Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) has a new adversary on The Good Doctor in the form of new chief of surgery Dr. Jackson Han (Daniel Dae Kim). For the past couple of weeks, he has been told that he is ill-suited to be a surgical resident. So much so that he was actually put into the pathology lab against his wishes, but he continues to fight back and we want him to win.
Since the beginning of the series, there is a common question: is Shaun Murphy suited to being a surgical resident? He keeps proving himself to colleagues and patients, but he still has an uphill battle to fight as people come to accept the differences associated with people who have autism.
The Good Doctor presents an interesting philosophical query to the audience about tolerance for people with different abilities. Should we adapt or do they have to conform to societal norms?
Dr. Murphy stood up for himself against Dr. Han with gusto in last week’s episode titled Believe on ABC’s The Good Doctor. He told the new chief of surgery that he didn’t want to be a pathologist, he wants to be a surgical resident. He was firmly shot down. The teaser for tonight’s episode titled Breakdown shows that the fight continues.
We want Shaun to see patients! His autism and the way he perceives the world a bit differently are a couple of things that make this show endearing. When he bluntly tells a patient the severity of their condition, without adding any of the niceties that we normally expect when receiving bad news from a medical professional, it makes for some strong dramatic and often comedic moments. When he makes an inappropriate comment, it is often shocking but he usually isn’t wrong.
While it is good that Dr. Han appreciates that Dr. Murphy has mad skills as a diagnostician, he strongly disapproves of the way he communicates to patients and bluntly believes that Shaun is not up for the job of a surgical resident.
Most of Shaun’s colleagues disagree with Dr. Han, but their expressions show that they may believe that he has a point. Shaun doesn’t always say the right things to the patients and their loved ones, but like most arrogant doctors, he is usually correct, so is his bluntness really a deficiency?
Bedside manner is often important when dealing with medical professionals, but it is a gift that not all doctors seem to have whether or not they are autistic and whether they are on-screen or in real life. Most people would prefer to deal with the best-of-the-best in a life or death situation and can overlook politeness in favor of being healed.
Dr. Han speaks to Shaun as if he is giving advice for his own good. It is a little condescending. Shaun knows what he wants, and even though the pathology lab is cool, he wants to work with patients.
Dr. Murphy keeps rejecting his suggestions and continues to fight back. Sometimes, Shaun’s autism can be a serious obstacle for the hospital, such as when the sound of the lights bothered him to the point of sending him into fetal position earlier this season, but he usually wins over the patients.
Dr. Han doesn’t seem to care about this and he is determined that he knows what is best for Shaun and the hospital, and that does not allow for Shaun to interact with patients.
None of the doctors featured on this ABC hit like being told what to do. They are always up for a good debate and fight when they think someone else is wrong. Dr. Murphy is no different. He advocates for himself too. Hopefully tonight, he will save a patient, piss off Dr. Han only a little and be back on the surgical team to live to fight another day and frustrate someone else on the next episode.
The Good Doctor airs on Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.