The Good Doctor” has delved deeper into the human condition than ever before in its storylines for Season 3. November 25’s Episode 9, “Incomplete” probes into intimacy in a way that only the medical drama can do. The episode opens with Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) desperately seeking the opinion of Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) on the appropriate choice of flowers — a purple bouquet or a pink one — for a momentous occasion. Fortunately, for Dr. Murphy, Debbie (Sheila Kelley) asks what Carly's favorite color is, and that settles the matter.

She rightly declares that the deep thoughts on the meaning of flowers espoused by florists are generally a marketing pitch. In another scene, Dr. Brown (Antonia Thomas) is parting ways with her gentlemen of the night, Kane (Sharif Atkins), with hardly a glance before dashing off to work.

At the hospital, a young couple confronts a very unusual dilemma. The female, Jamie (Irene Choi), presents with a transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke, as Dr. Murphy details. Further study reveals that she has a mass near her clitoris that could cause a massive stroke during any sexual activity resulting from blood flow issues.

Removing the mass, however, means that sexual activity will cease and/or bring no pleasure. The couple will still be able to have children with and otherwise normal life. Dr. Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann) returns to her usual strong-willed form, trying to force the decision for surgery. Despite the pressure, Jamie declines surgery, even under the 95% risk with every intercourse. She declares that lovemaking “is our language.” Her fiancé, Tony (Hayden Szeto), doesn't dissuade her. Morgan Reznick simply states that his resistance is because “you want to get laid.” Dr. Andrews (Hill Harper), on the other hand, understands the perspective of the pair.

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When love seems not enough

Shaun delivers the purple bouquet, Carly’s favorite shade, to her in the pathology lab, and proposes in front of the lab workers that he is ready to further consummate their relationship that night. With a broad smile, Carly (Jasika Nicole) affirms that decision.

As always, Shaun is completely open about his romantic struggles with Carly, explaining them to Morgan. She, on the other hand, cautions that it's “inappropriate” to ask a coworker about a first encounter. She has no trouble confronting Carly about making him a “project instead of being involved in a real relationship with him as a person.” Dr.

Lever eloquently stands her ground and stands up for Shaun, relating exactly what attracts her to him, and that “we're fine.” She sends Morgan off with a scolding for her condescension, setting the record straight.

Dr. Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) is trailing Dr. Lim (Christina Chang) throughout the day, trying to talk about their breakup. The chief of surgery insists that she is just very busy, and has no time to focus on tying things up neatly. Finally, when she finds him waiting in her office, she admits to Neil that “this is a lot harder than I thought.” Dr.

Melendez seems satisfied, saying “that means it mattered.” Whether they resume their relationship is unclear, but both are clearly in pain, and yearning for each other as their “someone.”

Dr. Brown gets the shock of a lifetime when she is called to a patient with severe abdominal trauma, only to discover that it is her morning fling, Kane, who has been hit by a car. Dr. Park (Will Yun Lee) puts two and two together but doesn't disclose his thoughts. Dr. Brown is asked to notify Kane’s wife, and he also has a young daughter.

Topping off

Carly and Shaun try for a “tops off” session of closeness. He cannot take his attention away from a tattoo of half a heart on her chest. It absorbs him almost in the same way that the light fixture sound did in the quarantine episodes last season. He again counsels with Dr. Glassman, who relates how every relationship, and every person, is a balance of things to love and things to hate, ending with “she’s worth it.”

During the next encounter, Carly is glad when Shaun tells her how much seeing the “incomplete” heart bothers him.

She tells him she got the tattoo in high school and tries to take care of the problem then and there, making it a full heart with a marker. Shaun still balks, saying that “it's more than the tattoo.” Carly stays ever-willing and patient.

The patient, Jamie, though, is very torn, and Dr. Brown is very troubled by Kane’s deceptive life. Morgan puts Tony through a recollection of memorable experiences in his past with Jamie. Even though lovemaking is a priority, the experiences themselves do not relate to intimacy, particularly one about forgetting bug spray on a camping trip. Dr. Reznick encourages Tony to love his wife beyond the physical, even if he doesn't mean it.

On his next visit, he insists: “I love you more than s@@.” Shaun takes a lasting mental note. Jamie decides to have the surgery, and “The Good Doctor” furthers his understanding of the human connection

Dr. Brown doesn't make Kane’s care a priority but still catches a blood clot in the leg before the damage is too far gone. She also performs major life-saving moves in surgery. The father and husband is saved for his family. She urges his wife to ask for the truth. That wish is granted tenfold, with the sting to show for it. Kane's Mrs. finds Claire one day and gives her a wallop of a slap across the face.

Claire runs out in shame, and Neil follows to comfort her in her sobbing, in a very touching, intimate moment. Kane offers his own revelation, telling Claire that he noticed how she looked at his hand, with a ring on it, the night they met at the bar. She wants to be rejected and hurt as if that scorn will repay her part in her mother's loss. She is running from intimacy.

During the next private time, Carly affirms Shaun’s conclusion that true intimacy is sharing your biggest fears with someone. She shares her own fears of failure and inadequacy in her profession, and her inexplicable fear of pigeons.

His biggest fear is being alone and losing her if “I can't do this.” She pledges that he has no need to fear that outcome, offering her hand. She proposes simply holding one another, with no need to go further. Shaun still cringes before a knock comes from Dr. Glassman. His mother has called from Wyoming, where his father is in the last stage and days of pancreatic cancer.

True intimacy is “being there” in ways that matter. Shaun Murphy has come to understand that kind of intimacy-- he fulfilled it when he learned to drive to take Dr. Glassman to chemotherapy appointments, and in other tender moments.

Now, he will have to face the hardest times with the person who made life hardest for him, and he will need to discover whole new levels of intimacy.

The Good Doctor” winter finale airs next week on December 2. Wear seatbelts, because it's sure to be a wrenching, turbulent ride, but one leaving viewers with much to ponder.

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