Dr. Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) and Dr. Lim (Christina Chang) pick up on the consolation connection where fans of “The Good Doctor” left them in Episode 9, “Empathy.” The celebration has carried over until “the morning after,” and the two brilliant doctors find themselves waking up together at the opening of the Episode 10 Winter Finale, “Quarantine.” Both are fine with blaming Dr. Andrews (Hill Harper) for their rendezvous. There is something delicious about this pairing—that is professionally so wrong with chemistry so right. Dr. Lim rushes off, as usual, to take on the Christmas rush in the ER.

Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is taken aback by the Christmas décor filling his workstation, and the surgical resident is particularly bothered by a buzzing fluorescent light in the area. Every person has particular sounds that drive them nuts, but for someone on the autism spectrum, these bothersome noises can become altogether consuming, breaking concentration and all trained coping mechanisms. Immediately, the gifted surgical resident insists that the fixture “needs to be fixed,” and asks if others around him hear the sound, to which they respond, “What sound?”

All hope of a typical day is soon abandoned as passengers on a flight from Malaysia are stricken ill, and rushed into the ER.

Dr. Murphy manages his complete distraction, and the immediate need of the situation, very well for some time. He follows Dr. Lim’s instruction perfectly, going between patients in need, and is the first to note inflammation of the neck as the common marker of this virus, which turns out to be related to SARS, except much more fast-moving and deadly.

This is by far the darkest episode of “The Good Doctor” in its two seasons. The residents and doctors who are always typically vindicated in saving lives and devising masterful techniques must confront death and loss all around them, even among their own. The storyline moves at breakneck pace, and pushes the gifted actors of the medical drama to places never seen before, and leaves viewers in a shocking space on the edge of their seats.

One down and more to go

The most seriously affected patient passes away, despite valiant life-saving efforts, while Dr. Murphy tries to gather information from a female patient. Both he and Dr. Lim inquire about person-to-person contact, finding none. Dr. Murphy declares that this virus is most likely spread through the air and has already exposed everyone in the ER. The hazmat suits seem only to amplify the devastating looks on the faces of the medical team, especially Dr. Lim. Despite being moved to a no air-flow room, the female patient also passes away, and Dr. Andrews is forced to issue that orders that the area is quarantined, and none of the patients or people present can leave.

Every hospital is short-staffed for the Christmas holidays.

One of the EMTs lets Dr. Lim know that Dr. Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann) is available, and almost as soon as he offers the helpful news, Shaun discovers that he has symptoms of the virus. Dr. Reznick is “busted,” and still charmed by Tyler (Dan Byrd) who displays much more than a crush for the usually painfully direct doctor. He surmises that Morgan Reznick always tells her family that she has to work on Christmas, thus avoiding the difficult family reunion issues and expectations.

In very touching exchanges, Tyler and Morgan talk about first date possibilities. He is quickly succumbing to the illness, and the tenderness that she pretends doesn't exist comes through as she tells him that “by the appetizers” she should be impressed enough for him to try a kiss.

Once again, CPR compressions are attempted, and Morgan proposes to “crack his chest” for cardiac massage, all in vain. Following those efforts, Dr. Lim tells Morgan that she has the virus.

Another person caught up in the calamity is Kellen (Ricky He), the teenage son of Dr. Park (Will Yun Lee), who is there to reconnect with his dad after the phone call with his ex-wife. The son perfectly portrays the cynicism of a son too long disregarded by dad, and his father tells him that after these last few hours of his shift, they have plenty of fun planned over three days. When Kellen goes to get chips on another floor, he is exposed, and trapped under quarantine.

Desperate battle and doctors down


Melendez, Dr. Park, and Dr. Brown are all trying to save another patient (Alex Weed) at risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke due to white cells invading his lungs after radiation for his cancer. Medications are failing, and a bone marrow transplant is his only hope. His donor, who turns out to be his dad, shows up at the hospital but is in the quarantined group. Resigned to his fate, and feeling glad that his father even showed up, he asks to sign a “Do Not Resuscitate” order. Dr. Melendez offers to go in himself to retrieve the marrow, proposing that a single, specially-quarantined area would work, but Dr. Andrews doesn't commit. During observation, Dr. Melendez sees Dr. Lim, and his face turns to complete dread as he confronts that she is infected.

There are scenes in this episode that are genuinely unforgettable, such as the expectant mother with an injured hand, who hesitated about bringing her baby into a “germ factory.” When her husband rushes to breach the waiting room door, she tenderly tells him that he needs to take care of himself, so that he can care for their son if she perishes. Another waiting patient in a Santa suit gives her comfort.

The Santa-clad patient (Rell Battle from “Superior Donuts”) is dealing with a life or death issue of his own - a bowel obstruction that is recurring after earlier treatment. Dr. Murphy and Dr. Reznick must perform surgery “combat style” using suction drawn from the wall, with an improvised operating room.

Despite her condition, Dr. Lim is guiding the residents along. Dr. Murphy is called to another area, and Dr. Lim tells him to go. The bowel is perforated, and Dr. Lim tells Morgan to fill the hole with her finger. That becomes the last instruction because the next inquiring “Dr. Lim?” goes unanswered, with Dr. Lim collapsed on the floor.

A few hours ago, Shaun was worried about missing lunch - his turkey sandwich and milk. Now, hours later, under unimaginable sound and fury from the illness rampaging the ER, he cannot shut out the buzzing light any longer, even while a patient in diabetic shock is on the floor in front of him. “The Good Doctor” ends part one of this episode with the savant resident curled in a fetal position on the floor, and a vein bulging in his head, and chaos all around.

Dr. Park desperately calls to his son behind the glass telling him to use his inhaler during a frantic asthma attack. The look is one only a parent knows.

On the steps of the hospital, Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) sits with Lea (Paige Spara) holding results that indicate his tumor is “back.”

Fans have a long wait for this tense-beyond belief cliffhanger to conclude. “The Good Doctor” resumes Season 2 on January 14.