‘The Good Doctor’s triumphant return! Jared Kalu struggles to get his job back & Shaun Murphy is off the grid, on a spontaneous trip with Lea!
In part one of the two-part mid-season premiere of The Good Doctor, Dr. Glassman arrives at Leah’s apartment to look for Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), who ran away from Glassman and San Jose St. Bonaventure after spiraling out of control. After Glassman leaves Leah’s, she pulls a rattled and scared Shaun out from under her trundle bed. Instead of work, Shaun and Leah take a spontaneous trip, while Dr. Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) and Dr. Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas) get used to their team without Dr. Jared Kalu. While Glassman tells Melendez that Shaun has a family emergency and won’t be in for a few days, the doctors are confused as to why Shaun didn’t tell them himself. Still, there’s no time to think as Dr. Marcus Andrews (Hill Harper) introduces Melendez and Claire to their new patients — a pair conjoined twins, who need a kidney transplant.
Lea lets Shaun drive her car, even though he doesn’t have his license but he excitingly takes the wheel, stating that Glassman never let him drive. “You’re a natural,” Lea compliments him as she teaches him to handle the car. She teaches Shaun how to “burn rubber,” but after taking his foot off the break, the car spirals out of control and into a ditch, Shaun getting his foot to the break right before hitting a pole. He immediately retreats to his anxiety-riddled behavior, while Lea calmly talks him down. Still, the car is damaged and the two venture over to a bar to wait for a mechanic. There, Lea makes Shaun take his first tequila shot and, much to her surprise and joy, he loved it and asks for more! The pair, a few shots deep, take the stage to sing some Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.
“I have one more thing to teach you! How to properly end a date,” Lea says to Shaun before they go into their motel room. After going through the motions, Lea asks Shaun to kiss her and they lean in…. and boom! The moment we’ve all be waiting for! Now, what’s the couple name? Shea? Laun? Well, before that can be decided, and before they can kiss again, Shaun runs to the bathroom to puke!
Back at the hospital, conjoined twins struggle following their kidney transplant, causing them to up the timeline in their separation. However, one of the twins wants the surgery, with the other does not. In the midst of deciding how to continue, Melendez and his wife, hospital lawyer Jessica Preston (Beau Garrett), butt heads. We all know the issue between them isn’t really the surgery, though, it’s the fact that Jessica announced she didn’t want children, while Melendez whole-heartedly wants to be a father. He gets some advice from an unlikely source — Dr. Browne, who tells him it’s much harder to find someone you love with your whole heart, which ultimately pushes Melendez back to his wife.
It’s Dr. Browne’s time to shine, as she’s given the test of talking the twins into both consenting to the separation surgery. “You could be so much more. With the freedom to finally be yourself, just yourself…” she tells them and gets them back on-board.
The next morning at the motel, Lea sees Shaun walking outside in the sunrise, with his head hanging. “I feel disgusting, you’re never going to want me to kiss you again,” he says to her. “Why are you so hard on yourself? You are never going to be happy if you constantly live in fear,” she says. He thanks her for taking him to clear his head and reveals he’s ready to speak with Glassman. Lea also reveals the trip inspired her to she’s going to quit her job and move out to help at her family auto shop in Hershey, PA. A heartbroken and shocked Shaun storms out of the restaurant.
Before going into her separation surgery, Dr. Browne gets the courage to approach Dr. Coyle, the doctor who sexually harassed her before the mid-season finale, and whose behavior resulted in Kalu’s firing. Browne threatens Coyle that she will find other women to speak out against him if he doesn’t try to get Kalu his job back. While Coyle first appears cocky and defiant, he realizes Browne won’t back down and storms off. #TIMESUP, Coyle! Dr. Andrews calls Kalu to tell him that Coyle took full responsibility and Melendez spoke very highly of him, but he could not be reinstated because “physical assault is a line that cannot be crossed.”
In the last few minutes of part one of this two-part episode titled “Islands,” Melendez is concerned that the separated twins haven’t woken up yet, while Shaun turns on a walkman and sits alone at a bus station. We’re left totally hanging on. Is Shaun going to follow Lea to Pennsylvania? Will the twins survive? Where is Kalu going to go?! HollywoodLifers, let me know what you think and make sure to watch The Good Doctor next Monday, Jan. 15, at 10 PM ET on ABC!