Some great interpersonal dynamics come up this episode. It's actually been foreshadowed for awhile that the relationship between Shi-on and Do-han would be moving in this direction- it's just been overshadowed by the very poor patient-of-the-week plots and Shi-on's zig-zagging autism symptoms. Still, a pleasant surprise is a pleasant surprise, and watching and considering these character interactions is a genuine treat.
With Shi-on, we finally get back to the idea that he is a person who needs somebody to help take care of him. Not just one person- everybody needs to help look out for Shi-on, because it is just way too easy for him to mess things up and offend people, even when he's acting as basically inoffensive as possible. His skills in the operating room are now well-defined and specific to his personality. His usefulness as a doctor is now clear- and yet not perfect, as he and has mental issues to overcome that don't necessarily relate to his autism.
Do-han's general aloofness is put in full focus as well. It's clear at this point that he's having an emotional affair with Yoon-seo- not deliberately, and she doesn't really process it either. But it's pretty unmistakable that Do-han is trying to escape from the stress and doesn't trust his girlfriend Chae-kyeong to help him do it. He's got bottled-up issues he needs to deal with in a healthier way. It is, again, an interesting contrast with Shi-on, who actually knows he needs to change, but his limited in his attempts to try by autism.
This episode as a whole is also really well-balanced. There's character focus for pretty much everyone in degrees roughly equivalent to their importance to the overall plot. Little subplots about the other staff doctors are explored a bit. We also get a good conclusion to the pregnant woman's subplot- one that appropriately has little interference from the doctors, as this is an emotional, personal moment that has to be shared with people who have an actual interpersonal relationship with each other.
And for once, this is actually really good parallel theming from the patient subplot. The strengths of "Good Doctor" lie primarily in characterization and motivation. Love can be a complicated, contradictory thing even between people not on the autistic spectrum, and it helps emphasize the humanity Shi-on really has. Suffice to say, this is a much stronger episode that anything I've seen from this drama in some time, and I'd like to have more of it.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Good Doctor" Episode 12"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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