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The Good Doctor Fans Had Higher Hopes For This Romance

On ABC's "The Good Doctor," the surgical team at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital is typically busy completing intricate procedures to save lives. But even the most skilled healthcare professionals have time for a bit of romance.

Over the course of the medical drama's five seasons, a number of relationships emerge among the core cast. Some couples are thriving, such as Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) and IT expert Lea Dilallo (Paige Spara), who tie the knot in a sweet rooftop ceremony in the Season 5 finale. They experience their share of struggles throughout the series — most notably a heartbreaking miscarriage — but are heading into Season 6 of "The Good Doctor" stronger than ever.

Yet, not all "The Good Doctor" duos are quite as lucky, much to the annoyance of fans. Many viewers were angered at the short-lived fling between chief of surgery Dr. Audrey Lim (Christina Chang) and attending surgeon Dr. Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez). Upon their breakup, Melendez quickly begins to form feelings for surgical resident Dr. Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas), to whom he offers comfort after the sudden passing of her mother, Breeze (Sharon Leal).

While a portion of "The Good Doctor" fans still wonder what could've been between Lim and Melendez, others had higher hopes for another romance that involves one of these two doctors.

Fans didn't like how Melendez and Claire's relationship was handled

After the passing of her mother, Claire finds a friend in Melendez, who joins her on morning runs. It's clear that stronger feelings are forming fast on both sides, despite Claire previously insisting that a man and woman can hang out without it getting romantic. Their true feelings aren't confessed until Melendez is on the brink of death, suffering from incurable injuries sustained in an earthquake.

On Reddit, several fans expressed annoyance at how the romance between Claire and Melendez begins and ends. In a thread about the relationship, u/RamboA123B said they saw Claire as being hypocritical: "The whole point Claire made about women and men not being able to just hang out together with people assuming they are into each other gets completely ruined ... I always liked them together but I think they went about it in the wrong way." Another fan, u/shipsatdawn, had an even more sour view of how things played out, writing, "Their relationship made me feel so weird. I didn't like it one bit. Add that to the way they just killed him off was so irritating ..."

In retrospect, Claire and Melendez were never meant to be. Their relationship is taboo from the start — not only is Melendez Claire's superior at work, but he also dated her friend and fellow superior, Lim. His untimely death brings their tragic love story full circle.

When asked about the reasoning behind this death, series creator David Shore told Deadline that Melendez's blossoming connection with Claire was a factor. He said, "None of it is personal ... We wanted to lose a character that we would feel something about, and feel pain about, and certainly, he's a character that so many of them have been in touch with."