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Season 6 Recap: 6×22 Love’s Labor

Oh wow, so much goodness in this episode, and a bit of frustration as well. I was positively surprised how little actual drama there was, not that I’m complaining. In some ways this almost felt like a series finale, but I’m incredibly happy we’re getting another season.

The Technicalities

Written by Jessica Grasl & Garrett Lerner
Directed by Mike Listo
Original airdate 01 May 2023

Patient Cases

Patient #1 – Lea Dilallo

Treating physicians:
Dr. Glenn


Case notes:

  • Lea goes to the hospital in the early stages of labour
  • She is being examined and hooked up to a foetal monitor as the labour process progresses
  • The labour goes on for several hours, at some point they give her an epidural
  • When it’s time to push, the little Murphy baby stalls in the birth canal, so they have to use a vacuum pump to assist with the delivery
  • Baby Murphy finally sees the light of day without further complications and the happy parents welcome him into the world with smiles and tears

Patient #2 – Mr. Ermey

Treating physicians:
Alex Park, Daniel Perez, Jared Kalu

Heart valve damage indicated for valve replacement

Case notes:

  • Mr. Ermey is a patient that Danny, Jared and Jerome are picking up from a nursery home to have valve replacement surgery
  • Jared tells him in the ambulance he’ll go straight into pre-OP where he’ll get a chest x-ray and an echo
  • The ambulance crashes and Mr. Ermey then also becomes a trauma patient as he is taken to the ER along with the other people injured in the accident
  • Mr. Ermey’s chest hurts as he is brought into the ER, he is diagnosed with a hemopericardium (blood accumulation in the pericardial sack of the heart) that needs to be drained
  • Mr. Ermey is then admitted and being treated further

Patient #3 – Ella

Treating physicians:
Alex Park, Shaun Murphy, Asher Wolke

Right-sided hemopneumothorax, bowel perforation, splenic injury

Case notes:

  • Ella is brought to the ER with multiple rib fractures and associated pneumothorax
  • Park orders a chest tube
  • There’s considerable peritoneal fluid from a perforation and Ella needs immediate surgery
  • The surgery goes well, they manage to repair the bowel perforation
  • There’s also damage to Ella’s spleen which needs to be monitored for the next few days
  • Asher runs the case by Shaun since everyone else is busy: The CT showed that the splenic injury is getting worse
  • Shaun mentions she needs a splenic artery embolization, and since no one else is available and Lea’s labour is progressing fairly slowly, Shaun agrees to do the surgery
  • The surgery goes well, Shaun explains to the parents that Ella should not need further surgery and is expected to fully recover

Patient #4 – Marie

Treating physicians:
Audrey Lim, Aaron Glassman (consulting)

Atlanto-occipital dislocation from a car accident

Case notes:

  • Marie is brought to the ER, she is conscious with a pulse but is non-responsive with a suspected cervical spinal cord and brachial plexus injury
  • Lim orders an eFast and asks to assess the patient for shock
  • There are no purposeful eye or limb movements, so Lim suspects a high c-spine fracture and orders a trauma pan-scan
  • Imagining reveals that all stabilising ligaments in Marie’s neck have been completely severed, Marie has what’s called internal decapitation (also called atlanto-occipital dislocation or AOD) where the head is no longer held in place and is internally severed from the rest of the body
  • Lim consults with Glassman on the case, asking for him to help walk her through the surgery (occipitocervical fusion surgery, using a plate with four-point fixation and transpedicular and translaminar screws with additional iliac crest graft and Songer cables)
  • Glassman remarks that the odds of success are somewhere between minimal and non-existent (in fact, 70% of AOD cases result in immediate death, although it is possible to survive the injury if treated quickly without causing further injury to the brain stem)
  • Lim performs the surgery with Glassman consulting and advising in the OR, it progresses as planned
  • With Marie surviving both the accident and the surgery but yet unable to show any reactions, they take her to the hospital roof so she can watch the sunset, hoping it will stimulate her brain function and aid with her recovery
  • It seems to have worked, because after Lim leaves, Marie gives Glassman the smallest of smiles

This medical case is based on a true story—that of Christy Bullock who suffered an internal decapitation after a motorcycle accident. She thankfully survived the accident and is alive and kicking today, willing to tell her story.

During her long recovery process, Christy’s medical team took her to the hospital roof to witness the sun going down in what they called Operation Sunset. There are many more stories out there of AOD survivors, which any internet search engine will be happy to help you with if you’re interested in reading that sort of thing. 🙂

Patient #5 – Daniel Perez

Treating physicians:
Jordan Allen, Jared Kalu

Multiple displaced rib fractures, contusions on both lungs, abdominal bleeding and a fractured pancreas

Case notes:

  • After being flung several yards through the air in the car crash, Danny is brought to the ER with abdominal ecchymosis (a bruise from leaking blood), peritoneal haemorrhage, possible haemothorax, Jordan says he’s bleeding everywhere
  • Jordan orders an ex-lap (opening up the belly to explore where the bleeding is coming from)
  • Just before they take him to the OR, Danny makes Jordan promise not to give him any opioids
  • After surgery, the full extent of the injuries is: multiple displaced rib fractures, contusions on both lungs, abdominal bleeding and a fractured pancreas
  • Danny still refuses opioids, even though these injuries are massively painful
  • The elevation in his heart rate from the pain is putting him at high risk of an MI or stroke
  • Danny’s heart rate and blood pressure keeps rising, he goes into hypertensive crisis
  • Despite Danny’s explicit wishes, Jordan administers fentanyl which gets him out of the hypertensive crisis right away but also sends him back into the throes of opioid addiction
  • Danny recovers, now that he’s on potent painkillers and his recovery from his injuries will have to progress over the next few weeks

Patient #6 – Kenny

Treating physicians:
Shaun Murphy, Asher Wolke

Aortic dissection

Case notes:

  • Jared initially asks Kenny at the scene of the accident if he has any pain or injuries and Kenny says he’s fine
  • They take him to the hospital together with his daughters where he is examined for possible bleeding
  • He mentions he has a bruise on his chest but he’s cleared by Asher who doesn’t see anything amiss in the imaging
  • Later when Shaun and Asher explain that his daughter came out of the surgery without any issues, Kenny collapses outside his daughter’s patient room
  • He is profoundly hypotensive and there’s a pulse disparity between arms, which likely means an aortic dissection
  • Shaun surmises that the dissection must have started small enough to remain undetected and then got worse until it ruptured
  • As they get Kenny into emergency surgery, Shaun finds that they can’t place a graft because of a false lumen
  • Asher pleads for Shaun to have one of his visions or, you know, do something as Kenny goes into asystole, but he’s already lost more than half of his blood volume and his brain has been underperfused for too long
  • Shaun calls Time of Death at 4:36 pm

Oh my God, they killed Kenny! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

Other accident victims

  • Jerome says his knee is kinda messed up after the ambulance accident, but this was never mentioned later and so we’re probably to assume that it wasn’t anything serious
  • Jared was also in the accident but doesn’t seem to have suffered any injuries beyond a few scrapes and bruises
  • The ambulance driver has a fractured right femoral shaft and left distal radius and gets seen in the ER

The Peanut’s Journey

Lea is getting set up in her hospital room to get ready for the birthing process, but she realises that she forgot to pack her lucky socks. Shaun is adamant she has to be hooked up to a foetal monitor, so he says he’ll go and get the socks.

Not having had the chance yet to let Glassman know that he will become a grandfather in the next day or two, Shaun runs into Glassman right outside his apartment door when Shaun is about to head back to the hospital after getting Lea’s lucky socks.

Shaun watches him warily, then tells him that Lea is in labour and that they’re having their baby today. Glassman gives Shaun a rather icy look, and all he says is, “Congratulations,” before he vanishes inside his apartment. Shaun isn’t sure what to do with that, lets out one of his little Shaun hums, and moves on. He has a baby on the way, after all. Glassman’s grudge can wait.

Back in the hospital, Shaun finds Lea in her office instead of her patient room. She had a few last minute e-mails to send and her preggo brain forgot her laptop in her office.

It’s funny that Lea mentions her brain function because it’s a real thing that the hormonal changes a woman experiences during pregnancy can negatively affect memory and concentration.

When opening Shaun’s backpack, she sees the four beanies he had made for the occasion – one for each of them. The Peanut, Mom, Dad and… Grandpa. Lea thinks Shaun should tell Glassy. Even though things are a little strained between them right now, wouldn’t he want to put that aside for the grand occasion of his grandson being born?

Shaun tells her that he knows and apparently doesn’t really care. “He said, ‘Congratulations,’ and then he shut the door.” The little ‘Mm,’ that Lea emits here is very reminiscent of Shaun’s usual hums, and I love how they have started to imitate each other.

Lea’s labour progresses, her contractions are now six minutes apart and increasing in intensity. Lea looks like she’s already fed up with the pain and the waiting, but when Asher comes in and says there’s a little girl who needs immediate surgery but none of the attendings are available right now, she urges Shaun to do the surgery, seeing how it isn’t complex and shouldn’t take very long.

It’s cute that Shaun says no, he should be staying with Lea to give her ice chips and hold her hand and talk about their future, and Lea immediately knows he got that from watching movies about people having babies. They’re all happy when Lea allows Shaun to go do the surgery, so Shaun urges Lea to not have their baby without him, and off he goes to don scrubs.

Lea uses the alone-time to go and drop by Glassman’s office and beg him to please put his animosities aside for a day and talk to Shaun. Glassman tries to evade, and it’s a little tragic that he’s immune even when Lea pulls the “it’s the most important day of Shaun’s life, he needs his father” card.

And then Lea’s water breaks right in the middle of Glassman’s office, so they never get to finish that conversation. Not that there’s much to finish anyway. Go Lea, because she declines Glassman’s assistance to walk her back to her room with, “No, no. I’m married to Dr. Shaun Murphy. He’s walked me through the steps of the birthing process many, many times. I can take it from here.”

Even Lim gets involved when she asks Glassman during surgery whether he’s talked to Shaun yet, seeing how he’s about to become a grandfather. He says he said, “Congratulations,” and Lim retorts that a crotchety, old wise man once told her that hanging on to her anger was toxic, and Glassman should heed his own advice.

After Kenny, the father of the little girl whom they just operated on, dies, Shaun takes it on himself to accompany Kenny’s wife into the room where his body is lying so she can say goodbye to her husband. With everything that Shaun has going on right now, even with his ASD, I think we can safely say he isn’t immune to feeling the wife’s loss, because despite what some people may believe, Shaun has never lacked empathy, and Shaun surely knows what it’s like to lose people you love.

Kenny’s distraught wife doesn’t know how to keep going without her husband, how to raise her two children, one of which just came out of emergency surgery. It’s beautiful that it’s Shaun who gives the wife new hope when he shares his own experience. “When my brother Steve died, I didn’t know how I would survive. He had always taken care of me. But I did.” He takes a few tentative steps forward. “Because someone else came into my life who took care of me and loved me.” His voice is now choked and his eyes are starting to tear up. “Now he may be gone, too. It is very hard to lose people you thought would never leave. But you will be okay because you have no choice. When we lose people we love, we have to find a way to keep going for the people we still have.”

And then Shaun’s phone alerts him and he tells the wife with a sole tear sliding down his cheek, “Take as much time as you need. I’m going to have a baby now,” before he walks out and back to Lea’s room.

Lea has already been waiting because we’re getting a lot closer to the actual delivery. Her contractions are now two minutes apart and we learn Lea’s had an epidural in the meantime. Shaun says she should start pushing, but Lea thinks she isn’t ready, she needs more time. Shaun is more concerned with her water bottle and warm or cold washcloths, so Lea asks him to stop for a moment and come talk to her.

She’s scared, scared of exposing this tiny human to the dangers of the real world, no longer able to protect it by carrying it inside of her. You can see that Shaun is trying hard to say the right thing, and I’m not sure he quite succeeds in reassuring Lea, but his winning argument is that he’s very excited to meet their son.

I can’t help but wonder if this was a Shaun-shaped reminder for Lea to stop being so selfish and push the peanut out already so Shaun can also partake in his son’s life. 😀 Did it not sound a little bit like that?

And then it’s time for Lea to start pushing. Shaun is literally giving two thumbs up, everything is medically A-okay down there, but Lea is now getting fed up with why this is taking so long. The baby seems to be stalled in the birth canal, so they want to assist with a vacuum pump.

Lea isn’t a fan and asks Shaun if it’s safe, which he asserts it is. Will the baby have a cone head? Shaun nods, but only for the first 48 hours. And then Shaun valiantly offers up his hand for Lea to squeeze, which she will gladly do and which Shaun bravely endures.

And then there’s a baby’s cry, and the peanut is finally here. Dr. Glenn hands him to Lea with the words, “Congratulations, Mom and Dad.” Lea is all smiles and Shaun’s eyes are wide with wonder and amazement. Dr. Glenn asks him if he would like to do the honours and cut the umbilical cord, which of course he would very much like to do.

Happy that their son doesn’t have a cone head, Lea proudly marvels at their child. “Look at what we made,” she tells Shaun. Shaun can’t take his eyes off of his son, and in true, sweetest Shaun fashion, he introduces himself to his son. “Hello, it is very nice to meet you. I am Dr. Shaun Murphy. I’m your dad.”

Glassman has been a no-show during all of this, he’s now rather spending time with Lim and their internal decapitation patient whom they’re taking up to the hospital roof. Glassman cites a case study out of Alabama of a similar patient whom they took to the roof of the hospital every night in what was called Operation Sunset, hoping it would stimulate the brain.

Lim ‘s phone dings and she tells Glassman that Shaun and Lea had their baby. Upon being asked whether he’ll want to go meet him, Glassman responds he’d rather stay here. Lim kinda gets it, but she also doesn’t. She gives it a last try. “I know that losing surgery is devastating. Don’t let losing one great love cost you another.” Glassman lingers as Lim walks away, and he gets to witness as their patient’s mouth twitches into the smallest of smiles. Operation Sunset is definitely doing what it should.

At the same time, down in the hospital, most of the surgical team is celebrating the arrival of the newest Murphy family member. Asher can’t help but mouth, “I want one,” to Jerome, which is kinda cute. The Peanut is wearing his little Peanut beanie, and Lim can only shrug her shoulders when Shaun asks her if she thinks Dr. Glassman is coming.

Lea asks to take the first family photo before her adrenaline wears off and she passes out and Shaun says he’ll go get the hats. He comes across the Grandpa beanie again as he gets them from his backpack and looks at it for a long moment. There’s pang of sadness and disappointment before Shaun stows Glassy’s hat back in this backpack with a whispered, “Okay,” and a little nod that’s almost like he’s accepted that Glassman has made his choice not to be part of the family.

Jared is doing the honours of taking the first family photo that’s classic Shaun-dorky with the Mom and Dad and Peanut hats, but it’s also kinda cute. And just as everyone is distracted with the photo, Glassman is outside the door with a baby gift, hesitating for a long moment, but ultimately deciding not to go in.

A while later, after everyone has left and Shaun and Lea get a little more alone-time with their son, Nurse Hawks drops by with a cardboard box she announces as a gift from Dr. Glassman. Shaun puts it on the bed and carefully opens it.

It’s a light blue baby blanket with the name ‘Steve’ embroidered in one corner. Shaun takes it out of the box, asking Lea, “How did he know his name would be Steve?” Lea gives Shaun a knowing look. “Because he knows you.”

Shaun turns his head towards the door, almost as if he’s hoping Glassman is actually there, but he very much isn’t. He’s at home, settling down on his couch with a glass of whiskey.

Shaun makes sure to wrap his son in the new blanket as he holds him in his arms with Lea right by his side. Reverently, Shaun tells his son, “Steven Aaron Murphy, this is a gift from your grandfather.”

Danny’s Journey

Jared, Danny and Jerome are riding in an ambulance, transporting a heart valve replacement patient from a nursing home to the hospital. We casually learn that Danny’s brother was or is a Marine. The ambulance hits a stretch of dense fog on the way that extends into a tunnel where the ambulance crashes into a truck that went over the line.

The ambulance driver appears to have sustained a leg fracture but seems to be okay otherwise, the other ambulance occupants also seem to have been lucky with only minor injuries. There are two more cars involved in the accident – a pickup truck with the driver half extracted through the windscreen and a sedan with a father and his two daughters.

Jared takes care of the family while Danny jumps on the hood of the truck to tend to the truck driver, but then disaster strikes. Another oncoming car enters the tunnel without realising that it’s blocked by overturned cars, and the female driver crashes right into the truck, sending Danny flying high into the air.

Ambulances take all the accident victims to the ER. Danny is pretty severely injured, but they manage to repair the injuries in surgery. He sustained multiple rib fractures and inner organ damage which are massively painful. Danny is refusing any opioids because he doesn’t want to fall back into addiction, which Jordan acknowledges but advises against because he is in a lot of pain that lesser pain meds won’t be able to effectively handle. The immense pain is elevating his blood pressure to dangerous levels, which puts him at risk for a heart attack or stroke.

As they keep monitoring Danny, his heart rate and blood pressure keeps increasing until it reaches critical levels. Jordan is faced with a difficult decision whether to grant Danny his wish of not being treated with opioids and watch him go deeper into what could be a life threatening hypertensive crisis and shock, or to ease the pain with fentanyl and send him back into the throes of opioid addiction.

Despite Jared’s urging to not go against Danny’s mandate to stay opioid free, Jordan takes a long moment but then pushes the fentanyl. It visibly calms Danny immediately and gets his blood pressure down.

When Danny is more alert, Jordan comes to see him and remarks that she saw his family leave earlier. He is pretty pissed that she gave him fentanyl, asks her if the decision was hard to override his wishes. And Jordan says, honestly, no. She couldn’t let him die. But it’s not as easy as that for Danny, because she basically sent him back into certain opioid addiction.

When Jordan next checks on Danny, he admits that he looked through his patient record and now agrees that Jordan made the right call. But he’s also done a lot of thinking, and he’s come to the conclusion that he’ll need more support to stop him from relapsing than he can get in San Jose, so he will go back to Texas to be with his family.

Jordan is stricken, but she knew she might lose him if she gave him the fentanyl and she was prepared for that. The decision to give him the pain meds and potentially save his life still was still easy, but the aftermath is not. It’s a reconciliation of sorts, because Danny says he isn’t going anywhere until they have their date. Tonight. Right here.

Their date turns out to be what looks like vanilla ice cream from unlabelled white cardboard tubs by Danny’s bedside. Danny thanks Jordan for saving his life, and he doesn’t just mean today. “I mean when you made looking for a foot in a lake fun. When you sat next to me in church, quietly, knowing that was exactly what I needed. And when you trusted me, even though I’m pretty sure I didn’t deserve it. And, of course, today.” Jordan has tears running down her cheeks as she holds out her hand and Danny takes it to say their goodbyes.

Alex & Morgan’s Journey

Morgan hasn’t had any luck finding a competent nanny on short notice, so she has to take Eden with her to work. She seems to be running a study on perimenopausal IBS patients, and the waiting room is full with patients to be seen. It’s going to be an interesting day with a baby strapped to her chest.

Nurse Hawks steps in to help with the child support as Morgan tries to explain one of the clinical trials to a potential participant, but Morgan is distracted by Eden fussing in the background, and the trial patient isn’t patient enough to indulge Morgan’s nervousness, so she leaves before she agrees to sign up for the trial. Clearly, this single mum thing isn’t really working well.

When Alex stops by Morgan’s office, he finds her with a bundled up Eden sleeping against Morgan’s chest. Morgan seems content. She managed to recruit all participants for her trial and now she’s done. Alex asks what she means, and she tells him she wants to quit this job to be the best mother than she can, and she’s made the mistake before to put her career ahead of the people she loved.

One of Alex’s patients, Mr. Ermey, has a conversation with him about chasing a lady he’s in love with, and not wanting to wait because life is short, and I think that’s when it clicks for Alex.

He makes his way to Morgan’s office again as she’s starting to pack up her things. He tells her he doesn’t think she should resign. She gives him a questioning look and he explains that she doesn’t have to do it all alone. “You’re the reason I wake up in the morning. So whatever there is to figure out, all I want in the world is for us to do it as a family.”

Morgan doesn’t have to think long and hard about her response. She leans in to kiss Alex, then tells him she loves him, too. And then she hands Eden to Alex since she has a dirty nappy and she has lots of lab reports to review. Eden blowing a raspberry when Alex takes her is the perfect response to this.

Andrews’ Journey

Andrews is being visited in his office by Gail, who I assume is one of the hospital’s board members. The board is calling an emergency meeting that night. There needs to be some urgent discussion around how Andrews is expected to handle the nurses’ push to unionise. Andrews is positive he can handle it, but Gail conveniently holds the signed agreement between him and Dalisay in his face. That’s not encouraging.

Andrews goes to find Dalisay and remarks that she should have mentioned that she was one of the people organising the nurses’ unionisation push. Dalisay asks if it matters, and it does because the board thinks that Dalisay is the reason why Andrews hasn’t been coming down hard enough on the whole thing to nip it in the bud.

The situation is way more complicated now, because Dalisay doesn’t want Andrews to lose his job over them, and Andrews doesn’t want to lose Dalisay over his job. That night, Andrews calls Gail into his office and gives her a heads up that he’s decided to resign. That’s a twist we didn’t quite see coming.

Things to Further Dissect

The Peanut

The Peanut is finally here! I think we were all as excited to meet him as Shaun was, weren’t we?

If I’m being honest, the birth went a lot more smoothly than I expected. Not that I have any complaints, but somehow I had a lingering feeling there was gonna be some kind of issue, another hitch in the road that would keep Shaun either torn between the labour process and some other thing or introduce high stakes drama in some way. I’m really glad the writers decided that Shea had had enough trouble with their pregnancies and deserved a fairly issue-free birth.

Not that I have any experience with this, but to me it seemed that what they showed of the labour was maybe a bit too smooth sailing for the birth of a first child. Lea seemed pretty chill during it all, although probably it helped that Shaun had apparently drilled every step of the process into her in preparation, which she even remarked in front of Glassman.

I haven’t really seen much controversial talk about the birth online, I think the big controversy that fans are hung up on right now is the Shaun and Glassman friction that I’ll talk about later. What I did come across was someone mentioning that a vacuum suction birth is a lot more involved than what they showed, and people saying that Lea shouldn’t have encouraged to let Shaun go and do a surgery while she was already having contractions.

Another big thing is obviously also the baby’s name, and everyone is coming forward with their triumphant “I’ve called it!” brags. I mean… was it ever really in question that they’d end up naming their kid Steve? (After all, I called it too just in my previous episode recap, as did pretty much every other Shea fan out there.) It was kinda obvious they’d go that route, but I will say that I’m still in the minority camp of people who aren’t very much in favour of it.

While of course really sweet to honour both Steve and Glassman, it was super tropey and corny. I get the notion, and I get that it shows Shaun’s love and connection to his deceased brother, but to me it just seems like an unnecessary reminder of the most tragic day of Shaun’s life. I dunno, maybe I’m not giving him enough credit for being able to separate the tragedy in his childhood from the joy of having his own son carrying on the legacy. Or maybe I’m just a jaded old crone without a romantic bone in her body.

One question I’ve asked myself while I watched the episode was whether Shaun and Lea had actually already decided on the baby’s name before Shaun unwrapped the blanket from Glassman, but I think we’re to assume that’s the case, otherwise Lea’s comment wouldn’t really make sense.

Apparently a few of the more dedicated Paige/Lea fans were complaining that Lea’s side of the family was completely disregarded and both names came from Shaun’s side of the marriage, but I’d like to think Lea knows how much significance and meaning Steve and Glassman have in Shaun’s life. We need to remember that Lea isn’t super close to her family, plus the fact that Shaun doesn’t know any of them beyond brief contact with Lea’s parents, whereas Lea knows Glassman fairly well by now, and Shaun has probably told her quite a few things about Steve.

Had the show not been renewed for season 7, I think this would have been a perfect series finale, and maybe it was written that way, just in case that renewal was not on the agenda. Freddie Highmore commented on it in a recent interview, saying that David Shore always saw Shaun having a child being the end of the whole series, and that he felt nostalgic shooting those scenes, knowing it was end of an era and at the same time potentially a new beginning for an important new chapter in Shaun’s life. Liz Friedman also mentioned that it had been conceived as early as season one or two that Shaun would become a father eventually.

I’m excited to see what they’re going to do with it in season 7 and how we’re going to see Shaun struggle and hopefully master the challenges of fatherhood. Or maybe muddle through them, like Alex mentioned to Morgan. I’m sure there’s going to be a whole lot of growth still to come, and I’m all in to see him and Lea continue on that journey with little Steve Aaron Murphy.

But now that we’re done with the pregnancy, I have some questions. First of all, where was the doula? After it was such a big thing in season 4 that Lea wanted a doula because she didn’t think Shaun could offer the full support she’d need, it seems in the meantime they did away with this. So what triggered that decision? The fact that, two years later, Lea and Shaun have found their groove and Lea was more confident Shaun was all she needed?

I mentioned this before, I feel somewhat short-changed on the whole pregnancy journey, now that Lea actually had a full term pregnancy. It was only natural they’d skip the first three months since those early stages had been covered sufficiently in season 4, but for some reason they chose not to have us accompany Lea’s pregnancy much at all for the remaining six months.

We know nothing about any discussion Shaun or Lea might have had, beyond the cursory one-episode glimpse at a) switch to maternity pants, b) the Mom Mobile, c) having to get up 78 times every night to pee and d) a very brief discussion about weirdly fabricated potential baby names.

In Love’s Labor we learn that Shaun sent Lea lots of e-mails about different aspects and potential risks and complications of the birthing process, plus that Shaun has walked her through the different stages of labour many times, but this all happened off-screen. We know nothing about any preparations they made, any discussions they may have had, any concerns, fears or joyful anticipation.

While I like the idea of the scene where Lea explains she’s scared about exposing their baby to the world, somehow it still puzzles me every time I rewatch it. First of all, it feels like it’s coming somewhat out of the blue because we were not given any opportunity this season to follow along for the ride. We know very little about how Lea and Shaun felt about this pregnancy, other than that they both very much wanted a child. We were never given any indication that Lea felt super protective of the baby, there was never any follow-up on whether or not she was feeling lasting apprehension about the uterine wall surgery that she underwent at the beginning of the second trimester.

We do know she had some doubts about whether she was going to be cut out to be a mother from the doggy episode (The Good Boy), but I think that’s pretty much all the insights we were given into Shaun and Lea’s impending parenthood.

Someone on Twitter said that they had a feeling that they were going to have Lea suffer from post-partum depression next season. And while I personally don’t think that’s an avenue they’d necessarily take, I honestly have no idea how or what to argue against it because they gave us so little indication about how Lea actually feels about this baby. And in retrospect, that’s not something I particularly like and I think a massive missed opportunity.

Interesting little tidbit here: Melissa Reiner mentioned one very specific thing in her episode insights, which was a detail that I actually wondered about when I was watching that scene when Shaun rejoins Lea during labour. He just came out of the surgery on the little girl and then accompanied the girl’s mother to have a last few moments with her dead husband.

When Shaun comes back to Lea’s room, she asks about the girl, and Shaun says the girl is fine, but he doesn’t mention that the father died. Which to be honest, I found a little odd, since that would have totally been something that Shaun would have just blurted out, as in, “She is fine, but her father died.” Which was what they had Shaun say in the script initially, but Reiner asked to have the reference to the father removed, a) because Lea specifically asked about the girl, and b) because Shaun is pretty in tune with Lea’s emotions and wanted to keep that negative fact from her during this stressful time of the birth.

I’m usually down with Reiner’s suggestions, but I’m honestly a little puzzled about this one. I get that Shaun has come a long way in terms of gauging Lea’s state of mind, but is he really emotionally intuitive enough to hold back this information here for Lea’s benefit, particularly since he just had a really emotional moment himself with the wife? Kinda seems like they wax and wane on Shaun’s EQ however it suits them, because in some situations he’s amazingly intuitive for a guy with ASD, and in others he’s a bull in a china shop. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The Murphy/Glassman Disaster

Now that we’ve done away with the happy occasions, we need to talk about the elephant in the room: Glassy, the Grouch.

Lots and lots of controversy around this topic in the fandom, of course. Many people are saying Glassman is a childish, resentful jerk for not making an effort to be there for Shaun on the happiest day of his life. On the surface, Glassman’s reaction seems more like blown-out-of-proportion childish pouting than a justified separation, particularly since there’s so much history there that Glassman is basically throwing out the window.

Because if we look at it from this angle, Glassman has known Shaun for over 15 years. Just in this episode Shaun said that Glassman started taking care of him right after his brother died, although we don’t really know in which shape or form he did that.

Glassman has seen Shaun navigate ups and downs for all of his adult life. You can’t tell me they haven’t been in situations just like this where Shaun did something emotionally questionable or unbecoming and then they worked through it afterwards. You can’t tell me Glassman wouldn’t be well aware of the fact that this is almost always born out of the ASD-driven blind spots that Shaun has and that he doesn’t do these things on purpose or with full awareness of the emotional repercussions it might have.

Let us also remember the scene from Sorry, Not Sorry where Glassman stood in Shaun’s closet office and told Shaun, “No matter how mad I get, I will never stop loving you.”

Let us remember how Glassman got teary-eyed and hugged Shaun when the latter told him he considered Glassman the baby’s grandfather, Glassman saying to Shaun, “Wow, thank you, I never thought that would happen for me.”

Let us remember how Glassman sat with Lea outside of a veterinary clinic and told her how much he loves her and Shaun and how thankful he is that they came into his life.

Let us remember how the three of them sat in among the rubble of Glassman’s house, and Lea took his hand to feel his kicking grandson, telling him to think of all the new memories waiting to be made.

Let us remember how an emotionally rattled Shaun took a leap of faith and told Glassman how scared he was that he might lose him, and Glassman immediately willing to do whatever it took to ease Shaun’s worry.

Let us remember how Glassman said to a brain cancer patient that you try work hard to be the best version of the person you wanna be and that—while giving Shaun a poignant look—he’s had that fight.

Let us remember how Lim spoke to Glassman in the OR of a crotchety, old, wise man once telling her that hanging onto her anger was toxic, then later gave him the advice to not let losing one great love cost him another.

Let us remember how Lea practically begged Glassman to talk to Shaun, stressing that he needed his father on the most important day of his life while her water broke.

And here Glassman is, hanging on to feelings of betrayal that he’s not willing to set aside even for one of the most the monumental events of his son and his wife bringing a child into the world? Yes, that might seem uncharacteristically petty and immature, but I think it goes a lot deeper than what we see on the surface.

Last episode I went on about how I was pissed at Shaun that he brought this on himself, that he went against better judgment to intervene in a surgery that ended up costing Glassman his career and humiliated him in the process. And I’m still pissed at Shaun for that, but is that an unforgivable sin that feels colossal enough to then totally cut Shaun out of his life for?

I don’t know. Glassman is obviously deeply hurt, and there’s a magnitude to the whole thing that I think a lot of people (including Shaun) aren’t necessarily seeing. This wasn’t just about Shaun trying to prove he was right and embarrassing Glassman in the process. This was about one of the most important things in Glassman’s life: a 40-year-long career that he lived for and that defined him, and Shaun being the one who (in Glassman’s eyes) callously destroyed it. It was basically a huge fucking deal. But hold your breaths for now because I will get more deeply into it in the Season 7 section below.

That said, there’s a silver lining here that Glassman at least came to the door to take a peek at the little Murphy Munchkin celebration from afar, but it’s probably not a coincidence that he did so at the time when everyone was distracted with the family photo. It wouldn’t have been the right time with the whole department being there to make his entry after all that had happened.

Daniela was saying to me that, along with a lot of us, she wanted so much for Glassy to go through that damn door and be with his family on this most joyous of occasions. So why didn’t he? As a mother herself, it’s hard to imagine what hurt Glassman so deeply that it kept him away from his son and grandchild at such an important moment.

But at the same time, the writers did well to craft a believable situation—certainly more believable than Glassman losing his mind and moving to Montana. We shouldn’t forget that the whole OR humiliation disaster had just happened half a day before. Had Lea gone into labour 2 weeks later, things might have been very different.

It’s sadly poetic that Glassman was actually instrumental in naming Shaun and Lea’s offspring. In a way he endorsed that their son would be named Steve to honour Shaun’s brother, and more importantly, he made little Steve his grandfather’s namesake through the middle name Aaron.

There’s that bittersweetness when Shaun holds little Steven Aaron Murphy in the custom blanket that may very well have been an olive branch that Glassman extended, or at the very least a sign that he’s not ready to fully cut ties, that there’s a door that’s still open just a little bit to let light shine through.

I think we all want to know what Glassman will say or think when he learns that Shaun and Lea named their son after him. You’d think that he’d have to be a cold-hearted clod to ignore that grand gesture and keep holding on to his grudge, but I think there’s a whole lot of emotional baggage to unpack there for both Shaun and Glassman that we’ll see playing out in season 7 in one way or another.  

Oh, hey, on a whole other topic, did you notice that Jordan was conspicuously absent during the scene when everyone was visiting little Baby Murphy? Sure, she was busy with tending to Danny and having their missed date, so she gets a pass, but I sure hope she would have dropped by at some point.

Speaking of Lea, it’s kinda hard to gauge where Lea stands with the whole Glassman thing. She had earlier told Shaun that she thought he had done the right thing, telling Lim about the stroke without Glassman’s blessing, but she obviously also gets that Glassman is upset about Shaun going behind his back.

We don’t really know how much Shaun has told Lea about what happened afterwards and why Glassman is keeping his distance, we don’t even really know if Shaun fully understands the emotional undercurrents and thus might not even be able to give Lea a full picture.

One important thing to consider here is the canonical timing of it all, because while it was a week in the real world between all these things we witnessed, the in-episode timeline is actually all consecutive days ever since 6×19 Half Measures. It’s only been 12 hours or so since Glassman was forced out of his career by the time Love’s Labor starts, and Glassman has barely had time digesting any of it, while for us viewers we had a week to stew over this.

So how much time have Shaun and Lea really had to talk about this? If we’re to assume that Shaun spent the night with her through the early labour process, it’s not unlikely Shaun will have given her an account of what happened with the surgery that forced Glassman out of his career, and that Glassman told Shaun he was disappointed with how Shaun handled the situation. So I guess we should assume Lea knows as much of the full story as Shaun was able to give her.

What I found interesting was that Lea seemed somewhat fed up with Glassman when she saw him in his office and her water broke, like she was vicariously pissed with him alongside Shaun for being an unreasonably stubborn grouch about it all. Granted, she hasn’t heard Glassman’s side of the story, which I think may shift her view a little bit, but of course there just hasn’t been time to get into that for either of them.

I have a feeling that Lea will become a mediator between Shaun and Glassman, although I think she will mostly side with Shaun. It’ll be hard on her as well to see Glassman totally absent from those first days or weeks of their son experiencing the world. I think she will also resent Glassman for an extended absence, should that be what’s gonna happen.

She might try to get him and Shaun to reconnect, but I could also see that if Glassman chooses to stay away, she will get to a point of no return where she feels there is nothing more to be done and nature would have to run its course.

I wonder if this reconnection arc will span more than one or two episodes, because that could also go either this or that way. We had Shaun and Lea come back from, “I can’t marry you,” to, “You’re definitely good enough for me,” in two episodes, remember? On the other hand, we had Shaun and Lim at odds for some seven or eight episodes. I have no predictive abilities for these things whatsoever.

And for those people who are still convinced that it’s Glassman’s fate or purpose to die in season 7, here’s one indication why that is very unlikely to happen: They built a set for the interior of Glassman’s apartment. You can tell because they used the same style of kitchen, patio and window design, sliding door and the same rust red paint. So I daresay we will see the inside of Glassy’s apartment a lot more in season 7 because they wouldn’t have built a whole set for something they were just gonna use once or twice in one episode.

Parnick is back!

I like Parnick pairing, and I think it was also somewhat predictable that they were playing the long game here and that there was going to be an eventual reconciliation and reconnection for the two of them. Raising a baby again some 20 years later is going to be an interesting experience for Park, but I think both Morgan and Park can benefit from it. And Morgan can definitely use the help, because being a single parent with a demanding job and little support from your family has got to be tough!

I’m super glad that they’re making the Parnick fans happy, and I really hope that they have more interesting storylines for them in store in season 7.

Fun fact, co-showrunner Liz Friedman mentions in a TV Line interview that the baby they used for Eden gave everyone on set COVID. Oops.

Farewell, Danny

A few days before the finale aired, the press published the news that Brandon Larracuente was leaving the show since he had accepted a role in a Prime Video series, so we pretty much went into the finale, knowing that Danny would in some shape or form be written out of the show.

Not sure what the motivation was to announce this before the finale. Maybe it was to pre-empt any shitstorms from fans à la how dare they have the character exit with no warning? There surely was negative precedent for this back in season 3, and we still see angry fans all over the place who binge the show and then angry-yell all over social media about Melendez’ death, once they get to the season 3 finale.

With the knowledge in mind that Danny would not make it into season 7, of course the predictable reaction after that ambulance crash was that they’d have him either die or permanently render him incapable of being a surgeon. I’m actually glad they didn’t go that route but rather gave him what I’d call a soft-exit.

Mentioning his family visiting was a smart thing to do, and it made sense that he’d choose to go back to Texas to try and keep fighting that battle with addiction, particularly since he was already struggling out there in San Jose by himself. Speaking of Texas, was it ever actually mentioned that he was Texan? No hint of a southern accent, which doesn’t have to mean much, but still.

And I guess that’s actually somewhat indicative of what I think is still a problem with this huge ensemble cast of the show. We’ve had 22 episodes where they could have explored Danny as a person a little more, and even with the addiction backstory, he still seemed somewhat bland as a person.

That being said, I’m glad that Danny is still around in the show’s universe somewhere, and that there may be opportunities in the future for him to come back for a guest spot or two. I hope they make this happen somewhere along the road.

Someone on Reddit mentioned that they could see Jordan even have a long-distance romance with Danny and this could leave doors open to bring him back at some point. Not sure I can see that happening, but sure. Anything’s possible.

I’d have to lie if I said I’m super distraught to say goodbye to Danny. I was actually more invested in Danica as a character. Liz Friedman said they’re gonna bring in fresh blood in season 7. I was kinda hoping they wouldn’t so that we could countersteer that cast overcrowding issue a bit, but okay. I’ll try to keep an open mind.

Andrews’ Possible Exit

Maybe I’m jumping the gun on this, because it hasn’t actually been confirmed that Andrews is also going to exit from the show, but there’s been speculation about it ever since the news hit the internet that Hill Harper is considering to run for US Senate in Michigan. If he actually decides to do so, it’s likely that he’ll stop working on the show, or that at least his screen time would be reduced considerably.

What with Andrews stepping down as hospital president, it seems like a precursor to leave options open for whatever is going to happen. It’s certainly possible we will keep seeing Andrews in another role at St. Bon’s, be it just as attending surgeon for them to keep exploring the Marcus/Dalisay romance. Also possible he will go and seek other career opportunities outside of St. Bon’s and we won’t be seeing much more of Dr. Marcus Andrews.

The other question this raises is of course: Who will now become hospital president successor? Speculations are flying wild. Will Lim be elevated from Chief of Surgery? Would she even want that job? Will Glassman take his old job back, now that he can’t be an active neurosurgeon anymore? Would he still be fit to do so with the deficits in executive function? Or will the hospital presidency just be swept under the rug in the future to keep the show contained just to the surgical department matters and the hospital presidency will go to an unnamed offscreen person we’ll never meet?

I’m sure we’ll learn in season 7, and I think I’d be fine with either of these options, although personally I can’t really see the presidency going back to Glassman. But who knows? It’s certainly possible.

Random Bits and Pieces

Interestingly, this was the first TGD season finale that David Shore wasn’t officially involved in. The episode was written by Jessica Grasl and Garrett Lerner and directed by Mike Listo (known directing veteran on the show). I’m not saying this is automatically a bad thing, I thought the episode worked really well, just an interesting piece of information to point out.

Another piece of maybe not particularly meaningful trivia, but there’s an ER episode called Love’s Labor Lost, which even after all these years has still stuck with me. It was from way back in season 1 when Mark Greene misdiagnosed a pregnant patient who had preeclampsia and ultimately died, which Dr. Greene struggled with for a very long time afterwards. I’m glad that they didn’t go with anything as dramatic for Lea’s labour, but I wonder if the episode name was a small nod to that ER episode title.

I saw several references online about Sean Gunn and Kirk, which I guess had to do with his role in The Gilmore Girls, which I’ve never watched. (Sean Gunn played Kenny in this episode, the father who died.) I recognised him mostly from Guardians of the Galaxy. Not sure what all the Kirk hype was about, because when I hear Kirk, I think Star Trek, so if anyone wants to enlighten me, feel free to leave me a comment. 🙂

Should I ask why Shaun was the person who saw Kenny’s wife into the room with his body so she could say goodbye? I mean, yes, of course it had to be Shaun so that he could say those really meaningful and impactful lines about moving on despite losing the people we love, but realistically, it would have been a nurse or a resident who would have been there with the wife, and not the lead attending surgeon, who, by the way, also had a wife in the throes of labour a few floors above. But okay. Suspension of disbelief it is once more…

Random little mention here about the peanut: Paige Spara posted on social media that they used twins for baby Steve, and one of them peed on her during the birthing scene. 😀

As for the title of the episode, Love’s Labor, I think it was actually well chosen since it not only referred to Lea but also to Morgan and Park, and to Jordan and Danny, perhaps even to Marcus and Dalisay. Some may remember that there was an alternative title that floated around early on, The Fog, which had sparked conjecture around the time that Glassman’s mental issues were still up in the air and people were wildly speculating that this related to brain fog and it indicating that Glassman had dementia or Alzheimer’s and would leave the show.

Personally, at the time I had always preferred to believe it was about the weather condition, which made more sense to me around maybe spinning a plot that involved some issue related to dense fog. In my mind, I saw it more like Lea getting stuck in dense fog on the way to the hospital and then something happening with the childbirth in the field, which obviously wasn’t what they went with. But the accident scenario they wrote also made sense in the context of fog. However, I think Love’s Labor was ultimate the better choice for the episode title.

Consistency Corner

Last week I was talking about why there were three highly qualified surgeons examining a at the time clearly non-surgical ER patient, this week we had two highly qualified surgeons and a surgical nurse picking up a patient from a nursing home in an ambulance?

Another thing was Lea’s laptop. She said her preggo brain had her forget it in her office, but didn’t she just go to the hospital a day or two ago where she ran into Jordan to talk about dating venues? If Lea had forgotten her laptop in her office after she officially went on maternity leave, it seems unlikely that she wouldn’t notice she forgot her laptop in her office until two or three days later. And if she noticed right away, she would have picked it up when she was there the day or so before.

Not even sure why they needed that scene in Lea’s office to take place outside of her hospital room. Maybe it was meant to show that Lea wasn’t gonna just hang around in a bed and wait for the Peanut to pop out, but the main point was for her to find the hats in Shaun’s backpack. That scene could have happened anywhere and didn’t need to be in her office.

Onwards and Upwards into Season 7

So where does this all lead us? Of course your guesses are as good as mine, but all things point towards there being some kind of friction and forgiveness arc for Shaun and Glassman in season 7. Liz Friedman talked it out in the TV Line interview, and there are some interesting tidbits there that I think may give us a better idea of where they are planning to go with this.

First of all, Friedman talked about flexibility (or lack thereof) where both Shaun and Glassman are concerned. Shaun is known for lacking flexibility, particularly when it comes to doing what he is convinced is right, and particularly when it comes to his profession as a surgeon. There was no cutting Glassman any slack where the consequences of the stroke were concerned, and so Shaun feels perfectly justified in his actions having resulted in Glassman ceasing to be a surgeon.

On the other side of the fence, Glassman himself lacks flexibility where acceptance of having to give up his own career is concerned. Neurosurgery is what defines a large part of who he is as a person. Friedman said about Glassman, “His career has been tremendously important to him, and he’s been successful at that in ways that he hasn’t been successful in certain other areas of his life, right? To some extent, Shaun is the biggest personal success that he’s had, so for [Shaun] to come around and take away the other thing that he’s felt good about is very, very hard to let go of.”

What this means is that basically Shaun and Glassman are an impasse, and it sounds like it’s not just a thing that they can rectify in one honest conversation. The way that Shaun cut him out of any of the decision-making process where his career was concerned hurt deeply as it was, and the fact that it was Shaun who was instrumental in having it play out the way it did isn’t something that a simple apology will fix. The fact that Glassman wasn’t ready to put aside his own feelings and welcome his grandson into the world speaks volumes, particularly since he was so excited about it when Shaun told him he saw him as his son’s grandfather.

What we also saw very subtly in Love’s Labor is that I think Shaun has already more or less accepted that the relationship with Glassman has gone bust in a way that it will be hard to repair or take a long time to repair. When he talks to Kenny’s wife, he speaks about how he may have lost Glassman, that it’s very hard to lose the people you thought would never leave, and how he’s ready to keep going for the people he still has.

The final little piece to that puzzle plays out very subtly, but when Shaun gets the beanies from his backpack for the first family photo, he sees the one with ‘Grandpa’ on it, and he puts it back in the backpack with a nod and a small little, “Okay,” as if to say he’s come to terms with Glassman having made his choice, and that Shaun may have to live with the fact that he and his autism managed to fuck up this thing in his life for good that was sweet for as long as it lasted. And now that it’s over and done, he shouldn’t dwell on it and rather start a new chapter with his wife and his son—without Glassman.

Liz Friedman also spoke about forgiveness and wanting to explore when it’s useful to forgive and when it’s earned. Even though I don’t like it when Shaun and Glassman are at odds like this, I think it opens up a lot of interesting avenues to explore. There are a number of questions we can ask, one of them for instance: Is Shaun even going to be willing to reconcile if Glassman cuts himself off from Shaun and Lea for a while, and at some point wants to reconnect?

Will it become a mutual quest to earn forgiveness, with Glassman at some point coming to be at peace with what Shaun did, but then Shaun being the one not wishing to forgive that Glassman chose to abandon him during one of the most pivotal moments of his life when Shaun extended him the invite to truly become a member of the family?

In the Freddie Highmore interview I cited earlier, he speaks about how Shaun’s fear of abandonment will resurface at some point despite perhaps some level of acceptance of Glassman’s decision not to be there for the baby’s birth. We already saw some of this play out in early season 5 when Glassman bailed over the whole Ethicure disaster, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they will put a spin on it.

Of course now Glassman isn’t physically gone, he’s right there, next door, perhaps choosing not to be there. And I could see how that might hurt even more than having him thousands of miles away, and how Shaun might actually get to a point where he will be the one not wishing to let Glassman back in very easily. But that’s just speculation on my part, I have no idea what they’re gonna do with this.

In a moment of vanity, I could make a reference to my novel-length TGD fanfic that I finished during last year’s summer hiatus and had started writing after the season 5 winter finale off of the arc that had Shaun and Glassman estranged for an extended period of time.

Some of the inspiration for that story had been exploring a way for Glassman to be forced into a situation where he had to realise just how devastating it would be to lose Shaun. I wonder if something like that might be an avenue that the show will take – namely to put Shaun in true danger of dying and Glassman having to come face to face with the tangible fear that he could lose another child and that it isn’t healthy to hold on to old grudges when life is so fleeting. (You’d think he would have learned that lesson by now, but okay…)

At any rate, we’re at the mercy of the writers anyway where season 7 storylines are concerned. And we’ll have to see how badly the currently ongoing writers’ strike will mess with shooting schedules in the summer and beyond. It could mean delays for season 7 – worst case scenario, it might even lead to a shortened season if the strike goes on for a long time and there isn’t enough material available to shoot. Let’s hope for the best.

That said, I will be publishing a season 7 wishlist on the blog at some point, like I’ve done with season 5 and season 6. It’ll be fun to see this time next year which of the boxes will have gotten ticked and which won’t.


I’ve thought long and hard whether I actually wanna talk about this here and now. What I mean is the TikTok/Twitter memes that went viral in the past few days and created a huge ruckus and lots of disruption, backlash and negative publicity regarding the show. Which then turned into kind of a witch hunt with more and more people posting more and more purposefully truncated and badly chosen clips to ridicule and condemn how the show portrays autism…

And, honestly? No, not in more detail, because it’s been incredibly tiring to try and get people to consider that short, totally out of context clips aren’t necessarily representative of a whole TV series and then being met with nothing but hostility, aggression and name-calling and so much prejudice and narrow-mindedness that my head still hurts from shaking it so much. I might write a more in depth blog post about it at some point, once things have calmed down a little more and I’m in the right headspace for it. For now let’s stick with the episode at hand, which is much more enjoyable and rewarding.

Favourite Scenes and Lines

Shaun: I should be here with you and give you ice chips and hold your hand and talk about the future.
Lea: Have you been watching movies about people having babies?
Shaun: (nods) Mmh.

I can just see that, Shaun doing “real world research” through cheesy romcoms. Yep. Sounds like Shaun.

Glassman: Here, let me help you.
Lea: No, no. I am married to Dr. Shaun Murphy. He has walked me through the steps of the birthing process many, many times. I can take it from here.

I love it when Lea gets sassy. Go Lea!

Shaun: It is very hard to lose people you thought would never leave. But you will be okay because you have no choice. When we lose people we love, we have to find a way to keep going for the people we still have.

Man, this was a big gut punch, especially since Shaun was kinda saying that he’s already come to terms with the fact that Glassman has given up on trying to reconcile. But also beautifully written and acted.

I wonder, though, why exactly Shaun was crying in that scene. Was it because he was reminded of Steve’s death? Was it because he was afraid of having lost Glassman too? Was it a combination of both? Btw, I found very significant how in separate occasions this season, they made it a point to underline how Shaun saved Glassman’s life (in a way), and how Glassman (very literally) saved Shaun’s. I took note of episodes 6×06 and 6×11 as far as Glassy is concerned. And obviously this scene in 6×22. Shaun’s “I didn’t know how I would survive” pretty much said it all. Season 6 has been very generous in regard to the Shaun-Glassy relationship. It gave us so much more background information and so many emotional scenes. Too bad it ended the way it did. But I’m quite confident about the future developments.

I read it that he was crying mostly because he had come to realise that Glassman may have been cut out of his life for the foreseeable future, but possibly also because of the whole situation. First of all, we know that Shaun can feel empathy. He saw a struggling wife trying to come to terms with a husband she just lost who was lying there dead. Shaun isn’t immune to feeling other people’s loss. Then the memory of Steve and the fact that Glassman was being a no-show, plus the overall emotionality of his wife just about to give birth to his child.

Shaun isn’t usually someone to cry in front of strangers, so I think the fact that he did there meant quite a lot.

Mr. Ermey: Doc, if God wanted us to see the sunrise, he woulda put it at a more reasonable hour.

Mr. Ermey, you’re my man! How do people get up at the crack o’ dawn and enjoy that? (Yes, I know. Circadian rhythms. Mine is dialled all the way to ‘night owl’.)

Lea: You wanna vacuum my baby out of me?
Shaun: It is standard protocol if a baby is stalled in the birth canal. I covered this in the e-mail about instrum—
Lea: There were a lot of e-mails, Shaun!
Shaun: … Okay.

I love this whole birthing scene, to be honest. Despite being stressed and in pain, Lea is so super patient with Shaun and saying all the right things not to cause friction or have either of them end up being pissed off. From the way she asked him to forget about the washcloth and talk to her about her fears, to Shaun not making a fuss and just taking it on the chin when Lea snaps at him about the e-mails. And then Shaun valiantly proclaiming he is there for Lea and offering up his hand for her to squeeze. And look at Shaun praising Lea for doing great.

I also loved how all the emotions played on Shaun’s face as he first laid eyes on his son. Freddie and Paige did such a fantastic job with this scene, and Liz Friedman remarked on it as well:

TVLINE | I want to talk a bit about Freddie Highmore’s performance, particularly when Shaun lays eyes on his child for the first time. There is so much processing happening behind those eyes, and I love the way the camera lingers on him. Was that in the script? Or was that something Freddie did in the moment?

FRIEDMAN | Welcome to the magic! That’s just the amazing experience of working with Freddie. You can write that Shaun looks at his son, but I’m not going to tell Freddie what to do there. If he has questions about it, he’ll come and he’ll talk to us about it, but we didn’t have any particular discussions about that. He just brings so much to it. I think being a good writer for a great performer is knowing when to get out of the way — at least in terms of dialogue. You set up a very clean situation — those moments where there doesn’t need to be a lot of talking — then he can [just say] “I am Dr. Shaun Murphy.”

Lea: Look at what we made.
Shaun: Hello, it is very nice to meet you. I am Dr. Shaun Murphy. I’m your dad.

That’s a Shaun introduction if there ever was one. I’m sure he’s told that to his son a few times while he was still in Lea’s belly, though.

Lim: Or you could just flip us off because you’re cold and you’re afraid of heights…

I love snarky humour. I also love snarky humour on Lim. It suits her.

Shaun: How did he know his name would be Steve?
Lea: Because he knows you.

That was both sweet and really sad, especially when Shaun turns his head in hopes of finding Glassman hanging around and finally coming to see his grandson, which he very much was not and was instead sulking on his couch all by his lonesome with a glass of whiskey.

Shaun: Steven Aaron Murphy. This is a gift from your grandfather.

The name reveal was also really bittersweet, because Glassman doesn’t even know (yet) that Shaun is honouring him in a pretty big way, and knowing that very likely Glassman will pretend not to care much with the headspace he’s in right now. We can only hope they will work it out eventually.

Sorely Missing

I feel like there could be a number of humorous little interludes one could write into this episode. You know, like when Lea gets back to her patient room after talking to Glassman…

Lea: Oh, by the way, my water just broke. Right in the middle of Glassman’s office.
Nurse: Wait, are you serious?
Lea: Ugh, yeah. I gotta call janitorial.

Missing is of course also how all of this will be resolved. Leaving the show on the discordant note of having Shaun and Glassman at odds isn’t something that a lot of fans were rejoicing about, knowing we’ll have to wait several months to learn how this will eventually play out. Particularly now with the writers’ strike in full swing, we don’t even know if the show will pick back up at its usual time around end of September or beginning of October.

I think we’re all hoping that Glassman will come around, but I have a feeling it will take a while and it will need a good amount of emotional labour both from Shaun and from Glassman.

Here’s one scene I could imagine taking place after Lea gets to take Steve home: When the baby is blissfully asleep and Shaun is out working or doing a grocery run, Lea takes a printout of the first family photo and writes ‘Steven Aaron Murphy’ on the back. She puts it in front of Glassman’s door together with the ‘Grandpa’ beanie with a note that Shaun had these made so they could all be in the first family photo and with a plea for him to please talk to Shaun.

You’d like to think that Glassman would have to be a pretty cold-hearted jackass to totally ignore that and not make any effort to reach out, but who knows. Maybe it’d get him to extend a proverbial hand. Maybe he’d keep sulking and put it wordlessly back in front of the Murphylallo door. I think it could go either way, but I have a feeling they’ll be dragging this out for quite a few episodes, or as already mentioned, perhaps even with Shaun getting to a point where he doesn’t actually want to grant Glassman the courtesy of wanting to have any personal conversations.

I’m not sure I will be doing much fanfic writing or other fandom activity over the summer, but I just might if the muse strikes. The recaps will be back when the new season starts, although I may have to further cut them down in length to make them more manageable to write. So fair warning that perhaps they won’t be quite this extensive in the future anymore.

And now off into the hiatus. I hope you all have a great summer!

Best Shaun Muffin Face


  1. Emma

    Thanks for the thorough recap. What I don’t understand is that Glassman had decided not to be a surgeon anymore in the previous seasons and was happy just taking care of the clinic. It was Andrews that ordered him back in surgery after the Sallen episodes. This was mid season 5. So it’s a bit weird that knowing he could put the patients in danger he doesn’t accept that he has to stop. It’s even weider that knowing Shaun so well , after dismissing him several times when Shaun tried to talk.about the problem Glassman would not know that Shaun would go to Lim. Furthermore it’s like when you have to tell your dad he can’t drive anymore, it is usually the children who have to do something about it because they are the one who care and worry about him, it seems like a betrayal but something has to be done and you know your dad is not going to accept it. Of course Shaun needs to acknowledge that it is hard on Glassman but Glassman also needs to accept Shaun was right because he was in denial. Something had to be done. Nonetheless if Glassman had a grudge against Shaun, not being there for his grandson is pretty inexcusable.Let’s see how they handle that story in season 7.
    By the way, I have read everything and liked everything you posted after that awful and despicable Twitter Tgd bashing. Thank you for defending a great show.

    • TeeJay

      The way I see it, back in seasons 3 and 4, when Glassman had decided he no longer wanted to be a surgeon, that was a decision he had made voluntarily. You’re right that his motivation then had been to protect patients because he was afraid that his cancer had actually affected his ability to be a neurosurgeon.

      I guess this is now different because he had embraced the profession again and was enjoying the work and found it fulfilling to a point where it started to define again who he was as a person. It is perhaps a little inconsistent with the fact that he had previously already been at a point where he had accepted that not being a neurosurgeon didn’t mean that he couldn’t still make a difference as a physician.

      I also agree that the situation is complicated, and that Shaun wasn’t in the wrong to try and intervene. What I’m still puzzled about is why he chose to be up on that frickin’ gallery when he was told explicitly not to do that by a person he trusted.

      And thank you so much for your kind words about my comments on the TGD bashing. It’s been such a shitshow and I try my best to counteract it, but it seems like much of a Sisyphean task that’s not doing much. At the end of the day, I’m just a small fan account with very little clout and can’t do much against a mob of thousands of angry crusaders, but that won’t keep me from trying.

  2. Julianna

    Yowza!! A lot to unpack for sure. Great recap, as usual.

    AAANNND we have #SheaBaby at last! I have to disagree with you about his name; I think it’s perfect and not corny or tropy at all. BTW, where do they get these babies? Not just on TGD, but any show.

    As far as Lea’s relatively easy labor, it’s true that in general first baby labors are longer, but there are lots of exceptions. My own first baby was induced, so it was different, but I personally know women who had relatively short, issue-free labors. And I can attest that the epidural helps — a LOT. I’m glad Lea opted for that. And Lea did the right thing by walking around; that really helps.

    It was amusing that Shaun couldn’t help himself; he stepped right into Dr. Glenn’s territory as the treating physician and insisted that Lea begin to push when her cramps were 2 minutes apart. Good for Dr. Glenn for just letting that go, probably thinking, “New dads!”

    I thought the scene with Kenny’s wife was lovely, and Freddie knocked it out of the park. In the OR Asher begged Shaun to somehow use his vision thing to save Kenny “for the family,” not realizing that those visions don’t cure anyone, but just show possibilities when they exist. The interesting thing is that Shaun knows that now. In the beginning he often freaked out when he couldn’t fix someone; here there was quiet regret when he pronounced time of death, but he accepted that. In fact, it was Asher, not Shaun, who was doing the freaking.

    As for the Shaun/Glassman situation, we’ll see how that plays out, but I don’t doubt for a second that they’ll eventually be okay. Glassman is hurt and embarrassed, at the hands of someone he loves like a son, which makes it hurt even more. But he’s not gonna lose another kid; it’s just a matter of time. I agree that Lea will be instrumental in healing both their wounds; she already took a shot at it, but her water breaking interrupted her. Shaun could sort of push the whole mess aside in the excitement and joy at his son’s birth, but he’ll be hit hard later.

    As a reader of your wonderful “Bent Not Broken,” I’m intrigued by the idea of Shaun being seriously injured or ill. Of the three main characters, we’ve had Glassman and Lea at risk, but other than “Trampoline” when Shaun was ill enough to be on a respirator, he’s been completely healthy. And in that case, there didn’t seem to be worries that he wouldn’t make it.

    As for Danny, I too am not upset at his leaving. I certainly didn’t dislike him like I did Danica, but I never warmed to him either. Besides, Jordan can do better (does that sound cold?). Jared, maybe? BTW, I never saw Jared as particularly religious, yet he implored Jordon to just let Danny pray. It was the Uber-religious Jordon who decided that praying wasn’t enough.

    Parnick is back! Yay!!!

    ~~More great lines:~~~

    Lim: “A crotchety wise man once told me that hanging onto my anger was toxic”
    Glassman: “I’m not crotchety”
    (Narrator: He’s crotchety)

    Lea: “I’ll call Janitorial”!”

    Thanks again, Tina, for these recaps,

    • Daniela

      I’ve always forgotten to share with Tina (or anyone else) that I’m very glad too that Lea opted for the epidural. It’s so tropy that in movies and TV shows we usually see women who give birth feeling so much pain. And I always wonder why, when in real life there’s this beautiful and very helpful possibility.
      Personally, I got an epidural when I delivered both my kids and it helped a lot. Even if when my daughter was born (my first child) things didn’t go as smoothly or quickly as they did to Lea. Lucky her!
      Thank you, Julianna, for reminding me to comment about this specific point.

      As for the Shaun and Glassy situation, I completely agree with you. I don’t think there can really be any doubts at all that they will reconcile. They love each other too much, their bond is unbreakable.
      It will take some time and effort and it’s hopefully going to be emotionally rewarding.

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