The fall finale sets up major changes for when the show returns January 13th, and not just for Shaun but also Claire.

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The fall finale sets up major changes for when the show returns January 13th, and not just for Shaun but also Claire.

Directed By Mike Listo
Written By Thomas L. Moran
Air Date (ABC) 12/2/2019
Introduced This Episode
Dr. Malkin Kelly-Ruth Mercier
Ethan Michael Trucco
Marcie Joanna Going


Getting Up From Rock Bottom: Dr. Malkin, Claire, Dr. Melendez, Dr. Park, Morgan

Claire finds herself, in front of patients and in front of peers, dealing with Morgan and Dr. Park poking and prodding about her life. Always without being asked to, and it is because of that you can see why Morgan doesn’t let any bit of her public life out. I mean, imagine someone with her attitude dealing with that amount of scrutiny.

But, while Dr. Park and Morgan are getting on Claire’s nerves, she does find herself reconnecting with Dr. Melendez. Not in a way which hints at romance, but after their relationship being put on ice, after she bumped heads with him, things are starting to return to how they once were. Which she is happy about, but when it comes to what she is going through, she doesn’t seek him out to talk to.

Instead, she seems to seek a professional named Dr. Malkin. Someone new to the show, not the doctor Claire saw after her first death, or the one she saw when her mom was alive. Yet, it seems they have talked before, and after her interaction with this episode’s patient and likely feeling isolated because of her peers, she asks for an emergency session.

The Initial Rejection: Ethan, Marcie, Dr. Glassman, Lea, Shaun

Ethan (Michael Trucco) on his deathbed.
Ethan (Michael Trucco)

As you can imagine, if Steve died in 2006 and Shaun hasn’t seen his parents since the funeral, it makes that 13-year gap of limited to no contact heavy. Especially in regards to Shaun’s relationship with his mother Marcie. Yet, with Ethan on his death bed, she is hoping they can reconcile.

The problem is with that, what Marcie, and Dr. Glassman, in many ways, want, doesn’t coincide with what Shaun is ready for. Hence Lea being brought along for even though she has been rather absent on the show, and thus feeling absent in Shaun’s life, she is the only real friend he has. After all, when it comes to people at the hospital, he talks to them because they are there, and Lea is busy. However, when things go down of this nature, he knows Lea, who has her own life, will drop everything for her “best friend,” as she calls Shaun.

Which leads to a bit of conflict. Primarily due to Dr. Glassman and Lea never getting along and between Shaun telling off his father, saying he, Ethan, is the reason Steve died, to it being clear Dr. Glassman wants to live vicariously through this moment of forgiveness, the whole situation is messy. Also, in many ways, it feels selfish.

But, thankfully, Lea helps Shaun get out of his head and sets aside what Marcie, Ethan, and even Dr. Glassman wants. In fact, Lea helps trigger a memory which makes Shaun realize, while his father overall is a horrible person, there were moments he tried. And with Shaun taking accountability for how sometimes he isn’t the most malleable person, it seems he wishes to try again.

The Death Of One Leads To The Rebirth Of Another: Ethan, Marcie, Dr. Glassman, Lea, Shaun

This begins with letting his mom explain why she didn’t leave or chase after Steve and Shaun, and this is followed by trying to forgive Ethan. Someone who, despite all the kind words he was saying to Shaun, and trying to own up to his faults, it seems with Shaun telling him off, he decides he will release all the venom in his body before he dies. Thus leaving Shaun unable to retort, yell back, or anything. For no sooner does he leave and tries to process being blamed for Steve’s death, Marcie calls and lets Dr. Glassman know Ethan is dead.

With that, Shaun is overwhelmed in a way he didn’t expect and almost seems like he is trying to have the emotional pain match the physical. So he hits himself, pulls his hair, and be it Lea hearing him or worrying after learning the news, she comes in and holds Shaun. This eventually leads him to calm down and triggers old feelings. The kind of which could threaten Shaun’s relationship with Carly.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Every bad decision you make, that’s the real you.
— Claire

Comment Down Below

  1. Considering we see Shaun reject going with his parents after Steve’s funeral, yet know he ended up in the foster care system, when did he end up with Dr. Glassman?



Shaun Facing His Parents – Featuring Lea

Since we learned about Shaun and Steve running away, Steve’s death, and Shaun being raised between foster homes and Dr. Glassman, there has been the consistent question of: Will we ever meet his folks? And this episode said yes, and it didn’t disappoint. Shaun asked the pertinent questions, like why didn’t his mom do or say anything, and we got the cathartic release of Shaun both telling his dad off, yet still wanting a relationship because they once had good times and Shaun would like some form of that again.

Not to forget, while Dr. Glassman has played a father figure, that is not his dad, and there will always be a part of Shaun that wishes he had an actual relationship with his parents. Hence why, even after her weak excuse, he let his mom hug him. For despite all she could have prevented, he will only have her soon, and unlike Ethan, there hasn’t been anyone who stepped up into that maternal role for Shaun.

And I think it also really speaks how much Lea means to Shaun, even if we haven’t seen her much, that he asked for her to come. Because, on this show, no one has friends really. They have co-workers and love interest. So as much as it is pushed that Shaun may reconsider Lea as a love interest, it is nice that we were given the idea, for a little while, those two were merely close and, perhaps, Lea to Shaun became like a female Steve.

Recognizing How Much Dr. Glassman Wanted To Live Vicariously Through Shaun & Ethan

In my mind, as much as Dr. Glassman doesn’t like Lea because she contradicts him, I think it was also because he needed to see and experience Shaun forgive his father so he could feel he was forgiven by his daughter. Someone who he has hashed out his issues with before, but with her death, he can’t truly reconcile and move past feeling responsible for her death.

So, the way it seems, in seeing Shaun forgive his father, Dr. Glassman could see himself as someone worthy of forgiveness despite his lack of attention to his own child. Further pushing the idea of how Shaun is, for lack of a better term, his do-over.

Seeing Ethan Wasn’t All Bad, Though He Died A Bastard

One of the things you have to love about the way Ethan was handled, is while we knew him for a bastard and he died a bastard, we were reminded there were times he tried. Granted, he didn’t try consistently in terms of sticking around, educating himself, or gaining patience, but you have to recognize the difficulty there is in trying to raise someone who isn’t atypical. Especially if you are the type of person who is selfish and expects your kids to bend more towards how you want to do things, and how you operate, rather than what makes them comfortable.

Which isn’t to excuse any of his actions, but I think the main point of that river scene was to show, at one time, Ethan wanted to have a relationship with Shaun but couldn’t find a way to make it work for him. And with Steve right there, likely that led to comparisons and deep-rooted issues since Ethan’s lack of understanding, when it comes to autism, caused self-hatred in some ways, and then him lashing out due to feeling helpless. For again, in a very selfish way, he wanted to fix his son rather than accept Shaun’s autism simply meant he wasn’t going to be like everyone else, and that meant Ethan would have to act accordingly.

Claire Seeking A Therapist Rather Than A Hookup

Dr. Malkin (Kelly-Ruth Mercier) greeting Claire.
Dr. Malkin (Kelly-Ruth Mercier)

THANK GOD! For far too long it has seemed Claire couldn’t find any sense of joy in her life. Well, correction, when it comes to Claire’s personal life, she couldn’t find joy while her professional life flourished. This lopsidedness might be the root of Claire’s dysfunction, for despite Claire not really talking about having a family much, she did mention to Dr. Melendez she does want one. It’s just, with her schedule, and her issues with intimacy, it is hard to find someone.

And maybe I’m projecting but, there is something about feeling stagnant in one part of your life while almost feeling like you are exceeding expectations in another. That stark difference leads to risky, if not dangerous, behavior for you just don’t get why everything can’t add up and be equal. Thus leading to, as Claire said, she sometimes feels lucky more than talented. Which can lead to seeking out those who you want to impress, maybe love you, so that you can attain some sense of equilibrium.

On The Fence

Morgan and Dr. Park Being In Claire’s Business As They Were

A part of me is fine with Morgan picking with Claire about her mom and the effect her death had on her, but Dr. Park is a whole other person. Someone who doesn’t really know Claire, is a bit too judgmental and doesn’t have any real connection with her. Those two are strictly co-workers. So Morgan saying something in front of him seemed not only rude but messed up since she knows Dr. Park has no issues crossing people’s boundaries and giving unsolicited advice. The kind that, correct me if I’m wrong, might work for patients but often has the worst timing for his peers.

Carly Really Being Used To Setup Shaun and Lea Being Endgame

Between myself and Emily, who we often have conversations within the comment section, one of the ideas brought up was Carly being a test run for a Lea relationship. Primarily since Carly was rarely seen early on and now suddenly is a big part of the show but in an isolated way. For, similar to Debbie, Carly doesn’t have relationship with anyone else on the show. At least the kind where you feel like they have a thing, like Dr. Glassman and Lea clearly have.

So with that in mind, it should be interesting to see how much longer Carly and Shaun stay together, and with that cuddle scene, what will come of it? Never mind, with Lea having such a moment with Shaun, does this mean she may return to prominence in a form outside of Shaun’s love interest? She notes how much is going on with her own family and work, so will we get to peer into her life, or will she continue to revolve around Shaun, waiting for him to allow some light to be put on her?

Marcie’s Excuse For Staying With Ethan And Sacrificing Her Children

Marcie (Joanna Going) seeing Shaun at her doorstep.
Marcie (Joanna Going)

In comparison to Ethan, who benefits from his flashback, we are only told Marcie had a hard time trying to deal with abandoning her children. Or, to be exact, being that she knew what she could do for Ethan, that is why she didn’t leave him. An answer that, even if you aren’t a mom, doesn’t seem strong enough to absolve someone from choosing a man over their children.

But, you have to realize sometimes, it isn’t about people getting to defend themselves and then being released from ill feelings. Be it Ethan dying while cursing Shaun or Marcie’s weak reasoning for why she let her boys run off and have one die and the other end up in the foster system, people are imperfect.

Marcie’s Excuse For Staying With Ethan And Sacrificing Her Children - 79%
Carly Really Being Used To Setup Shaun and Lea Being Endgame - 75%
Morgan and Dr. Park Being In Claire’s Business As They Were - 74%
Seeing Ethan Wasn’t All Bad, Though He Died A Bastard - 80%
Recognizing How Much Dr. Glassman Wanted To Live Vicariously Through Shaun & Ethan - 89%
Shaun Facing His Parents – Featuring Lea - 90%


Trajectory – Upward: This episode was a long time coming and did not disappoint. Meeting Ethan and Marcie was an experience, and with Claire being featured, specifically her seeking healing rather than distractions, it makes for an excellent mid-season finale.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the shout-out! That was so cool!!

    I’m still hoping Carly isn’t there to get Shaun ready for Lea. I liked how Shaun and Lea could be just friends without the annoying will-they-or-won’t-they vibe from season 1. And Carly’s being so patient with Shaun, and to have him say “Nope, I’ve changed my mind about Lea” would be unfair and mean. But with Shaun crying in Lea’s arms, it doesn’t look good for Carly.

    Marcie’s excuse for abandoning (good word!) Shaun and Steve and staying with their abusive father was so lame! I won’t bore you with the details, but you may remember me mentioning I am divorced with an autistic daughter. Guess who came first, my child or my then-husband? It wasn’t even close!! Plus, if you choose to have a child, then the child comes first, period! I will move on before I start ranting even more.

    (But you’re right, Shaun meeting his parents did not disappoint!)

    Lol Claire seeking a therapist – “THANK GOD!” I totally agree! Also, Morgan definitely should have kept Claire’s business to herself (although Dr. Park did see Claire get slapped in the last episode) because Park is annoying past the point of being rude!

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