If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: Dr. Shaun Murphy has to confront prejudice from an unlikely source when he takes on the case of a patient with autism, and Dr. Jared Kalu has to learn to accept his limitations as a surgeon. (IMDB)
Writer: Johanna Lee
Director: David Straiton
Running Time: 41mins
One goal that Murphy had after becoming a surgeon was to buy a new TV and this was where the episode started. The events at the end of the last episode were still affecting Browne. She was trying to move on but it was still affecting her. Glassman was concerned so he scheduled an appointment with a counsellor who would dictate when she could return to surgery.
The first patient of the episode was a 73-year-old man with severe heart problems named Glen. Meanwhile, an autistic teen named Liam was brought in (as was shown in the many previews) so Murphy started to take care of him. What was significant about this was that we all know that Murphy has autism but he had never met another person with autism. He had a laceration on his forehead from falling and more pressing abdominal issues. Melendez believed that he had something that wasn’t as serious, however, that wasn’t the case after Murphy had Browne perform a test for him that proved otherwise.
Needing to run further tests, they had to find a way to administer them in a way that would cooperate with his autism. Glassman walked in on Murphy pacing within a hospital room to take various measurements and also shared his intentions of buying an expensive TV. Glassman was worried that Murphy wasn’t thinking about his finances. The measurements were to calm Liam down while they gave him an MRI. One of the measurements was that it took 22 steps (the episode title) to get from the ambulance to the ER. The MRI eventually became overwhelming for him and he had to be pulled out before they could finish.
The next step was to explore what could be happening surgically. Glassman was worried about Murphy but Preston thought that he should let him learn from his mistakes. When Murphy calmed Liam down later on, he noticed his red eyes and immediately knew what was wrong with him. To cure Liam, they would have to perform surgery to remove damaged bowel segments. When Melendez informed the parents that Murphy was on his team, they were against him participating in the surgery on their son. Asking for advice, Glassman told Melendez to stand up for Murphy. Luckily, Liam wanted Murphy.
At counselling, the counsellor was alarmed by how well-adjusted Browne was. Browne would not be grounded but the counsellor was worried about any suppressed feelings she might have and thought she should talk to someone about them.
Surgery began with a big moment for the series with Melendez handing Murphy the scalpel. The surgery was a success. Being hugged by Liam’s mother made Murphy feel uncomfortable. Liam’s parents cared for him which was something Murphy never got from his which could have led to what happened to Liam.
Kalu worked with Glen who couldn’t take him seriously due to his young age. After briefly leaving the room, the patient disappeared. Kalu found his patient in the basement and he was skeptical about what Kalu could do for him. The patient refused treatment but Kalu refused to leave his side, waiting until he passed out to get him back in his room. Glen had lived a hard life and had lost the will to live. Kalu shared his life story full of his own hardship. It appeared to have convinced him to cooperate. However, after leaving the room once again, Glen disappeared again. This time, he was on the roof. At this point, Kalu did the only thing he could do which was to let him die peacefully.
At the end of their days, Kalu shared to Browne what happened with him and she shared what happened with her. Murphy visited Liam. Later, he and Glassman hung out in an electronics store looking at TVs and discussed budgeting and going to the Super Bowl.
Overall, this was a good episode with another compelling story for Murphy while also giving Kalu a moment to shine. Murphy is always the best when he connects to people and he did so again with Liam and Kalu got emotional while connecting with Glen before helping him die. Now he and Browne have something in common. Glassman has proven to be a father figure for Murphy and it was fun to watch them together again here. As long as it maintains this balance of story beats and engaging character development, there’s no other way it can go than up.