Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) shows up ready for work on time and excited for the day, even adding in some of his own dry sense of humor. Soon, though, that is all disrupted when Shaun sees a patient who looks truly identical to his late brother Steve. The patient’s name is Evan Gallico (Dylan Kingwell) and he’s in the hospital after tripping and breaking his arm during a school trip.
Also in San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital, a man arrives in excruciating pain after going into anaphylactic shock when his son arrived home from an extended stay in Thailand. While the man sits in the hospital, he and his son argue over the son’s whereabouts the last six months. The doctor’s interrupt to reveal they found a lesion on his pancreas and he will need surgery. While this is a small storyline within the episode, the bigger focus is this boy, Evan, with an uncanny resemblance to Shaun’s brother and it’s taken a toll on the resident, which has Dr. Aaron Glassman on edge.
As Evan and Shaun bond during his CT Scan, Shaun discovers that Evan has a tumor behind his ear. As he approaches the boy’s parents to tell them the news, Shaun’s surprised to find that they already know about his diagnosis. “Evan was diagnosed with Stage 4 bone cancer. They gave him a year to live… that was seven months ago,” his mom revealed through tears. Then, the real kicker, the dad added, “He doesn’t know about his diagnosis. We would really like to keep it that way.” A shocked and seemingly devastated Dr. Shaun Murphy nodded along.
Shaun struggles with keeping the news from Evan and battles it out with Dr. Glassman. “What’s so wrong with Evan being able to enjoy as much of his life as possible?” Glassman says to Shaun, before realizing that the real reason Shaun is so distraught is because of his brother. Shaun flashes back to gifting his brother To Kill A Mocking Bird for his birthday when they were living in the bus.It’s too late for Glassman to even protest, as Shaun abruptly leaves the lunch table to find Claire. “I need you to lie for me,” he tells her. Claire approaches Evan’s parents to tell them he needs pins in his arm, so that Shaun would have the opportunity to run some tests.
As Dr. Murphy is pricking and poking at Evan, the two bond more than Shaun has with anyone on the show. As the boys were discussing whether you tell someone the truth even if it will hurt them, Shaun drops the bombshell: “You have cancer.” Surprisingly, Evan responds “Yeah, I know.” He reveals that he Googled my symptoms after spending days in the hospital for what he thought was a sore shin and figured out he had cancer or growing pains. However, Evan reveals, “I’m not afraid to die. I’m not afraid about the actual death part. If I believe in Heaven then I have to believe in God. It’s just easier to think that it’s all random, and then when it’s over, it’s just over.” Whoa. Some major insight to hold on to from this wise boy.
Shaun digs into his research and figures out that Evan may have been misdiagnosed. After pitching his idea to Dr. Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) and concluding that there is only a .3% chance he is correct, Melendez shuts him down and tells him to leave it alone. However, this is Dr. Shaun Murphy and Evan is not a regular patient. Shaun goes to Glassman asking him for advice on lying, goes behind Melendez’s back and tries to conduct a bone marrow extraction to do the final test and make sure Evan doesn’t have cancer.
While Shaun is trying to hide what he’s doing, Evan sees right through Shaun telling him that the tests he’s running are “no biggie.” He reveals to Evan that he may have been misdiagnosed, and, as Shaun prepares to take the bone marrow, Evan’s parents burst through the door. Recall, the two don’t know that Evan even knows about his cancer diagnosis, so they’re not only horrified that a doctor is about to take bone marrow from their son, but they’re devastated to find their son knows about his terminal diagnosis. However, as Evan’s father pushes Shaun out of the room, Evan starts to vomit blood and is rushed into surgery. While Melendez successfully removed Evan’s embolism, he found lesions on his ribs — evidence that the cancer spread to his chest cavity.
As Shaun looks on at Evan reuniting with his parents after surgery, he flashes back to the dark moments following Steve’s funeral. Young Shaun is seen sitting alone on the bus in his suit and tie, unsure where to go next. He sees To Kill A Mockingbird sitting on Steve’s bed and notices he was only three pages away from finishing. Back in the present, Shaun approaches Evan once the coast is clear, pulls up a chair and asks if he can read him something. Shaun brings out the haggard copy of To Kill A Mockingbird, removes the bookmark from where Steve left it and reads the final three pages. It is the most gut-wrenching, emotional and human moments of the entire season so far.
HollywoodLifers, did you watch tonight’s episode of The Good Doctor? What did you think? Let me know if you need a tissue.