The Good Doctor: Season 4/ Episode 18 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Lea and Shaun on their camping trip

As Miles, Claire’s dad, returns, so does Debbie, and as they, alongside Alex and Morgan, find themselves having difficult conversations, someone may have been written off.

As Miles, Claire’s dad, returns, so does Debbie, and as they, alongside Alex and Morgan, find themselves having difficult conversations, someone may have been written off.

Episode Name Forgive or Forget
Aired 5/24/2021
Network ABC
Directed By Lee Friedlander
Written By Thomas L. Moran, David Renaud

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I Can’t Keep Playing With You – Alex, Morgan, Jordan, Dr. Andrews

Alex and Morgan have had a roller coaster of a situationship that Alex has long knew wouldn’t serve him. However, while it has been established he can’t deal with Morgan’s lack of desire for an emotional connection, he comes to realize he can’t be friends with her either. Why? Well, that old need to compete has started to affect his judgement, and after Jordan calls him out about it, in front of Dr. Andrews, and he is forced to admit she is right, while in surgery? He decides he won’t embarrass himself again.

Morgan noting she doesn't want the banter to end
Morgan noting she doesn’t want the banter to end

Thus, Alex talks to Morgan about severing any sort of banter and all the things she loves doing with him and keeping it strictly professional. As you can imagine, Morgan isn’t happy about this, but Alex seems pretty adamant.

Reasons, Excuses, and Forgiveness – Miles, Claire

While Claire and her father, Miles, have learned to get along, there is a struggle with addressing the past. Now, for Claire, she is fine with not talking about Miles abandoning her just because her mother became too much for him. However, Miles wants to clear the air, so there isn’t a random blow-up down the line, he pushes the need to talk about what happened.

This, for the most part, doesn’t go well. In Claire’s mind, all Miles is presenting are excuses, and because he decided to avoid Breeze, he also chose to be absent from Claire’s life and thus made her handle all her mother’s issues on her own. But, in Miles’ mind, he did send money, apparently more than enough to handle rent, food, and other things Claire would need, but Breeze squandered it.

In Miles’ mind, while he was physically absent, he did at least try to provide, but that isn’t good enough and being that, even with therapy, there are just some things Claire struggles to get past when it comes to her upbringing, she needs a break. However, with a situation a patient goes through allowing her an outlet and Asher being a constant reminder of life when you are disowned, Claire heads back to the drawing board with her dad so that they can move forward.

Some Relationships Strengthen and Others Fall Apart – Shaun, Lea, Dr. Glassman, Debbie

While Shaun has gone back to work and Lea as well, they both recognize things are still off. So, Shaun proposes going camping, for if he and Lea do something out of their element, he feels it’ll lead them to bond. The problem is, Shaun didn’t make a reservation where he wanted to camp at, and where they do camp, it is less than ideal conditions. Following that, their tent leaks, Lea decides to abandon Shaun and sleep alone, and just when things get good, Shaun dislocates his ankle in such a way that Lea is forced to do surgery. Yet, as Shaun planned, this does bring them together.

Debbie calling it quits
Debbie calling it quits

On the opposite end, Dr. Glassman and Debbie are driven apart. Why? Well, Debbie says it is Dr. Glassman’s need for control and her feeling stifled by it. After all, he tries to tell her how to use her gun, calls the home they share his house, and as long made clear, it seems they rushed into a marriage. But at this point, as much as Debbie still loves Dr. Glassman, she may very well be done because there isn’t a reconciliation by the end of the episode.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

There’s a big difference between “promising” and “proven.”
— Morgan

Sometimes distraction is the best medicine.
— Morgan

Commentary/ Review


As reported by TV Line, Asher and Jordan will be promoted to series regulars in season 5, and that means people had to be cut. After all, Asher has a whole lot going on that needs to be dived into, and Jordan? Between her faith and being more than willing to bump heads with damn near anyone, she sets the right balance between causing drama but bringing a different voice to the show.

Which, of course, means getting rid of dead weight, and let’s be honest, that is Debbie. Despite the potential there for her to help us understand how Dr. Glassman was as a husband previously and maybe expose who he is beyond Shaun’s mentor and president of a hospital, she did that with mixed results. Often, she wasn’t presented as an asset. Instead, like Olivia, Dr. Andrews’ niece, she didn’t get to move beyond what she could bring out of another character while rarely showing her value as an individual. So with a new crop who have shown their potential can be realized, it is time to create screentime for them and culling those who weren’t missed despite an extended absence.

Alex Officially Ending Things With Morgan

With Alex severing ties with Morgan, it seems there might not be a back and forth between them, but this could really be over. Which does lead to the question of what’s next? Alex’s storyline has primarily revolved around his relationship with Morgan, and as for Morgan? While Alex has played a role, she has repeatedly tried to break out of that constricting storyline by bumping heads with those who can still be surgeons and reminding everyone that she still deserves to be in the room.

So here is hoping Morgan gets to fully focus on this new chapter, and until the show wants to be serious about her relationships, they don’t match her up just to keep another character busy.

Claire Reconciling With Her Dad

Miles asking if he has been forgiven yet
Miles asking if he has been forgiven yet

From what it appears, Claire isn’t good with conflict and struggles with any relationship that gets too close. So having work friends and patients gives her just enough to feel human and have an outlet. However, as shown with her patient and their parents, while it can be a positive outlet and push her to show empathy, affection, and gain a sense of purpose, it is also how she gets to have cathartic releases. After all, what is a patient going to say when your doctor is chastising you? Never mind, as shown by how the hospital works, getting tough isn’t discouraged, just maintain some sense of a bedside manner.

But, as maybe therapy is pushing Claire to address, she can’t let off steam and then pretend like nothing happened. She has to confront what she feels and deal with it. So with Miles, her dad, it seems she may have found one of the first people she can practice the things she is learning on, which could be a positive step, overall, for Claire’s development. For with operating on the idea that she is right, she is the victim, and it doesn’t matter what happens since the other person won’t be around long term, you can see how she was always prepared for an out.

Miles, however, wants to be there and chose to, and I think it is starting to hit Claire that with her mom dead, dad dying, and even her best friend passing away, the number of people in her personal life is shrinking, and they aren’t being replaced. And as much as she has a role in the lives of the people she works with, it’s just not the same, so she needs to build and maintain bridges rather than abandon them.

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  1. When I think of Jordan’s faith, it strikes me that until now she mostly used it for virtue signaling but rarely lived up to it: she had an abortion (on which most Christian denominations frown on at least), she lied about it to her superior and she lied without hesitation to a patient. When the show is about to explore religion with Jordan, the path would lead to her hypocrisy and how she deals with that.

    Now, with Claire and Morgan’s potential, we’re on the same page. Their relationship isn’t based on sexual tension as with Melendez (R.I.P.). Claire and Morgan complement each other in many character traits. This causes tension and them butting heads is highly intriguing and satisfying for the audience, but it also offers the characters potential to grow on and with each other.

    In this a pairing of Morgan and Claire would be comparable to Shaun and Lea: they can make each other more.

    Though, I guess what you saw back then in 2.12 Aftermath with Claire wasn’t attraction, but Claire realizing that Morgan isn’t pure evil. As we have seen lately, Claire tends to either idolize or condemn people, but rarely sees them as the complex characters they are. That realization about Morgan sure made Claire very uncomfortable.

  2. I think Jordan’s unique feature, as noted in press releases about her becoming a series regular, is her faith. Religion isn’t really something noted on this show much but her and Jordan made it part of the conversation. Be it Asher escaping from it or Jordan embracing it.

    A part of me honestly wants them to revisit Claire and Morgan as a thing. They had vibes, when Claire’s mother was alive, that made it seem Claire recognized something was happening and she was uncomfortable.

  3. A funny afterthought, Amari, as someone lately suggested to me that with their crappy track records in romance, Claire and Morgan might finally decide to give it a try with each other… Can you imagine Morgan becoming a mother? That would be even more hilarious than Shaun adapting to fatherhood.

    But joking aside, what is apparent in the recent episodes is that the show is building a solid foundation for a friendship between Claire and Asher in season 5.

    Makes sense for both: Claire’s primary platonic friend from early days, Shaun, is less available now. Asher is a very complex character and thus empathetic Claire is well suited to explore that. Also, both characters’ central conflict is their relationship to their parents. With Claire making some good headway in that regard now, she can mentor Asher in more ways than only professionally.

    Unsurprisingly, Claire also connects well with Lea. Yet, what did surprise me was that Jordan took some interest in connecting with Lea as well. This is something to keep an eye on in the upcoming season since Jordan is somewhat free-floating right now. She has strong opinions (like Morgan), good bedside manner (like Claire), and likes to make a dollar (new), so what will be her specific role in the regular cast that makes her unique?

  4. I concur, Amari, this season featured so many pregnancies, babies and minors as patients, it is hard to ignore. And courtesy to the promotion material for the finale it is safe to say that this will be carried over into the finale. There are two underage patients featured in the promo pictures as well as a newborn.

    There’s a lot of chatter going on within the fanbase that Shaun and Lea might end up adopting a child from Guatemala, but for me this is just wishful thinking, since it would mean that season 5 does a re-run of season 4 – not very likely, even with an older child that could be an active character instead of a mere plot device. I also suspect that this season is building towards a marriage proposal instead. Perhaps subverted by Lea being the one to propose – although is more likely that it will be Shaun as he is the lead character.

    Now, Claire adopting instead is a compelling and unique idea! I haven’t thought of that. My bet was on Andrews either deciding to adopt or burying his dream of a family completely. Though, this sure would resolve the problem of a story arc for Claire next season.

    Since we’re now in the realm of speculation – here are my thoughts for the finale, based on the available material:

    The team has 10 days for 12 chosen patients. The general setup is about limited resources, working against the clock, tough ethical decisions and personal bias interfering.

    Shaun and Lea encounter a newborn in need of immediate medical attention and that opens their wounds again. The baby isn’t one of the 12 chosen ones, but Lea advocates to treat them anyway, with Shaun agreeing swiftly, causing friction within the team. Lea’s involvement might culminate in her expertise with cars allowing her to restore emergency power (since hospitals use diesel engines for that purpose) when a power cut during Shaun’s surgery hits the hospital, or she personally helps to keep the newborn alive (she can be seen ventilating the baby with an Ambu bag). Either way, Shaun and Lea again succeed thanks to their teamwork, the baby lives and this gives the couple the consolation to finally move on.

    Andrews is confronted with a minor as patient as well. He also forms a special connection with Nurse Morales for whatever reason.

    Lim catches feelings for The Hot Latino Doctor (nothing new to that…) and struggles internally not only with her still aching loss but also with allowing herself to loosen up a little after a particularly difficult year. After all, she is the boss and must act professionally in front of her subordinates. All the while said subordinates deviate from the plan and try to squeeze in additional patients they are compassionate about.

    Claire is probably simply overwhelmed by her compassion and tries to somehow support Lim, underlining that Claire is the Chief’s favorite for Chief Resident in season 5.

    Park tries to enjoy his new love interest Dr. Heather Boyd when episode 4.19 starts, but drafted into the Guatemala mission, he finds himself in the most uncomfortable position of having to deal with Morgan almost 24/7.

    As for Morgan, I agree that it is in her personality to put on the act of being unaffected by Park’s decision. But Morgan clearly was shaken every time Park cut their “situationship” (lol) further back. For me, this means that the plot is working towards a breaking point for Morgan. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will get back together, but Morgan will be in a different place again at the season’s end.

  5. A part of me wonders, since there are no children on the show, will Claire adopt one. It’s a weird thought, but I think with her romantic relationships consistently sketchy, she may push for a different kind of one. For taking note of how foreshadowing is on this show, it seems someone, sooner or later, is going to have a kid. It’s just a topic brought up too much for no one to have eventually get one.

    When it comes ot Park and Morgan, I think it depends how petty she wants to be. But I think her go to might be to seem as unbothered as can be vs. give any real attention to Park and make him seem important.

    I think, since I’ve never been fond of Debbie, I didn’t factor in Dr. Glassman acting a bit weird and how there were plots that didn’t add up. Mainly since Dr. Glassman has always been a bit eccentric, and I always figured that, similar to Shaun, there are certain eccentricities that just come from living a life with traumatic losses, a bit of estrangement, and trying to bury oneself in work, and socialize just enough to keep yourself from going manic. But, either way, I remain happy and hopeful that Debbie’s exit means limited screentime since the show doesn’t have the best record of having any actor’s real spouse as their love interest on the show.

    Do you think, in the finale, Shaun may propose to Lea? I feel like that’s coming soon.

  6. Hey Emily and Amari! This episode should have made you really happy – Debbie is gone! Although, since with this show even the dead have the annoying habit of returning uninvited… so I wouldn’t close the chapter yet.

    Now since this story came as surprising as being held at gunpoint by the very own spouse, I have a theory: this story originally was supposed to happen around episode 4.05 but had to be postponed because of the real-life couple contracting Covid. Sheila Kelley back then wrote on social media that the show was forced to scrap a plot with her. She did not go into details, but I guess this was it. It explains some of the more peculiar actions Glasman pulled off this season: hiding in his office, bringing Morgan instead of Debbie to the dinner rehearsal and complaining about Shaun and Lea moving too fast, and of course his thrill-seeking in “We’re All Crazy Sometimes”. They simply couldn’t or wouldn’t rewrite the already finished or outlined scripts completely and therefore left most of Glassman’s story arc untouched.

    It also meant that “Forgive or Forget” was a little cramped because a 4th plot had to be integrated. Luckily, Shaun and Lea’s plot was played as comedy, so that they did not need to go too deep into the characters’ distress about the situation. Yet, while it was a comedic breather episode for the unlucky couple, it managed to convey how shaken both still are: Shaun and Lea are easily irritable, Shaun even had to resort to his self-soothing head-gesture – normally reserved for situations short of a breakdown – when the park ranger told them to turn around. They are better, but they are far from good. At least they realized what they have in each other.

    This comes with Claire realizing that she in fact still has a father, a resemblance of a family, if she is willing to make some concessions to him – and her own rigid belief system that has been challenged a lot lately. With Claire in a good place with Lim and her father, I also ask what comes next? Claire’s arc for this season has been neatly wrapped up with a pretty ribbon around it but still two episodes left.

    As for Park, he could not have chosen a worse point in time to shut the door in Morgan’s face. Soon he’ll find himself stuck with a very pissed Morgan in a small hospital somewhere in Guatemala – what could possibly go wrong?

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