she is being offered a job down there. Of which she ultimately takes, with Dr. Lim’s blessing.

As for Morgan? Well, while she loves being an internist, she can’t shake feeling like she failed as a surgeon due to being unable to complete the surgery from the other day. Which she opens up about to Alex, who reveals he broke up with his girlfriend for he loves Morgan and, surprisingly, she reveals she loves him too. Making it appear that Guatemala was a real turning point for everyone.

Lea proposing to Shaun

Lea proposing to Shaun

This also includes Shaun and Lea who, while still not fully over the loss of their child, Lea especially, it seems that, while they won’t make the major change of being parents, Lea proposes, literally, they become husband and wife. To which, of course, Shaun accepts, and it appears that wedding bells will ring in the already confirmed season 5.

Commentary/ Review

Highlights

Lea and Shaun Getting Married

While it is exciting to see Shaun get married, perhaps what we’re most interested in is the possibility of reconciliation. With his father dead, but mother alive, there is a hope that Shaun could have the storyline we just saw Claire start. One in which Shaun’s mother explains herself, hopes for them to move forward, and while it might be awkward and perhaps feel like a rehash, considering so much of Shaun’s childhood remains murky? It would be nice if he did explain more of the time period between running away, ending up in foster care, than under Dr. Glassman’s wing. Which only his mother’s appearance could potentially force out of him.

Dr. Lim Having A New Love Interest & Opening Up

With Claire gone, this means Dr. Lim needs a new rock and with Dr. Osma seemingly assuming the series regular role due to Claire’s exit, it seems he’ll fit the bill. Thus bringing with him international experience as a doctor, as well as the bare-bones techniques he and his team revealed in Guatemala. Though, let’s hope he works for a different hospital as the last thing Dr. Lim needs is a rehash of the storyline that was cut off one or two seasons ago.

Low Points

Morgan and Alex Getting Together

All that time wasted in their cat and mouse game could have shown Morgan getting better and her doing surgery in Guatemala a triumphant moment. Instead, she remains shackled to Alex, giving him purpose, and wasting her on this bland relationship.

On The Fence

The Bittersweet Departure of Dr. Claire Browne

Speaking on the character, Claire has always had a bit of a rocky history on The Good Doctor. Until this season, she has been a bit of a black widow in terms of being the one characters got close to before being written off. And even outside of her romantic relationships, while the core of her being raised with an alcoholic mother, with an absent father, who had to tireless work to get to where she is has been consistent? Everything else? Not so much.

When the show wanted to do its own #MeToo storyline, that fell off for Claire. At a time, there was this eyebrow-raising push to have Morgan and Claire be so close they saw each other outside of work, but then that was dialed back. And it just constantly seemed that just as a storyline ramped up for Claire, she found herself losing her spotlight and a lot of the growth, or even failures, being handled off-screen.

So this departure seems apt for a show that has long had trouble balancing Shaun being the star and draw, yet making sure the other characters are shown to have lives of their own.

Not Seeing Morgan Do Physical Therapy or Dr. Andrews’ Marriage Fall Apart

Dr. Andrews talking about the state he is in as his marriage falls apart.

Dr. Andrews talking about the state he is in as his marriage falls apart.

Do we like the new residents introduced, and the two staying for next season? Yes. Did we enjoy Claire bonding with her dad, Shaun prepping to become a father, and storylines like that? Absolutely. However, the rush of revealing Dr. Andrews’ marriage is at the point of his wife seeing other people and Morgan felt physically able to do surgeries? That should have been invested in more.

Heck, for Dr. Andrews especially since, with him sharing something with Shaun, they could have shown how much it weighed on his marriage, assuming that was a factor in their pending divorce.

Claire looking off to the distance
The Good Doctor: Season 4/ Episode 20 [Season Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Trajectory: Plateau
The Good Doctor ends season 4 still trying to work out kinks in its formula. For while Shaun remains in top form, even using the guidance he got from Dr. Glassman to encourage Claire, every other character remains inconsistently focused on at best and forced upon us at worst. So here is hoping season 5 figures a way to drive Shaun and the community he represents forward while figuring a way to not just present the potential of supporting characters, and give them the occasional spotlight, but truly let them do full arcs.
Highlights
Lea and Shaun Getting Married
Dr. Lim Having A New Love Interest & Opening Up
Low Points/ On The Fence
Morgan and Alex Getting Together
The Bittersweet Departure of Dr. Claire Browne
Not Seeing Morgan Do Physical Therapy or Dr. Andrews' Marriage Fall Apart
75

What Would Your Rating Be?

Negative Mixed Positive

Negative  (0%) Mixed  (0%) Positive  (100%)

6 comments

Andreas June 24, 2021 - 1:32 PM

Thanks Emily, but for now it is only a theory based on tidbits of dialogue in seasons 1 & 2. Meanwhile, we’re down from 5 surgical residents to only 2 remaining. It’s possible that the show might drop the idea of competition for a permanent job completely and instead focus on the difficult transition from student to teacher. Taking his great safety net away will challenge Shaun differently. A process that already has begun with Glassman retreating from his mentor role.

Concerning Claire’s exit I would submit that it was a process that run through the whole season and already started with the very first episodes. Putting closure to Claire’s character meant to resolve her central internal conflict: her conflicted relationships and family situation. And that’s what happened: Claire released the ghost of Melendez (“Frontline”), turned her female boss into a friend on eye-to-eye level, made peace with her mother’s legacy (“We’re All Crazy Sometimes”), and built a relationship she needed with her absent father.

At the end of episode 4.18, Claire was ready to move on with the opportunity presented in the finale and the character got the season’s final line. It was very satisfying and respectful send-off.

Now, while I also would have had preferred to see more of Morgan in her professional capacity, I don’t mind the romance arc with Park, because there’s probably some internal logic to it beyond my little theory.

But their story arc in season 4 was a compressed iteration of Shaun and Lea’s journey since season 1: starting as colleagues (neighbors), becoming roommates, being in denial of changing feelings and fighting, a new girlfriend causing jealousy (Carly/Heather) and the prospect of losing the chance to be loved (earthquake/Heather).

Even the last event that had Morgan take the final step mirrored Shaun and Lea’s situation: Morgan’s loss was not a baby but her ability to do surgery. While her hands began to hurt, Park had finished his scheduled surgery and rushed to help her out.

Morgan doesn’t run away like Lea, Morgan fights. But even the best warrior sometimes can’t win and needs to declare defeat. Morgan struggled with being vulnerable in a romantic relationship. She needed to realize that Park doesn’t value her less when she ism’t always strong. With them, we got a little more exposition by dialogue, but because the story was basically the same we already knew thanks to Shaun and Lea, the episode(s) could afford to invest less time into developing it.

All of this gives me the idea that Morgan and Park, may professional rivalry ensue or not, are meant to become the so-called Beta Couple of the narration, providing a foil for Shaun and Lea’s evolving relationship. Which might become hilarious sometimes considering that Morgan’s efforts to manage her emotions are sometimes just a helpless and juvenile as Shaun’s…

Reply
Emily51 June 25, 2021 - 8:49 PM

Andreas, regarding Claire, what you saw as resolving Claire’s internal conflict, I saw as giving Claire more traumatic storylines. Take the return of her absent father, for example. Claire said (while in surgery I think), when her father first appeared she had already made peace with never seeing her father again. So Claire had already resolved the internal conflict of her father until the writers decided to give her the traumatic storyline of her father appearing on her doorstep out of nowhere after being gone for many years. Claire might have been ready to move on in the finale, but the opportunity should have presented itself more then 3 minutes before the end of the show, giving us a chance to see Claire explain in more detail how she was ready to move on. I would have like to have seen a longer conversation between Shaun and Claire with Shaun questioning Claire about her choice, and maybe Morgan playing Devil’s Advocate and arguing with her about it, which Morgan does so well. Instead it was just “I’ve made up my mind. Your opinions are not to to be expressed [except for Dr. Lim’s]. Good-bye.” I wanted more, that’s all.

Reply
Emily51 June 21, 2021 - 12:35 AM

Hi guys! Andreas, what a great theory as to why the writers forced us to watch a romance between Alex and Morgan! It makes perfect sense, and fits with Morgan doing a complete personality transformation over Season 4. When she was telling Alex that she likes being an internist and didn’t mind not doing surgery anymore during this episode, I thought it was such a bunch of baloney!

When I found out that David Shore knew all season long Claire was leaving, yet squished her good-bye into about 3 minutes (and that’s including the actual job offer), I felt cheated. I thought such a main character deserved a better send-off. I will miss her!!

Speaking of Claire, I got a kick out of Shaun saying, “I have to call Claire!” right after they told everyone about the proposal and then just walking away from everyone trying to hug him! But to your point Andreas, I really enjoy Leah and Shaun’s romance because it is like Leah doesn’t care about Shaun’s autism, she just cares about Shaun.

Amari, I am totally with you in wishing we got to see Morgan’s physical therapy or Dr. Andrews’ marriage problems. But then if we saw Morgan’s physical therapy, it would have taken time away from her stupid romance, and we had to have a storyline for Alex. :(

Reply
Amari June 12, 2021 - 6:52 AM

It still would be nice to see what happened during the gap from his brother dying to Glassman becoming his mentor/guardian. We got glimpses but it feels like we’ve missed most of that story.

Reply
Andreas June 12, 2021 - 2:39 AM

Concerning Shaun’s mother – don’t get your hopes up, Amari.

Marcie Murphy already explained herself in the diner scene in 3.10 “Friends and Family” and while Shaun let her hug him then, he did not reciprocate it. When his father humiliated him for a last time shortly after that, Marcie took his father’s side again. Shaun’s stance on that became clear right in the subsequent episode: “My mom chose him over me.”

I think this chapter is closed for Shaun (and Lea as well now that she felt love for a child herself). Shaun’s family are Glassman and Lea now – which even the lyrics of song playing at the diner (barely audible) underlined when the scene ended: “That the one who loves you is waiting / That the one who loves you is waiting / That the one who loves you is waiting here at home” At that moment, the camera was on Glassman and Lea, not Marcie.

Reply
Andreas June 9, 2021 - 5:43 PM

A turning point for the characters, indeed. But also for the show as a whole. Claire’s exit changes the statics of the show more than any other character. I have some theories but rather would wait for your season review, Amari. Instead, let me focus on Claire’s exit.

I would like to submit that Melendez’s death did not do any harm but in fact did benefit Lim and even Andrews (a little). Yet, when Antonia Thomas approached David Shore by the end of season 3 about leaving the show after the next season, major roads closed mid-way through.

Early on, the show had teased that post-residency positions would not be available for all the residents. Morgan was taken out of the race by giving her rheumatoid arthritis while Claire was built up as Shaun’s strongest contender. But this possible plotline for season 5 went down the drain with the actress’ wish for exiting early.

The only remaining contender was Park, which was a problem because Park, while competent, was never portrayed as a professional threat for Shaun – and the character was ready to move back to Arizona when season 3 ended. Park needed some serious motivation to up his game and fight for a position at St. Bonaventure. Dump Mia. Enter Morgan.

The show can’t afford to add constantly new love interests, but Morgan is there anyway. With her not only comes the right motivation for staying but also Morgan’s unique skills set as a bonus.

Morgan can brush up Park’s surgical skills, living the dream vicariously, and she knows tons of tricks for interoffice competition. She sure wants her boyfriend to succeed. Although Morgan might end up having divided loyalties since she also cares for Shaun. Good for drama, isn’t it?

Undoubtedly, the writers made some less than ideal choices in season 4, but in trying to look at the greater picture I don’t get too bitter about it.

Or I’m simply overjoyed and deeply grateful for the autistic character being asked to get married. Way too often they are only the catalysts for the neurotypical romantic couple in these stories… ;)

Reply

Questions, Comments or Difference of Opinion?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.