With just one decision, Shaun and Lea’s lives were forever changed on Monday’s Good Doctor.
When we last left off, Lea had just told Shaun that she was pregnant — and her portrayer, Paige Spara, tells TVLine that she was was particularly intrigued by the relationship twist. “I was excited to explore how Lea and Shaun would handle such abrupt news,” she tells TVLine. “Becoming pregnant has so many levels of emotions one goes through with themself and with their partner. To dive into something so deeply personal and life-changing is [compelling].”
In the aftermath of the big reveal, the relatively new couple spent much of Season 4’s 12th installment, “Teeny Blue Eyes,” contemplating whether or not they were capable of bringing a child into this world. Lea talked through her doubts, first with Claire, then with Shaun, in a pair of delicate scenes, and realized that Shaun’s ASD, and whether it could potentially be inherited by their offspring, was not a determining factor in her decision.
“I wanted to make sure I was speaking to all of the emotions Lea was feeling,” Spara says, which she talked through with both Freddie Highmore and executive producer David Shore. “I feel that’s important to convey — that all of these emotions can exist at the same time… [Lea] is genuinely trying to process not only her emotions, but what’s best for the baby and Shaun’s life as well.”
Shaun, meanwhile, broke the news to Dr. Glassman. The hospital head was happy for the young couple, but warned his surrogate son that having a child changes everything. Shaun also had some one-on-one time with Claire, who assured him that he’d adapt and grow to become a fantastic father, just like he did to become a surgeon.
What followed was an especially heavy moment between Shaun and Lea. They reconvened at their apartment and discussed their options moving forward. They ran down their respective lists of pros and cons, and acknowledged how complicated it would be to start a family. “I have so many reasons to do this… and so many doubts,” Lea explained. “I’m just scared, Shaun. But if we’re both having doubts, then maybe now isn’t the right time?” Shaun said “OK,” and took his girlfriend’s hand. There was nothing else that needed to be said in that moment. A decision had been made.
“David Shore explored both Lea and Shaun’s emotions without it ever feeling unbalanced,” Spara says. She also credits the episode’s director, Rebecca Moline, for how this particular scene turned out. Moline was there “to navigate all the complexities we were trying to convey,” and “created such a safe space.” Along with Highmore, “Rebecca allowed me to find [what Lea was feeling] and hear my take on it first, respectfully. The wonderful thing about that is it creates an encouraging atmosphere… I felt very supported and encouraged by those two.”
A trip to a women’s health clinic ultimately resulted in a change of heart. In the episode’s closing moments, Lea decided that she couldn’t go through with the abortion.
“I spent all day reminding myself of all the reasons why this was a good idea, but now that it’s actually happening, it doesn’t make me feel any better,” she said. “It just makes me feel really sad. Maybe it’s not the right time, but will it ever be?”
With Shaun’s support, Lea decided to keep the baby — and together, they’d start a family. As for how the series will navigate Lea’s pregnancy in subsequent episodes, Spara would only say this: “In true Lea-and-Shaun form, we will be covering the experience true to the foundation of their relationship, which is [with] total honesty.”
In a second, we’ll want to know what you thought of the episode — but first, a couple of other major developments worth discussing…
* When Park admitted he had feelings for Morgan, she told him to pack his things and move out of her apartment. As he headed out, she gave him one last chance to admit he was just messing with her, but he couldn’t do that. His feelings are true. That’s when she told him it was good they were no longer roommates and kissed him! “This is a one-time thing… unless I change my mind,” she said. “So consider that an incentive.”
* Another newbie dropped out of the surgical program: At the end of the hour, Enrique decided he wasn’t O.R. material. He’d continue his residency at Johns Hopkins, where they’ll train him to head out into the world and help those in needy areas — much more his speed. Before he left, Dr. Guerin told Claire that she’s always doing so much for other people, and she needs to do something for herself every now and then. And so Claire returned home, climbed into bed and gathered information on a potential trip to Paris.
OK, now it’s your turn! What did you think of “Teeny Blue Eyes”? Drop a comment with your full review.