You never know who you’re going to impact or how.
That was the message behind The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 15.
The story about the woman with the iron lung was quirky and lighthearted until it wasn’t. And Joan wasn’t the only person who’d made a difference just by being herself.
It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed Dr. Andrews. First, he fell too quickly for Salen, and then after he got her to leave, he sulked in his office while everyone distrusted him.
This story redeemed him. Andrews forged a connection with Kevin even though it was nearly impossible, got him to open up about being bullied over his dyslexia, and advocated for him with the group home director and DCFS.
I wasn’t sure how Andrews picked up that Kevin had dyslexia. Kevin was always drawing rather than reading or writing, but that didn’t mean anything.
Not all kids like to read, after all, and art seemed to be Kevin’s passion.
Whatever the reason was, I’m glad that Andrews could pick up on it and use his own dyslexia to forge a connection.
Andrews: I know you’re dyslexic.
Kevin: I’m not dumb!
Andrews: I didn’t say you were. You’re not stupid. You’re brilliant. Lots of geniuses were dyslexic. Leonardo Da Vinci. Albert Einstein. Marcus Andrews. That last one’s me.
Andrews emphasized over and over that Kevin was not stupid and encouraged him to get the help he needed to improve his reading skills. He went above and beyond what he needed to do as an ED doctor.
In real life, of course, most ED doctors are far too busy to take this kind of time with a patient, especially one who’s not forthcoming.
This was a wonderful fantasy about what doctors could be, especially since Andrews could have stopped at patching up the broken bones and reporting to DCFS that he suspected abuse.
Sarah’s attitude infuriated me. It wasn’t her fault that there weren’t enough resources to watch every kid in the group home, but she should have been able to stop five boys from beating up one. There was nothing subtle or easy to miss about what was going on.
Sarah: Happy Hour has been going on forever. I know about it, but not about this current iteration. I will look out for Kevin, but with a kid to staff ratio of 10/1 I can’t make any promises.
Andrews: You can’t just let bullying go on.
Sarah: You know, the other day Kevin got in a fight over the TV remote. He called another kid a baby because he wanted to watch cartoons.
Andrews: That’s not –
Sarah: I’m just saying, Kevin is harder to deal with than you think.
And what on Earth was the point of her story about Kevin making fun of another kid who wanted to watch cartoons? Nothing about that story justified ignoring an entire group of kids beating Kevin up.
And how did she catch that much milder conflict yet somehow not know about a GROUP of kids physically attacking Kevin?
It seemed like she was intentionally ignoring what the other kids were doing to Kevin. Was it because of the color of Kevin’s skin or because of his disability? Or maybe both?
We’ll never know, but at least Andrews made that call to get Kevin transferred and keep him in the hospital until he could be placed in a safer foster home.
It didn’t go the stereotypical route of Andrews deciding to adopt the kid himself, but he did everything but. This is likely the end of Kevin’s story — patients don’t often remain at St. Bonaventure for more than one episode — but he will never forget what Andrews did for him.
Meanwhile, Shaun and Lea’s attempt to help out an older woman who had an iron lung seemed so much more lighthearted than it turned out to be in the end.
Lea seemed like an odd choice to ask to fix the iron lung. As she pointed out, she’s a software engineer, even if she did have experience working in a garage.
When Lea’s first proposed solution broke the iron lung further, I thought we were going in the semi-comedic direction of Lea trying one thing after another, only for the device to fail harder.
Thank goodness I was wrong about that! The hour would have been full of jokes that fell flat if it had gone that way.
Instead, Lea bonded with Sophie while they bargained with a goofy Chevy owner to get their hands on his gearbox, kicking the story about Sophie wanting to make a reality show starring Shaun and Lea into higher gear.
I’m not sure exactly what’s going on with Sophie. Her story about her ex made me think she had some sort of disability too, but it wasn’t clear.
In any case, this reality show idea sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen.
Sophie: Have you two decided about my reality show yet?
Lea: Shaun and I haven’t had a chance to –
Shaun: When I was younger, it would have helped me to see a show about a man like me with a woman like you.
As Jordan pointed out, Shaun isn’t reality-show material.
While he’s come a long way, he still can’t deal with changes to his routine, and under stress, he tends to melt down. Having a camera follow him around all day might cause that type of stress.
Reality shows also thrive on drama, so the camera crew might try to provoke Shaun on purpose or encourage him and Lea to fight to create a more exciting narrative.
Shaun and Lea want to help inspire people, but the directors might have something else in mind. This might not be the best way to inspire others after all!
Joan’s story was more compelling than her niece’s desire to make a reality show. She was a determined, bright woman who lived life on her own terms, and it took a lot to convince her to give up her outdated iron lung in favor of newer and better tech.
I loved how she named her device after Frank Sinatra and her new one after Gene Kelly. That was a cute quirk I could get behind.
Even her reasons for wanting to terminate her life rather than go through surgery made sense. She’d lived a full life and felt her time was up.
Still, that video of all her students telling her how much she’d meant to them brought tears to my eyes. It wasn’t surprising that Joan changed her mind after that.
It would have been a beautiful tribute either way, but I’m glad it inspired her to keep living. She wasn’t in excruciating pain or otherwise in a situation where euthanasia made sense for her.
Finally, I’m not quite sure what the point of the Glassman story was.
Glassman and lea have butted heads before over Glassman’s casual sexism. This time, he admitted his dynamic was hurting the project and agreed to step back, only for the women to ask him to stay on as a partner.
The resolution of this conflict made it feel like the story had been a waste of time. It’s great that Glassman learned his lesson about being controlling and condescending, but ultimately, they agreed that nothing would change.
Over to you, The Good Doctor fanatics. Did you see a point to the Glassman story? Yea, or nay, on Shaun and Lea joining a reality show? And how emotional was Andrews’ story for you?
After you watch The Good Doctor online, hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts.
The Good Doctor airs on ABC on Mondays at 10 PM EST / PST. The next new episode airs on May 2, 2022.