Patient #1 is Darya Denys, a 14-year-old gymnast who is being coached by her father. She comes in with a bowel issue, but then they also diagnose severe osteoporosis which will force her to have to give up gymnastics and require spinal fusion. Darya doesn’t want to give up her dream of being a professional athlete, but this could affect her health in a significant way.
It turns out that Darya’s health problems were, in part, caused by her secretly taking phytoestrogens so that she’d develop a more feminine body. Her father is really angry that she would be so irresponsible, but it denotes the struggles of a young girl devoting her life to an incredibly competitive career, and at the same time just wanting to be like any “normal” girl growing up and going through puberty.
This patient story explores the idea of parenting responsibility vs. teaching your child trust to make their own decisions. Darya’s father is overdoing the latter a little too much. Sometimes it’s not prudent to let a 14-year-old make important decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. Sometimes you just need to step up as a parent and make a stand.
Patient #2 is actually Anton Denys, Darya’s father. He suddenly collapses and is diagnosed with an aortic aneurism at first, but Jordan corrects the diagnosis to Boerhaave Syndrome (a spontaneous rupture of the oesophagus).
Shaun & Lea
Okay, so I wanna start this off with talking about the mattress. There’s a deleted scene that ET Online published recently, which was Shaun and Dr. Glassman having breakfast (likely initially planned as the teaser lead-in for the episode).
Shaun tells Glassman about a new mattress that Lea ordered, which he doesn’t like the smell of, but which Lea said he’d grow to appreciate, once they broke it in (which meant sex, as Shaun can’t help but add). Glassman tells Shaun that he’s free to say no and should tell Lea to send the mattress back, but Shaun says he’s fine with it since he likes the sex more than he doesn’t like the mattress.
Glassman then remarks that he’s impressed that Shaun made a cost/benefit analysis and based his decision not to complain about the mattress on that. “I did, didn’t I?” Shaun realises.
It’s actually a shame that they didn’t use that scene in the final episode, because it sets up some of what we see play out with Shaun and Lea over the rest of the episode. But before I keep talking about this, let’s take a look at what we actually get to see in the final cut.
Lea and Shaun briefly meet over breakfast. Lea breaks the news that her parents are coming for a surprise visit. She’s slightly panicked, because her mother and father are known to be judgmental and critical of her previous boyfriends. Shaun seems pretty chill with the whole idea. “You hate surprises,” Lea says, “Why aren’t you more thrown by this?” Shaun explains his reasoning. “Because it’s not a surprise. They’re behaving exactly the way you said.”
Shaun’s view is also that disaster is only disaster if there are consequences, which is an interesting interpretation. “We’re adults, why would it matter what your parents think?” Also an interesting idea, and maybe one born out of the absence of caring parents in Shaun’s life (Glassman aside).
The conversation takes an unexpected turn when Lea challenges Shaun if it doesn’t bother him that his grumpy second dad doesn’t like her. “Dr. Glassman likes you,” Shaun assures her. “No, he doesn’t,” she tells him. That stumps Shaun. How can anyone not like Lea, least of all his grumpy second dad Glassman?
So I guess it goes without saying that the overarching theme this episode is “relationship to your parents” and “what makes a good parent”, also of course suggested by the episode title. It great that we’re getting more focus on Lea’s parents, seeing how Shaun’s relationship with his (biological) parents has already been more or less fully explored.
Shaun has the awesome idea (well done, Shaunie!) to practice the upcoming dinner with Lea’s parents to ensure he’s well prepared. He invites Dr. Glassman and Morgan over for pizza, and of course he’s pulled out all the stops. Glassman and Morgan both gets lists of questions they should be asking, pretending to be Mike and Pam Dilallo. Shaun also has his notebook at the ready with all the topics that Lea had told him previously to be off-limits.
The mock dinner is hilarious and funny, and I love every second of it. Also, more arm fondling on Lea’s part, and it’s so endearing. But then things go wrong, and suddenly they’re no longer talking about accidentally eating spiders at night or daylight saving(s) time — suddenly there’s one elephant in the room trumpeting loudly how Glassman doesn’t like Lea. “I never actually said that,” he tries to defend himself. Not that well done to bring this up, Shaunie.
The actual dinner with Lea’s parents is no less awkward than expected. Lea gets real defensive real soon. The fuse blows when Lea’s parents enquire of Shaun, “So how do you feel about vaccines?” Lea goes, “Oh my God,” under her breath. “Vaccines don’t cause autism, Mom. Wanna talk about religion now?”
Shaun saves the day, though. “Hemorrhoid surgery,” he says, “I removed a hemorrhoid from a patient with terminal cancer. He only had a few months to live, and nothing would change that, but the surgery did make him more comfortable. I suggest we treat this evening like hemorrhoid surgery.”
And that’s an awesome suggestion! It breaks the ice, and Lea’s parents actually chuckle. “I like this guy,” Mike says. “To hemorrhoid sugery,” they toast.
Shaun makes me smile again, when he approaches Lea in the hospital the next day with his smartphone in hand. “I searched ‘eating meat near me’, which was a mistake, but I did get a recommendation for a steakhouse your father might like.” This episode had so many great lines!
Lea isn’t quite so happy, though. Her mother sent a text. ‘We need to talk about Shaun.’ (She probably also spelled Shaun wrong.) Shaun is such a sweetheart here. Lea is disconcerted. “You do get that this is insulting to both of us? From the people who supposedly love me most in the world.” Shaun disagrees. “They don’t. Not the most. Not anymore.”
I also love that they address the underlying issue of Shaun’s ASD in a really thoughtful way, because Shaun says to Lea, “People who meet me are usually uncomfortable, and… most of the time, that doesn’t go away.” She asks him, “How do you handle that?” His response is that he tries to be patient, and sometimes it works. And then of course, often it doesn’t. Makes you really wonder how Shaun feels when people get awkward around him, doesn’t it? God, I love this whole conversation so much.
Shaun makes up his mind later to seek out Lea’s parents on his own to meet them at their hotel. (I wonder how he knew they would be there in the lobby at that exact time, but let’s assume there was a conversation he overheard…) Shaun makes a stand for himself and Lea, and tries to make her parents understand that he’s different, and that maybe Lea has changed as well. “You knew her then. You don’t know her now. All you know are her mistakes, and you don’t trust her because you aren’t sure you were good parents.” And maybe he’s hitting the nail on the head right there.
“Lea and I go through challenges together. It’s one of the things that makes us stronger. Lea challenges me to try things, even things I know I won’t like, because it’s not always better to stop and think. And I make Lea patient because I can be very frustrating. So can the two of you. Maybe this challenge will make your relationship stronger, too.” It’s a beautiful speech, and Shaun’s endearing personality wins everyone over yet again.
We go back to the Glassy Doesn’t Like Lea elephant as well. He runs across her at the hospital when he’s grabbing a coffee, and he actually chooses to seek her out. “I like you, okay?” he tells her. “Stop,” she quips, “you’re gonna make me cry.”
Their conversation is actually really deep for the fact that they’ve been pretty touchy with each other most times they’ve met. It’s no surprise that Glassman is incredibly protective of Shaun, and can you blame him? Lea opens up to him. “My parents have an issue with Shaun, and I just don’t want Shaun’s… parent to have a problem with us, too.” Glassman looks at her long and hard. “Too bad,” he says, and it kinda hurts.
Glassman loves Shaun so much, and it’s very apparent here. “Everything Shaun has gone through, all the rejection and the pain…” His voice breaks right there, and I have a knot in my stomach. “The victories, they all belong to him, but I feel every single high, and every single low. So I’m sorry, I’m not gonna stop worrying about him, even if he doesn’t need me to.” And that, right there, is a 100% Daddy Glassman, and goddammit, I wish they’d finally make that official in some way. (I may have written my version of that in a fanfic. And I think it may have resonated with a lot of people.)
The parenting story gets wrapped up when there’s a knock on the door while Shaun and Lea are having dinner (pancakes again? really?). It’s kinda hilarious that Shaun opens the door, sees Lea’s parents, and then closes the door again with them still standing outside. “It’s your parents,” he tells Lea. Well, duh.
So then what? Should they invite them in? What do they want? Pam and Mike think quick on their feet and text Lea that they want to have dinner with them. “What do you think?” she asks Shaun. “I think… they must have been good parents.” So that’s a yes.
Can we go back to the deleted mattress scene here for a moment? Are we to assume this scene with Lea would have seamlessly followed the deleted one with Glassman? It’s clearly the same setting and same time. Shaun is wearing the exact same shirt, eating the same pancake. Lea isn’t eating anything, so possibly she either asked Shaun for a spontaneous meeting or vice versa. We’ll never know.
And it puts some of the rest of the episode in a new light as well. Some of what we saw with Lea’s parents is based on cost/benefit analysis. Is it worth getting all wound up about Lea’s parents visiting? Shaun’s answer to that was initially no, but then he did worry about making a good impression, as seen during the rehearsal dinner with Morgan and Glassman. Possibly because Lea and his colleagues kept insisting it was kind of a big deal. Claire actually called it a rite of passage.
Is there really a benefit to ensuring there is a positive relationship between Shaun and Lea’s parents, and what is the cost for it? Is the benefit for him, or for Lea, or for both of them? Does the benefit of being with Lea come at a cost of Dr. Glassman not approving of her, and what will they do with that?
It raises all sorts of interesting questions, doesn’t it?
The First Year Residents
Hands-off is still the topic of choice for Olivia and Marcus. He keeps giving her advice, she keeps telling him she doesn’t want it. He’s just invested and wants his niece to do well. There’s apparently some grand story about him giving her a memento as a kid that indicated she’s always had an interest in science. Olivia tells Marcus he’s been believing in a dream that isn’t. The memento wasn’t actually made by her.
I had to smile a little when the First Years and the surgeons were discussing what one calls their parents. Enrique says he calls his father Frank. Asher is appalled. “Do you respect any tradition?” Yo, Asher. I call my parents by their first names. Always have. Doesn’t mean I love them any less.
We pick Audrey’s PTSD storyline back up, with Claire trying to help, but Audrey being stand-offish about it. “I don’t need saving,” Audrey tells Claire. Audrey admits she went to see a psychiatrist. Once. He prescribed medication for her PTSD, but she hasn’t taken it yet.
Claire’s discussions with Audrey about keeping the PTSD all under wraps has her rethink her own approach, so she goes to Dr. Glassman to tell her about her issues the previous year and puts it all out on the table. But that’s not her real reason for coming. She tells Glassman that she’s worried about Audrey. And since Claire can’t help anymore, maybe it’s someone else’s job. Someone with more leverage and more clout.
Glassman isn’t sure what to do with that information. Does he want to get in the middle of that? We’ll see where this goes in the next episode or two, right?