The Good Doctor has seen dead characters return before as fantasy creations of the characters, but the return of Dr. Neil Melendez (played by Nicholas Gonzalez) at the beginning of the 4th episode of The Good Doctor was not until the previous episode that the character died after succumbing to the earthquake injuries.
WARNING: The following are spoilers for the end of The Good Doctor season 4 episodes 1 and 2
But without Dr. Claire Browne (Anthonia Thomas) having trouble coping with the COVID 19 pandemic in The Good Doctor, Season 4, Episodes 1 and 2, Melendez returned to her to keep her in mental shape.
Melendez’s return in these two episodes has left fans of the NBC medical drama wondering if the character will reappear in Season 4, as he appears every time Claire is at a crisis point.
However, in a recent interview, the creator of The Good Doctor, David Shore, seemed to rule out Dr. Melendez returning. In an interview with TVLine, Shore said, “We can’t rule it out, but we don’t have any plans. I don’t want to make too many promises in this regard.
Leading actor Freddie Highmore, seems to be more open to the idea of a return of the actor. He told TV Guide: “You never know. At least these first two episodes show that there’s definitely the possibility [for him]to stay part of the show in some way, absolutely. As we would have said at the end of Season 3, I think that still applies today… hopefully he’ll continue to be a part [of the series]in every possible way.
Although Shore seemed to be preventing a regular return for Melendez, The Good Doctor Season 4, the end of Episode 2 seemed to indicate that he would come back at some point. After spending most of “Frontline Part 2” trying to figure out who owned a mysterious set of military dog tags, Claire finally reunited them with their owner, who revealed that he had given them to his lover after they fought together in Vietnam.
After getting into her car after returning these dog tags to their original owner, Melendez reappeared and said, “That was beautiful… This room was full of stories as short as ours. But you… You have an amazing story to tell, and I can’t wait to see it.” Then he disappeared.
This seems to indicate that Melendez might return at some point, although according to Shore’s remarks, it might not be for some time.
However, there have been several appearances of loved ones in the series. Dr. Shaun Murphy’s (Freddie Highmore) brother Steve (Dylan Kingwell), for example, appeared in several episodes of the first and third seasons, although he died of course before the events of the “Good Doctor” began.
Shore has also hinted that Melendez’s appearance version may have served its purpose, as Claire seems to be dealing with her grief better now than when her mother Breeze (Sharon Leal) died.
The creator of the Good Doctor told TVLine: “She is in a more mature place because she has had Dr. Melendez by her side for the past few months. I believe he helped her through her situation with her mother, and I believe his help through [this experience]helped her when [he died]. As he tells her in [episode 2], she is dealing with it this time. She’s not running away.
The Good Doctor Season 4 will air Monday at 22:00 ET / 21:00 CT….