Good Sam’s fourth episode of its inaugural season shifts its focus from the medical to shine a spotlight on the hospital’s political intrigue. From what we’ve seen of these characters, they’re definitely able to carry these storylines. Major power players are at work here, and if this is the direction the show is going to go in, we are definitely along for the ride.
Sophia Bush is still an absolute powerhouse as Sam. Sam’s geeking out about amphibians was an endearing character moment that really shows why she’s so lovable. We’ve seen her leadership style and how it contrasts to that of her father. This time, we see the lengths she is willing to go to to cement her own place, and give herself a fighting chance. This is such a credit to a character who’s been undermined at every turn, mostly by her father. She’s consolidating her power by matching powerhouses Dr. Rhonda Glass (Yanna McIntosh) and hospital donor Helen Fletcher (Rosemary Dunsmore).
Sam and Malcolm (Edwin Hodge) having a taste of domestic bliss was so lovely, and honestly these two deserve it. We also now have a look at what appears to be the love triangle that’s been teased from the first episode. This time, though, it’s clear that Dr. Caleb Tucker (Michael Stahl-David) actually has a fighting chance. From Sam holding onto his pen that was a medical school graduation present, to Caleb noticing Sam’s phantom piano playing when stressed, it’s even more clear he is still carrying a candle for the one that got away. However, Sam’s intentions are clear, that her relationship with Malcolm is important to her and worth fighting for.
Griff (Jason Isaacs) continues to be up to his usual shenanigans, and continues to prove since he’s one of the most hateable fathers since Star Lord’s genocidal planet father Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2. He takes credit for his daughter’s success and reputation, and continues to undercut her leadership at every turn. It’s also the small things that make him detestable, like him helping himself to another doctor’s trail mix with the justification that “it’s communal”.
The rest of the team of doctors at Lakeshore continue to prove why they’re such an enjoyable ensemble. It’s particularly satisfying that Dr. Lex Trulie (Skye P. Marshall) had the chance to prove herself as an incredibly gifted surgeon and seeing more of this would only add to the show. Dr. Joey Costa (Davi Santos) continues to be an adorably awkward yet endearing doctor who just struggles to make friends. Finally, Dr. Isan Shah (Omar Maskati) pulled on our heartstrings with his continued stress of possibly being named in a wrongful death suit. This seemed like it would have been an ongoing plot point, but it has now been resolved somewhat anti-climatically.
This week’s whacky medical mystery was a patient presenting with congestive heart failure, constant pain, and a mysterious rash. It’s a shame we didn’t get to spend more time with this patient, since he had quite an interesting and relatable story. We all can experience the feeling of being stuck, and with a sense that what we are at this moment is all we can ever be. This would have been an interesting venue to go down.
The focus of this episode was a notable shift from the previous ones. Corruption in American healthcare is a big topic, and one that many medical shows on the air do bring up from time to time. In this instance, it’s reprehensible to think that participants of an ill-fated medical study were essentially paid off and the results were buried with money. Unfortunately, this is a reality in any healthcare system that is corrupted by greed. This would be an interesting focus for the series going forward, the intersection of power and money and how innocent patients are harmed.
Good Sam is still charming and a joy to watch. Even more stories have been set up, including the fact that Sam’s parents are both keeping what seems to be a terrible secret from her. The ambu-lounge at the end of the episode looked so comfortable, and honestly, these characters have already shown they deserve it. The entanglements are only getting more complicated, and Good Sam is still in a great position to keep us captivated for the rest of the season.
Good Sam airs Wednesdays 10/9c on CBS.