The Good Doctor Premiere Recap & Review
Last night, the premiere of The Good Doctor aired on ABC last night which is about Dr. Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon who has autism and Savant syndrome, which is apparently like a rare genius trait that exhibits extraordinary skills as well as mental infirmities.
The episode starts with Shaun leaving his apartment to then arrive in a San Jose airport and watches as construction workers accidentally drop one side of a sign, which hits against another, falling onto a young boy. People rush over as he watches in silence and an older man comes to the kid and his parent’s side as he informs him that he’s a doctor. But Shaun corrects him in how the other doctor is trying to save the kid, as he analyzes the situation and notices things that this other doctor clearly doesn’t.
Shaun then makes the conclusion that this kid needs an incision made in order to open up his airway and goes off to find a knife in TSA but gets trampled as he tries to run with it because his social skills are different from other people and the security guards are unwilling to give him a knife. But he does manage to save the kid’s life by making an impressive homemade one-way valve using piping from a soda machine, alcohol from the store, and the knife, which then open the kid’s airway.
Meanwhile, the president of the hospital, Dr. Glassman advocates for him to become a surgeon as the rest of the hospital board opposes due to the fact that Shaun is autistic. He argues that Dr. Murphy has spatial awareness, the ability to analyze things in ways other people can’t, and that his limitations are not what they think they are.
Throughout the episode, we discover that Dr. Glassman has a bit of history with him, saying that he has known him since he was fourteen. What we don’t quite know yet is to what extent. Flashbacks throughout the episode show Shawn’s past with his parents finding it too difficult to deal with his autism. His father finds it so hard that he is angry and violent, throwing his pet rabbit against the wall, killing the poor bunny. Him and his younger brother take the rabbit to the vet where they meet, Dr. Glassman and his brother decides right then and there to run away from home but later on, we see his younger brother die from falling off of something in a warehouse.
Later when the kid is taken to the hospital, Shawn notices that the kid’s heart rate changes on the EKG and he tries to make a case to do an echocardiogram which doesn’t go well for him until Dr. Melendez, the top surgeon, notices the same difference. Apparently, a shard of glass traveled to his bloodstream which is the theory that another doctor, Dr. Browne has as she helps to try to figure out why the EKG was irregular.
At the end of the episode, Dr. Glassman makes the case that they will be better people if they hire Shawn because there is more than meets the eye. In the end, Shawn makes a case for himself as to why he wants to become a surgeon by saying that he watched his rabbit and his younger brother go to heaven in front of him, even though they should’ve grown up and became adults but because they didn’t, he wants to be able to make sure other people get that chance.
Overall, this show delivers in emotion despite the fact that Shaun doesn’t have the ability to relate to people, as the synopsis of the show puts it. Freddie Highmore, the actor that plays Dr. Murphy does a beautiful job with the little details he put into playing the character like not looking people directly in the eyes, which is a common characteristic that comes with someone with Asperger’s. The visual detail in the way they show the way his brain processes was brilliant because it gives the audience insight of how, which was different from just hearing an inner monologue of his thoughts.
I love that this is a show that is about someone with autism, which isn’t something that hasn’t been showcased on TV all that often. It’s even greater to me that it shows autism in a very positive light, especially when the stereotyping that comes along with the term autism usually points out the negative, just like the members of the hospital board when in reality, people with autism just have a different way of thinking and processing things which shouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.
Samantha Nguyen covers entertainment news for MFST. You can follow her on Twitter @thelegendarykc