‘The Good Doctor’ 1×12 Review: ‘Islands Part 2’

“The Good Doctor” Episode 1×12, “Islands Part 2.” Source: ABC

Break out the box of tissues! The Good Doctor is back in tear-jerking form this week. “Islands Part 2” resolves last week’s cliffhangers in an episode that explores difficult choices — and letting go.

Terrible choices

The show opens with one of the no-longer-conjoined twins waking up for the first time since being separated from her sister, and dealing with being alone for the first time in her life. Although the separation was successful, all is not well. Jenny, the awake twin, has a failing heart, while her sister Katie seems to be lacking brain function.

This is just the start of a dizzying series of medical twists and turns, as the twins’ bodies respond to different medical procedures, including being re-conjoined, in ways the doctors never expected — including Katie waking from her coma.

Remember last week, when I wondered how much their mother really cared, because she was so adamant about leaving the twins’ health care choices up to them? She’d put responsibility on them form an early age, to help them build strength, but now she is the one needing strength to make terrible choices – none of which will let both her daughters survive. My heart broke for her. It also broke for Jenny, who didn’t want to use her twin as a life support system, and for Katie, who’d never really wanted the separation in the first place but in the end is left with no choice at all.

“The Good Doctor” 1×12 “Islands Part 2.” Source: ABC

Stay or go?

The other choices in “Islands Part 2” are life-changing, rather than life-or death. Shaun returns from his road trip with Lea with a new resolve: to transfer his residency to Hershey, Pennsylvania – the town Lea is about to move back to. He tells Dr. Glassman he’s giving his two week notice, and asks Melendez for a letter of recommendation.

Remember how Melendez doubted Shaun at the beginning of the season? Those doubts seem to be gone, judging from the glowing letter he writes for Shaun – one that Glassman also has to sign off on.

As the mother of a young man on the autism spectrum, I’ve always identified with Glassman. It is hard not to jump in, to try to get your child (and for all intents and purposes, Glassman acts as a father to Shaun) to do the things you think they should do, and to steer them away from what you think are not necessarily bad but less-wise choices. It is so difficult to hold back. So I understand when Glassman hesitates over signing that letter.

But as Claire points out to Glassman, sometimes we parents have to do the things we don’t want to do to show our children we believe in them.

Glassman signs the letter, and also promises Shaun that if he stays, he will back off. Another thing I can relate to – and something that is so much more easily said than done. I know I rarely succeed; we’ll see how Glassman does.

It’s completely unsurprising when Shaun decides he won’t follow Lea; after all, it’s his show. Their final scenes together are sweet, and I am sad to see her go.

Other stories

Remember last week when I said Melendez’s decision to find other ways to be a father figure wouldn’t end well? It didn’t – but the ending was a bit of a surprise. Rather than Melendez chafing at not having kids, Jessica is calling things off.  But I wouldn’t close the book on this yet.

And Dr. Jared Kalu is back! A little legal pressure, and an accusation of racism, gets him back into the operating room – but he’s stuck with scut work. Dr. Andrews is not pleased about that racism claim.

Seven episodes left for the season; I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.

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

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