‘The Good Doctor’ Season 3 Premiere: Was Shaun & Carly’s Date a Disaster? (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 3 premiere of The Good Doctor, “Disaster.”]
The doctors are all taking major steps, professionally and personally, when the third season of The Good Doctor begins.
Now the new chief of surgery, Audrey (Christina Chang) offers more responsibility to the third years, which puts Morgan (Fiona Gubelmann) and Alex (Will Yun Lee) at odds over a patient’s care. And Shaun (Freddie Highmore) in turn decides to take initiative rather than deliver bad news to a patient — but that may end up saving her life.
And, of course, everyone’s wondering how Shaun and Carly’s (Jasika Nicole) first date goes. Is the premiere title an apt description?
The Eye of the Beholder
Through a series of flashbacks as the other doctors press Shaun for details, we see that while it may not have been the best first date, it could’ve gone much worse. His index card of conversation topics wasn’t very helpful. He was frustrated when he was brought pickles even though he asked for none. He stood up and sent a wine bottle flying, but he also made an impressive catch.
“It was a disaster,” he repeatedly tells anyone who asks.
He chose the wrong time to tell a joke, interrupting Carly as she was talking about her relationship with her father. He didn’t think the chuckle in response was enough. Then, as they were leaving, he bumped into a woman and dislocated her shoulder. He even reduced it right there in the restaurant, receiving applause from the rest of the diners and gratitude from the woman. And at the end of the night, Carly kissed him.
The others don’t see the problem, but to Shaun, it wasn’t what he’d wanted. “It was exhausting. Everything was always out of control. Anything could happen at any time. Anything did,” he explains. “There was too much to remember to do, too much to remember not to do, and none of it made sense. It was hard, uncomfortable, unpleasant. I spent the whole evening doing unnatural things to make her happy, and I have no idea if she was happy and I know I wasn’t happy. It was all a disaster.”
Though Claire (Antonia Thomas) tries to make him see why people stick with dating — “you wind up with someone in your life who will help you when you need to be helped, love you when you do not feel lovable, be with you no matter what” — he doesn’t think it’s worth it. He does go to see Carly in her lab at the end of the episode, but by the time she sees him, he’s walking away.
In Sickness and in Health
Shaun, Claire, and Neil (Nicholas Gonzalez) treat a new bride who appears to only need a uterine fibroid removed in a routine surgery, until they open her up. She has cancer, and it has metastasized everywhere. They can’t get the angle they need. Her only hope appears to be to refer her to an oncologist, and Neil wants Shaun to learn sympathetic communication by delivering the bad news.
Instead, Dr. Murphy decides to do more research, so when Neil forces him to talk to the newlyweds, he offers “hope with surgery.” They can remove her organs to clean up the cancer, then put them back. There hasn’t been much success with the procedure, “but the alternative is death.”
As the couple takes time to decide, Shaun asks if the husband is debating whether he should find someone else to love, someone healthy. He’s not, but his wife thinks he should. “In sickness and in health,” he reminds her.
Therefore, it’s an easy decision, and the surgery is as successful as it can be. They’re confident they got all the cancer, but due to complications, they had to remove a large portion of her bowel, and she’ll have an ileostomy bag for the rest of her life. Her husband makes it clear he’ll be with her through it all.
Meanwhile, Morgan and Alex treat an elderly man with a history of kidney stones and dementia. Neither doctor wants the “boring” case — until Audrey announces that third years will get to lead simple surgeries and they discover Harvey has cancer. They fight over who was handed the chart, even checking the security footage (and different angles!).
Harvey’s prognosis is “excellent” with treatment, but Alex isn’t sure that he’s mentally healthy for it. When he points out the burden on his wife, Ruby refuses to let that be why she lets him die. His life still has value, Morgan later argues to her colleague, but Alex suggests they let him stay happy for whatever time he has left.
Though it’s hard for Ruby to let him go, it’s her decision, and rather than inform him of his cancer diagnosis again, she tells him everything’s okay and takes him home.
The Importance of the Yes and No
Audrey makes the mistake of immediately agreeing to overtime for the nurses, so when she has to tell Deena (Karin Konoval) she can’t give her more nurses, she’s met with hostility. Audrey then turns to Marcus (Hill Harper) for advice on saying “no,” and he explains her problem is how she said “yes.”
“It came too quickly,” he says. “You made her think she was helping you instead of the other way around.” What she needs to do is make people think she’s giving them what they need and feel like they owe her. That’s exactly what she does, authorizing patient lifts and a smart bed.
And Audrey uses what Marcus taught her against him to get him to return to the hospital as her replacement as surgical attending. “It’s what you need,” she says, and she refuses to take “no” for an answer. “Your greatest strength and your greatest weakness as a leader was your stubbornness,” she adds. “Don’t let it be a weakness today.”
A Tie Is a Dealbreaker
Allegra (Tamlyn Tomita) knows Glassman (Richard Schiff) needs to make a difference, and he’s not going to be able to do that working at a health center. She wants him to come back as president. They’ll reopen the clinic, and his office can be there. He asks if he has to wear a tie.
What did you think of Shaun and Carly’s first date?
The Good Doctor, Season 3, Mondays, 10/9c, ABC