The Good Doctor – Mount Rushmore
By: Jessica Wolff
At the hospital, Dr. Jared Kalu (Chuku Modu) introduces Dr. Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) and Dr. Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas) to their recent prostatectomy patient, Mitchel Brand (Rocky Anderson). Melendez introduces them, and Brand asks if he’ll ever walk again. Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) runs in and confirms that he will, before reciting all of the details from his file. Claire tells him that Brand isn’t worried about his legs, and Shaun admits that there is a chance of impotence. Melendez tells Shaun that he’s late, and Shaun explains that the bus was late. However, Melendez tells him that it’s his responsibility to be there on time. Shaun asks how it’s his fault when the bus was late, and Melendez sarcastically tells him that the board made a great decision in hiring him.
An ER Doctor (Yasmin Abidi) shows them the scans of the patient, Stephanie Willis’ (Nancy Stone) stomach. Shaun comments on the largeness of the organs and flips through his textbook memories to diagnose her with a malignant tumor. Willis asks if it’s killing her, and Shaun confirms. Outside, Jared tells Shaun not to be so blunt and Shaun is confused. Melendez names Claire his second-in-command and Jared is disappointed. Shaun asks what he can do and Melendez tells him to do scut work to prevent distractions for his team. Shaun runs after him and asks if he’s being punished. Melendez says no and Shaun accepts it. After being asked why he’s taking his answer at face value, Shaun tells Melendez that arrogant people feel that they don’t need to lie. He tells him that this must be a lesson and looks forward to learning from scut work.
Shaun examines a patient, but the nurse is annoyed that he won’t listen to her when she explains that the patient has already been cleared to leave. Shaun announces that the patient has an ear infection and recommends that they take another look. The patient asks what’s wrong and Shaun tells him that he won’t tell him until he knows for sure since he doesn’t want to scare him. Dr. Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff) notices Shaun sitting with a patient and asks him what he’s doing. Shaun tells him that he’s waiting for the patient to fart and explains that he wants to make sure that she isn’t suffering any effects post-operation. Glassman questions why he’s not working with Melendez, and Shaun tells him he’s doing scut work.
As Claire explains the procedure, Willis interrupts her and asks if she’s going to die and if it can wait until after her son’s wedding next weekend. She tells her that it isn’t advisable, and assures her that the recovery will be pretty quick. Willis asks what will happen if the procedure doesn’t work and Claire freezes before assuring her that she isn’t going to die. Jared tells Claire that they can’t make those promises, but she believes it was what she needed to hear. He calls himself pathetic since Claire seems to care more about Willis in the hour she’s known her than about him. Dr. Marcus Andrews (Hill Harper) shows Melendez a perfectly healthy MRI scan and questions why one was ordered in the first place. Melendez tells him that he didn’t order it, but Andrews tells him that it’s his fault since it came from his team.
Shaun checks out a young girl, Martine (Britt Loder), as her father and mother, Cecile LaDuff (Meghan Gardiner), argue whether she is faking a stomach ache to get out of school. Shaun asks Martine what she had for dinner last night and orders a test. Melendez doesn’t think that the test is necessary but Shaun is worried about her and asks to talk outside. Melendez believes that Martine’s stomach ache is caused by her stress of her parents’ constant bickering, but Shaun believes that it could be a possibly fatal stomach condition. The nurse agrees with Melendez and he criticizes her for letting Shaun waste everyone’s time. The nurse replies that doctors don’t ususally listen to nurses. Melendez orders that Shaun listen to the nurse.
Glassman talks to Melendez about Shaun and Melendez suggests that Shaun go into radiology instead. Glassman tells Melendez that Shaun deserves more than being a glorified orderly, and Melendez responds that everyone does scut work. Despite Glassman’s argument that Shaun has earned the right to be there, Melendez criticizes Shaun’s actions. However, when Glassman tells him to teach him to correct his mistakes, Melendez declares that he’s teaching both of them a lesson that Shaun doesn’t belong. Shaun asks Claire what the point of sarcasm is. She explains that it’s sometimes a funny way of critiquing people, but he believes that it’s just lying. He flashes back to his younger self (Graham Verchere) watching his brother, Steve Murphy (Dylan Kingwell), ask a man for money to throw a party for a sick friend. As they walk away, Steve tells him that he lied about the sick friend. In the present, Shaun questions Melendez’ orders, but Claire tells him that following Melendez’ orders takes precedence over saving lives.
As Melendez and his team perform surgery on Willis, Shaun continues his scut work. However, every request for an additional test is vetoed by the nurse. Shaun tells Trevor (Darrin Baker) that he is free to go home, but freezes when he asks for confirmation. He flashes back to his failed attempt to solicit money at Steve’s urging. In the present, Shaun tells him that he is okay because that is what he’s been told to say. During surgery, Melendez and Claire find that the tumor is bigger than they thought. Before he can look at Martine’s file, Shaun is called into surgery. He suits up, and Melendez informs him of the situation. Shaun recommends a biopsy and Melendez sarcastically responds and Shaun recognizes the sarcasm. He tells him to go to the lab get the biopsy results.
Shaun goes to the lab and asks when the results will be ready. When Carly (Jasika Nicole) tells him that they’re not ready yet, Shaun asks to see the other lab orders so he can prioritize them. Carly tells him that it doesn’t work that way, and tells him to wait his turn. In a flashback, Steve urges Shaun to knock on the door again, but the man opens the door holding a gun. Shaun and Steve run away and Steve tells Shaun to not be afraid if he wants things in life before throwing a rock at the house. In the present, Shaun tells Carly to do Melendez’ test or he will throw a rock through the window. She tells him to have a seat.
Jessica Preston (Beau Garrett) asks to speak to Melendez, and he figures that Glassman asked her to speak to him. He tells her that he doesn’t have a problem with an autistic doctor, but Jessica corrects him that he has a problem with one working for him. Jessica asks who he respects at the hospital and then suggests that he’s supporting the wrong team. Claire and Jared discuss the surgery and Shaun pulls up the biopsy results before diagnosing Willis. Jared believes that surgery is impossible, and Claire suggests they should wake her up and tell her she has three months to live. Shaun sifts through his textbook memories and believe surgery isn’t impossible if they cut out one of Willis’ kidneys obstructing their view. Claire questions removing a healthy organ, and believes it’s a terrible idea.
Jared and Claire inform Melendez of the test results and Jared suggests that they remove the kidney to help them perform the surgery. Claire argues against it, worried that Willis could die if the idea fails. Jared tells Melendez that Claire promised Willis that she would survive, and Melendez believes her judgment is compromised. Melendez decides to go forward with the surgery and announces that Jared is his second-in-command. As the surgery resumes, Glassman informs Shaun that Trevor came to him instead of going home. Glassman confronts Shaun about sending Trevor home knowing that he was sick, and Shaun denies it. Trevor asks Glassman what’s wrong with Shaun, and he explains that Shaun has difficulty with social interactions. Glassman confirms that Trevor is healthy and he is relieved. After Trevor leaves, Glassman explains to Shaun that people need reassurances.
Shaun brings samples of Martine’s blood to Carly to test, despite knowing the consequences of being wrong. In surgery, the team works on removing the tumor as soon as the kidney is removed. Carly gives Shaun the test results indicating that Martine is fine. Shaun examines the results and finds that one of her numbers is elevated. He takes a taxi to Martine’s house and hesitates before knocking on the door. In a flashback, Shaun struggles to knock on a door and runs away. In the present, Shaun brings himself to knock on the door. Martine’s father answers the door, commenting that it’s late. Shaun tells him he believes Martine has intestinal problems. Her father doesn’t believe him and tells him to call in the morning. However, Shaun warns him that Martine might be dead in the morning. Martine’s father asks if his boss knows that he is there, and that he’s not waking his daughter up in the middle of the night because of some freak before slamming the door in his face. Shaun knocks on the door again and tells her parents that he won’t stop knocking on their door until he knows Martine is okay.
They go to wake Martine up but find that she is covered in vomit and won’t wake up. Shaun insists that there is no time to call 911 and picks up Martine to carry her to the car. In a flashback, Glassman drives up to Shaun as he is running down the road and calms him down. As present day Shaun holds Martine in the back of the car, the younger Shaun holds his brother in the back of Glassman’s car. At the hospital, Shaun informs the ER staff of Martine’s condition as he rides on the stretcher with his hands over Martine’s heart. Melendez pulls out the tumor out of Willis’ body, and Jared is surprised that the idea worked. Shaun looks over Martine’s ultrasound and determines that she needs surgery. The nurse argues that he needs Melendez’ approval but Shaun tells her that she is no longer his boss now that it is the next day.
As he is about to start the surgery, Melendez comes in and announces that he’ll take it from there. Shaun asks how Willis’ surgery went and Melendez tells him about Jared’s idea. Melendez refuses Shaun’s assistance, but Andrews tells him that they have to accept that Shaun is there to stay. Unable to protest, Melendez relegates Shaun to suction as he works on the surgery. Thrilled with their success, Jared invites Claire out for a drink. She refuses and criticizes him for taking credit for Shaun’s idea. Jared argues that he pushed for it, and points out that she didn’t tell Melendez the truth because she thought the idea wouldn’t work. He tells her that he’ll give Shaun credit if she proves that she is not a hypocrite by telling Willis that she was against the procedure that saved her life.
Glassman talks to Andrews about letting Shaun back into surgery, believing that Andrews will discard Shaun if he makes another mistake. Glassman declares that Shaun will be able to handle anything he throws at him, but Andrews tells him that he wins whether or not Shaun succeeds. Willis wakes up and Claire tells her that the surgery was a success. She tries to explain the details, but Willis tells her that she doesn’t want to hear about it. Glassman congratulates Shaun on the successful sugery and Shaun asks why it matters who takes credit. He explains that those who are successful don’t have to do scut work and Martine’s parents embrace Shaun as they thank him.