Television

The Good Doctor Season 7 Episode 3 Review: Critical Support

There’s a fine line between asking for accommodations and demanding the world change to suit you, and Charlie crossed it.

On The Good Doctor Season 7 Episode 3, she aggravated Shaun with incessant questions, made inappropriate comments, and generally had the attitude that her ASD meant she couldn’t help any of her behavior.

Shaun looked like the bad guy when he treated her the way Dr. Han treated him, yet he had more of a point than anyone acknowledged.

The irony of Shaun trying to force Charlie into pathology after Han doing the same thing to him was not lost on Glassman or Lim.

While Shaun’s frustration with Charlie was understandable, it wasn’t believable that it never crossed his mind that Charlie would feel the same way about it that he did when he was receiving it. Glassman’s reminder that Han did the same thing should have made him think twice.

Was Dr. Han Like Shaun Is Being With Charlie?

Dr. Han was Chief of Surgery during The Good Doctor Season 2. He disliked Shaun’s bluntness and was uncomfortable with him because he was autistic.

Han believed Shaun’s problems made him unable to be a surgeon, assigned him to the pathology lab instead, and fired him when Shaun had a meltdown about it.

At the time, Han was the latest doctor to decide that Shaun couldn’t be a surgeon because he was autistic, and it was annoying and out of touch with reality.

Given his experience with Han’s nonsense,  Shaun’s insistence that Charlie would never be a surgeon was a step too far. Shaun tends to think he’s right even when others in similar situations are wrong. Still, he’s usually able to see another perspective when reminded of how he felt in an analogous situation.

Was Charlie LIke Shaun Used to Be?

There was a critical distinction between Shaun and Charlie.

Shaun Murphy has never considered his ASD a disability. He has done his best to succeed despite his challenges, while Charlie interprets ‘accommodations’ to mean that she never has to change her behavior because she’s neurodivergent.

Charlie’s attitude aggravated me. I’m much more like Shaun in that I’ve always seen my autism-related challenges as skill deficits that can be overcome rather than being set in stone.

Autistic people who cross the line from needing accommodations to using their diagnosis to excuse bad behavior are one of my pet peeves. And that’s exactly what Charlie was doing.

I get some of what she was saying. I’m sensitive to raised voices, too, and am more likely to become startled and defensive than learn anything if someone raises their voice even slightly.

But that doesn’t mean that anything goes. Charlie went beyond communicating that challenge to demanding that others accept any way she chose to speak. Having a disability doesn’t mean that one is immune to consequences for their words and actions.

Kalu: Charlie?
Charlie: Hmm?
Kalu: It might be better to be your authentic self without interrupting your boss.

Charlie’s response to Jared suggesting she shouldn’t engage in inappropriate workplace conversations annoyed me even more than her interactions with Shaun. Being autistic doesn’t mean she has a green light to make others uncomfortable, and it is not a violation of the ADA to insist she refrain from specific topics of conversation.

Charlie’s Attitude is a Poor Representation of Autism

While it’s great that an autistic actress plays Charlie, this is not good autistic representation. Autistic people are not all unable to take feedback into account, nor do we all have to fight to be seen as valuable employees.

We’ve had two autistic characters, and both of them have had a hard time succeeding as a surgeon because of their autism. That’s a tired TV trope about autism that needs to go.

The Good Doctor has done a lot to normalize autism. Still, when it depicts autistic people as always making others uncomfortable and unable to handle the social side of the workplace, it doesn’t do us any favors.

Charlie’s inability to accept criticism is close to being a toxic trait. I didn’t blame Shaun for not wanting to work with her, even if this workplace split for the sake of drama is written as if he’s insensitive to her feelings and refusing to see that she’s a lot like he was when he first started.

Glassman And Lim’s Conflict is Overplayed

Glassman and Lim continued fighting over aspects of their co-presidency. This sniping wasn’t entertaining when Morgan and Park did it, and it wasn’t any better here.

This time around, Aaron Glassman‘s attitude that if he ignored their demands, they’d go away made no sense. Dealing with the hospital board requires political savvy, but ignoring board members’ communications wasn’t the best way to do this.

Did Glassman succeed before by doing that? Really?

Or was he saying things to get Lim’s goat?

That fecal sample fridge Lim wanted him to set up better feature prominently in a future episode after all the talking she did about it!

Asher’s Struggles Were Relatable

Asher’s refusal to go to Jeremy’s niece’s confirmation didn’t take up too much of the hour, but his difficulty with this was relatable.

Ash, I’ve tried to be sensitive to your family history, but mine’s not the same. We’re all super close.

Jeremy

Asher Wolke’s always been somewhat of a lone wolf because of his conflict with his religious community, especially his parents. Understandably, he wouldn’t prioritize a family party or feel comfortable with Jerome’s family, especially if he doesn’t know them well.

When he finally overcame his reluctance, he bonded with Jerome’s niece. As an introvert with social anxiety, I appreciated this story and its outcome.

Was All That Blood and Gore Necessary?

I’m with Dom — the amount of blood on medical dramas makes me queasy, too.

This was a particularly gross, Monkey’s Paw-like case, with a butcher losing his hand in a meat grinder accident. Still, Dom’s inability to stand the sight of blood is getting old.

I’m sure some doctors feel that way, but he has to get through his surgical rotation somehow, and he needs a story beyond fainting every time he’s in the OR!

I liked how he stood up to Morgan (who is back to ridiculous storylines after being more sympathetic and mature than she used to be.). And I appreciate Park being more patient with him than Shaun’s been with Charlie.

This case may have been gruesome, but it was more compelling than the guy who swallowed part of a barbecue brush. I’m pretty sure that happened to someone on Chicago Med recently, and I was distracted trying to remember.

Your turn, The Good Doctor fanatics.

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts about the episode.

The Good Doctor airs on ABC on Tuesdays at 10/9c.

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

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