‘The Good Doctor’: Does Lea Really Love Shaun?

In The Good Doctor Season 3 finale, Lea (Paige Spara) swears she’s in love with Shaun (Freddie Highmore). However, we’re having a tough time believing her. Here’s Showbiz Cheat Sheet’s take on Shaun and Lea.

At first, Lea refuses to date Shaun

Paige Spara and Freddie Highmore | Eike Schroter/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images
Paige Spara and Freddie Highmore | Eike Schroter/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

When Shaun first approaches Lea about a romantic relationship, things go horribly wrong. He tells her in season 3, episode 16 (titled “Autopsy”) he loves her, only to be met with a pained look. Although she says she loves him, she rejects his advances and tries to convince him they’re not a good match. Lea does this by telling him all her bad qualities, hoping he’ll back down.

“I love you, too” says Lea. “But you know me. I am selfish, and I am so, so needy. I’m a total mess. How am I supposed to lay all of that on you? It’s just that I’m a challenge for anyone, and you’re you.” Shaun asks Lea if she doesn’t want to date him because he has autism. Instead of providing a response, she walks away.

Shaun has difficulty accepting Lea’s rejection

Despite Lea’s best efforts to make Shaun not want to date her, he doesn’t give up. He continues to pursue her even more. Shaun is persistent, but that doesn’t sway Lea. She continues to tell him she’s not interested. Shaun keeps pushing and says he can fix whatever she doesn’t like so they can date. Unfortunately, Lea gets frustrated and tells him he’s autistic and he “can’t fix that.”

At the end of season 3, episode 18 (titled “Heartbreak”), Shaun unleashes his anger on Lea. He threatens to smash her car with a baseball bat and says he wants her to feel the pain he feels. He got the idea to smash her car from his patient’s girlfriend. Earlier in the episode, his patient’s girlfriend discovers he’s cheating on her, so she smashes his car with a bat.

“I want to smash your car up,” says Shaun. “I want to hurt you the same way you hurt me.” Lea tells Shaun that destroying her car is a bad idea. Shaun comes to his senses and says he can’t destroy her car. However, he proceeds to lash out at her.

“You acted like you cared about me, but you don’t even respect me,” Shaun says to Lea. “You’re flaky and you can’t keep a boyfriend. And you can’t keep a job, and no one likes you. And you’re going to end up alone and you deserve it because you’re a superficial, selfish, and prejudiced person.”

Leah has a change of heart, but is she really in love?

During the season 3 finale there’s an earthquake. Shaun is trapped with a woman and he successfully rescues her from the rubble. After Lea sees what a hero he is, she suddenly decides she wants to be with him. She tells him she was “stupid” for not seeing that she’s in love with him, but is that true? Is she really in love or was she just caught up in the moment?

Paige Spara thinks Lea really does love Shaun but she’s overwhelmed and sometimes confused. Here’s what Spara said about the episode (season 3, episode 16) where Lea rejects Shaun the first time. Here’s what she tells TV Line:

Lea does love Shaun. Lea does have a bond with Shaun. That would be her person. However, would she be the person for him? I can’t be selfish in this moment and just say, ‘I love you. Let’s give this a shot.’

There are so many other outside factors that are at play here, and… it’s this uncomfortable reckoning of being responsible for someone else, not just under the umbrella of love, but in a different way for someone else’s well-being… and I think that hit her in that moment. That’s why it’s just so overwhelming [and] a bit confusing.

Read more: Lea Will Destroy Shaun

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