'The Good Doctor' Season 3 Episode 5: Shaun Leads First Surgery in "First Case, Second Base"

The Good Doctor Season 3, Episode 5 was a real mix of victory and defeat for Dr. Shaun Murphy (played by Freddie Highmore) on ABC this week as he failed in his attempt to lead his first surgery but also took things to the next level with Carly (Jasika Nicole). "First Case, Second Base" also saw Claire Browne (Anthonia Thomas) coming to terms with the death of her mother (Sharon Leal).

What happened in The Good Doctor Season 3, Episode 5?

Things have moved on in Carly and Shaun's relationship at the start of the episode, with the couple now moving on to kissing. However, Shaun hits another romantic roadblock when he gets overwhelmed at touching more than one part of Carly's body at any one time.

However, there's no time to process this, as Shaun gets a text from the hospital letting him know he is about to lead his first surgery. That operation will be on a woman (Stacie Greenwell) with esophageal cancer requiring a resection that will leave her cancer-free and, crucially for this budding chef, without the need for a feeding tube.

Or so the doctors think, as further investigation revealed that she has scar tissue that will require her to have a feeding tube. Audrey (Christina Chang) wants Alex (Will Yun Lee) to break the news to the patient, a move which annoys him as he was originally meant to lead the surgery, and which leads to Audrey being warned that she is spoiling Shaun.

Marcus (Hill Harper) agrees with this and forces Shaun to tell the patient the bad news, which he does in typically abrupt fashion, leading the woman to say she does not want him to perform the surgery. However, Audrey eventually talks her round.

the good doctor season 3 episode 5
Freddie Highmore in "The Good Doctor" Season 3, Episode 5. ABC

Both Glassman (Richard Schiff) and Lea (Paige Spara) have advice for Shaun that proves invaluable in the episode. Lea had previously told Shaun to be straight with Carly about his likes and dislikes, so when she comes to wish him luck he tells her about his touching taboos. They make a deal about him only having to touch one part of her body at a time, and the couple go to the second base of the episode's title.

Glassman, meanwhile, told Shaun about his own first time in surgery and gave him his orange cap as something to focus on during the procedure. Things seem to be going well until Shaun starts to cut the woman open and freaks out.

Everyone except Audrey thinks this is a sign that Shaun was not ready to lead his first procedure, but she thinks he may have seen something they haven't. She's right⁠—he's discovered that there may be a way to stop her from needing a feeding tube, but it will also mean it's a far more complicated operation than he is able to run, meaning he has to forfeit his first lead surgery.

This leads to an argument between the doctors that is sure to continue to play out over the next few episodes, as Audrey praises Shaun for his excellent diagnostic work while the rest of the doctors focus on his freak-out. His first surgery may have been a mixed success, but his relationship with Carly gets stronger as he ends the episode asking for permission to touch her other breast.

the good doctor season 3 episode 5
Stacie Greenwell in "The Good Doctor" Season 3, Episode 5. ABC

Elsewhere in the episode, Claire's trauma following the drink-related death of her mother feeds into the way she treats a patient who says he is sober but who is exhibiting drunken behavior. Morgan (Fiona Gubelmann) thinks the patient is telling the truth about his sobriety, while all Claire sees is an addict in denial. Turns out in this case that Morgan is right⁠—the patient has a tumor that is preventing carbs from being digested, leading them to ferment and create alcohol in his stomach.

The Good Doctor episode's c-plot sees Glassman concerned after he finds out about Debbie (Sheila Kelley) having a gun. After an episode of trying to convince her to get rid of it, a talk with Shaun convinces him that he and Debbie will need to compromise to make their relationship work.

The ABC show is taking a week's break, but will be back on October 28 with an episode that sees Shaun have another go at his first lead surgery⁠—though the trailer for the episode seems to suggest that will not be smooth sailing either.

The Good Doctor Season 3 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC