The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 11 Review: Fractured

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The best thing about The Good Doctor is the way it perfectly intertwines the characters' personal and professional lives.

The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 11 had everything that makes this show great. Both Claire and Shaun had interesting cases that dovetailed nicely with their personal dilemmas.

I'd be thrilled with it even if Shaun didn't choose Carly in the end, at least for now. But that was a bonus on an already strong episode.

Confusing Feelings - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 11

Throughout the hour, Shaun seemed confused about which woman was his one true love, but I'm not sure that was the real issue.

It was clear that he considered Lea "just a friend" and simply felt more comfortable with her than with Carly. So the real question was whether he wanted a relationship with Carly badly enough to push past his comfort zone.

Shaun: Being with Lea felt very different than being with Carly
Glassman: Maybe that's why you wanted her here instead of Carly in the first place.
Shaun: Lea and I are just friends.
Glassman: Yeah, she's made that very clear. Sometimes you learn more about people from what they do than what they say. Of course, who the hell knows what she wants? But what do you want?

Plus, his meltdown in Glassman's office proved the point that it was more about being afraid of abandonment than any lack of clarity over how he felt.

Getting all of that out of his system plus Glassman's unconditional love and support helped Shaun take the huge step of agreeing not to live with Lea anymore.

A Patient in Pain - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 11

It remains to be seen how easy it is for Shaun to go through with that. Lea will likely not accept this change without a fight despite the way she has moved in and out of his life at will in the past.

But Shaun's declaration of love for Carly and willingness to hold her hand were huge wins because it's been so hard for him to do those things.

The only thing that would have made this more perfect would be if The Good Doctor had delved deeper into the line between friendship and romance sometimes being blurry.

Romantic relationships don't have to be defined by sex, and that's why a fully-clothed Lea and Shaun sleeping together in a non-sexual way bothered Carly.

And Shaun's literalness might have made him think that he didn't cross any lines, while Carly might have felt that in some way he cheated on her.

The episode touched on that slightly with her upset that it was so much easier for him to let Lea hold him than Carly, but it didn't go deeply enough into it.

To be fair, the writers only had 45 minutes or so to move through this story, and clearly, they wanted Shaun and Carly to take the next step. So they had to skimp on this.

And Shaun's decision that he loves Carly was strong payoff for half a season's worth of angst.

But it would have been even stronger had Carly's feelings of hurt, envy, and betrayal lasted for more than five seconds in real-time.

A Scared Patient - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 11

Shaun's meltdown in Glassman's office was easily one of Freddie Highmore's best performances -- and his performances are always amazing.

Shaun's pain and fear that everyone would abandon him was painful to watch.

It's hard enough having autism and not understanding how relationships work. That in itself can be heartbreaking for a person on the spectrum who almost desperately wants friends.

But the abuse and neglect Shaun suffered on top of that made him even more afraid of being rejected and triggered a full meltdown. And once again, Highmore sold it completely, bringing tears to my eyes as I watched.

Heading Home - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 11

Anyway, Shaun's personal dilemma and his patient's dilemma mirrored each other nicely.

Shaun: How long can you keep secrets from the people you love before they stop being the people you love?
Patient: I can keep this one.
Morgan: Drug addiction is a disease. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
Patient: It happens because of the choices you make.

It was interesting that Shaun, who is always being criticized for not being empathetic enough, was the one to ask Kerri how her relationship could survive her keeping secrets.

Kerri's fear was realistic, as was the situation -- though perhaps not its solution.

In real life, doctors do ask about history of opioid use before administering anesthesia, and in general, they use non-opioid forms of anesthesia if it is warranted.

Shaun suggested ketamine, which is experimental, but there are more approved alternatives that can be administered to addicts.

Of course, Kerri was so scared of using any drugs whatsoever that she probably would have rejected a non-opioid anesthetic too, so there's that.

Unsure What He Feels - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 11

Anyway, I was expecting the pain to be so bad that Kerri would eventually give in and ask for an anesthetic.

The Good Doctor didn't go the predictable route, though, and the fact that she was able to survive despite that excruciating pain and spike in her heart rate proves that Morgan was right: Kerri was Wonder Woman.

And just as importantly, her husband didn't reject her when he learned about her past addiction. Perhaps that's part of what gave Shaun the courage to tell Carly the truth.

Park: Shouldn't you be judging this guy the most harshly of all? You made it out without breaking the law.
Claire: That's not exactly true. My mom would take off on these trips and I would have no money. So when I needed supplies, I would go to the store and put them in the bottom of my backpack. One day the bag brokeand all the oatmeal and soup I'd stolen fell out onto the floor...in front of a security guard. She looked at me, at my face and at my clothes and she helped me pick them up. She let me go with a warning. And if she hadn't done that, I wouldn't have become a doctor standing here with all of you.

I appreciated that both Claire and Morgan's stories pushed back against the prevailing narrative that drug users are bad people. 

Shaun and Morgan Consult - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 11

Drug addiction should be a public health issue, not a criminal issue, and it's important for medical dramas to stand up for the fact that addiction is a disease because so many people are judgmental of addicts.

Park's attitude was annoying, too, and I was glad that Claire put him in his place.

Park: Shouldn't you be judging this guy the most harshly of all? You made it out without breaking the law.
Claire: That's not exactly true. My mom would take off on these trips and I would have no money. So when I needed supplies, I would go to the store and put them in the bottom of my backpack. One day the bag brokeand all the oatmeal and soup I'd stolen fell out onto the floor...in front of a security guard. She looked at me, at my face and at my clothes and she helped me pick them up. She let me go with a warning. And if she hadn't done that, I wouldn't have become a doctor standing here with all of you.

People use drugs and engage in other illegal behavior for a variety of reasons. It's far more complex an issue than the black-and-white morality Park subscribed to, and Claire saw a chance to help a patient.

It was unfortunate that the patient decided to steal his drugs back from the lab instead of using his second chance wisely, but maybe Claire planted a seed anyway.

Besides, it was worth it to see Melendez be on her side for once. He is so much more likable in the mentor role than he ever was in his ridiculous relationship with Lim.

That said, Claire has this tendency to overdo taking care of others because she had to take care of her mom when she was a child. I'm glad the therapist pushed her to talk about her childhood feelings, though I wish she'd brought that up as well

What did you think, Good Doctor fanatics?

Was the winter premiere everything you hoped for?

Are you glad Shaun chose Carly?

And which case got your attention more?

Hit SHOW COMMENTS and share your thoughts! And if you want to see the episode again, just watch The Good Doctor online right here on TV Fanatic.

The Good Doctor continues to air on ABC on Mondays at 10 EST/PST.

Fractured Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (28 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 11 Quotes

Shaun: Being with Lea felt very different than being with Carly
Glassman: Maybe that's why you wanted her here instead of Carly in the first place.
Shaun: Lea and I are just friends.
Glassman: Yeah, she's made that very clear. Sometimes you learn more about people from what they do than what they say. Of course, who the hell knows what she wants? But what do you want?

Lea: You want to talk about last night? I think we should.
Shaun: Why?
Lea: Cause you were in a really bad place last night and -
Shaun: I feel better now. Thank you.