‘The Good Doctor’ 2×05 Review: ‘Carrots’

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I confess, I’m having trouble with this review of “Carrots.” It’s not that it was a bad episode, but neither did it really capture me. It’s rare for The Good Doctor to leave me this ambivalent, so bear with me while I break this down, and maybe figure out why I feel this way. We’ll take it by characters and story threads.

Lea & Shaun

Last week, Shaun floored Lea by announcing he’d put a deposit down on an apartment for the two of them. Lea starts this week out by telling Shaun she doesn’t want to live with him. “Living together will be weird,” she tells him. “I was so unhappy when we weren’t getting along… Anything that puts our friendship at risk isn’t worth it.”

She gives Shaun a laundry list of reasons why she doesn’t want to live with him. The underlying message is that she just wants to be Shaun’s friend, not his girlfriend. The message would hurt most people, but Shaun doesn’t react like most people. He just wants Lea there. “We can’t date or kiss or have sex,” he says, “but we still can be friends.”

Friendship has always been difficult for Shaun, and the way he pushes for this shared apartment could have driven Lea away. His behavior would be considered creepy if he was neurotypical, but it’s unsurprising for someone on the spectrum. Eventually Lea agrees to be his roommate. But as they jump up and down in celebration, you wonder what it will mean to their friendship.

Especially if Lea does date others.

“The Good Doctor” 2×05 “Carrots.” Source: ABC

Claire & Melendez

These two clash over treating an anorexic woman who needs heart surgery. The woman is so malnourished she probably wouldn’t survive the surgery. But if she doesn’t have the surgery, she’ll die. Force-feeding the patient is unsuccessful, leaving the doctors at an impasse.

Claire shows her incredible research chops by tracking down an obscure surgical treatment for anorexia. (And the writers show their chops too; DBS or deep brain stimulation is an actual procedure.) Melendez doesn’t want to do it; the method is too obscure, and carries a risk of personality change.

Claire goes around him, taking it to the hospital executives.

 

Her decision was the right one for the patient, who gets the surgery and wakes up wanting to eat. But the decision pissed off Melendez, to the point where he kicks Claire off of his surgical team. It’s not that she disagreed with him, but that she didn’t accept his decision.

This is a bit of the old Dr. Arrogant showing his face again. Melendez says he can only run a team that accepts his decisions – but isn’t willing to accept that his decision is wrong. It feels like a step back for the character, but life is a series of steps forward and back.

“The Good Doctor” 2×05 “Carrots.” Source: ABC

Is truth in a marriage a bad thing?

Shaun raises this question while dealing with the other case of the episode. They’re treating Wade, a man who needs a gastric bypass reversal. Wade doesn’t want his husband to know about the earlier surgery. Apparently hubby is a shallow type who makes fun of obese people, and never knew he’d married a former obese person.

Let me answer Shaun’s question right here: Truth in a marriage is not a bad thing. Indeed, it’s the most important thing, because truth creates trust. Marriages are built on trust.

It’s a sad thing to see how little trust Wade has in his husband. It’s even sadder when the unnamed husband, once he learns of the bypass, asks if the reversal means Wade will regain the weight.

Other Notes

  • From the “Doctors make the worst patients” file, Aaron is dragging his feet on meeting his goals to go home after surgery. It makes you wonder whether he just doesn’t want to be alone.
  • Debbie’s back! Nice to once again see the woman Aaron had been making such a connection with last season. She’s the one who finally gets him up and about… one step closer to discharge. And they’re still talking cars!
  • We learn a little more about Dr. Park; that he’s divorced and it seems his marriage was a victim of lost trust. Looking forward to seeing more.

Hmm. I’m still not sure why I feel so ambivalent about this episode. Maybe it’s because some of it seemed to tread too-familiar territory – Melendez being arrogant, Shaun learning about truth and lies.

Or maybe it’s just that I didn’t need any tissues this time.

Oh, well. More for next week!

The Good Doctor airs Monday nights at 10/9 Central on ABC.





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