The Good Doctor” faces the landmark dilemma that comes to all committed relationships this week in the January 25 Episode 8 of Season 4, “Parenting.” Lea (Paige Spara) is taking the pivotal “meet the parents” moment much worse than Shaun (Freddie Highmore).

While “The Good Doctor” fully anticipates how “uncomfortable” the encounter will be, it is one that Dr. Murphy can prepare for and, at least to some degree, pre-imagine. Lea, on the other hand, feels the judgment of heredity and history as the free-spirited daughter. At the hospital, a father and daughter desperately need medical intervention, but most of all, the daughter needs the love and acceptance that only a father can give.

Dr. Lim (Christina Chang) thinks she is “handling it” amidst her spiraling PTSD. The empathy and reflective intervention from Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas) only become more adversaries for her boss to battle. Meanwhile, Dr. Andrews (Hill Harper) is out to play daddy with his niece, junior resident, Dr. Olivia Jackson (Summer Brown). In attempting to teach the quietest, most brilliant new student how to shine, he tries to meld her image into his own. Another gift in this outing on “The Good Doctor” is the presence of Richard Schiff at his best. Imperfect and stubborn as Dr. Glassman is, the character gives a true portrait of being a parent-- one that penetrates far deeper than biology.

Being a daughter is not enough on ‘The Good Doctor’

The subtleties and skillfully-crafted storyline in the writing of Patti Carr in this standout for the season on “The Good Doctor” are credits to the entire show-running team. Lea certainly gives her parents reason for concern with her track record of transitory relationships.

She truly wants her parents to see Shaun in all the brilliant, honest, and caring ways that she sees. As always, Claire is his encourager. She relates that he has been preparing for this moment “your entire life.” “The Good Doctor” decides that a practice session with pizza and “Pam and Mike” will better equip him for the meeting.

Dr. Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann) naturally has no trouble achieving the tone of negativity needed for Pam, but Dr. Glassman breaks character, insisting that finessing the small talk isn’t going to answer the real questions from the parents. Still, the comic relief was priceless. When the real Pam (Julia Warner) and Mike (Barclay Hope) show up, “The Good Doctor” finds his own way to shine. He departs from his notes on how many spiders are accidentally swallowed each night during sleep. Instead, he discloses how he performed hemorrhoid surgery on a cancer patient. The surgery in no way affects the dire outcome, but it does definitely make the time he has more comfortable. He compares the dinner to the hemorrhoid surgery.

Mike gets the joke and gives a chuckle, as Shaun does a double-fisted “Yes!” gesture on the table.

Tenderness and standing tall on ‘The Good Doctor’

There is true tenderness echoing on this weaving of “The Good Doctor.” As TV Fanatic notes on January 25, one exchange comes when Dr. Glassman tells Lea that she's funny, smart, and certainly makes Shaun happy. He elaborates that he has endured every heartache, victory, and hurt with the prodigy he has protected and loved since “The Good Doctor” was 14. Lea lovingly dabs his tie, knowing every word is true. Another tenderness crown goes to Shaun when he tells Lea that her parents no longer love her “the most.” That superlative belongs to him now.

The devoted boyfriend also takes a stand for himself and for Lea when he tells Pam and Mike that they are more worried about their job as parents than who their daughter chooses. He and Lea are adults and free to make their own decision.

Darya (Eden Summer Gilmore) is 14, and the aspiring Olympic gymnast has given over every decision to her “Coach,” her father (Kristoffer Polaha) since her mother died. Osteoporosis and the combination of overwork and poor diet have left her with an 80-year-old body. She needs spinal fusion and a procedure on her heart. “Coach” almost collapses from a lung filled with fluid, stemming from esophageal rupture. Dr. Andrews tasks Dr. Jackson with coming up with “a big win” to spare the dad from living with a feeding tube.

She pulls an all-nighter at the hospital, trying to do her uncle’s bidding. Morgan gives straight-up counsel to the resident, the kind that “The Good Doctor” creates like no other drama among TV Shows. She tells her to shed the self-pity over needing to become “a different person” and design her own way to show her unique brilliance. Morgan has moments of self-promotion like no one else on “The Good Doctor,” but this time, she was dead on.

Dr. Jackson does come up with a way to reinforce and replace the esophageal tissue with that taken from other body muscles, but an abscess makes the procedure impossible. Darya “fired” her father as “Coach” after he admonished her for taking supplements to enhance breast growth.

He couldn't understand her desire for a natural “something for myself” under the rigors of her training. When Dr. Lim put her in the position of making a life or death decision regarding her father's surgery, however, she realized she was in no position to control her destiny, much less his. Of course, Dr. Lim addressed that the surgical team would determine his most favorable fate. There was no favorable physical fate on “The Good Doctor” for these two, but they did come to long-needed reconciliation and understanding as father and daughter rather than coach and Olympic hopeful. A loving embrace brought years of healing.

Dr. Jackson tells her uncle that she doesn't even buy his story about her giving him a painted rock when she was 5.

She lets him know that she needs to be in a place to find her own voice, without higher-level training from family relations. The description seemed like it might mean a departure for Summer Brown from the drama, but let's hope not. There are so many stories to tell on “The Good Doctor” from this quiet, brilliant surgeon, too.

Coworkers collide and closing the door on ‘The Good Doctor’

Speaking of superiors and coworkers, Claire Browne cannot keep herself from appealing and interceding into the situation with Dr. Lim. She was always in “save and protect” mode in her youth, and she sees visions of herself and her mother in her supervisor’s disease and in her combative rage.

After refusing a ride home and throwing her purse in a fountain, Claire feels there is nothing left to do for her boss besides telling someone.

She could have referred her own therapist to the case, but instead, she chooses to tell Dr. Glassman. He lets her know that she has broken confidence with her boss as a friend. Glassman also knows the disaster that comes from untreated PTSD-- can he be the one who gets through to Audrey Lim in “The Good Doctor’s” future?

It's dinner time again for Shaun and Lea. In a hilarious scene, “The Good Doctor” goes to the door, sees Mike and Pam, and closes the door shut. The surgeon and Lea have a powwow to predict if the parents want to further criticize and question the relationship, “or maybe they just want us to go to dinner” as Lea suggests. “I think we should go to dinner,” Shaun declares. The door opens again, and Lea warmly embraces her parents.

Fans will need to lean on patience again. HITC confirms that Episode 9 will air on February 15, but the drama always makes the wait worth it.