The Good Doctor season 7 ending explained: can Shaun save his friends?

Freddie Highmore and Richard Schiff in The Good Doctor
Freddie Highmore and Richard Schiff in The Good Doctor (Image credit: Disney/Jeff Weddell)

The Good Doctor’s series finale brought suspense, drama and closure to viewers, as Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) deals with two friends’ fate hanging in the balance.

Producing a well-rounded series finale is a difficult artform, as evidenced by how many TV shows fail to accomplish the feat. Here is how the medical drama bid farewell with The Good Doctor season 7 episode 10, tenderly titled "Goodbye,"

Shaun's desperation 

The episode begins with Glassman (Richard Schiff) explaining to Shaun and Lea (Paige Spara) he learned of his terminal diagnosis a week ago. When Lea asks about his longevity, Glassman responds he was given three to six months to live. The news hits Shaun like a ton of bricks, and he immediately begins trying to save Glassman. 

At the hospital, Shaun convenes all of the doctors to brainstorm treatment for an alleged mystery patient. Lim (Christina Chang) quickly figures out Shaun's talking about Glassman and withdraws her support. 

Instead, Lim assigns Jordan (Bria Henderson) and Kalu (Chuku Modu) to work on Claire (Antonia Thomas), leaving newlyweds Park (Will Yun Lee) and Morgan (Fiona Gubelmann) with Dom (Wavyy Jonez) and Charlie (Kayla Cromer) as Shaun's team. Park wants everyone to throw out any idea they have until Shaun accepts reality.

Claire's truth 

Antonia Thomas and Chuku Modu in The Good Doctor

Antonia Thomas and Chuku Modu in The Good Doctor (Image credit: Disney/Jeff Weddell)

The cause of Claire's collapse is quickly identified. Claire has a bacterial infection called "Acinetobacter," an antibiotic-resistant infection. Debridement fails to get the infection under control and Claire goes into septic shock. Claire knows she must be put into a medically induced coma. Lim and Kalu share emotional "goodbyes" with their friend and colleague.

Before going under, Claire tells Kalu she loves him and apologizes for the time they lost. Kalu tells Claire he loves her too, and it's clear they are each other's endgame. Claire also wants to say goodbye to Shaun. In his obsession with saving Glassman, Shaun misses his chance.

After a thrombectomy fails to clear the clot in Claire's arm, Kalu doubles down on amputating Claire's arm. Shaun points out it would take away her life as a surgeon. Kalu counters that Claire's greatest joy is not in being a surgeon, it's helping people. With a heavy heart, Lim agrees, and Claire's arm is amputated.

Can Glassman be saved?

Lim, Morgan and Lea are among those to share moving farewell scenes with Glassman. Meanwhile, Shaun remains in denial. Park tries to reach Shaun when Charlie hits on a potential treatment. Maximal resection to debulk Glassman's tumor to a one centimeter margin. 

The surgery, plus some experimental ultrasound therapy, could give Glassman up to a year. Glassman is grateful to Shaun and the team. However, he does not want to live his remaining time in recovery. Glassman wants six good months with Shaun, Lea and baby Steve. 

Shaun's obsession with saving Glassman causes him to lose focus on helping Claire. It reaches the point where Glassman regrets ever telling Shaun his prognosis. Lea implores Glassman to be patient with him before tenderly confronting her husband. Not long after, Shaun calls Glassman and Lea into the conference room for an emotional conversation, during which Shaun accepts Glassman's condition.

Saving Claire

When Lim tells Shaun he is being a bad friend, Shaun has a breakthrough. He can save Claire by using viruses to attack her infection (bacteriophage). Collecting the right bacteria proves a ginormous (and filthy) task. Shaun stops by Claire's hospital room to apologize for not coming to her bedside earlier when she asked to see him. He tearfully holds her hand and says goodbye. 

Charlie wakes Shaun up in Claire's room, saying they found the right bacteriophage. And just like that, they are off to get compassionate use approval from the FDA. However, they are denied. Undeterred, Shaun decides to take matters into his own hands and go forward with the bacteriophage over the FDA's bureaucracy. 

Shaun understands he would no longer be a doctor if he disregards the FDA to give Claire her treatment. Glassman doesn't think Shaun should make that sacrifice, so he scrubs in to treat Claire with the bacteriophage, thus saving Claire's life and Shaun's career.

Into the Future 


(Image credit: Disney/Jeff Weddell)

A flash forward reveals Shaun kept his word and visited Maddie's carousel with Glassman. The two share "I love you(s)," and Shaun later rides alone, signaling Glassman's passing. Eventually, an older Steve and pregnant Lea join him for a spin, and finally, Steve, Lea and their daughter. 

Despite her current position and a Chief of Surgery offer in Chicago with Clay, Lim goes to Ukraine to work with Surgeons for a Better World. On the family front, Park and Morgan play with a toddler-aged Eden, whom they have formally adopted.

Dom is now a physician at Hubank Community Health, where he is shown tending to a bloody wound with no problems. Jordan sings in the church choir with a beaming Perez singing alongside her. Charlie leads residents through the hospital; the student has become the teacher. 

During a TED talk, Shaun shares he and a very alive Claire successfully run the Dr. Aaron Glassman Foundation for Neurodiversity in Medicine. Claire, Kalu and their daughter are in the audience, along with Jerome (Giacomo Baessato) and his new partner. Park, Morgan, Lim, Dom and Charlie are also in attendance.

Not in attendance is Hannah. Who else could have gone for an update on Hannah's progress? Did she stay sober? Does she have a family now, too? With so much to be grateful for The Good Doctor suturing up, it seems nitpicky to even bring it up, but I couldn’t help myself.

Nevertheless, the final scenes of The Good Doctor are poignant. In the lobby after Shaun's TED talk, he and his dear friends embrace one another. Shaun then walks away with his family in tow.

All episodes of The Good Doctor are available to watch on Hulu.

Britt Lawrence

The only thing Britt Lawrence loves more than TV, movies and every Taylor Swift song – her Pomeranian, Chewy. She also enjoys writing all those things with Chewy loyally on her lap. Britt has been writing about entertainment for over 10 years, starting with her website, Eclectic Pop. Her byline can be found on CinemaBlend, Hidden Remote, We Got This Covered, and more. She continues creating content for Eclectic Pop, freelance writing and Chewy's YouTube channel.