'The Good Doctor': Major Doctor Dies From Earthquake Injuries in Season 3 Finale

The Good Doctor Season 3 came to a dramatic conclusion Monday night, and it seemed everyone somehow survived the earthquake in San Jose, California. At the end of last week's episode, Dr. Shaun Murphy was stuck underground with a patient with water closing in and Dr. Neil Melendez collapsed following an aftershock. In this week's episode "I Love You," however, one major character lost their life.

The episode opened with Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) waking up in an ambulance with Dr. Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas) beside him, so he survived his ordeal. Then Lea (Paige Spara) tried to help ease Shaun (Freddie Highmore) while the water seeped in. That did not really work, so he chose to focus on helping his patient, Vera (Marin Ireland).

While treating Vera, the two discuss what it means to "move on" from a relationship. Unfortunately, Shaun had to decide between saving himself and saving Vera as the water continued rising. Vera wanted him to go, but he suddenly decided to amputate her leg instead. Vera said the only way she would let Shaun do it is if he agreed to move on from Lea and find love.

Melendez claimed he was fine, but Claire insisted on checking him out. She noticed he was bleeding internally. As Claire and Dr. Audrey Lim (Christina Chang) continued treating him though, they found more internal damage which required surgery. Claire wanted to sit by Melendez's bedside and tell him she loved him, but he insisted she go care for other patients during the crisis. Amazingly, Shaun saved Vera and they were both rescued from the basement.

Lim hoped they could save him, but Dr. Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff) listed all the challenges Melendez could face, even if it is successful. She told Melendez there was really no way to save him. Glassman also spent some final moments with the doctor, and told Melendez he was the best he'd ever worked with.

In their last scene together, Melendez told Claire she is a "terrible bowler" just to get her to laugh. Claire told him she hated his tattoo before blurting out, "I love you." "I love you too," he replied. Those were his last words.

Elsewhere in the hospital, Dr. Morgan Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann), who is struggling with rheumatoid arthritis, put her whole career on the line to help a patient even though she could ruin her hands. Dr. Marcus Andrews (Hill Harper) came around to seeing how much she was willing to put on the line to save a life, but he told her she likely performed her last surgery.

The next day, Lim and Claire shared an embrace as the sun came up. Dr. Alex Park (Will Yun Lee) told his estranged wife and son he wanted to move back to be with them.

Lea kissed Shaun, and she admitted to him she loves him. Since Vera did not die, their promise did not count. The two kissed again as the camera pulled back and the episode ended.

Thankfully, this episode is not the end of the line for The Good Doctor. ABC picked up the show for a fourth season very early on, giving showrunner David Shore and his team the peace of mind to go wherever they wanted in the end. In an interview with TV Guide before the finale aired, Shore said the next season will show how the events during the earthquake changes life at St. Bonaventure Hospital.

"You got to tune in, and we've got to sit down and map it all out," Shore said. "But absolutely, this is bringing an awful lot of stuff to the fore. I think it's going to change the dynamics between a lot of people going forward. Andrews and Morgan were dealing with stuff. I think that Lim and Claire...it's going to just change who they are individually and who they are in relation to each other."

As for the end of Season 3, Shore teased, "It resolves things, but in a way that is less about the resolution and more about what's next, and setting up the questions that we want to deal with next year."

"The Good Doctor has been a cornerstone on Monday nights and is one of those special heartfelt series that fearlessly tackles inclusivity," ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said when the series was renewed in February. "David Shore's thoughtful storytelling, combined with an incredible cast led by Freddie Highmore's nuanced performance as Dr. Shaun Murphy, are what have made this series as breakout hit over the past three seasons, and I'm excited to see where they take us next."

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The Good Doctor airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo credit: ABC/Jack Rowand