'The Good Doctor' Season 1, Episode 8 'Apple' Recap: Shaun Deals With Trauma [SPOILERS]
BY David Riley
Published 5 years ago
“The Good Doctor” goes beyond expectations once again. We’ve been eight episodes deep into season 1, and we see more of Dr. Shaun Murphy’s (Freddie Highmore) capabilities tested beyond compare. It’s one thing to be a person living on the spectrum; it’s also one to experience trauma. With both dilemma’s facing Shaun in this episode, everyone worries about him—as much as he tries to hide it behind his blunt personality. You’d never really expect the person who he finally shares his trauma with towards the end of the episode. Meanwhile, as Dr. Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff) evaluates his presence in Shaun’s life, he finds that he’s been lacking in that area.
One interesting fact about tonight’s episode of “The Good Doctor”—titled Apple—is that Bates Motel’s Nestor Carbonell directed it (reuniting him with Norman Bates!) and guest stars Zachary Gordon, famously known as Greg Heffley in the original “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” trilogy.
An apple a day keeps the bad juju away
“The Good Doctor” starts off with both Shaun and Dr. Glassman waking up for the day. Shaun does the necessary exercises while Dr. Glassman tries to psych himself up and spends the morning contemplating on a sports field. As Shaun is about to eat breakfast, his neighbor Lea (Paige Spara) knocks furiously on his door and proceeds to rant about how her electricity cut out for 15 minutes. Apparently, the landlord hated how she always played loud music at night, and so he cut her off. Lea grabs Shaun’s apple and proceeds to stress eat, and Shaun gives her blunt advice—use headphones so you won’t disturb the other tenants. Surprised, she walks out. Later, Shaun stops by a grocery to pick up an apple. While he’s at it, two couples walk in too. But just when things seem as routine as it is, a robber comes in and points a gun at them.
Meanwhile, the resident surgeons of St. Bonaventure Hospital are on high alert as they hear about the robbery. Apparently, minimal casualties are involved. They think that Shaun was among the victims, but Dr. Jared Kalu (Chuku Modu) says that he isn’t. They all rush to the emergency room to attend to the victims. The first one rolled out of the ambulance was the couple, with Avery (guest star Kacey Rohl), the young girl, shot in the abdomen. The next one is the shooter, accompanied by Shaun. According to his diagnosis, the guy is suffering from a crushed trachea. Dr. Claire Brown (Antonia Thomas) tries to check on Shaun, and he brushes it off. In the ER, Brandon (guest star Zachary Gordon), Avery’s boyfriend, is shocked to see Shaun working with the doctors, because to him, it’s Shaun’s fault why she got shot.
Shaun deals with guilt, Claire’s insubordination
Dr. Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) checks on Shaun to see if he’s okay to work, given how he has just come from a traumatic experience. Shaun insists that he can, and Dr. Melendez lets him do the job. They check Avery for an exit wound, which they find right away. However, despite it being an exit wound, she is also hemorrhaging, which could lead to a critical state if not treated right away. Meanwhile, Dr. Lim (Christina Chang) and Claire tend to the robber. As they remove his shirt, they discover that he is a neo-Nazi white supremacist. It shocks Claire and the other attending nurses, and Dr. Lim notices. It’s evident that they don’t want to save his life, but given the job at hand, they have to. Despite their efforts to help the man breathe, they couldn’t. Dr. Lim has Claire go with her to the operating room to find out what they could do to his trachea.
As they do the operation, Dr. Lim confronts Claire about letting her feelings influence her medical judgment. Claire snaps at her and asserts that she never allows her personal feelings impact a patient’s care. They have a spat, and Dr. Lim tells her to leave the operating room.
In another operating room, Shaun, Jared, and Dr. Melendez work on Avery. As they assess how to repair her wounds, she starts bleeding again. Despite their efforts to seal off the bleeding, it keeps on flowing. Dr. Melendez decides to remove her spleen and has Shaun do a ligating suture in the splenic artery while he cuts. He does it so efficiently that it helps stop the bleeding right away.
After the operation on the robber, Claire apologizes to Dr. Lim, but she has her on monitor duty. Claire was to make sure the guy is breathing and well until he gets better—much to her disappointment.
Dr. Melendez informs Brandon that the surgery on his girlfriend went well. He then asks consent forms from his girlfriend’s family. Now, this is where the complication happens. Technically, Avery isn’t Brandon’s girlfriend (at least not yet) because they just met on a dating app. Today was supposed to be their first date, and they were going hiking. He doesn’t even know her last name, so he can’t contact her family. He just wants to stay so that her family would know that at least there was someone who was with her when they arrive. Meanwhile, Claire finally checks on the robber, but she only gets bullied by the guy. She also finds out that he’s been shooting up drugs, and now that he’s in pain, he demands more. Claire refuses because she’ll only add to his addiction if she does. Desperate, the robber flips out in anger on her, spilling the meds on Claire. She then rants to Dr. Melendez and tries to ask him to be taken out of the patient’s care. He refuses and orders her just to do what Dr. Lim says.
That night, both Shaun and Claire are on monitor duty. Claire heads over to the robber’s room, and she tends to his needs. He proceeds to bully her, but Claire remains calm and talks him down, even when the guy brings up the topic of her mother being an addict. Shaun also checks on Avery. As he comes in, Brandon is in defensive mode. He doesn’t want Shaun to go near, even to examine her. Shaun checks her urine bag and finds out that her urine count is low. He removes her blanket and discovers that her legs are swelling, meaning her kidneys are failing and could lead towards organ failure.
They bring in Avery for dialysis, and Shaun and Dr. Melendez work on her. Brandon looks on and is still annoyed at Shaun being there. He tries to speak up against him, and Melendez shuts him down. They discover fluid building up in her chest, and they proceed to drain it out. Avery stabilizes, but it’s only a matter of time before something terrible happens again.
Later that night, Claire confronts Dr. Lim again. She’s extremely pissed at Dr. Lim for making her do what she needs to do with the robber. In the presence of all the nurses, Claire doesn’t care if it disrespects her superior. Dr. Lim still has none of it and tells Claire that they shouldn’t be going against each other’s throats, primarily because they’re both women. Dr. Lim has dealt with men undermining her authority in the past, and she says that Claire shouldn’t do it too.
On the brink of death
Back in Avery’s room, Brandon admits to Shaun that it’s his fault why Avery was in this situation. He didn’t like her when he finally saw her personally. Brandon didn’t want to go hiking with her, so he pretended that he forgot to get some water and his wallet so he can ghost her while they’re in the grocery. Shaun bluntly tells him that it’s not a causal relationship, and just as he was about to go on a rant, Avery’s pressure drops.
Dr. Melendez, Jared, and Shaun try to deliberate on what to do about her situation. Shaun thinks that they should insert an intra-aortic balloon pump to reduce her heart’s inflammation. Jared, on the other hand, urges that they should operate on her to find out which other parts of her body she’s bleeding from. The operation is risky, but Melendez agrees with Jared’s idea.
It’s a complicated operation, and Melendez is having a hard time trying to locate the bleeding. As he’s about to cut her open even more, Shaun mentally recreates the trajectory of the bullet that hit Avery’s abdomen. He tells Melendez to stop and directs him to open her between the second and third rib on the left side. He’s sure that Avery’s supreme intercostal artery is the one causing her to bleed out. Melendez finally locates the bleeding. As they clamp it, Avery stabilizes. Shaun admits that she didn’t have a heart failure and that he was wrong. He tells Jared that he was right and praises him for a job well done.
Meanwhile, Claire’s patient suffers from an inability to breathe. As Claire examines him, she finds that his neck is swollen, blocking his windpipe. She struggles with what to do and proceeds to make an incision to drain his neck from blood so he could breathe. Dr. Lim finally arrives and preps him up for an operation. It turns out to be a success, and while Claire tends to the robber, she tells him about her addict mother. But she brings it to his face that she has done a lot of things for her to get to where she is, and for her to be able to save his life.
Back in Avery’s room, her parents arrive. Seeing how things are okay now, Brandon leaves, but Avery calls on him. She tells him that she was also hoping that he’d ditch her because she didn’t like him too. But clearly, Avery’s wrong. Brandon then asks for a second chance for a first date, to which she agrees.
Dr. Glassman and his regrets
Elsewhere in the episode, after Avery’s first operation, Dr. Glassman also checks on Shaun and asks about what happened. Shaun tells him about it in a flashback. When the robber came in the grocery, he ordered them to give him their phones and wallets. Because of his communication limitations, he fails to follow what the robber ordered. He paces and causes the robber to panic. As he threatens to shoot Shaun, he accidentally pulls the trigger on the young girl. The grocer then makes a move on him and repeatedly hits his neck with a bat, thus the robber’s injuries.
Dr. Glassman then talks to Dr. Melendez about letting Shaun work on the case. Based on Dr. Melendez’ assessment, Shaun is fit to work. It upsets Glassman, and he has Shaun see the Bonaventure’s resident psychologist. Later, Shaun goes in for therapy. As the psychologist tries to ask about the situation, Shaun responds well and appears to be coping. He even asks for an apple the next time he comes in. With Shaun good to go, she thinks he is fit to work.
Dr. Glassman meets with the psychologist as she tells him that she doesn’t see anything wrong with Shaun and that his autism could also be the reason why he’s unfazed by the supposed trauma. But Glassman knows Shaun, and something is bothering Shaun.
That night, Dr. Glassman talks to Shaun again, this time determined to know what Shaun honestly feels. He explains to him that he knows that Shaun is feeling a bit guilty, despite Shaun denying everything as uncircumstantial and utterly illogical. Glassman says that Shaun might feel a little bit at fault, and it’s okay to feel it too. He then tells Shaun that it’s also his fault because he hasn’t been there for him that much. He’s feeling guilty about not being the best father figure to Shaun.
Patching things up
Later that night, Claire goes to Dr. Lim, who’s busy working on a patient with a couple of nurses with her. She apologizes sincerely and tells her that it’s a pleasure learning from her. Glassman, on the other hand, sits on the bleachers of the sports field and reminisces with Jessica Preston (Beau Garett). He tells her that he misses his daughter and that he wasn’t there for her. But Jessica says to him that he can be there for Shaun.
The episode ends back in Shaun’s apartment, where Lea gives him an apple as a gift. Shaun, who’s obviously trying to hide his trauma and guilt, finally opens up to Lea about the incident at the grocery, and she gives him a hug.
‘The Good Doctor: Apples’ Overall Verdict
It’s nice to see Shaun finally letting himself be open to other people, especially for something as traumatic as a robbery and shooting. This is an episode where we see Shaun slowly embracing a more receptive outlook on life, which I’m pretty sure will be of great benefit for him in the coming episodes. Tonight’s episode of “The Good Doctor” doesn’t only establish Shaun as a strong character, but also shows Claire and Dr. Glassman acknowledging their shortcomings. It’s a perfectly balanced episode with a well-thought-out narrative, and I have to give director Nestor Carbonell for yet another highlight episode for the show.
“The Good Doctor” continues next Monday with “Intangibles,” 10/9c on ABC.