The Good Doctor Season 1 Episode 17 Review: Smile

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The Good Doctor Season 1's penultimate episode ended with a major cliffhanger, making me nervous and excited for the upcoming season finale! 

On The Good Doctor Season 1 Episode 17, Shaun does not understand why a patient with facial paralysis wants to risk her life so she can finally smile. Meanwhile, Jared works with a patient he once treated for burns, and Shaun sets Dr. Glassman up on a date. 

The Need To Smile - The Good Doctor

After talking with Dr. Andrews, Shaun went around smiling at people to see if it released endorphins. While the smile was quite unsettling, as Jared said, it was nice to see Shaun putting forth the effort. 

Recently, we have seen Shaun research various things that he does not understand because of his autism.

Do you want to be a comedian? People getting your jokes must be very important to you if you think it’s worth the risk of dying during elective surgery.


He is starting to understand that just because something is true for him does not mean it is how life is for everyone.

By running his smile experiment, he started to understand what a real smile was and why it was important to people.

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It is great to see this character growth in Shaun because it finally tells me he can be a doctor with great bedside manner if he puts in the time to learn about other people.

I thoroughly enjoyed the fake smile Glassman gave Shaun in response to the experiment. It reminded me of Toby Ziegler's "over-the-moon face" on The West Wing

Toby Ziegler over the moon - The West Wing

Since The West Wing is my favorite show, I enjoy any reference, intended or not, to it. 

Despite the fake smile, this was the happiest we have seen Glassman on the series. 

Once he and Debbie started bonding over their love of classic cars, their flirtation was adorable. 

Aaron and Debbie - The Good Doctor Season 1 Episode 17

They had a natural chemistry because Debbie was played by Richard Schiff's actual wife Sheila Kelley. I was looking forward to watching their relationship blossom.

Unfortunately, with their date ending the way it did and the preview for the season finale, it does not look like we will get to see Glassman be happy. 

We’ll just take the doorstop.

Aaron Glassman

I don't know if they will really kill off Dr. Glassman. Schiff is the biggest name on the show, with an Emmy Award and a slew of other trophies under his belt.

Unless his contract stipulated that he would only be on for one season, which I have not heard, I cannot imagine them getting rid of his incredible talent.

Related: The Good Doctor Season 1 Episode 16 Review: Pain

I have made it clear in past reviews that I am not a huge fan of the trope where Shaun magically figures out a cure for his patient and saves their lives.

As devastated as I will be to lose Schiff on this series, I also do not want this corny Good Doctor miracle to save him.

If he does survive, I hope they save him in a unique way.

Jared and Celeste - The Good Doctor Season 1 Episode 17

Speaking of people leaving the show, Jared received his acceptance from the hospital in Denver. If Schiff does leave, Chuku Modu won't leave as well.

It would not make sense to lose two main actors this early in the series.

I wonder if they will use his burgeoning relationship with Celeste to keep him in San Jose. I was delighted that she returned to the show. 

What are you doing tomorrow? I’m calling in sick.


I loved Jared's interactions with her on The Good Doctor Season 1 Episode 6. That was one of the first times I liked Jared on the show because he seemed so honest and vulnerable. 

Similarly, they were fantastic together in this episode, sharing secrets and acknowledging their mutual attraction.

I loved every moment with the two of them, and I cannot wait to see how their first date goes.  

Claire talks to a patient - The Good Doctor Season 1 Episode 17

Antonia Thomas has been wonderful all season, but she has been especially nuanced and brilliant in more recent episodes.

Aside from Highmore and Schiff, Thomas is delivering the best and most consistent performance on the series.

She deserves better than the material the writers are giving her, though. 

What would happen if people who needed our help thought they would be arrested?


I hate that they are pitting Claire against Reznick so much. I know I am going to sound like a broken record, but this show is sadly lacking in female characters, and they do not do Claire justice. 

They certainly do not have to make Claire and Reznick get along. By always making it some sort of competition between the two of them, though, they are engaging in unintentional sexism.

They need to fix this issue, especially if Thomas is going to continue to be the only woman in the main cast.   

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We also need to talk about Kenny. I have mentioned before that I was suspicious of him, but I also wanted to root for him.

Shaun deserves a good friend. Unfortunately, it seems that I was right to be wary of him. 

His rescheduling pizza night on Shaun so he could hang out with friends he seemed to think were cooler was bad enough. That is not how a true friend would treat anyone he cares about. 

Shaun: You got a 70-inch flatscreen too.
Kenny: Uh, no. I borrowed yours. It makes no sense for us both to have one, right? Plus, the homies got to watch March Madness.

But in this episode, he went too far. He took Shaun's television out of his apartment because he did not see the need in them both having one. Who does that?

He needs to stay away from Shaun because this "friendship" can only end poorly.

What do you think will happen on the season finale? Do you think Jared will leave San Jose? What will happen with Dr. Glassman? Be sure to watch The Good Doctor online! Then, share your thoughts with us in the comments section! 

Have a look at the official teaser for the finale below!

Smile Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (22 Votes)

Kaitlynn Smith was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in May of 2018.

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The Good Doctor Season 1 Episode 17 Quotes

What would happen if people who needed our help thought they would be arrested?


Do you want to be a comedian? People getting your jokes must be very important to you if you think it’s worth the risk of dying during elective surgery.