The Good Doctor s2 ep 12

It’s post-quarantine, the hospital’s getting a deep clean, and it’s just about everyone’s day off. Since the writers clearly feel we’ve had enough of medicine for the time being, The Good Doctor gets to kick back and relax a little, in a sparky but unexceptional episode. 

Morgan invites a startled Claire – after all, they don’t like each other – for mimosas and brunch. The two of them then help Claire’s mother to move out of her apartment, because she’s being beaten up by her partner. (Whether this episode should have started with ‘Kiss With A Fist’, Florence + The Machine’s jaunty take on domestic abuse, is moot.) Morgan, it turns out, was the victim of stalking while at college, and in consequence carries a gun; she and Claire track the boyfriend down in order to tell him to back off, only to discover that believing Claire’s mom is never a good thing. Still, the repositioning of Morgan is now more or less complete, even if I wonder whether we now have the whole truth about her Secret Pain.

Park spends the day with his ex-wife Mia and their son, and by the end Park has persuaded Mia that they might be able to give their relationship another shot. Lim is constipated, both literally and metaphorically: she and Melendez bicker a bit, but then she relents and admits to having feelings for him. They agree it would be a bad idea to pursue a relationship; if, that is, anyone finds out about it. I’m HERE for #Melimdez (?). What they don’t know, mind you, is that a post-virus investigation by the Governor’s office, or whatever it was, is going to recommend that the two of them, plus Shaun, are suspended for their various ethical and personal failings during the virus outbreak.

And Shaun, Lea, and Glassman – head finally repaired, probably – do some go-karting. When Lea goes home, Glassman essentially asks Shaun if he wants to hit that. Shaun is clearly pondering the possibility, but when he gets back to their apartment Lea has a date with some dude named “Jake”. Shaun is clearly not entirely happy about that. This storyline is not one I’m looking forward to.

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The Good Doctor s2 ep 11

I had forgotten just how many balls were in the air when The Good Doctor went on hiatus, and it’s to the show’s credit that it maintains some sort of control over this episode. The hero of the hour, though, is unequivocally Dr Reznick, who a season ago I described as “pushy, ambitious, and generally appalling”. (Would I have used similar language for a male doctor? Yes I would, had they behaved like Reznick.) The ambition is still there, as is the laser-like focus, but she’s infinitely more of a team player, as she immediately proves by bringing Shaun out of his meltdown by getting him to concentrate on Santa Pete, the patient she’s treating. And by bringing a DNR patient, Bob, back to life so that his bone marrow can be harvested. “We just saved his life and violated his rights!” says Morgan to Melendez, in one of the most medical drama-y medical drama lines ever.

What I really care about, though, is Dr Lim, who has collapsed after exposure to The Virus. Never fear, though, because Reznick has a way of saving her as well, while – in her spare time – working out how The Virus is transmitted. Quite an hour for Reznick. The revived Shaun, meantime, carries out his first Caesarian section, supervised through a glass screen by someone who actually knows what she’s doing. (Not Reznick, for once.) And Glassman has to come to terms with the fact that his tumour has returned. Will he tell Shaun? Nope, he concludes. Leah criticises him for his attitude to Shaun and Glassman, not entirely unreasonably, returns fire by pointing to the whole kissing-him-then-moving-away-and-moving-back thing. He is, snaps Glassman, “not some hamster you get to play with”. Fair play to Leah, though, who isn’t for backing down: “I’m gonna let this slide”, she retorts. “Because you’re dying”.

Glassman actually has meningitis, not a tumour, so he might live, and Shaun even accepts a hug from him. Lim lives. The woman giving birth lives, as does her baby. Park’s son Kellan lives. The recipient of the bone marrow lives. Santa Pete lives. In fact, the only person who doesn’t make it is Bob the bone marrow donor, and as he had a DNR anyway I suppose that means he can’t complain about Reznick. A remarkably busy episode; not The Good Doctor at its best, but hardly a dull moment.

Public Service Announcement 8 of 2019: The Good Doctor, Ride Upon The Storm (Herrens veje)

I’m delighted to see that superior medical procedural The Good Doctor returns from its midseason hiatus tonight: it’s generally been on excellent form this season. We left it, though, with Dr Lim facing almost certain death at the hands of a rampant and incurable virus. Well, I say “almost certain”, but I suppose there’s the tiniest chance that she might somehow struggle on for the rest of the season, being as Christina Chang is now a full cast member. Or I will NOT. BE. HAPPY. Weekly reviews coming right up (9pm, Sky Witness).

And at, one suspects, the other end of the eat-your-greens TV spectrum, Channel 4 has just started running Danish drama Ride Upon The Storm (Herrens veje). I’m guessing it isn’t just me who now has a song by The Doors lodged in their brain. Anyway, Ride Upon The Storm – dum dum da-dum – is a ten-part drama, created by Adam Price (Borgen), about a family of Lutheran priests. In its favour it has an International Emmy-award winning performance from Lars Mikkelsen, who of  course turned in one of the defining TV performances of the last decade as Troels Hartmann in the first season of Forbrydelsen. The whole of the first season is now available on Walter Presents, and it’s being shown weekly on Sunday nights at 11pm.

The Good Doctor s2 ep 10

Melendez wakes up. With Lim. Because they TOTALLY DID IT. I thought it might take a few more episodes. They’re very grown-up about the whole thing: had a great time, would be a bad idea to do it again. They will, I imagine, totally do it again, depending on the outcome of the events later in the episode.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, and I do have a question: are actual real life hospital quarantines anything like as common as they are on TV? I mean, I’m sure it happens, but every medical show has to have at least one. And this week it’s The Good Doctor’s turn. Two patients come into the ER from an airport. Patient 1 dies quickly; the other patient, Marianne, who looks like being one of the Cases of the Week, doesn’t survive much longer; and all of a sudden there’s a Mystery Airborne Virus from Malaysia circulating in the ER, which needs to be locked down. Fortunately Dr Lim is IN. CONTROL. *fans self discreetly*

Among the plot devices thus stranded in the hospital are a man waiting to donate bone marrow to his estranged son, who is dying of leukaemia elsewhere in the building; a chainstore Santa with a bowel obstruction; Park’s (also estranged) son Kellan; and Tyler, a rather sweet paramedic who has a romantic interest in Reznick. She handles the situation – flirtation from a probably dying man – with affection and delicacy, confirming that her character has been repositioned this season, and rather for the better.

Shaun’s there too, being distracted by a buzzing light only he can hear. And on the outside, meantime, Lea takes Glassman to pick up his scan results. “Some people”, huffs Glassman, “may find your sassy attitude appealing. I’m not one of them”. “And I am crushed”, murmurs Lea.

This being the midseason finale, though, we need a few cliffhangers and big emotional beats. Glassman’s tumour has returned. Kellan collapses, possibly having an asthmatic attack, possibly not. Tyler dies. The dude dying of leukaemia flatlines and is revived in the face of a DNR. Shaun has a meltdown. And Lim contracts the virus. Now I’m worried. Where the EFF is the CDC? (Melendez, with mounting alarm, watches Lim’s deterioration on a monitor. Yeah, he’s into her.) Not quite the best episode of the season so far, but definitely the most full-on.

The Good Doctor s2 ep 9

Plenty going on this week, in a busy and enjoyable episode. Patient of the Week #1, George, is having a stroke, brought on by anti-androgen medication which he’s self-administering. But why would he want to lower his testosterone levels? Well, it’s because he’s a paedophile, although one who has not – yet – assaulted any children, and wants to keep it that way. After being told he has to discontinue his medication, he leaves hospital and ups the ante by attempting to castrate himself. He’s unsuccessful, but the doctors decline to complete the job for him – there’s no medical reason to do so – until his testicles are beyond repair. So he has to suffer for a while until that state of affairs has been reached.

Patient #2 is Billy, who’s been brought in from juvenile custody after being beaten up because of a facial deformity caused by his father assaulting him. Shaun, Park, and Lim are on this one. Once again, the debate about what to do hinges on the definition of what is medically necessary: if he goes back to juvie the way he is he’ll get more of the same, but is that enough to justify risky and expensive surgery? Park, who thinks it is, tries to persuade Shaun over to his side by pointing to the similarities between his life and Billy’s: in particular, that both suffered at the hands of an abusive father. Park thinks this approach might work because Shaun has been practising empathy. (On taking away Glassman’s driving licence because of his memory lapses, “How do you feel about not having a drivers’ licence?” “Pissed”, replies Glassman.)

And the race to become the new head of surgery has entered the final furlong, with Melendez and Lim neck and neck, and Melendez by no means above a very dirty trick which Lim finds about. Which means that, furious, she enters the operating theatre at the very moment when Melendez is preparing to commence the severing of George’s nadgers. “Dr Lim!” he greets her. “Are you a castration fan?” “Right now I am”, she snaps back, fixing Melendez with a death stare. “There’s a long and dusty trail littered with people who have underestimated me.”

George’s castration can’t take place after all, and his story reaches an inevitable conclusion when he kills himself. Morgan openly wonders whether the world is a worse place for his passing. Shaun comes up with a suggestion for operating on Billy, and as Billy had been planning suicide as well manages to save a life. And Andrews ultimately decides to remain as head of surgery himself; I didn’t know that was even a possibility. Lim and Melendez retreat to a bar to lick their wounds; and possibly each other as well, judging by the body language. I might be wrong, but I would be HERE for that hookup if it happens.

The Good Doctor s2 ep 8

Some challenging morality problems this week. Todd and Dawn, a married couple, have been in a car crash; he’s not too badly injured, but she needs surgery. It’s successful, but Shaun and Claire subsequently need to tell Todd that they couldn’t save Dawn’s pregnancy; a pregnancy, of course, he didn’t know about. And couldn’t have caused, as he’d had a vasectomy ten years ago. Maybe, he wonders, the vasectomy could have failed? “It’s more likely she got pregnant from someone who is not you!”, Shaun replies helpfully. Dawn denies having an affair, although Todd’s sperm count is tested and found to be zero.

But then when Shaun is leaning across Dawn, she kisses him full on his startled lips, ostensibly to thank him for saving her life. “I helped save her life too. Where’s my kiss?” Dr Lim demands, before being reminded by Claire that, had the genders been reversed, everyone would be treating it much more seriously. Shaun, though, realises that Dawn’s behaviour is likely to have a physical cause and, sure enough, a tumour is found which would have had the effect of suppressing her inhibitions. (This is discovered when she’s asked to draw a clock face and can’t do it properly. I’ve seen this before. House, maybe?) The problem, though, is that while she was uninhibited she had four affairs. Four! Can Todd forgive four affairs?

In a sharp contrast to that one – decent people struggling with an unenviable situation – Case of the Week #2 features Finn, a tween boy whose idiot parents don’t believe in vaccination. “We did a lot of research!” bleats First Idiot Parent, whose medical qualifications and research expertise remain unrevealed throughout. “We reduce his exposure to infectious disease by putting him in a public school, where he’s surrounded by vaccinated kids!” The jaw-dropping selfishness and stupidity of this don’t go unremarked. Poor Finn, as well as having to cope with this weapons-grade fuckwittery at home, has two spinal cords, which sounds kinda cool except it isn’t: as he grows, it will lead to paralysis. Surgery is successful, but Finn’s mother – proving herself, at least, to be not quite as stupid as her husband, asks Park to vaccinate Finn. The problem this time is that Finn’s father didn’t know about that, and throws a major marriage-endangering sulk. Dear God.

And two substantive private-lives stories as well. Andrews is warned that Claire is soliciting interest from other hospitals, and that losing two residents from diverse backgrounds in less than a year wouldn’t look good for the show. Uh, I mean the hospital. Thus he engages on shuttle diplomacy between Melendez and Claire to get them to make up. Claire, adroitly, apologises to Melendez but makes it clear to him that she doesn’t mean it, allowing him to take her back into the team without losing face. And Glassman, as hinted last week, is indeed having significant memory lapses. OK. Can we now get Lisa Edelstein out from that office and into the field? She’s being wasted at the moment. Otherwise, an excellent episode.

The Good Doctor s2 ep 7

Another very enjoyable episode. Case of the Week #1 features Claire’s old college roommate Kayla, who has terminal cancer. Claire thinks that Melendez might be able to perform a procedure which can alleviate her pain, and Melendez – despite the tension between him and Claire – readily agrees. (Wasn’t there a time when we thought they were going to hit it?) That surgery reveals that Kayla might be suitable for further – risky, natch – treatment which could prolong her life. Kayla agrees to proceed, but meantime is almost begging Claire and Dash to go on a date, with a view to them becoming an item once Kayla has died. Eventually they agree to go out for a meal.

In Case #2, builder Santiago perforates one of his kidneys with a nail gun. Well, I say “one of his kidneys”, but the quickest of peeks inside reveals that he only ever had one. He needs a donation, and his brother Armando is a match, but will only donate one of his own kidneys if Santiago agrees to sell the family business. The two of them are locked into a game of bluff: will Santiago sell; will Armando back down; will Santiago die?

Around about halfway through this episode, I had the pleasurable realisation that I had no idea who was going to live or die, and whether Dash and Claire were going to smash, with the blessing of Dash’s wife. They don’t. (Yet. I’d like to see this revisited next season.) The kidney is, eventually and grudgingly, handed over. And Kayla hangs on, with a mid-surgery save from Claire, which isn’t enough, yet, to get her back on Team Melendez.

I’m not sure the show is making the best use of Richard Schiff at the moment: this week, to what should have been the sound of portentous music, Glassman has a memory lapse. The Shaun/Lea roomies story is a little better: they buy a goldfish named Hubert; it dies, leading Lea to think that, after the spectacular failure of her return home to Hershey, she’s useless. Shaun proves that it wasn’t her fault, and gets quite the fond look. Hm. Will they go there? And The The’s sublime ‘This Is The Day‘ soundtracks the final scenes, rounding the episode off nicely.