The Good Doctor follows up the best episode of the season with an average episode, but it could have consequences that last the entire season.
On The Good Doctor Season 1 Episode 8, Shaun experiences a robbery at gunpoint while going to a store to buy apples. When another customer is shot, her date blames Shaun for the shooting. Meanwhile, Claire struggles to remain professional when the robber needs treatment because she is offended by his swastika tattoo.
"Apple" began and ended with scenes between Shaun and his neighbor, Lea. Because of his autism, Shaun struggles to connect with people, especially those who are not on the spectrum. Because of this, watching his relationship with Lea unfold has been a joy.
When Claire told him that sometimes women just wanted men to support them, I was ready to yell "Don't listen to her, Shaun!" at my television.
Shaun, sometimes a woman wants advice and sometimes she just wants support.Dr. Claire Browne
Lea has already expressed that she appreciates Shaun's honesty, and while Claire does not know that about Lea, I worried that this advice could damage a true connection he has made with another person.
Luckily, Shaun and Lea were able to communicate their feelings at the end of the episode, and I was happy to see Shaun telling Lea about the traumatic shooting he witnessed.
Don't start lying to me to make me feel good. You're the only honest guy I know.Lea
My heart leapt as Lea hugged Shaun in the hallway. Shaun showed great trust in Lea as he reluctantly, and only briefly, put his arms around her.
Shaun needs support from people other than Dr. Glassman if he is going to be successful. He especially needs it from peers, both in and out of the hospital. Lea is the perfect non-judgmental friend for Shaun, and I look forward to watching their relationship blossom even more in the future.
On The Good Doctor Season 1 Episode 7, we finally got to see Dr. Melendez supporting and advocating for Shaun as a doctor. "Apple" showed us more of this growth, as Melendez fought with Avery's date for Shaun's right to treat the patient.
I disagreed with Melendez's assessment that Shaun was able to work despite the traumatic events of his morning, but for the first time, we are finally seeing Dr. Melendez pay attention to Shaun's talents, needs, and ideas.
It is a refreshing turn of events that makes Melendez a more likable and charismatic character to watch.
I know I sound like a broken record after eight reviews. I try to stop myself from turning my reviews of this series into love letters to Richard Schiff, but I need to mention Schiff and his talent once again.
I have been longing to know more about Dr. Glassman's relationship with board member Jessica, and "Apple" gave us a little nugget of information in one of the most well-acted scenes on the series thus far.
We have officially learned that Jessica was a teammate of Dr. Glassman's deceased daughter in high school. Aaron blames himself for not being around more for his daughter, which is probably why he insists on getting extra help for Shaun.
Shaun, you need guidance. Much more than I can give you.Dr. Aaron Glassman
Schiff's acting was incredible throughout this scene. He has a quiet yet commanding presence whenever he is on screen. He accomplishes so much as an actor without being over-the-top with his emotions. The tears that filled his eyes as he spoke about his daughter broke my heart.
I am still not entirely convinced that Aaron and Jessica are not romantically involved. At the very least, all signs point to Jessica cheating on Melendez with someone.
If the writers stick with the father and surrogate daughter friendship that was established in this episode, though, I will be content with seeing more of this relationship in the future.
Overall, "Apple" was a decent episode of television. After the spectacular and nearly flawless "22 Steps," though, I was left feeling a little disappointed by a few of the writers' decisions.
First, when the robber's swastika tattoo was revealed, I was instantly reminded me of an early episode of Grey's Anatomy in which a patient with a similar tattoo refused to be treated by Dr. Bailey.
This storyline followed the formula as the story on Grey's Anatomy almost exactly. The black, female doctor treats a patient who believes she should be a second-class citizen, only to have that doctor save the patient's life in the end.
Aaron Sorkin says "Good writers borrow from other writers. Great writers steal from them outright." Maybe that is partly true; however, this felt like the writers were just being lazy, particularly because any medical show is naturally going to be compared to other successful medical dramas.
Second, I wish that the two major traumas for our characters would have been spread out a bit throughout the season.
We just watched as Claire caused a patient to die. The guilt she felt over this was only briefly explored, but it was ignored altogether in this episode.
I think it would have been more powerful if the writers had put the attention on Claire and the psychological reprecussions of her mistake rather than putting Shaun through his own trauma and guilt over a patient's fate.
It already happened. I can't do things differently.Dr. Shaun Murphy
This plot could have easily been saved for later in the season. Unless the writers use this as a way to strengthen Shaun's growing connection with Claire, I will ultimately be unsatisfied with the decision to have these two storylines so close together in the season.
Did you enjoy this episode? You can watch The Good Doctor online! Then, discuss your thoughts on "Apple" with us!
Kaitlynn Smith is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.