Just when it seems that Dr. Shaun Murphy, portrayed by Freddie Highmore on “The Good Doctor,” cannot manage to juggle any more plates in the air, a few more situations add to the load. In the January 28, Episode 13 of Season 2, “Xin,” the story opens to the surgical resident seeing Lea’s (Paige Spara) latest fling, Jake (Andres Joseph) rifling through the refrigerator to seek refreshment -- he calls it “OJ,” but surely would've accepted something harder.

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After asking if he was a drummer (his roommate’s stated preference in men), Shaun surmises that Jake is a good enough guy.

Lea scolds her date for not staying in the bedroom but probes Shaun to get his reaction to Jake “staying over” sometimes. Shaun graciously confirms that this arrangement would be “cool,” and leaves to take Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) to chemotherapy.

On that front, Dr. Glassman is fully in the grip of the effects of chemotherapy, yet determined to conceal his true condition from Shaun.

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The mentor slaps himself silly just to bring a splash of color to his complexion, and can't keep even a swig of his electrolyte drink down. Each of these loving, but ever stubborn, partners persist in demanding his own way.

The personal issues only complicate the professional ones, as a mother with a mechanical, physical heart, and two young women craving her emotional heart, faces a crisis of life and death, as an autistic female patient makes an unusual request before her own fateful procedure.

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The daughter and the dream daughter

When Sunny Lee (Emily Kuroda) is rushed into the ER unresponsive, Dr. Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez), Dr. Park (Yun Will Lee), and Dr. Brown (Antonia Thomas) are initially confounded by her signs of circulation without any heart rhythm. A deeper listen confirms that she has a mechanical heart-- one installed in Beijing.

The mystery of the device is much easier to ascertain the relationship of the patient and the young woman who has not left her side, Teresa (Sheena Chou), who happened to be aware of all Sunny’s health situations, and another who rushes in, Grace (Vedette Lim), claiming her place as the only daughter.

Dr. Audrey Lim (Christina Chang) displays yet another incredible talent in speaking flawless Chinese during a phone call to the Beijing hospital. She and Neil Melendez are still managing to keep their professional cover with Dr. Andrews (Hill Harper), who mentions that he likes to see them not competing, little does he know of the off-duty situation.

Ms. Lee bonded with Teresa during an assisted living stay, and the steadfast compassion of the surrogate daughter became more meaningful in light of the perceived rebellion and disregard from Grace.

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The biological daughter explored some typical dalliances with smoking pot and defied her mother's wishes by becoming a singer, one who was accepted at Juilliard.

A dispute becomes so heated between the blood and the bond daughters that it provokes an immediate cardiac crisis in the mother. She is no longer able to travel to Beijing for the corrective procedure, and the team has to reroute an arterial passage to help her survive.

While Grace is struggling to move past what she deemed as her mother's “bitter and lousy” character, still with the kernels of love, Dr.

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Park reminds her that her mother's first words were “you look pretty,” before the eruption of anger.

The procedure is successful enough to prevent death and buy time until a proper repair in Beijing, and both daughters stay at the mother’s side, taking her hand.

Shades of a spectrum

Freddie Highmore goes into great depth to present the character of Shaun Murphy as a unique, full human being, and one of the things that “The Good Doctor” goes to great lengths to convey is the English actor’s admonition that “when you meet an autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person.” Shaun Murphy is a savant, most people with autism are not, yet every autistic person should be applauded for the many ways that he or she devises to overcome and cope with their condition. Every person is experiencing his or her own point on the spectrum in unique ways, and there are positives and negatives through the journey.

Lana (Vered Blonstein) is an autistic patient at dire risk of stroke due to our arteriovenous malformation in the brain. Morgan Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann) contends that she is only turning to Shaun as the doctor of the patient, not because he has autism. She does, however, have a lot of opinions about Shaun’s new “threesome” situation with Lea, relating that it can never work out as “let's all be friends.”

When Lana requests having sex with her roommate “Javi” (Alex Plank) as a means of cloning her anxiety, Dr. Lim denies the request due to the rise in blood pressure during sex. Dr. Reznick seems unduly intrigued by the relationship between the autistic couple. Lana insists somewhat matter-of-factly that sex is better than other means of self-satisfaction and doesn't necessarily change the romantic quotient.

During surgery, Shaun suggests that the procedure be completed with Lana conscious and talking, but she is not responding as hoped to images depicted on screen. Javi is brought in to guide her, and the surgeons have success.

The living and the mentorship obstacles become overwhelming for Shaun when the very ill Dr. Glassman orders him to go, telling him that he wants him to stop helping him. The only other time that tears came to Dr. Murphy's eyes, in the same way, was when Dr. Glassman him that they could not have breakfast together or be friends after Shaun’s rejection of “life assistance” from an aide.

Lea listens and offers perspective, telling Shaun that he should stop trying to help by pushing diets, schedules, medications, or speed-reading “Johnny Tremaine,” and just accept that his mentor is struggling, but stills need a friend.

Shaun thanks her for her counsel, saying “my life is better with you.” “Mine, too,” she replies, before closing her bedroom door.

Shaun attempts to organize a “pals” movie night, complete with popcorn and orange juice for Jake, but the effort and the timing are less than appreciated.

When earphones cannot block the sound coming from Lea’s bedroom, Dr. Murphy goes to see Dr. Glassman, finding him near-collapsed by the toilet in the bathroom. Without a word, he sits on the floor beside his friend, reaching his hand to his shoulder. “Thank you, Shaun,” utters the elder. Another lesson from comes from “The Good Doctor” that the greatest healing and love comes through just being there through the darkness.

Kudos to the writer, Brian Shin, for this tender but never sappy installment. Next week should bring a more light-hearted tone, as Shaun and Dr. Glassman experiment with the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

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