New season, who dis? There I was, on my couch, all cosily wrapped in my warm blanket on a Tuesday night (courtesy of the European time zone predicament), and hoo boy. Way to start the season with a bang.

Kinda wish I’d been in a better frame of mind that night (cannot recommend having a 2 TB hard drive chock-full with data self-destruct on you with the last backups being three years old), but what better way to lighten the mood than your favourite show giving you all the things you didn’t know you wanted. I was definitely game, and the show did not disappoint!

Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Technicalities

Written by David Shore & Liz Friedman
Directed by Mike Listo
Original airdate Sep 27, 2021

Patient Stories

Patient #1 is Salen Morrison. She presents at the clinic with shortness of breath, occasional blurred vision and headaches, and that morning her urine was foamy with a little blood in it. She’s very nosy and asks a lot of questions. How many exam rooms does the clinic have? How come Morgan is in charge when both her and Jordan are residents?

Salen is on Ritalin for her ADHD, which Jordan thinks may be causing her symptoms. She recommends that Salen goes off of the Ritalin for a few days.

Next we see Salen hitting up different people in the hospital. She goes snooping around Glassman’s office, asking why it’s so small when he’s the president of the hospital. “Actually, it feels a lot larger when I’m the only one in it,” he tells her. Does he identify more as a neurosurgeon or an executive? Jordan comes running to collect her wandered off patient and saves the day. What is up with this woman?

They find a kidney abnormality on Salen’s imaging scan, they suspect it might be renal cell carcinoma. Jordan gets excited because she might need a kidney biopsy that she can get in on — with Morgan’s help. Morgan gets a bit ahead of herself when she basically steamrolls Andrews that Jordan will do the biopsy. Andrews isn’t all that happy about it.

Next person Salen runs across is Lea in the server room. Lea is on the phone with a guy who isn’t exactly cooperative, and Lea gets creative with a story about her boyfriend being a trigger-happy lawyer. Salen is impressed with Lea’s ingenuity. And the biopsy isn’t happening because Salen forgot that she wasn’t supposed to eat.

They discover along the way that Salen’s ankles are swollen. Another symptom? Andrews prescribes antibiotics to see what happens with these new symptoms, but it turns out they are not caused by a bacterial infection. The hunt for the cause of the symptoms continues while Andrews offers Asher the chance to lead the kidney biopsy because Jordan messed up with letting Salen wander off and ingest food.

Salen inquires who the Chief of Surgery is and is impressed that it’s a woman. She subsequently crashes one of Lim’s surgeries by butting in from the gallery. The surgical team is not amused. Lim pages Andrews to come get Salen, but Salen actually faints.

The team discusses options afterwards. It’s almost like Salen is messing with them. Asher contributes, “Every time we get close to doing a biopsy on this woman, something doc-blocks us.” Morgan has a suspicion that Salen actually is messing with them. Her Ritalin levels are way too high for the fact that she was supposed to stop taking it.

It’s Andrews who finally solves the riddle. Salen already knows what’s wrong with her. She has secondary Raynaud syndrome, a condition where spasms of small arteries can cause reduced capillary blood flow, which we see in some of Salen’s fingers having turned white. The primary cause of her Raynaud’s is scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that can result in changes to the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs, so this is what’s causing Salen’s benign kidney lesion.

Salen tells the doctors she went undiagnosed for three years (sadly, this happens a lot with lesser known or rare diseases, particularly autoimmune diseases), and she went off her scleroderma meds a couple of weeks ago to see if the doctors at St. Bonaventure could do better with their diagnostic skills. When Asher asks why, she just shrugs and says she was curious. Hmmmm.

The big bombshell gets dropped right at the end of the episode, when Lim is waiting outside of the conference room to do her budget presentation. She never gets the chance, though, because Glassman tells her there was only one agenda topic, and the meeting is now over. “The hospital is being purchased.” And it’s Salen who is buying it. “I’m looking forward to working with both of you,” she tells Aaron and Audrey.

Whoa. Kinda cool, though. Didn’t see exactly this coming, and I’m both excited and afraid of the consequences of this and what it will mean for the rest of the season.

I gotta say, though… Most likely owing to the prior announcement of Salen becoming a recurring character in season 5, I felt it was pretty predictable that Salen wasn’t “just” a patient. She clearly had an agenda, and she was snooping around to find out things about the hospital and its employees. My initial feeling was that she was a kind of auditor to check up on the capabilities and competence of the staff. I guess I wasn’t far wrong, but didn’t see it coming that she was actually instrumental in buying the whole damn hospital. Nice twist there, kudos to the writers!

Patient #2 is Riley, a young boy who gets a tonsillectomy. During the extraction, they find an irregular mass in the boy’s tonsil. They send it to pathology and it turns out that it’s cervical cancer. How does a young boy end up with cervical cancer?

When they talk to the boy’s mother, Sarah, about this, they tell her that Riley most likely inhaled the cancerous cells during birth, and that Sarah and also her other son Jackson need to be scanned for possible malignancies.

While Lim and Shaun tell Sarah about the diagnosis, a man walks into Riley’s room — Sarah’s brother Nick. Sarah gets immediately upset and asks Nick to leave, even though the boys are clearly happy to see their uncle. The other son, Jackson, texted Nick and told him about their hospital stay. Shaun and Lim look on during all of this.

Shaun later asks Sarah why she got all stroppy with Nick. She tells Shaun that Nick is an alcoholic and unreliable. Not someone she would trust with her sons, as he once neglected and forgot about them when he took them to the beach. This hits close to home for Shaun, he’s surely familiar with behaviour patterns of alcoholics.

Side Note: Check out Melissa Reiner’s Episode Insights where she talks about this scene in particular. (Melissa Reiner is the show’s autism consultant.)

The PET scans reveal that both Sarah and Jackson also have cancer — Sarah in her cervix and uterus, requiring a radical hysterectomy, and Jackson in his trachea that also needs surgical intervention. The surgery on Jackson isn’t as urgent, his tumour is slow growing. The one on Sarah is a lot more pressing. Her cancer is aggressive and could spread quickly.

Sarah is a single mother and doesn’t have any support system. She can’t afford the money for a full time sitter. She has no one she can ask to look after her children during her recovery. Sarah urges them to operate on Jackson first while she figures something out.

Shaun comes up with a less invasive way to operate on Jackson that will shorten his recovery time considerably. Two birds with one stone. Sarah reluctantly agrees to that approach, but during the surgery they realise that it won’t work because there’s arterial involvement in the tumour. Jackson will need the more aggressive surgery with longer recovery time, after all.

Alex and Shaun then try to figure out how to solve their two cases and save two lives. It’s tricky. There are no good solutions. But it’s actually Morgan who steers Alex onto the right track. The solution isn’t surgical, it’s emotional.

What Alex then does is call Nick to ask him to come back in. Nick gives Sarah his 90 Day AA chip. He’s been sober for 106 days, and he’s really trying. He wants to be there for Sarah and her boys, but she’s still not sure she can trust him. He’s the only person she has right now, and she will need to trust someone.

Sarah’s operation goes well, and Nick is there to help her through it. She thanks Alex for reconnecting them, and Shaun says, “Your brother is not perfect, but sometimes we need people who aren’t perfect.”

Shaun & Lea

Talk about starting off with a bang, we jump right into the wedding! Everyone’s seated outside in the sunshine. Green lawns, trees lining the scene. White dress, white veil, white roses, Shaun in a black tailcoat. Just as the big question is being popped, a thunderstorm rolls in. Uh oh!

But of course Lea comes prepared. Shaun gets a pair of earplugs from her for the distracting thunderclaps. Everyone opens their white umbrella to fend off the rain. But then lightning strikes (not the good or the figurative kind), and a tree catches fire and starts falling right into the wedding party, and— Lea wakes up, sitting up in bed, breathing heavily. It was a dream.

Shaun Robert Murphy, though!! I missed this on the first viewing, because my TV sometimes takes a few seconds to pick up the sound of an episode. And Lea Abigail Dilallo. I like it.

And can I just say that I totally called it that the editing in that early promo video where Shaun said he wasn’t sure about marrying Lea was total bogus? Just clever video and sound editing. Don’t believe the promos. They just want you invested in tuning in to watch the actual episode.

Back at the Murphy/Dilallo residence, that same morning, Shaun is being all domestic and cutesy with a frying pan and spatula and pancakes, Lea gives him a peck on the cheek and announces that they are not having an outdoor wedding. Shaun is cool with that. “Okay.” He just wants to marry her. The details aren’t important.

Shaun actually reiterates that to his colleagues during a surgery. “Lea is making all of the arrangements because she wants it to be perfect, but all that matters to me is marrying Lea, and any day that happens will be the perfect day.” Aw, Shaun.

Later, Shaun checks in with Lea in her office to ask her if she’s overwhelmed with planning the wedding all on her own, seeing how Lim and Park had some concerns about that. Lea reassures him that she’s fine, no need to worry. And then she sends Shaun away when he’s getting chatty.

Things for the engagement party prep aren’t going so great, it seems. Lea’s on the phone, trying to organise catering while Jordan asks her what dress to wear. Yep, Lea is definitley pretty stressed out over all of this.

It haunts her in her dreams, too. That night, she wakes up with a start and sits up in bed. Shaun looks at her sleepily. “Are you okay?” (Why does Shaun wear his watch in bed?) No, Lea is not okay. “The engagement party is off,” she decides right there and then. She had another dream that taught her that chaos follows her everywhere. Shaun’s main worry is the wedding, who cares about an engagement party? “Is the wedding still on?” he asks. Lea says yes. Shaun is relieved. That’s the most important part. He goes back to sleep.

Jordan is actually the one to talk Lea into uncancelling the engagement party. Lea divulges to Jordan that she wants everything about the wedding to be perfect. Her first one wasn’t, not by a long shot, so she has to get this one right. The engagement party was supposed to be a trial run. And it would have been a disaster. Jordan has some great advice, though. “If you aren’t willing to risk little things going wrong, you’ll never have the chance to have the big things go right.”

So then the party is back on. Also, Jordan’s dark purple lipstick looks amazing with her blue dress, and I’m saying that as a woman who doesn’t even own any make-up.

Possible continuity error here, by the way. During surgery, Shaun tells Dr. Lim that the engagement party is on Saturday. It seems everyone is working at the hospital the day of the actual party, including Lea. Would Lea’s IT Director job really require her to work on a Saturday?

Jordan goes to see Shaun and Alex in the residents’ meeting room to tell them the engagement party is back on and they better get their butts in there. Alex and Shaun are trying to find a creative solution to Jackson and Sarah’s surgeries. They’re both stumped, and Shaun thinks the medical case is more important than the engagement party. Jordan doesn’t agree. She tells Alex to talk some sense into Shaun.

The party is getting started without Shaun. Food is there, flowers are there, they have bubbly. The DJ wouldn’t uncancel, but Jordan has put chill jazz on instead. Guests are there, all seems to be going okay. Except the fiancé is missing.

Shaun and Alex are still trying to figure out the surgery approach. By now, Shaun is pacing with his hand up in his hair. They’re getting nowhere. Alex suddenly seems to have an idea, and he tells Shaun to go while Alex figures out the details on his own. Shaun sees through the ruse, though. Alex was lying just to get Shaun to join his own party. (Well done, Shaunie!) Alex asks him, “Is your future with Lea more important than this one case?” Shaun has a quick answer. “Much more.” And so Shaun finally gets out of there to join Lea and the other guests.

At the party, people are mingling and chatting. Glassman seems to have no qualms about downing one whiskey after the other. He’s not doing so great, is he?

When Shaun finally arrives (you sure clean up nice, Mr. Murphy!), Dr. Lim speaks a heartfelt toast. “The first time Shaun mentioned Lea, she was the girl who borrowed his batteries. I told him not to ask for them back, but clearly it worked out. These two have a love that could move mountains. Literally.” Yep, couldn’t agree more, Audrey.

Who also makes a toast is Aaron. And maybe we all expected some gloopy declaration of how much he loves and admires Shaun, how he’s a proud father, how he’s happy that Shaun has found the love of his life. But that’s not exactly what happens. I mean, it starts out that way, he talks about how long he’s known Shaun, and that he’s glad Shaun has found happiness with Lea. But then it slides into Awkward Central™.

He’s a somewhat drunken mess, his tie halfway undone, his beard long and unkempt, and his toast starts falling flat, laden with sudden inopportune passive aggressiveness. “Here’s to many, many, many years of happiness. At least two, maybe three.” There’s uncomfortable glances all around. Andrews tries to intervene, and Aaron adds almost casually, “Debbie left me, like, two months ago, but that’s not the point. The point is, you guys have built a platform, and you’ve taken off, and that’s… I mean, who knows…” His voice is close to breaking, and he stalls, puts down his champagne glass and walks out, leaving everyone with disconcerted expressions on their faces.

Everyone is flustered. Shaun looks like he was just punched in the gut. We can only imagine how he feels.

At home that night, Lea is sitting on the bed in her pyjamas, looking at a pin board she put together with wedding options and inspiration. She seems to have short-listed an outdoor wedding, beach wedding (wtf? Shaun hates the beach!), vineyard and Mojave desert as possible locations.

There’s also reminders about twinkle lights, floral arrangements, groomsmen outfits, decorations and accessories, and two fabric samples for the dress and/or the veil. Looks like Lea might be considering sky blue or pink bridesmaids dresses. A post-it note lists out rental items they need to order, including specialty chairs, linens, draping, lounge furniture and a dance floor. There’s more at the bottom of the board that’s not shown in great detail, including a church location, another indoor location with pink decorations, dress options (all white), and more floral arrangements. It all looks lovely.

At the same time, Shaun is sitting forlorn on the sofa, staring into space, still dressed in his suit from the party, though he got rid of the tie and jacket. There’s a huge lump in my throat now. Shaun didn’t expect the blow that Aaron dealt them with his clumsy speech. What is Shaun thinking, now that Glassman’s situation is sinking in? Is he feeling guilty for not checking in with Glassman in the past two months? Is he feeling guilty because he’s happy and Glassman isn’t? Trying to figure out how to fix it?

I wish we’d been able to see whatever conversation there was between Lea and Shaun before these two scenes. Did she try to get him to talk and he said no? Did they talk about the Glassman situation at all? Goddammit, I wanna know what was discussed. Though I think (hope?) that we’ll see a conversation about it in a future episode. (We better, or else I’ll have to write all the fan fiction!)

The next day, Lea gets home from work, and Shaun is sitting on the sofa, taking in the wedding inspiration board. He tells her, “The party was a disaster.” Lea agrees as she sits down next to him. “I’m sorry,” Shaun tells her. “I screwed up.”

Lea tells him that it wasn’t his fault. “It was yours,” he says, “It was your party, your responsibility, but that’s the problem. When things go wrong for us, they should go wrong for both of us. So I’m going to help you plan our wedding. This way, when it goes terribly wrong, it will be both our faults.” Lea is down with that. “And… it’ll be because of the both of us when everything goes right.”

This conversation, while really sweet of Shaun, actually left a bit of a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Shaun was saying the engagement party was a disaster, and it was Lea’s fault. What exactly was disastrous about it? Sure, things seemed a bit disjointed and disorganised, but not to a degree where I could classify it a catastrophe. It was mainly Glassman’s graceless and misplaced speech that dealt the death blow, right? How was that Lea’s fault? I dunno, that felt a bit unfair to lay that all on Lea.

They propitiate me a little with some sweet domestic bliss when Lea and Shaun share a kiss and Lea leans into him as they contemplate their wedding board together. And I’m happy that Shaun is not hanging Lea out to dry on this. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more wedding planning shenanigans over the next few episodes.

My season 5 wishlist had more karaoke for Shaun on it, potentially at the engagement party. Guess that didn’t happen. (sad trombone) More karaoke for Shaun in upcoming episodes, pls.

Maybe a little thing, but did you notice that Lim was letting Shaun do all the talking with their patient Sarah when they were delivering diagnoses and updates? Not one critical word or compensating on Lim’s part for Shaun’s usual somewhat too blunt delivery. In the grand scheme of things, I think he did incredibly well there. I think we can all be proud of him. And all the props to Lim for letting him unfold his wings and take flight.

Glassman’s Plight

Ah, damn. Aaron really isn’t taking Debbie’s leaving well, is he? Understatement there. His bedroom floor is a mess of discarded clothes and empty fast food containers. This doesn’t bode well.

At the hospital, Glasman is putting up a brave front. Andrews and Glassman meet in the elevator. Glassman tells Andrews he’s sorry to hear about Andrews’ separation from his wife, but Andrews doesn’t seem too perturbed by his breakup and Glassman’s sympathy falls on deaf ears.

The dynamic here is pretty twisted, because really, Glassman is talking about his own breakup with Debbie and how much he needs some sympathy, while Andrews assumes that he’s talking about his first divorce decades ago. It hurts on many levels, because Glassman is so miserable and not dealing, but he hasn’t told anyone. And he’s deflecting when Andrews asks him how he is. Aaron, what are you doing?

There’s then the pretty devastating speech he gives at the engagement party, and after that he goes home to just crash in his messy bedroom, not even bothering to undress. This speaks of clinical depression to me. I’m so worried for him. I’ve written more about this down in the Speculation Corner section of this recap.

Audrey & Mateo

Audrey and Mateo are still in touch, having regular video chats. Audrey talks about how their department is way in the reds and she’s up for tricky budget discussions. The eternal struggle of hospitals these days, isn’t it? There’s a knock on her door. And guess what! It’s Mateo. In San Jose in the flesh. Surprise!

He got a lawyer and now he’s no longer a wanted man in the States. Sorted! Audrey is elated. As am I. These two have a special place my heart. I stan them. A lot. All the cheers for adding Osvaldo to the cast.

Shaun is also in favour. He invites Mateo to the engagement party. And the wedding, if he’s still in San Jose then. Good on you, Shaun.

Mateo drops by at the hospital, telling Audrey that he was granted a provisional Californian medical license. And he’s got a job lined up in San Francisco. This all goes a little too quickly for Audrey, she didn’t expect him to leave Guatemala so fast. But San Francisco is still an hour’s drive away, so it’s not that they immediately need to move in together, right?

It’s actually kinda cute that Shaun walks in on them making out in Lim’s office. Shaun stops short, then tells Mateo, “I’m glad you’re no longer a fugitive from government authorities.” So are we, Shaun.

At the engagement party, Mateo gets a phone call. Turns out the hospital in San Francisco doesn’t want to hire him after all, when they found out about his criminal record. But there’s other opportunities in the Bay Area, right?

Audrey keeps thinking about this, and maybe there’s an easier solution. St. Bonaventure has been down an Attending for over a year. Why not hire Mateo? However, the board needs to approve it first. And then the bomb gets dropped that Salen (or her company?) is buying the hospital, so let’s see what that means in terms of Mateo getting hired, and in what position.

Assuming that Mateo will indeed be hired as Attending, I’m curious how that will play out. Audrey is still the Chief of Surgery, and there’s the issue of a romantic relationship between a supervisor and subordinate. I really don’t want this to become a repeat performance of the Lim/Melendez scenario.

Here’s a thought. What if Audrey gets demoted from Chief of Surgery over the whole hospital acquisition hoo-ha? Two Attendings on the same level in a relationship would solve that issue. Not that I want her demoted. At all. Please don’t demote her.

But anyway, I’m excited for more Mateo stuff. I’m particularly excited to see how he will mesh with the Second Years and also with Shaun. Clearly, he’s already met and worked with Shaun in Guatemala, but this will be a whole new dynamic.

On a more fandomy note, I saw some rumblings the other day that the fans aren’t happy with the previously established #Matlim moniker and would prefer #Limeo instead. Personally, I’ve never understood the urge to give ‘ships a name in the first place, but who am I to judge? Though if we go with #Limeo, shouldn’t it then actually be #Limón? Or #Audeo? #Auteo? Sheesh, I should not be the person to weigh in on this.

The Second Year Residents

Asher and Jordan getting competitive was cute. I can see how Asher’s not necessarily the competing type (bless him), but I like it. Jordan’s also a crafty bugger. She made a deal with Morgan. If she does all the scutwork, Morgan will put in a good word with the Attending to let Jordan take more of a lead on a surgical procedure. I think Jordan will be going places, though I also hope Asher will stand his ground.

Jordan/Bria did look fabulous in that blue dress! I love her snazziness. And I love her feistiness, too. Very much looking forward to seeing more of Asher and Jordan this season. The big question is, will they add a third second year resident at some point? Not that I think they necessarily need to. Just wondering…

The Others

Marcus has somewhat of a casual relationship renaissance, now that he’s getting a divorce and is a free man again. Lots of one night stands with more or less random women. He’s living the life. I dunno. Feels like we already saw a rendition of this when Claire had her attachment issues compensation situation. Let’s see where this leads.

Marcus’s dating zeal gets him into a bit of trouble. Okay, maybe not exactly trouble, but he accidentally invites two different dates to the engagement party. And the two ladies get it on and end up going to a bar — together without Marcus. But Marcus isn’t at a loss for options. He hits on the bartender instead, and it leads to a night with benefits.

Another item on my wishlist had also been more Alex and Shaun bromance. And we got some of that, and it made me happy. Poor Shaun being all torn about his medical case and the engagement party, and Alex was a true friend and saved the day.

Not enough Alex and Morgan in this episode, but there’s only so much they can do in 42 minutes, with introducing new characters and laying the foundation for the season arcs. The episode felt incredibly packed with interesting things, but it was still well paced and didn’t feel too crowded. A job incredibly well done, if you ask me.

Of course now trying to pick up all these threads and writing them down feels a tad overwhelming. I hadn’t even rewatched the episode yet as I was typing this particular paragraph, and I had already written over 2,300 words of thoughts and interpretations just from memory of the first viewing. I sure have a lot to say about this season premiere, but I daresay that’s a good thing.

What also positively stood out in the episode was that there was a lot of interaction between all the characters. Sometimes we get groups of characters staying in their lanes or their medical case bubbles, but here we had a great intermixing of characters and conversations.

Speculation Corner

Obviously, this episode was just the first in a series of many more this season, and it’s merely a springboard to start speculating what will happen and where the journey will take us. But I think we got a few interesting hints that we can only presume will set the tone for what’s about to unfold, and which direction the writers and producers will take us.

Hospital Acquisition

First off, let’s talk about Salen. So she’s buying the hospital. Well, most likely not her personally. Some company she’s the CEO of, I presume. It was already speculated before as to how we would see her evolve from patient to recurring character, and her being in a more administrative role in the hospital was one of the hypothetical options thrown around.

Personally, I’m both cautiously anticipating and dreading the prospect. There’s a definite fear that she may have been introduced as another antagonist for Shaun — another Dr. Han. Ugh. Do not want. Then again, I like the potential of that, and I should trust the writers not to carbon-copy things we’ve already seen.

One of my wishlist items for season 5 was for Shaun to struggle a bit more emotionally (yes, I have a sadistic streak, angst monster and all). Salen could be a catalyst for that. I do hope she’s not just going to be an unlikeable hardass, like Han was. I would welcome her as a complex character with both negative and positive qualities. As in: challenge Shaun, but not break him.

On a more business process level, I can speak from experience that company acquisitions and mergers are never fun or easy. There’s always a majorly disruptive element. New people, new rules, new processes, new ideas, new bosses wishing to leave their finger- and sometimes footprints. I think everyone will struggle with that, not just Shaun.

There’s a reason why employees in merging or acquired companies are often being offered change management seminars. Much like grief, there are different phases to how people deal with disruptive change and how it affects them. Lots of potential here for friction and drama in upcoming episodes. I’m curious and intrigued!

Glassman’s Downfall

Oh boy, where do I even start? I’ve been talking about this with Daniela earlier this week, and we’re both slightly scared. Clearly Aaron is in a very dark place. Can we call it depression? At the very least, he’s heading there. Also seems like it may slide into an alcohol problem, or perhaps he’s already pretty much right in the middle of that.

And that is gonna be a doozie. Because that will affect Shaun in a huge way. Remember the season 5 promo image? “We’re only as strong as what we overcome.”

Somehow, I have a feeling part of that challenge for Shaun will be a season overarching story arc of Glassman dealing with both depression and alcohol involvement/addiction, perhaps mixed with whatever challenges the administrative hospital business acquisition will throw at Shaun.

When I was watching 5×01, I was asking myself what the point of patient Sarah’s story was, and I think there are several aspects to consider here. First of all, as suggested by Jorg on Reddit, it reverse-mirrored Shaun’s childhood. What we saw was a mother who was willing to sacrifice her own life to protect her children — juxtaposed against Shaun’s situation where his mother stood by and did nothing to protect her children who ended up living in an abandoned bus in a junkyard.

Second of all, and this is mere speculation, it might be a seed planted to hint at Marcie (Shaun’s mother) making another appearance, perhaps in the context of the upcoming wedding. Many fans have the impression that Shaun is done with his biological family and that he wouldn’t want anything to do with them ever again. However, this whole patient story makes me think that Shaun might rethink his stance, and that there may be an actual story thread where at least he might discuss or consider whether to invite her to the wedding.

Thirdly, and credit to Daniela for picking up on this, but it may have been establishing the alcohol addiction piece. Remember when Shaun was pushing the mother in the chair and she was telling Shaun about how her brother had a drinking problem? Shaun’s back very literally went up upon hearing that, taking him back to his own sordid family history. That may have been the first hint at Glassman’s alcohol problem we might see playing out.

And it kinda makes sense in the context of the season 5 promo poster, doesn’t it? Clearly, the whole ‘woe is me, Debbie left me two months ago’ speech at the engagement party was hella awkward. And it was a huge blow out of the blue – to everyone, including Shaun. Undoubtedly that affected him deeply.

So just envision how this could play out over the course of the season. Glassman sliding more and more into depression and increased alcohol consumption. We know Glassman would never, in his right mind, intentionally (or even unintentionally) hurt Shaun. But mental illness or instability and drug consumption can really mess with people, and Glassman might just become resentful, angry, rebarbative and unapproachable. Can you imagine what that would do to Shaun?

He’s already had to deal with a father figure whose abusive nature was largely due to alcohol consumption. Shaun’s surrogate parent and only true father figure he’s been looking up to and leaning on for over a decade succumbing to the same fate — that would be an unimaginably huge blow.

As I’ve mentioned before, there’s an angst monster in me that is a 100% here for all of this. So much. I want ALL THE EMOTIONAL TURMOIL. I’m beyond excited for this. (Is that wrong? I feel that’s wrong. But I don’t care. I want it.)

Then again, I don’t want to see Shaun suffer and hurting. Part of my season 5 wishlist was that the man should be happy. So then let’s hope for the perfect storm of these two things combined, with a good deal of emotional struggle throughout the season and a positive outcome and resolution towards the end. That would be my big desire, presuming my speculation about this story arc is not way off base.

What I’m also hoping is that this will be an opportunity for Lea to get involved in the whole uphill struggle and help Shaun with find the right words to get through to Glassman, and to help Shaun himself with coming to terms with the resentment from his substitute father.

I could be super wrong with all these speculations, but I really, really hope I’m not. Because I’m so much buying into all this.

State of the Shea

If you wish to read more episode insights from fans, I can highly recommend you check out Kelli Lawrence’s State of the Shea Pt. 41 post where she reflects on the episode as well. (Our blog entries were written independently, but interestingly, she has a lot of the same thoughts and ideas as me.)

Missing Scenes

Ah, you were hoping there were actual videos of missing scenes here, right? Nope, I’m not that good. (sad trombone) But what I can offer is some missing scenes I wrote in fan fiction form to glue together or expand on what we saw in the episode. Feel free to check out my fanfic titled ‘It’s Hard To Dance With A Devil On Your Back’ that I’ve posted on AO3 that’s a collection of gap fillers for all the season 5 episodes aired so far.

On a Personal Note

A few of you have probably seen me around on Twitter, and I’ve loved all the interactions I’ve had there. However, Twitter is tricky for me. I’ve always been a huge spoilerphobe, and my own personal gratification of fully enjoying a TV show I’m in love with hinges on not knowing what happens next. I’m the person who wants to be a 100% surprised when I see the actual episodes, and who gets frustrated with knowing too much beforehand, even if it some of it may just be speculation based on teasers and promos and episode stills. I honestly really wish I could switch that off, but my brain is weird and apparently just wired that way.

And this is why I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter, because unlike message boards or other closed discussion forums with a no-spoiler policy, there are no guardrails or ways to filter for spoiler-free information or interaction. Sadly, this is a big thing for me, which is why I’ve made the decision to stay away from anything The Good Doctor on Twitter and other social media while the show is airing weekly.

All of you guys on Twitter have been incredibly gracious and fun to talk to, so I just wanted to explain as to why you will most likely see a lot less of me there while the season still airs. It’s nothing personal, it’s just me taking measures to avoid things that mess with my ability to fully appreciate the show. I will be announcing new blog content or fanart as I have been doing in the past. And I’m always super eager to talk to people and interact and share, as long as you don’t talk about anything that relates to unaired episodes or teasers or anything that’s considered future content.

I wouldn’t judge or blame anyone for getting super excited about discussing teasers and promos and every bit of news you can soak up, and then speculate and debate as to what different people think that means. I am incredibly happy that there is a space to do all this! I just wish there was also a space for people like me, so if anyone is aware of anything like that, please let me know.

That said, my comment box below is always open, my Twitter and Reddit and Discord (TeeJay#0828) DMs as well, and if someone wants to start a spoiler-free group chat somewhere, I’d be the first person to join and contribute. Fandom is always the most fun if you can share and interact and enjoy things together. ❤