“Trampoline” wraps up Season Two of The Good Doctor with happy endings for just about everyone. Shaun has his job back and gets a date. Aaron is cancer-free and engaged. Dr. Han is out, and it looks like Lim will replace him as chief of surgery.
All good stuff, even though Lim’s promotion probably means the end of LimLendez. But I felt vaguely dissatisfied as the final billboard rolled. I wanted more.
Is it just because I really wanted someone to drop a helicopter on Dr. Han? Well, maybe. Let’s take a closer look at “Trampoline.”
We know Shaun tends to be rather one-track about things. We also know that doesn’t always go over well with people. It certainly didn’t go over well with Dr. Han. Nor did it go over well with Zach, a guy at a bar who tries to bully Shaun into silence and then attacks him. Shaun defends himself, and Zach winds up on the floor with a severe head injury.
The attack was brutal. But even more stunning was the way Shaun lied about it later. He tells Claire he found Zach unconscious and bleeding. Claire is shocked when she learns he lied. But there isn’t much time for shock when Shaun collapses from his own injuries, just as he’s figuring out what’s wrong with Zach.
Fortunately, Shaun’s injuries weren’t quite as severe as the promos made us believe. (And I’m not sure how I feel about the bait-and-switch nature of those promos.) Shaun does recover. But he’s out of it long enough that the surgical team is on its own in deciphering “trampoline,” the last thing Shaun said before collapsing. And that leads us to one of my favorite things about this episode.
Claire Gets The Spotlight
I wanted more focus on Claire as a doctor this season. We got it in “Trampoline,” as she tried to see things through Shaun’s eyes. She even stood on a step stool to see Zach exactly as Shaun had seen him.
Channeling Shaun worked for Claire. More than a year of working with him certainly helped, especially when combined with her own formidable empathy. I don’t think this would have worked so well for any of the other doctors.
As long as I’m mentioning the other doctors, I want to just briefly touch on the other medical story of the episode. Morgan and Park are treating an elderly woman who’s just had surgery. The patient, Ida, keeps faking symptoms because she doesn’t want to leave the hospital. By the end of the episode, we learn she’s also faked all the details of her personal life. She doesn’t want to admit that she’s alone.
This should have been a moving story, but Ida was such a busybody that it was hard to be sympathetic to her. When she was finally discharged, I could only wonder, “So who is supposed to take care of her? Isn’t there a nursing home representative around?”
It’s pretty rare for The Good Doctor to give us a plot thread that feels like little more than filler. It was surprising to see it in the season finale.
Andrews Gets A Conscience, And Han Gets The Boot
Remember when I considered Dr. Andrews the most arrogant doctor at St. Bonaventure? Dr Han has beaten him at that game. Andrews is feeling doubt and maybe even some guilt over the situation with Shaun. But Han still believes he’s right. Worse, he believes he’s got Andrews over a barrel. “Fire me now and you look like a fool in front of the board,” Han claims.
Word to the wise. NEVER taunt your boss when s/he can fire you without the board’s approval. Han gets the sack in an understated scene. No shouting. Just Andrews’ calm but firm statement that just as Han can fire the people under his supervision, Andrews can do the same.
Maybe it’s just my sense of schadenfreude that’s disappointed at Han’s rather anticlimactic exit. We all want the “bad guys” to learn the error of their ways. Or to pay an ultimate price for the way they have treated others. (My notes say “WHERE’S MY DAMNED HELICOPTER?”)
But the world doesn’t work that way. “Villains” rarely get what’s coming to them. And too often, no good deed goes unpunished. We’ll have to wait until next season to see whether Andrews pays any price for his good deed.
Lim and Melendez just announced their relationship with a very public makeout session in the ER. But LimLendez may not be destined to last. With Han out, St. Bonaventure needs a new chief of surgery, and Lim is tapped for the job. Problem is, that means she can’t keep dating Dr. Melendez. Dating your employees is against the rules. We’ll have to wait until next season to see what happens with these two.
We’ll also have to wait to see whether Aaron’s impulsive proposal to Debbie leads to an actual wedding. It seems too impulsive for both of them, who barely know each other.
The third romance of the episode involves Shaun… but not Lea. Shaun has apparently managed to move on. He invites Carly, his old boss from Pathology, out to dinner. (And she says yes.) It’s a happy surprise, and I couldn’t help but laugh as he leaves Carly’s house still carrying the flowers and candy he’d bought for her. This is another thing to look forward to in Season 3.
The Good Doctor will return to ABC in the fall.