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

Season 6 Recap: 6×09 Broken Or Not

Winter finale time! Usually that means cliffhanger, and a cliffhanger was definitely what we got, but not the kind I was expecting. I will say I wasn’t overly enthused by some aspects of the episode, so there’s a number of good and a number of what I thought not so good things to dig into.

The Technicalities

Written by Jim Adler & Jeff Qiu
Directed by Mike Listo
Original airdate 12 Dec 2022

Patient Cases

Patient #1 – Lea Dilallo

Treating physicians:
unknown

Diagnosis:
Swelling, bruising and pain around the left thumb joint

Case notes:

  • Lea injures her left hand while trying to open a window that was painted shut at an open house.
  • Later when Lea comes to talk to Shaun about the house, he remarks that her hand has swelling around her second digit’s metacarpal and the proximal phalanx of her thumb. She brushes it off with a comment that she’s done worse on engine blocks.
  • She eventually tells Shaun that she’d like to get her hand checked out because it really hurts.
  • As they’re about to run a CT, they stop at the last minute because Lea’s test results have come back, and her pregnancy test was unexpectedly positive.
  • We don’t learn anything further about what happens with Lea hand, but I think we can assume it was nothing serious and will heal just fine, seeing how the high-risk pregnancy is the much bigger concern right now.

Patient #2 – Audrey Lim

Treating physicians:
Aaron Glassman, Shaun Murphy

Diagnosis:
Paralysis caused by a deformity of the spinal column due to scar tissue and a compressive syrinx

Case notes:

  • Glassman witnessed repeated muscle engagement in Lim’s legs, which caused the team to look at Lim’s case again.
  • Shaun explains that the deformity they witnessed before is not just caused by scar tissue but also by a compressive syrinx (fluid-filled cavity within the spinal cord) that can be drained while they de-tether her cord. It’s a much safer surgery than the one previously proposed and it means she could walk again. Audrey says she will need to think about it.

My question is, are these brand new scans? If yes, then why did Lim have new scans done when this is a new development she didn’t know about yet? If no, then why did no one see the syrinx before? Shaun must have studied those scans up and down during his obsessive period. I call creative license BS.

  • Audrey tells Clay about the surgery, and Clay encourages here to go for it. He doesn’t want to be the reason she declines it because he loves her in or out of a wheelchair.
  • Audrey eventually decides that she wants to go through with the surgery and Glassman and Shaun check in briefly in pre-OP before they get ready to operate. We will see the further outcome of the surgery in the next episode.

Patient #3 – Lily Molina

Treating physicians:
Alex Park, Morgan Reznick, Asher Wolke, Jordan Allen

Diagnosis:
Dizziness and a nose bleed caused by acute-on-chronic bacterial rhinosinusitis and a sizeable abscess inside the skull

Case notes:

  • Lily collapses during a martial arts sparring workout with Park. She is taken to the ER with dizziness, epistaxis (bleeding nose) and purulent (pus-containing) nasal discharge. Park orders full labs including blood cultures.
  • Lily mentions she’s been on and off antibiotics for a year for a perpetual sinus infection and she gets frequent nose bleeds. She also reports recent migraines and a bad taste in her mouth. Her body temperature is elevated and she’s hypotensive.
  • Jordan makes a preliminary diagnosis of acute-on-chronic bacterial rhinosinusitis (infection of the nasal cavity and sinuses). Park orders a CT with and without contrast because of the migraines.
  • The CT shows complications from chronic sinus infection (thickened sinus mucosa and bony erosion) and a massive abscess below her skull base, which has to be drained right away. She also needs endoscopic nasal debridement. After the surgery, they watch Lily, hoping antibiotics will take care of the rest of the infection.
  • Lily starts seizing shortly thereafter, the antibiotics aren’t working. They could try to drain the abscess again or they could go for a more aggressive surgery that would involve opening up part of Lily’s forehead requiring extensive reconstructive surgery afterwards.
  • Park decides they should do the less invasive draining surgery, but during the procedure, Lily’s brain starts herniating out of the burr holes and her blood pressure rises. Morgan is up on the OR gallery as it happens and she and Park brainstorm quickly and efficiently how to save Lily’s life without sawing open her forehead. It still involves relatively major skull surgery.
  • After she wakes up from the surgery, Lily asks Park if she’ll be okay, and he says yes, but she’s got a long road ahead.

Patient #4 – Teddy

Treating physicians:
Shaun Murphy, Daniel Perez, Danica Powell

Diagnosis:
Laceration to the forehead, non-reducible strangulated inguinal hernia, bulimia and resulting oesophageal rupture

Case notes:

  • Teddy is admitted to the ER for a laceration to his forehead after hitting himself with a kettlebell. He also has abdominal pain which they diagnose as a non-reducible hernia that is cutting off blood supply to Teddy’s intestines. Teddy’s brother Simon looks on as they wheel Teddy into emergency surgery.
  • They perform the tension-free hernioplasty. During the surgery Teddy’s heart rhythm becomes irregular, which they have to shock back into sinus rhythm. Shaun states that the arrhythmia is likely a sign of an underlying condition, he tasks Danny and Danni with finding out what it is.
  • Labs show critically low potassium and sodium. Danni theorises Teddy may have celiac disease (gluten intolerance), but Danny counters that his IgA and IgG antibody tests were normal (which would normally be out of range in celiac). He suggests primary aldosteronism (an adrenal glands disorder), but then corrects his diagnosis to congenital long QT syndrome, but there are also indications that this is not the right diagnosis.
  • Shaun notes that Teddy has critically low levels of magnesium, sodium and potassium which prompts him to examine Teddy again. He finds erosion on Teddy’s molars, damage to the oral mucosa and abrasions on his knuckles, which can only mean one thing: Teddy is bulimic and his symptoms stem from frequent purging.
  • When Shaun is ready to discharge Teddy that same day, Danny voices concerns that it may be too soon because Teddy will require psychological support for the bulimia. Shaun reassures Danny that he referred him for a psych consult and provided a list of clinics for eating disorders, but Danny knows it’s not quite as simple as that, also given Teddy’s brother who was asserting his appreciation over Teddy’s weight loss. Shaun, however, tells Danny that they can’t keep Teddy hospitalised without a clear surgical indication.
  • Danny pulls some strings and gets Teddy a psych consult at an eating disorder clinic the day after tomorrow, but Teddy says he’s good and that the hospital stay was enough of a wake-up call. Danny’s bullshit detector goes off, though. Teddy’s just gonna fall back on old habits—Danny probably knows what that’s like.
  • When Simon drops by, Danny makes sure to insinuate enough into their discharge conversation for Simon to know something’s going on, so he asks until Teddy admits that he has bulimia, but only because Danny pretty much manoeuvred him into that corner.
  • The brothers get into a fight about fat shaming and bullying, some really not so nice things are being said, and Simon leaves in a huff, having just been told by Teddy that he hates him micromanaging his weight loss. Danny looks on with a long face. Definitely not what he had intended.
  • They find Teddy a short while later in the men’s room, bleeding on the toilet stall floor with a ruptured oesophagus. He goes back into the OR so they can fix the oesophageal damage. The damage to the oesophagus is pretty severe, but Danny suggests gastric transposition to reconstruct part of the oesophagus with gastric tissue.
  • After the surgery, they tell Simon that the surgery was successful, Teddy will be able to swallow and eat normally, but any further purging will cause irreparable damage. Simon asks how he can fix this, but Danny says sometimes people don’t need fixing, sometimes they just need to be loved—broken or not.
  • Simon and Teddy reconcile when Simon offers they can watch all 13 movies in the combined Alien/Predator canon because that’s something they bonded over as kids. Teddy says that sounds stupid… but fun.

Shaun’s Journey

Shaun and Lea have taken up a new hobby that was inspired by Lea – going to open houses outside their price range. The one they’re looking at today is another fixer-upper, which Shaun is wisely deducing actually means the house is decrepit. Like the however many others they’ve looked at in the recent past, it seems.

Lea goes wandering while Shaun briefly speaks to the realtor. He makes the mistake of mentioning that they’re only there for fun and the cookies, so the realtor quickly moves on to other customers while Shaun moves on to the cookies. He finds Lea sitting in a reading nook that she’s fond of, telling him that they used to have one like this and she loved sitting there on a pile of pillows to watch the falling snow.

Shaun isn’t quite so charmed by the dilapidated house, but Lea tries to persuade him that it could be a perfect family home, it just needs a bit of cosmetic work, most of which she can do herself. As she’s about to demonstrate to him that the painted shut windows can easily be restored to full function, her hand slips and she injures her left thumb. Shaun just looks on and comments, “See? Dangerous.”

What’s also been going on recently is that Shaun revised his first year residents rating system. He’s excited about it, but Daddy Glassy doesn’t quite share his excitement. Perhaps also why he’s ignored all of Shaun’s multiple e-mails about it. The new system has over 50 metrics that go into the resident scores. And of course that immediately incites competition among the two Dannies when Shaun tells them about the change.

Lea comes to check in about the house they looked at earlier and asks Shaun if he loved, liked or hated it. His answer is (as per Melissa Reiner’s recommendation) very noncommittal, he’s much more interested in checking out Lea’s injured hand that he remarks shows visible swelling around her thumb joint.

Lea is excited about becoming a house owner, she wants to look into mortgage payment options because she thinks they might be able to afford it. Shaun has also looked into it, and the 28/36 rule doesn’t seem to agree with Lea’s assessment of their finances. She’s disappointed that Shaun isn’t as excited about potentially buying a house and isn’t so keen on that mortgage broker appointment she made, but she manages to get him a little excited that she’s excited.

A throwback of sorts to episode 2×04 Tough Titmouse where Shaun said he himself doesn’t care about what happened to Lea in Hershey, but he cares that she cares.

Shaun takes his latest conundrum to Daddy Glassy, because he’s certainly understood that since Lea is so enthusiastic about the prospect of restoring that house, she wouldn’t take kindly to Shaun telling her that he himself doesn’t like the idea at all. She’s been so sad about the Asherman’s syndrome diagnosis, and Shaun doesn’t want to mess with her now being in a better mood.

Glassman actually displays a bit of fatherly pride, cause look at his children – grown-upping with getting married and thinking about kids and buying a home… He also thinks perhaps the house is Lea way of trying to move the two of them forward, now that kids aren’t an option for the foreseeable future. Or maybe it’s a distraction.

Oh no no no no, Shaun doesn’t like distractions! But Glassman questions whether that’s not what Shaun’s new resident rating system was – a distraction. Shaun now sees it too, and it gives him ideas. There’s gotta be much better ways for Lea to distract herself than a decrepit house in need of fixing.

Turns out that Shaun’s solution was to get Dr. Andrews to assign Lea a new work project, which Shaun thinks is much more productive than fixing up a too expensive house. Shaun is a bit flustered as to why Lea is annoyed by that. This new project will keep her busy for several weeks, isn’t that good?

Lea explains to him that she’d like to pick her own distractions, she doesn’t need Shaun to do that. Besides, that house is a chance to make something broken beautiful again. And unlike the remote interface programming, the house feels like a step forward.

I can’t help but wonder if this is supposed to be a metaphor, cause maybe right now Lea is a little bit broken.

Lea is sad that Shaun doesn’t seem to love the idea of wanting to have a beautiful home for them to own that they can be happy in and wishes that Shaun could see that too. He says okay, and for a hot second Lea thinks that he’s changed his mind about maybe buying the house, but no, he just meant he’ll try to imagine. She basically sends him home on his own since now she has lots of coding work to do, and she’s also frustrated with Shaun, which flies right past him as it so often does.

When Danny talks by their patient’s bedside about how people sometimes just need to be loved, broken or not, Shaun listens closely and it strikes a chord. He goes to find Lea in her office to tell her that even though he doesn’t like sanding, paint is sticky and smells terrible and power tools are loud and dangerous, he’s no longer averse to the idea of buying that house to fix it up as a home for the two of them and the family they will have.

Lea smiles at him. Does that mean he wants them to buy the house? Shaun says yes, if it will make her happy. But then Lea comes to her own realisation. She totally bulldozed Shaun with the whole home owning idea, didn’t she? He’s sweet and says yes, but he doesn’t mind. Lea admits she’s been selfish and thanks Shaun for letting her be, but the only step forward she needs right now is one they make together, so she suggests they keep looking for a house they both love. Shaun likes that idea very much.

If you listened closely to what Shaun is saying here, he talks about the home they will make for the two of them and the family they will have. I’m trying to figure out how he meant that, because I think there’s two ways you can interpret that statement. Either he is still clinging on to what Lea told him before, that if he believes strongly enough that they’ll have a baby, it’ll happen, or he’s sure they’ll have a family either way, even if it’s not by biological means. To be honest, I like the latter interpretation better, but probably the writers intended more for the first.

Wisely, after Glassman made Shaun aware that his new resident rating system was a distraction, he decides to retire it. Telling Danni and Danny that it was too complicated and encouraged too much competition, he tears the notebook with all the scoring notes in two and throws it in the nearest rubbish bin. Somewhat amusing that competitive Danni digs in the rubbish to fish it out after Shaun and Danny walk away.

Lea is also finally getting her hand examined since it really hurt, but before they can get the CT underway, one of the lab techs comes in and tells her they will need to postpone. She hands Lea her lab results, which indicate something definitely surprising.

Lea then calls Shaun before he goes into his surgery to operate on Lim, so he comes to see her, asking what’s wrong. She stands before him and tells him the news right out: She’s pregnant. And because their OB-GYN had said it wasn’t safe for her and the baby, she’s really scared.

Shaun looks pretty scared himself, but he’s a trooper and draws Lea into a hug. Definitely not the news he was expecting, but Shaun wouldn’t be Shaun if he didn’t try to find the silver lining, so he tells her, “You told me to imagine what could be. Let’s do that. Together.”

Lim’s Journey

For the fact that it has been established previously that Audrey isn’t a very good cook and doesn’t like cooking, she sure is cooking quite a lot lately. Something she took up during her recovery from the surgery? At any rate, she’s made scallion omelette and Chinese-style sesame flatbread for her and Clay to celebrate their first upcoming road trip down the PCH (Pacific coast highway, which I can say from experience is indeed well worth a trip).

She mentions in passing that her last trip was with her Ducati, and Clay is stunned that she used to be a biker chick. Audrey deflects that this was her other life, which is over now, but she also acknowledges that she likes her new life – the one with Clay in it.

This is totally unimportant, but the nerd in me couldn’t help but notice that Audrey has a standard PS4 with a white and a red controller. Classy, though could probably use an upgrade. 🙂

Shaun comes running from his office when he sees Audrey passing by, asking her if Clay stayed over last night. When she says yes, Shaun is elated, because that will mean she will likely be in a good mood and amenable to his new idea because of the sex.

Shaun, Glassman and Andrews outline their latest discovery to Audrey, namely that Glassman observed activity in her psoas and glute muscles, which means signals are getting through to her spinal cord. They now have a much less complex and risky surgery they can try that could have her walking again. She listens to their update but tells them that she’ll have to think about it.

Clay texts Lim a photo of him next to some kind of massive tricycle motorbike made for paraplegics that he thinks they should take out on their next road trip. It doesn’t really help in her decision making process about the surgery because Clay is a big part of her life now, and if she could walk again, that could also change their dynamic significantly.

Glassman seeks Audrey out by the cafeteria when she’s taking a break, trying to persuade her to go for the surgery. Audrey is still reluctant. Her life is really good right now, does she really want another big change? Before they can get more into the conversation, Shaun rudely interrupts, hogging Glassman’s attention, which is a welcome opportunity for Audrey to excuse herself.

Clay drops by Audrey’s apartment again that night, and he has a surprise for her: NBA 2k for PlayStation 4, Audrey’s gonna get smoked! Audrey’s not in the mood, though. She’s reviewing the case notes on the offered surgery, and Clay is immediately intrigued. He thinks it’s great that there’s an option for her surgically and he definitely encourages her to go for it.

Audrey still isn’t so sure. She loves the life she has with Clay, and she’s afraid that messing with her situation will also mess up their relationship. Clay tries to reassure her that what they have won’t change if she can walk again. Audrey wants to believe it, but there are still doubts.

She makes up her mind eventually, and Shaun and Glassman talk to her in pre-OP. She admits that she’s nervous but she has no doubts anymore. Shaun asserts that having the surgery was a good decision and she thanks them both for not giving up. There’s definitely no more animosity towards Shaun now.

Audrey gets another visitor as she’s waiting to get prepped. Clay snuck his way in, and he comes with a grand gesture. He holds out a box with an engagement ring and asks, “Audrey, will you marry me?” She’s stunned, this is all a bit sudden and unexpected. Which Clay knows, so he says he’s not expecting an answer now. He just wants to show her that he’s all in. That’s definitely a strong message!

Alex’s Journey

Alex is back in the dating game, and his idea of a fun date seems to be kicking the crap out of his partner in a martial arts sparring session at the gym. Her name is Lily and she’s good enough to actually knock him on his ass. Sadly, their date is cut short when Lily starts getting dizzy and bleeding from the nose, so Alex takes her to the ER to get that checked out.

As it just so happens, Morgan is one of the doctors who treats Lily, and she can’t help but mention that Alex is her ex when Lily mentions this happened on their date. Territorial as ever.

Morgan is sending mixed signals now, though. She went to see Lily in her hospital room to sing Alex’s praises, she even went as far as ordering flowers in Alex’s name for Lily. And that’s typical Morgan too, meddling where she probably shouldn’t be.

When Alex confronts Morgan about it, she says she just wants to help Alex along because Lily seems like a great woman and he deserves to be in a happy relationship. She throws the thought out there that she and him are dangerously close to trying to get back together, and she wants to countersteer that. She still isn’t what Alex wanted, so what is the point of trying again? He needs to move on.

Despite their interpersonal friction, Alex and Morgan definitely still work as a good medical team when their mutual patient crashes during surgery, and Morgan and he brainstorm together how to save her life. Asher even comments that that was hot.

After Lily wakes up from her surgery, Park tells her she’s got a long road ahead of her, but she won’t be alone for it. She remarks that seems like a lot of commitment, especially since he and Morgan don’t really seem done. Was Morgan right? Are they on the path to getting back together?

Alex seeks Morgan out in the locker room later to thank her for the help with the case. She asks him if he’s gonna be with Lily, and he is somewhat evasive by saying that Morgan was right, that Lily is a keeper, which seems like an excuse to keep Morgan at arm’s length. The chemistry between them is definitely still there, but it is really complicated. Guess we’ll see next year if there’s going to be a Parnick saga that continues.

Danny’s Journey

So Jordan and Danny haven’t talked about their kiss until now, which they catch up on in the locker room in the morning. Seems like they both really enjoyed it, but Jordan is still trying to date other men, which isn’t perfectly successful since she can’t stop thinking about that kiss.

When Jordan asks for some clarity where the two of them stand, Danny invites her over for dinner the next evening. Jordan says that sounds good. It’s an actual date.

On a professional level, Shaun’s new rating system clearly has Danny’s sense of competition going, and he gently probes Danni on where she stands with trying to figure out what is causing their patient’s heart problems. He plays the Mr. Charming card but then also kinda screws Danni over by not sharing his final medical assessment with her to get one up on her in front of Shaun. Whoa, Danny, not cool.

Their medical case proves more of a challenge than just the medicine. Danny feels for their patient Teddy, now that it’s been revealed he has bulimia. As a person struggling with his own inner demons, he can certainly empathise, so he urges Shaun not to discharge Teddy so soon, or at the very least push for more immediate psychological support. Shaun says there is no medical reason to keep Teddy admitted.

Danny makes sure he’s there when Teddy gets discharged and goes a little rogue by making pointed comments in Teddy’s brother’s presence that eventually push Teddy into a corner so that he can’t help but confess that he’s been purging because his brother Simon was pushing so hard for him to lose weight, and Teddy wanted so badly to be the person Simon wished he could be.

Unfortunately, it backfires because when the brothers finally address some of their underlying friction, Teddy tells Simon that he resents his brother for trying to micromanage his weight. Simon, in turn, gets upset at the implied accusation that his brother’s health problems are his fault. He turns around and leaves. Danny is remorseful and apologetic, this is certainly not what he intended.

The fight between Simon and Teddy has much more severe consequences since it drives Teddy to go purging again in the hospital’s restroom where someone finds him heavily bleeding over the restroom floor from an oesophageal rupture.

Shaun, Danny and Danni perform the necessary emergency surgery, during which they have to brainstorm how to save Teddy’s oesophagus. It’s Danny who has a great idea that leads to their final solution, and Shaun wants to reward him by offering him to do the honours of the two-layered, inverted, hand-sewn anastomosis. Danny starts placing the first suture, but then hesitates and makes up some story about pulling an all-nighter and he’d rather have Danica perform the procedure because his hands aren’t stable enough.

Teddy recovers from the surgery, and his brother Simon is at a loss how to help Teddy. He asks how he can fix it, but Danny tells him it’s not always about fixing people. From his own experience with his drug addiction, he’s had plenty of people who wanted to fix him, but he didn’t actually need that. He just needed to be loved – broken or not. (And there’s the episode title drop.)

Danica and Danny watch the two brothers bonding again later and Danica remarks that Danny should make a video of it so that Shaun can give him some extra points later, which Danny doesn’t seem to care about anymore. She also asks him what happened in the OR when he handed over the anastomosis, but Danny just shrugs it off and says it didn’t feel like his day. And then Shaun joins them to tell them his new rating system is being retired since it was just a distraction.

Later that night, Jordan turns up at Danny’s door for their dinner date. She knocks and waits for an answer. When Danny doesn’t open, she looks through the window in the door and sees him lying on the floor. Just their luck that his door isn’t actually locked but just blocked by a door chain, which Jordan can brute-force open.

It’s pretty clear what happened here, with the plastic tubing around Danny’s arm and the discarded syringe on the floor next to him. Jordan calls 911, feeling for his pulse. We can only hope he makes it! (Although most of us will know the answer to this already because of certain official cast announcements.)

Things to Further Dissect

House Hunting

So this is Shaun and Lea’s next adventure, huh? Seeing how the next big step in their relationship isn’t attainable right now and kids aren’t on the agenda any time soon (or so they thought), maybe a house should be the next move. At least that’s what Lea seems to be thinking.

It’s kind of a shame that she was more or less stringing Shaun along with her white lie of, “This is just for fun since all these houses are out of our price range anyway, we’d never buy any of these.” She had to know he’d take her at face value, and I’m sure Lea had an ulterior motive of actually wanting to check out the market and see if something might stick. Why not openly talk to Shaun about that?

It’s not a huge surprise that Shaun wasn’t really on board with the whole fixer-upper idea, seeing how they apparently didn’t really talk about this beforehand beyond maybe Lea suggesting looking at houses might be a fun thing to do.

What’s noteworthy here and shows again how much Shaun has grown and learned and is in tune with his wife is that he actually realises it will not be the best decision to tell Lea that he didn’t really like the house and so he rather evades and instead goes to Dad to ask how to handle that conundrum. There was a time when he’d just been honest and told her he didn’t like the house and didn’t want to buy one either, unaware of the emotional effect it would have on Lea.

That said, of course Shaun wasn’t quite so aware of the effect it would have on Lea when he had Andrews assign her a new project to keep her busy without running the idea by her first. His “I know how to fix it” mentality at work, of course, and he only meant the best for Lea. Of course he felt pretty much right away that he had made a misstep on that one when she told him she was annoyed and it was a condescending thing to do. One of many more lessons for Shaun to learn.

It was lovely to see Shaun coming around in the end, willing to compromise for Lea’s sake. Although it was actually more than that, it was him putting her wishes before his and letting her have a nice thing that he understood was going to contribute to her happiness. It was probably a good thing, though, that Lea herself came to the realisation that something as big as buying a house was a decision they should be making together, and that it should be a place that they mutually choose as their future home.

Not to mention that I honestly think Shaun would be pretty miserable having to spend time in a house where power tools were being used all over the place and it would be dusty and messy and loud for an extended period of time.

Which begs the question, when will we see the both of them actually acquiring and moving into their own place? Will they do this in the foreseeable future or is that tabled since they now have this other thing to worry about that’s a little more pressing?

Unexpectedly Pregnant Again

It’s not like we didn’t see this coming, right? Daniela had actually theorised before that the writers might be running with this exact storyline – that when Shaun and Lea had sex after talking about Lea’s ovulation cycle, his swimmy guys might have actually found and fertilised an ovum.

Which, I don’t know, just seems so odd and construed. Why would they have unprotected and contraception-less sex when they already had an OB-GYN appointment lined up and Lea even explicitly said that she wanted to wait for the okay from her doc before they started trying again? Wouldn’t Shaun be the voice of reason to caution them into being careful until they get an official go-ahead? It seems unusually reckless for the both of them and kinda plot-devicey.

Cuz like, yeah, as much as I want Shaun and Lea to have kids, I wanna agree with that.

Despite knowing that this will be an unpopular opinion, I will openly say that I’m not really all that fond of this high-risk pregnancy story that appears to be what we’ll see unravel in the new year. In fact, I came away being pretty disgruntled with this after my first viewing of the episode.

I’m still trying to figure out why exactly this leaves such a bad aftertaste in my mouth. Maybe it’s because I had become invested in the idea of them actually adopting a kid because Lea couldn’t conceive (or at the very least see them discussing that as a viable option), maybe because I positively hate the idea that Lea will be stuck in a pregnancy that will have everyone at the edge of their seat all the time because the tiniest thing could put her or the baby at risk.

I guess I was also hoping that, after their initial miscarriage, they could actually enjoy Lea being pregnant and going through that journey in joyful anticipation rather than what sounds like will be a stressful and anxiety-filled few months. Maybe I’m wearing the pink Mary Sue glasses here and I need to concede that this is TV drama, so of course there has to be drama attached to the pregnancy, too.

And lastly, I dunno, I’m just not super excited about the prospect of having the show spend a lot of screen time on Shaun and Lea caring for a small baby for a whole season to come, because I still can’t see how that could carry a lot of interesting Shea stories during those first one or two years before the child will start talking. I could be doing the writers an injustice here, and I’m sure they’ll have ideas how to make this interesting, so maybe I’m being unreasonably negative about this.

Maybe a small little detail, but the scene in Lea’s office depicts a few books that are lying on her shelf. Some are business related, one seems to be a kind of a spiritual journey kind of thing, but the really interesting one is called “Hold On To Your Kids”, a book that talks about why parents should matter more than peers. So Lea has definitely done some reading on parenting, or is planning to.

Lea in Mortal Peril

Having made an exception to actually watch the episode promo for the next episode, I know that they’ll be making a time jump to approx. week 20 of the pregnancy in the next episode, skipping all the early pregnancy stuff that we’ve already seen in season 4.

Right around that time, we’ll see some big complication with the pregnancy play out that will get Lea in dire straits and that will require life-saving emergency surgery. Gotta say, I’m not super excited about that either, because I have a pretty good idea where this is gonna go, and it’s likely gonna be predictable and unrealistic.

From previous seasons, we know that the usual pattern of the show is to throw obstacles in Shaun’s way and have him suffer a bit, but the big things always work out in the end, so very likely the final outcome of all of this will be that Shaun and Lea have a healthy baby, maybe by the end of the season.

In order to achieve this, the most obvious solution is for the emergency surgery to magically fix whatever is wrong with Lea’s uterus, so that the last stretch of the pregnancy will be smooth sailing. From what I’ve read, this is unrealistic – patients with Asherman’s who do manage to become pregnant usually have high-risk pregnancies that require a lot of extra monitoring with high chance of complications.

So why am I so annoyed with this? I wish I knew. Normally I’m the first to whoop when there’s whumpy and emotionally intense stuff being thrown at the characters. I think we all want to hope that the pregnancy will work out this time around, because it would be illogical if they’d write it in a way that Lea would lose the baby again, but of course there’s also a chance that the writers will go for that. If that were the path forward, I’m not sure I’m very enthused at that idea either.

But we’re at the mercy of the writers anyway, so I guess I’ll just resign myself to the fact that I’ll have to see this whole baby storyline play out however it is intended, and hope they will positively surprise me in the end.

Danny’s Addiction

The other big cliffhanger we were left with was Danny overdosing with Jordan right outside his door. Somehow, the sting of that cliffhanger fell a little flat, seeing how they already announced that Brandon Larracuente will be promoted to series regular, so obviously we know he won’t die or suffer any massively serious professional consequences. Like, seriously, they should have held that announcement back until after the next episode.

That said, this all came a bit out of the blue, didn’t it? It was probably the point that no one saw it coming (other characters and viewers alike), and surely that added a bit to the surprise punch there at the end. Of course in hindsight you can’t help but wonder what was really going on with Danny, and how long he may have been using again.

All of this is pretty vague, but my theory is that finally the pressure and an accumulation of events and happenstances was getting to Danny and drove him to return to his heroin habit, and that he has been using again repeatedly, maybe for quite a while.

He had admitted to Jordan before that he still had a massive craving for the drug, I guess we can also assume he’s not on methadone or other substitutional medication to help with that craving. He’s in a high stakes residency with a lot of performance pressure and a hugely competitive fellow resident in Danica Powell he has to compete against. He also seems to be a pretty sensitive guy who gets emotionally attached and who can’t easily let go or detach himself when something bad happens to his patients. And then there was the additional blip with his will-they-or-won’t-they tryst with Jordan that he rationally didn’t want but emotionally very much wanted.

All of this may have kicked him back into more habitual heroin use, just to deal with the everyday pressure and potential performance issues, perhaps also to take the edge off. What likely drove him over the edge was Shaun’s competitive new rating system, the added pressure from Jordan, and as a final straw, the fact that he kinda messed up with the two brothers he wanted to help but in the process drove apart.

The scene during the surgery where Danny said he had shaky hands from studying all night was in hindsight clearly drug related, presumably he was getting to the point of withdrawal symptoms setting in and needing a new fix. Him overdosing that night may have been on purpose or accidental, which I hope we will learn about next episode, but it kinda makes sense when you think about it.

I’m actually more invested in this storyline than the Shea pregnancy, but I get the feeling that the writers will gloss over a lot of the immediate aftermath of the overdose and just jump ahead to when Danny is back at work and working on his rehabilitation, perhaps with Jordan’s help. I do hope that maybe at least we’ll be getting some flashbacks, because that immediate aftermath is actually what I’d love to see more of, particularly how people other than Jordan will react to the shocking news. I sincerely hope we’ll be given the chance to get a glimpse at some of this.

Audrey’s Surgery

So they’ve finally found a way how to fix Audrey’s spine that she’s comfortable saying yes to, and it also seems that the writers have decided to go with the cheap, quick magic fix so that things for Lim can return to how they were before.

In the promo trailer for the next episode, we can clearly see that she’s walking again without any aid, so we can only assume that she’ll be back to her old normal self through that magic wand surgery of Shaun and Glassman’s, which is just, like… wtf, guys?

This isn’t just massively unrealistic, I’m pretty sure it’s also insulting to actual wheelchair users, and I’d like to know what paraplegic writer David Renaud had to say about this. This is such a cheap way out, and I hate everything about it.

They could have done great things with depicting more struggles that wheelchair users face, they could have done great things with her regaining some leg function but still being in some ways impaired and having to adjust. Instead it looks very much like they’ll be weaving a few magic surgery spells, and ta-da, everything is back to good old self. Ugh. Not a fan.

The Claudrey Proposal

There are lots of people in the fandom who are saying this proposal was way too sudden and came totally out of the blue, which I certainly agree with. From what we’ve been shown on screen, it seems like Clay and Audrey have only been together for a hot second, how come he is suddenly proposing to marry her? How long have they been in a relationship again? More than three weeks?

It’s not like I even dislike the idea of them being an item, it just seems way too soon. I’m sure there could have been better ways to outline to the viewers that, in fact, it hasn’t only been three weeks that they’ve been together. The passage of time on this show is always so out of whack, and sometimes that can be really annoying.

It’ll remain to be seen what they do with this and whether Clay will be a keeper or not. I suppose it could go either way. The proposal may have scared Audrey and it drove them apart. Perhaps it did the opposite and it only strengthened their relationship. To be continued in January, I suppose.

Parnick, yes or no?

It’s not like we didn’t see this coming either, but it looks like we’re still working towards a final reconciliation between the two of them. I’m somewhat undecided whether I would actually welcome that. I’ll admit that Parnick isn’t a pairing I’m massively invested in. I think I’d be fine either way, but this constant whiplash is driving me crazy.

I’d hope that the writers make up their minds at some point and either separate them and have them make a clean cut, or have them find back to each other. Their perpetual passive-aggressive bickering and subterfuge is becoming a tad annoying, and I know I’m not the only one out there who’s said this. I really hope we won’t have to see this continuing for another dozen or so episodes this season.

Back on the air in 2023

The show returns to ABC on January 23, thankfully a lot earlier than last year. We already know there’s a lot to wrap up, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing all these more immediate loose ends being addressed in one way or another.

With another thirteen episodes left in season 6, there sure is a lot more to come, and I think we can assume that the lawsuit story that they’ve teased as a crossover with The Good Lawyer will make up some of the season 6.2 arc for Shaun. But it’s still early days to even speculate much about that, so I’m excited to see what they have cooking for that part, and how that’s gonna mix things up a little. For now I’ll just enjoy the winter break, maybe work on more fanfic here and there if the muse happens to strike. I’ll be back with the recaps next year, of course. In the meantime I wanna wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Favourite Lines and Dialogues

Not so much a favourite line, but I loved the scene where Shaun wanders around the open house kitchen and feels for dust, then wipes his fingers on his jacket. Freddie is always so great with these little details.


Audrey: “And don’t you drown my shao bing in hot sauce.”
Clay: “Yes, ma’am.”

Clay’s facial expression here makes me laugh. I like their easy banter.


Morgan: “He’s worried this will be awkward because I’m his ex.”

And it was!


Lea: “Would you say you loved, liked or hated the last house we saw?”
Shaun: “Are those the only options?”

Lol, Shaun. What other options do you need? Maybe a, “Neutral”? Or a “didn’t like but didn’t hate either”?


Lea: “Rent is spent, a mortgage payment is… whatever rhymes with payment and means good investment.”

I wonder if that was an ad-lib or in the actual script. 🙂 Also, I think that word Lea is looking for doesn’t exist.


Lea: “And you guys can talk 25/36.”
Shaun: “… 28.”

Such a classic Shaun reaction right there.


Danny: “He’s bulimic.”
Shaun: “I know, I diagnosed him, thank you. After you and Dr. Powell failed to.”

Always so charmingly subtle, our dear Shaun.


Glassman: “A house? Okay, congratulations. Look at you two, grown-upping.”

I daresay the actual term he should have used there is “adulting”, but I guess that’s maybe not exactly appropriate for a prime time TV shows, huh?


Alex: “I’m making the right call for the patient. Disagreeing with you in an unrelated bonus.”

Oh dear, he and Morgan are still at it with the bickering.


Shaun: “How is your hand?”
Lea: “Annoyed. Along with the rest of me. Why would you do that?”

I really love Lea little quips sometimes. And her endless patience with Shaun.


Clay: “I had an impulse. NBA 2k, prepare to get smoked!”

A charmer and a bit of a nerd. I like!


Danny: “Plenty of people had ideas about how to fix me. See, I didn’t need that. I just needed them to love me – broken or not.”

Yes, this is the episode title line, but it’s also a beautiful line and I can see why it resonated with Shaun.


Lea: “I bulldozed you, didn’t I?”

I really love that she realised that and made sure to tell Shaun. I always love it when they can talk openly about the things that put spokes in the wheels of their relationship.

Sorely Missing

Nothing that I felt was missing in this episode as such, but I have a feeling that we’ll be missing out on a whole lot of direct aftermath resolution, seeing how the episode promo for 6×10 seems to suggest we’ll be jumping ahead in time for roughly 20 weeks.

It makes sense from the Lea pregnancy angle, seeing how the early parts of her and Shaun experiencing a pregnancy were already covered back in season 4, so the time jump saves us any repetition in that regard. But depending on what they do with the next episode, there may be many lost opportunities, particularly with the outcome of Audrey’s surgery and Danny’s situation. The latter in particular would really be a bummer, I would be very interested in more immediate reactions to this overdosing. But instead I’m predicting we’ll just see him back at work with the continuing “recovering addict” storyline.

I guess we’ll see what the writers have in store for us and if it’s gonna be a full time jump episode, or maybe a bit of both, or maybe something that’ll utilise flashbacks.

Best Shaun Muffin Face

No Spoilers, please!

Quick reminder that I love feedback but try very hard to actively avoid any kind of spoilers for upcoming episodes. Please don’t mention any spoilers in your comments, which includes information from episode promos, stills and other official promo material. Thanks, guys!


4 Comments

  1. Laurie Beth

    This entire episode was a huge bust for me. Lea was in the prior episode was examined and had an ultrasound. Nobody caught the pregnancy? How many weeks/months between that visit and the house hunt? Because the way they made it seem was like it was days. I’m all for them having a kid, but do we really have to go the route of Lea/baby in jeopardy story…again? We’ve been there done that.

    The Perez stuff was too predictable. He told Jordan that he was struggling. He could only focus on staying sober and the residency he just started. Each episode after he told her you could see the struggle. Him OD’ing was no big shock. What would’ve been is if Jordan got there before and talked him down. But, as someone who lost three relatives to ODs I know it doesn’t always work out like this. Just was hoping for something less predictable.

    The entire 1-9 episodes for the Lim storyline were a complete waste. They had this amazing storyline to showcase how it is for someone who lives daily in a wheelchair. Lim a badass, and we start to grow and flourish in her new world. In the multiple babies born episode Andrews had to reassure that Lim “got this”. Meaning the surgery. They could have done an episode about her facing someone doubting her because of her disability (as they do all the time with Shaun). They could’ve shown her more in the OR in general, but nope we got left with nothing. The magic wand came out and poof…all better. It was a complete slap in the face.

    Glassman hounded her and practically bullied her into having the surgery. He didn’t listen to her and then Shaun comes and the conversation ends. Yes, Glassy called Shaun out a bit but not enough.

    Then there’s Clay (please note I really like the actor): this relationship is forced, rushed and boring. Powell sets it up. “He knows that it’s a date.” That line bugged me. I get people want Lim happy. I support it, but happiness doesn’t always involve romance. But I digress. She tried telling him that she didn’t want to do the surgery, but he too talks over her without fully hearing her out. He assumed it was all about him. Nobody listened to her!!! That pissed me off. Lim agrees to do the surgery. She thanks Shaun & Glassy (this too annoyed me).Gets proposed to by Clay (which sends out so many red flags). I keep hoping it turns out his character is a closet Psychopath just for something different. The paralysis storyline started with great potential and rushed right into a complete waste of a plot line.

    The promo for the next episode: unless it turns out to be someone’s dream (again it would be interesting if it was just a dream) about what could happen. The promo answers two of the three cliffhangers of the finale. Not cool to ruin the surprise.

    • TeeJay

      We seem to be on the same page with a lot of these things, although I will say that the ultrasound argument you’re making isn’t really valid. There are several indications that a number of weeks have passed since Lea’s Asherman’s syndrome diagnosis where she had the ultrasound. Lea actually wasn’t in the previous episode at all, so that’s two episodes ago, and the dialogue in 6×09 outlines that the sextuplet birth has been a while ago.

      I think they’re trying to make us believe that Lea got pregnant the morning they had the conversation about the ovluation calendar Lea put on the fridge door. That was the same day they had the OB-GYN appointment and the ultrasound. It sounded like they had been doing the open house hobby for a while, so I was surmising it had been a few weeks. That would also make more sense with the Clay proposal.

      But even so, that whole pregnancy thing seems so construed. I don’t wanna believe Shaun and Lea are that reckless, especially after they already had one pregnancy go sideways. Like, okay, the drama for the medical drama has to come from somewhere, but I’m not super fond of the way they’re currently orchestrating all of this.

      As for the Perez story, yes, it probably was a little predictable, but I’m actually more invested in that than the other character arcs currently in progress. Danny seemed a little too good to be true, I wanna see where they’re going with this.

      In terms of the Lim thing, I’m a little torn on this. I get the impulse of wanting to be cross with Glassman for pushing her, but part of me also thinks, okay, sure, you’re currently happy with your life, but getting the chance to get out of that wheelchair is a really big deal, is that really something you refuse just because you feel like your life is going well right now? We’re not talking about fixing a broken toe or something. This is a big game-changer and removes a whole lot of obstacles that otherwise really massively restrict your life. Then again, I’m not in that particular situation, and it’s always hard to judge as an able-bodied outsider.

      I’m also torn on Clay. I really want to like him, he seems like a good guy. Not sure I’m seeing much of the chemistry there. Lim sure had more chemistry with Rendón, although he was definitely not the right guy for her in the long run. I don’t want Clay to turn out a psychopath, although that would be somewhat amusing, I’ll give you that. 🙂

      The disability storyline could have definitely given us more interesting story fodder, and I agree it felt rushed to be resolved so quickly without really spending much time on it. It’s part of the ongoing problem that the show currently has too large of an emsemble cast of regulars, and the writers don’t seem to be learning that lesson that somtimes less is more. It would work a lot better if they didn’t try to cram three million character development stories into every episode but just picked and chose a little better with where they want to put their focus.

      As for the promo for 6×10, I don’t think that’s a dream. I actually think all of the cliffhangers have already been resolved — at least for those fans who are more in tune with the show and the fandom. The pregnancy is going ahead with a need for emergency surgery, Lim is gonna walk again,and we also know whether Danny will live or die from previous announcements in the press. Not that impactful a cliffhanger episode at all.

  2. Julianna

    I’m not as focused on reality as you are, TeeJay, but I completely agree about Lea’s pregnancy, specifically about unprotected sex. In fact, I agree so strongly that I think that’s not possible. As you said, they had the OB/GYN appointment and Lea had said she wanted to wait for her doctor’s okay. It’s beyond belief that she would stop contraception — without telling Shaun, who would definitely have a lot to say.

    I can think of 3 reasons why a woman on the Pill would get pregnant: 1. She stops taking the pills (nope), 2. She was careless and forgot a crucial day. Her first pregnancy was also a surprise, and THAT Lea might have been careless; THIS Lea would be very careful after what she went through before. 3: The pills themselves. The Pill, as it’s affectionately known, is highly efficacious; there’s little chance of pregnancy if taken properly, but that chance isn’t zero. It happens. Ask me how I know.

    I loved the dynamic between Shaun and Lea in this episode. They’ve BOTH grown a lot.

    An aside; we know that Lea kept her last name; the tech called her Ms Dilallo.

    I also agree that Audrey/Clay feels rushed, but I really like Clay (and the actor). I hope he sticks around.(

    Another aside: it seems that Shaun and Danni have called a truce, which is a good thing.. I have to wonder, though, how she’ll feel about Audrey’s (successful) surgery. I’ve had a suspicion that she may have wanted Audrey to stay in the chair, consciously or subconsciously. She did move into her life pretty forcefully, but then she IS super competitive. Or am I being unfair, because I can’t get past her practically ordering Audrey not to have the original surgery?

    As for Danny, I’m NOT a fan of how he’s treating Jordan. From being initially honest about his addiction, he devolved into “bread crumbing” her; addiction or not, that’s just male entitlement: “I’m not ready to be with you but I like that you’re attracted to me and I want you to keep that up because it’s all about me” Ugh. Of course he’ll be okay, as you pointed out, we know he’s now a regular.

    Also, TeeJay, I want to thank you for your excellent and thought-provoking recaps. January 23 will be here before we know it. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

    • TeeJay

      Ugh, don’t remind me how monumentally reckless and unrealistic that pregnancy is. I honestly can’t see how that would have happened with where Shaun and Lea are at, and getting pregnant twice despite taking contraception seems like too big a stretch of the imagination. Like, okay, I get that theoretically that could happen to get pregnant while on the pill, but it’s just a little too much of a coincidence here to be halfway believable for it to happen twice. Sometimes I think the writers want to pretend things in previous seasons didn’t quite happen the way they did and hope that the fans don’t remember. But a lot of us do. We always do.

      I agree that Shaun and Lea have both definitely grown. It’s almost like they’re tied to each other with a rubber band now. They may go a little astray but they always pull each other back close together to solve the big issues as a couple on common ground. I especially love that Lea has learned to clearly verbally voice her feelings to Shaun to make sure he knows what’s going on with her. That must be really important in their relationship. Though I feel like most of the hard emotional work is taken on by Lea. Sometimes I wish Shaun would also pull a little more of that weight.

      And yes, I did notice the Dilallo name drop, of course. Should have mentioned that in the recap, I guess. Her office sign also still stays Dilallo.

      You’re right about Danni, seems like Shaun and her are finding a better and more amenable working relationship, though I can see potential for future clashes there. I have a feeling we’re not gonna see Danni beyond season 6. I’m sure she’d have things to say about Lim’s surgery decision, although ultimately it’s not even her place to meddle with that. She said her piece to Lim, now it’s time to back off.

      As for Danny, I also agree with what you were saying. He was definitely stringing Jordan along and kept breadcrumbing her despite her calling him out on it. Definitely not cool, and definitely somewhat entitled and selfish of him. I’m inclined to keep an open mind about him, though. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of his struggles in the episodes to come.

      Thank you so much for your kind words about the recaps. That makes it all worth it. I’m glad you love them, and Happy Holidays to you as well!!!

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