The Good Doctor: Season 2, Episode 18 “Trampoline” [Season Finale] – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Shaun on the ground, fainting due to his injuries.

The unexpected happens for Shaun in a multitude of ways, including him taking the kind of leap we’ve been waiting for a long time.

The unexpected happens for Shaun in a multitude of ways, including him taking the kind of leap we’ve been waiting for a long time.

Episode Information: Episode 18 “Trampoline”

Director(s) David Shore
Writer(s) David Shore, David Hoselton, Mark Rozeman
Air Date 3/11/2019
Introduced This Episode
Ida June Squibb
Zack Greg Calderone


Love Is A Beautiful Thing: Ida, Morgan, Dr. Park

An 87-year-old patient named Ida takes Morgan and Dr. Park to task. Not just by keeping them on their toes, in regards to her pressing them about their personal life, but also her being their patient. All of which doesn’t move either lead character to think about future or past relationships seriously, but with it being revealed Ida has no one, maybe in season 3 we may see more romantic advancement when it comes to these two. Especially Morgan after losing the last guy who asked her out.

Lying To Protect Yourself: Shaun, Claire, Zack

With being fired comes Shaun being in a bar at 10AM, missing an interview set up for him, and just trying to understand his emotions. Something he, unfortunately, tries to do with a drunk who really isn’t in a talking mood, leading to him getting his ass kicked. An act which, honestly, he may have wanted to happen.

Why? Well, taking note of Shaun’s past, it could be because he felt he deserved it. If not because he doesn’t understand mental pain, so he pursued physical pain. Something tangible. But, even if he wanted to feel hurt physically, it doesn’t mean he wanted Zack to be. But, unfortunately, with being fired means he had a limited ability to say or do anything at the hospital. In fact, because of the injuries Zack caused, Shaun ended up a patient at the hospital just when he realized what was wrong with Zack.

Claire channeling Shaun's savant syndrome.

Luckily though, with being around Shaun long enough, empathizing with him, Claire struggles at first but eventually is able to pick up where Shaun left off. An important note for what comes later.

You Gotta Be Bold Sometimes: Debbie, Dr. Glassman, Dr. Andrews, Dr. Han, Shaun, Claire, Dr. Lim, Dr. Melendez, Carly, Lea

With being cancer free, Dr. Glassman presses Debbie even more and taking note of her criticism in the last episode, he proposes – twice. The first time is in a bit of a manic state, so he gets rejected. However, the second time around he has an impassioned speech, and while he doesn’t get on one knee, he says all the right things to let Debbie know this isn’t a fluke or a lonely old man talking – Dr. Glassman is serious. Leading her to say yes.

But, he isn’t alone in professing his love. With HR approval, Dr. Lim and Dr. Melendez come out publicly – making out in front of everyone. However, whether or not their relationship can withstand a shocking decision by Dr. Andrews is a whole other story. Said decision? Well, Dr. Andrews doesn’t feel right about Dr. Han firing Shaun. Yes, Shaun was out of line, irrational, and likely deserved to be reprimanded, but fired? That was a bit much. However, with Dr. Han being chief of surgery comes the question of whether Dr. Andrews is going to let him handle his staff or not? This becomes a real issue and even leads to a board meeting to decide Shaun’s fate.

One which, rather than have a vote, Dr. Andrews just fires Dr. Han for he realizes Shaun is more valuable than Dr. Han. Take, for example, Claire putting herself in Shaun’s shoes and that leading her to make a miraculous diagnosis. But the kicker later on is that we learn Dr. Lim will take Dr. Han’s place. Leading to a bit of conflict since now Dr. Melendez’s boss is his girlfriend, but neither one seemed to like the idea of passing up the opportunity because of their relationship.

Claire talking to Shaun about what they want, outside of work.

Leading to one last thing: Before Shaun learns the good news, he was in a short coma. One which stemmed from him lying about his diagnosis. However, before that, Claire was trying to help him navigate being fired and asked him what he wanted – outside of work. One of the things mentioned is to become a father, but with him not knowing how to fall in love, that is a major obstacle.

Thus leading to us being set up. First, we’re led to believe Lea is going to have the unfortunate opportunity to turn down Shaun, who is high from getting his job back. Following that, we’re led to think maybe he may ask out Claire, since she is the only other women he has really spoken to on a consistent basis. However, SHOCKER, he asks out Carly. He uses the techniques Claire taught him to ask out Carly, and SHE SAYS YES! Leaving us to realize that trauma that girl caused when Shaun was a teenager, he may have broken the spell!

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. How much flack can Dr. Andrews really get for going to bat for Shaun?
  2. With Dr. Glassman’s cancer gone, will he be an active member of the board or was him showing up solely for the sake of Shaun?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Whenever people want you to do something they think is wrong, they say it’s reality.
— Shaun



Why Shaun May Have Lied

It still isn’t clear how long of a gap it was between Steve’s death and Dr. Glassman playing a paternal part in Shaun’s life, but we can assume there was a lot of trauma involved. Of which, causing himself to get hurt, and speaking on it, might have been something he used to get punished for. If not, as noted, there is the possibility that with Shaun not understanding his mental pain he wanted it to become physical.

Now, the reason this is a highlight is because it triggered Shaun lying. A response which, for Shaun, is a defensive mechanism and considering how bold and uncouth Shaun can be, the shock of him lying wasn’t lost on me. Especially since, when it comes to other people’s business, he isn’t much for hiding a damn thing. So it should be interesting to see if this gets followed up on and we either see Shaun lie more or dig deeper into his past to help us understand what made this situation something he was willing to lie about. After all, he was already fired, without much reason to think he’d be rehired, so lying to protect what remained of his reputation didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Shaun Pushing Past His Trauma

Shaun after Carly accepted going out with him.

While being autistic certainly affects Shaun’s social skills, when it comes to romance, let’s not forget what happened when he was a teenager. As a teenager, shown sometime in season 1, Shaun was led to believe a girl liked him but ended up learning it was a pranked and was massively embarrassed. In my mind, this played a strong role in him being apprehensive with Lea and him being hurt since, while she kissed him and didn’t make a prank out of it, she did leave. Likely drumming up old feelings of rejection he hasn’t dealt with.

However, with Carly, she accepted Shaun’s affection, and we’ll see what comes of it. Now, I will admit him choosing her was a surprise but she does seem to have the best features of Lea and Claire, so maybe that had to do with it? She is understanding and kind like Claire but also has this spark to her like Lea. Mind you, a kind of nerdy one, but let’s not forget Shaun is a nerd when it comes to medicine and someone who treats their work like a detective definitely has a place in Shaun’s heart. That is, if he lets them in and figures a way to make things work without relying on Claire for everything.

Steve Mention

This season dropped in the number of flashbacks we got, including those with Steve, so hearing him mentioned, and once again his words guiding and saving Shaun was sweet. Making me wish that kid who looked like Steve wasn’t a one and done character. It would be nice for Shaun to live vicariously every now and then.

On The Fence

Dr. Han’s Exit & Dr. Lim – Chief of Surgery

While I’m sure many are glad Dr. Han is fired, I’m saddened by it since I was hoping he’d evolve as Morgan did. Thus becoming someone who doesn’t baby or placates Shaun and actually challenges him a bit. For while Shaun was likely to be rehired, the question was if there would be circumstances involved which would make it so he was on probation, or what have you. So while it was a full circle moment for Dr. Andrews to go to bat, put his job on the line for Shaun, it also felt like another anti-climatic moment since Shaun didn’t have to work for it. Nevermind him flipping out on Dr. Han, to the point of him feeling the need to call security, shouldn’t have been taken lightly. Jared got let go for being too aggressive so one could only assume Shaun got a pass because, well people actually like Shaun.

Dr. Han in conversation with Dr. Andrews.

Leading to Dr. Lim. Honestly, unless she picks up where Dr. Han left off and sees Shaun for both his flaws and positive attributes, it is going to seem business as usual at the hospital – which would suck. For while I get there is something very empowering about seeing someone like Shaun do what he does, the show consistently erring on things working out for him undercuts the drama. And while I understand he has had a hard enough life already, so has everyone else. So the special treatment as a character and doctor really needs to become less consistent, and they need to let Shaun fail. Be it losing more patients, the medical board coming after him again, or being put on probation. Otherwise, the show is going to suffer in the long run.

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  1. I enjoyed this episode tremendously, but I do wish we could have learned a bit more about Dr. Han. Without any backstory or development, he was what he appeared to be—a one-dimensional villain. Pity. But I do understand the end objective of these interactions and exchanges with Dr. Han. The whole point of this show is to give viewers a different perspective on autism and to show one individual’s journey. Having a disability is an ongoing challenge for one’s legitimacy. I had said last episode that we as a society have made great gains with accommodating and accepting people with physical disabilities but are still trying to find ways to incorporate individuals with other challenges into society and allow them to make meaningful contributions. Learning to pass for what is considered “normal” is not always possible. We as a society seem to be ever focused on the outsiders having to adjust to us. This second half of season 2 asks us if there is any benefit in us perhaps looking at things from the point of view of “the other.” Having Claire literally try to perceive the condition of the patient from the bar as Shaun had was a very beautiful way to convey this message.
    I am a bit disappointed, however, that more wasn’t made of Dr. Han’s argument with Dr. Melendez over calling in Shaun to consult during the operation to remove the 100 pound tumor. It wasn’t even mentioned again. And his argument that someone with autism would never be able to grow enough to fully manage given their limitations seemed an untenable argument for banning a gifted surgeon from the OR. I thought perhaps Dr. Han was a highly functioning individual on the spectrum who was full of self-loathing for his own limitations. Turns out he was just a jerk.
    Having the season end with questions but no cliffhangers was pleasant and I hope that now Shaun is entering his third year of residency, the showrunners will begin to explore the lives of the other doctors a bit more without turning this very different medical drama into another evening soap opera.
    To address your concerns about Shaun having people come to bat for him. He is beginning to assert himself. He did with Dr. Han, but I believe the showrunners want to make Shaun’s journey more realistic. It was a very big deal for him to learn to drive – to adjust to just being a friend to Dr. Glassman while he was battling cancer – to ask a girl out on a date. I don’t feel it was fair to judge Shaun on losing his cool with Dr. Han. Most of us who are neuro-typical have a difficult enough time standing up to an unfair boss. Imagine trying to do that with severely curtailed ability to channel your emotions in a focused manner. I believe this is an area that he will be dealing with in the near future and the showrunners were right to let this infraction slip by – especially since Han goaded him into an emotional outburst.
    Thank you for all your thoughtful reviews. I don’t always comment, but I do always read them.

    1. I just hope I didn’t say anything offensive. The first season of Atypical was the first show I’ve watched featuring a character with autism and, thankfully it was about breaking down stereotypes and using the correct verbiage. So with The Good Doctor taking things to the next level, it has sometimes been a learning process. Especially in suspending disbelief that characters like Dr. Andrews could go from Shaun’s harshest critic to damn near putting his job on the line like Dr. Glassman did. Yet realizing, as you note, the overall goal of this show, likely similar to Atypical, is using the media to educate as it entertains. Making it so those who don’t interact or come across people with autism are not only aware they exist but are far more capable than their formerly limited portrayals may lead you to believe.

      1. Let me start by saying that even though I am very un-PC when it comes to autism, I have never found anything you wrote to be offensive in the 2 years of excellent reviews you’ve done. Also, add me to the list of people who have appreciated the spotlight this show has shined on autism and how it has educated while entertaining. I remember in Season 1 when Shaun kept knocking on a patient’s front door and told them how he was autistic and thus he perseverates on certain things and then he literally defined the word right then and there. All I could think was “My daughter sometimes perseverates, too!” I have never loved a tv show more then in that moment!!

        I guess I’m in the minority when I write that I’m glad Dr. Han got fired. While I agree that being just a “one-dimensional villain” is kind of dull, I am so much more interested in how Dr. Andrews has done a 180-degree turn for Shaun and could lose his job next season. And how Dr. Lim is now Dr. Melendez’s boss. And how Dr. Glassman is on the board of the hospital again. And especially how Shaun is reinstated back in the hospital and all of the medical cases he will be working on. Those are the story lines that can be followed in Season 3 now that Dr. Han is gone.

        I was surprised too that Shaun asked Carly on a date. I thought he was going to ask Lea. But I am so happy about this. First, more Jasika Nicole! Plus, I agree with you that Carly is a good match for Shaun, and I am looking forward to seeing Shaun date. I got a kick out of Shaun keeping the flowers and chocolate!

        Thank you for all of the time and effort you have put in your wonderful reviews!!

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