The Good Doctor: Season 2, Episode 16 “Believe” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Shaun telling Dr. Han he should become a surgical resident again.

Everyone is forced to be an advocate in some form, but the big challenge for many is being an advocate for themselves.

Everyone is forced to be an advocate in some form, but the big challenge for many is being an advocate for themselves.

Director(s) Alrick Riley
Writer(s) Sal Calleros, Karen Struck
Air Date 2/25/2019
Introduced This Episode
Clarence Spencer Garrett
Dr. Carly Lever Jasika Nicole

Do You Believe In Miracles: Claire, Morgan, Dr. Melendez

While working on a religious leader, religious beliefs come up. Dr. Melendez notes he was raised Catholic, and was Lutheran for a short period. Morgan doesn’t go into specifics, but clearly she is faithful and Claire? Well, despite her demeanor, she isn’t religious. In fact, she is a bit antagonistic when it comes to religion.

Why? Well, take note of Claire’s life. While she doesn’t give specifics then and there, you can note her relationship with her mom, the situation with her dad, and the fact she is generally a good person yet she struggles. Her friend was sick, she is alone most of the time and who knows how long it has been since someone asked her out. Plus, she sees kids with cancer, people who are horrible living for years and getting physically better and all that is disheartening.

Yet, she still knows her bible and notes that losing her religious beliefs was a tragic loss. One she still has yet to recover from.

I’m Still Here: Carly, Shaun, Debbie, Dr. Glassman

Dr. Glassman, who just started chemo it seemed, has now finished and the first thing he does is check on Debbie. Someone who, in time, makes it clear that she is not someone who just wants a good time and then to suffer alone. While she isn’t looking to walk down the aisle, she does want a real relationship. Something Glassman is struggling with the idea of for with a brush with death, he doesn’t want to take life seriously.

Dr. Carly Lever (Jasika Nicole) dealing with Shaun.
Dr. Carly Lever (Jasika Nicole)

Switching over to Shaun, he gets to see Carly again, the woman in Pathology we haven’t seen since season 1. You may remember her as a possible love interest and someone Shaun saw fairly often before the pathology department was no longer useful on the show. That is until Shaun needed a jolt in his storyline! Which this kind of does by showing how good Shaun is at pathology and that he could enjoy it. But, there remains the fact Shaun doesn’t like passing things off once he solved an issue or found one. He likes to handle things from start to finish and pathology doesn’t allow that.

Are We Not Communicating?: Dr, Han, Shaun

Throughout the episode we see multiple people try to advocate for Shaun. All of this is nice, but with Dr. Han not for people putting loyalty before patients, or the hospital, their pleads only strengthen his resolve. Yet, it is Shaun who puts the nail in the coffin. With him speaking up for himself after finding a miraculous cause of a patient’s sickness, Dr. Han feels sure that Shaun is where he belongs.

Leaving us to wonder, is there anything Shaun could do, besides quit, to become a surgeon again?

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Have we seen Dr. Glassman’s ex-wife at all in the series? It has been some time since we had a flashback and it seems like a good time to remind everyone of a few things.
    1. How Dr. Glassman ended up single, beyond his daughter dying and what led Shaun to choose surgery over the various other fields in medicine?
  2. How much time has passed since Dr. Glassman started chemo? Did it seem like a snap just because we only saw him in the chair a few times?
  3. Considering Shaun asked Dr. Glassman to speak for him, is Shaun not used to standing up for himself? At least when it matters?
  4. How likely is it that Dr. Han could be trying to find a means for Shaun to quit, or create a pattern so he can fire Shaun without the ire of a discrimination lawsuit?


Let’s Talk About Religion

Morgan confronting Claire about lying.
Morgan: You lied when you said you never went to church.

Religion is a bit of a weird thing. Speak on it too much and a show potentially cannibalizes its audience and becomes a niche. However, completely avoid it and then it makes the rare moment it is spoken of seem like a big deal. Case in point, despite three patients a week, we don’t hear a whole lot of talk about God, or the many other names that are used. Making Clarence seem like an anomaly. Never mind the doctors joining into the conversation.

Yet, in a way, it seemed overdue. At least in terms of acting as a means to restart Claire’s prominence on the show. After all, we never did get an exact reason she lost faith. As noted above, there are many reasons one can fathom, but that last straw is anyone’s guess. So there is something to develop with her character.

Debbie Noting She Isn’t Just For The Good Times

Thankfully, romance has been downplayed as of late no matter if the two people were a couple, there was a crush or something unrequited happening. Yet, there was something about Debbie telling Dr. Glassman she can’t just be there for the good times but needs to be trusted for the bad which hit home. Maybe it is because no character seems ready and willing for tough conversations. Dr. Glassman avoided the conversation of dealing with cancer a long time. Shaun is still avoiding talking to Lea about his feelings, Dr. Lim and Dr. Melendez are still picking and choosing how to handle things, and I’m sure there are other examples.

So with Debbie lighting the match that most are just in it for a good time, it should be interesting to see that reverberate through the show. Since, if there is one thing characters of her level provide, it is foreshadowing of what’s to come.

Low Point

So, Pathology Seems Like A Bust

While I’m glad to see Carly, it seems nothing worth noting is going to happen in pathology. She isn’t going to pick up on the chemistry she had with Shaun, he doesn’t seem like he’ll feel that torn between the departments, or anything which doesn’t make this look like a punishment. As well as make Dr. Han seem like an ass.

On The Fence

Dr. Han’s Logic

Dr. Han threatening Shaun.
Dr. Han: Do you understand, or am I gonna be forced to fire you?

I’m a bit torn when it comes to Dr. Han. On the one hand, you recognize his worries are valid. Shaun may be a wonderful surgeon but there could come the moment he says the wrong thing to the wrong patient and could cause a lawsuit. If not, because of his wonderful medical discoveries, him being assigned a major donor and insulting them. Also, there is the issue of little things like a buzzing noise or music in the operating room throwing him off. Things that won’t always be in his control whether he is hired full time or not.

Yet, like most of the cast, fans perhaps too, I feel the need to question if this is a bit much. Not just because I like Shaun, but this hospital has a focus on training and teaching residents. It has been said a handful of times and while I’d hate to be a doctor’s guinea pig, how can they get better unless they do trial and error?

Which perhaps is the heart of Dr. Han’s issue – at what point should it be accepted Shaun won’t improve to the point of matching the other doctors? What has to happen before they realize Shaun may only seem to be getting better because everyone is accommodating him? If not, as Morgan said previously, holding him to a different standard because he is a savant?

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User Review
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  1. I’ll start with a dumb question – Just curious, but what’s the Review Overview? I’m not sure what it means and if it’s interactive or not. And I don’t know what the 77.8% means either. I do always “Rate This”, which I take to mean your recap, which I always enjoy, so obviously it always gets a “Positive” rating.

    So now on to the recap. It was nice to see Claire get a meaty story line!

    I was wondering about how much time had passed since Dr. Glassman had started chemo, too. He’s finished at the same time Carly is welcoming Shaun to Pathology, which to me implied he had just been switched, and it was his first day working there. So I guess Dr. Glassman’s super-aggressive chemo was super-fast, too!

    I also thought Pathology was a bust. First, I adore Jasika Nicole (she co-starred on one of my all-time favorite shows, Fringe), and I was really hoping Shaun might at least become friends with her so I could see her more often, and she could give Lea a little competition. So much for that. And now the Pathology department is no longer useful on the show (again) – lol!

    As for Dr. Han, I think this is a bit much. First, this is a teaching hospital. Anyone who goes there should know that, and thus should know that residents will be involved in their care. But the experienced doctor is always right there or very close by. I have a heart condition and have been a patient at a “teaching hospital” all my life, and it’s really no big deal. In fact, I find it interesting to see if the residents can answer the doctor’s questions. And while the show isn’t real life, Shaun knows what he’s doing in the operating room where communication skills aren’t essential, he can make sure music isn’t played when he is operating, and he can have a nurse with him or something like that when he’s making his rounds. I just think Dr. Han is giving up on an excellent surgeon!

    1. The review overview is a feature for that comes with the theme I’m playing around with. It doesn’t offer the flexibility I’d like though. Plus, I’ve never been much for giving numbers to things, stars, or what have you. Hence the cop out of Negative, Mixed, or Positive for season reviews.

      In a way, maybe Dr. Han’s point is that Shaun isn’t going to be at that hospital forever? In season 1, especially when Morgan was brought on, they pushed the idea only one of them would be hired. So maybe Dr. Han is already making it clear he won’t hire Shaun but still wants him to do well? Especially if Shaun doesn’t find a job in a teaching hospital which has the kind of leniency he might need.

      1. It seems like such a long time since the show mentioned not every resident will be hired, I had forgotten about that. But now that you mention it, it does make for an interesting motive for moving Shaun to Pathology. Of course telling Shaun he won’t be hired and have him find a surgical residency elsewhere (kind of like Jared) might have been a better alternative for Shaun, but I don’t see that happening. So with Shaun wanting to be a surgeon and Dr. Han refusing to let him be one, something has to give.

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