Episode 4 of The Good Doctor: Pipes aired October 16, on ABC.
The series gets stronger each episode, the latest being my favorite so far. While last week still didn’t quite feel like the show had a solid format, I feel like we’ve finally settled down into a structure. I think we can now expect each week to see three story lines: the big story, usually involving a controversial topic, a side story, and Shaun’s personal life, continuing to focus on his autism and his unique ways of dealing with life.
The Big Story
The big story this week is Dr. Melendez’s patient, a pregnant woman who has a tumor growing alongside the fetus. And to make it all more gut wrenching, the woman’s previous pregnancies have all ended in miscarriage. Dr. Melendez suggests terminating the pregnancy, but the mother wants this baby, and refuses to terminate, even though her own life is at risk. When Shaun jumps in with an idea, Dr. Melendez gets angry and sends him off to do more scut work. He sticks Dr. Claire Browne with Shaun and the scut work, too, because he doesn’t like that she’s always taking up for Shaun.
As the story unfolds, the pregnant woman’s husband starts trouble when he decides he doesn’t want her risking her life to save the baby. The board meets with another moral crisis: the mother has the right to do what she wants to do with her own body, but once the fetus is out of her womb (it has to be removed for the surgery) then it’s technically born, and a separate living being from the mother, and the father has every right to refuse the surgery for the baby. Sound familiar? The board ultimately sides with the mother, and the surgery is on.
But things don’t go so well. The mother has a heart attack and they have to postpone. Now they must decide whether to continue. If they go on with the surgery, the mother will most likely have another heart attack. Dr. Kalu comes through with an idea: “Let’s kill her before she kills herself.” In other words, stop her heart and put her on bypass—if the heart’s not beating, she can’t have a heart attack, right? So the surgery is a go again, and all goes well, baby and mother are both saved. The only mishap being that Dr. Melendez accidentally lets it slip to the parents that they’re gonna have a boy—they had wanted it to be a surprise. All things considered, I’m sure they can forgive him for the slip.
Meanwhile, Dr. Murphy and Dr. Browne’s scut work ends up being a porn star with a tumor that needs to be removed. But to remove the tumor they have to cut a nerve, which will result in the loss of feeling in her genital area. Not good, especially for a porn star. The patient is convinced that God is punishing her because of her chosen profession.
As Shaun is dealing with a leaky sink, he gets an idea: they can fix the porn star patient so that she loses feeling in her thigh, not her genitals. The porn star is happy (hey, feeling in the thighs is overrated, who needs it?). The surgery is a success, and Shaun and Claire are both praised by Dr. Andrews.
We get another glimpse of Shaun’s autism when he can’t get the sink to stop dripping, and can’t find his screwdriver. Dr. Glassman comes over and gets frustrated with Shaun, and later Shaun has an outburst when Dr. Glassman suggests that he get someone to help him at home—it’s a side of their relationship we haven’t really seen before, adding another layer of conflict and drama.
The episode ends when Shaun goes out to a bar with Claire and Jared. He sees a pretty girl at the bar and has a flashback of a girl who tricked him and made fun of him. And then he’s back in the bar with his new friends.
As always, some very emotional scenes in this episode, and the acting is top notch.
How are you feeling about the series, now that we’re four episodes in? What do you think about the hot topics the show continues to introduce? What topics do you hope they might cover in the future?
The Good Doctor continues October 23rd, on ABC.