Throughout the past two seasons of “The Good Doctor,” no character has been more determined to get every aspect of being a surgeon right than the resident, Dr. Claire Brown, superbly portrayed by Antonia Thomas. In this week's October 7 Episode 3 of Season 3, “Claire,” Dr. Brown is determined to rise to her moment in every sense. She starts the day by rehearsing the words, to her prospective patient and family members in the mirror, ever positive about the outcome.

First, however, she has to look out for her mother, as she has done all her life. Claire Brown pours out every hint of alcohol from her apartment, except for one special bottle of champagne. She ponders the label and decides to hide it for a special celebration after her day of momentous achievement. So much can happen in 12 hours, and Claire is about to soar over peaks of joy and fulfillment before falling into wrenching despair.

Healing and heaps of study

Deeper connection and seeds of healing started to take root, in last week's episode for Claire and her mother, Breeze Brown (Sharon Leal), when the daughter agreed to let her mom stay for “a little while” until she was “a bit better.” There was, however, a caveat - so long as she followed up with every appointment and submitted to drug testing. Mom started the day by offering her urine sample to be tested, as Claire was in hyper-preparation mode.

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Claire's surgery patient is in dire need of a gallbladder removal and in more desperate need to be a teenager who feels valued. Dr. Brown feels much kinship with the teen, who is tasked with the full responsibility of three foster siblings while her mother is busy being the breadwinner. Claire discovers that Michelle (Kyla-Drew) is cutting and sexually active, at 14, after a pulmonary embolism provoked by birth control prompts a pre-surgery crisis.

When Dr. Brown tries to intercede to suggest counseling, Michelle's mother (Tracie Thoms) takes it as an affront and takes the issue right up the chain, leaving Dr. Lim (Christina Chang) no choice but to take Claire of the case to appease the parent. This instant crushing of her dream not only means the waste of all her intensive hours of preparation and practice but also no relief for the girl who carries much of the same burden that the doctor felt through her own youth.

In a riveting scene of a counseling session, Claire vents that her real anger is for “the mother who won't take care of her daughter,” and, she adds, and herself for “feeling like a fraud” after being relieved of the surgery. Of course, the surgery is the pinnacle of her professional dream. Her mother extols the determination that never lets her daughter be stopped, “ever,” as she describes. “You're my inspiration,” Breeze Brown, assures, and the two embrace as real mother and daughter.

This time, Claire felt it was real, maybe for the first time.

When the time comes for the surgery, Michelle insists that Dr. Brown be her surgeon. Brown explains that the important part is the surgery, not the person performing it. Dr. Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) goes to bat for the resident, convincing her that Claire's familiarity with the full situation makes her the ideal surgeon. Dr. Lim gives a smile of “well done.”

Dr.

Lim also coaches that Claire should never confess to being nervous before surgery. “You got this,” she insists. She reiterates that “we’re women, we're not white, and we’re sergeants,” relating how they both know what it is to work twice as hard as everyone else.

The hour comes

The operating room scene is the most powerful and personal in the saga of “The Good Doctor.” Each person announces his or her name with their position, and these will be names etched into Claire Brown's consciousness forever.

The procedure begins, and the surgeon’s skills are flawless. “That's elegant use of the Kelly clamp,” compliments Dr. Murphy (Freddie Highmore). Dr. Melendez supports his resident, reminding “go through your approach” when scarring produces a more difficult procedure than Dr. Brown anticipates. When a hemorrhage starts after a completely unintentional but not uncommon nick of an artery, Dr. Brown and the team respond quickly, and the surgery is a success.

Dr. Brown does some leaps for joy in a sitting area, savoring the moment alone.

Claire Brown manages to help Dr. Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann) and Dr. Park (Will Yun Lee) by suggesting that the lack of healing for their patient, a fisherman stabbed by his own catch, a prized Marlin, is caused by cancer. The bond between the patient (Shamus O'Malley) and his precious Pisces, already named Franklin, after his dad, is so strong that even after surgery that demands partial amputation of his leg, he kisses the fish with gratitude. Dr. Brown saved his life by stopping his femoral bleed on the way to his surgery, jumping onto the gurney.

Shaun Murphy also asks help from Claire, concerned that his 83 questions might have been too much on their second “date.” Carly Lever (Jasika Nicole) had no trouble telling Dr. Brown to “butt out” of their relationship, noting that they were doing fine on their own and that she couldn't stand small talk. As it turns out, the new couple is proving to be “all that and a bag of chips,” as they talk in a hospital lounge.

A call comes just as Claire Brown is leaving after her long and fulfilling day.

The next scene is a car crash, where she finds her mother dead in the front seat, with the champagne bottle lying on the floorboard.

In the wake of her most triumphant day ever, Dr. Brown may discover that granting forgiveness and grace, to herself, her mother, and her past, will be her most difficult test in life. Once more, “The Good Doctor” provides its own pondering and medicine for the soul.

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