The drama takes a very focused turn this episode. A lot of the story so far has been about fallout from reckless doctor decisions, but this is the first time we're actually forced to watch the situation play out in the long term with little to no distraction. And it's Yoon-seo that goes through the wringer here- certainly appropriate since autistic spectrum Shi-on can't internalize the degree of the screw up quite as well.
It's effective stuff- as I mentioned in my last review, the problem with "Good Doctor"'s plots so far is that they've been too exotic and there's no baseline. This episode is a pretty faithful recreation of what it must feel like for an operation to go sour, and provides a convincing explanation for why the younger characters act like such mavericks. If there's any situation worth avoiding, it's this one.
This contrasts nicely to the older doctors, who also want to avoid these situations, but try to achieve this by hiding behind bureaucracy and paperwork rather than actually trying to save lives. It's a bit of a grim portrait, really, although in this context passive villainy makes quite a bit more sense than anyone outright being evil. All around it's a pretty good mix of muddled emotions, and does a fair bit to establish how Shi-on isn't necessarily disadvantaged by being on the spectrum. On a basic level, he can't worry or obsess about this stuff the same way that Yoon-seo does.
As well done as this all is, "Good Doctor" still isn't grabbing me exactly. It might just be the lack of continuity. Nothing in this episode really builds off of the previous ones, but this is mainly because Yoon-seo hasn't had much characterization so far and this episode is her real building block. By and large the elements still relate pretty well. The doctors still have the same personality. Do-han and Chaek-young still have this weird non-confrontational relationship attitude that seems really at odds with their general personality. And, of course, Shi-on is still autistic.
At the very least the drama is doing a better job priming the audience for what happens next. At the end of this episode we see a rather unusual patient, to the point I'd almost consider him to be a goofy gimmick. But after a downer episode like this one, I'm actually pretty all right with some more elaborate general hospital antics. Now's about the right time for a fuzzy spot of hope.
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 5"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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