The wisdom of Dr. Shaun Murphy: There are seven reasons people tell lies. We don’t get to hear all of those reasons in this episode, but that doesn’t matter. “Seven Reasons” isn’t really about lying, even though lies play a part in both of the featured medical cases. “Seven Reasons” is really about change, and how we react to it.
200 years ago, in Frankenstein, Mary Shelley wrote, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
That remains true to this day. Some things don’t change.
Early in the season, we witnessed Shaun’s dedication to his routines. Those can be a lifeline for someone on the autism spectrum. Sometimes the smallest alteration can throw that person completely off kilter.
In the past couple of episodes, Shaun’s experienced some big changes: His friend and neighbor Lea has left, and so far Dr. Glassman is keeping to his promise to back off. The beginning of “Seven Reasons” was a bit heartbreaking, with Shaun sitting down to breakfast alone in the hospital cafeteria, right after having knocked on the door of Lea’s empty apartment.
Shaun wanted his independence, but he’s learning an old truism: Sometimes having a thing is not so satisfying as wanting it. So he makes several attempts to try to recapture at least a little of his old relationship with Glassman. That leads to an even more heartbreaking end to the episode. Glassman doesn’t think he can move out of his longtime role as an advisor, and when Shaun asks him to be his friend, Glassman simply cannot answer.
Between those heartbreaking moments, however, Shaun has some cringeworthy moments with a patient suffering a mysterious malady apparently connected to chemical exposure. She happens to be Muslim, and he incorrectly theorizes she is a terrorist injured while making chemical weapons.
Actually, she was making perfume.
There is some discussion between the doctors about making assumptions about Muslims, and the patient has a few things to say about the subject too. But in a time when we’ve all become so aware of racism and bigotry against Muslims in particular, this issue seemed to be played off too easily, as has happened with other controversial storylines.
Claire’s #MeToo Story Continues
That creepy doctor who harassed Claire is out of the operating room – but not out of a job. Just transferred to another position – with a raise!
Claire is, understandably, not happy, and she takes that unhappiness to the (female) VP of the hospital, who is not unsympathetic but who says she is limited in what she can do since Claire’s boyfriend later attacked Dr. Creepy. She also says, “We simply can’t make a policy of believing every woman who files a complaint against every man.”
In the wake of #BelieveWomen, it’s a stunning line, even more so than what was probably supposed to be the stunner of the show (a young boy poisoning his father to stop him from abusing his mother). And unlike the Muslim storyline mentioned above, this harassment case isn’t just being handwaved. Claire is now on the hunt for other victims of Dr. Creepy, so together they can create change at the hospital.
The harassment story’s been building for several episodes, and hopefully the payoff will be satisfying. The Good Doctor tries very hard not to be preachy, but sometimes a sermon is needed.
The Good Doctor takes another short hiatus, returning to ABC on Monday, February 5th at 10/9 Central.