The Good Doctor s2 ep 5

Jas, a young violinist, has an infected finger, which she thinks was as a result of a manicure. Or, offers Shaun, “it might be flesh-eating bacteria and we may have to cut off your finger”. Morgan advocates for a more conservative approach to diagnosis and treatment: as a former archer herself, she knows that even removing a small piece of tissues for biopsy purposes will have consequences for Jas’s playing. The problem is that Shaun is right about the diagnosis, and by the time it’s discovered it isn’t just Jas’s finger which is forfeit. Morgan blames herself.

Meantime Riley, a teenage girl with divorced parents, has a severe nosebleed. This is the latest in a long line of minor ailments, which she’s obviously faking to get her parents back together. This time it’s Claire – and I’m roughly a year and a half too late in realising that Antonia Thomas was also Alisha in Misfits – who sticks to her diagnostic guns as Riley’s condition worsens, insisting on risky surgery to explore what looks like a tumour on one of Riley’s lungs. It isn’t quite, but it is nonetheless the cause of Riley’s multiple symptoms. This enables Claire to look good in front of new boss Lim and former boss Melendez.

In personal backstory news, I’m not as taken with the flatsharing fights between Lea and Shaun as the writers clearly want me to be: Lea must have known what living with Shaun would be like, so although it’s entirely understandable when she starts shouting at him because of his behaviour it isn’t quite fair. It does, however, lead to a charming scene between Lea and Glassman – who I think she gets away with addressing as “Glassy”  – in which he tells her that if she can’t tolerate life with Shaun she should leave him now. She stays. Not as good as some of the episodes this season, but perfectly enjoyable.


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend s4 ep 5

Everything is going well for Rebecca… right up to the point at which Valencia announces that she’s going to New York, and Heather announces that she’s moving out. Not only is Rebecca’s squad breaking up, but everyone else seems to be further on in life than she is. “I see life as a contest”, she confesses to Dr Akopian. “And I am now losing”. I hear you, sister.

But she’s not the only one reluctant to cope with unwelcome changes: Paula has been on good terms with her son Brendan for about five minutes, and he’s successfully applied to the Peace Corps. Darryl and WhiteJosh, meantime, are no longer a couple, but still hanging out together wayyyy too much. Unless you’re the rest of the cast, of course, who are still shipping them hard, as they illustrate in a delightful Oklahoma!-esque song-and-dance number, ‘The Group Mind Has Decided You’re In Love’. Darryl eventually has to throw water over WhiJo to bring him to his senses and get him to put himself out there again. 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend isn’t the sort of show in which people don’t get to move on, so by the end Rebecca and Paula have both had to accept that as others change it might hurt them. The pain is both real and recognisable – most viewers, I imagine, will have experienced something similar – so the episode hits home. However, my pain will be amplified if this is the last of Gabrielle Ruiz (Valencia) and, particularly, Vella Lovell (Heather), who has been the show’s wry under-the-radar star turn for quite a while now. There’s also a nice running meta-gag about the way in which people consume TV these days, which helps to keep this episode in the comfortably-above-average category.

The Good Doctor s2 ep 4

The two Cases of the Week are about… weight? Body image? I don’t want to go too much further than that. Louisa, a woman with anorexia, needs heart surgery but is too fragile, and resists attempts to increase her weight. Melendez nonetheless wants to go ahead with surgery. Claire, instead, suggests an experimental brain treatment which has had some success in treating anorexia; and when Melendez disagrees she takes her case to the hospital’s review board anyway.

Meantime Wade, in hospital with a sore knee, has fizzy urine and requires cystoscopy to find out the cause. Cystoscopy, he asks? “It’s like a knee scope. Except the camera goes up your penis”, replies Shaun brightly. The diagnosis means that Wade needs to have his gastric bypass reversed, which is news that Wade wants to hide from his somewhat fussy husband Spencer (the always-welcome Dan Bucatinsky); Spencer, you see, doesn’t know that Wade used to be obese.

As it happens, although both cases will lead to the patients being successfully treated, there are consequences. Louisa was told in advance that the brain procedure might affect her ability to feel maternal love for her son, and it seems to have dome just that. Also, Melendez tells Claire that she’s no longer part of his team, because she didn’t accept his decision as final. Harsh. And Spencer privately concedes to Alex that he doesn’t know if he’d be able to accept Wade were he to put on weight again.

It’s sobering and thought-provoking, but entertaining, and I enjoyed it so much that I might have cut the personal stuff a bit of slack: Lea makes it clear to Shaun that she has no romantic feelings for him, but they agree to share an apartment anyway; and Glassman is being stubborn about getting out of bed until visited by Debbie, who persuades him that he needs to start walking again. This show is on top form just now.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend s4 ep 4

Rebecca’s half-brother Tucker turns up at her new pretzel stand, claiming – very obviously falsely – that his mother knows he’s there. He charms Rebecca by seeming to have all of the behavioural quirks which she had as a child; actually, it’s astonishingly creepy, but Rebecca is so desperate to establish a relationship with him that she doesn’t pick up on that. As it happens, Tucker has found Rebecca’s childhood diary and is using that as a sort of guide to how to impersonate her; and his main reason for being in West Covina is so that he can go with Rebecca to Los Angeles and just-by-coincidence come across an audition for Peter Pan. It’s not clear to me why he couldn’t just have said that to Rebecca, rather than contriving this elaborate deception, but I may be missing something.

Rebecca is entirely forgiving of him when she finds out what’s been going on. Less so of Nathaniel, who is undoubtedly in love with her, but who makes the apparently relationship-ending error of spending some money to try and make her happy. There’s a fair amount of dishonesty involved here as well, mind you, and he’s an adult, but still. And Paula bonds with her sons at an escape room, in the least consequential part of an episode which succeeded in doing little more than annoying me. But the rapey 90s ad for ‘Take Me’ cologne was good, as was Tucker’s song “I Want To Be A Child Star”.

The Good Doctor s2 ep 4

It’s a bumper week of parents, children, and Secret Pain at St Bonaventure, and it kind of annoyed me. Patient of the Week #1 is Kitty, an 18-year-old free solo climber, who after her latest free solo climbing accident has a few fractured limbs. Two choices are before her: low-risk surgery which will restrict her movement, and high-risk surgery which might – might – allow her to keep climbing. Kitty opts for the latter, of course, which makes her the latest in a very, very long line of characters in medical dramas who want incredibly dangerous surgery in order to keep open the possibility of continuing to participate in a hobby. I mean, it might just be that I’ve never really been that invested in anything, but I’ll take the safe option and stay alive, thanks. At this point absurdity piles on absurdity, when Kitty’s parents have her declared medically incompetent – which she plainly isn’t, she’s just stupid – in order to override her wishes.

Patient #2, Mac, gets the best storyline of the week: he’s a young boy with a learning disability (fragile X syndrome), he’s in hospital having injured himself, and his single mother, Nicole, doesn’t want to admit that she can’t cope with him any more. It’s an incredibly difficult situation, and one in which a couple of doctors have a personal interest: Shaun has a degree of insight, of course, and a flashback or two to a foster mother of his own; Melendez’s sister lives in an assisted care facility. Eventually she makes the only choice she can, but it’s harrowing.

Meantime Glassman is still having hallucinatory visions of his dead daughter, Maddie, who seems pretty insufferable if I’m being honest. But we do, at least, discover the source of Glassman’s SP: he locked her out of the house when she was high, and she died. And Shaun is trying to work out how to apologise to Lea, who is still pissed at his behaviour towards her. Eventually they make up, but Shaun has a surprise: he’s rented an apartment for the two of them to live in. Well. 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend s4 ep 3

Rebecca has decided that it’s time to go back to work, but isn’t entirely sure that she wants to be a lawyer any more. This point is rammed home by Jim – formerly an attorney with Rebecca’s firm, but now happily running a pretzel stand in the foyer – who performs a terrific New Jack Swing pastiche entitled ‘Don’t Be A Lawyer’ in which the title is rhymed with, among other things, “guaranteed soul destroyer”. Unpopcult is 100% made of lawyers, incidentally, and appalled by this. (On the other hand, there are indeed “so many other professions that don’t turn you into Jeff Sessions”.)

One of the very best things about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has always been that, whatever else is happening in Rebecca’s life, she’s never anything other than great at her job. And even after all that she’s been through, that continues to be the case: one of the firm’s most important and difficult clients is in the office, somewhat dissatisfied with the way in which her case is being handled, and Rebecca knocks it out of the park. But she still isn’t happy, and to start with she joins Jim’s pretzel business, then takes it over herself.

And… apart from Heather and Hector getting married, Josh dipping his toes back in the dating pond, and some excellent “narc” puns – my favourite was Narc-er Posey, but YMMV – that’s kind of it. It’s worth noting that, as might be expected from such a female-centric show, there’s plenty of stealth role-reversal. It’s Rebecca, rather than Nathan, who crushes the meeting with the difficult client; it’s Hector, rather than Heather, who wants the traditional wedding; and it’s Josh who frets about being seen as a sexual object. All of which helps to give a charming and lightweight episode something of a point. Not too much of one, though.

The Good Doctor s2 ep 3

Glassman’s surgery was successful, so Shaun is more or less skipping with happiness. Which is just as well, because he and Morgan are going straight into a 36-hour shift in the ER, nominally supervised by Lim. “I have a ton of personal crap I gotta take care of today”, Lim makes clear. “So… I’m on call but don’t call me unless you absolutely need to. But you’d better not need to”.

Which means that Shaun and Morgan need to deal, on their own, with an unfortunate young man who has a bad case of priapism. “You don’t want necrosis to set in!” Shaun cheerfully exclaims. They also handle a boy with a lightbulb in his mouth. Yes, it went in, so in theory it should come out. In theory.

Back in the surgical unit, meantime, Dr Melendez is operating on a woman with endometriosis, in which he is assisted by Claire and Alex. But this goes wrong in every which way. On the table, the poor woman is in all sorts of bother. And beside the table, Melendez, Claire, and Nurse Flores stop just short of punching each other out: Claire is still bruised from an earlier encounter with Andrews, at which he brutally shut down her suggestion that 36-hour shifts weren’t going to yield optimal working conditions for doctors. So she’s very much ready to react when she feels slighted by Melendez on the basis of her gender. And this is all in the context of her being told, very recently, to be more assertive. Flores disagrees with Melendez’s behaviour so volubly that he tells her to scrub out because of her behaviour, and she flat out refuses to do so.

It would be easy to say that this episode’s treatment of some very important issues about women in the workplace was reductive. And it’s not for Mr Guy here to say it wasn’t. But… I thought it illustrated both macro- and micro-aggressions of the sexist kind swiftly and compellingly, in the necessarily restricted setting of a 45-minute procedural drama. Even the resolution to this – in which the three protagonists tell Andrews that everything’s OK – is attractively ambiguous.

Anyway. Lim’s personal crap? Oh yes. She’s representing herself in traffic court, pissing off the judge to the point where she’s found in contempt and is sent to the cells. Then on her release she beds the prosecutor. Dr Lim, I may be in love with you. And Shaun is still trying to find a way of dealing with his feelings for, and about, Lea. It;’s worth noting that Morgan seems to have shifted from straightforwardly obnoxious to snarky-with-a-point, which is better.

This, in short, was fabulously entertaining, moving, and thought-provoking. On any view, it was a very good episode of TV. I’d be inclined to call it outstanding.