Shaun works with a young patient who shares an uncanny resemblance to his late brother, Steve, whilst a case Jared and Claire work on brings Glassman back into surgery.
This is a tough episode to review. I’m very much struggling to work out exactly how to get the words that are in my head out and in a way that makes sense. There were parts of this episode that I liked and parts that I didn’t. The parts that I didn’t like, I tended not to like because of how unrealistic they were within the setting of the hospital.
Just before rounds, Shaun notices a boy who looks almost identical to his late brother, Steve, so instead of following residents Claire and Jared to complete rounds with Neil Melendez, he wanders off to examine this boy’s broken arm. This is where my first issue came in – no-one queried where he had gone even though he was right next to them literally minutes before? Odd, but Neil has made his dislike of Shaun clear so perhaps he was just glad to not have him around.
This was quickly followed up by a whirlwind of chaos where Shaun discovers a tumour and has the most awkward conversation with the boy’s parents who inform him that they already know – Evan has osteosarcoma (terminal cancer of the bone). This information hits really hard for Shaun who becomes obsessive in his reviewing of the files. This leads him to wanting to pursue a test for a different condition – which Evan is 0.3% likely to have instead of osteosarcoma.
It’s cleverly done in many ways, right up until the last moment when Neil talks to the family there is this expectation that Shaun just might be right given his diagnostic wonders in previous episodes. So when the news that Evan’s cancer has metastasized is revealed, it is shocking even though logically we should be expecting it.
What is equally shocking and not logical is the fact that there are no immediate repercussions for Shaun’s behaviour in this episode (which includes going behind the parent’s backs and trying to lie to a patient to obtain a sample for a test he has been explicitly instructed not to run for a condition that he has been told that Evan almost certain will not have) when reasonably there would be? Given the screen time given in the past to the ramifications of various legal dilemmas, and the fact that hospital president Aaron Glassman confirms that Shaun is in trouble, nothing comes of it. Also, the scenes between Shaun and Evan are a bit weird. They’re trying to shadow the friendship between Shaun and his brother but it comes across as a bit strange. There’s a scene where Evan is having an MRI and there is another staff member present with Shaun (MRI technician? I’m not sure what the correct term is). So when Evan starts asking personal questions and Shaun answers them, and they begin to get a bit over-personal (“I like where this is going” in response to Shaun explaining that he lent his female neighbour some batteries), why does this other staff member not react with a “Dude, what the hell are you doing discussing your personal life with a kid?”.
Which is a shame, because these things really do mess with the episode which also has some very good parts. Apart from the devastation that comes with an ending where a young kid is going home to die which is well done – up to and including the kid lying to his parents about believing in heaven so that they feel better – there’s also the case that Jared and Aaron work on where the father and son struggle to reconcile before the father’s potentially life threatening surgery. (Although even here – the big reveal from the son about why his missed his own mother’s funeral is a bit…anti-climactic). Aaron getting screen-time actually doing surgery is a nice chance to see a different side to his character and it was very interesting to see his dry sense of humour.
It will be interesting to see if the events of this episode are followed up on at all in the future.