Although The Good Doctor has been on generally excellent form recently, it has undoubtedly lost some of its focus on Shaun and changed into something of an ensemble show, a little bit more like a traditional medical procedural. Does it need a disruptor? Well, it’s got one. Step forward Dr Jackson Han, the new chief of surgery, played by our old friend Daniel Dae Kim, who of course also exec produces the show. Which presumably means that when he says he wants to play a brilliant, high-paid, high-maintenance, high-cheekboned surgeon, that’s what he gets to do.
Han starts off by turning up late for his own welcome brunch – next time I move jobs I totally want a welcome brunch, or just a brunch – and scrubbing into an incredibly delicate operation on Persie, a new-born with a catalogue of medical problems, poor little thing. He puts loud music on, which immediately throws Shaun off balance, and starts firing questions at the interns. “Shame-based learning”, Lim admonishes gently afterwards, “isn’t my style”. Then Han tells Melendez to run a full preventative workup on Minesh, a wealthy hospital donor. Melendez is somewhat put out, but complies with the “request”, and finds that Minesh has a tumour which is probably benign, but might not be; and they won’t know unless or until it kills him or is removed. Minesh has to decide whether to have risky surgery to take it out.
Persie, meantime, spends most of the episode on the operating table, as the surgeons desperately try to save her. Her mother wonders whether the antidepressants she took before she knew she was pregnant might have caused the birth defects. Shaun allows that they might have, which incurs Han’s wrath; and although Lim and Claire defend Shaun’s improving communication skills, it’s clear that Han has already taken agin Shaun; or, at least, his bedside manner. Shaun later comes up with a quite phenomenal save to keep Persie alive, but Han has made his mind up: Shaun is going to pathology, where he can use his undoubted diagnostic skills while not interacting with patients.
Finally, Glassman’s storyline continues to be the least successful part of the show: this week he’s encouraged, by fellow-patient Larry, to embrace cancer as an identity. Larry seems kind of annoying, but what do I know? I’ve never been there. On the whole, though, a great episode. Directed by Freddie Highmore himself, incidentally.