I think it's safe to write at this point that "Good Doctor" has completely squandered its chance to be a series that makes an intelligent, meaningful statement about autism. Try as I might I can't detect any sort of consistency in Shi-on's behavior that can meaningfully be applied to a real world person. One moment he's smoothing practical strangers over with meaningful words, and the next he's compeltely shy and nervous in front of colleagues he's met before.
Fortunately the more obnoxious parts of the story have been removed. The atrocious patients-of-the-week that have made this drama painful to watch finally leave the hospital. I actually wasn't sure who they were at first since they look completely different than in their original incarnations. Which I imagine is supposed to be indicative of their character growth- except that their character growth was widely implausible and stupid.
Still, the departure of these particular characters leaves the more interesting, plausible subplot about the pregnant woman oscillating between whether she should take treatment at the hospital (the much safer option) or acquiesce to the political considerations being made by her relatives. This conflict works, because while long-term considerations are explicitly being taken to account, the drama recognizes that the responsibility of the doctors is only to make sure everyone stays alive and healthy in the short term.
It's a conflict that has very little to do with the basic premise of the show being adjustment to Shi-on's autism, but hey, I'll take what I can get at this point. For the first time we get the rumblings of a possible relationship between Shi-on and Yoon-seo- which is cute, but I have a lot of trouble seeing Shi-on in the aggressive role in this romance. Mainly this is because he can't even look Chae-kyoung in the face- and while I know this probably isn't because she's a woman, it's still glaring to see him alternate between shy and talky on such a random dime. It's like half his scenes have a different writer than the other half.
Do-han's character gets more interesting consistent action here, as a sequence of events regarding him, Yoon-seo, and Chae-kyoung from a previous episode repeats. I might criticize this as being repetitive, but here the repetition is the entire point. His relationship is in trouble, he won't admit it, and Do-han is moving to get emotional fulfillment elsewhere because of his really weird expectations. I'm actually genuinely curious where his story arc is going- there's no obvious connection to be made to Shi-on, but Do-han is at least a fully realized person with consistently inconsistent behavior.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Good Doctor" Episode 11"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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