Trauma changes people’s lives. It becomes an invisible force that shapes decisions and makes its presence known at inconvenient times.
TV often doesn’t get it right, but The Good Doctor Season 6 Episode 8 did a beautiful job. Not only did Morgan push a patient to get a rape kit because of Morgan’s own trauma, but Shaun admitted that Lim’s attack triggered his memories of Steve’s death.
Kudos to The Good Doctor for providing a more realistic depiction of trauma than the “flashy” stories TV shows often go for!
That doesn’t mean I like Morgan any better than I ever did.
After she told her story, I understood why she was being so damn pushy, but she was her usual, obnoxious self throughout most of the hour.
One of the most traumatic aspects of sexual assault is that the attack robs the person of their sense of control over their own life.
That’s why the rape kit exam involves continually asking the patient if they are okay with what’s about to occur. That gives them back some control; they can stop the invasive exam at any point, no questions asked.
Morgan’s constant pushing for Toni to get a rape kit done interfered with the hospital’s attempt to give Toni that sense of control. It could have added to her trauma if she hadn’t asked for Morgan to be removed from her case.
In addition, survivors don’t need to report the rape to heal. Some survivors feel a sense of closure; others choose not to report for various reasons.
For some reason, TV often reinforces the myth that choosing not to get a rape kit or to report the rape is selfish or harmful.
In reality, it is the survivor’s choice to go through an invasive rape kit procedure or tell the police. (Even after doing a rape kit, hospitals can’t contact law enforcement without the patient’s consent, so these are two separate issues.)
And while it’s true that the rapist might rape again, that is not the survivor’s responsibility.
If a rapist rapes again, they are the one responsible for those further crimes. There is no such thing as an obligation to report to stop other people from being victimized, and survivors should never be made to feel guilty if they don’t elect to have a rape exam.
Morgan shouldn’t have played that card.
Leaving that aside, when she told her story, she was more honest, vulnerable, and empathetic than during her six-year run.
If she’d led with that and let Toni make her own decision instead of constantly pushing for Toni to have the exam, she’d have been sympathetic instead of annoying.
It’s also sad that Morgan has no female friends she can confide in about her difficulty with this patient or anything else. She chose not to tell anyone about her assault until now, which is her right, but it was so obvious that she was reacting to her past, and there was no one to call her on it.
Even if she’d wanted to, who would she have confided in? Claire was her only real friend, and she’s gone. The only people who resemble friends are Park and Glassman, who are not people she’d want to talk to about something like this.
Shaun didn’t want to remove his patient’s uterus because she might react the same way Lim has to her paralysis. But there could have been another layer to this.
Asher: We’d have to remove her uterus and they’re starting a family.
Shaun: She won’t be able to have a baby if she’s dead.
Lea recently learned she couldn’t have children for the foreseeable future, but there is a slight chance that someday it could be safe. Did anyone else think that Shaun’s hesitation in removing this woman’s uterus had to do with Lea’s situation?
That would have made sense. The woman, like Lea, wanted to get pregnant and start a family, but now she wouldn’t be able to do that.
I wasn’t sure there’d be any point to Shaun talking to Lim. She kept cutting him off or wheeling away to avoid him.
But Shaun’s non-apology was beautiful, and it broke the ice enough for Lim to admit she missed his friendship despite her conflicted feelings about her disability.
Hopefully, this storyline can be put to bed, especially since Glassman thinks he saw signs that Lim’s paralysis may be temporary. Lim’s constant cold shoulder and anger have been aggravating; this particular part of the story dragged on for far too long.
Lim already rejected the idea of surgery because she wanted to accept that she was disabled. But what’s going on now?
Is her body healing itself somehow? Or will she end up needing surgery after all?
Jordan and Perez’s will-they-won’t-they dance also needs to come to an end. I was proud of Jordan for setting a boundary. She wasn’t willing to live in limbo, and there was no reason she should.
Perez then did something which didn’t belong in the same episode that treated sexual assault with the sensitivity it deserved: he kissed Jordan without knowing whether she wanted him to.
This is an annoying trope that needs to go away—kissing someone who has not given any indication they want to be kissed. It is not romantic. It’s a type of sexual assault.
And now it’ll lead to more confusion. Perez doesn’t know whether he is ready for a relationship. Jordan was leaving for a date with someone else. Now we’re right back to that limbo she was trying to get out of.
What did you think, The Good Doctor fanatics? Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button to share your opinions.
There’s only one new episode of The Good Doctor left in 2022, but you can watch The Good Doctor online anytime you’d like.
The Good Doctor airs on ABC Mondays at 10 PM EST / PST. The winter finale airs on December 12, 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.