The Good Doctor winter premiere recap: Dr. Shaun Murphy, where did you go?

Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Eike Schroter Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media
Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Eike Schroter Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media /
Islands Part One
Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Ed Araquel Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media /

The Good Doctor returned from its winter break with “Island: Part One” and we get all the answers we have been patiently waiting for.

After a long and agonising wait, The Good Doctor returned with its winter premiere episode, “Islands: Part One.” Dr. Shaun Murphy’s’ whereabouts were revealed, Dr. Melendez underwent a complicated transplant and Kalu was called.

We pick up immediately where we left off in the fall finale. Shaun has disappeared and Dr. Glassman is desperately trying to find him. Sure that his neighbor Lea may know of Shaun’s whereabouts Glassman knocks on her door asking if she has seen him.

Despite Lea’s protest that she hasn’t seen Shaun, Glassman decides to barge himself into her apartment and search himself. It’s not until she threatens to call the police does he leave.

Upon Glassman’s awkward departure where he apologized for his behavior, Lea returns to her bedroom and pulls out the drawer from under her bed, revealing Shaun, clutching his bag and hiding from everyone.


Dr. Melendez’s services are called on by Dr. Andrews who has a very special case. A kidney transplant, but not by any means a simple one. As this transplant involves twins, conjoined twins, with one twin donating their kidney to the other twin.

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Road trip

Shaun starts to think what he should do next and considers going back to work. Lea, noticing that he is nothing but stressed out has another idea. A road trip, just the two of them, getting away and putting their troubles behind them.

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Shaun tries to explain that he can’t, he has no holidays. She suggests that he calls in sick but Shaun points out that he can’t, because he is not sick. Lea smiling sweetly points out that she has a lot to teach him and tells him to go pack; they are going wherever the car takes them.


Back at St Bonaventure hospital, Shaun’s absent hasn’t gone amiss, no more so than by Dr. Andrews. Realising that Glassman is clearly covering for Shaun, he reminds Glassman that he cannot keep doing this. That Shaun must succeed on his own, and if he does not, Shaun leaves and Glassman resigns as president.


Out on the road Shaun and Lea bond by telling each a bit about themselves. Lea tells Shaun that she does not like San Jose, that there is too much pressure to succeed and make millions of dollars. And if you don’t you are left to feel like a failure.

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Shaun decides to tell Lea about how his dad was mean to him, how his brother died and how Dr. Glassman was the only one there for him.


The twins transplant doesn’t go at all to plan. A complication occurs when Jenny suffers a ruptured vein during the surgery. Melendez and Claire get her stabilized but it’s all touch and go.


Islands Part One
Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Ed Araquel Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media /

After being fired for assaulting a colleague, Kalu is trying to find a way to turn things around. He reaches out to the very doctor he assaulted explaining why he did what he did, hoping that he might put in a good word in, to Dr. Andrews.

It falls on deaf ears however as Kalu is told that it is not his problem.

More Complications

Jenny’s condition continues to decline to the point that she too will need a transplant. Melendez is managing to stabilize her for now but it won’t last for long. Unlikely to get a transplant in the time frame they require the suggestion of bringing the separation surgery forward to is floated about.

Realizing this is really the only choice they actually have they put it to the twins.


Lea needs a break from all the driving and convinces Shaun to take the wheel despite never driving before. Shaun explains that Dr. Glassman thought it wasn’t a good idea for him to do so so he never took any lessons. Nervous at the wheel Shaun does very well until he reaches the edge of the carpark and actual road and looks at Lea like she is mad when she suggests he keeps going.

She tries telling him it will be fine. What could go wrong? Not the best question to ask as Shaun as he points out he could kill someone by running them over.


Bringing the separation surgery is the only option for the twins now. Jenny is getting worse and will most likely die if they do not attempt the surgery. Katy needs to give consent as well however and due to her just receiving a new kidney it is extremely risky for her too.

Both agree to go ahead with it and get the job done.


Islands Part One
Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Ed Araquel Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media /

Certainly getting more confident on the road, Lea convinces Shaun to have some fun and burn some rubber. She talks him through holding his foot on the brake while revving the car. Unfortunately, Shaun gets a bit too carried away and spins out, putting the car into a ditch and wrecking it by hitting a huge rock.


Despite all the complications they have faced so far the biggest one is yet to the surface. Separating the twins will be no easy task as they are conjoined at the head and the brain is acting as one. A large vein connects the two together making it an extremely complicated surgery.

That complication is not an issue however as they have to overcome Katy’s sudden decision to withdraw her consent.


After finding a place to stay for the night after totalling the car, Lea takes Shaun to a local bar and introduces him to Tequila. He takes an immediate liking to it and before you know it the two are singing karaoke with each another.

When they finally call it quits and head back to their room, Lea shows Shaun how to end a date properly. What the etiquette is when you reach the front door. She explains that what she is doing right now is inviting him to kiss her. Shaun hesitates at first but then leans in and kisses Lea.

Lea smiles and tells him that he is a very good kisser and asks if he would like to do it again. Shaun nods but can’t actually do it. The tequila has returned with a vengeance and Shaun runs to the bathroom to throw up.


After withdrawing her consent, everyone is called into discussing what they do next. Both surgical and legal implications are taken into account. They decide to let everyone sleep on it and Claire will talk to the twins in the morning.

Islands Part One
Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Ed Araquel Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media /

During the night Melendez and Claire study the surgery itself. Melendez can’t get his head into the game, however, as he is to distracted by Jessica’s revelation about not wanting kids. He loves her and can’t imagine a life without her but can’t imagine a life without kids either.

Claire makes the point that finding someone you can live without is extremely hard. Realising that she is right Melendez seeks about Jessica and tells her that he loves her, that he can do the little league coaching thing and get involved with foster care. That way he would be a parent in some way.


The next day comes and Claire talks to the twins. She hears them out about their concerns and relates to them by telling them a bit about herself. How she grew up as trailer trash. And that even though she hated every minute of it, it was hard to say goodbye.

That she understands they are both scared of what is coming. That they may hate being conjoined but understands that looking forward can still be scary. But, if they push past it, it will be ok. Katy, convinced by what she has said, gives her consent, again.


It’s the morning after and Shaun is feeling disgusting. He tells Lea that he feels pretty ashamed of himself but she points out that there is nothing to be ashamed of. She wouldn’t have brushed her teeth before meeting him if it was that bad.


Islands Part One
Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Ed Araquel Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media /

Claire decides to the take some action of her own by confronting the doctor who decided to pressure her for sex. She delivers the cool ultimatum. Convince Dr. Andrews to reinstate Kalu or I will make it my life mission to ruin you.


Separation begins and it’s difficult from the get-go. Andrews succeeds with his part but when he hands over the reins it becomes very obvious that things are not going to get any easier. Visibility is poor and all the doctors have to work on are scans.

They push through and keep at it in until the moment of truth arrives. The final cut is made and suddenly, there were two.


Lea and Shaun both feel the trip has done them some good. Shaun is ready to call Glassman and Lea is ready to give her boss the decision she has mad. She is quitting her job and is going to rebuild old cars, in Pennsylvania. No more working constantly and not enjoying life, she is going to live.

Suddenly, as Lea is telling him all this, Shaun gets up and leaves.

The call

Andrews reaches out and calls Kalu. He informs him that he has had a few chats with several members of staff, all showing support, asking for him to reverse his decision of termination. Kalu, showing his gratitude for that support, however, doesn’t get the news he is hoping for.

Andrews is willing to offer support and references for any other hospital Kalu applies for, but physical assault is not something he is willing to overlook, Kalu is not coming back.

Should have

The twins should have woken up by now. Melendez conducts an examination of the two of them with their mother watching. When she asks when they will wake, he tells her the truth, that they should have woken by now. Looking dumbfounded why they have not.

Gone again

Lea, tries to find Shaun after he stormed out of the restaurant, but it is too late. Shaun has disappeared, again.

Next: When will ABC decide to renew The Good Doctor for a season 2?

The Good Doctor continues next Monday, Jan. 15 at10/9c on ABC. 

What did you think of The Good Doctor winter premiere? What was your favourite moment? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.