Dr. Park (Will Yun Lee) being celebrated by his peers
"Dr. Park (Will Yun Lee) being celebrated by his peers," The Good Doctor, S07E02 “Skin In The Game," directed by Freddie Highmore, 2024, (ABC)

As Alex gets to step out of Shaun’s shadow, Shaun finds himself experiencing the frustrations others had with him when he first started at the hospital.


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Plot Recap

We’re All In This Together – Dr. Lim, Dr. Glassman, Lea, Shaun, Morgan

Things aren’t going well for the co-president term of Dr. Lim and Dr. Glassman, mainly due to Dr. Glassman. With him not wanting the position, he isn’t cooperative and even is a bit petty towards Dr. Lim. He doesn’t want to share the workload evenly or make decisions together, and even with a massive report, he has all the files shipped to Dr. Lim’s office, filling it to the point she can barely maneuver. The tit-for-tat goes back and forth for a while until a truce is drawn, but not before Dr. Lim can plan an 80th birthday party for Dr. Glassman.  

But, keeping on the petty train and Dr. Glassman having to seek reconciliation, he and Shaun still struggle with what happened between them. Yes, Dr. Glassman took Steve in the last episode, so Shaun and Lea could get a good night’s rest. However, Shaun is still upset what was going on between them got in the way of Steve knowing the only person Shaun could offer as family – at least on his side. Thankfully, thanks to a patient, as usual, Shaun is able to lower the barrier Dr. Glassman is expected to get past, and it seems their relationship is healing.

Which leaves what is going on with Lea. As Shaun is loving being a father and it is becoming an easy part of his routine, Lea is struggling with breastfeeding. She is told to supplement with formula because Steve isn’t gaining weight as expected, and this makes Lea feel like a failure. Shaun blurts this out when Morgan is inviting people to a party for Eden, and this triggers Morgan to create a little mom support group between her and Lea and perhaps forging a direct connection with her without Shaun’s involvement.

The Little Ducklings – Charlie, Dom, Shaun, Dr. Park, Dr. Allen, Dr. Kalu, Asher

As with nearly every season, the hospital has new staff who have heard of San Jose St. Bonaventure for one reason or another. This year, it is Charlie and Dom who are the newbies, thanks to the hospital’s partnership with a local school. Upon arrival, Dr. Allen, Dr. Kalu, and Asher watch what they call “Ducklings” and seemingly don’t want to take on newbies.

Dr. Park and Shaun don’t have said privilege, so when it comes to Dom and Charlie, introductions are made, and for Charlie, she couldn’t be more excited to meet Shaun. Why? Well, because she is also on the spectrum, and seeing all Shaun has done is inspiring, and he is a hero of hers.

Unfortunately for Charlie, Shaun isn’t taken with such a designation at all. Lest we forget, Shaun isn’t someone who has the patience for teaching, whether the person is on the spectrum or not. So with already developing his adaptations to atypical people to survive and climb the ranks, Charlie’s eccentricities and mistakes aren’t tolerated the least.

Robots Can’t Do It All – Dr. Park, Morgan, Dom, Asher

While Shaun is being challenged by Charlie’s learning curve and his own, Dr. Park takes on Dom, and Dom’s issue is that he has hemophobia, and even at the simulated sight of blood, he passes out. As you can imagine, Dom, a former football player, passing out at the sight of blood is alarming but also comical for someone like Asher. But he tries to help him and be understanding.

But for Dr. Park, Dom’s issue with blood isn’t as big a problem as him mentioning procedures to patients he read in a book but has never performed. Him mentioning a TCR procedure for a patient with a tumor coerces Dr. Park to take on a surgery that he isn’t confident about and worries could lead to results that, at best, could lead to the patient becoming immobile from the neck down and, at worst – dead.

Upon hearing his fears and anxiety, we’re reminded that Morgan does like Dr. Park, beyond the convenience of having someone help with Eden and stroke her ego. She reminds him of his steady hand and expertise, and while Dr. Park does the surgery, there is no denying his confidence stemmed from Morgan’s pep talk. After all, Dr. Park knows too well that Morgan doesn’t hand out compliments just because.

Cast Guide

Character’s Name

Actor’s Name

Dr. Lim

Christina Chang

Dr. Glassman

Richard Schiff

Lea

Paige Spara

Shaun

Freddie Highmore

Morgan

Fiona Gubelmann

Charlie

Kayla Cromer

Dom

Wavyy Jonez

Dr. Park

Will Yun Lee

Dr. Allen

Bria Henderson

Dr. Kalu

Chuku Modu

Asher

Noah Galvin

New Character Description(s)

Charlie

Charlie (Kayla Cromer) questioning why Shaun is so easily irritated with her
“Charlie (Kayla Cromer) questioning why Shaun is so easily irritated with her,” The Good Doctor, S07E02 “Skin In The Game,” directed by Freddie Highmore, 2024, (ABC)

Charlotte “Charlie” Lukaitis has been set on being a surgeon since she was 17, and Shaun is her biggest inspiration, with Taylor Swift being in second place. Like Shaun, she is on the spectrum, and while she faces challenges because the world is something she has to adapt to, not the other way around, giving up isn’t an option.

Dom

Dom (Wavyy Jonez) listening to a patient
“Dom (Wavyy Jonez) listening to a patient,” The Good Doctor, S07E02 “Skin In The Game,” directed by Freddie Highmore, 2024, (ABC)

Dominick “Dom” Hubank, formerly known as “The Dominator” when he was in football, has focused on becoming a doctor rather than a football player in order to, with his family, provide better medical care for those where he comes from.

Review

Notable Performances or Moments

Alex Getting A Major Win

I don’t think enough credit is given to Alex for his journey, especially by myself. He has gone from a recently divorced cop, struggling with trying to co-parent a child who feels abandoned, to being one of the top surgeons at the hospital, co-parenting with someone who doesn’t always make it easy but they make it work. Alongside that, he came up with Shaun, who has, even at his most coarse, been the golden child of the hospital and often eclipsed him with his notable surgeries and last-minute saves.

So, while it feels a bit overdue, Alex getting a chance to have the spotlight, be a hero, stand strong on a pedestal, was a sight to see. The kind that likely could and should inspire young doctors like Charlie, Dom, and others to want to work at that hospital under his tutelage.

Highlights

Pushing There Is A Spectrum

It’s very easy in any show that features someone who isn’t consistently featured in media to present the idea they are the epitome of something. In “The United States of Tara,” it is easy to believe that Toni Collette was portraying an accurate portrayal of someone with dissociative identity disorder, or when you watch “Crazy Rich Asians” or other productions about an ethnic group, that what we’re getting is representative of their culture as a whole.

However, as many know, if they have the opportunity to live in a diverse community, that isn’t the case. This is especially true for those on the spectrum. Yes, “The Good Doctor” has had people on the spectrum in the past, including one patient, but they had more challenges than Shaun or Charlie. Also, in the majority of media and even testing, boys and men are overrepresented when it comes to ASD, while girls and women are underdiagnosed.

Hence why, Charlie is immensely important not only because she is one of the most visible characters with ASD but also because she is the rare woman on the spectrum, never mind her actress is autistic.

Alex Explaining What’s On The Video To Dom

With everyone working at a teaching hospital, it isn’t wrong to question why we haven’t understood what is what. Yes, it is understood most should have gotten through med school and be in the residency phase at this point, but Dom asking what was on the screen when talking to Dr. Park and us getting an explanation was a bit jarring.

Mind you, it was jarring in a good way, for it is easy to listen to medical jargon and procedures and feel like you are a kid in a Peanut’s cartoon. But just in that little explanation, it felt like you weren’t watching from home but invited into the room and could understand what was happening.

Lea and Morgan Bonding

Morgan remains in a very odd place on “The Good Doctor.” Unable to be a surgeon and with the clinic a low priority on the show, it sometimes can feel like she is too strong of a character to be called an afterthought, yet clearly isn’t one the writers have made an investment in as they did before. Yet, there is no denying that what Fiona Gubelmann does and presents as Morgan makes it so, even if the role that used to rival Shaun’s has been diminished, she cannot be denied.

Case in point, Morgan has become a supportive player in other people’s storylines and yet doesn’t present as a supporting character, but still holds lead character energy. Her interaction with Lea might be about comforting Lea on her journey to motherhood, but the strength and charisma of Gubelmann easily makes it seem like Lea is an underling she is mentoring than someone who is an acquaintance with more prominent screen time.

On The Fence

The Co-President Storyline

Similar to Morgan, Dr. Lim has been on a roller coaster since her introduction. It has been a wild ride from relationships to promotions, nearly being paralyzed to a full recovery, and becoming co-president. However, unlike Morgan, Dr. Lim has long been a character who needs a good scene partner to play off of.

To me, Dr. Glassman isn’t that scene partner. Both have dry humor, and their back-and-forth pettiness can be entertaining. But, with both being relegated to supporting players throughout the show, it is hard to shift to the idea that either one is leading the storyline.

Yes, both have shown immense leadership qualities, shown throughout the entirety of the show. But the gaps between them having an Alex moment, or sustained storylines that allowed them to not be seen as a supporting character, have been few and far in between. Which with this storyline, it does feel that, even if Dr. Glassman retires, Dr. Lim isn’t being setup to be someone akin to Jacqueline Carlisle in “The Bold Type” where, even if they aren’t the lead character, they are the aspirational boss you envy and want to be.

Background Information

Network

ABC

Episode Title

Skin In The Game

Release Date

February 27, 2024

Director(s)

Freddie Highmore

Writer(s)

Garrett Lerner, Nathalie Touboul

Previous Episode

Season / Episode

Series Page

The Good Doctor

Character Guide

Not Available


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4 Comments

  1. I think you are right about what the writers did to Morgan. And it is such a shame because she is such a great actress and her character is so dynamic and fun to watch! I liked her vulnerablilty with Eden, but now she’s getting the hang of motherhood. I remember when they gave her a love interest for one whole episode (or maybe it was a two-parter), but then they killed him off, which was mean and so unnecessary. I’ve always wished they found a doctor (not Alex!) in the hospital that could match Morgan in charisma to play her love interest in more then 1 episode, but the writers never bothered to do that. 🙁

    1. You mean the EMT that died?

      I didn’t find the point of killing him off at all. Morgan showed she wasn’t heartless and has evolved beyond being some ice queen. That cheap plot was almost as annoying as using Dr. Melendez dying to try to boost Dr. Lim… for maybe half a season. Never mind dropping his storyline about his family, that could have been good.

  2. Hi Amari! It was a nice change of pace to watch an episode where Alex had a decent storyline that didn’t make me cringe. And I really like the 2 ducklings.

    I agree with you about Dr. Lim and Dr. Glassman’s storyline. It was cute for this one episode, but it is time to move on and find something else for them to do. Or relegate them to the backburner and focus even more on Dom and Charlie instead. I just don’t want to see a season (or another episode) of this co-president storyline.

    1. The challenge of this show having so many characters is that it really never figured out how to balance them all. Plus, this is Shaun’s show, not an ensemble, hence most getting one or so episode in the sun, and then pushed to the back so they could never compete with Shaun.

      I will forever think Morgan was getting too much traction and notoriety, hence they made it so she couldn’t be a surgeon anymore and relegated her to the often forgotten clinic.

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