Shaun's experience with Dr. Chambers proved one thing: this claim everyone keeps making that he is incapable of empathy is baloney.
On The Good Doctor Season 4 Episode 12, Shaun was able to get through to some degree to an autistic patient resistant to his diagnosis because he empathized in a non-standard way... and that wasn't the only person he was able to empathize with.
Yet Shaun himself worried that he wouldn't be able to understand his child's feelings if Lea went through with the pregnancy.
The idea that Autistic people are incapable of empathy is a particularly pernicious and ableist myth that most media loves to reinforce.
Studies show that the opposite is true. The majority of people with Autism over-empathize with others and become so overwhelmed that they shut down, leading to the appearance of non-empathy.
Being able to predict the connection between social behavior and certain feelings is a bigger issue than not being able to empathize, for most real-life people with Autism as well as for Shaun.
Shaun: What if my child has no friends? What if they're picked on?
Claire: This is not small-town Wyoming. The world has changed.
Shaun: I have not changed. How can I know what my child is feeling? How can I comfort them? How can I be a good father?
Yet Shaun's biggest fear seemed to be not understanding his child's feelings if the child were to be bullied or picked on in the future -- an odd claim indeed because his concern that these things could happen demonstrated empathy.
In addition, Shaun's ability to connect with Dr. Chambers over Chambers' beloved coffee mug showed a level of empathy that his neurotypical colleagues may not have been able to achieve.
Shaun picked up right away on the fact that Chambers used the mug to help himself calm down. He understood that Chambers' anger at him was because he broke the mug. And he fixed it and brought it to him, creating a real connection point.
Chambers' behavior was off-putting and most of Shaun's colleagues couldn't see past that. Shaun was able to recognize similarities to himself in Chambers, and that made the difference.
If that isn't empathy, I don't know what is.
Andrews' reaction to Shaun suggesting an Autism diagnosis was irritating.
Andrews: What are you thinking?
Shaun: You supported me.
Andrews: Yes, because I don't yell at residents in front of patients. What you just did is the equivalent of looking at a fuzzy MRI and blurting out the patient has cancer.
Shaun: Cancer can kill you.
Andrews: Neither diagnosis makes patients excited.
Andrews has never been fully comfortable with Shaun's Autism, so it isn't surprising that he lapsed into ableism here too. But he's wrong that "nobody is excited to get an Autism diagnosis."
I'm proud to be Autistic and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I wish this had been addressed more fully; Shaun pointing out that there is not an equivalence between cancer and Autism might not have been enough to make the point.
Sometimes letting something like this go without further exploration helps viewers think about it and make up their own minds. But it also can give the impression that one side is right when it may not be.
It's too bad that Olivia left the building already because this would have been a perfect time for her to point out that her uncle was making assumptions.
Enrique would have also been a good choice since he wants to change the world around him but he was busy telling Chambers not to be so damn disrespectful.
Speaking of Enrique, his exit was random.
I don't know what's with the residents leaving all of a sudden, but Olivia's decision to leave made sense. She'd been struggling for a while with feeling like she wasn't cut out for this and not wanting Andrews to prop up what seemed to her to be a failing career.
Enrique seemed happy at his job, other than questioning whether Chambers was right about successful surgeons needing to be thick-skinned and arrogant, and then out of the blue, he took a job at Johns Hopkins.
If he'd ever even mentioned looking for this job before, I've forgotten it. I was surprised his storyline was coming to an end; he might as well have vanished into thin air.
Elsewhere, it was no surprise whatsoever that Park has feelings for Morgan.
Park and Morgan have been sniping at each other for YEARS in the way that people who eventually become lovers tend to do on TV.
Their banter was always more annoying than amusing, but it was obvious to me that they were going to cross the line from hate to love at some point.
Morgan, in typical fashion, had to kick Park out but give him one-time sex first. Ugh,
Park, you missed the diagnosis. Resnik, you broke protocol. How about you both admit you were wrong and shut up?Lim
The best part of this irritating storyline was Lim telling them both to shut up. THANK YOU!
This story was so annoying that it completely overshadowed the case they were working on. That's a shame because the medical story was way more compelling.
I especially liked the concept of Oscar turning out NOT to be gaming the system for drugs. It's the opposite of what goes on on most primetime dramas if they address the opioid crisis at all.
And now for the elephant in the room: Lea and Shaun are having a baby.
I'm not a fan of this couple, so this doesn't keep my interest as much as it otherwise might.
But I knew Lea wouldn't go through with the abortion. Any couple dealing with an unplanned pregnancy has doubts. That has nothing to do with whether abortion is the right decision for them.
I wish that The Good Doctor had defied stereotypes here and depicted a realistic struggle with whether or not to have an abortion.
99.9% of the time, TV abortions get canceled at the last second. The only one I can think of off-hand that didn't was on A Million Little Things Season 3 Episode 6.
Many viewers applauded that episode for its honest and original take on abortion. Too bad The Good Doctor didn't go there too.
The trailer for The Good Doctor Season 4 Episode 13 was strange, too, given that Shaun spent this whole hour talking about how excited he was to have a child... yet apparently now he has no feelings for the baby because it's still a clump of cells at this point.
We'll have to wait until the next installment airs to see what that's all about. In the meantime, hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought of The Good Doctor Season 4 Episode 12.
And if you want to refresh your memory first, you can always watch The Good Doctor online right here on TV Fanatic.
The Good Doctor airs on ABC on Mondays at 10 PM EST/PST.