The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 17 Review: Fixation

Shaun needs to learn to respect boundaries.

He spent most of The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 17 trying to convince Lea to go out on a date with him, convinced that he could overcome her resistance with his problem-solving skills.

Lea said she couldn’t be with him because he is autistic, but that’s not the problem. His insistence on ignoring her saying no was.

Big Risks (TALL) - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 17

The Good Doctor tried to make this a feature of Shaun’s autism, and maybe to an extent it was.

Melendez: I don’t think you make people fall in love with you. They either do or they don’t.
Shaun: That is not true. Everyone starts not in love with you and then they are.

Melendez tried to tell Shaun that you can’t make people fall in love with you and Lea tried to tell Shaun several times that she wasn’t interested.

Many people with autism are open to others explaining social rules to them because they just don’t get it, but Shaun was so wrapped up in his belief that Lea was attainable that he wasn’t willing to listen.

Relationship Drama - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 17

Of course, none of this would have happened if Morgan hadn’t put ideas in Carly’s head about how Shaun was in love with Lea and Carly hadn’t told Shaun to go be with Lea.

I’ve never believed Shaun truly was in love with Lea. It seemed that he took Carly’s instructions literally and attempted to confess feelings to Lea that didn’t really exist.

Shaun: I can learn to be comfortable with your way of doing things. I can handle your messiness and your neediness and your selfishness.
Lea: Shaun. Stop. Your way of showing me that you are attentive to my needs is to call me out of work with no notice to go all the way across town so you can show me you unalphabetized your beans.

And now he’s obsessing on her because Carly told him he was in love with Lea and should be with her.

Lea didn’t help, either, with her non-specific explanations of why she and Shuan couldn’t be together.

A Distraught Patient - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 17

People with autism don’t take hints very well, and Lea was doing everything but explaining exactly what the problem was — until Shaun finally pushed her hard enough that she admitted the truth.

Morgan: Find someone who loves you the way you are.
Shaun: People always say that, but shouldn’t we be with someone who makes us want to be a better version of ourselves?
Morgan: Maybe. But trying not to be autistic won’t make you better.

She doesn’t want to be with Shaun because his autism clashes with whatever it is she’s supposed to be.

This entire mess is why Shaun should have stayed with Carly in the first place. I hate the soap trope of people bouncing back and forth between two people but in this case I’d love for him to realize he made a mistake and try to make things right with Carly.

For once, Morgan had some decent advice.

A Difficult Diagnosis - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 17

She was right that Shaun should be with someone who accepts him for who he is, autism and all.

That’s Carly, not Lea.

Let’s hope her absolute rejection of Shaun is the end of this nonsense, though from the promo trailer it doesn’t seem like it.

Claire: Her husband wasn’t wrong. Sometimes you have to accept that things are as good as they get. Otherwise you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.
Shaun: What good does it do to give up if you’re already heartbroken?

Meanwhile, the medical cases both involved questions related to who should decide what level of risk is acceptable.

Navigating a Tricky Relationship - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 17

Both Alice’s husband and Lim made the decision for someone else — was either of them right?

Lim’s attitude aggravated me.

Yes, Max was only 16. But he also is a street smart kid who has probably seen a ton of trauma. Kids in those situations often have to grow up fast.

I get it. I’m a screw-up. But Wes isn’t. He came and got me when I was too messed up to drive. He cleaned me up after fights. If I stay out of jail… if I’m a father someday… if I’m not a lost cause, it’s because of Wes. He doesn’t deserve to die.


He’s emancipated, which means legally he should have the right to make medical decisions for himself, and as Park pointed out if he were Wes’ biological son this wouldn’t even be an issue.

A Mysterious Illness - The Good Doctor Season 3 Episode 17

Wes was dying and Max was the only living donor, but Lim stubbornly refused to allow him to donate based on some criterion that didn’t make any sense.

If she was worried about whether Max understood the risks, she could have called in a psychiatrist familiar with adolescents to evaluate that.

She decided that a kid Max’s age couldn’t possibly understand long-term consequences or that because he’d got into trouble in the past, he couldn’t make any good decisions now.

Then she lied to him to make him feel better about her refusal.

And for what? Wes is still dying while a potential donor is sitting in another room crying. Everyone on the case except Lim saw how ridiculous and short-sighted that was.

Alice’s husband was equally annoying. 

His fears were understandable, but he didn’t seem to have any empathy for Alice whatsoever.

She had been suffering for years from some sort of illness that made her dizzy and weak, and his opinion was that she should just put up with that so that she didn’t have to undergo a risky surgery.

No matter how afraid he was, he could have expressed some understanding of how she felt. Instead, he used an ultimatum to make the decision for her.

It ended up working out since Shaun figured out an alternative treatment, but sheesh.

There was some weird stuff between Claire and an ex-patient whose wife had now passed on.

I was surprised Melendez encouraged her to go for it since it seemed there would be some ethical issues involved in that sort of relationship.

Melendez probably did believe Claire would be happy if she was with this guy, but the cynic in me can’t help wondering whether he thought this was a good way to dispel the rumors about him and Claire.

I wonder what Morgan might have said. She’s sarcastic, untrusting, and occasionally gives good advice, so it would have been interesting to get her take on this.

Finally, I hope the subplot about Park’s son gets developed more.

Park: Some of this is on you. Every time we talk you don’t tell me anything about your life.
Cal: That’s because you don’t want to know.
Park: That’s not true.
Cal: Yes it is! You’re saving patients 100 hours a week. You don’t want to feel guilty so you ask if I’m okay because you want me to be. So I tell you I’m fine.

Callum hasn’t been around for a while, and he appears to be vaping pot to self-medicate for his anxiety and sense that Park isn’t truly interested in him.

This could be something fascinating for Park to grapple with as we head toward the season finale.

Your turn, Good Doctor fanatics.

Is this the end of the road for Shaun and Lea, and do you want it to be? And who was right: Lim or Max?

Hit SHOW COMMENTS and share your thoughts.

Want to see the episode again? Watch The Good Doctor online right here on TV Fanatic.

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

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

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