The Good Doctor: Season 5/ Episode 1 “New Beginnings” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

While it seemed the major storyline would be Shaun and Lea getting down the aisle, a new character may make that a secondary issue.

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Shaun and Lea at their engagement party

While it seemed the major storyline would be Shaun and Lea getting down the aisle, a new character may make that a secondary issue.

Aired 9/27/2021
Network ABC
Directed By Mike Listo
Written By Liz Friedman, David Shore
Newly Noted Characters
Riley Keon Boateng
Nick Leopold Manswell
Sarah               Angel Parker
Jackson               Kenneth Boateng
Salen               Rachel Bay Jones


The Challenges Of A Single Mother – Sarah, Nick, Riley, Jackson, Alex, Shaun

Sarah is the mother of two boys, Riley and Jackson, and initially, she was in the hospital for Riley, but with a discovery that puts a magnifying glass on Sarah and her other son Jackson? So comes the complications of being a single mother. One who is ready and willing to sacrifice her health and well-being for her sons, despite her needing life-saving surgery.

But, the problem is that Shaun and Alex are talking about a recovery period that will take a month, and while Sarah has a brother, Nick, he has had a drinking problem, and because of this, Sarah doesn’t trust him. However, Alex pushes Sarah to reconsider after multiple inventive surgeries to lessen Jackson’s recovery time doesn’t pan out. Leading to, ultimately, Sarah welcoming her brother back into the fold and accepting his help.

Things Have To Be Better The Second Time Around – Lea, Jordan, Shaun

Lea is having nightmares regarding all the things that can go wrong, and the only one keeping her from overthinking everything is Jordan. Someone who seems to want to live a bit vicariously or just enjoy the festivities which come with a co-worker getting married.

Now, as for how Shaun feels? Well, his focus is just on him and Lea getting married and everything else he has an air of indifference about. But as he sees what happens when he leaves everything to Lea, he realizes he isn’t being a good partner and is letting Lea flail on her own when he’d rather they flail together.

A Change In The Guard – Salen, Dr. Andrews, Dr. Lim, Mateo, Jordan, Asher, Dr. Glassman

The Good Doctor has played down the role of the board and their power for quite some time and has had the head of surgery and Dr. Glassman act as the most powerful people in the hospital. However, things will be changing this season. Once more, money and the board will come into play as a woman named Salen, who was a patient, comes in.

But let’s take this further. Originally, Salen seemed like an eccentric patient who pushed boundaries in ways that could get her a 24-hour monitor since she’d wander into the server room, into the surgical room’s galley, and even into Dr. Glassman’s office. All the while, she would ask questions about everything and everyone. No one took too much note of this, for Jordan was more focused on being a second-year who could do a surgical procedure and did so before Asher. Dr. Lim was thinking about Mateo coming up from Guatemala and doing everything he could to potentially work and live in the United States again. Then, with Dr. Andrews, with his healthy dating life, the possibility that the hospital’s new owner was a far beyond quirky patient? Yeah, that wasn’t foreseen.

Yet, as Dr. Lim was ready to pitch Mateo joining the hospital, she sees Salen walk out of a board meeting, and Dr. Glassman reveal the hospital is being bought and Salen is one of the new bosses.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

Things To Note

  • It has been two months, give or take, since the events of the finale

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. When did Jordan and Lea get so close?
  2. Could Salen’s arrival help explain Allegra’s disappearance?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Andrews’ ex-wife getting pregnant by another man and him spiraling because of it.
  2. Members of Shaun and Lea’s past coming up due to their wedding.
  3. Glassman developing a drinking problem.

Newly Noted Characters

Keon Boateng As Riley

Riley is the original reason his mother, Sarah, and brother, Jackson, go to the hospital, as he had to get a procedure done on his throat.

Leopold Manswell As Nick

Nick (Leopold Manswell) talking to Sarah
Nick (Leopold Manswell)

Nick is Sarah’s brother who has tried to be there for his sister ever since she decided to be a single mom, but his drinking has led to her not trusting him. Especially since he left the boys unattended at a beach and lost them long enough to get the cops involved.

Angel Parker As Sarah

Sarah (Angel Parker) laying down in her bed
Sarah (Angel Parker)

A single mother by choice, Sarah, like any parent, puts her children first, and even when she is in dire need of surgery to continue to be a parent, she’d rather Jackson get a necessary surgery than get the one she needs. Even if his could wait and her situation is cancerous.

Kenneth Boateng As Jackson

Jackson (Kenneth Boateng) in a hospital bed
Jackson (Kenneth Boateng)

Originally the brother of the patient, Jackson ends up getting his throat tested for any kind of malignant growth and ends up needing surgery. And because Sarah has no one reliable to help take care of her and Jackson, if they both got surgery, she puts Jackson’s health before her own.

Rachel Bay Jones As Salen Morrison

Salen (Rachel Bay Jones) introducing herself as someone beyond a patient, but a new co-worker
Salen (Rachel Bay Jones)

When we first met Salen, she was a patient who seemingly had kidney issues possibly stemming from her use of Ritalin to deal with her ADHD. However, as she would wander into places she had no business being and not following doctors’ orders, she became a bit of a kook gearing for one of the most memorable patients we’ve seen in a while. But with the reveal that she and her company bought the hospital, it seems she may have been playing up who she is. Also, it seems everything she did was a test based on past experiences at another hospital and with other medical professionals.


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A New & Eccentric Character

Claire’s exit strangely didn’t hurt as much as it did and I’d say part of the reason was the distraction Salen provided. She wandered into so many places and was so peculiar, you could almost forget a season 1 original was gone. But perhaps the kicker was when Salen revealed she was far more than a patient but someone sticking around for the season, at the very least.

Which we’re quite excited about since Salen seems like she can shake things up in ways a new resident can’t. Add in the administrative side of the hospital, and the non-medical aspects of running a hospital, have long been put on the backburner? This could be an excellent way to reintroduce that aspect.

Let’s just hope though, unlike Allegra, Salen doesn’t disappear randomly without rhyme, reason, or warning.

Dr. Andrews Dating

Considering nearly everyone else got into relationships and found some form of bliss, while Dr. Andrews’ marriage was struggling, and now has disintegrated, it’s nice he’ll potentially find happiness like everyone else. Plus, considering the doctors featured all have sordid relationship history, and most are just starting to now bounce back, it’s nice to see Dr. Andrews not having too many issues meeting women and having fun. Never mind, not going down the path Dr. Glassman is and struggling with being single for what surely will be an extended period of time.

On The Fence

Mateo & Dr. Lim

I know Dr. Lim having a new love interest and having someone that pushes her to open up, in a post-Claire world is important. However, she and Mateo don’t have that same magic as when he seemed temporary and not a permanent fixture. With him potentially moving into her home, then her being ready to push him getting a job at her hospital? It seems like we’re trekking familiar territory with a new character playing the role of the boyfriend.

And honestly, Mateo just feels like a character made to be Dr. Lim’s love interest, almost as a reward or to make it so all of the OG characters have someone, vs. her really needing this man in particular.

[ninja_tables id=”46813″]

Shaun and Lea at their engagement party
The Good Doctor: Season 5/ Episode 1 “New Beginnings” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Trajectory: Plateau
The Good Doctor continues its tradition of bringing new blood to shake things up, as the characters you've known for multiple seasons continue their slow and steady approach to the next chapter of their life.
Dr. Andrews Dating
A New & Eccentric Character
Mateo & Dr. Lim

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  1. Hi Amari! First of all, where do you find the time to watch everything and write your reviews?!? I still haven’t seen the 2nd episode of “Our Kind of People”. Plus it’s Friday, and I finally got around to watching The Good Dr.

    They say great minds think alike, which must be why I agree with everything you wrote. Especially about missing Claire. I adored her, she was my 2nd favorite character, yet Salen was so weird and loopy that she did a great job of distracting me from the fact that Claire was gone. I’m not sure if that was one of the writers’ intentions with Salen, but kudos anyway.

    And Mateo and Dr. Lim – Yes, they are kind of dull now that everything is safe and cozy and permanent here in the U.S. And I like your comment about how Mateo was a character just created to be Dr. Lim’s love interest. I agree. I hope there is conflict in their very near future to liven things up, maybe with Mateo not liking having his girlfriend be his boss, or something like that.

    I seem to remember Jordan and Lea bonding last season, maybe. Perhaps Andreas will remember.

    I remember Allegra! I think with Salen on board, that puts the final nail in Allegra’s coffin!

    1. LOL I don’t – hence why I’m sometimes days behind.

      My hope is that Salen isn’t a one-trick pony who becomes a nuisance as she goes from an assumed guest star to a reoccurring role. Her eccentricities were entertaining, but I’m unsure how they will be weeks on weeks.

      1. Feel free to be days behind when replying to my comments! 🙂

        I don’t think Salen will be as loopy and weird going forward as she was in this episode. It seemed to me as soon as Dr. Andrews discovered her real illness, she got very serious. Here’s hoping she continues to be serious now that she is a board member(?)/hospital owner(?)/whatever.

      2. And… we’re back. Hi, Emily and Amari! 😉

        Emily, in fact, I remember Jordan and Lea bonding. It started in episode 4.16 “Dr. Ted” with Jordan telling the story about losing her tortoise at Lea’s bedside and was continued with her visiting Lea’s office in the subsequent episode, delivering the sentiment about mourning the past vs. the future.

        As often with this show, most of the actual bonding then happened off-screen and we are only privy to it by witnessing the results.

        Speaking in general I very much enjoyed this season opening. It densely packed a lot of new possible stories into 44 minutes – which is an accomplishment in itself – and did so with a cast that was a joy to watch.

        The new dynamic between Jordan and Asher was pure fun. And of course, with the introduction of Salen Morrison the dynamics within St. Bonaventure will change considerably.

        Some characters will embrace what is to come, some will reject it. New battle lines are about to be drawn.

        It is worth to note that this Salen Morrison seems to have taken a special interest in women in positions of power as seen in her remark about the chief of surgery being female. It is also remarkable the new character hasn’t met the titular character yet, but was very deliberately introduced to Glassman, Lim and Lea.

        The we may assume that these characters will play key roles in the takeover of St. Bonaventure by EthiCure Medical.

        1. Welcome back Andreas! I knew you would remember Jordan and Lea’s bonding last season. And of course you remembered the episode name and number it took place in. Very impressive!! Now that you have described it, I remember it, too.

          I noticed Salen did not meet Shaun since she was treated by the team Shaun was not on. I didn’t think anything of it then, but I suppose it will be an issue in the next episode when she does end up meeting him.

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