The Good Physician EP in regards to the determination to kill [Spoiler], Carry Melendez again and get previous the pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic came on Monday following The Good Doctor’s episode when COVID-19 claimed the lives of one of them St. Bonaventure’s Most Precious Nurses.

Early on in Frontline Part 2, we found that Morgan had contracted COVID (but has since recovered) after being exposed to a patient at the season opener last week. Sister Petringa (played by Karin Konoval since season 2) had also been exposed and later died. She couldn’t fight off the virus, despite a team of doctors (including Morgan and Lim) working on her.

Elsewhere in the hospital, Claire continued to mourn Melendez, whose spirit was by her side as she returned a precious keepsake to the army buddy of a deceased COVID patient. Before leaving Claire (forever?), Melendez admitted that his and Claire’s story had been cut short. He also assured her that her own amazing story was yet to come.

In terms of relationships, Shaun and Lea were reunited after Lea arrived at Shaun with three consecutive negative COVID tests. Park and Mia decided it was in their best interests not to make up; and Glassman and Debbie made peace after the quarantine nearly drove a permanent wedge between them.

Below, executive producer David Shore explains the significance of Melendez’s return, the decision to feature a frontline worker who succumbed to the coronavirus, and the reason he chose to turn the show into a post-COVID from episode 3 onwards Kidnap world.

TVLINE | Is this the last we’ll see of Nicholas Gonzalez or do you have any plans to bring Melendez back later this season?
I can’t rule it out, but we have no plans. I don’t want to promise too much on this.

TVLINE | Now that Claire has Melendez (or at least some version of Melendez) by her side while she continued to grieve, will she be able to assert herself in ways that she couldn’t when Breeze died?
Ironically, she’s in a more mature place because she’s got Dr. Melendez had by her side for the past few months. I think he helped her through her situation with her mother and I think his help through [that experience] helped her when [he died]. As he says to her [Episode 2], this time she deals with it. She doesn’t run away [from anything].

TVLINE | Is the grieving process a part of Claire’s journey this season as well?
No, it won’t be … I think one of the interesting doors we’ve opened is the friendship between Claire and Lim and how they’ll be leaning on each other. Both lost something, and both took great responsibility during these two episodes. I look forward to hugging them and people watching.

TVLINE | Why did you choose to kill Sister Petringa?
It was important to us to show lost lives [during the pandemic]. Look, doctors are heroes. Everyone who works in a hospital is a hero because they scream loudly. We owe them a lot more debt at this time because they are literally risking their lives, every one of them. And if you’re doing a dramatic show and someone risks their life, someone has to pay a price. We wanted to accept that.

TVLINE | Just to confirm that this will be the final episode focused on the pandemic, right?
We’ll point this out occasionally, but it’s a post-COVID world [moving forward]. Our decision on this was a very difficult one. In my opinion, there is no easy answer to this question … no perfect answer to this question. If we assume that COVID is still among us, that it is still with us, and that we are still dealing with it, I think it would overshadow any other stories we could tell. Seeing our characters wear masks while interacting with someone in need of something as serious as brain surgery, for example, would be a distraction. The distancing would be a distraction.

On the other hand, we don’t just want to tell the world, the viewers, that everything is back to normal because it isn’t. The real world is not back to normal, and we don’t want to be seen as advocates not wearing masks or advocating social distancing. The compromise that we have reached is that we will make a statement [by Freddie Highmore] of upcoming episodes [saying] that this episode takes place in a post-COVID world – that this episode represents our hope for the future.

TVLINE | With Glassman’s act, you were able to isolate 65-year-old Richard Schiff from the rest of the cast. Will his arc continue to unfold outside the hospital this year to limit Schiff’s exposure to others during the ongoing real-life pandemic?
We will see him again in the hospital over time and be more comfortable with our own safety precautions [on set]. We’re not going to lighten them up, but we’re going to be more comfortable with certain things. Part of the decision on this first episode was, yes, he’s an older member of our cast in relative terms. We have a basically young cast and older people are more vulnerable and we were aware of that.

I also think his story was the most relatable story in those two episodes. The vast majority of us have gone through something very similar at home. We’re caught up with someone we care about, which is delightful and challenging, and we’re going to have disagreements, and those disagreements relate to topics that you didn’t talk about when you were together or anything like that. We have tries to find the humor and the sharpness in this story.

TVLINE | What next steps will Shaun and Lea take in their relationship this year?
The challenge this year is not “Can I do it like me?” or “does she like me?” The challenge this year is, “Can I make a relationship work?” It’s all of the problems we have in relationships and all of the flaws we have [make] in relationships. Shaun has unique challenges, but he also has unique skills that allow him to deal with them differently. I always say that the show is best when we learn from Shaun, not the other way around.

TVLINE | You also have Shaun in a supervisory role this season. How does this change the dynamics of the show in the future?
It will be less about Lim and Andrews overseeing Shaun, Morgan, Park and Claire. The point will be for Shaun, Morgan, Park, and Claire to oversee new first year residents who come under their guidance, and whether Shaun is ready to do so.

What do you think of Part 2 of the season 4 premiere of The Good Doctor? And are you excited about the decision to go beyond the pandemic in the following episodes? Sound off below.

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