TV Reviews

The Good Doctor Season 1 Episode 17: Smile Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: Dr. Shaun Murphy questions the need for an elective surgery that will allow his young patient to smile for the first time; Dr. Claire Brown and Dr. Morgan Reznick discover that their patient lied about her identity. (TV Guide)

Writers: David Hoselton and Karen Struck

Director: Bill D’Elia

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 41mins

This episode had it all including a main case that should’ve been a secondary case and a secondary case that should’ve been a main case and also some character developments, none bigger than at the end.

One of the cases of the week involved a young girl named Gretchen Milman (Olivia Steele Falconer) with moebius syndrome which did not allow her to smile or express any emotion. Murphy didn’t understand why she would risk death by having an unnecessary elective surgery in his mind. He and Glassman caught up with each other since we haven’t seen them together in a long time.

While spending some time with her, Murphy convinced Gretchen to not want the surgery. Andrews thought smiles were important but Murphy didn’t believe in smiles or showing emotions. When Andrews tried to convince her to have the surgery, Gretchen told him that Murphy inspired her and that she no longer wanted to run away from her condition and that it would make her stronger. The problem was that the others believed that there was something else going on here.

Gretchen was worried that her father couldn’t afford the surgery or that the insurance company wasn’t going to pay and did not want him to give up everything for her. Andrews pleaded to the head of the insurance company who agreed to pay for 85% of the surgery which was enough for Gretchen to go ahead with the surgery. Murphy tested a theory between Glassman and the server that flirted with him earlier named Debbi (Sheila Kelley).

Murphy checked in on Gretchen after the surgery. It seemed to have gone well, however, she was supposed to be breathing on her own by now yet wasn’t. Andrews did not have time for Murphy’s “I told you so”. Glassman and Debbi don’t seem to have much in common other than their love for classic cars. The doctors believed that Gretchen may be brain-dead but Park believed that she may be still under the anesthetic and he was right. With some stimulation, she finally able to smile.

Melendez, Browne, and Reznick were treating a woman named Lucy who wasn’t taking her antibiotics. When Browne and Reznick went back to see her, she was gone. This was because the patient who they were treating was an impostor who stole Lucy’s identity. Then the real Lucy showed up and was having trouble with getting all of her medications because of the impostor.

Later, the impostor returned so now they would have to continue the charade and treat both women with the impostor being arrested once she got better. The impostor wasn’t taking her medications since she chose her son’s college tuition over her insurance premiums. Her real name was Beatrice and her organs were shutting down. Lucy was a drug addict. Once Beatrice was flatlining, Browne let her go.

Kalu was reunited with a burn victim he treated earlier this season. She was doing a lot better now and would no longer need to wear the tilapia skins the next day. He thought he was having feelings for her and she for him and asked Murphy for advice. Kalu opened up to him and Murphy’s suggestion was to call in sick. He gave her off to Murphy so they can be together. He also got an acceptance letter from a hospital in Denver.

Further evidence that Kenny was using Murphy was that at the beginning of the episode, he returned Murphy his milk partially full and at the end of the episode, he “borrowed” Murphy’s TV so he and his friends could watch March Madness instead of having a pizza night that they seemed to have talked about. Instead Murphy wanted to join Kenny’s friends but Kenny thought his personality wouldn’t quite work with his friends although he took the pizza Murphy bought for them.

Glassman took Debbi out for dinner and continued to hit it off until he seemed to be suffering from neurological issues.

Overall, this was another solid episode with a few new character developments as well, none larger than Glassman’s breakdown at the end. Murphy’s case was compelling and it was nice to see him hold firm in his beliefs but it was more about his beliefs than the patient so he wasn’t as connected with Gretchen as he could have been. The impostor case was a better one and it would’ve been nice to have had it as the main case instead. Something’s going to have to give between Murphy and Kenny and it looks like it will need a third party since Murphy isn’t poised to do anything about it himself. Kalu also has a new love interest so we’ll see how it goes and how his new job offer will affect things. One more episode to go and it is gearing towards a strong finish. Don’t die Glassman!

Score: 8/10

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