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The Good Doctor: Shaun's Ambiguous Reaction to That Big Return, Explained

What's next for Dr. Murphy?

Megan Vick

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Season 2 premiere of The Good Doctor! Read at your own risk]

A lot of things are changing in the second season of The Good Doctor, but nothing was more surprising than when Lea (Paige Spara) returned at the very end of Monday's Season 2 premiere.

Now, we knew she would return at some point this season, but we didn't know exactly when. And her sudden arrival left Shaun (Freddie Highmore) reeling. The star doctor has a lot on his plate right now, what with trying to prove to Andrews (Hill Harper) that he can improve his communication skills as well as support Glassman (Richard Schiff) through his cancer treatments. Now Lea has returned though, bags in hand, and Shaun will have to figure out how he feels about that sooner rather than later.

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TV Guide talked to The Good Doctor showrunner David Shore about Shaun's reaction to Lea's arrival, how Glassman will deal with his new doctor and if Andrews is truly ready to be president of St. Bonaventure hospital. Keep reading to see what he had to say!

Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor​

Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor

David Bukach, ABC

The look on Shaun's face when he sees Lea at the end of the premiere is kind of ambiguous. What is he thinking when she's suddenly there?
David Shore: I think he's overwhelmed in that moment. Shaun, of course, does not express his emotions and does not even experience his emotions the way that people without Autism -- or even other people with Autism, in some cases -- might express or feel these things. We want to explore the relationship between Shaun and Lea. We want to move forward. Baby steps, I think, is crucial. It's little things, little little things that Shaun can achieve in relationships. We want to challenge him professionally, but we also want to challenge him personally. We want to see him grow professionally, but we also want to see him grow personally -- which means the relationship with Lea is not going to always go smoothly.

Is she planning to live with him? She just has all of her bags out there, and we know that her apartment is taken at this point.
Shore: Well, she's going to be staying with him for a few days and we'll see where that goes.

Shaun is committing to sort of being with Glassman and helping him through this journey, but is that going to distract him from his actual job in any way?
Shore: It could. It certainly could. I mean, that is the challenge we all face and certainly he faces it as much as any of us. We saw the impact of that at the end of Season 1, you know, what distracts Shaun and how that impacts him.

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What is his relationship going to be like with the rest of the team in Season 2, especially after they saw that he is capable of making mistakes?
Shore: Some will continue to support him. They all will in their own way, but that will manifest itself very differently because Shaun does have challenges. I keep saying this ... but we all have challenges. Shaun's are different and sometimes more obvious. I think I want to continue to explore the challenges he faces, but also the obstacles he faces and the prejudices he faces. So, I think it's important that it's not just everybody love Shaun and everybody support Shaun. There are aspects of that, but there are aspects of the opposite as well. It's important that we have that in the show.

One of my favorite scenes in the premiere is Glassman's first scene with Blaize, and I kind of want to follow up on the question she posed. Did he bring her back because she's the best or because he feels like he has some leverage over her to control how she's gonna treat him?
Shore: I think both aspects were at work as is often the case. I don't think motives are ever simple... I think it's going to create challenges and difficulties for both of them.

Now that Jared has left, Claire is kind of like an island to herself. What does her journey look like now that she doesn't have Jared there as a support system?
Shore: Well, Claire is going to be inspired by Dr. Andrews' words to her in the first episode and this will result in certain successes and certain failures for her. That's probably too strong of a word, but she will take those words to heart and it won't always be the best advice, but often it will be beneficial advice. That's very vague, but if you watch the first episode, you will see Dr. Andrews' advice, you will see her take it to heart and we will follow through on that 'cause Claire has great strengths. I think she's sometimes not aware of what those strengths are and I think sometimes she thinks her strengths are her weaknesses and I don't think that's the case.

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So, we will see her be more aggressive?
Shore: Yes.

Does Melendez actually hate the attention that Andrews is bringing to the hospital or is he starting to feel uncomfortable about how much he likes it?
Shore: I think your question answers itself. I think both those things are going on. I think he wants to be left alone but when a spotlight is shined on him, I think he probably dislikes himself for liking it so much.

We know that Andrews has wanted to be president for a long time, but what's going to be challenging about this position now that he's finally got it?
Shore: Politics are politics. There are difficult choices he has to make and prices are paid. He is confident and strong, but sometimes those choices have personal impacts. That couldn't be more vague, but as you watch the season, you'll go, "Oh, that's what he was talking about."

What are you most excited for fans to see in Season 2?
Shore: I like that we're doing some really interesting medical stories. That's never what really excites me but we are doing some really cool ones this year and some surgeries and some personal stories that really have something to say. ... I think we've just got some interesting stories ... [that are] on a personal level as far as the characters are concerned. The Glassman-Shaun relationship, I think, is wonderful. You're asking me to pick which one of my babies is my favorite, that's a tricky thing to do.

The Good Doctor airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.