Personal matters are as pivotal as any with the patients in this week's November 18 Episode 8 of Season 3 of “The Good Doctor,“ ” Moonshot.." To be sure, two heroic patients are confronting dire life-and-death situations, while two couples, while two couples struggle to create deeper connections. Meanwhile, Morgan Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann), arguably the most talented yet self-absorbed surgeon among the residents gets the procedure above and beyond her dreams as her first lead surgery. She is forced to reveal a devastating secret that could devastate her entire future career, and she finds an ally in Dr.

Glassman (Richard Schiff).

At its best, in its spoken and unspoken ways, “The Good Doctor” is a drama that inspires viewers to become better people, and this episode fulfills that mission. There is more to life than breathing in and out or having a working heart muscle. There's more to life than a stellar career. There is fear, delight, misery, discomfort, and utter elation, all of which can come in the same few seconds.

Shooting for the stars

The story opens with Shaun (Freddie Highmore) and Carly (Jasika Nicole) enjoying the fun-filled, standby date of a night at the local fair.

Carly has already been presented with the noble treasure of a stuffed unicorn, and she squeals with delight as she and Shaun ride the roller coaster. Shaun is screaming out of fear of the unknown and survival, but the good thing about Carly is that she allows her beau to take on experiences in whatever way he is ready. Tonight, Carly is ready for more than kissing, and she lets Shaun know it.

San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital has an auspicious doctor and researcher under its care, a renowned researcher in leukemia treatment, Dr.

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Rosalind Eilon, beautifully and authentically portrayed by Kathleen Duborg. Dr. Murphy and Dr. Park (Will Yun Lee) are in awe of the advancements credited to her dedication and discovery, but unfortunately, they must also deliver the difficult news that her heart is not functioning, on either side, and her chances of finding a donor are microscopically slim. When asked about any people within her inner circle who she would like to be notified, she mentions only her lab assistant, who must mind that “five years of work isn’t gone.” Her ex-husband, Leo (Paul McGillion), is named as her medical proxy, but the two have had no contact in two years.

She is facing death truly alone. Will Yun Lee deliver some standout moments through his exchanges in “Moonshot.” His character conveys that everything medically possible will be done to bring comfort to Rosalind, and she should never give up on believing that someone wants to be with her.

Dr. Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) and Dr. Lim (Christina Chang) are still squabbling over procedures and approval and trying to live between the lines of their personal and professional relationship, which is proving to be impossible.

They also have a case of a patient reaching for the stars—a young astronaut, Wren (Donna Benedicto). She has a critical lung condition, and is searching for the doctor who will do whatever it takes to give her survival and let her reach the moon. Even with a 60% chance of failure, she wants Melendez to perform a risky procedure over Dr. Lim's recommendation of a robotic one. Matters get so heated that Aaron Glassman gets involved, letting them know that “I'll have to lose one of you” if they cannot lay “personal squabbles” aside. He can speak from experience.

Hard landings

Carly asks Shawn if he is “ready” to try to become more intimate, using a technique she has researched with those on the autism spectrum called timed exposure. He tells her: “I'm game.” Shaun wants this moment, but sensory experiences evoke cringe more than comfort, and he leaves, saying, “I can't.” Carly tells him not to feel bad, and she does her research to help make things work the next time.

She is going into this fully prepared, with 600-thread count sheets, the appropriately dimmed light bulb, and a timer to manage their sessions, starting with 15 seconds on the same bed, fully clothed.

Shaun makes it only 8 seconds, exclaiming that he can't do this. This time, Carly tells him to go, exasperated that he doesn't seem willing to keep up the effort, not because he's struggling.

Again, Dr. Park’s advice is perfect, nailing that fear is Shaun’s true problem, and that he should never sacrifice a fulfilling life because of being afraid. He encourages Murphy to approach his love life in the same way he does a surgery-- he never gives up, and he keeps trying until he drives everyone crazy, but he's usually right. Park also assures Shaun that his “symptoms” before closeness are like everyone else's

Morgan has physical symptoms much more problematic.

She goes to see Dr. Glassman, seemingly for a vaccine, but what she wants is a cortisone shot to alleviate the crippling pain of rheumatoid arthritis. She has recently been diagnosed, and she knows that Glassman can be her only understanding confessor-priest in this plight on “The Good Doctor,” because of all the risks he took to stand up for Shaun. The pain is stopping her from performing the surgery that Dr. Andrews (Hill Harper) selected specifically for her “to shine.” He praised that she was the only resident with the talent, work ethic, and aggression to go after a carotid lesion. She cannot manage the paper-thin manipulations in practice surgery, even with popping her medication.

She pleads for Glassman to give her enough relief to fulfill the surgery, which she does. She rushes home, dredging in digits in an ice water bath. She will have the challenge of her life in designing how she can continue with her condition—but she's Morgan, and she will. This is a tour de force performance for Fiona Gubelmann.

Dr. Park goes on the mercy mission to see Leo, to let him know that Rosalind is living her last day. Understandably, Leo has mixed emotions about the woman who was never able to be there for any of his big days in life. In the end, each of us has a choice to become burnt and buried by the past, or become the person we would want at our dying bedside.

Leo stays through to her final breath, in a beautiful scene, and thanks Dr. Park for the opportunity.

Dr. Melendez and Dr. Lim cooperate to bring a wonderful surgical outcome for their young astronaut, but nothing can save their relationship. Dr. Lim doesn't want to sacrifice her career in medicine, and suggests that the often combative stances that she and Neil take are “in our nature.” She leaves him alone.

Dr. Murphy determines not to choose to be alone. He knocks on Carly’s door, letting her know how smart she is, and that he's ready to try again. This time, “The Good Doctor” makes it the full 15 seconds, remarking that “this is terrifying, but also very nice,” as he and Carly hold hands in their very special way.

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