The Good Doctor season 1 finale recap: Dr. Shaun Murphy gives hope

Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Jeff Weddell Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media
Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Jeff Weddell Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media /

Going out in style, The Good Doctor season 1 finale was an emotional rollercoaster that came to a perfect end.

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Coming straight off the back of the previous episode, “Smile,” we find out exactly what happened to Dr. Glassman. An inoperable brain tumor has been discovered giving him approx twelve to eighteen months to live. Glassman, a neurosurgeon himself, has processed all of the options available to him and has accepted that nothing can be done; he has embraced that he will die.

Shaun, however, is unwilling to accept this. After asking to have Glassman back as his friend he is not willing to lose him again. Shaun begs Glassman to get a second opinion. Glassman has already done just that and there is nothing that can be done. He then asks Shaun to keep this between them for now.

Frat boy initiation gone wrong

A young college student is brought in intoxicated and with trouble injuries. His ankle is broken and needs surgery. They can’t put him under anesthesia however due to the level of alcohol in his system. A local anesthetic is given and they get the surgery underway. Mid-way through, he takes a sudden turn for the worse and they have to abort the surgery.

Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Jeff Weddell Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media
Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Jeff Weddell Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media /

Dr. Alex Park and Dr. Jared Kalu investigate why the patient is getting worse by interviewing his friend. It then comes to light that this is a frat boy pledge attempt go wrong. Part of his pledge was to swallow as many detergent capsules as possible. The detergent mixing within his system, possibly causing internal bleeding explains why the patient has suddenly gotten worse.

Shaun goes solo

Due to the new circumstances, more surgery is required. Dr. Melendez, Dr. Claire Browne, Dr. Morgan Reznick and Shaun are all in on this one. Surgery is coming to an end when Melendez is urgently needed elsewhere. Melendez leaves the residents to finish up with Shaun taking the lead.

Shaun is still distracted from learning about Dr. Glassman earlier. He has still not accepted the prognosis like Glassman. He even ignored Glassman’s request of keeping it quiet by going to the one other person who could convince Glassman to get further scans, Jessica.

He spaces out for a few moments but pulls himself together and finishes up the surgical procedure.

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It’s not good news

Thanks to the efforts of Jessica, who is angry that she had to learn about Glassman’s condition from Shaun, Glassman agrees to have some more detailed scan done on his tumor to see if anything can be done. The results come back and it’s not good news.

It’s even worse news. The scans indicate that the tumor is one of the most aggressive cancers you can have. The 12 to 18-month window is reduced to 3.


Our college frat boy is not improving. Fresh out of surgery some improvement should have been seen by now but he is getting worse. A full work shows that he has DIC, disseminated intravascular coagulation, he is bleeding and clotting at the same time and if they can’t find the cause he will die.

Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Jeff Weddell Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media
Photo Credit: The Good Doctor/ABC, Jeff Weddell Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media /

The whole team is brought in to Melendez office to try to figure out what has happened. With how banged up he was when he turned up it is unclear what could be the issue. Is it something they have done or was it something unavoidable. Theories are thrown around from drug use to snake bites, to Shaun spacing out and making a mistake.

Melendez can’t see Shaun making a mistake. By his own admission, the one place Shaun is flawless is the OR. He consults Glassman to see if anything is going on. That is when Melendez learns of Glassman’s news.


As everyone tries to figure out what has happened to their patient, Shaun is not giving up on Glassman. Shaun very badly wants the scan to be wrong. In an emotional moment between the Shaun and Glassman, they fight over the possibility of hope. How having hope can be a terrible thing. Glassman doesn’t want to spend his last moments chasing his tail for hope. He wants to watch sports and have fun.

It’s not something Shaun is willing to accept though. He continues to push and push. Trying to find a way to do a biopsy. For a biopsy, will give them all the answers they need. As Shaun works on how to help Glassman he realizes what has happened to the frat boy.

It was a mistake. His mistake. But he also knows how to fix it and also how a biopsy can be carried on Glassman. There is still hope.


Now that they know what is wrong and how to help their patient. The attention turns to the consequences of their actions. Procedure dictates that when a mistake is made it must be reported so it never happens again. No one likes this idea. Claire says what everyone is thinking if it was any of them they would be reprimanded, but because it is Shaun they will fire him.

Melendez takes charge at this point. As far as he is concerned nothing will be reported unless it has to be. Priority one is to save the patient. If they save the patient there won’t be any need to report it. Giving the circumstances it is understandable.

There’s a chance

The surgery goes well and the mistake Shaun made is rectified. There is no need to take the matter any further and drinks are on Melendez. For even when they get lucky it is worth celebrating.

Shaun seeks out Glassman to tell him the good news but before he can tell him he notices the bandage on his arm. It is from an IV. Glassman went ahead with Shaun’s idea on how to perform a biopsy and it worked. They were able to carry out the procedure and the results are back and Shaun was right. There was hope. The scans just looked worse than what they were. The tumor is still cancer but a low-grade tumor that can be treated. There is still a chance of them going to the Superbowl.

Shaun hugs Glassman, telling him that he doesn’t want to lose him. Shaun then tells him that he needs to go a report his mistake to Andrews. A moment of acceptance reaches the tow at this point. Glassman can’t expect Shaun to lie and hide things to protect him and Glassman can’t protect him all the time either. That is how they ended up fighting the first time.

The two go together to inform Dr. Andrews of Shaun’s surgical error. A decision that may see both Shaun and Glassman fired.

Next: The Good Doctor secures Season 2 order at ABC

What did you think of The Good Doctor season 1 finale? Did it end the way you thought it would? Leave your thoughts in the comment below.

The Good Doctor season 1 is now over. Season 2 has been confirmed but a release date has not been set as of yet.