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Summary

  • Shaun’s mentorship troubles reflect his difficulty accepting challenging behaviors from students, hindering his relationships.
  • Charlie thrived under Park’s mentorship, showcasing her unique skills without the pressure of seeking Shaun’s approval.
  • Charlie’s hero worship of Shaun is detrimental to her growth, as she should seek a mentor who values her differences.
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Mentor relationships have always been an important part of The Good Doctor, and Charlie’s season 7 story is showing the dangers of choosing the wrong mentor. During the early years of the Freddie Highmore-led medical drama, protagonist Shaun struggled to impress his mentors while also having a hard time taking direction from them. That conflict continued to be central as the years went on, most notably when he and Glassman butted heads over Lim’s care during a crisis. In later seasons, however, Shaun had to learn how to mentor residents and medical students himself when he became an attending physician. It’s become a problem in The Good Doctor season 7’s story.

Shaun tends to expect perfection from his students and doesn’t deal with it well when they question his decisions. His rift with Lim and Glassman left him on his own during season 6 with a resident he ultimately fired after trying hard to give her the space to learn and grow. Shaun’s continued trouble with accepting students’ challenging behaviors has caused a serious conflict with newcomer Charlie (Kayla Comer) who is also autistic and who could help Shaun come full circle in The Good Doctor if he mentors her. Shaun recently refused to work with Charlie, giving her a chance to shine elsewhere, but it may be stunting her development.

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Charlie Did Much Better Without 1 Influence In The Good Doctor Season 7

She Was Relaxed, Confident, and Made Unique Contributions to a Difficult Case.

When Shaun refused to work with Charlie, she instead had the opportunity to work under Park’s tutelage. Charlie became a full member of the team, both socially and professionally, while assisting with the care of a patient who had a personal connection to Jordan. In the conference room, she focused on reading medical journals while the others teased Jordan about Jordan’s interest in the patient, but contributed to the conversation while working. None of the team members, including Park, were bothered by her communication style or the questions she asked.

Charlie fit in better with the other doctors without Shaun’s constant harping on the questions she asked or the comments she made. She also found a novel solution to the patient’s problem, using AI to help her find obscure studies that suggested a promising treatment that would allow the team to remove his brain tumors without as much risk to his hearing. However, when Park complimented her, she responded that she wished Shaun would realize her potential too. This exchange demonstrated that Shaun is the wrong mentor for Charlie and focusing on his approval is getting in her way.

Shaun told Charlie that she is not cut out to be a surgeon and should go into pathology, mirroring what Dr. Han told him during The Good Doctor season 2.

Charlie and Shaun Butt Heads Because They’re Too Alike

Shaun Finds Charlie’s Behaviors Annoying But Refuses to Admit He Does Them Too

The Good Doctor Shaun is sitting at his desk holding his open backpack. Charlie sticks her head in the doorway and smiles at him.

Charlie’s incessant question-asking, interrupting, and refusing to accept Shaun’s feedback without trying to defend herself triggers Shaun’s worst impulses. He can’t stand being in the same room with her and is quick to jump on any mistake, ironically not realizing or accepting that Charlie is exactly like him. The more Charlie tries to make him understand where she’s coming from, the more determined he is to prove she doesn’t belong in medicine. The two of them are caught in a vicious cycle of Charlie trying to get Shaun’s approval and Shaun liking her even less than before. This does not make for a healthy mentoring relationship.

As long as Charlie keeps trying to establish a positive relationship with Shaun, her energy and focus will be on gaining his approval rather than on learning how to become a doctor. Charlie was far more relaxed when Shaun wasn’t in the room because she didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. She could be herself without fear that her hero would think even less of her than he already did, and that allowed her to use her unique skill set to help a patient who didn’t want a lifesaving surgery.

Charlie’s Hero Worship of Shaun Gets In Her Way

She’s Desperate to Make Him See Her The Way She Sees Him

Shaun Murphy wearing a backpack in The Good Doctor season 7

Charlie looks up to Shaun because he’s an autistic doctor who has succeeded in his chosen career. She won’t give up on getting him to see her as a competent doctor because of those feelings, and she puts him up on a pedestal that he doesn’t deserve to be on. With The Good Doctor ending after season 7, she’ll probably get her wish as part of the series’ wrap-up, yet she’d be better off if she stopped trying to make Shaun into the mentor he doesn’t seem capable of being for her.

Charlie’s hyperfocus on Shaun may be related to her autism, but it also drives her to continue to push for his approval rather than letting go of her expectations and realize that he is not the best mentor for her. She is far better off working with Park or another attending physician that allows her to shine, but it’s unlikely that she will back off completely from Shaun given that he is her hero and his approval is important to her.

If Shaun is going to be Charlie’s mentor, he should have to work to earn her trust after the way he treated her. Charlie’s hero worship of him makes it hard for her to see clearly that Shaun isn’t treating her appropriately. His insistence that she doesn’t belong in surgery goes beyond rudeness, especially considering that he was treated the same way. It’s in Charlie’s best interest to work with someone else, but if it has to be Shaun, it should be a version of Shaun that she sees as a flawed human being and not as a hero who can do no wrong.

The Good Doctor is pushing the Charlie/Shaun relationship, but Charlie shone when she worked with Park, demonstrating that he is a far better mentor for her. Unlike Shaun, Park is accepting of Charlie’s differences. Dom noted that Park was kind and nurturing, and those same qualities make Park a strong mentor for Charlie. Her challenges make it harder, but not impossible for her to get the hang of some aspects of the medical profession, and she needs a mentor who will patiently guide her rather than one who will constantly tell her that she’s not good enough.

The Good Doctor
airs on ABC on Tuesdays and streams on Hulu.

The Good Doctor Season 7 Poster
The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor is a medical drama television series that tells the story of Dr. Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon who has autism, as he navigates his career and personal life at the fictional San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. Freddie Highmore plays the title role. The series premiered in 2017 on ABC.

Cast
Freddie Highmore , Nicholas Gonzalez , Antonia Thomas , Chuku Modu , Beau Garrett , Hill Harper , Richard Schiff , Tamlyn Tomita , Will Yun Lee , Fiona Gubelmann , Christina Chang , Paige Spara , jasika nicole
Release Date
September 25, 2017
Seasons
7
Writers
David Shore , Liz Friedman



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