‘The Good Doctor’: Season 4 Opens With Negative Reviews From Fans: ‘I Will Not Be Watching’

The Good Doctor season 4 premiered on Nov. 3 on ABC, with much anticipation from fans. The previous season closed with the untimely death of Dr. Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez), who suffered fatal injuries during the season finale’s devastating earthquake. But when season 4’s first episode premiered, fans were shocked to see the storyline was nothing like what they’d expected.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

'The Good Doctor'
‘The Good Doctor’ | David Bukach/Getty Images

‘The Good Doctor’ season 4 opened with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic taking over the hospital

At the start of The Good Doctor, a woman walked into a store front and handed the cashier money, but not before having a coughing fit. Without any mention of the coronavirus, fans could already tell the pandemic would be the focus of episode 1. The woman eventually went to the hospital, concerned that she had the virus, but Dr. Morgan Reznick told her the novel coronavirus doesn’t cause a sore throat (mirroring the initial misunderstanding of symptoms in real life).

Throughout the show, more coronavirus patients were admitted to the hospital, with patient zero eventually dying. The episode, though strong in raising awareness, was arguably anxiety inducing for those living through the same disease in real time. And that’s where fans saw a problem.

'The Good Doctor'
‘The Good Doctor’ characters battle coronavirus (COVID-19) in the show’s season premiere. | Jeff Weddell/ABC via Getty Images

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Some fans gave negative reviews about the pandemic being the focus of the show

The show’s premiere was long-anticipated, but the fictional take on the pandemic didn’t sit well with some fans. People took to social media to express their distaste in the show’s decision to imitate the real-world tragedy the pandemic has caused.

“Glad this show is back but why does Covid have to be in everything,” one person wrote under an Instagram photo. “I wish the storyline wasn’t COVID-19. Popping on a show is my escape from this living hell,” someone else commented. “If this is what season 4 is gonna be about this is gonna be disappointing,” one fan critiqued. “This season hits [too] close to home for a lot of people. I will not be watching,” another user wrote.

Still, others were in support of highlighting the pandemic as a means of bringing awareness to frontline workers’ daily reality. “I work on the frontlines with covid patients … Thank you for sharing our stories,” one person wrote. “Please stop with the negative comments regarding this show. How could they not cover the pandemic?” another user questioned.

'The Good Doctor'
‘The Good Doctor’ cast battles the pandemic in the season 4 premiere. | Jeff Weddell/Getty Images

Fans will likely see more of Dr. Melendez than they thought

Regardless of how fans felt about the pandemic focus, they did get their Dr. Melendez fix. Toward the end of the episode, as Dr. Browne headed into a store room in search of a deceased patient’s necklace, Dr. Melendez emerged as somewhat of a ghost-like figure; he spoke to her for a brief moment.

During the season 4 preview at the show’s end, Dr. Melendez is seen again — this time, speaking to Dr. Browne in her car. It’s possible the show found a way to keep Dr. Melendez on board in a small way, which fans will certainly be happy about, since his death was not well received among viewers.

Watch The Good Doctor on ABC, Mondays at 10 p.m. EST.