The Good Doctor – Intangibles
By: Jessica Wolff
Lea (Paige Spara) steps off the elevator to find Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) saying goodbye to a potential housekeeper (Erika Scigliano). She teases him about the woman, and Shaun explains that he’s not hiring her because her clothes don’t match. Lea playfully calls Shaun an asshat before going to her apartment. Allegra Aoki (Tamlyn Tomita) holds a press conference about the hospital’s humanitarian efforts. She explains after surveying several children from various African countries, they have decided to operate on a boy with a heart condition named Gabriel (Jojo Salkey-Randon).
After the press conference, Dr. Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) confronts Aoki about choosing a child not on his list and accuses cardiologist Dr. Avi Mehta (Pej Vahdat) of undermining him. Aoki explains that intangibles went into the situation and Melendez remarks that cuteness must be one of them upon meeting Gabriel. She explains to him that Gabriel and his mother are refugees from the war in Congo, and that people tend to donate more when the cause is photogenic. Melendez insists that it won’t work on him, but Aoki asks him to evaluate Gabriel.
Elizabeth (Tegan Moss) video chats with her daughter as Dr. Marcus Andrews (Hill Harper), Dr. Isabel Barnes-Andrews (Marsha Thomason), and Dr. Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas) enter her room. She hangs up and Claire tells her that she’s a fan of her podcast. Elizabeth is upset that she has to lose her voice, but Isabel suggests that the nodule might be benign. Elizabeth comments on the rapport that Andrews and Isabel have, and Claire explains that they are married.
Melendez, Mehta, Shaun, and Dr. Jared Kalu (Chuku Modu) talk to Gabriel’s mother, Georgieta Bangura (Maggie Benedict), and Jared offers Gabriel a Mr. Potato Head doll and a teddy bear as a present. After listening to Gabriel’s heart, Mehta declares that he needs their help. Outside, Melendez confronts Mehta, believing that they can’t save Gabriel. Mehta tells him that they can’t determine anything until some more testing.
Dr. Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff) questions Shaun’s refusal to hire the housekeeper because of her look and Shaun explains that her clothes not matching indicates her lack of life skills. Shaun argues that Glassman only wants him to hire her because of his reaction to the gunman, pointing out that it statistically won’t happen again to him. Glassman argues that increasing his social interactions will help him live a fuller life. Shaun insists that he’s happy and won’t listen to Glassman’s arguments.
Claire asks Shaun how things are going with Lea, and Shaun explains that she called him an asshat. When Shaun says that Lea was touching him when she made the remark, Claire explains that Lea was flirting with him. She explains that people sometimes say the opposite of what they mean when flirting. Claire then explains her trifecta of physical flirting gestures: giggling, squirm, and hair sweep.
Andrews and Isabel’s dinner is interrupted by a call from the hospital explaining that the lab misplaced Elizabeth’s sample. Claire searches for the sample in the lab, despite Carly’s (Jasika Nicole) annoyance. Though Claire insists she saw the sample leave the surgery area, Carly suggests that it never made it to the lab. Upon viewing the test results, Mehta concludes that Gabriel’s heart condition is worse than they originally thought.
Melendez goes to inform Bangura of their inability to save Gabriel and finds her tapping on a drum to Gabriel’s heartbeat. Before he can break the news, Bangura tells him that she had a vision of a stronger healer saving Gabriel and declares that Melendez is that healer. Melendez tells her that he can’t save him, but Bangura reminds them that they’ve traveled far. However, Melendez tells her that she can take him home after they give him medicine.
As they go to inform Elizabeth of the missing sample, Jessica Preston (Beau Garrett) advises Claire not to apologize for the mistake, explaining that they’re trying to avoid a potential lawsuit. Jessica and Andrews explain the situation, and Claire explains that they will do everything to find it. After Andrews tells Elizabeth that the sample will expire, she declares that she won’t lose her voice because somebody screwed up.
Shaun tells Glassman that he’s developed a proactive learning solution, and explains that he’s learned about the flirting trifecta. Glassman questions why it matters, and Shaun explains that he’s learning non-verbal cues from observing flirting. Glassman asks Shaun if he’s lonely, and Shaun replies that he likes being alone. When Glassman explains that being alone and feeling lonely are different, Shaun questions how he would know the difference. Glassman has difficult explaining and admits that he feels lonely sometimes when Shaun asks. Shaun responds by telling Glassman that he should learn the flirting trifecta.
Claire and Carly ask Leonard (Nicholas Carella) about his transport of the missing sample. Leonard insists that he went straight from the operating room to the lab, but admits that he stopped at the cafeteria when Claire and Carly imply that there will be a full investigation into his computer if they don’t find the sample. Jared goes to collect Gabriel’s toys, and finds Bangura watching the toilet flush. She comments that he is good with kids, and asks if he is a father. As Jared denies it, Gabriel’s monitor starts beeping.
As Mehta and Jared examine Gabriel, Shaun grabs his Potato Head doll and puts the pieces in the correct place before getting an idea. Claire and Carly ask Gwen (Debs Howard) about the missing sample, and she gives them the cafeteria’s lost and found bin. Using the toy, Shaun explains to Melendez that they can save Gabriel by moving a valve. Melendez argues, and asks Shaun to follow him. As Claire and Carly search through the bin, Gwen makes a comment about dentures and how they are never in the correct cup. However, their search for the sample turns up empty.
Shaun explains his idea to Aoki. She asks Melendez if the idea is doable, but he doesn’t believe if will work. When asked why he brought Shaun over, Melendez reminds her that she ignored his decision in choosing Gabriel. Shaun is confident in the idea and asks Melendez if fear of failure is a good reason not to try saving Gabriel. Melendez replies that avoiding the surgery prevents Gabriel from dying on the operating table.
Claire attempts to console a panicked Elizabeth and apologizes for losing the sample. She is worried about breaking Jessica’s rules, but Melendez assures her that Jessica won’t hear about it from him. Claire giggles and flips her hair as she smiles at him, and Shaun takes note. Melendez, Shaun, Jared, and Mehta discuss why Gabriel seems to be getting worse despite the medicine.
Melendez accuses Bangura of not giving Gabriel his medicine, and she explains that she’s trying to save him from being sent back to Africa. He tells her that he grew up poor and that his family couldn’t afford medication for his disabled sister. She believes that he doesn’t understand because he became a doctor as a refusal to accept being poor, and that what they want most is hope. Melendez promises to do what he can for them.
Andrews and Isabel discuss the missing sample, and Andrews believes that it’s not his problem since it’s not his fault. Isabel tells him that she wants him to go back to being the guy she married, one who cares more about patient than policy. He reminds her that she supported his goal to become hospital president, but she explains how it’s taken over their lives.
Claire makes a chart to track the missing sample, and Shaun shows her the chart he made of his observations of people’s flirting attempts over the day. She questions why her name is on it, and he explains that she flipped her hair when talking to Melendez. She denies flirting with Melendez, but giggles when Melendez asks Shaun to explain his idea to him again.
Using a virtual reality simulation, Shaun and Melendez work their way through the potential surgery. They practice the surgery, as Claire and Carly continue to search for the sample. The virtual heart flatlines and Melendez demands they try again. Claire and Carly are surprised to see Andrews, and are even more surprised by his offer to help the search. Shaun and Melendez fail again, but Melendez insists they try again.
Jessica confronts Claire about apologizing to Elizabeth, and tells her that she hopes they don’t see the price tag for it and that they’re out of time. Shaun and Melendez simulate a successful surgery on the third attempt, and Shaun wishes him luck on the real surgery. Melendez is surprised that Shaun believes in luck, but Shaun explains that it’s what he’s heard people say. Isabel explains to Elizabeth that her sample would no longer be viable, and Elizabeth summarizes that she has to make a decision on the surgery despite not knowing if it’s necessary.
Bangura kisses Gabriel’s head as he is wheeled away for surgery. Melendez, Shaun, and Jared operate on Gabriel, and Jared’s suggestions are ignored as they stick to the game plan. Elizabeth reads a story to her daughter on the phone. Melendez finds a complication and wants to deviate from their plan. Shaun reminds him what happened in the simulation, but Melendez argues that reality is different. Jared warns them that they’re running low on time, and Melendez goes with the deviation.
As Andrews announces the details of Elizabeth’s surgery, and Claire comes to a realization as one of the surgeons mentions the printing of labels. She asks them to hold the surgery, and Melendez realizes that he made a mistake. Jared makes a suggestion, and they get back on track with the surgery. Claire reminds Carly about how dentures are never in the properly labeled cup, and suggests that the sample is labelled incorrectly.
Melendez takes Gabriel off bypass and wait for his heart to restart. After moments of waiting, the heart begins pumping again, and Melendez tells Shaun to close Gabriel up. Melendez goes to Bangura and tells her the good news. Elizabeth wakes up, and Claire explains that the sample was in an incorrectly labelled cup. Andrews tells her that she doesn’t have cancer, and Elizabeth hugs Claire as she thanks her. Jared and Melendez watch TV with Gabriel and Bangura, and Aoki reminds Melendez that there were intangibles in her selection of Gabriel.
Shaun shows Glassman his flirting chart, and argues that his ability to analyze non-verbal cues means that he doesn’t need a life coach. Glassman appreciates his effort, but tells him that he’ll still need one. Shaun asks him if he’s giving up on him, and explains that he doesn’t want a stranger helping him. Glassman tells him that he can’t always be there to help him, but Shaun repeats that he doesn’t want a stranger helping him.
Claire congratulates Melendez on his surgery, and he compliments her detective skills. She catches herself doing the flirting trifecta, and stops. Jessica comes over and congratulates her on her work, but hands her papers before informing her that she’s been served. Claire questions why Elizabeth is suing if they found the sample, and Jessica explains that she doesn’t want it to happen to anyone else. As they walk home, Shaun interrupts Lea and tells her that she looks absurd in her sweater. She offers him an apple and he joins her inside.