The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 16 Review: The Shaun Show

That went better than expected.

The show-within-a-show trope could have turned The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 16 into a silly, unwatchable story.

Instead, it enhanced the drama. The cameras’ presence gave Shaun valuable lessons on perfectionism and setting boundaries, while Lea reckoned with her past rejection of Shaun because of his ASD.

The theme of the hour seemed to be inspiration.

Shaun: Do you think I should allow Sophie to remove my mistake from the show?
Lea: That’s up to you. What do you think?
Shaun: I don’t want to be dishonest. But do people need truth or do they need hope?

Shaun worried that leaving his mistake out of the final broadcast would be dishonest but that leaving it in would make people less inspired.

This could have been a redux of the Epicure survey fiasco. In both cases, Lea took it upon herself to decide that it was in Shaun’s best interest not to have certain things included.

In this case, though, Lea left the final decision up to Shaun, showing growth on her part.

Iron Lung Patient - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 16

Lea thought that Sophie wanted to humiliate her when Sophie asked her about her previous rejection of Shaun because of his ASD.

The problem lay within her. Sophie wanted to tell a story of a couple that had overcome the odds, but Lea felt guilty and embarrassed about not wanting to accept Shaun’s ASD.

In her own way, Lea was also being a perfectionist. She seemed to think that admitting her prejudice against Shaun because of his ASD made her look bad for no reason.

She couldn’t see that the fact that she’d overcome her inner prejudices to date and then get engaged to Shaun made for a better love story than one where everything was perfect from the get-go.

Film vs Patient Care - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 16

As for Shaun, it’s hard to say what effect having cameras in the OR had on his job performance.

Lim announced that today’s cases would also test Shaun and Park’s ability to be attendings. So it’s equally likely that Shaun screwed up because he was under so much pressure to perform well.

Trying to prove that he was good enough to become an attending was too much for Shaun, and he might have frozen up or rushed through the surgery because he was nervous.

On the other hand, the camera crew did blind him with their lights, and he might have been distracted, wondering what Andrews and others they were interviewing during the surgery were saying about him.

Off-Camera Relationship - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 16

In a sense, Lea was right that Sophie was exploiting Shaun’s ASD. Reality shows often exploit and exaggerate real-life drama to make it more interesting.

As Sophie pointed out, a fairy tale romance where there were no problems doesn’t make for exciting television.

And if the finished product was supposed to be about Shaun and Lea’s romance, then why was Sophie filming Shaun’s activities in the OR, to begin with?

That seemed to go far afield of the film’s stated goal.

Reality Show Participant - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 16

Ironically, though Shaun blamed his mistake on the cameras’ presence, he might not have caught his error if Sophie hadn’t been filming. He figured it out by going over the footage Sophie had filmed over and over until he realized what he was missing.

Most hospitals probably wouldn’t let a reality show crew in to film doctors and patients, but this case made a compelling argument for why student doctors should be required to film their procedures and watch them as part of their education.

Anyway, one of the big concerns with this whole project was privacy.

Sophie promised they would blur out patients’ faces, but patients might not have been comfortable being filmed anyway.

An Atypical Couple - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 16

The interviews with Andrews and Glassman were the most interesting part of the filmmaker aspect of this story.

Filmmaker: Do you consider yourself Shaun’s protector?
Glassman: No. Not anymore.
Filmmaker: How does that feel?
Glassman: How does it feel? It feels great. I’m proud of Shaun and relieved he came this far.
Filmmaker: What changed?
Glassman: Shaun changed.

Unlike Lea, Andrews wasn’t afraid of his past prejudices and readily admitted that he used to think Shaun didn’t belong at St. Bonaventure. It was satisfying that his character came full circle like that.

As for Glassman, I loved that he’s proud of Shaun, but did he have to say that Lea changed Shaun?

I hate the trope of one partner completely changing because the other one loved them.

Directing a Documentary - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 16

Maybe in the late 1800s, that was considered high literature, but in the 2000s, the concept was insulting. It suggests that all they needed to make radical changes in their life was to have their romantic partner shower them with love.

Real change is harder than that. The right partner knows when to be supportive and when to push their partner further than they thought they could go.

And change generally comes from the person realizing something in their life is far from what they hoped and dreamed it would be. When they have to change, they do. They don’t do it just because they met someone.

Glassman’s statement about Lea changing Shaun ruined an otherwise perfect monologue about how Shaun had changed, but Glassman didn’t always want to admit it.

Documentary Film / Tall - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 16

The non-documentary-related stories were interesting, too.

It was easy to understand why a young mother would be insecure about her looks after suffering third-degree burns all over her face, and Park’s quest to save a firefighter was noble if doomed to failure.

I didn’t understand why deferring to Lim put Park’s career in danger. A good attending knows what he doesn’t know and is unafraid to ask others to take over as needed.

Over to you, The Good Doctor fanatics!

What did you think of The Shaun Show? Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know

If you need to check out the series’ latest episode before you commit, watch The Good Doctor online right here on TV Fanatic.

The Good Doctor airs on ABC on Mondays at 10 PM EST / 9 PM CST/ 7 PM PST.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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