‘The Good Doctor’: Did Dr. Melendez Really Love Claire?

The Good Doctor Season 3, Episode 20 (titled “I Love You,”) ended with the death of Dr. Neil Melendez. Before Melendez dies from septic shock, he says his goodbyes to the team. His goodbye to Claire was a bit more intense. Claire said she loved Melendez, and he said the same. Did Melendez really mean what he said? Here’s Showbiz Cheat Sheet’s take on his final hours.

What Dr. Melendez said to Dr. Lim

Nicholas Gonzalez and Antonia Thomas | Jack Rowand via Getty Images
Nicholas Gonzalez and Antonia Thomas | Jack Rowand via Getty Images

Dr. Melendez and Dr. Lim (formerly known as LimLendez), said their final words to each other. They shared regrets about their failed relationship. “I could have spent a lifetime drinking whiskey with you,” said Melendez to Lim. “What did we do?” said Lim. It’s obvious Lim and Melendez cared deeply for each other. It also seems like they regret breaking up. Melendez ended the conversation by saying he didn’t blame her for anything.

Lim had a tough time letting go of her former flame. She even consulted with Dr. Glassman to see if they could try another surgery. However, Glassman said the surgery she suggested would likely leave Melendez needing to be tube fed. He would also be a diabetic with an ostomy bag, waiting for a liver transplant. He told her to stop being a doctor and start being a friend.

Dr. Melendez’s feelings for Claire

Nicholas Gonzalez and Antonia Thomas | Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images
Nicholas Gonzalez and Antonia Thomas | Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images

Claire and Melendez never really had a straightforward conversation about their feelings before his accident. They referred to each other as friends, but their interactions didn’t go beyond that. It seems Melendez was starting to develop an attraction toward Claire, but it didn’t seem like much more than that.

One thing some viewers probably noticed is Melendez and Lea appeared to be having a moment during episode 19. It’s possible Melendez was simply a serial workplace dater. If the earthquake never happened, we wonder if he would have tried to date Lea.

What did Dr. Melendez really mean when he said he loved Claire?

Antonia Thomas as Dr. Claire Brown and Nicholas Gonzalez as Dr. Neil Melendez | Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images
Antonia Thomas as Dr. Claire Brown and Nicholas Gonzalez as Dr. Neil Melendez | Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images

At one point during episode 20, it seemed like Claire was about to confess her love for Dr. Melendez. However, he stopped her before she could speak and said, ‘Don’t.’ It’s possible he knew what she was going to say, be he didn’t feel the same, so he suggested she stop speaking. He didn’t seem eager to hear what she had to reveal. Although Melendez said Claire should go and save lives, it appears as if he was just looking for an excuse to change the topic so that Claire wouldn’t embarrass herself.

When Claire finally said, ‘I love you,’ Melendez said the same in return. However, we wonder if he only said he loved her because he was on his death bed and it would be awkward to say he wasn’t feeling the same way. Perhaps Melendez did love Claire, but not in a romantic way.

Read more: ‘The Good Doctor’: Fans Have Mixed Reactions About Melendez and Lim’s Big Decision

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