The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 17 Review: The Lea Show

Claire’s visit was way too short.

On The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 17, she stayed at the hospital for long enough to take care of a seriously ill little boy while debating whether to take a Chief of Surgery position back in Guatemala.

Once the child’s surgeries were done, she packed her bags, even though Shaun and Lea postponed their wedding. Life will go on without her at St Bonaventure like it did the first time she left, but damn.

Claire’s visit brought The Good Doctor back to its roots in some ways.

Claire has always had a special connection with Shaun, and on top of that, this time, she brought a challenging case that required all of his visualization skills.

Shaun rarely does his visualization thing anymore, which used to be one of the more compelling, unique aspects of the series. At least he did it while Claire was around!

Anyway, Claire’s patient almost had a tragic ending. Thank goodness Shaun figured out a solution to the boy’s blood clots so that they could do the surgery after all.

A Happy Reunion - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 17

Claire’s visit was marred by only one thing: her constant need for reassurance that the Chief of Surgery position was the right fit for her.

Lim used to be her mentor, so it was understandable that Claire wanted her feedback. But the way she went about it felt more like someone desperate for approval than an equal asking a colleague for an opinion.

When Claire insisted on overseeing the surgeries herself, it didn’t feel like it was about her patient as much as it was about proving to Lim that she could do this.

Why was she so desperate? Lim wasn’t in charge of hiring her. If Claire decided to take the position, Lim had no power to stop her.

It felt like Claire wasn’t ready for the position, not for the reasons that Lim cited, but because she couldn’t move forward with it without Lim’s approval. That suggested she didn’t think she would be able to do it.

Of course, Claire’s insecurities weren’t necessarily correct either. When they’re offered a promotion, everyone suffers from massive imposter syndrome, and that’s often not based in reality.

Lim’s opinions didn’t help that any. But still, Claire had to make her own decision irrespective of what Lim thought.

Lim: I have a nurse who’s going through domestic abuse at home.
Claire: I’m sorry to hear that. Is she okay?
Lim: I don’t know whether she’s going to be able to make it. I may need to let her go.
Claire: That’s your objective? To be Chief of Staff you have to be willing to fire battered women?
Lim: If they’re endangering patients, yes.
Claire: You know, when I left I really admired you. You were a fantastic Chief of Surgery and I admired how you were so dedicated to your career that you were willing to sacrifice everything. But now, I don’t know. Maybe it’s a year in Guatemala or just getting a year older, but I’m not so sure I admire you anymore.

Toward the end of the hour, Claire realized that, but then when her patient appeared to be dying, she second-guessed herself again.

Luxurious Wedding Plans - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 17

It took Shaun finding a solution for the blood clots for Claire to decide she’d give the Chief of Surgery position a try after all. It’s great that she decided to take that risk. But her ability to succeed didn’t depend on whether she was able to save this patient.

The kid had massive tumors all over his body, and the odds were against him. She made a split-second decision about which surgery to have first and was comfortable with her choice. That in itself demonstrated leadership ability.

The thing is, being Chief of Surgery isn’t about making the right call every time. It’s about staying calm under pressure, making the best possible decisions in impossible scenarios, and motivating your team to be their best selves.

Claire can do all that. She’s had the inspiration piece down for years, and she has the medical knowledge and experience. The only thing she didn’t have until the last minute of the hour was Lim’s approval. Thank goodness she discovered she didn’t need it!

A Severely Ill Child - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 17

The medical storyline was more interesting than the wedding planning drama.

Lea chose a storybook-style wedding that didn’t fit her and Shaun’s personalities. It wasn’t hard to predict what would happen since Jordan told her that she didn’t think the dress was Lea’s style.

When Shaun and I agreed to do this, it became more than a wedding. We are representing atypical couples, showing that an atypical person can marry a neurotypical person in the most freaking perfect wedding ever.

Lea’s idea was silly that she needed a fancy wedding to encourage viewers who were atypical and dating neurotypical partners.

People on the spectrum often don’t care about superficial things such as what the wedding dress looks like (I know I couldn’t care less!). The fact that Lea stuck by Shaun’s side would be encouragement enough regardless of what type of dress she wore.

Claire's Patient - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 17

And now Lea and Shaun’s wedding is postponed AGAIN. I’ve never been a huge fan of this couple, and the constant will-they/won’t-they nature of this freaking wedding isn’t helping!

There’s been way too much drama over this wedding, but Sophie shouldn’t have been upset. She’s producing a reality TV series, and those kinds of shows thrive on crap like people canceling the wedding at the last minute.

Sophie should have offered to film the simpler wedding whenever Lea and Shaun were ready. That way, they’d have their happy ending, and so would she, and the ratings on her series would have gone through the roof.

According to the promo for The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 18, Lea and Shaun will try again to get married. Please let the third time be the charm. This is ridiculous already.

Shaun Visualizes - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 17

Finally, Lim’s confrontation with Nurse Villanova was surprisingly low-key.

No matter what she said to Claire about having to detach from her feelings, it was obvious she felt bad for this nurse, and that’s why she didn’t fire her outright.

A patient could have died because Nurse Villanova neglected to give her her meds. That’s a serious breach of the employee code of conduct and one that could leave the hospital liable if a different patient dies due to Villanova’s continued negligence.

Lim did the right thing by putting the nurse on administrative leave and insisting she calls a shelter for help. But she was also right that Nurse Villanova couldn’t continue to work there if this situation continued like this.

Unprofessional Behavior - The Good Doctor Season 5 Episode 17

Over to you, Good Doctor Fanatics. Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought of Claire’s visit and Shaun and Lea’s decision to postpone their wedding.

You can always watch The Good Doctor online right here on TV Fanatic if you need a refresher.

The Good Doctor airs on ABC on Mondays at 10 PM EST / PST. The 5th season finale airs on May 16, 2022.

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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