The Good Doctor Season 7 Episode 8 Review: The Overview Effect


There was always a chance Steve would be autistic, but can The Good Doctor do this story justice?

The Good Doctor Season 7 Episode 8 bounced everywhere with this storyline.

Shaun fretted about Steve and had flashbacks of his father’s mistreatment, while Lea’s good reasons for not wanting to do a brain study were dismissed in favor of her having some unaddressed fear of having an autistic child.

This isn’t the best way to tell the story. The Good Doctor should have done a time jump at the beginning of the season like Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 1.

That would have given the series enough time to develop a story about STeve’s potential autism instead of waiting until almost the last minute and rushing things.

Steve’s Autism Story Could Be a Powerful Addition to The Good Doctor’s Legacy… Or Not.

The Good Doctor has always intended to change how autistic characters are depicted on television, even if it didn’t always hit the mark.

A story about Shaun and Lea learning their son is autistic and supporting him better than Shaun’s parents had supported him could be a strong aspect of the series finale. However, that requires the story to be told properly.

It’s essential to showcase the conflicting emotions Shaun and Lea might have about this without falling into the tired TV trope about autism being a tragedy for parents.

Shaun: I think we should consult a pediatric neurologist.
Lea: No. No matter what the pediatric neurologist says you’re still going to be looking for what’s wrong with him.
Shaun: Not wrong. Different.

Shaun pointing out that Steve’s autism would make him different rather than it being something wrong with him was a good start. And it did seem like Lea had some internalized negativity about autistic people when she passionately denied Steve could be neurodivergent.

Still, she had some important points about why having Steve tested at this early age was not a good idea. Among other things, sedating a baby can be risky, and if there’s no clear medical evidence that an fMRI is needed, parents probably don’t want to take that risk.

Sure, her fear of having an autistic child or of not being able to parent one effectively was playing into things, and those feelings needed to be addressed. But shouldn’t her legitimate concerns about putting her son through a risky procedure for no reason also be taken into account?

Charlie’s Two Cents — And Was She Right About Shaun?

I loved that Shaun and Charlie are getting along now and Shaun turned to her for advice about getting Steve tested.

Shaun: Do you think I should have Steve tested for ASD?
Charlie: Getting him tested this early means there is a greater chance of misdiagnosis, and then you will be disappointed when he is just typical.

Charlie seemed to think that Shaun wanted Steve to be autistic and would be disappointed if he wasn’t. I wondered how true that was.

This is another reason shoving this story into the last three episodes sucks. There isn’t enough time to explore the issue fully or stick in interesting plot twists when we have little time remaining.

I especially wish they’d done a time jump to Steve being old enough for testing to be reasonable because it would be interesting if Steve were diagnosed with a different neurodivergent condition.

There is a lot of overlap between ADHD and autism, and sometimes, children are mistakenly diagnosed with the wrong one. That would have been an interesting story to tackle, especially if Shaun was convinced his child was autistic and the doctor said otherwise.

Sadly, that story can’t happen now, not with two episodes left in the series. I wouldn’t mind a spinoff about Lea and Shaun raising their son a few years from now, though, even though I never enjoyed Shaun and Lea as a couple until now.

Shaun and Glassman Were Both Driven By Past Trauma

Shaun’s concern seemed to spring partially from the horrible way his father treated him. I knew his dad had been abusive, but these flashbacks painted him in an even worse light, apparently thinking he could punish the autism out of Shaun.

Oddly, Shaun’s mother seemed to want to be more supportive of her son — that didn’t seem to be the case when she was dying and Shaun didn’t want to see her.

Meanwhile, Glassman’s getting caught up in Hannah’s drama because he sees her as the way to redeem himself after Maddie’s death.

I knew that Glassman would invite her to stay with him as soon as she said that she no longer had her car to sleep in, and I also predicted she’d overdose sooner or later.

I didn’t expect it to be so soon, but there’s a time crunch now.

In case you need a refresher, Glassman explored his daughter’s death in detail during The Good Doctor Season 2.

The short version of that tragic story is that he was frustrated with her addiction-fueled behavior and locked her out of the house. That night, she fatally overdosed, and he was unable to forgive himself for it.

Given that history, it’s unsurprising that Glassman is so determined to rescue Hannah from her addiction. He can’t, of course — only she can decide she wants to be sober badly enough to do something about her problem.

Meanwhile, Glassman is risking what little is left of his career to house her and to prescribe her oxy so he can monitor her use of the drug. This seems like a horrible idea, but let’s hope the series doesn’t end with Glassman losing his license!

As a fun aside, Hannah is played by Ruby Kelley, Richard Schiff’s (Glassman) real-life daughter. This is the second family member he’s had on the show, as his real-life wife played his love interest, Debbie, from the beginning of the series to The Good Doctor Season 4.

It’s unsurprising that Glassman took Hannah in, given his history with Maddie and that he adopted Shaun after Shaun’s brother died.

It doesn’t seem like a great idea and probably won’t lead anywhere good. This is another story that could have used more time to develop than it’s getting.

What About That Phone Call?

Will we ever find out why Glassman was so eager to get those images, or is this a dropped thread?

It seemed important, but nothing was mentioned this time. However, with Claire returning with a breast cancer diagnosis, that may be what those images were about.

Still, some mention of those images would have been nice. After building up all that mystery, it felt like the writers forgot about Glassman’s phone call.

The Medical Cases Were Parallel to the Doctors’ Personal Lives

Shaun and Charlie treated a little boy whose parents kept fighting about his treatment, and Park treated a man who was on the verge of a split for the sake of drama because he and his wife were on different pages about what they wanted.

Shaun’s case was more blatantly parallel, with the parents fighting over how to handle their son’s care while Shaun recalled his parents fighting over his.

A child Tayo’s age might not have had the capacity to decide for himself which surgery he wanted, but I liked that the parents included him in their decision. That gave him a greater sense of agency and control, which is vital in these circumstances.

Meanwhile, Park and Morgan’s story was as annoying as always, while his patient was far more sympathetic.

The patient had a new outlook on life after being in outer space, and his wife didn’t want their old life disrupted. That conflict was far more relatable than Park wanting a romantic proposal and Morgan not knowing how to give him one.

Your turn, The Good Doctor fanatics. Are these final storylines rushed, or are they moving at the right pace for you?

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts!

The Good Doctor airs on ABC on Tuesdays at 10/9c. The series finale will air on May 21, 2024.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

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