A page dedicated to the Shaun/Lea Pairing of ABC’s "The Good Doctor"

Season 5 Recap: 5×13 Growing Pains

I’d say more of a run-of-the-mill episode, this one. I’m tempted to say patient-of-the-week, even. Which isn’t necessarily bad, this episode went back to the show’s original roots—two patient cases interspersed with a bit of personal growth for the main characters, but nothing that really stood out in either a negative or positive way for me.

The Technicalities

Written by Jim Adler
Directed by Cayman Grant
Original airdate Apr 4, 2022

Patient Stories

Patient #1 is 17-year-old Trent Lee, he is in the ER with his mother Carrie. Trent has signs of severe infection on his index finger. Shaun and Asher look at Trent, and when Shaun remarks that the sutures look inconsistent and crude, Trent admits that he did them himself. He explains that it was a minor upgrade, he installed a magnet in his finger. And suddenly Shaun’s interest is super-piqued.

Side Note: I loved Asher’s super low-key but super sarcastic little line here when Trent says he installed a magnet in his finger. “You having trouble holding forks?”

I raise an eyebrow when Shaun is actually really fascinated by what some may call self-mutilation, but which Trent calls art. Shaun dryly comments, “Art seems like a poor descriptor, given the ugliness of the infection. The more appropriate term is biohacking.” Trent is impressed by Shaun’s knowledge and apparent approval, Carrie visibly less so. Her reaction can be better described as pure disdain. My mind immediately goes to Cyberpunk 2077 (yes, the video game – hella fun to play, highly recommended).

Trent volunteers that he’s done this kind of thing before. He’s implanted an LED device underneath the skin on his right wrist that glows in different colours when he taps his arm. More Shaun fascination, more Carrie disdain. I get the feeling this isn’t gonna bode well. Also, Shaun, why you interested in biohacking? I’m honestly puzzled af. But okay, let’s see where this this goes.

As Asher and Shaun are scanning Trent (wait a minute, why are they in the MRI room when Trent has metal in his body??), and Asher is clearly siding with Carrie on this. Trent is self-harming, it should not be allowed. Shaun, however, is pro biohacking. The way Shaun sees it, Trent isn’t self-harming, he’s trying to self-improve. And that’s surely a notion that Shaun can empathise with.

Shaun’s admiration of Trent’s dedication quickly turns to possible dread when they see that the bone beneath the magnet may be showing signs of erosion. If the infection spread, he could lose the finger.

Of course neither Trent nor Carrie are happy to hear that possible amputation is on the table if the infection spreads. Shaun mentions it would have been better to have brought Trent in sooner, but Carrie is a single mother and his father isn’t in the picture anymore—they divorced a year ago. And it’s pretty clear that Trent resents his mother for it, perhaps even blames her for it. His escape was getting involved in the biohacking community, which Carrie, in turn, resents Trent for.

Shaun prefers not to butt into the family drama and simply suggests to take out the magnet in the infected finger. Carrie would like them to take out all the implants, but since Trent is over 16, it’s hospital policy not to perform a surgery that the patient refused unless the surgery is medically necessary. Which isn’t really the case here. Although… maybe it is, since Asher states that leaving the other implants in puts Trent at risk for sepsis.

Trent has had enough. He gets out of the bed and wants to bail, but he faints before he can actually leave. Shaun isn’t too distraught. “This is much easier than chasing him.”

Side Note: I loved Shaun’s little “excuse me” harrumph here to get the attention of Trent and Carrie. Look at how confident he’s become, particularly if you compare him to his first and second years of residency. Another small thing that gave us a proud Shaun moment.

They put Trent under and then he’s in the OR where Lim, Asher and Shaun remove all his implants. Lim shares that she had a goth phase in her teens which pissed off her parents. She’s seen The Cure four times, Robert Smith was the leader of her tribe.

Shaun looks up, this is interesting! Particularly when Lim mentions that every lonely teen needs a tribe. “I was lonely but I was not a rebel.” No, Shaun, because you were always an adorable, pure muffin, and bookworming your way to science was your escapism. Shaun also shares his view on what parenting should entail: Mothers should always try to understand their children.

“Nice thought,” Lim quips, “but teenagers are asses. Scientifically proven. Their pre-frontal cortex is underdeveloped, leading to excessive risk-taking and lack of impulse control.” Well, she’s not wrong.

When Shaun checks up on Trent for a post-op exam, he’s sitting with Dixie, one of his biohacker friends. She, too, has magnets in her finger and does a cool trick spinning some steel balls around on the table. And she has some pretty rad tattoos, cute space buns, green fingernails and a nose ring. I like her but I can see how Carrie doesn’t.

Shaun gets right to the point, asks Trent if he’s attracted to Dixie and concerned she might not like him as much without his implants. Trent says they’re just friends. When Trent explains that his biohacker friends are the only people who get him, Shaun understands. Trent has found his tribe. The whole thing resonates with him, because Shaun himself realises he has found his own tribe at St. Bon’s.

Trent’s incisions look good, Shaun is optimistic that there’s no lasting damage but they’ll need to take a closer look via MRI to confirm. And Trent is eager to get the implants put back in when everything has healed.

Carrie intercepts Shaun and Asher later in the hallway and asks Shaun to stop encouraging Trent. This puzzles Shaun. Why would he do that when he’s actually endorsing the idea? Asher offers to talk to Trent, but Carrie thinks Shaun would be the better choice since he’s the one whom Trent connected with. Shaun is still puzzled as to why he should be telling Trent something he doesn’t want to tell him. “I would not be very good at that,” he states and walks away, leaving an unhappy Carrie behind.

Interestingly, this is the second time this season that a kid has chosen Shaun as their go-to person they trust. And that’s kind of a huge deal. For a long time, Shaun was so adamant that he’s inept at communication and inspiring emotional connection. I hope he realises that he’s made huge strides here, that his hard work on becoming better at connecting with people is showing off.

Ironically, this was what Salen’s satisfaction score system was all about, wasn’t it? I daresay that all the patients that he saw (or at least that we saw him seeing) since Ethicure was nixed would have given him pretty good ratings. Shaunie, I hope you’re proud of yourself.

The next morning, Shaun gets paged to Dr. Lim office. She greets him with a, “Good morning, Shaun.” He doesn’t think the morning is particularly good, since he and Lea missed their sex night. Lim ordered him there to give him a bit of a reprimand as to why she had to deal with an upset mother who complained that Shaun refused to advise her son against biohacking. Shaun tries to explain his reasoning to Lim. Sure, there are risks to biohacking, but there are also risks to many other things you do in life. Should one advise a kid against skateboarding when there’s a risk you can injure yourself falling off a skateboard?

Lim isn’t exactly on the same page. The physical dangers outweigh the emotional benefits here, so she basically orders Shaun to remind Trent of the dangers of medical harm if he moves forward with getting more implants installed in this body. Shaun says he’ll do it, but only because Lim is his boss. A lesson that Glassy taught him a few episodes ago, no?

Side Note: Shaun’s body language imitation attempts crack me up sometimes. Did you notice how he tried to respond to Lim’s beckoning gesture but fucked it up and then tried to mask it but messed that up, too? Freddie Highmore magic right here.

To comply with the boss’s orders, Shaun rattles off all the possible side effects of biohacking implants as he wheels Trent through the hospital hallway. Trent wonders if his mum got to Shaun. As expected, Shaun tells him the truth. “She tried but it didn’t work. But then she went to my boss, and that did work.”

Shaun tries another approach, because maybe there is more at play here. “I think it is nice your mother cares about you. Mine did not.” Trent talks about how he used to be really close to his mother, but now she’s angry all the time, she works a lot and she constantly nags him about everything. As they keep talking, Trent suddenly has a sharp pain in his right wrist.

Side Note: Interesting little lore detail here, Shaun says the Cyclone makes him nauseous when Trent talks about his mum taking him to the Boardwalk. I can only guess the Cyclone is a type of spinning ride. And I’m with Shaun on this one. I love rollercoasters, but I don’t think I’d enjoy this spinning thingy. I love that Shaun tried all these things, though.

When they examine Trent’s wrist, it turns out the LED light he installed has irreversibly damaged his joint and he will never regain full function in his right hand. It pains Carrie that there’s a ‘told you so’ here. When Asher suggests family counselling, they fly into an argument about failing as a parent and blame for the marriage that fell apart.

What Trent didn’t know was that his father walked out on them, but Carrie had communicated that differently to Trent. She told him that she asked him to leave so that Trent wouldn’t hate his father. Now she has to live with the alternative that Trent instead hates her. He sends his mother away while Shaun and Asher look on helplessly.

Shaun tries to figure out how they can solve Trent’s wrist problem, because there has to be a way, right? It’s Asher who inspires Shaun when he mentions becoming a cyborg. Shaun has a Mind Palace moment, and the solution could be a customised wrist implant – make Trent an actual cyborg. Or something like it, anyway.

Shaun presents the experimental surgery to Carrie and tries to sell it as the perfect solution that would have Trent regain full function of his hand. But since it’s experimental, it wouldn’t be covered by insurance and be expensive. Carrie says no, because she thinks it will only encourage Trent to engage in more biohacking activity, and the wrist implant could be rejected if he gets more modifications installed down the line.

When Trent is about to be discharged, Shaun brings them his prescriptions and therapy referrals. When Carrie and Trent get into another argument, Shaun can’t keep his mouth shut. He finds both Trent’s and Carrie’s behaviours confusing. She criticises every decision Trent makes without asking for a rationale for them. Trent deliberately made decisions he knew his mother wouldn’t approve of and then got angry when indeed she didn’t.

And miraculously, that gets them to open up to each other, talk about some of the underlying issues. Carrie is angry, but not at Trent, she’s angry at his father for leaving. There’s enormous pressure on her to take care of Trent and support the both of them. It’s hard. And maybe she was also jealous of his new friends.

They hug it out, and Shaun watches with a bit of fascination, asking if that means he can do the surgery now. Yes. Yes, he can.

As they place the artificial wrist implant, Lim asks Shaun what he did to get them to agree to the surgery, and Shaun is honestly not sure. He just tried to understand them. Asher tells Shaun he should work on his father next.

Lim holds out the wrist implant to Shaun. “I’d say you get the honors. Resolving conflict is a crucial skill for an Attending. Nicely done.” I hope you’re listening closely, Shaun. Your boss just told you that she wants you as a surgical Attending. That’s high praise. He takes the implant and proudly places it where it belongs.

The surgery goes well, as does Trent in post-op. Shaun is confident that he will regain full function of his wrist with physical therapy. Carrie is happy, too. And she suggests they invite Dixie over for dinner. She seems like an interesting young lady, she wants to get to know her.

Shaun hands Trent the schematics of his wrist implant so he can show them off to his biohacker friends, for which Trent thanks Shaun. He did really well on this one!

Which brings us to the question: What was the significance of Trent and Carrie’s case in this episode and how did it relate to Shaun? I already mentioned that Shaun can probably relate to Trent feeling alienated and lonely, thus looking for ways how to improve himself and his life in some way. He can also relate to the fact that Trent isn’t connecting with his mother and there’s an antagonistic relationship there, although of course Carrie actually cares about her son, which Shaun’s parents did not.

The more obvious point of the storyline was also to introduce the idea of “finding your tribe”, of needing personal connection and choosing the friends and people in your life you want to be around, who give you a sense of self-worth and happiness. That, of course, Shaun can also relate to, and it gets mentioned multiple times throughout the episode.

There’s been some discussion whether we’re seeing another hint here that Marcie (Shaun’s own mother) could enter the picture again. Little hints around parenting were dropped all across the season. Marcie was specifically mentioned early on when Lea intercepted the wedding invitation to her, and then told Shaun he should consider working on their relationship, but not at their wedding.

There’s differing opinions on this out there, too. Should Shaun be letting Marcie back into his life at all? Does she deserve a chance at forgiveness, a second chance at redemption and reconnection? Or was what she did to Shaun and Steve indeed unforgivable and Shaun should never speak to her again?

There’s no right or wrong answer, of course. Personally, I’m team Second Chances. Shaun’s a sweet soul and an optimist at heart. I think he’d have the capacity to work towards a truce. And I think I’d enjoy a future storyline that revolved around Marcie in some way. So let’s see.

Patient #2 is Kayla Quinn. She’s been diagnosed with major depressive disorder as well as chronic neuropathic pain from a neck injury six years ago. (Neuropathic pain basically means that damaged nerves send wrong pain signals to the body when there isn’t an actual injury, so patients feel pain when there’s no actual indication or need for the body to do so.)

Morgan sees Kayla at the clinic and calls Dr. Glassman for a consult because Kayla wants an anterior cingulotomy – a brain surgery that is seen as a last resort for people with OCD or depression because it basically permanently disrupts certain circuits in the brain that play a role in regulating emotions and pain, but can also affect functionality of the frontal lobes, whose functions include reasoning, impulse control, and judgement.

Glassman says no and leaves before Morgan can even fully pronounce the procedure. The internet tells me it’s such a drastic approach that some neurosurgeons will actually require consent from both the patient and a close family member before going through with the surgery.

Morgan runs after him. Glassy is pissed that Morgan ambushed him in front of the patient. Morgan does outline to Glassman, however, that Kayla has tried every treatment in the book. She’s desperate for something that works, and she’s well aware of the risks. Glassman somewhat warms to considering it as an option, but he stresses that it doesn’t mean yes. Not before he’s seen the full medical history.

They discuss the surgery among themselves – Morgan, Glassman, Park and Jordan. Park is against it, he calls it the modern version of a lobotomy. Morgan is still trying to make a case for Kayla, Glassman sits down at the table, listens to pros and cons, and everyone is suddenly fascinated when Jordan explains that Kayla Quinn is actually a known commodity.

She launched her own company at the age of 18 and made millions of dollars, designing scrunchies and bangles. The mic drop argument comes from Glassman in the end. He asks if there are any alternatives that Kayla hasn’t tried or should try again. When the answer is only silence, he concludes, “Okay, let’s do the surgery.”

As they prep Kayla for the surgery, Dr. Andrews enters the scene with young man in tow and tells them to immediately stop what they’re doing. The man is Justin Quinn, Kayla’s conservator. And as such, he has full authority over his sister’s medical treatment. He is very much against the surgery.

They take Justin to Andrews’ office and Kayla’s story is told through back-and-forth cuts between Justin talking to Andrews and Glassman and Kayla talking to Morgan. Kayla sees a psychiatrist on a weekly basis, Justin talks to her every day. Kayla went to get the surgery without Justin’s consent, and he’s concerned.

Kayla’s parents died when she was 12. Justin was 22 when Kayla was first diagnosed with depression. He and Kayla used to do everything together, they’re a really tight-knit family unit. She calls him bro-dad. When Kayla made a sudden fortune off of scrunchies and glitter bangles at 18, the money went to her head and she started going off the rails – clubbing, booze, drugs. And all Justin could do was stand by helplessly and watch it happen. During a blackout, Kayla fell and injured her neck, and then everything really went to shit.

It just got worse from there. Arrests for underage drinking, possession, DUI. She nearly overdosed twice. A judge ruled her incompetent, and that’s how Justin ended up becoming Kayla’s conservator. In Justin’s eyes, the conservatorship saved her life. In Kayla’s eyes, it took it away from her.

I think it’s clear that Morgan is on Kayla’s side in this one, and she tries to problem solve when she sees Kayla and Justin argue from across the nurse’s station. When Justin leaves the room, Morgan makes another appeal. “What if I could show you how Kayla’s issues are hardwired in her brain?”

There’s an MRI method that can show Kayla’s brain regions that are responsible for emotional and pain response are functionally abnormal, and it could assure Justin that they’d only mess with those regions of the brain that aren’t working anyway. Makes me think of removing parts of the brain in patients with refractory epilepsy, which in many cases can make these patients seizure free without much or any functional impairment because you’re removing parts of the brain that aren’t working anyway. Still kinda blows my mind that that actually works.

Justin reluctantly agrees because the scans are harmless, so what can it hurt? They do the scan, but Kayla has a neuropathic pain episode after they ask her to think of a negative memory. They need to stop the scan because Kayla is in severe pain now.

They put her on pretty strong pain meds, but they don’t get to finish the scan, so they’re back to square one. It’s actually Papa Glassman that Morgan goes to with this. She wants Glassman to talk to Justin and get him to change his mind so that they can run another FMRI scan.

Glassman doesn’t see the point. Justin has jurisdiction over the situation, and it’s not Aaron’s place to persuade him of anything. If they don’t want the surgery, the surgery isn’t getting surgeoned. He tells Morgan to find another tactic to get Justin to change his mind. Case closed.

Case not closed. Morgan folds her arms and looks at Glassman—a clear, ‘You need to help me make this happen.’ Glassman bristles. “No, no, no. I do the surgery, you do the selling.” Morgan leans back in the chair. She’s not leaving until Papa Glassman does his mentoring thing. “Okay, fine,” he sighs because he knows his petulant children aren’t gonna go away unless he does his mentoring thing.

The advice Glassman has is that maybe, instead of getting Justin to change this mind about the surgery, get him to change his mind about his sister, get him to trust her ability to change to a better, more responsible person. And that gets Morgan thinking.

I love how Morgan pulls a Shaun here, going to Glassman for advice, doing exactly what Shaun usually does. Glassy may have that grouchy git air around him, but everyone knows that deep down, he’s fiercely local and has a good heart. Why else would he have fought as hard as he did for Shaun? He’s a curmudgeonly teddy bear, really. And even though he likes to deny it, he exudes a fatherly air wherever he goes. Papa Glassman ftw.

And then Morgan does exactly this. She tries to mediate between Kayla and Justin, tries to get them both to see where the other person is coming from. All of Kayla’s major depressive episodes coincided with important life decisions that Justin has made on her behalf. That can’t be a coincidence. It all starts out well, but it doesn’t end that way because Kayla gets upset, accuses Justin of getting off on controlling her, not willing to trust her with anything. Justin wants her out of the hospital, and Kayla actually becomes violent and hits Justin with her IV stand. Morgan orders to get Kayla forcefully sedated.

As Morgan stitches up Justin’s arm, they talk about Kayla again. Or rather, Morgan talks about her own childhood and parents who resented her choices. She asks Justin if Kayla doesn’t deserve a second shot. He admits that the surgery scares the crap out of him. And Morgan’s advice is simple: “Tell her that.”

And he does. He’s her brother, he loves her, he wants to protect her. Taking on the role of brother and father is hard, and he can’t bear to see her hurt again. And he’s scared as shit that he could lose her. They retell memories of a summer trip they had, a wonderful time they shared. Kayla wishes she could go back to having that freedom, to being happy and carefree without the next bout of pain and depression hanging over her. And the surgery is her chance at having that again.

She asks Justin to please let her take it, and he agrees. The surgery goes well, Kayla doesn’t seem to have any detrimental effects to her behaviour or psyche that they can see. Something’s missing, though. The pain. It’s gone. She smiles. Maybe her life will return to a semblance of normalcy. Her bro-dad is happy too, and he suggests they see a judge about the conservatorship. It’s time he was just her brother.

Shaun & Lea (+ Jordan)

On his break, Shaun is munching away on sliced green apple while Lea and Jordan talk shop about girls’ nights out and fashion crimes. Shaun seems to be miles away, totally tuning out the girlfriend talk across the table. Jordan notices that he’s a little spaced out, so she asks him if he’s okay, is he sure he’s not feeling left out?

Nope, he’s good. He went over less invasive bowel resection techniques in his head in the meantime. And then he’s being paged. He reminds Lea to be home by 11:30. Jordan is a little concerned. “He’s got you on a curfew?” Lea explains, “Sex schedule. Our window ends at midnight.” Well, Jordan, it was you who suggested this, wasn’t it?

Jordan drops by Lea’s office later to tell her rain check on the night out. When Lea asks why, Jordan explains she wants to focus on her business ideas. She’s working on an ingestible sensor that monitors gut bacteria, but she’s having trouble with the data transfer. When Lea offers to help out with the coding side of things, Jordan perks up. She offers a 75/25% deal on the profit, and Lea is immediately game. “Hell yes, partner.” They shake hands on it, the deal is done.

Side Note: Lea, what is with the crocheted flowers on your desk? Were those a gift that you couldn’t bear to throw out? Did Shaun graduate from embroidery to crocheting? I mean, yes, handmade stuff can be cute and fun, but these do not say Lea Dilallo to me. You used to be quirky and fun. These are more like 80-year-old grandma style. Please get rid of those.

So apparently that night Jordan came by the Murphylallo apartment and she and Lea started talking business, and then pulled an all-nighter doing so, because in the morning Lea opens the bedroom door on a slumbering Shaun who sleepily opens his eyes at the noise.

“You never came to bed, we were supposed to have sex,” he says with unmistakable reproach in his voice. Lea explains that they’ve been trying to solve the sensor’s power issues all night and didn’t get anywhere. Shaun suggests a solution for their missed sex appointment. “It’s not on the schedule, but we could have sex now.”

Lea isn’t in the mood. She has to shower and get ready for work. Shaun calls dibs on the bathroom, but the ‘the hell u do’ look Lea gives him is golden. Shaun may have trouble reading non-verbal cues from people, but he sure has Lea’s down pat, because he immediate rescinds. “Okay, I… will be flexible and make you coffee.” I hope Shaun makes a killer coffee and knows how to make it strong today.

I don’t think the coffee making ever happens, though, because when Shaun opens the bedroom door, Jordan is there by the kitchen sink, brushing her teeth. Shaun is all ‘if looks could kill’, which Jordan picks up on, giving him a cheerful, “Good morning,” with an, “Uh oh,” undertone. Shaun isn’t amused. He wordlessly stumbles back into the bedroom and slams the door behind him. His holy private space was invaded without permission. This doesn’t fly.

I can only imagine the following conversation would have gone something like this:

Cute moment between Shaun and Asher in the hospital later, when Asher is looking for a birthday present for Jerome (yay, I’m so happy they’re now an item!), and he heard that Shaun has cute race car pyjama pants. Shaun corrects him that they’re classic cars, and he’d prefer not to discuss his sleepwear at work. Good call. I agree with Asher, though. Those classic cars pyjama pants are A+, I hope they were a gift from either Lea or Glassy.

During a daytime break, Jordan and Lea meet in the break room to go over the battery issues of the ingestible sensor again. Shaun joins them and sits down, consulting his little grey notebook. “I have drawn up a list of house rules that apply to Dr. Allen when she’s working at our apartment,” he states. And the list goes as follows:

  1. No work on scheduled sex nights.
  2. No brushing teeth in the kitchen sink.
  3. Do not wear perfume.
  4. Do not speak in a loud voice.
  5. Please avoid eye contact.
  6. I’m allowed to ignore you when you are there.

Numbers 1 and 2 are agreed by both Lea and Jordan. Jordan startles at number 5 and asks if Shaun doesn’t want her at his apartment. Actually, no, he doesn’t. He doesn’t want anyone other than Lea there, because he feels safe with her, and he’s not obligated to follow any guidelines around social interactions when they’re alone. “By the time I’m done with work, I have had enough of following guidelines.”

That’s an eye-opener for Lea. “Shaunie, I never knew.” He just shrugs. And I get it. He wants his home to be total comfort zone. Having others there makes it discomfort zone. It makes sense.

When Jordan says they can work someplace else, Shaun doesn’t want that either. The apartment is half Lea’s, and Shaun is happy she has found a partner and friend. He takes a long moment to formulate what he wants to say. This is gonna be one of those wholesome Shaunisms, isn’t it?

“Dr. Allen,” he starts, “You are part of my tribe. You are welcome in our home.” Aww, Shaunie. That’s sweet. Lea gives him a proud smile. However, Shaun adds that rule six will apply when Jordan is there – he’s allowed to ignore her if he wants. Lea and Jordan exchange questioning looks when Shaun leaves them to ponder that as he gets up and walks off.

Aw man, I have so much love for this scene, and I think I’m not the only one.

High praise from an individual on the spectrum, and I, too, love that Shaun verbalised that he wants his home to be a safe space, that he voiced his needs as an autistic person to have a physical comfort zone where he doesn’t have to mask or bend himself into being more socially accepted. Makes you wonder how much masking he actually does when he’s a work. And I think Lea’s reaction also shows that she isn’t necessarily aware of it, either.

Daniela made an interesting comment, saying that she wasn’t happy that Lea seems to know so little about ASD in general, and how it manifests for Shaun. While I can see the criticism, I can also see that Lea doesn’t seem to be the researcher type. She often just goes with her gut feeling, with the flow and her intuition. And a lot of her understanding of Shaun’s needs and quirks is that—intuition. She probably works it out just by accepting him as he is, and by learning from her experience with him. It seems to be working pretty well for the both of them. We also don’t know that she hasn’t looked into ASD at all. To me, she seems more the type who would go on social media and absorb knowledge there than read books or papers on the subject. And perhaps she has done that.

So when we look at this scene again, I think it tells us that Lea intuitively gave Shaun the space and freedom at home that he needed, and Shaun has always felt very safe and comfortable with her right from the moment they first moved in together way back when. (Okay, there were some hiccups at first but they worked those out.) Which made it a bit of an eye-opener for her when Shaun actually said it out loud.

It takes me back to 5×06 One Heart when Glassman tells Lea, “You always treated Shaun like a person instead of a problem. You always saw… Shaun.” Yes. That’s what she does. She sees Shaun, not the autism as a thing that defines him. And that’s still beautiful and makes them so perfect as a couple.

Also, can we talk about why Shaun refers to Jordan as Dr. Allen, even when they are not in front of patients? He’s called other colleagues by their first names before. Why so formal with Jordan? I hope that changes in the future.

That night, Lea and Jordan have another working session at their apartment. There’s still lots to discuss about the battery issues, and Lea and Jordan are just getting to the crux of the matter when Shaun opens the bedroom door. (Chequered pyjama pants this time—no classic cars.) Lea and Jordan immediately fall silent.

Shaun walks to the fridge, gets some more water, totally ignoring either of them. It makes Jordan think of something. “What if… the sensor had bad manners? Shuts down when it needs to rest, ignores what doesn’t matter.”

Lea thinks it could work, and Jordan is amazed. “You’re pure inspiration, Shaun,” she tells him. He walks back to the bedroom without paying her any heed. “I am ignoring you.” You do that, Shaun. You’re allowed, this is your home, and I’m loving that he’s feeling more comfortable having Jordan there.

Lea and Jordan have a little ‘fuck yes!’ moment over Jordan’s idea, celebrating the win. Shaun saved the day, in more than one way today. Well done, Shaunie!

Side Note: Remember when I was talking about Shaun’s LAMY ballpoint pen in the last recap? Today Facebook showed me an ad for LAMY fountain pens. The internet is creepy.

Alex & Morgan

We bear witness to some locker room talk between Alex and Morgan. Morgan hasn’t slept well, Alex’s mattress sucks, Morgan calls it a ‘bachelor pad’. So she has a solution. Why don’t they move in together? Not into Morgan’s place, though. She suggests renting or buying something together. Alex isn’t sure, are they ready for that? It’s a big step, no more neutral ground… His response is somewhat non-committal. “Can’t hurt to look.”

Later that day, Morgan gets frustrated because Alex doesn’t seem to like any of the apartment suggestions she sent him. He seems to be super picky about what the perfect apartment should have. And he doesn’t seem to be very interested in actually helping with the apartment hunting.

When Morgan confronts him again in the hospital hallway about why he’s not assisting with the apartment search, Alex finally admits what the big issue is: It’s the money. Kellan’s college tuition and his own med school debt are hard enough to deal with, there’s not much left at the end of the month. He basically can’t afford a fancy apartment or house.

This baffles Morgan. This is just about the money? That’s not a big deal, she’s loaded, she can pay for their place to live if Alex has trouble pitching in. To Alex, that’s an insult. He can pay for his own shit, he doesn’t want the charity, especially not from a woman who’s never had to worry about money. She turns the tables on him, asks him what if their situation was reversed? Would he not want to provide for both of them if he could and she couldn’t?

Morgan calls it by its real name. It’s about Alex’s pride. That’s what’s keeping him from saying yes to this deal. When Alex gets home that evening, Morgan is waiting for him. He apologises to her, admits that it was about his pride after all. She nods. Apology accepted.

But moving into a shared place is a big step. And it’s kinda scary, though he’s willing to keep talking about it as an option. Morgan asks if he can do it a month, because she found a house that she loves. Alex looks at the house listing printout. It’s pricey but gorgeous. Morgan says she’d be happy if he chipped in and covered the utility bills, but in terms of rent, he can pay that through services rendered. Such as shirtless lawn mowing, shirtless pool cleaning, shirtless meal prep…

Alex still isn’t sure. He wants them to start on equal footing, otherwise it wouldn’t feel like their house. “It’ll be our home,” Morgan says, “because we’ll make it that.” They seal the deal with a sweet and loving kiss.

Side Note: Remember when Morgan mentioned in early season 4 that she’s obsessed with musicals? I’m happy the set dressers remembered that, because there’s a huge ‘Wicked’ poster hanging on the wall. And it’s signed by someone.

Shore and Highmore Talk Shop

This doesn’t necessarily have to do with this actual episode, but I’m going to mention it here anyway because I think it’s interesting and relevant.

Freddie Highmore and David Shore recently did a video interview with the UK Royal Television Society that was chock-full of little tidbits and background info. In the grand scheme of things nothing that hasn’t been shared before in one way or another, but if you’d like to watch a delightful 45 minutes of David Shore and Freddie Highmore vibing off of each other and a charming Caroline Frost getting them to do so, this is the thing I’d recommend.

Go here if you’d prefer a text version to read.

Noteworthy in particular was how David described his approach to TV writing:

And my attitude is always, I’m gonna write what I like, and I hope other people like it. And if they don’t, that’s okay. And I’m aware that I need an audience, and I’m aware that I need to entertain people, and I do try to entertain people, but my instincts are to entertain myself.

Do I find this interesting, do I find this fun? And is this a show I would wanna watch? And that doesn’t guarantee success, but I do kind of think if you don’t do that, you’re perversely gonna kinda guarantee failure, cause you’re not doing anything that you have any real passion for, or it doesn’t have any significance in a way, it’s just cookie cutter, trying to go, “Here is what they’re looking for,” and there’s no real creativity behind it.

You absolutely can fail this way, but I think this is the only way you can succeed.

In the same vein, Freddie talked about his approach to acting, and he also stated that he first and foremost feels it’s important to stay true to yourself:

Similar to how David was speaking earlier about writing stuff that he would want to see, and that he believes is good, rather than trying to guess what someone else wants.

I feel like acting is somewhat similar, you know, there’s comedic beats in the show, for example, and I feel like you just have to play those in a way that you find funny, or amusing, or emotional beats in a way that you find moving and that you feel will work for your sensibility. Because otherwise I don’t know how else you’d try and second-guess what someone else might be wanting to see in this moment.

If it’s like, I think this is just really unfunny, but I guess I’ll do it because someone else might find it funny, I’m not sure if that would work.

You may recall that I spoke to fan service in a previous blog entry or two, so here we have it right from the source that neither the showrunner nor the lead actor see fan service as a thing they’re interested in in general or keen on employing on The Good Doctor.

Also sweet was how David praised Freddie for being on top of things where the show’s production is concerned and getting involved in a really productive way:

It’s remarkable having Freddie… A lot of TV stars get that producer credit. Freddie actually earns it. He’s very much involved. It’s kind of shocking.

I am prepping to direct the next episode, and my first AD comes up to me, assistant director comes up to me and says, “Freddie thought we could move this scene to a different location.” And I’m like, what?

Yeah, I send him the schedules. I send him the shooting schedules, and he goes through them. He’s involved in every aspect of it. And when he’s on the set, he’s an— He makes suggestions about shot lists and stuff like that, which I’m not inviting all actors to do, but Freddie does it in such a— I feel more confident, knowing Freddie is on the set, keeping an eye on production.

When being asked about the ending of The Good Doctor, David shared that he would love and hope to be able to give it the send-off it deserves (the interview was most likely recorded before the season 6 renewal announcement was made):

Early on on House I was asked if I knew how it’s gonna end, and I said, yes, one morning I’ll get a phone call from the network, saying the ratings have dropped and we’re cancelling you.

I was lucky enough on that show, and I think I’m gonna be lucky enough on this show to choose the ending I want. We’ve had enough success that it will end at a time and in a way that Freddie and myself, when we figure we’ve told the story enough and we don’t have a lot more story to go, and we’ve got a way to end it, we will figure out a good ending.

I don’t want the show to be judged on the ending, but I do want it to be a great ending. I want it to be judged in its entirety, and I don’t want it to happen tomorrow.

Another question that was asked was whether David would consider creating a spin-off, like so many other shows are currently doing:

I hope so, I mean, we are currently talking in very, very, very general terms internally. What we wanna… There’s a DNA to this show. This unusual character in a world you don’t expect this character. And we’re talking about taking that DNA and planting it somewhere else. That’s as much as I can say.

Make of that what you will, but to me it doesn’t sound like it would involve what many fans are hoping—that they bring back Claire Browne and Neil Melendez. Although, who knows…

State of the Shea

If you’d like to expand your reading, check out Kelli Lawrence’s take about this episode on her own blog.

Missing Scenes

Will be added later, stay tuned.


  1. N3

    Lol… oh Melendaire spin-off… *sigh* I still can’t even wrap my head around what kind of spin-off he could be talking about but oh well…. I’m glad you included sone snippets from that interview! It was so good. I’m terms of the episode, I think this one will end up being a lot more important to the season than we are now realizing at first watch. There’s so much growth here for Shaun- personal and professional. Very satisfying to watch and definitely intentional. You asked why Shaun calls Jordan “Dr Allen”, and I think it might be due to the fact that he is her superior, he’s used to keeping that professional distance. Does he ever call dr. Wolke “Asher”? I don’t actually recall, but you could look into it and let me know if I’m right or wrong 😉 now… MARCIE. I’m glad you’re optimistic about it because there’s a lot of signs pointing to her making an appearance, and I’m personally petrified by the prospects. If it happens it would be interesting to see the situation through your eyes. Last thing- I actually loved the cases this week! Both were solid and so were your write ups !

    • TeeJay

      I think a lot of the Melendaire fans are still in unrealistic denial. Every now and then you still see comments floating around that he’s not really dead because we never saw a flatline or a funeral. Which is weird in the context of a) the last scene between Claire and Audrey in 3×20, b) the Claire ‘saying goodbye’ storyline in 4×02, c) Claire and Audrey reminiscing in the s4 premiere, and d) Shaun mentioning that Melendez is gone to Dr. Chambers in 4×12. I’ve also seen people saying they want something set in the past around Melendez, though I’m not sure how that would connect to Claire, seeing how they first met at St. Bonaventure. There have also been people saying they’d like to see a Claire spin-off. All valid requests except the Melendez resurrection, but personally I don’t think that’s what Shore has in mind.

      From that interview, I think you could gauge that he’d like to try something new and original, and that it’s going to be a 100% character and not setting driven. And likely involving completely new characters at the heart of it, perhaps with a tie-in and possible crossovers with St. Bonaventure, much like the Chicago shows are doing.

      The “planting of DNA” comment, coupled with the mention of an unusual character in an environment where he doesn’t fit in makes me think that he’s going to take that concept and find a new take on it. Perhaps a lead character with a different disability or neurodivergent condition in a different professional setting that presents challenges.

      Good point on the hierarchy aspect with the names. Though I believe Shaun has called Claire by her first name when she was still there — they were on the same professional level. Shaun called Asher by his first name in a scene with Glassman once (without Asher being present). The lines get blurry when Jordan is Lea’s friend and comes to his apartment. It would be curious to know what he calls her there.

      The Marcie thing could go either way, I guess. But I want to trust Shore and the team to handle it respectfully. And you know that I’m a sucker for Shaun angst, so anything that could bring that on is always a win in my book. 🙂 #SorryNotSorry

      • N3

        Hmm I think you might be onto something with taking another ND character and planting them somewhere. Or maybe a disabled character. Not sure if you know this, but House was supposed to be in a wheelchair before they went for the limp. But wheelchair or cane, DS already worked with the show DNA of having a character driven by his limitations and his pain. Shaun is the flip side, his driven by his limitations and thrives and does better. So your idea is right up Shore’s alley indeed.

        Now, Marcie… I’ll endure it for the hurt/comfort. But I agree with Daniela, Marcie had her chance and all this talk about her return worries me. If she comes back it better be to highlight Glassy’s importance. That’s an arc I can get behind.

        • TeeJay

          Yes, fully agree on the Marcie vs. Glassman aspect. It would be beautiful and long overdue to see some actual acknowledgement of Glassman’s importance in Shaun’s life. I really hope they do this right and don’t mess it up if they decide to bring Marcie back.

  2. Daniela

    I haven’t been commenting a lot anywhere lately, still you made excellent points here, Tina. And you know that I find it difficult to refrain myself when Shaun’s parents are brought up.
    So, here’s what I think about the possibility of Marcie reappearing.

    First of all, I’m not as clueless as some may think I am. It’s perfectly clear to me too that there are many ins pointing to that direction. And there’s certainly been a lot of foreshadowing since the very first episode of season 5. Plus, David Shore himself said a long time ago that he would have liked to bring back Shaun’s mother.
    So, is it a real possibility? Obviously yes. Am I looking forward to it? Not so much.

    I agree that everyone deserves a second chance. Still, Marcie already had a second chance, when Shaun went to visit his dying father in Wyoming. She simply wasted it, siding with her husband instead of her son (remember her “Shaun, calm down”?). After that she had a third chance when she managed to convince Shaun to meet with his father a second time. And she wasted it again, when she tried to justify Ethan for lashing out against Shaun (“It’s the morphine. He doesn’t know what he says”).
    So this new one would be what? Her forth chance, probably? Okay. I can work with that because it would make good drama. Still, it’s not on top of my wish list, to tell the truth.

    On the other end there’s Glassman.
    Tina, you know how fond I am of his character. But, personal attachment apart, it’s undeniable that every time the show focuses on Glassy it’s to highlight his many mistakes and bad attitude. I can’t remember a single time when what he did for Shaun was outwardly acknowledged. Probably with the exception of 1×11, when Shaun told Lea about his past and mentioned that Glassman had watched out for him ever since Steve died.
    Obviously we know how much important Aaron is to Shaun and how much he loves him. But when Shaun talks about his past, he usually mentions either Steve or his parents. There wasn’t a single time when he openly addressed Glassman involvement in his life.
    And in all honesty, I don’t think it’s a small thing, because without Glassman Shaun wouldn’t be the person he has become. Not only professionally speaking. He wouldn’t be a doctor, that’s for sure. But he wouldn’t have any friends either, he wouldn’t belong to a community, he wouldn’t have met Lea, he wouldn’t have known what the love of a parent really is. The list is long.
    So, for me Glassman is the unsung hero of The Good Doctor. And for a change I would rather watch the show address that. I would rather watch Shaun making peace with his past through the knowledge that, even if his parents didn’t want him or love him, he then found someone else that did that.
    Yes, I would definitely love to see that, instead hearing Shaun’s mother making excuses again about how young and stupid she was.

    And I agree with you, Tina. I don’t think that Marcie was a bad person either. She was probably just very weak. But this doesn’t change things much, in my opinion.
    Being a parent is hard and the role doesn’t come with a manual. And everyone makes mistakes, but there are no excuses for not even trying to do your very best.

    • N3

      Just popping in to say I’ve never agreed more with a comment in my life. I really hope that whatever they do, they take it as a chance to highlight the importance Glassy has in Shaun’s life.

      • TeeJay

        I so much agree with all of this, too! I guess I didn’t really see Marcie’s behaviour back in s3 as what was already her second or third chance, but I think you may be right. Then again, her husband was dying, she may not have acted completely rationally at the time. Not sure that’s an excuse, but I just kinda feel like, now that Ethan is gone, the situation may be a little different for her. Perhaps she’s also had more time to reflect. I guess we’ll see where they’ll go with this, if they do.

        I fully agree on the Glassman aspect, however. We’ve both discussed many times before how there should finally be an actual open and verbalised confirmation and acknowledgement from both Shaun and Glassman that he is who Shaun considers a true father. You know, more than a book on a passenger seat.

        And I do wish that people would cut Glassman some slack sometimes. None of the characters on this show are perfect, yet somehow everyone seems to always expect that they must be. That doesn’t just count for Glassman, we see that kind of criticism all too often about Shaun, about Lea, about Claire back in the day… I love that they’re all sometimes a bit rough around the edges and they fuck up every now and then. Because we all do. And it’s beautiful when we get to make mistakes with them and watch them learn from them with them.

        • N3

          I mean let’s face it… the whole Marcie thing comes down to our own personal bias. Maybe you’re right and things can be different now that Ethan is gone, but that’s hard for me to see and accept due to my own personal bias. I’ll take anything the writers throw at us though.

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