The Good Doctor Argentina on Twitter (@TheGoodDoctorAr) is currently running a ’20 Days Countdown to The Good Doctor Season 5’, and on Day 18 it’s time to take a closer look at episode 4×18 Forgive or Forget.
Patient #1 is Ava Burns, a 12-year-old girl with an arteriovenous malformation on her neck. Dr. Lim had recommended surgery already five years ago, but the parents were hesitant before to surgically fix it. However, now it’s growing and tender to the touch. She needs the surgery, but the parents are still not in favour, although they reluctantly agree.
During the surgery they find they can’t use the less invasive laser ablation method and have to do a second surgery that’s much more aggressive. And that’s not going well either, the malformation has infiltrated the lung so much that they’d have to remove part of it.
The parents struggle with the decision whether to give permission and with the guilt of not having let her get the surgery earlier. Now she will have diminished lung capacity, how can she forgive them for that? But when Ava wakes up, she doesn’t hold a grudge. “It’s okay. I love you,” she tells them.
Patient #2 is Benny Davis, a recovering melanoma patient (I think?) who suffers from depression. He’s tried antidepressants before, but stopped taking them because they didn’t help, and is now self-medicating with a serum from hallucinogenic mushrooms he grows in his basement. Morgan tells him he needs to stop it immediately because it’s dangerous. Benny doesn’t want to, this is the only treatment that’s worked for him.
Morgan was right to be concerned. Benny has fungal lesions on his organs that need to be removed surgically. He’s not too worried about that, he wants to know if he can stay on the fungal therapy because it’s helping so well with his depression.
They try to remove the lesions laparoscopically, but there are too many to keep doing that. They have to open him up, and afterwards they tell him that he needs to stop with the fungal treatments. He’s not in favour, but Jordan says there are new antidepressants he hasn’t tried. Morgan actually encourages him to keep cultivating mushrooms. Not to harvest the hallucinogenics, but to have something to distract him that might help with the depression.
Shaun & Lea
Now that Shaun and Lea have been back to work for a few weeks, Shaun thinks it would be a great idea to get their mind off things. Knowing how much Lea loves camping, his idea of the perfect distraction is a weekend camping trip. Lea isn’t exactly enthusiastic. “You can’t even sleep on a couch, much less outside on the ground.” Shaun sees her point, but he’s ready to accept the challenge. “The further outside our comfort zones we go, the more distracted we’ll be.”
They drive out to Yosemite National Park, but Shaun’s carefully devised plan wasn’t devised carefully enough. They don’t have a reservation for a campsite, and the 27 first-come-first-served campsites have long been taken by the time they arrive. They are sent away by the park ranger. Shaun gets pretty upset by this, hair ruffle and all. Lea tells him it’s okay, they’ll find another spot to camp.
And they do. But it’s not idyllic in the least, and Lea remarks is more like tailgating. It’s loud, people are day-drinking, and it smells of gasoline. They try to make the best of it, roasting marshmallows over a campfire. It’s going pretty well, considering, until they get hit with a thunderstorm and subsequent rain.
Shaun and Lea lying in a sleeping bag in their tent is super sweet. Shaun reminisces about how the dripping faucet in their old apartment helped him fall asleep. “I loved that building. It’s where we had our first hug,” Lea remembers.
The loving mood is rudely interrupted by some drunken idiots smashing beer bottles outside and making a ruckus. “Definitely not soothing,” Lea grumbles. But Shaun has a solution. He hands her earplugs. Apparently sometimes Lea snores.
Just when they start making out, the tent becomes leaky and rain drips on them. Lea is not amused and has had it. “That’s it. I give up.” She wants to go home, but Shaun doesn’t. Lea huffily takes her stuff and sleeps in the car. A peeved Shaun stays behind in the leaky tent.
In the morning, Shaun is sitting alone at the table, waiting for Lea to wake up. Lea feels sorry for him and they talk. Shaun admits, “I thought this would be helpful. I was wrong. We can go home.” But Lea thinks since they’re already here, why don’t they do the hike he planned first? “Okay, new plan. Blueberry pancakes, then hike, then back home to our warm and cozy and dry bed.” That sounds pretty good, actually. I’d be down with that. Shaun is likewise happy with the new plan.
The hike goes well, it’s stopped raining, and it’s actually pretty outside the camp grounds. Lea wants to take a picture of Shaun, because he’s her hero. She tells him to stand on a log and get in position. But Shaun slips and, uh oh. He lands awkwardly, and dislocates his ankle. Ouch!
They both panic a little, but Lea manages to reduce the ankle. Fairly good news, but still not great news, because Shaun thinks the injury tore the posterior tibial artery which makes his toes dusky and numb. That’s not at all good news, it could mean he might lose his foot.
Lea suggests running back to the camp ground to get a cell signal and call 911, but Shaun thinks it’ll take too long. He wants Lea to operate on his foot with his pocket knife and tent repair kit. Shaun actually had the foresight to bring a bottle of Tequila. What was that for, Shaun? Just in case someone had to perform emergency surgery? Or reminiscing the old days of karaoke and motel room practise kisses?
Shaun starts himself on oral ingestion of copious amounts of high octane alcohol, and Lea freaks out over having to operate on her boyfriend. She can’t do this. “You have to,” Shaun urges her. “The worst that could happen is you mess it up, and cause permanent damage to my foot. Which is exactly what will happen if you don’t do it.” Damn, Shaun. But he’s right.
Lea cuts into Shaun’s foot and he talks her through how to sew the artery together. Halfway through, he loses consciousness from the blood loss and pain, and it’s time for Lea to really panic. Can she do this? She starts sewing.
Lea is a champ and puts Shaun’s foot back together, and he regains consciousness after she’s closed everything up. He can feel his toes again. Lea saved the day! And his foot.
The EMT that picks them up is actually impressed. “You did this with a tent repair kit?” he asks Lea. Shaun adds, “And a fish hook. She is very good at fixing things.” The EMT knows where it’s at. “You’re lucky,” he tells Shaun. Shaun looks at Lea reverently and holds her gaze. “Yes, I am.”
Whatever hospital Shaun and Lea went to, they properly fixed up Shaun’s foot, and Lea helps him prop up his injured leg on the coffee table when they get home. I love this scene so much, because it’s super sweet and loving, and just these two adorable people together gives me all the warm fuzzies. One of my go-to rewatch scenes when I need to get in the right headspace for writing Happy!Shea fanfic, including the song that they chose to play in the background (“Sons and Daughters” by Allman Brown).
They both sit down on the couch and Lea looks at Shaun. “The rain, the drunks, the freezing cold night alone in my car, and you almost losing your foot was definitely a bit more of a distraction than I was hoping for. But I’m really glad you took me camping.” He has a small smile on his face when he tells her in a low voice, “You’re welcome.”
Their kiss that follows is just so loveable and intimate, and an epic love letter to how far they’ve come and grown as a couple. As Shaun switches on the TV to watch what looks like a wildlife documentary, Lea puts her arm around him and leans her head on his shoulder. Both of them look like that’s exactly where they belong. They’re comfortable and at home with each other, and there’s no place else they’d rather be. A rare moment of domestic bliss after the difficult times they’ve had to face these past weeks.
(Pick me up from the floor pls, because somewhere along the way, I melted into a puddle.)
Glassman & Debbie
After the absence of Debbie across recent episodes, we pick back up on Aaron and Debbie and their domestic issues. He comes home at night, but their door alarm seems to be broken and goes off. It takes him a few tries of punching in the right number to get it to switch off. When he turns around, Debbie is on the stairs with her gun aimed at him.
When Debbie checks the gun, she realises it’s not loaded. Well, duh. Because Aaron unloaded it. Without telling her. She gets angry, and he gets angry, and they argue. “You almost shot me, center mass.” She argues that she didn’t even have the finger on the trigger, and that she knows what she’s doing. Debbie stomps off and goes to bed. Alone.
The next day, Aaron apologises for unloading the gun without telling Debbie. He keeps insisting that they keep the gun and the ammunition separate for safety reasons, and Debbie isn’t at all cool with any of it. She doesn’t want to compromise, especially if it means Aaron will get his way. Aptly, he keeps calling their home “his house”. She accuses him of wanting to control her.
Interestingly, Aaron then seeks advice from Audrey. She tells him that her trouble with her ex was based on self-esteem issues. She made more money than him, and he was threatened by her independence. His response to this was that he started to control everything, and it was one of the many reasons that their marriage fell apart.
When Aaron comes home, he apologises that he was wrong to take choice away from Debbie and that he’ll do everything he can to make it right. However, Debbie is already packing her things to move out. Debbie doesn’t think she can make this work, it’s too late to fix their relationship. Clearly, Aaron is a complicated man, but things are messy and broken, and there’s no good solution here.
“This is crazy. We love each other. I love you,” he tells her. She kisses him on the cheek. “I love you so much. It’s just not enough.” Those are her last words to him before she walks out. A second failed marriage. That hurts quite a lot, and I’m feeling for him. (Though, honestly, I’ve never liked Debbie much.)
Claire and her father Miles are now starting to spend some time together. Miles wants to talk about their past and forgiveness, but Claire isn’t ready for that. She tells him no.
They go running together, and when they take a break, it’s an opportunity for them to actually revisit Claire’s childhood and why Miles left. He divulges that he sent them a check every month to support them, but Claire says she never saw any of the money. So Claire’s mother actually squandered it, and Claire had to struggle so much after her father left. She refuses to believe her father is sorry, and resents him for leaving. She tells him to leave her alone.
The case of Ava makes Claire think about her own father. Ava’s parents are struggling with the decision they made in the past that now led to their daughter needing drastic surgery that will have sequelae. Do they regret that decision?
She goes to see her father to tell him he was a horrible father and can’t undo the harm he did, but she’s ready to forgive him. He deserves it and she needs it, because she needs him. She wants to keep spending time together. Maybe they can heal. Together.
Things between Morgan and Alex are still not great. Even Jordan sees it. “You never agree on anything. I think you just enjoy arguing with each other.” When they discuss what surgical approach is best for their patient, Jordan challenges Alex’s objectivity. Is he disagreeing with Morgan because that’s his objective view of the best course of treatment, or is he disagreeing because he doesn’t want to agree with Morgan?
Alex and Morgan have an honest conversation in the locker room as their day comes to an end. To him, their relationship (what relationship?) was more than a fun distraction. Alex wants to stop being friends, he want to keep their relationship purely professional. Morgan doesn’t want that, but Alex doesn’t want the “unprofessional mess”. He walks out. Clearly, Morgan isn’t happy with that, but then again, some of it may be her own fault.