Okay, Team Taylor, Blake and Listo did it. You restored my faith and redeemed the show a fair amount. Cause this episode was fabulous in so many ways. I really needed that. Thank you.
Written by Tracy Taylor & Peter Blake
Directed by Mike Listo
Original airdate Mar 14, 2022
Patient #1 is Ryan Hayden. He lost consciousness while running and hit his head. Morgan is seeing him in the clinic and Shaun crashes the initial exam because he’s looking for a patient case he can help with, seeing how he doesn’t actually have patients of his own.
Side Note: “You recently flew in from London.” One of Shaun’s lines. Come on, you can’t tell me that’s coincidence, seeing how Freddie Highmore frequently commutes between London and Vancouver. This episode had so many callbacks and references, I’d like to think this was the very first, and within the first three minutes of the episode, no less.
Ryan received a donor liver six months back, but his liver lab values are only slightly elevated, so Morgan thinks it’s not liver related. Turns out Ryan got his liver from his best friend Dom, who is actually there with him for the exam. They put Ryan in an MRI, and there doesn’t appear to be any brain abnormalities, but he has a grand mal seizure while he is being scanned.
Shaun concludes that Ryan has encephalitis, even though the scans were inconclusive because of Ryan’s seizure during the scan. His blood tests are also clean and Park thinks it’s a cardiac problem. Andrews goes with Park’s suggestion, but Shaun won’t let himself get shut down so quickly again. “You should trust me,” he tells Andrews. “I told you not to do that surgery yesterday. I was right then, and I am right now.”
Andrews takes it on the chin and indulges Shaun, telling the team to treat for encephalitis as well as order cardiac monitoring. While Shaun goes to examine Ryan again, he notices that Ryan’s neck seems to be bothering him. When Shaun takes a look, his whole back is covered in a pretty nasty skin rash. So it’s not encephalitis or a heart problem.
The symptoms now suggest an autoimmune disorder, though they’re still none the wiser what it actually is. They put him on corticosteroids. When Shaun next sees Ryan, his eyes are jaundiced, meaning it’s his liver, after all. He wants a full body PET-CT scan of both Ryan and his friend Dom.
The scan reveals that Ryan has liver cancer, which jolted his body into immune response overdrive and had it attack unrelated organs. Dom is shocked that he gave Ryan cancer, but Shaun can’t help but remark that it probably saved his life since his scans are clean.
The bad news is yet to come. Ryan’s cancer has metastasised and he only has months to live, even with immediate treatment. That comes as quite a shock.
As they are about to take Ryan to surgery, Dom apologises to him. He can’t believe that he only wanted to help save his friend’s life, and now this? Ryan always stood up for Dom and took him in when his marriage failed. The one time Dom actually wanted to do something for Ryan, he killed him. But that’s not how Ryan sees it. Dom gave him eight more months with a functioning liver. He got to see his daughter be born, held her in his arms. Dom is gonna be the world’s best godfather, or Ryan will come back and haunt him. Morgan is close to tears as she stands and watches them hug.
The surgery goes well, and Dom, Ryan, his wife and their baby can make the best of Ryan’s last few months together.
Patient #2 is Grace Cooper. Grace is pregnant in her second trimester and had some bleeding that they are checking out in the ER. Grace is carrying a child as a surrogate, and it’s the donor mother Amanda’s last viable embryo, so she is naturally concerned. Amanda and Grace are good friends, Grace has practically become family. Grace experiences acute pain while in the ER, and Lim orders more tests to find out what it is, seeing how the ultrasound showed a healthy baby.
Her scans of the baby also look normal, but when Jordan and Asher take a closer look, they find a bladder sarcoma. The safest way to treat it would be to abort the pregnancy and remove the tumour surgically and then follow up with chemotherapy, but if Grace decides she wants to keep carrying the baby, there are chemo protocols that can be utilised that wouldn’t harm the foetus. However, the chemo would be far less effective, compared to the surgery.
Grace insists she wants to keep the baby alive and do just the chemo. Asher and Jordan try to find the right chemo treatment for Grace, but it’s not easy. Grace crashes while they’re still looking for options.
Grace had a uterine vessel rupture, which has now complicated her course of treatment. The tumour seems to be more aggressive than they thought, Andrews strongly recommends the termination of the pregnancy and the surgical resection. Basically, Grace needs surgery now, or the cancer might kill her.
However, there may be a third option. There’s an experimental cystoscopic surgery technique they can try which should be able to clear almost all of the cancer, but there’s a 30% chance of miscarriage. Even though Amanda urges her to abort the pregnancy and get the safer surgery, Grace insists that she doesn’t want any operation, just the chemo to carry the baby long enough to reach viability.
While they prepare Grace’s treatment, Asher and Jordan figure out what is actually going on here. Grace said previously that she didn’t have any children of her own, but in order to become a surrogate, you have to have given birth at least once.
Grace was nineteen when she had her first baby, Willem. She didn’t pay attention when they were at the playground, she was arguing with her boyfriend on the phone. Willem ran out in the street and died in a car crash, by the sound of it, and now Grace is atoning for her mistake by giving babies to people who actually deserve them. Jordan tries to make her see that she, too, has value, and not just because she can carry other people’s children.
Giving life to children is the only thing that still means anything to Grace, and she wants to see Amanda’s baby be born. It’s Asher who gets through to her, who tells her she is being selfish because Grace dying won’t help Amanda. Amanda doesn’t want the price of her child to be Grace’s life. They persuade her that the cystoscopic surgery may be worth a shot.
While they do the surgery on Grace, she has a bleed and they’re about ready to open her up, but Jordan and Asher bounce ideas off each other, and they find a way to save both Grace and the baby.
Everyone comes out alive in the end, with Grace and Amanda looking on as Jordan shows them the healthy baby on the ultrasound after Grace’s surgery.
We actually had a patient #3 this episode, though only briefly, and another callback of which we had many this episode. Nira Joseph from One Heart—Morgan’s clinic patient with the optical tumour whom she withheld an expensive treatment option from of which Salen had advised her to save costs. Morgan called Nira back under the pretence of a routine check-up, but really to hear from Nira how she was doing.
And Nira is doing much better than expected. Her vision has improved a bit, and even though she had to make major adjustments to her life by cutting down her working hours, it has been a blessing on her partner and son that she now has more time for her family, that she managed to patch up a troubled relationship which was at the point of starting to fall apart.
Nira divulges to Morgan that she’s really happy now, that her cancer diagnosis reminded her of what was important in life. And it’s very bittersweet for Morgan, because she thought she had ruined Nira’s life by only presenting her with a surgical option that would significantly diminish her field of vision, when there was another option that was omitted solely for budgetary reasons.
What Morgan ends up doing is send Nira a written admission of misconduct, outlining her error in judgement. We won’t know what will come of this—if anything. Maybe we’ll learn in future episodes.
Shaun & Lea
The same night Shaun quit his job (re: ending of Yippee Ki-Yay), he sits at home on their bed, typing things into his laptop. Lea knocks on the door, he looks up.
Lea called in the cavalry: Glassman ambles closer. Apparently Glassy and Shaun had an argument earlier, and Shaun asks if that’s why he’s here. (Let’s assume Glassman tried to lecture Shaun earlier that it was a bad idea to quit right after he did – or Shaun is referring to their conversation in the locker room we actually saw, although I would hardly call that an argument.)
Shaun reiterates why he resigned: He doesn’t want Salen to make him into a bad doctor. And he’s compiling a list of residency programs in the area, ranking them by 12 different metrics. Glassman isn’t as optimistic. There aren’t a lot of residency programs that will take a 5th Year, and, well, there’s no way of sugar-coating it: Shaun’s ASD will be a hiring hurdle.
Side Note: Some fans were taking issue with Glassman’s phrasing here when he said, “You’re somewhat vulnerable because of the ASD.” Yes, at first glance it may sound a little face-punchy, but there actually is an official term “vulnerable populations” in the healthcare sector. More classically, this term is used for paediatric patients, but it is now also more widely defined to include socioeconomically disadvantaged, such as members of LGBTQI+ community, prisoners, persons labelled with a stigmatising disease or people with a disability or mental disorder. It may be that Glassman chose this wording because Shaun could relate to it on a more professional level.
Seems like maybe Shaun didn’t fully consider all the ramifications of his decision to quit his job, because he looks a little sheepish. “I already quit.” Fear not, Lea and Glassman have it all figured out. They’re talking to an investigative reporter for a story on the damage that Salen has done. And there’s a pension fund that’s financing the hospital takeover and a deal attached to that which closes in eight days. So they have eight days to stop it and blow the whole thing up.
They encourage Shaun to apologise to Salen and ask for his job back so that they can work on dethroning Salen over the course of the next week in a way that Shaun doesn’t end up jobless when Salen gets ejected. Shaun doesn’t have to think long and hard about it, because he has nothing to apologise for, and Salen will definitely not say yes.
Glassman thinks otherwise. “Oh, she will say yes. You’re on the poster. What’s she gonna do, drag you out of the hospital, kicking and screaming? It’d be a PR disaster.”
What if they don’t pull this off, Shaun asks. Then they’ll rethink, and it’s only for eight days. Okay, Shaun can get behind that. “I… will focus on the medicine.” Okay, then!
Side Note #1: Love that Lea calls him Shaunie here. We haven’t heard that in such a long time!
Side Note #2: Did you see the look Lea gives Glassman when Shaun talks about the residency program metrics? ‘See, this is why I called you. Do something!’
Side Note #3: Also love that apparently Lea and Glassman have totally plotted all this in tandem before taking it to Shaun. Imagining the two of them forging plans in a concerted effort to pull Shaun out of the dirt gives me all the warm fuzzies.
So let’s see how the plan to get Shaun his job back is working out when he turns up at the hospital the next day. It’s cute how Shaun startles when he sees Salen peering through the clinic exam room window. He knows she will inquire why he’s there, seeing how he quit the night before. He walks past her, trying to run with the “maybe she will not say anything if I ignore her” approach. Shaun, the “you won’t see me if I cover my eyes” game doesn’t really work past the age of one.
Of course it doesn’t work on Salen. “What are you doing here?” she asks. Shaun keeps walking. “I work here.” (Technically, you don’t.) “That’s not what I took away from our conversation last night.” Rightly so. She tells Shaun to leave, but he steels himself for the rebuttal. “No! I am on the poster. You will not drag me out of the hospital, kicking and screaming. It would be a PR disaster. So I’m staying.”
It was mostly echolalia of Glassman’s words, but well done, Shaunie! Salen doesn’t openly object, and Glassman was right. She wouldn’t want a PR disaster. I like how they’re hoisting Salen by her own petard.
NiceNiceDevice had a cute little comment here: Shaun telling Salen he’s on the poster so she can’t drag him out kicking and screaming – I’d like to think that in his head he was like, “I’m autistic and meltdown prone… Try me bitch. I get LOUD.” King shit 👑
We don’t know how the conversation between Shaun and Lea went when she broke the news to him that she’s now without a job, but Shaun tells his colleagues the next day that Lea is okay, and so he’s not worried. I’m so proud of her that she’s standing up with the St. Bon’s rebel flag held high. I’m sure Shaun is, too.
And here comes another moment we can enjoy being vicariously proud of Shaun. He tells Andrews that he should trust his diagnostic prowess, that his concerns should be heard and taken to heart. Which Andrews actually does, so kudos to him.
After Shaun witnesses how all the people around him are taking a stand against Salen, his fiancé even losing her job over it, it gets the gears turning in Shaun’s head. Is it really the right thing to do to lie low and stay out of Salen’s crosshairs? Is he being a coward? Should he be doing more to help his friends?
Lea invites him over to lunch at a new restaurant downtown. Maybe they can have lunch here if she gets a job in the area, and apparently they have great French pancakes. I can’t help but notice that they have the same water glasses my mum has. And that Shaun is wearing the exact same shirt as in Burnt Food. Blue looks so good on him.
Shaun’s mind is clearly not with food right now. “I should join you,” he blurts out. The look she gives him clearly says, ‘No, Shaun…’ He’s literally the poster boy, it would make a difference, and that’s good enough for him. Lea isn’t so convinced. He only has a year left in his residency, and his career path is wide open afterwards. He shouldn’t be risking his professional future for them.
But Shaun has really thought a lot about this, he’s determined now. “Park, Lim, they’ve stood up for me so many times. You’ve… stood up for me so many times. Now I want to stand up for all of you.” You can see the immense happiness and pride in Lea’s eyes. Shaunie, you’re making us all proud. “Okay,” she says. He smiles and lets out a happy sigh of relief. Okay. We’re doing this!
Lea must have told Glassman about Shaun’s decision, because he sends Shaun what is probably a ‘we have to talk’ text that he gets pretty apprehensive about. That talk happens at Glassman’s house at his dining table later that night.
Daddy Glassman has concerns. If Shaun goes through with this, Salen is gonna fire him and then denounce him publicly. It would be incredibly damaging to his career. Shaun says he doesn’t care, but Glassman thinks she should. “I am a good surgeon, I don’t believe I’ll never work again.” Of course Glassman knows he’s an excellent surgeon. So how is it that everyone can put their careers on the line, but Shaun can’t?
“You’re exceptional. What you’ve accomplished is remarkable. We can’t risk that,” Glassman tells Shaun. It hangs in the air for a long moment. On the surface, that statement may be a little discriminatory, some have even said ableist, because Shaun’s ASD definitely plays into this. But this is all Daddy Glassman speaking. He’s concerned about his surrogate son. He wants the best for him, wants him to succeed, doesn’t want him to ruin his career over a political matter, particularly since he knows how much harder it would be for Shaun to find another residency program that would take him.
And let’s face it. We all wish ableism and discrimination didn’t exist. But it does. It’s still all around us, particularly in the workplace. We want to hope Shaun would get a new job lickety-split somewhere else because he’s got a brilliant mind and is an amazing surgeon. But most likely, he won’t. Because he is autistic and he has shortcomings when it comes to social interactions. And as much as Glassman wants to shelter Shaun from that, he knows that’s the reality that’s out there.
Maybe rightly so, Shaun actually bristles at it. “This is my decision. I’m an adult, Dr. Glassman.” Glassman still thinks maybe Shaun hasn’t fully understood the consequences this would have. He makes another attempt. “What are you gonna do if you’re not a surgeon? That’s always been what’s most important.”
But things have changed over the last four or five years. “It’s not what’s most important to me. Not anymore.” Aw Shaun, you’re making me tear up. “If I lose you from the hospital, if I lose Dr. Lim and Dr. Park and Lea, I don’t want to work there anymore.”
Glassman looks at him for several long seconds. Finally, he, too, understands that Shaun wants this―that he really wants this, that it’s important to him and he knows what he’s getting into. “Okay,” Glassman agrees and moves a seat closer to Shaun with his laptop, “let’s write that speech to the pension fund.” Shaun declines. “I will do that alone. Your speech at my engagement party was terrible.” Yep, it was. Good choice, Shaun.
Side Note: I have spoken about this many times before, but this is another scene where Shaun or rather Freddie Highmore plays a lot with the eye contact and the fact that it’s always special when Shaun makes it. If you play close attention, it really underlines all the important beats of the dialogue here.
While they wait for the pension fund meeting where everyone is expected to give their speeches, apprehensive and nervous, Shaun is sitting ramrod straight in an armchair adjacent to Lea’s. Lea looks over to him to gauge how anxious he is. He doesn’t meet her eyes, but he must have seen or felt her concern because he wordlessly reaches over with his arm and seeks out her hand. She lovingly takes it – for comfort and solidarity. I’m happy that a semblance of the Shea mojo is back.
After Andrews makes his move and Salen signs the termination contract, everyone gets their jobs back, including Lea. Shaun helps her unpack her personal belongings in her old office, and the looks these two give each other are just so full of love that it’s almost too saccharine sweet. Guys, stop it, I can’t take it. #RelationshipGoals
What I absolutely loved loved loved about this episode was how Shaun was all kinds of badass, how he had so much confidence, how he stood up and stood his ground for himself, for his friends and his family. And not just once—multiple times.
- Salen, I take back my resignation. You won’t fire me because I’ll be kicking and screaming if you do, and you won’t want that.
And Shaun was right. She didn’t dare. She created the autism poster boy monster, now she better have her cake, and eat it, too.
- Andrews, you won’t fob me off again, ignoring my professional opinion, you are wrong and you should trust my judgement.
While Shaun was wrong about his encephalitis diagnosis, Andrews was well advised not to disregard Shaun’s concern, and I’m glad he swallowed his pride and took Shaun’s words to heart.
- Lea, please listen to me when I tell you I want to do this for my friends and family who have stood up for me so many times, now I want to do it for you.
Aw, Shaunie. I’m so proud of you. Beyond proud. This was awesome and the best part of the episode.
- This is my decision. I’m an adult,
DadDr. Glassman. You and my other friends are more important to me than my job.
‘Aw, Shaunie’ moment again. You’re making me prouder by the minute. And you’ll always be Glassy’s kid, no matter what.
- I’m gonna write my own speech, because your last one seriously sucked.
And Shaun has a point, because it did. Granted, Glassman was pretty inebriated at that point during the engagement party, but I’m totally down with Confident!Shaun.
And it wasn’t only Shaun who made us proud this episode. Lea was also super kickass, and she deserves her own appreciation thread. Enjoy!
On the topic of the ongoing complaints from OTP Shea fans about them not kissing enough, or their kisses not being passionate enough or whatever… Come on, guys. As NiceNiceDevice so aptly put it, acting-wise these two have more chemistry holding hands than most TV couples have in a kiss. We should celebrate these moments, not constantly complain that they’re not good enough.
The Magnificent Seven vs. Bandit Ass Morrison
Marcus is still on Salen’s side, divulging to her over breakfast at his place that the hospital is having a morale problem. Many people are complaining, even the board is unhappy. Which is why Salen is planning to replace them as soon as the acquisition deal closes. She basically admits to Marcus that she’s ready to fire everyone who vocally disagrees with the Ethicure policy and work ethics. Wow.
Salen also asks how Marcus is doing. Surely, she wants to know if he’s still on board. She wants to make St. Bon’s the most successful hospital in the Bay Area—together with Marcus. Let’s see how that goes.
Park is gauging Shaun’s interest or rather willingness to join the fight, but Shaun has been advised by Lea and Glassman to stay out of it. Park asks him what it is that he wants. “Is it possible to be sure what the right thing is but it’s also wrong to act on it?” Oh yeah, Shaun. That’s basically going through life if you don’t wanna constantly antagonise people. So for now it’s okay for Park to know that Shaun is on their side, whatever happens.
Asher is on Lim’s side, too. And he wants Jordan to mutually kick Salen’s arse with them, so he tries to convince her to join the fight. Jordan insists on a no.
Later that night, the Magnificent Seven (which is more like Magnificent Five cause it’s Lim, Glassman, Lea, Park and Asher) meet at Lim’s place to discuss strategy. Lim still doesn’t have a lot to go on. There’s a paediatrician with a pretty thin testimony. Glassman challenges that they don’t really have anything substantial to make a dent, but Lim hopes that the board will be able to see that closing the Ethicure deal will be to the hospital’s detriment.
There’s a knock on the door – pizza is there. Except it’s not pizza. Okay, it is pizza. But it’s Salen delivering it. She waltzes right in, compliments Lim on her brazenness. Somehow, Salen knows everything. The investigative reporter, the pressure they wanna put on the pension fund… She is such a sly little bugger.
She sends Alex and Asher back to work, then single-handedly fires Lim, Glassman and Lea. “That your plan?” Lim asks, “make us look like disgruntled former employees? You think that’s gonna stop us from going public?” Of course not, but Salen has ample tricks up her sleeve. She has all the written evidence that despite Glassman’s generous salary, he was a no-show at the hospital for months, plus all those years he bent the rules to keep Shaun on St. Bon’s service.
Audrey hired her boyfriend, then fired him when things didn’t go as planned—that’s sexual harassment. (Not quite how it happened, but okay.) The dirt she has on Lea are the manipulated hospital metrics to help her fiancé (the look Lim gives Lea is priceless – of course she didn’t know). Salen threatens to release all of that if they go public. Gloating, she grabs a slice of pizza on her way out. “Cheat day.”
Obviously, that changes the whole dynamic. They lose some people in the hospital who were backing them previously. Lea says the reporter is still on board, it’s still a good story. Lim suggests that they invite the reporter to the actual pension fund meeting to denounce Salen in front of the investors.
Lea is well aware that Salen could ruin her chance of ever getting another tech job anywhere in the area. Or maybe even anywhere, period. She doesn’t have to think long and hard, though. “I’m in.” Lim gives her an appreciative smile. Glassy is super happy and very proud. Go Lea!
When Marcus gets wind of Salen’s latest stunt firing his colleagues, he confronts her. He’s angry now. “You’re threatening to ruin their careers? These are good doctors!” He thought together they could run a hospital that was as good as it was profitable, but Marcus draws the line at blackmail. How Salen cajoles him: The hospital president seat was just fortuitously vacated and it’s free for the taking. Hm, seems like Marcus hadn’t considered that angle…
Alex confronts Morgan about her stance towards Salen, seeing how Salen told him he should take a page from Morgan’s book on how to suck up. Morgan brushes him off with, “Why are you obsessing about this?” Hm. To be continued…
It prompts Alex to go on the offensive, because now Morgan is pissing him off. He rubs an old case in her face: The optic nerve cancer patient Nira Joseph whom we saw in One Heart. Let me quickly recap:
Nira came into the clinic for a routine exam, during which Morgan found she had a tumour in her eye that was starting to impair her vision. Nira was working for a company who was interested in signing a large employee healthcare contract with St. Bonaventure’s clinic. Morgan used it as leverage to impress Salen—it temporarily earned her oversight of the clinic and Glassman’s office.
Nira’s cancer had two treatment options. 1) The conventional, cost-saving surgery what would come with a considerable loss of field of vision, 2) an experimental surgical technique that could preserve full vision but that would cost St. Bonaventure more than the signed company healthcare contract would earn them. Salen bribed Morgan into withholding the expensive surgical option from Nira so that St. Bonaventure could stay profitable. Nira underwent the conventional surgery that resulted in 50% loss of her vision.
Alex is livid because Salen made Morgan completely lose her moral compass. Morgan tries to argue that it was the right choice medically, but Alex stands firm that Nira should have been given the option to make her own informed decision rather than Morgan and Salen making it for her. He pissed.
Alex takes the being pissed into a meeting with Andrews, Shaun and Morgan over the course of treatment for their liver transplant patient, and suddenly Alex is going off on Andrews for being Salen’s bagman. Morgan tries valiantly to diffuse, Shaun’s look says, ‘Uh oh, derailing alarm, I’mma keep my mouth shut.’
The whole thing escalates pretty quickly, Alex verbally attacks Morgan. “You took a woman’s vision away to get your hands on the clinic.” That earns them several raised eyebrows, including Shaun’s. Andrews remains professional and brings the conversation back to the medical treatment at hand, but Alex is done. “I’ll finish up with my patients and then submit my resignation.” Shaun’s gaze follows him as Alex leaves the room. Everyone is standing up against Salen, and what is he doing?
As Audrey is packing up her stuff in her office, Marcus swings by and sends the two security goons away. He gives her a bit of a ‘told you so’ lecture, as in ‘why did you light the house on fire instead of trying to change it from the inside?’ Audrey isn’t particularly receptive to the criticism.
Morgan and Alex talk about her optic nerve cancer patient again in the locker room. She says she wants to go public about Nira’s case and it could also help with the pension fund. Morgan wants to make this right. But Alex isn’t as easily convinced. He’s not sure Morgan actually can make this right again, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.
The whole Marcus/Salen dynamic gets interesting now, because she shows him the speaker list for the pension fund meeting. All the opposing forces are on there. Lim, Glassman, Murphy, Wolke, Park and Reznick.
Is this the turning point for Marcus? Because he actually thinks all those doctors are right, and he wants to hear them out and see if there’s a chance to compromise. And he makes it clear to her that if she goes full force against his colleagues, she may not just lose the Ethicure fight but also lose him as a partner. And then Salen shows her true colours, because she’s fully prepared for that to be the ultimate outcome. Business over love. Okay, Ms. Morrison. So be it.
At the annual pension fund meeting in some fancy hotel, everyone’s dressed for the occasion and waiting nervously for their speaking parts. Heads turn when Salen walks in with a barrage of lawyers in tow. Marcus walks up to her, hands her a folder with the words, “I’m sorry.” Okay, what is happening?
Marcus presents opposition research to Salen. She’s confused. What could he have on her? But it’s not oppo research on her, it’s research on him. If she sinks St. Bonaventure, she’ll have to sink Andrews with it. “Walk away,” he tells her, “You have every reason to not want this deal. The board will not fight you.”
He then hands her a document to sign – a termination contract. Salen put her signature under it with a certain amount of disdain. She can’t help but get a last stab in. “Good luck. Cause now, this is all your problem.” Everyone looks on with uncertainty.
What does that mean for the future of the hospital? Well, I suppose we’ll find out over the course of the next episode or two… What we do know now, though, is that Andrews gets to keep the title of Hospital President, seeing how the sign with his name and the title gets fastened to the door.
In the wake of the whole thing, Alex and Morgan drive home. He stops the car in front of Morgan’s home, telling her he’s gonna sleep at his place tonight. Is this where they break up? She can feel the tension, she extracts a sheet of paper from her bag, hands it to Alex.
It’s an admission of misconduct that she sent to Nira. “You know me. Go big or go home,” she dryly comments. He looks at her. “I hope you didn’t do all this for me.” She shakes her head. “No. I did this because of who I am when I’m with you.” He smiles and changes his mind, gets out of the car with her and they walk to her apartment, holding hands.
The episode closes on Lim getting applause and appreciation from the hospital staff for her bravery. Andrews gives her an appreciative nod, too, but the look she gives him is a bit ambiguous. There are some more wrinkles to iron out here.
Asher & Jordan
The two are back at their sibling rivalry thing. Asher thinks it’s exploitative for women to offer up their bodies as birthing vessels for money. Jordan thinks it’s admirable that a woman would want to be selfless enough to give another woman the chance at having their biological child. The point is well taken by Asher when Jordan compares surrogate mothers to glorified football players who give themselves brain damage every Sunday.
Twice now, Asher is judging Jordan for not joining the fight against Salen, and at first Jordan is eyerolling about his insistence, but she actually snaps at him when he starts to judge her for not standing up for what’s right. “What I do or do not stand up for is my choice. And my friends should respect that.” Asher wisely keeps his mouth shut. For now.
Attempt number three is being made by Asher when he’s setting up the OR with Jordan for an upcoming surgery. And finally we’re getting down to the core of the matter. Jordan is angry that Asher acts like she’s scared of a fight. Because it’s not that. It’s about discrimination. As a black woman, she already had to fight incredibly hard to get a place in one of the top surgical residency programs in the country.
“I’m not scared. I’m exhausted,” she tells Asher. He immediately backs down and apologises. He hadn’t thought of it that way. Jordan looks up at him and accepts the apology.
There’s a super cute moment, though, when Jordan turns up at the pension fund meeting after all. Perhaps just to offer companionship, perhaps she would have actually spoken out against Salen. Either way, she’s a real trooper, and still love her and Asher’s love/hate total loyalty sibling vibes.
The End of the Ethicure Era
I think we can conclude that this is the last we’ve seen of Salen. Many fans hated her character. Some have even said they would stop watching if they didn’t get rid of her soon. Honestly? I’m almost sad to see her go. As disruptive as she was, I thought she was a fabulous quasi villain, and brought so much fresh air that I love her for that alone. Plus, Rachel Bay Jones did such a fantastic job portraying her, and I loved observing every minute of it.
Of course I’m also happy that we can now (hopefully) see St. Bon’s return to its former glory, and a workplace people like going to and can be proud of.
That said, I’ll leave you with this lovely group photo that was shared by Fiona Gubelmann on Instagram, and a possible question of whether it was on purpose that Salen was the only one dressed in light colours to turn the good vs. evil imagery on its head.
So many callbacks this episode! Let’s take a look at the ones I was able to single out, and it’s certainly possible I missed others.
#1 Hospital Presidency
The hospital presidency has flip-flopped around quite a bit. From Glassman to Andrews back to Glassman, and now back to Andrews.
In Burnt Food, the pilot, Glassman was hospital president. He vowed then that, if St. Bonaventure hired Shaun as resident and Shaun would mess up, Glassman would step down as president. This happened at the end of season 1, and Andrews was promoted to president at the time.
Andrews ran the hospital for a whole season, and at the end of season 2, he stepped down after Dr. Han fired Shaun so that Shaun could get his job back. It was then that the presidency was passed back to Glassman.
Now it’s going to be term Andrews again, what with Glassman having stood up against Salen that (temporarily) lost him his job, with Salen making sure Andrews got it so that she could have someone in the seat who was on her side. Which kinda backfired, but oh well.
So I think we’re to assume that Glassman will revert to head of the clinic and stay in his old office, seeing how he never much liked the big one anyway.
#2 Role Reversal
There’s an interesting role reversal we’re seeing here with Shaun and Glassman, and it’s another callback to Burnt Food. It was probably not the first time that Glassman fought for Shaun, but that was the one big event we got to witness as viewers.
In Burnt Food, Glassman fought incredibly hard and made sacrifices along the way so that Shaun could live his dream of becoming a surgeon. Now, in Cheat Day, Shaun is fighting for Glassman, making his own sacrifices and standing up for his friends and family.
They like doing this with Shaun and Glassman, for instance in season 1 Glassman being Shaun’s protector and caretaker, and in season 2 Shaun being that for Glassman who was going through brain surgery and chemo. And this is another nice example of it.
#3 The Blue Shirt
Possibly coincidence, possibly not, and if not then it’s tied to callback #1. In a number of scenes in Cheat Day, Shaun is wearing the same light blue shirt (and also the same belt) he wore in Burnt Food when he gave his speech that convinced the hospital board to hire him. He also wore this exact same shirt when Dr. Han fired him and he broke the toy scalpel in the locker room, and during the road trip in Islands.
If this was indeed done on purpose, then it’s another nod to defining big and impactful events at St. Bonaventure and in Shaun’s life. He wore this shirt the day he got hired, the day Han kicked him out, and the day that he no longer had a job after he told Salen and Andrews he quit.
Post Publishing Note: Okay, so after I first published this blog entry, I got curious and examined some stills and screencaps, and lo and behold, now I’m even more convinced the light blue shirt is on purpose, because Shaun is wearing it in almost every episode where something important happens.
- 1×01 – Shaun gets hired as a resident
- 1×11 – Shaun bails and goes on the road trip with Lea
- 2×01 – Lea comes back to San Jose
- 2×17 – Dr. Han fires Shaun
- 3×10 – Shaun talks to his dying father
- 3×16 – Lea tells Shaun she can’t be with him because of his ASD
- 4×01 – COVID goes down
- 4×18 – Lea saves Shaun’s foot and they come to terms with losing the baby
- 5×10 – Shaun chooses his friends and family over his job
Granted, he’s not wearing the light blue shirt for some of the other important episodes, like 4×16 (losing the baby), 4×20 (marriage proposal) or 5×07 (epic meltdown culmination), but it’s still curious, and you’d have a hard time to try and convince me now that the shirt is not a conscious choice. That said, Shaun is not always wearing it in the scenes where the “important” things happen, but he’s wearing it in the episode.
#4 The Dark Blue and Red Tie
While we’re talking about Shaun’s attire (yes, I can’t help but notice these things), did you realise that Shaun is wearing the same tie and blazer at the pension fund event as the one he wore when he was dating Carly? We’ve seen him wear it twice before, first when he asked Carly out on a date at the end of Trampoline and then at the actual date in Disaster.
Not sure if there’s any meaning to it other than that Shaun possibly only has that one tie and that he likes the blazer and probably doesn’t have too many of those, either. Can’t say personally I’m very fond of the tie. Lea, please take Shaun out to buy a handful of new ties. Nice ones.
Post Publishing Note: I guess I was wrong. Shaun wears an ultramarine tie in New Beginnings at his engagement party. And he has that suit jacket too, of course. So okay, maybe he owns two ties…
#5 Remarkable and Exceptional
When Shaun and Glassman talk about Shaun’s decision to join the fight at Glassman’s house, he uses the words exceptional and remarkable.
“You’re exceptional. What you’ve accomplished is remarkable.”
Somehow that rang a bell, and if we (again) go back to Burnt Food, Glassman’s wording here is very similar. When talking about Shaun, Glassman says, “And he sees things and analyzes things in ways that… that are just remarkable.”
Granted, this may just be another super minute detail and total coincidence, but to me it’s another callback to the pilot and how these two episodes tie together.
#6 Facing Reality
On the topic of lines from past episodes that carried meaning on the show, when Morgan tells Alex, “You’re not facing reality,” as they’re arguing in Andrews’ office about Andrews’ position in the Salen game, this reminded me of the scene in Trampoline when Shaun was recovering from his spleen laceration. He had been fired by Dr. Han from St. Bonaventure, and Andrews told him he needed to face reality, upon which Shaun answered, “My brother Steve said that whenever people want you to do something they think is wrong, they say it’s reality.”
And that applies in this situation just as much as it did in Trampoline.
#7 The Engagement Party Speech
Aw yis! Thank you for having Shaun refer back to Glassman’s terrible engagement party speech. Cause Glassy needed that reminder. He fucked that one up pretty royally, and it was the start of his weird ‘my second divorce really screwed me up’ trip. Thank God that’s over.
Not that significant of a callback, but I’m also glad that they mentioned Mateo again and didn’t just let that slip away totally unmentioned, even though Mateo’s departure was extremely sudden and unexpected.
In a recent interview, showrunner David Shore mentioned that he hasn’t necessarily closed the chapter on Mateo completely yet, and that there’s always a chance that characters may come back – at least those still alive. It doesn’t have to mean anything, and probably it won’t, but it’s nice to know that at least the theoretical option is still there that we could see him again.
I would say more unusual for the show to revisit an old patient case, but here it made sense that one of Morgan’s indiscretions would come back to haunt her.
Two things of note here regarding continuity and timing.
In the lunch break restaurant scene with Shaun and Lea, she mentions that Shaun has one more year left in his residency. In an earlier episode, Park said he only has four months left in his residency. Some fans were wondering whether this is a continuity error, but it’s actually not.
Daniela kindly reminded me that Shaun started his residency later than Claire, Morgan and Alex. By the time he was brought on as a resident at St. Bonaventure, the other residents had already been in the program, and by the looks of it, they have a roughly eight months head start on Shaun, which explains this discrepancy.
Sacrifice vs. Cheat Day
Initial episode information for 5×10 listed this episode as having the title Sacrifice. It was later changed to Cheat Day, most likely because someone belatedly realised that The Good Doctor actually already had an episode in season 1, titled Sacrifice. This was episode 1×10, the one with the pro gamer who had an injured arm (and a brain tumour), with Dr. Coyle sexually harassing Claire, and Glassman trying to force a therapist on a disinclined Shaun. Remember that one?
It might explain why, as episode titles go, Cheat Day seems less relevant, only really referring to the one scene with the pizza and Salen’s line stating this. Admittedly, Sacrifice would have been more apt, but two unconnected episodes with the same title is definitely a big no-no.
I should also clarify for those who might not be familiar with the phrase that a cheat day doesn’t actually have anything to do with romantic relationships and cheating on your partner. A cheat day typically refers to when you’re on a diet and you treat yourself to calorie or carbs heavy foods for a day, when you’re cheating on sticking to your diet. It can also be used more figuratively for a situation in which you’re knowingly indulging in something you shouldn’t be doing.
I’d like to say this one actually is a continuity error. A pretty hefty one. The pension fund meeting sign says 2022, when it actually shouldn’t be 2022 yet. Here’s why.
Upon very close scrutiny of episode stills, Shaun and Lea’s church contract as seen in Expired had a date of Nov 22, 2021 on it (the day the episode aired). They want to make us believe that Cheat Day happens at the time of the episode’s air date (so mid-March 2022), which doesn’t make sense at all.
If you pay attention to detail, Rebellion (5×08) took place the two consecutive days after Expired (5×07). Yippee Ki-Yay (5×09) took place the two consecutive days after Rebellion. The first scene of Cheat Day takes place the same day as the last day of Yippee Ki-Yay, and the pension fund meeting (ending of Cheat Day) is, as per episode dialogue, eight days later.
Yet, there is an episode still where you can see the contract that Andrews hands Salen to sign at the pension fund meeting: The date on it is the airdate of Cheat Day – 14 March 2022.
So how the hell is it suddenly March 2022? The timing here is totally out of whack, the pension fund meeting should be on December 5, 2021 (which is a Sunday, no less). Isn’t it the script supervisor’s job to pay attention to these things? Or else I want to see the time machine that they have in the St. Bonaventure basement.
State of the Shea
For further reading, Kelli Lawrence’s thoughts on the episode are available on her State of the Shea blog.
Will be added later, stay tuned.
Great analysis. So detailed. I love it.
I liked “badass” Shaun standing up for himself. I actually don’t like Lea and Glassman talking and trying to solve Shaun’s problems behind his back and then telling him here is what we think you should do. They had good arguments but it was the way it was delivered it made me feel uneasy. He was not really included in the discussion. He didn’t really have any choice so good for him for making his own decision at the end (and for not apologizing to Salen.) The individual discussion they had with him should have been the discussion in the bedroom. Not a fan of Lea and Glassman’s association when it comes to dealing with Shaun. Really liked Park’s discussion with Shaun.
Side note : I liked the way Glassman broached the subject of his Asd making him vulnerable, very tactful. Don’t like Lea calling Shaun Shaunie.
Thank you for the lovely comment!
As for your concerns about Lea and Glassman talking, I think I know what you mean, and I could imagine that Shaun might feel a little uneasy, knowing that Lea and Glassman talk to each other about him behind his back. I could see how that might seem a little condescending, but I don’t think that was what was happening here. I saw it more as problem solving, trying to find a viable solution that they could run by Shaun. Which they did, and he gave his input on what he thought.
Would it have been better if they’d done this initial brainstorming with Shaun present? Possibly. But Shaun referred to an argument he had with Glassman previously (which I presume was not the scene at the end of Yippee Ki-Yay we saw but something else off-screen), so I have a feeling Shaun was in not in the right headspace to be open for a constructive problem-solving discussion.
But I understand what you mean, it felt a little bit like they were ganging up on Shaun to try and force him into submission. But as you pointed out, he said no to the apology, and it wasn’t like Lea or Glassman weren’t receptive to what he had to say. I didn’t really think it was that much of an issue, and let’s face it, Shaun can sometimes get a bit stroppy and stuck in his own ways. And then you need to knock down those walls a little more forcefully to get somewhere with him. I think that’s what was happening here, or at least that’s my take on it.
As for the Shaunie nickname, I actually like it. I think it’s sweet and better than Lea calling him Babe or Sweetheart or one of those corny ones everyone uses. 🙂
Well you know my favorite parts of the episode were those that gave us Dad!Dr. Glassman. And I’m hoping this was just the beginning and that family dynamics will play a larger part in the next episodes. Sooo many callbacks! And I’m glad you mentioned them all down to the repetition of outfits. I would like to think it’s at least somewhat intentional with all the nods to the past they gave us. It’s rare for a network show in its fifth season to actually pull something like this off so I’m pleasantly surprised. This was a great recap and really highlighted what was so great about this ep. I know some people said it tied the arc too quickly but to me it was mostly positive and felt like the show was back to its true form. Thanks for a great read as always!
Daddy!Glassman is the best Glassman. I hope we’ll see more of him. And I hope one day we’ll see an actual discussion between Shaun and Glassy about it, goddammit!
I will need to put together something more substantial on the light blue shirt, because come on, that can’t be a coincidence. One more TGD project for the list.
I didn’t take as much issue to them wrapping up the Salen story so quickly as I did to getting Shaun and Lea back together. They basically took three episodes to take Salen down. That was ample space and they outlined the steps along the way. Some may have said it felt anticlimactic after all these dramatic threats of her going on the warpath and publicly denouncing everyone, but it feels like they have something different planned for the second half of the fifth season and wanted to get Salen out of the way. Let’s see what that is, I’m curious now and I’ll be waiting with baited breath as the next few episodes unfold.
Wow, talk about detailed! Including Shaun’s wardrobe. I hadn’t noticed any of that, except that he does indeed look good in blue – “with those eyes,” as the tailor fitting his tux said. He does have at least one other blazer: the lighter blue one he wore at the engagement party. Wardrobe people, keep dressing him in blue!
Thanks for the explanation of Cheat Day. As a serial dieter, it’s something I should have seen right away! The lady who snacked on crickets takes a healthy bite of a piece of pizza.
I was really impressed by Shaun’s growth and strength in this episode…he was a ROCK! He stood up to Andrews, Salen, Glassman, and finally Lea in the restaurant. He didn’t even flinch when Glassman told him his ASD would make it difficult to get another job as a surgical resident, but ultimately insisted that he knew exactly what he was doing and what the consequences were. He was choosing friendship and love.
And oh, that restaurant scene with Lea! She tried to talk him out of joining the Magnificent Ones, but he responded with a quiet, beautiful, ode to friends and loved ones…he stands with them. I’m choking up just thinking of that scene.
The light blue shirt thing is so subtle, but I went back to past episodes after I posted the blog entry and it’s actually striking that he seems to wear that exact shirt in most of the episodes where something impactful happens. There is a pattern to it when you pay attention, and I’m now convinced that it’s very much on purpose. Super interesting when they play with these details that would go unnoticed by most people. And yes, blue definitely looks good on him!
Shaun made us all proud this episode, and you’re right that it’s a testament to his growth. Compare him now to season 1 or 2, and he’s such a different person. More mature, more confident, more self-assured. I’m curious to see where the rest of the season will take him.