I still cannot wrap my mind around the little nuances all the writing and the actors bring to the show, but I know if anyone was cast differently, or a different writer was on the project, it wouldn’t work so well. From start to finish, you can just listen to the story, and not see the actors, and it would be great. Remove the sound, and watch the actors’ physical movements, and you can see a story form as well. Every episode is a treat, and I am so glad to be able to review this series. As always, the medical recap will follow, but for now – a review of Oliver.
Understanding and compassion is what this episode was about. Shaun Murphy does not do things without reason, even if it doesn’t make sense the first time, or the 12th time. But then it all clicks, and for Claire this week’s episode was a learning experience in the mind of Shaun. Even though her patient, Chuck, an older man on the liver transplant list, was about to go into surgery to get a new liver, Melendez sends her and Shaun to recover the liver, instead of prepping Chuck for surgery. To her, it is scutwork, but for Shaun, he gets out a bit. With autism, new environments, noises, and people can be overwhelming, but the young doctor took everything in his stride, and we the audience got to see just how his brain works. Everything can be broken down mechanically, from a liver, to a helicopter, to a roadway system. It’s how his memory works, and without it, he would not be as great.
On the flipside, Dr. Andrews is in charge of the surgery of one Mr. Wannamaker, an asset in the eyes of Aoki, and the reason why she asks Andrews to take on Dr. Melendez as his second. Being the Chief of Surgery, having another doctor in the room can be viewed as incompetence, not extra support. Dr. Andrews refuses, even going as far as to talk to Glassman about his dilemma. Glassman merely asks, “Do you want to be the Head Surgeon, or the President?” For those just joining us, the past few episodes have pitted Andrews against Glassman, with Aoki even calling Andrews out for wanting Glassman’s job. Even though he knows the man wants his job, Glassman will still advise him in the best way he can.
While Claire is learning about how Shaun operates, Melendez has a patient who drank. Liver damage is mostly attributed to alcohol abuse, and Chuck even says he drank a lot, and questions his worthiness of the liver. Even though he can prove Chuck did not fall off the wagon, and had only one glass, the board has to decide: the life of one today over losing the chance of losing their place with the registry, or whether to move Chuck to the bottom of the list. Heart vs. head. In the end, the board moves Chuck to the bottom – a tough decision, but it was the right call. I just hope in the next two months, we get to see Chuck again, and he is receiving a liver.
Claire gains a lot of insight into the mind of Shaun this episode, noting how he doesn’t like the lights of the police car, how he watches the weather channel and, most importantly, how he doesn’t like to answer questions. The last probably stems mostly from his father’s abusive behavior. In one of the first flashbacks, we saw his father hitting Shaun and demanding he answer him. Claire also sees how honest Shaun is when he says it was a good day even as Oliver (the name he gives the liver), is carted away to another hospital. Luckily, Claire paused, even though she looked like she was about to kill, otherwise, she would not hear the last part: “We saved a life, even if it wasn’t Chuck.”
This episode makes me want to hold a small stray cat and pet it. I still expect a confrontation between Shaun and his father in the hospital at some point, and I am glad they are still showing his past. I think at some point, Shaun is going to ‘mess up’, and Glassman’s job will be on the line, but one of two things will come to light – Shaun was right and everyone else was wrong, or Jared presented Shaun with the wrong information, or presented Shaun’s findings incorrectly. What are your thoughts on the season? Well, hope you enjoy, Stay shiny!
Medical time! Now, this one is going to be a little shorter, mostly because the episode was concentrating on the transportation of the organ, vs. what was going on medically. To start with, the liver is an organ used to help detoxify, and help the metabolism. There is no artificial liver and the only way to recover from liver disease is often a replacement, but the thing about organs is they need to stay alive, in a sense, through transportation. They need to stay within a set degree limit (not too cold to freeze the tissues, but not warm enough to allow bacteria to set in), and have to be moved within eight hours or tissue decay starts, rendering the organ useless. That is why Claire was so stressed about getting the organ in time.
At one point, Shaun notes a lump, or a tumor, even though the x-rays were clean. It was something that unbalanced him through the episode. Finally, they realized it was a blood clot – a gel-like clump of blood, most likely a collection from the surgery they missed while rinsing the organ. Blood clots often form in response to injury or cuts, or for another reason. Because of this collection, the tissues touching the clot will begin to decay faster. The only reason they stop and perform the surgery is because the tissue damage is irreversible, and making the organ useless.
Onto Mr. Wannamaker. Because of his excess drinking and smoking, an infection formed in the open wound in his face, making a skin graft actually cause a hematoma, as best as I can guess. The pressure of the blood flow started cutting into his artery, which could lead to brain damage if not released quickly. Luckily, Dr. Andrews was reasonable to reach out to Dr. Melendez, and have him help finish Mr. Wannamaker’s surgery. It was a small moment, seeing both doctors in scrubs, reliving their glory days. This part happened rapidly, and I am sure I missed something, but like I said before, been a while since I took any medical classes.
Thank you all, hope to see you next week! Stay shiny!