The Good Doctor is often at its best when it helps illuminate some of the ways Autism makes Shaun's life challenging.
But The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 8 demonstrated that relationships are difficult, messy, and confusing for everyone -- neurotypical or not.
Shaun, Melendez, and even the patient had serious relationship troubles, proving that you don't have to have difficulties with social cues to be at a loss as to how to save a relationship.
Shaun and Carly's relationship issues are somewhat unique because of Shaun's Autism.
Most viewers can relate to one partner being ready for sex while the other isn't (or even worse, freaks out).
But in Shaun and Carly's case, that issue was exacerbated by Shaun's quirks, sensitivities, and difficulties with communication.
The scene where Carly told Shaun to go home was heartbreaking.
Shaun couldn't help his panicked reaction and his subsequent meltdown because "exposure therapy" didn't solve the problem right away. Those reactions are part and parcel of Autism.
But Carly's feelings of frustration and rejection were understandable.
She'd gone the extra mile, getting everything Shaun said he needed to prevent sensory overload and he still freaked out.
It wasn't anything personal, because Shaun wanted to be with her even though he was having issues with it. But it made sense that Carly took it personally because she was trying to accommodate Shaun and he was running away.
Park: You want this, Shaun?
Shaun: Yes. Very much.
Park: Then treat it like a surgical problem.
The MVP in this situation was, surprisingly, Park.
His advice to Shaun to treat this like a surgical problem and find an innovative solution was just what Shaun needed.
Park really spoke Shaun's language. That advice made sense to Shaun even though the idea of people braving fear to be close to each other didn't.
When Park isn't arguing with Morgan about who's the better surgeon, he's a decent man who is worth watching.
Speaking of Morgan, who else was surprised that she has rheumatoid arthritis?
When she popped a bunch of pills during her practice session, it was unclear what was going on.
It looked like some an addiction storyline of sorts, but that didn't make sense because Morgan has been trying to save Claire from a downward spiral.
Thank goodness that was a fakeout! So many shows go for the trope of random people suffering from addictions, especially those who are trying to help someone else overcome one.
Glassman was the best choice of a confidant for Morgan, too.
He didn't sugarcoat a thing and throughout the appointment tried to impress on Morgan the importance of finding a more permanent solution for her pain than a cortisone shot.
Morgan's surgery was suspenseful because of Glassman's warning, especially when she froze up. It was a relief that the surgery went fine, but what does her refusal to listen to Glassman mean for her future?
Her need to soak her hands in ice water when she got home is not a good sign, and this issue isn't one that'll go away in an episode or two -- it may be a season-long arc.
If anyone knows about a medical condition interfering with being able to perform surgery, it's Glassman -- after all, he lost almost a year of his life to brain cancer.
It's always interesting, too, when a doctor has to become a patient. Glassman wasn't a very good one, and Morgan doesn't appear to be much better.
That didn't seem to be Dr. Elion's problem, though. It might have been powerful drama for the leukemia expert to be felled by a heart condition, but The Good Doctor didn't go there.
The case was tragic. Dr. Elion's heart deteriorated at breakneck speed while she equivocated on whether or not to call her ex-husband.
Was her workaholism to blame for her condition? Had she skipped vital doctor's appointments to work on her research?
These are questions that might have been interesting to address. As it was, Dr. Elion had lost her marriage to her all-consuming work, and Leo was so bitter she almost lost the chance to say her final goodbye to him.
Although Leo was her health care proxy, I wasn't sure that Park had the right to approach Leo after she'd said she didn't want him to know.
Leo always made me feel like I had to choose between my research and him. So eventually I realized he was right and went where I was needed most. It would be hypocritical and unfair to reach out to him now.Patient
Either way, it was sweet that Leo showed up just in time, though her breathing and heart rate going back to normal when he came into the room was a corny trope.
Finally, what exactly did that final scene between Lim and Melendez mean?
It seemed like their conflict was resolved too easily when Melendez showed up at Lim's surgery after all and then saved the day.
So it wasn't surprising that Lim showed up at Melendez's house with a speech about how she couldn't be both his boss and his lover.
But her comments were ambiguous. Was she looking for a different Chief of Surgery position, breaking up with Melendez, or both?
In any case, she's right about one thing: she can't be the one to restore Melendez's confidence in himself, especially since the new case made her question her own judgment.
The two of them have gone around in circles about whether or not Melendez is acting out of fear since Patty Fields' death and no amount of discussion with Lim has resolved any of that.
It remains to be seen where these two go from here, but hopefully, this is the last of this argument.
Glassman was right to call them out on arguing loudly in the hospital. Doctors on hospital shows do this constantly, and it was refreshing to see someone take hospital decorum seriously.
What did you think, Good Doctor fanatics?
Is this the end for Lim and Melendez?
How soon will Morgan's decision to keep pushing forward with surgery despite her RA diagnosis come back to bite her?
And will Shaun and Carly finally be able to get over the intimacy hump?
Share your thoughts in the comments below, and don't forget you can watch The Good Doctor online if you missed anything.
The Good Doctor continues to air on ABC on Mondays at 10 PM EST/PST.