Review – The Good Doctor: Episode 3 ‘Oliver’

The Good Doctor: Episode 3 ‘Oliver’

Drama continues as The Good Doctor’s third episode focuses attention on a case that doesn’t end as well as the previous ones have. Shaun and Claire spend time learning to communicate with each other (although to be fair, Claire does most of the learning), whilst Neil, Jared and Marcus try to hold things together at the hospital between egos and lying patients.

There was a moment during this episode when I was struck with something that made me a little uncertain about Shaun’s character. So far – and in a pleasant change of pace to the typical portrayal of autism – it has been other characters who have accommodated Shaun and his different way of thinking. This has been the first time that I watched a scene and began to feel like this accommodation was going just a bit too far, and I’m not sure if it’s due to inconsistencies or if it will be addressed later on in the show.

Claire and Shaun spend a lot more time together in this episode and Claire’s frustration with trying to understand how to communicate best with Shaun is probably familiar to many people – I know my friends and relatives would have experienced the same frustration when I was younger. Her breakthrough moment came when she realised that Shaun would not or could not answer her when she phrased things as questions, when she converted to statements they could converse.

Can I be the one to say that that is potentially a serious problem working in a hospital? Throughout the episode, Shaun is shown to not respond to any of Claire’s questions and only to her statements. I can’t remember if this is a character inconsistency and I have not yet had time to rewatch the first two episodes but I am quite certain that he has answered other character’s questions in the past. I think Shaun is a great character – he shows more explicit autistic traits than many other recent portrayals, many of which I relate to – but this idea of him not answering questions is potentially a serious issue in a hospital.

That aside, this episode was interesting because we saw the very real consequences of a patient not following their transplant instructions to the letter and ultimately returning home to die. With his daughter carrying a heavy burden on her conscience. As Shaun and Claire watch the liver they so recently relinquished to another hospital be driven away and Shaun comments that their day was a good day and that they saved lives – just not their patient’s, the stark contrast in the way Claire and Shaun view the world is shown. I think this is why I enjoy scenes between them so much and hope that these scenes continue to improve.

The politics and drama between the more senior staff members continues to bubble away, unknown to the residents, and there is no doubt that someone is going to lose their job or resign at some step along the way but it’s still a matter of who.

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