When I took on this show, I was not sure what I was getting into. I am a nerd, trust me, my Pokemon cards and DnD 3.5 books can attest to that, but I also have a very minor medical background, so when a show popped up called The Good Doctor, I went for it. Nothing else drew my attention. I saw the episode a day late, in a small, run-down bar, headphones in, notepad sitting to the side.
I was unprepared. A 45 minute show literally lead to a three hour session of pausing the show and leaning back, really reflecting on what had just happened in the series. The amount of medical gifts presented throughout the episode was astonishing, but for most viewers, it probably wasn’t very interesting. For those who know, though, it literally created a drama in medical terms, which I will talk more about that later on. But now, onto the recap!
In the episode, we have two conflicting tales: Dr. Shaun Murphy saving young Adam; and the medical board waiting to interview Dr. Murphy. Shaun is travelling to San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital when an accident happens at the local bus station. Some people with autism seem to have a linear mindset, and there cannot be any other path. In the beginning of the episode, as he is cleaning the house and preparing to leave, you almost sense a force of habit going on. Studies show that a routine system helps most with autism function better, and the fact they included this makes me smile. But then, after carefully combing his hair, Shaun messes it up, with a smile. It implies that part of his routine involved this for years, so my assumption early on in the episode is he often had his hair messed up as a young man, maybe by a parent, sibling or a friend. Physical contact is often met with reluctance, and the fact he smiles means he trusts who was touching him.
In the board meeting, we see a lot of commonplace characters start to form – an older man rules the board as president, a younger man wants to usurp his power – though it was nice that the balance between the two was a woman. Dr. Glassman, the older man, has an emotional connection with Shaun, which is why he wants to bring the young man onto the team. Dr. Andrews, head of surgery, of course, has his reservations about bringing an autistic kid into his realm, and then there is Dr. Aoki, the balance between the two, and the honest voice. Honestly, this scene has been portrayed a lot through the years, but I acknowledge the scene. As a blond cuts in late, Dr. Glassman notices her, but no one else seems to. Either related or relation.
Adam becomes hurt, and Shaun instantly, and honestly evaluates the situation, recommending the best course of action, and following a preset path in his mind to get the items needed to help Adam. Again, further conversation will be found below about what exactly happened. Was I the only person who winced when Shaun got tackled? He seems fine enough to relieve the pressure effecting his lungs, though, and helping save Adam’s life. Still, he mentions something wrong with the amps of the heart.
Enter Claire and Jared. I won’t lie – a strong woman with no need for a man is often portrayed, and I was not excited for the scene. I place money on one of two things: Jared becomes jealous of how close Shaun and Claire get, and either fights Shaun, or sleeps around to hurt Claire. Later, they introduce a ‘tough love’ side of Claire, but then reveals she only cares. I know her character has a good heart, but I feel like they overplay all the different sides she shows way too early. Who is the true Claire?
Another thing I dislike is how much of Shaun’s past is shown. Honestly, his brother’s death was not a shocker, the fact he was alive would have been a bigger bombshell, but I did not expect such an early reveal, though it makes sense after his last speech. Still, I would have liked a few episodes to create some speculation. Not that mad, though. Also, did anyone else sense some Shakespearian drama forming? The head doctor, Melendez, who answers to Dr. Andrews, making out with Jessica Preston, a member of the Board of Doctors, as well as Dr. Glassman’s granddaughter? Anyone else sensing a Romeo and Juliet story plot forming?
Overall, the story has a lot of promise. It grabs your attention mostly with what Shaun has to say, not how he says it. He might not emotionally connect with people, but he feels passionately about them without words. Two scenes are portrayed so well in the show: when Chaire and Dr. Melendez approach him on the bench, and ask the wrong question, making it a why did you ask, verses how Claire specified the need for an echocardiogram. Shaun cannot emotionally explain why he needed them to check, but medically, he could talk to the two, even bouncing ideas off Niel, and then the last speech. If you don’t want to watch the show, I completely understand, but… (BUT!!) please, look up Shaun Murphy’s speech about why he wants to be a doctor. With autism, most people assume they cannot feel, because they are distant – not true. They feel. They just show it in a completely different way than most people cannot comprehend. In his speech, if you cannot feel how he felt the night he lost two of the most important people in his life (and I mean, the bunny seems quite important), then I am not sure what to say. He said it in such a monotone, but so real. I was very honored to meet with someone whose sibling was autistic, and asked them to hear his final speech. And she said it was on point.
I hope the next episodes do not disappoint, and are just as exciting as this one was. For those interested, below, I will break down the medical situation portrayed in the series. For those not, Stay shiny.
When it comes to medical knowledge, I am a bit outdated, much like the older doctor Shaun meets while he saves Adam. Thinking he was performing a cardiac catheterization being case in point. But what I do remember made the episode have another layer of drama. So, let’s talk about the one-way valve Shaun made, and the reason behind it. A lot of people might wonder why he didn’t just keep using CPR, but with traumatic pneumothorax, air is leaking into the body and gathering between the inner chest wall and the lung. The air causes the lung to collapse, so even if CPR is performed, air would not enter the collapsed lung. Also, compressions often cause rib injuries, and with one lung collapsed, the other might be punctured from a broken rib. Most people would not consider just finding a way to get the air out of the chest cavity. It also has to be one-way, or else more air may enter and make the situation dissolve faster.
Another glorious moment was when Shaun noticed the amps were dropping. The way your body works is your heart is four different cambers, and you have two main arteries. One artery and two chambers push ‘used’ blood into the lungs, and the other side sends the oxygen-rich blood back into the body. Inside the chambers, there is blood pressure: one resting, which is your diastolic, and then the pressure when the blood is being pushed out, which is your systolic. Now, let’s look at our hand. Imagine it as one of the chambers. Clench your fist, and then release. When your fist is clenched, the area encased would measure the systolic pressure. When you release, it is now diastolic pressure. Do it a few times, you might notice your muscles hurting a little. Or you don’t clench as strongly. The pressure still maintains the same amount inside and outside, but the ‘walls’ of the heart are weakening.
Thinking it was from the blow or maybe air had entered the chest cavity by the heart, Shaun asks them to do an echocardiogram, or a video of the heart. It can be assumed one of the chambers is under distress, but when they show it, most see nothing is wrong. But he notices a slight dip, as if the chamber was hesitating. Maybe a foreign object was in the chamber, and if it is glass, it can cut the heart from the inside. Lo and behold, there was a piece of glass.
I am so excited for the next episode, and hope that you find my view of what happened quite interesting. Here’s to next week’s episode. Stay shiny.