The long-awaited winter premiere of Episode 11, Season 3 of “The Good Doctor” graced Monday night television again on January 13 in “Fractured.” Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is back to work from his hurtful, heart- wrenching journey in Casper, Wyoming. Condolences come from his fellow residents and staff and, of course, some very direct advice from one, Dr. Morgan Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann). “The Good Doctor” is doing his best to avoid his girlfriend, Dr. Carly Lever (Jasika Nicole) after not responding to her numerous texts while he was gone, but he realizes that the truth has to be told soon.

Dr. Claire Brown (Antonia Thomas) is making very positive strides with her therapist (Kelly-Ruth Mercier), but some old ghosts surface again when she and Dr. Park (Will Yun Lee) work a case with a patient who has been a cocaine drug mule (Moises Arias). He has a potentially fatal bowel obstruction from swallowing multiple pods, and once again, Claire plays the advocate for treatment over prosecution. She completely empathizes with his story of poverty and persuades her team to treat him with the caveat of release prior to turning in the ingested evidence to police.

The most gripping storyline, encircling The Good Doctor’s” romantic dilemma, involves Carrie, a young mother, and wife, whose leg is horrifically fractured in a mountain biking accident.

She demands that no narcotics be administered in her treatment, detailing that she went through childbirth without painkillers. She initially gives a story about drugs making her ill, but the truth is that she is an opioid addict, clean since she began living with her husband (Tongayi Chirisa) and settled into devoted family life.

The character's portrayal by Milauna Jemai Jackson leaves an indelible impression of devotion. Drugs have become so “automatic” for both physicians and patients in treatment, and this patient portrait provides a very sensitive depiction of the dilemma.

‘The Good Doctor’ doesn't treat his lady so good

Shaun reveals to Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) the truth that Lea (Paige Spara) fell asleep with him after offering her version of a “therapeutic hold” during flailing spasm following his father's death.

Dr. Glassman reiterates that Lea made it “very clear” through her relationship with Shaun that she was only his friend. He further cautions that “sex or no sex, the train is rolling and somebody’s about to get run over.”

Shaun turns in samples to the pathology lab, talking to Carly as though nothing had happened and this was just another day. She insists that “you had to know that would hurt me,” regarding Shaun’s no-response stance in Wyoming. When he pushes for a rush on the labs for the samples again, Carly takes them and rushes away, feeling crushed, confused, and unappreciated.

Dr. Reznick rightly surmises that Carly has the much more stellar record of devotion, and declares that Shaun should thank “whatever God you pray to” that she cares for him.

He seeks the advice of Dr. Andrews (Hill Harper) on how to know you have found “the one.” Dr. Glassman is out of the running on this one, due to being divorced and only newly remarried. Andrews describes that his heart still beats for his wife like the day they met, showing passion more than mere excitement. He excuses himself with emotion, wanting to “get home to that woman.” “The Good Doctor” decides to measure his own heart rate when he comes home to Lea, giving him more measurable criteria than his list of pros and cons.

In the meantime, Shaun and his team work to devise surgery methods free of drugs for Carrie. The patient who calls herself “wonder woman” endures a less severe procedure with pins, but “compartment syndrome” sets in with an infection.

They have to do the procedure with the “long nail” to attach bone. Again, Carrie insists they use no narcotics, but her husband wants to know why the surgeons can't tell him the reason. His wife divulges the full truth, and he pledges complete support and devotion. Shaun reveals his own education as he says that secrets can stop “the ones you love from being the ones you love.” This season, "The Good Doctor" is learning relationship therapy even before he enters the surgical suite.

Why Carly is different for ‘The Good Doctor’

Carly corners Shaun in an elevator conversation, beside herself and asking “What am I doing wrong?” Shaun tells her that he always feels the need to impress Carly, and that makes her and their relationship different.

In the cafeteria, Shaun dives right into a tender list of everything he likes about Carly from her looks and physique to her dedication and wisdom. “I like that you're my girlfriend,” is among the highlights. He then proceeds to tell Carly just what happened between him and Leah. She can't help but feel betrayed and dumbfounded, after working so hard to have a few seconds with Shaun lying down. She leaves, saying that she needs some time. Kudos to Jasika Nicole for bringing just the right sensitivity to the scene.

A hug and a firm hand from ‘The Good Doctor’

Freddie Highmore delivers raw intensity in his frenzied scene with Richard Schiff’s Glassman. He is in a frenzy only moments before major surgery, raging that “no one will like me…no one will ever love me!” Glassman gets him to focus on his eyes, and assures Shaun: “You’re not getting rid of me.” Shaun takes all the initiative this time, reaching out to his mentor for a “bear hug” embrace, especially for someone on the ASD spectrum.

Glassman assures him that he will exceed in the surgery, “because that's what great doctors do.” “The Good Doctor” is learning the value of a simple hug beyond all words.

The surgery is a success, but also a testament to suffering for the cause of love. When the final blows of the medical hammer have to be applied to the nail in Carrie’s knee, she grips Dr. Murphy's hand like a vise, and he tells the team to “hurry, please.” She survives to thrive with her family, free of the threat of addiction. Some call her choice madness, and Morgan Reznick calls her “wonder woman.” Anyone who has ever walked with a loved one through the throes of addiction understands and applauds that power of will. This goes beyond pulling an arrow from the cowboy’s calf in the old Western movies.

‘The Good Doctor’ has three little words for Carly

Dr. Brown simply wants to celebrate a good day after her patient expresses his gratitude and says he will “look for a way to pay it forward,” regarding her altruistic aim in treatment. Her therapist pushes that she must probe deeper into her mother's torments through her youth in order to move into wholeness. No sooner do her words come out when the call comes from the hospital that Luka is gone, and so are “items” from the storage area.

Dr. Melendez comforts Claire as she recalls her mother's scorn that she would be used and taken advantage of for believing the good in people. He concurs that those like her run the risk of being made a fool of from time to time, but he declares that he's proud to work with her.

When Shaun comes out to wait for his bus, he finds Carly. “Have you have enough time?” he asks. She motions for him to sit beside her. She relates that “you hurt me,” and that she worries about something like what happened in Wyoming happening again. Nonetheless, she tells “The Good Doctor” that he is the most honest and caring man she ever knew, going back to their first meeting in the pathology lab. Her condition, however, to their future relationship is that Shaun cannot live with Lea. “I know it's a lot to ask” she realizes, “take some time.”

This decision comes quickly. As she stands and turns to leave, Shaun grips her hand, saying “OK. I want to be with you. I love you, Carly.” They embrace as credits roll.

Fans should enjoy this bliss from “The Good Doctor.” Next week's preview seems to attest that no matter how strong love is for a pair, competing medical procedures can cause problems. Stay tuned next Monday.