Talk about depressing!
The Good Doctor Season 4 Episode 2 again hit way too close to home with its uber-realistic treatment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were bright spots, particularly at the end of the hour, but it was tough to get through, despite the episode's message of hope.
To be fair, it's hard to be a medical drama in the age of COVID.
If the series didn't address the pandemic at all, it would feel ridiculous, and a made-up pandemic that's solved within the course of an hour would be a slap in the face of all those who have suffered and died from the real COVID.
Yet scenes of patient after patient dying while the doctors are helpless to do anything about it does not make for entertaining television eiter.
The Good Doctor did its best to strike a balance between tragic and hopeful, but it didn't always get there.
The best thing about this storyline, though, was Shaun's reactions.
Shaun doesn't deal with changes in his routine, uncertainty, and human emotions at the best of times.
So it was natural that the seemingly never-ending pandemic was causing him to melt down all over the place. He actually did pretty well, considering who he is.
All you do is tell me new ways my husband may die. Do you even know what you're doing?Lili
Shaun's bedside manner has always been his weak point, and he didn't realize how hurtful it was to tell his patient's wife that it was her fault her husband was dying of COVID.
I'm sure that woman has said the same thing to herself over and over, and it probably seemed even more true to her when a doctor said it.
Nevertheless, Shaun made more of an effort after his talk with Glassman, demonstrating that he can change his ways when he wants to.
I've always loved Shaun and Glassman's conversations, and this one was no exception.
We all want it to be over. We're sick of ourselves and sick of each other or we're pining for someone we can't be with and we're afraid the world will never be the same again. I don't know, Shaun. I don't have a map for this. The best I can do is say be kind. Be kind to yourself and be kind to everyone else because what else is there?Glassman
They both clearly needed each other.
Glassman was lost in a spiral of late night video games and arguments with Debbie when he didn't fully understand why she was mad at him, and Shaun didn't know how to deal with the uncertainty and confusion of the pandemic.
Glassman's advice to "be kind" appeared to be the theme of the evening, too, since Morgan's patient also gave her the same advice.
Speaking of which, I was expecting there to be more drama surrounding the nurse's illness and death than there was.
The woman had been a nurse for 40 years, only to contract COVID from a patient that Morgan didn't realize had the disease.
It wouldn't have made sense to blame Morgan, but I'd think the nurse would have had some sort of emotional reaction to having gone from nurse to seriously ill patient.
Instead, she gave Morgan some advice, then quietly died.
Maybe that was the point. There were so many patients that died that it just became routine for the staff to hold up cell phones so that loved ones could say a long distance goodbye.
That montage with Lim's patients dying certainly suggested so.
There was one person who didn't get used to everyone dying, and that was Claire.
I'm not generally a fan of ghost stories in realistic dramas.
I know they can be moving, and just as importantly, they give the actor who played the deceased character a chance to remain part of the show.
But for the most part, I don't enjoy conversations where one person is a figment of the other's imagination or visiting from another world.
In this case, though, it seemed to have a point.
Melendez: It's stuff now, it's meaningless, Claire.
Claire: Each of these things tells an interrupted story.
Claire needed closure, not just from Melendez's death, but also the death of all the patients she was seeing that she couldn't help.
So while I thought her quest to find the dog tag's owners was silly, and so were all these conversations that took place only in her head, it made sense in the end.
That said, I wish there'd been more of a connection between The Good Doctor Season 4 Episode 1 and The Good Doctor Season 4 Episode 2.
For example, Claire was going through that stuff so she could give Patient Zero's daughter back a cross her mother always wore, but there was no mention of the cross or the daughter.
And what happened to the guy who thought he had a different problem but turned out to have COVID? Was he one of the people who died during the montage? Because if he wasn't, he just disappeared.
There were some storylines that continued: Shaun's missing Lea, Glassman's fight with Debbie, and Park's struggle to stay in touch with his son.
That last one was the most compelling. One of the most difficult things about COVID is that families have been separated for months on end. I have relatives I haven't seen in nearly a year, and I'm sure that's a fairly common occurence.
I was confused when Kellan asked if Park was coming to his graduation party, though. He shouldn't have been having a party during the pandemic!
And now that Park is cleared to go to Phoenix, is he leaving The Good Doctor?
The ending of the hour implied that the pandemic was under better control and that there was more hope for the future.
In some ways, it seemed tacked on. After the nurse died, suddenly it was three weeks later and things were much brighter.
I didn't mind that too much, though, because I don't want to sit through an entire depressing season of dealing with COVID.
Hopefully, now we can get on to some more traditional stories while COVID is in the background rather than overwhelming the hospital.
Your turn, The Good Doctor fanatics!
What did you think of the way The Good Doctor handled the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic during the hour, what was your favorite part of the episode, and what do you hope happens during the rest of the season?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know, and don't forget to watch The Good Doctor online via TV Fanatic for more!
The Good Doctor airs on ABC on Mondays at 10 PM EST/PST.