‘The Good Doctor’ Season 3 Episode 10 Review: Freddie Highmore nails winter finale with ‘Emmy-worthy’ performance
As the show goes on a midseason break, Shaun Murphy’s character stands out as the biggest highlight of the episode and Freddie Highmore takes it home with his hard-hitting acting.
Whether it’s a season finale or a midseason finale, when a show ends on a cliffhanger, it makes us think, analyze, and set our assumptions for the future episodes. But when actor steals all the attention with their acting, it leaves a deeper impact, and makes us look at the entire thing in a different light. That is exactly how we felt with Episode 10 of the hit medical drama, as it wrapped up for its winter break. And before you guess who we are referring to, it is none other than the star of the story, Shaun Murphy.
Freddie Highmore has owned the screen for two-and-a-half seasons now, but his performance in Season 3 Episode 10 was nothing short of phenomenal. We have spoken quite a lot about his ability to nail the character of Shaun Murphy, perfectly portraying an autistic doctor, as realistic as the symptoms can be. However, he has also grown and matured as an actor, in his character, and as an individual, over the course of his journey of Shaun. And he proved it on the point in the latest episode, especially in the last few scenes.
When Shaun goes to meet his dying father, Ethan (Michael Trucco), we know he is battling his emotions inside. Although, as a Savant, he cannot express what he feels in the way he feels, it manages to come out through his body language. That moment when he sees his father counting his final moments and he has nothing to say or regret, despite the miserable situations he has made his son go through, Freddie remains calm and does not have a meltdown. This is where Freddie takes it home with his poised, controlled, and refined portrayal. All he comes up with is this hard-hitting statement, “I couldn’t let you put me on your shoulders or let you hug me. I couldn’t make you happy...I forgive you, and I don’t want to punish you anymore.”
But that’s not all. Freddie’s incredible acting also shows in the final scenes with Richard Schiff (Dr Aaron Glassman) and Paige Spara (Lea). Those brief and crisp responses, despite a constant struggle in his head and heart, makes Freddie’s character shine in every frame. And finally, in the closing scene comes the best of all. Shaun eventually has a meltdown. While we cannot be sure if it is his regret, repentance, grief, or simply the feeling of void that he knows will never be filled, he is still in pain. At that moment, Lea is the one who comforts him. Here’s something one cannot miss in the scene. We have always known how difficult it is for Shaun to be physically intimate with someone. This is precisely why he and Carly are still refraining from sexual intimacy. But here, as he feels pain and angst after meeting his father, he lets his guard down, perhaps subconsciously and allows Lea to hold him and he holds her back; a scene that can bring tears to your eyes.
This is a hugely transformative moment for Shaun and portraying such finer emotions, in the subtlest manner, is what makes Freddie the real star of the episode. Seeing his character shine above everything else, we believe this was not only the best episode of all seasons of ‘The Good Doctor’ so far, but the best we have seen of Freddie Highmore on the show. And it was an absolute Emmy-worthy performance!