‘The Good Doctor’ 2×15 Review: ‘Risk and Reward’

Before watching “Risk and Reward” here on the west coast, I’d seen just enough in social media to have tissues at the ready.

I didn’t expect that what I’d really need was my husband’s punching bag!

Yes, I was moved by the struggle to save Persephone, a baby with multiple birth defects. But I was far more aggravated by Dr. Han, the hospital’s new chief of surgery. I’m trying to decide if I should congratulate Daniel Dae Kim for playing a character more immediately unlikeable than either Drs. Melendez or Andrews had been. Or should I pray he makes a hasty exit? Maybe like Dr. Romano’s on ER? 

Yeah, he really pissed me off.

“One of those.”

Aaron classifies Han as “one of those” when Shaun tells him Han insists on music in the OR. We’ve certainly seen many examples of surgery with a soundtrack in movies and TV before. Marvel’s Dr. Strange comes to mind. But here on The Good Doctor, the music feels as jarring to the viewer as it is to Shaun. It throws Shaun off-kilter. The other doctors also seem unsettled, both by the change in the usual atmosphere and by their new boss’ attitude when he subjects the residents to a pop quiz in the midst of surgery.

Lim — who had been a candidate for Han’s job — rightly calls him out for that quizzing. She also calls him out for laying into Shaun about his talk with Persephone’s parents. Granted, Shaun put his foot in it with that discussion. His bedside manner still has a long way to go. Han thinks Shaun will never be able to learn. He complains that Shaun’s been given chances “all in the name of diversity and inclusion.”

Talk about a HUGE red flag in a manager!

Han then tells Lim he looks forward to being proven wrong. But he never gives Shaun that chance. Han just wants Shaun away from patients, and transfers him to pathology. Han tells Shaun he can do excellent work as a diagnostician.

The only thing proven is that Han is a liar.

Here We Go Again?

We’ve been down this road before with Shaun. He’s been misjudged and underestimated because of his autism before. So, besides a really nasty attitude, what’s new about this happening with Dr. Han?

To be honest, not much. But perhaps that’s the point. I can only speak as the mom of one person with ASD. I can’t say my son’s experience is universal. But I know that whenever he moves from one situation to another, he has to prove himself all over again. It happened as he progressed from elementary to middle school, then on to high school and now to college. He’s always proving his capabilities.

But then again — isn’t that reality for all of us? When we move into new jobs, or there’s a new boss? We have to prove ourselves to this new person or in this new role. It’s a challenge with or without autism.

Random Notes

  • Another of Han’s not-so-endearing traits: Money talks. He pulls Melendez off a planned procedure to run tests on a wealthy semi-hypochondriac. This is NOT a job for a surgeon, but Han’s trying to put on a show. “You know what’s great about rich patients?” he asks Melendez. “They allow us to treat poor patients.”
  • Han’s wealthy friend ends up having a possibly benign tumor. It can only be removed and tested via risky surgery, leaving him with a permanent limp. Is it too mean of me to say I hope Mr. Moneybags winds up suing the hospital, and Han takes the fall?
  • I give Han credit for one thing: He recognizes it when Morgan starts sucking up to him. While I was disappointed to see her backslide to the old Morgan, I liked the way he shut her down.
  • I also have to mention Aaron’s story. For most of the episode we see him in chemo, where another patient keeps trying to engage him. Aaron initially wants no part of it, being a grumpy old bear who wants to suffer in silence. He changes his mind after Shaun notes better outcomes for patients who join support groups. It gives me some hope that Aaron will recover.

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

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