After just two episodes about the coronavirus pandemic, The Good Doctor Season 4 jumped ahead to a future in which COVID is under control, masks are no longer needed, and people can stand within six feet of one another. That's the world the show will return to when The Good Doctor comes back in 2021. The fall finale airs Nov. 30 with Episode 6 picking back up on Jan. 11, according to Deadline.
The shift from covering the pandemic to going back to regular storylines was expected. Showrunner David Shore said at New York Comic Con in October that he wanted the show to be an "escape" for viewers during this tough time. "We've been living with this so much for the last six months ... I do think we have a responsibility, as entertainers, to provide a little bit of an escape," he said. "So the rest of the season will not be about COVID. It will be returning to the stories that we tell, the stories of life, of ethical choices and these characters in life-or-death [moments]."
That's a departure from how other medical shows are handling coronavirus. Grey's Anatomy shelved a lot of the writers' original Season 17 ideas in order to explore the impact of the pandemic at Grey Sloan Memorial, even having Meredith Grey test positive for the virus. The series shows no signs of attempting to jump beyond what we're still experiencing in our everyday lives. Even non-medical series like This Is Us have fully incorporated protocols like masks and social distancing into storylines to reflect our current world.
It would be nice to be able to jump ahead to a non-COVID world as easily as The Good Doctor did. But with no signs of the virus slowing by the show's Jan.11 return date, we'll just have to live vicariously through Shaun and co.