This was kind of a cute one, and I always love when they get the characters out of the hospital. Not a gem as episodes go, but a solidly entertaining one with a few great and impactful moments. I give this one a tentative thumbs up despite the fact that I’m sad to see us losing a resident.
Written by Melaina Wright & Peter Blake
Directed by Gary Hawes
Original airdate 30 Jan 2023
Patient #1 – Buddy/Cooper
Dr. Sinclair (veterinary surgeon), Shaun Murphy, Aaron Glassman
Leg and multiple rib fractures, splenic damage, sacral and lumbar spine fractures
- While Shaun and Lea are hiking near a lake, they are witness to a random dog getting hit by a car
- Trying to help the injured dog, Shaun finds that he is having trouble breathing so Shaun reduces the rib fractures
- At the veterinary hospital, the veterinary surgeon diagnoses a damaged spleen, broken ribs, a fractured radius and skin lacerations
- Buddy (as Lea named the dog) will need an exploratory laparotomy and a thoracotomy, which Shaun and Lea say they will pay for
- During the surgery the next morning, the veterinary surgeon discovers sacral and lumbar fractures, which means Buddy will have trouble walking and end up being incontinent
- The vet recommends euthanasia since Buddy will need constant care, but Lea implores Shaun to find a surgical solution to fix the incontinence
- Shaun calls Dr. Glassman for advice who asks Shaun to send him the doggy imaging
- Upon having a conversation with Lea about mutual support in their parenting endeavours, Shaun has an idea how to fix Buddy’s spine
- He puts together a PowerPoint presentation for Dr. Sinclair to explain how they will use a Kerrison punch to fixate Buddy’s spine with screws and rods that will take care of the incontinence and leg weakness
- During the surgery, with Shaun and Glassman (who has now joined them) watching and supervising, Shaun has lots of advice what blade to use for the incision or what screw size would be best, which Sinclair isn’t overly receptive to
- Buddy makes it through the surgery and it appears he has escaped the fate of lasting incontinence
- As Shaun and Lea get ready to go home, fully prepared to take Buddy with them because no owner has come forward so far, a family comes to the veterinary clinic, a maybe 8-year-old boy happily saying hello to their dog named Cooper
- Reunited with this real family, Lea is sad to have to leave Buddy (respectively Cooper) behind, but Shaun is probably glad they don’t have to add a dog as a new resident to their growing family
Patient #2 – Lalo
Alex Park, Morgan Reznick, Jordan Allen, Marcus Andrews
Multiple wood and metal splinter impalements resulting in significant bleeding and tissue and organ damage
- Lalo is brought to the ER together with his (uninjured) son Dylan, the paramedic recounts: 47-year-old male, multiple wood and metal impalements (from a wood chipper accident), disoriented, significant blood loss
- Lalo has 20 pieces of different sizes embedded all over his body, his airway is clear but fluid is accumulating in the pericardium (space around his heart)
- When he regains consciousness, he pulls out one of the spikes in his chest in a panic, which causes him to bleed profusely and will now require immediate surgery
- In surgery after stopping the most important bleeding, Lalo receives blood transfusions and the team starts extracting the easier to remove and not as critical spikes first
- During the surgery, Lalo goes into V-tach but the team can get his heart back to sinus rhythm
- The surgery has to be stopped after nine spikes due to Lalo’s body not being able to take any more, so Andrews orders a panscan CT, CTA and transfusions; they will continue the next morning
- A remaining spike in Lalo’s shoulder damaged every critical structure in the area, the surgeons have to decide whether to amputate Lalo’s arm to save his life or choose the riskier option to try and remove the spike
- Lalo is too unstable to be taken off the ventilator to ask for his preference, and his son is only 16 so he cannot make medical decisions for his father
- There’s a 5-10% chance that removal of the spike in Lalo’s shoulder will cause life-threatening complications, and Dylan is very torn about giving any recommendations about what his father might want
- Dylan talks about how, after the death of his mother, his father would do everything to provide for him and give him a chance at good education and a better life, and how they would stick together and find a way to make it through
- Andrews, Morgan and Park discuss how to move forward and Morgan pushes for the amputation since Dylan was adamant his father would be able to adapt to anything life threw at him
- Park makes a stand for Lalo since he will need to be able to work in order to provide for his son and give him a better future – he would take the risk
- They go with Park’s recommendation and try to save the arm, and there’s a complication during the surgery, but Park manages to save both the arm and Lalo’s life
- Lalo comes out of the anaesthesia just fine and he still has function of his arm and fingers, he’s likely to make a full or near full recovery
- Dylan confesses to his father that he told the doctors to amputate, and his father would now be without his left arm if they’d listened to him, but Lalo is still incredibly proud of his son
Patient #3 – Vince
Danica Powell, Asher Wolke, Audrey Lim
Gunshot wound to the thigh with subsequent inflammation and beginning sepsis
- Vince appears on Danica’s doorstep with a gunshot wound to his thigh and pleads for her to treat the injury in private since he violated his parole and will go back to prison if he goes to a hospital
- Danica does her best to try and extract the bullet but has to video-call Asher for a second opinion when the bullet extraction doesn’t go as planned
- Blood flow and nerve function isn’t impaired, so Asher recommends to leave the bullet in and send Vince home
- Vince comes back early the next morning, complaining that something’s wrong
- The wound is infected and Danica would have to take the rest of the bullet out, otherwise Vince will go septic
- Having called Asher for help and having a spontaneously checking in Audrey Lim in Danni’s apartment, the three of them reluctantly team up to remove the bullet
- During the procedure, they find that bullet fragments have now migrated deeper into the leg, making it harder to get to
- Vince loses consciousness and his foot pulse becomes weak with only limited blood flow – Lim suspects that a fragment caused thrombosis
- They call an ambulance and Vince is taken to St. Bonaventure
- Vince’s surgery in an actual OR with proper monitoring, medication and equipment goes well, they extract the bullet and Vince goes to recovery afterwards
- Vince makes a full recovery and is seen talking to his family
Shaun and Lea’s Journey
So Shaun and Lea are on their babymoon, which is apparently an American thing where pregnant couples go on vacation to enjoy a final trip together before the many sleepless nights that usually accompany a newborn baby commence. Typically, this happens at some kind of resort that offers massages and stuff geared towards pregnant women. Sounds like Shaun and Lea went with the whole package, seeing how Shaun talks about prenatal massage and aura cleansing appointments Lea has later that they don’t wanna be late for.
For now, they want to enjoy a short break at a lake with some of the ample supply of green apples that Shaun has packed. Shaun insists it really can’t be longer than 14 minutes because of the many pee breaks they need to take on the 4+ hour drive back. Lea doesn’t find that the precise deadlines add to her state of desired relaxation, but of course Shaun finds them very soothing.
All the preparation is well and good, but their scheduled plans get somewhat railroaded when they bear witness to a hit-and-run accident of a car colliding with a dog. The poor doggo whimpers and limps away, and Lea is immediately on a mission to run after the dog to help.
They soon find the guy and Shaun diagnoses leg and rib fractures, the latter of which he will have to reduce so that the dog can breathe properly again. With that fixed for now, they take him to a veterinary hospital.
Kudos to the writers for inserting a callback to episode 4×18 Forgive or Forget when Shaun mentions that they know from experience that the woods can be dangerous. In that episode, Shaun fell off an overturned tree trunk and dislocated his ankle, which led to impeded blood flow to his foot and Lea having to perform emergency surgery on Shaun’s ankle. Ironically, they took that particular trip to help them work through the loss of their first baby.
As they’re waiting for the vet, Lea tells Shaun how she begged her parents to get a dog when she was in first grade – which they did. It was a chocolate labrador by the name of Tessa, and apparently not house-trained because she peed on her dad’s briefcase the next morning. Mike took Tessa back that same night, which Shaun says doesn’t sound like good parenting. And it clearly wasn’t.
Dr. Sinclair, the vet, informs Shaun and Lea that he’s not planning to do much for the dog, whom Lea has named Buddy. The surgery and treatment will be expensive, and since they don’t know who the owners are, there’s no one to pay for it. Lea makes an impulsive decision and says they’ll pay. Shaun is surprisingly chill with the whole thing, even when Lea says they should stay at a motel and see the surgery the next morning through.
Staying at the motel maybe wasn’t such a great idea after all, since it’s one of those cheap, skeevy joints that has stains on the carpet, sticky surfaces and something apparently pretty disgusting in the bathroom. Shaun is surprisingly comfortable with this, too. It’s Lea who is stressed out.
When she checks with Shaun why he doesn’t really seem to care about Buddy since she thought he loved animals, he proclaims he loves rabbits and fish since they don’t slobber or jump on you or make messes. And, as Lea reminds him, their newborn baby will be doing quite a bit of that, too…
It’s interesting that Shaun doesn’t mention he also likes cats. That was kind of a motif in early season 1. There was a cat outside Shaun’s house in the pilot that he presumably was friendly with, and he also feeds the cat outside his San Jose apartment in search of a new companion. Plus at the visit to the pet store in season 2, Shaun is very amenable to getting a cat, which Lea vetoes since she’s allergic.
Dr. Sinclair performs the surgery on Buddy the next morning, but he discovers sacral and lumbar fractures during the course of the operation, which means that even if Buddy heals well, he will have trouble walking and likely be incontinent. Euthanasia would be more humane since Buddy would require constant care and not have a high quality of life.
Lea is appalled. They brought the dog here to be saved, not to be killed. She will try to do everything she can to find his family or find him a new family, and unbeknownst to Shaun, he will find a surgery to fix Buddy’s incontinence. Shaun isn’t so sure. He’s not a vet, and if the actual vet doesn’t have any ideas, then who is Shaun to know better?
Lea artfully emotionally blackmails Shaun into researching surgical options for Buddy by threatening that they will take the dog home if the incontinence can’t be fixed. Shaun is clearly not in favour of that, so he’ll work extra hard on how to help Buddy.
Shaun also calls in the cavalry, namely Dr. Glassman. Not only does he want inspiration for a surgical approach, he also wants advice how to handle Lea’s very apparent elevated stress levels. Glassman suggests that maybe it’s still the aftereffects of having almost lost another unborn baby, and Shaun is smart enough to figure that Lea might also be worried about impending motherhood.
Shaun himself is mostly worried about practical factors, such as the loud crying noises (which he’ll solve with noise-reducing earplugs), the smelly poop (which he’ll solve with peppermint oil under his nose) and potential spitting up and other messy things (which he’ll solve by putting on hospital smocks when needed).
Glassman suggests that Shaun speak to Lea and inquire what has her worried, which Shaun soon takes to heart when Lea comes back after putting up lost-dog flyers and calling around – without success. She confesses that she is worried, but Shaun tells her she shouldn’t be. She’ll be a great mum, and they’ll figure it out how to parent their son as a team.
Lea throws into the ring that they both had pretty lousy parental role models, but Shaun knows that his parents at least taught him one useful thing: Shaun will not treat their children (plural?) the way that his parents did him and Steve.
Lea is already seeing some of her parents’ traits in herself, like she’s sometimes stubborn like her dad or flaky like her mum. Lea shares that her mother often forgot to pick her up from after-school. She’s afraid that she’ll mess up with their kids like her parents did with her.
And Shaun tells her that she will. As will he. Sometimes. And he’s right. Every parent will make mistakes. But they’ll have each other’s backs and they’ll support each other, so Shaun isn’t worried. And this conversation also sparked an idea in his Savant Syndrome brain, because he suddenly knows how to fix Buddy’s incontinence!
After Glassman looked at the doggy imagining that Shaun sent him, apparently he must have figured (maybe with more gentle encouragement from Shaun off-screen) he’d be helpful in how to supervise canine neurosurgery. He comes to the veterinary hospital in person to help pitch the Kerrison punch surgical fix to Dr. Sinclair and give advice where needed. And, you know, to also pay for the massively expensive surgery after an emotional plea from Lea.
Can we talk about how Shaun threw together a perfectly designed PowerPoint presentation about the surgery for Dr. Sinclair, with graphics and everything? The boy is nothing if not thorough.
Shaun can’t help trying to give well-meant advice, and the surgery proceeds as planned. Afterwards, Lea sits outside and waits when Glassman comes to join her. After his earlier phone conversation with Shaun, he picks up on Lea’s apprehension as well, so he shares with her that it’s very normal for parents to worry about every little thing. He tells her they were worried Maddie wasn’t latching on, but she did. They were worried she wasn’t gonna crawl, but she did. They were worried, she wasn’t talking, and so on. He tries to reassure her that worrying is normal, and that 99% of the time, things will work out just fine.
Lea asks him what Maddie was like, and after a brief second of trying to swallow the grief that still sits deep, he shares that she had quite the personality. “She never walked anywhere, she always ran. She was angry… a lot. It was her default. But she loved so deeply, it was like you were the only one in the world.”
Lea wishes she could have known Maddie, and she can’t imagine going through what Aaron and Ilana went through. That 1% that goes wrong is scary, and she can’t help thinking about it. It’s a rare moment of honesty and intimacy between the both of them when Aaron shares with Lea how grateful he is.
“After Maddie died, I didn’t think that I was gonna make it. There were times that I hoped that I wouldn’t. But I did. And then I met Shaun. And then I met you. And I’m grateful every single day because I love you both so much. You and Shaun have love, and you have faith in each other. If I was a betting man, I would bet the house on the both of you.”
Lea leans over and wraps her arms around her father-in-law’s neck. He may be Grumpy Dr. Glassy, but he has his heart in the right place, and he’s gonna be their son’s grandfather who’s gonna give all the love that he has to give.
Buddy wakes up from the surgery eventually and the jury is still out on whether it worked or not. Shaun has in the meantime warmed to him a little more now and finds it actually very calming to pet Buddy’s ear. And he’s obviously thought about Lea’s attachment to the dog, because he’s researched waterproof dog beds and found one that he thinks Buddy will like if his owners can’t be found.
Buddy, however, sits up, and they think he might have to pee. Shaun and Lea help him over to the peeing pad that has been set up a few feet away, and Buddy makes it there without any urinary accidents. Looks like Shaun’s surgery worked!
When Buddy is well enough to be taken home the next day, Lea signs what is likely the release forms. She’s already looked for dog walkers, which aren’t cheap, but they could probably swing it. At the same time, a couple with a maybe 8-year-old boy walks in and the boy enthusiastically greets the dog by the name of Cooper. Buddy’s family has been found, and Buddy is actually called Cooper.
The family had been looking for days and then saw one of Lea’s flyers. When the husband says they’ll of course pay back any expenses, Shaun tells them it’s 22,563 dollars. Whoops. The son is happy to have their beloved dog back and he gives him a big hug, but Lea is not quite as thrilled they won’t be taking “Buddy” home after all.
Saying goodbye to Cooper is hard, but Shaun assures Lea that he will be okay. If this wasn’t Shaun, I’d be inclined to say he may also mean to imply that they will be okay as a family, or that Lea will be okay, but Shaun pretty much always means things literally.
Shaun reminds Lea that, if they leave now, they can still make the 11 a.m. nature walk. Shaun holds out his hand and Lea takes it as Cooper looks on to watch his saviours walk away.
Danni gets herself in quite a pickle this time around when she agrees to help her old military friend Vince who turns up on her doorstep with a bullet wound to his leg. He’s currently out of jail on parole, and got shot at a party he shouldn’t have been at. There were known gang members there, and he violated his parole by just being there, which is why he pleads for Danni to help him outside of the hospital (since any gunshot wound has to be reported to the police by law).
Danni is reluctant to do anything here at home. She’s a first year resident who can’t do unsupervised surgery. But Vince makes a convincing case that he can’t go to the hospital, and as a black man with a criminal record, his parole officer wouldn’t believe him either, even if he told the truth. He can’t go back to prison, now that he finally got his life back on track. And Danni owes him, so she agrees to remove the bullet and patch him up right there in her living room.
I wonder if Danni comes from a wealthier family. Her apartment looks awfully nice, with solid wood furniture and a fancy looking couch and coffee table… Or maybe she just has good taste and decent budget management skills. 🙂 Then again, the furniture that Shaun and Lea have in their apartment also doesn’t look cheap, but let’s also remind ourselves that Shaun lived in a barely furnished dump during the first year of his residency.
In order to do the procedure on Vince properly, Danni needs some supplies, so she goes to St. Bon’s to actually steal what she needs. This doesn’t bode well, especially when she runs into both Lim and Asher while she’s there, giving the latter some bogus excuse of building a trauma simulator to practice removing foreign bodies. It’s strangely ironic that Asher tells her, “You’ll probably be my boss someday.” (Aaaank, wrong.)
Of course things with Vince’s leg don’t go as swimmingly as hoped. There’s bullet fragments inside that Danni can’t get to unless she cuts deeper into the muscle, and she’s quickly out of her depth. Not knowing what else to do, she calls Asher. And Asher isn’t stupid. He sees through her trauma simulator ruse fairly quickly, and she has no choice but to tell him what’s really going on. He gives her some advice over video to leave the rest of the bullet in if it’s not hampering blood flow or impinging on any nerves, so Danni does and sends Vince home.
The next morning, Vince turns up at her door again, rousing her from her sleep. Something’s wrong, his leg is hurting. Danni takes a look, and the wound is definitely infected. She will need help to deal with this.
She must have called Asher again to bring her some supplies. He does come to her apartment, but he’s empty-handed because he thinks this is stupid and Danni should know better. Still, he doesn’t wanna leave Danni hanging, so he comes in and says he’s gonna watch and supervise. As they’re in the middle of trying to fix the mess, there’s an unexpected visitor checking in: Audrey Lim. She was worried that something wasn’t right when Danni spontaneously called out of her shift that morning, feigning a family emergency.
Unfortunately, Vince loudly moans in the background as Danni tries to send Audrey away, so she bursts into the apartment and is understandably appalled by the scene that presents itself, particularly the fact that Asher is also there and complicit.
When Audrey tells Danni how stupid this was, she explains why she agreed to treat Vince under the radar. When she lost her leg, he was the first responder at the accident. He tourniqueted her leg, and he was the only person who comforted her that day and who wasn’t too scared or freaked out or disgusted to look her in the eye. She has to repay the favour.
Grudgingly, Audrey puts on a hospital smock and sees what she can do to fix up Vince’s leg on the scene. In the process, one of the bullet fragments causes a thrombosis, so now blood flow to the rest of the leg is impeded and the situation is a lot more dire. They have to call an ambulance, Audrey insists on it.
Finally in a real hospital OR setting, they manage to get all of the bullet fragments out of Vince’s leg. Audrey orders the bullet to be bagged for evidence.
With everything out in the open now, Lim has to decide what the consequences will be for Danica and Asher. She talks it over with Andrews and recommends letters in their records, remediation plans and two months of probationary direct supervision. It will also be a last warning before they’re dismissed from the programme for good if they misstep again.
Andrews says that seems appropriate for Asher, but should Danni really be allowed to stay on at St. Bonaventure? She has already shown a pattern of disobedience, even from her first surgery, and she doesn’t seem to be particularly remorseful or understanding about any of those instances. Andrews suggests that Audrey think about whether her out-of-work friendship and bond with Danni isn’t perhaps clouding her judgment, seeing how she almost lost Shaun as a friend this year, too.
Lim decides to proceed as planned with Asher, putting him on probation. He surely isn’t happy about it and gives Danni the stink-eye when he passes her in the hallway outside of Lim’s office.
It was kind of a no-win situation for Asher, for sure, but it’s funny that this seems way harsher than all the times when Shaun fucked up over the years and only ever got so much as a slap on the wrist. I mean, sure, he probably has entries in his record here and there, but he was never put on probation that I recall.
Ordering Danni into her office, Lim tells her they’re letting her go from the programme. She takes it with poise, then asks about Vince. Lim informs her that the bullet was “misplaced”, so there’s really no point in alerting the police. Lim also apologises for making the call to fire Danni, but that it had to be made. She implores Danni to learn how to compromise – not just professionally but in life in general.
Maybe it’s a case in point, but Danni isn’t apologetic for what she’s done. Any other course of action would have led to the outcome of Vince either being dead or back in prison, with a destroyed family in its wake. The end justifies the means, and she’ll live with the consequences.
Alex and Morgan’s love-hate relationship continues, and it just seems like they can’t win. When Alex has a differing opinion on how to handle their mutual medical case, Morgan takes it personally, particularly when Alex implies that Morgan can’t understand what parental love means. She tells him it was a dick move to use that as an argument in front of Andrews, and it actually kinda was. Alex replies, “There’s love, and there’s being a parent. In nine months or so, you’ll get it.”
Later in the locker room, Alex apologises to her. He was being a dick, and he pushed too hard on the surgery. Some of it was triggered by how Kellan told Alex recently that he wasn’t going to be home for the holidays and would rather take a trip with his friends. Alex feels like he’s losing him, like he’s been a crappy father, but Morgan reassures him that he’s not.
Morgan confesses to Alex that her embryo implantation failed. He’s sympathetic, and he tells her he’ll be there any time she needs a friend. Which might just be right around now.
Things to Further Dissect
As quite often on the show, but maybe now a little bit more on-the-nose, the overarching theme of this episode was ‘parenthood’. Most obviously this was presented through Shaun and Lea, but the medical case with Lalo and his underage son having to make important decisions for his father was also about the topic of responsibility between parents and children.
What with all that Shaun and Lea have been through, not just the recent almost-hysterectomy scare, it’s only natural for them to worry, in this case Lea more than Shaun. It’s not just the pregnancy itself. Now that they’re in their second trimester, I’m sure it all feels a lot more real, and there’s not just the underlying uncertainty of Shaun potentially passing his autism on to his son, it’s also all the other parenting stuff.
What if Lea is as flaky as her mum and forgets to pick her kid up from pre-school? What if she and Shaun are incompatible as parents and end up fighting over how to raise their child? What if they can’t agree on the most basic things that should be easy?
It’s reassuring that Shaun, at least, seems to approach it all with a more “we’ll deal with it when we get there—as a team” attitude. Which, honestly, sounds very un-Shaun. Wouldn’t he be the one to try and plot out every possible obstacle and roadblock they may be encountering? Or has he already learned the lesson that it’s impossible to be 100% or even 50% prepared for what will happen when a new baby enters your world?
One of the highlights (or maybe the highlight) of last week’s episode was definitely the scene with Lea and Glassman. It’s always lovely when we get to see the rare moments of the two of them truly connecting, and I think many fans had been waiting for something tangible to solidify their bond as daughter and father-in-law.
It’s also a rare treasure to learn more about the characters’ pasts and family connections. Not only was it nice to hear a little more about Lea’s parents (her dad being stubborn and unwilling to compromise, her mother being flaky and unreliable), it was also wonderful to hear more about Glassman’s daughter Maddie. The best part of it, perhaps, was Glassman admitting how much of an impact meeting Shaun had made on him, how much Shaun had saved him and perhaps sent him a path that otherwise would have looked very different. And then of course the acknowledgement of how much he loves both Shaun and Lea, and how much trust he has in them as a couple.
They’ve come a long way since, “He seems like a nebby, old jerk… and a bully,” haven’t they?
Parting with Powell
Second time this season that I didn’t quite manage to avoid a bigger spoiler. My own fault, I should know that checking Reddit on Tuesday mornings before I’ve seen the episode bears that risk. There was a TV Line article headline that said the show was going to be a resident short, and it wasn’t a huge leap to figure out that it would be Danni.
In the grand scheme of things, I guess that makes sense, even though personally, I’m not very fond of that decision. Like Salen, Danni was universally disliked by fans for having an opinionated personality, for not being a team player and for making Shaun’s life difficult. Very likely, it had always been the plan for Danni to take her leave mid-season, but from where we stand now, I wish they’d done more with her before we had to say our farewells to her.
I think Danni offered a great opportunity to be held up as a mirror to Shaun, for him to learn that he’s sometimes also stubborn and contrary as hell – like they tried to do in Hot and Bothered but chose not to develop that particular line of storytelling to its full extent. For all of Danni’s contrariness, you can’t deny that she’s brought a few interesting viewpoints to the show. She’s challenged Shaun when he needed to be challenged, pushed him towards boundaries or realisations that had learning experiences attached. I think they could have done a lot more with that before they relinquished her as a character.
Then again, I obviously have no idea about what the second part of the season is going to bring, other than apparently an impending lawsuit against Shaun and hopefully a baby birth. Perhaps it made perfect sense at this stage to make room for… whatever is to come.
The Danni Disaster
And talking about Danni leaving… Ever since The Good Boy aired, the predominant fan reaction has been along the lines of, “I’m glad she is gone,” and “Thank God, I couldn’t stand her,” and “The show is better off without judgemental, defensive and pretentious characters like her.”
Personally, that kind of attitude really irks me. Of course I perfectly understand the notion of not liking Danni as a person. Of course I perfectly understand that people invested in Shaun as a character get annoyed when he has to deal with a feisty, headstrong and somewhat obstinate resident whom he repeatedly clashes with. But Danni was much more than that, and Danni was a great way to introduce interesting friction without immediate volatility, and give the characters and the viewers something to think about and something to chew on.
Those characters propel stories forward and drive personal growth, give people obstacles to overcome. Isn’t that what we love watching? Or am I the odd one out, and the majority of viewers would prefer watching carefree, harmonious bliss a 100% of the time? I dunno, that would bore the heck out of me. I would not be watching the show if it was all love and peace all the time.
What I also love about The Good Doctor is that it’s always been really great at showing both the wonderful and the harsh sides of life. You know, the way real life is actually like. Sure, I get that some people go to television for escapism, and that some people would rather be welcomed into the open arms of a perfect TV family world where they can escape the real world for an hour or so. But The Good Doctor has never aimed at being that kind of show.
I’m glad that they chose to reflect real life by introducing Danni. Anyone who has ever worked in a professional environment with a larger number of people at different hierarchies will know what it’s like when you have to do your best to make it work with a difficult co-worker, when despite the antipathy, you have to maintain a working relationship and get the tasks done. Not everyone in your workplace will end up being your best friend or even just a friend. This is life.
Speaking of real life… As much as we love seeing Shaun in such a warm and welcoming working environment, and all his colleagues being supportive and understanding of his antics, I don’t actually know how realistic that is in the real world. I’ve seen fans with ASD say that their own experiences have been very different, and they’re usually met with a lot more rejection and lack of understanding and compassion.
We very rarely see Shaun actually struggling with rejection in the workplace the way it would happen in the real world. And when the show finally introduces someone who brings that aspect to the show, she is instantly scorned and loathed. Is that a symptom of today’s cancel-culture, even? “I don’t like her, so she has to go.” We saw this with Salen in season five, now we’re seeing it with Danni, too.
In Danni, we also had a strong, independent woman (maybe a bit too independent) who stood up for her ideals and stood her ground in a very demanding job that is still, in large part, dominated by men. (I found statistics from Jan 2023 that say in the US, the ratio of professionally active physicians is 63% vs. 37% male to female.)
And yet, she is hated on because she speaks her mind and makes life harder for Shaun, when personally I think we should applaud the show for showing us that a woman with a physical disability can and should be regarded as an equal team member, rather than rejoice how glad we are that she’s finally gone. But again, maybe that’s just me…
Autism consultant Melissa Reiner had an interesting take on this week’s episode, where in her episode insights, she utters clear criticism how the writers chose to pick story over autism this time around. Melissa explains that she felt the writers had Shaun agree too quickly to go chase after Buddy and forget all about the meticulous plans he had made for the both of them and then be fully on board with saving a stranger’s dog’s life.
Granted, Shaun made a few half-hearted attempts to remind Lea about the massages and the aura cleansing, but Melissa believes it would have been more realistic if he’d struggled more with adapting to the drastic derailing of his painstakingly plotted time schedule. I will admit that I had moments where I frowned at this myself, particularly when they rented that grimy motel room. How was Shaun so chill with all of that?
Ultimately, I get that they needed to move the plot with Buddy forward, and that it might have been counterproductive for Shaun to be Mister Contrary in the scenario, when the story called for Lea being the one who was high-strung and stressed. Just really interesting to hear, though, that from a more ASD-focused lens, that didn’t seem particularly consistent with Shaun’s personality.
Speaking of inconsistencies, I also can’t help raising my eyebrow at the whole pregnancy timing. We’re made to believe that the little Murphylallo boy was conceived at the beginning of November, according to Lea’s menstrual calendar. In Quiet and Loud, just an episode ago, the OB-GYN says, “You made through the first trimester,” which implies Lea is early in her second trimester, so maybe around month 4 or so, right?
Going by statements from both Glassman and Park, it’s pretty clear that The Good Boy is supposed to be about week (Park says 9 days) after Quiet and Loud, yet Lea’s pregnant belly looks like it’s massively grown since Quiet and Loud and looks more like she’s in her sixth month or so. Sure, the size of a pregnant belly is different in every woman, so who’s to say what’s accurate or not in terms of Lea’s belly, but it just seems a little off.
Add to that that Park mentions Kellan not wanting to be home for “the holidays”, which I think is usually a term associated with Christmas. So what time of the year are we actually in right now? If Lea is anywhere from 4 to 6 months pregnant, it would be March to May-ish. Would Kellan already be talking about going away for Christmas? I dunno, it just doesn’t seem to add up. Again. Oh well.
Favourite Scenes and Lines
- Lea sharing examples of her less than perfect childhood with Shaun.
- Lea knowing how to emotionally manipulate Shaun when she tells him that they’ll have to adopt Buddy if he’ll stay incontinent, and Shaun immediately going, “I will find a surgery.”
- Asher sticking with Danni and telling her he didn’t want to desert her. He’s such a sweetheart.
- Glassman asking Shaun to send him the “doggy imaging”. Glassman does has his heart in the right place.
- Asher innocently going, “Hey,” when Lim bursts into Danni’s apartment. So very Asher!
- Shaun being a champ and telling Lea they will both be great parents and will figure it out as a team. And his little almost-touch to drive the message home.
- Dr. Sinclair asking who’s going to pay for the surgery, and the silent response chain going Lea → Shaun → Glassman.
- Lea and Glassman talking about Maddie and parenting outside on the bench. Such a beautiful and meaningful scene, and so well delivered by both Paige and Richard.
- Shaun warming to the idea of owning an incontinent dog, and of course the infamous, “Time for urination!”
- Lim having to make a difficult call and telling Danni she is being fired without making it melodramatic. That was also really well done.
Nothing of note this week that I can think of, so I just put a few more Shea and doggy photos here for you to enjoy. 🙂
Although some may say Danny was sorely missing, but it’s not unusual not to have each and every recurring guest in each episode. After all, Danni wasn’t in the previous episode at all…
Best Shaun Muffin Face
No Spoilers, please!
Quick reminder that I love feedback but try very hard to actively avoid any kind of spoilers for upcoming episodes. Please don’t mention any spoilers in your comments, which includes information from episode promos, stills and other official promo material. Thanks, guys!
I really liked this episode, but I’m puzzled about the timeline; not just because of the swiftly growing baby bump, but Lea apparently completely recovered from major surgery, in what Glassman said was a week?? Lea is young and healthy, so she wouldn’t have a prolonged recovery, but a week seems wrong even for me, not usually strictly advocating realism.
It’ll be interesting to watch their journey into parenthood. Lea is of course worried, but I think she ultimately may be better at dealing with that worry than Shaun is. Shaun has convinced himself that he has it all covered: dealing with a noisy, slobbering, peeing, shitting tiny human boy, He’s figured it out! He’s got noise-cancelling headphones and peppermint oil! I have a feeling that he’s going to get quite a scary wakeup call. But, through it all, they’ll both deal; they want this baby, and both of them have a lot of love to give him. I’ll never forget the tender look Shaun had when he held Viola’s baby in Quarantine 2, and how good Lea was with Isla.
I also noticed the lack of cats in Shaun’s list of animals he likes. As a cat person, I like that he’s drawn to cats, and apparently they to him. He also might have included pigs, from his experience with Wilbur. “Come along, Wilbur.”
BTW, my hearing may be going off. When the kid said Cooper’s name, I thought he said Wilbur!
As far as Danni’s departure, you know how I feel about her. I do get what you’re saying; she introduced some issues that should be explored, and she did show Shaun some of his flaws (and hers). I can’t say I’ll miss her though.Her involving Asher was unforgivable and selfish; I don’t blame him for being angry at her.
However, now we’re left with only one resident, and a rather shaky one at that. Brandon Larracuente is of course now a series regular, so he’ll likely be around. (However, we’ve lost much more important regulars in the past, so who knows?) We definitely need another resident, however he or she is introduced.
Also: the Murphy-Dilallo household needs a dog!
Yeah, the timeline fuckery is back. sigh. The “a week” might have been since Lea was released from the hospital and not the surgery, but you’re right that that’s awfully fast to be running after a dog with zero discomfort, seeing how they actually cut open a large part of her abdomen. But you know how it is on The Good Doctor… Patients make miraculously fast recoveries there. It’s the Shaun magic in the air or something.
I agree that that there will probably quite a bit of a rude awakening for Shaun where a newborn is concerned. There are a million factors to be taken into account, including a cranky wife who is sleep deprived and thus short-fused. If they present this halfway realistically, I think it will take a toll on both Shaun and Lea. I’m kinda hoping that they’ll end up house-sharing with Glassy so that he can help out, provided they find a suitable house that would have them all have their separate living units.
I’m not sure about the dog thing. Lea will of course love any dog, but I think Shaun will have a hard time with it. It might be harder to stick to routines with a dog, and I think he would hate the hair shedding and all that. Plus, Lea will probably want the dog in the bed, and Shaun would very vehemently veto that. I think it’d be another confounding factor for a frictionless family life, at least now that they have a baby on the way.
But, you know, I’ve been wrong about these things before, so…