Warning: The following interview contains spoilers about Season 3, Episode 3 of The Good Doctor.
The Good Doctor‘s Claire suffered a major loss on Monday — and it wasn’t a patient. After successfully completing her first surgery, Dr. Browne received a life-changing phone call: Her alcoholic mom Breeze (played since Season 1 by Sharon Leal) died in a drunk-driving accident after getting her hands on the one bottle of champagne that Claire kept in her apartment.
Below, Claire’s portrayer, Antonia Thomas, walks us through that intense final scene and previews how Breeze’s death will impact her character moving forward.
TVLINE | What was it like shooting those final scenes between Claire and Breeze, knowing that this was Sharon Leal’s last episode?
I loved working with her, but it was tricky. I was very conscious of not playing the ending before the ending. Knowing this was going to be her last episode… made it all the more sad every single time you saw them take a step forward and connect.
TVLINE | When you first read that last scene at the crash site, were you at all surprised that Claire walked up to the car and saw Breeze in the driver’s seat? In most shows, you tend to see the next of kin arrive after the victim has been removed from the wreckage.
It was totally shocking. I think most of the time somebody is lucky enough to not have to see that, but in this version of events, it was playing the reality of it. She got there just after it happened, and maybe it’s a crime scene, so yeah, totally shocking.
TVLINE | How would you describe what Claire is feeling in that moment? Is she completely numb to what’s happened?
It’s a mixture of things. Yes, I think she is numb to what has happened. But also, it has been such a build with her mother trying to win back her trust, and Claire has taken a big step by letting her back into her life [based] upon all these promises that Breeze made.
TVLINE | I have to imagine there’s also some guilt, even if Breeze’s alcoholism was out of Claire’s control.
She feels a major sense of guilt. She looks in the car and sees the champagne bottle, the one bottle that she left for herself. She was [anticipating] doing well in surgery, and she wanted to celebrate — and that’s the thing that killed her mother. She feels like it was her own little selfish moment that led to this. But there’s also anger, because her mother promised that she wouldn’t do this.
TVLINE | And beyond those recent promises, Claire has always had to step in and rescue Breeze from her many demons.
It’s complicated. With Claire’s mom, there’s always been a push and pull in terms of who had to be the parent. This was the moment where Claire failed at that in the most ultimate way… It’s a complicated cocktail of emotions.
TVLINE | How would you describe Claire’s state of mind in the following episode?
The way that she deals with [Breeze’s death] is relatively unusual. Although Claire is very open with her patients and empathetic in that way, when it comes to herself, she kind of goes into shutdown mode, and that is something we are exploring quite heavily. You’re going to see an interesting change.
TVLINE | Claire has been there for Shaun to help navigate this new relationship with Carly. Is he able to return the favor and support her in the wake of this traumatic event?
It’s interesting, because Shaun is quite bound up with what’s happening with him and Carly. Obviously, he’s a great friend to Claire, but she’s not as transparent about her life. So it falls to another colleague that you may not necessarily expect to be there for her, and they form a slightly unlikely bond over this, which has been really lovely to play. I’m not going to say who, but you’ll find out soon enough.
What did you think of The Good Doctor‘s Claire-centric hour? Drop your thoughts in a comment below.