The Good Doctor Season 3 Midseason Report Card: Best Arc, Best Couple and More!

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Halfway through its third season, The Good Doctor is still going strong.

At this point, Shaun is ell-established at the hospital and is on somewhat surer footing career-wise, so The Good Doctor Season 3 has provided a ton of relationship drama to balance out the medical stuff.

There are still plenty of interesting cases, and Shaun's autism is front-and-center, albeit in a different way.

For the most part, this series continues to capture viewers' attention week after week with riveting stories and heartbreaking situations, though there are a few things that could be improved.

Check out our thoughts below and let us know what you think of The Good Doctor.

Shaun Considers - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 6


What works: Freddie Highmore continues to offer stand-out performances.

Regardless of what else is going on, Highmore's performances continue to be exemplary--and realistic.

Whether it's small things such as Shaun's mannerisms and unique intonations or big things such as his meltdown after his father's death, Highmore continues to sell Shaun's autism along with his humanity.

Shaun's discomfort after his first date with Carly, which sounded like a perfectly fine evening to all of his co-workers, was just one example of Highmore's heartbreaking, riveting performances. 

Morgan and Claire Work Together - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 7


What doesn't work: Claire's spiral into depression after her mother's death.

Claire's self-destructive spiral isn't all bad, but it isn't all good either.

Her attempt to deal with her mom's unpredictability and her desire to help the entire world because she was always a caretaker for her mother were compelling drama, but just as it got going The Good Doctor killed Claire's mother off.

In theory, the idea of good girl Claire turning into an alcoholic who jumps into bed with random men is interesting. But in practice, it was disappointing.

It was such a stereotypical route to go -- TV is full of people who turn to alcohol and sex after a tragedy -- with no real payoff other than the wife of one of Claire's one-night stands slapping her.

If The Good Doctor was going to go this route, Claire should have suffered some more consequences for her sudden inability to be professional as well as her poor personal choices. 

An Important Case - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 10


What works: Morgan is much improved.

Morgan used to be the most annoying character on canvas, and viewers didn't often see a point to her continued presence.

Luckily, for the most part, that's a thing of the past.

Morgan has proven herself capable of being a good friend, and her attempt to get Claire turned around again is probably the best part of the Claire storyline.

Sure, she has flashes of being the old, selfish Morgan, and her rivalry with Park is more irritating than funny, but nine times out of ten she's tolerable to watch nowadays.

A Romantic Crisis - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 4


What works: Shaun and Carly's relationship

Shaun and Carly's burgeoning relationship is an enjoyable, realistic depiction of how difficult it is for people on the spectrum to navigate relationships.

To Carly's credit, she has been more than patient with Shaun -- and with his friends' constantly butting in on his behalf.

And Shaun has pushed himself out of his comfort zone regularly, with mixed results.

It's yet to be seen whether Shaun and Carly can go the distance, especially since The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 10 appeared to go the route of Shaun deciding he's more into Lea (BOO!).

But whether this relationship lasts or not, we'll always be grateful for it.

Relationship Struggles - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 8


What doesn't work: Lim and Melendez

Lim and Melendez were never a good idea for a relationship in the first place, and the on-again-off-again nature of their relationship in the first half of The Good Doctor Season 3 didn't help matters any.

The only good news here is that Lim becoming Melendez's supervisor didn't mean a return to sneaking around and hoping nobody caught on that the two were together.

But what could have been a compelling story about Melendez's self-doubts after a patient's death became a confusing mess in which Lim gave an ambiguous break-up speech and then the pair struggled to define what their new relationship to each other was.

There was too much focus on how Lim's job affected their relationship, and it was irritating.

Facing a Crisis - The Good Doctor


What doesn't work: Glassman's rushed marriage

Glassman impulsively married Debbie after almost backing out, only to constantly discover incompatibilities the two have to work through.

All couples go through that to a degree, of course, but the rushed nature of this marriage doesn't make the story compelling.

Despite Glassman feeling a need to seize the day after his cancer went into remission, it would have been more enjoyable to see these two build their relationship up toward marriage and figuring out their differences before they made a lifetime commitment to each other.

Andrews Supervises - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 6


What does work: Andrews vs Lim

It's been a humbling experience for Andrews to come back to the hospital as an attending and have to answer to Lim when he's used to being the one in charge.

But even better than the way the two clash, in general, is the way they clash over how to deal with Shaun.

Sometimes Andrews is right, particularly when he calls Lim out on coddling Shaun rather than providing him with appropriate accommodations so he can do his job.

But at the same time, he's often too hard on Shaun, and Lim is needed to balance that out too. 

At the Star's Bedside - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 10


What does work: More of a medical team

In the past, the emphasis was on Shaun's unique ability to come up with creative solutions to surgical problems.

Almost every week, the team would be stymied by some obstacle or the attendings would suggest a surgery that would be the best of bad outcomes, only for Shaun to visualize a better solution at the last minute.

On The Good Doctor Season 3, however, there is much more of an ensemble feel.

All the residents are involved in working with patients and finding solutions, and Shaun's expertise isn't always needed to save the day.

A Difficult Decision - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 9


What does work: Emotionally difficult cases

The medical storylines on The Good Doctor have been especially riveting on The Good Doctor Season 3.

Patients and doctors are both making difficult choices regularly, and the show doesn't rely on the medical miracle trope to make everything okay in the end.

More often than not, everything isn't okay, and that makes for compelling drama.

Glassman Delivers News - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 8


What does work: Glassman's clinic

Glassman is happy working on what Shaun would call "boring" cases in an urgent care clinic associated with the hospital, and his new job is surprisingly interesting.

While it would be nice to see more of Glassman's actual cases, his clinic work does make a nice backdrop for Shaun's relationship drama, and Glassman has had to figure out how to balance his work needs with Shaun's need to burst in and ask for advice.

Shaun Practices - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 5


What does work: Residents leading surgery

The decision to allow third-year students to lead their first surgeries is an engaging sideline.

Claire and Shaun both struggled in different ways with their first lead surgeries, and taking the lead in the OR is an entirely different ballgame from merely assisting.

The lead surgery storylines help propel character growth both in and out of the operating room, and we'd love to see more of it as the season progresses.

The Next Step - The Good Doctor


What doesn't work: Revisiting the Lea/Shaun relationship

It made sense that Shaun wanted Lea to accompany him to his father's deathbed. They've been friends for a long time and if Glassman was going, it might have felt as if something were missing without Lea there.

But the trip quickly headed in the direction of Shaun seeming to prefer Lea to Carly.

A Shaun/Lea reconciliation would undo all the hard work the writers put into showing how Shaun's autism is a challenge for him and Carly to overcome. 

It would imply that Shaun's problems with Carly stemmed from Lea being "the one" and that's just ridiculous.

Hazmat Suits - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 7


What works: Intertwining personal and professional stories

Some of the cases seem to help the doctors sort out their personal lives, while others are too close for comfort for them.

For example, Shaun could relate to a girl who had a severe autoimmune deficiency and had to live in a bubble, while he didn't have such a great time with a patient who was also on the spectrum.

And Claire literally came face-to-face with her bad behavior when her latest one-night-stand landed in the hospital.

The fusing of personal and professional lives is compelling when done well, and The Good Doctor generally does such things well.

Your turn, The Good Doctor fanatics.

Share your thoughts about the first half of The Good Doctor Season 3 below, and don't forget that you can watch The Good Doctor online if you'd like to see anything again.

The Good Doctor continues to air on ABC on Mondays at 10 PM EST/PST. It returns on January 14, 2020.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Good Doctor Quotes

Aren’t we judged by how we treat people? I don’t mean as doctors. I mean as people. Especially those who don’t have the same advantages that we have. We hire Shaun and we give hope to those people with limitations that those limitations are not what they think they are. That they do have a shot! We hire Shaun and we make this hospital better for it. We hire Shaun and we are better people for it.

Dr. Aaron Glassman

I saw a lot of surgeons in medical school. You’re much better than them. I have a lot to learn from you. You’re very arrogant. Do you think that helps you be a good surgeon? Does it hurt you as a person? Is it worth it?

Dr. Shaun Murphy