Shaun may believe that his and Carly’s date in the season 3 premiere of The Good Doctor was a disaster, but she’s not ready to give up.
In an exclusive clip from Monday’s episode of the ABC medical drama, Carly (Jasika Nicole) shows up at Shaun’s (Freddie Highmore) apartment and insists on talking about their relationship, or lack thereof. While Shaun apparently didn’t enjoy their night out and told her he didn’t want to see her again, she isn’t willing to let go of whatever this is just yet.
“We have to talk. You owe me that much,” Carly says. When Shaun asks why he owes her that, she replies, “Because I thought we had a nice time, and I thought you were nice a guy, an honest guy, and I still think you are. And I’m confused about how you feel and about how I feel about how you feel, and I just need to talk about it.”
Watch the clip above.
Last week, EW sat down with Highmore to discuss where Shaun and Carly’s relationship goes from here, the challenges he’ll face as a resident this season, and more. Read about it all below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: From Shaun’s perspective, his date with Carly was a disaster. How did you feel about Shaun’s feelings about the first date?
FREDDIE HIGHMORE: Obviously, Shaun has autism and probably views his date and draws conclusions from it that if he were neurotypical he might not, but at the same time I think everyone has that feeling of — it’s pretty universal — going on a date and thinking it went absolutely dreadfully, and thinking every single mistake that could have been made was made. I think everyone relates to that feeling of overthinking everything you did, and you kind of play back in a movie inside your head all of the various things that you said that went wrong, or that you should’ve said. That’s what’s nice about the show and [creator David Shore’s] writing: He delves into those smaller, nuanced beats of a relationship and people dating for the first time. All of those little steps are major things for Shaun, and major things for him as a character to overcome. So it makes sense that we take our time in developing it, but it also allows for a show that, I think, can contain a bit more of those little nuanced moments and investigating two people getting physically closer or the idea of holding hands in a way that other shows, probably on the first date, would rush through to them ending up in bed together and then who knows what. It’s nice that we get to dwell in those little moments.
What I thought was interesting was that it wasn’t about anything he did or that happened, but really how he felt about it. He hated it because he felt uncomfortable.
Exactly the reasons why he thought it was a disaster, and the idea of performance. Everyone on first dates, I think, puts out a version of themselves that isn’t necessarily true. It’s the idea of Shaun looking at that and thinking, “This is so stupid! Why do I have to jump through all of these hoops and pretend to be someone that I’m not and ask this list of questions?” There’s such an artificial quality to dates, and I think only after a while do you truly get to know someone. I think that’s part of why it was a disaster for him, is commenting on the silliness of the whole thing.
Where do Shaun and Carly go from there? What has it been like exploring their dynamic with Jasika this season?
She’s wonderful. I think Carly’s patience will be tested. That’s one of the things that I like about the portrayal of [Shaun]. He is, to some extent, the person that we’re meant to care about and love the most and support. At the same time, that doesn’t mean we don’t look at the very real flaws he has as a human being. Those flaws might not even have anything to do with the fact that he has autism. He’s not this superhero. So I think the challenges and difficulties he will face in his relationship will certainly test Carly’s patience. She does like Shaun, but that doesn’t mean Shaun is in any way the perfect person to be trying to date, even if he has his best intentions at heart. We’ll also dig and explore more why it is on a deeper level that Carly does feel this connection for Shaun, because I think there will be times where people think, “Why does she keep trying with this person?” We kind of tease that out as the year goes by. It’s exciting to explore this other life and this other emotion for Shaun that we haven’t before.
You said we’ll learn why Carly continues to put up with Shaun, but I’m curious from your end, what do you think attracts Shaun to Carly?
I think there’s a directness and a straightforwardness to Carly that Shaun has always liked. There’s a similarity with the two of them and a simplicity in a lovely way of not trying to play games and saying what one thinks, even if it might be potentially offensive. Obviously that’s probably more of a conscious decision, or maybe at least Carly is more self-aware about that aspect of her personality, whereas Shaun may not be. But I think that’s something he was drawn to with her — that she’s not a very confusing person to him. He understands her.
In what ways is Claire [Antonia Thomas] there for Shaun as he takes a stab at dating?
Claire has always been one of the closest people at the hospital to Shaun, or certainly the person who has tried to understand him and also does understand him better than others. She will definitely be there as a guiding influence. I guess it remains to be seen to what extent Carly is keen for other people to be interfering with their dating as Shaun continually asks for advice. But I think that’s what nice about the first episode: Shaun has built a little bit of a family in the hospital, and he has found his place and people like him and he’s an accepted part of that world, which I guess as season 3 goes on, there’s all the more for him to lose. At the beginning, he was very much an outsider and trying to triumph against all the odds, and if he lost he would lose his dream but there was nothing tangible in a life that he had built for himself to lose. Now it’s not only losing out on a dream he’s risking, but also this place in the world, this odd little family he’s found at the hospital.
Do you think he’s conscious of that now, or is it more subconscious?
I think probably it’s more subconscious. I think he’s very aware of his bond with Dr. Glassman [Richard Schiff]. Although that’s something that will also be put in jeopardy a little bit in season 3 with Dr. Glassman’s relationship with Debbie [Sheila Kelley] and to what extent Shaun can expect the same level of attention he did beforehand. Dr. Glassman would drop anything to be with Shaun at any moment of the day. I feel like those times have changed because he’s going to get married. That’s another thing that will lead Shaun towards that realization of how much these people that are around him do genuinely need him.
What are the challenges awaiting Shaun on the work front? They just introduced this idea of one of the residents getting their first solo surgery…
This year the residents will have their first shot at leading a surgery and being lead surgeon. There’s a slight competition, I think, at the beginning as to which person is going to be getting that surgery and the first chance. I don’t think Shaun is particularly competitive in that respect, like “It needs to be me!” He’s just more excited in general that he will get this opportunity, and he will. We will get to see everyone leading their surgery this year. I think from Shaun’s perspective, seeing him take on that extra level of responsibility and pressure and how he deals with it will be interesting.
Dr. Andrews [Hill Harper] sacrificed his job to bring Shaun back. Now he’s back as an attending. What is Shaun and Marcus’ dynamic this season?
I’m not sure Shaun is fully aware, perhaps, the extent to which Andrews helped him out and how much he put on the line for him in order for him to stay in this position, which I think makes for an interesting dynamic. But it’s also again, in terms of responsibility, Andrews has fought for Shaun, and so anytime Shaun doesn’t live up to the high expectations that all of the doctors have at the hospital, people will turn to Andrews and say, “Maybe you made the wrong call.”
Last year you directed and wrote an episode. Will you get a chance to write or direct this season?
I wrote the first one last year and spent time in the writers’ room in the break to get to that. This year I ended up doing this film in the middle and so just didn’t have the time to write one, but I will get to direct. Toward the end of the season, I’ll be getting to direct an episode, which I love.
The Good Doctor airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.