Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Show is confidently racing right along, and I feel like I’m happily along for this bumper-car ride that’s blithely throwing me from side to unexpected side, while Show serves up quite a few developments from out of left field. Fun. 🤪😄
I hope you guys are ready to chat about Dr. Romantic episodes 5 & 6! A little bit of admin logistics, and our usual ground rules, before we begin:
1. Thanks to those of you who clarified that episode 21, which is listed as a “special episode,” is an actual organic continuation of the story. Since that’s the case, let’s also include episode 21 in our group watch. If we give episode 21 its own Open Thread, our Dr. Romantic group watch will end on 28 April 2021, instead of the originally forecasted 21 April. Or, would you guys prefer to cover episodes 19, 20 and 21 in a single discussion? Let me know in the comments!
2. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. I repeat: no spoilers for future episodes please! We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.
3. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this pair of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
Show seems to be settling into its groove, and I do think I’m getting the hang of using the right lens for this show as well, because I found this quite an engaging and enjoyable episode.
As a number of you have pointed out, this really is a hospital melodrama, with a little extra emphasis on the melodrama. Feelings, backstories and angst lean larger than life, and fly fast and furious, which makes Show potentially tricky to enjoy, if you’re looking for something more measured and serious, or something more slice-of-life. But, I’m getting the idea that if you’re willing to roll with Show as it blithely delves into all of its melodramatic leanings, you should be able to have a pretty enjoyable ride.
This episode, Dong Joo manages to confirm Master Kim’s true identity as the brilliant genius Dr. Boo Yong Joo.
First of all, I’m amused by the way Manager Jang cracks under pressure and reveals the truth without uttering a word of that truth, but tearing up Dong Joo’s resignation letter. Im Won Hee has such great comic timing; his facial expressions – particularly when he looks like he’s about to explode from the stress of Dong Joo’s continual probing – are what makes the scene as funny as it is.
Secondly, it is quite satisfying to see Dong Joo completely change his mind about Master Kim, as well as the way he now looks upon his future at Doldam Hospital. From being the place that he would most like to leave behind, it’s now a place pregnant with exciting possibilities. Context really is everything, like I always say. 😏
On the other hand, I have to admit I felt rather uncomfortable at the way Dong Joo flaunts his new knowledge, by mentioning it to Seo Jung, and to Director Song. I was under the impression that there’s an unspoken agreement between Dong Joo and Manager Jang that this knowledge of Master Kim’s identity would be treated as a secret. I mean, everyone else at Doldam Hospital doesn’t speak of it, and I guess that’s what I’d expected Dong Joo to do too. Instead, Dong Joo’s practically singing it from the hilltops, and his freedom with this piece of information makes me uneasy. 👀
The other big reveal this episode, is what went down in Geodae Hospital, that had caused Dr. Boo Yong Joo to take on a different identity as Master Kim. Ugh. It’s awful to see that President Do had basically set Master Kim up, at the cost of a patient’s life, and with the (ostensibly coerced) cooperation and silence of all the staff involved, to apparently teach him a lesson for being all high and mighty. I mean, WHAT?!? 🤯
I get that President Do is evil, but did he actually create that situation to take down Master Kim, knowing that the patient would die, when there were other options that would have allowed the patient to live??? If that’s true, then this show is possibly reaching beyond the borders of melodrama to tickle the edges of makjang, but let’s see how this pans out.
It’s hard to watch Master Kim (well, Dr. Boo) suffer the shock, rage and brokenness that comes in waves, as the situation comes into focus for him. The sense of betrayal is definitely great, but even more than that, he seems most affected by the needless death of the patient. It says a lot about him, that even in the present, he continues to play Madonna songs to unwind to after a surgery, in her honor, because that is what the patient had once dreamed of doing.
Like they say, you really never know what someone else is struggling with, and now, we finally get some important insight into Master Kim’s backstory and context. Yes, he is gruff and rough a lot of the time, and can be pretty high-handed too, but now knowing what he’s been through, I can understand why he might have an extra cynical view of the world – particularly the pieces of it that have to do with ambition and hospital politics. And Dong Joo happens to sit right there, with his focus on furthering his career, and his entanglement with the politics in Geodae Hospital.
Seo Jung does struggle from time to time with the idea of being an orderly, even though we now see that it had actually been her idea. She’d suggested it to Master Kim during their private discussion in his office, and he had agreed, pure and simple.
It’s interesting that the nurses, including Head Nurse Oh, seem to sympathize with Seo Jung, saying that Master Kim’s assignment for her is “too much.” I personally think that the assignment as an orderly is a perfect compromise between Master Kim’s very valid assessment that patients shouldn’t be entrusted to Seo Jung’s care given her fragile mental and emotional state, and Seo Jung’s deep desire to stay at Doldam Hospital.
I am guessing that the nurses’ sympathies have to do with the apparent demotion and embarrassment that the assignment entails for Seo Jung. And, like many of you pointed out, it does seem like there isn’t an emphasis on formal psychiatric counseling in this drama world. I guess this is one of those times when you just have to choose to shrug and move on, because it doesn’t look like Show will introduce the concept of psychiatric care later on either.
I like that Dong Joo and Seo Jung are talking more comfortably with each other now. I mean, their conversations are still peppered with some prickliness, but at least Seo Jung is now no longer actively avoiding Dong Joo, and the tone of their conversations lean pretty honest, which I think is good. Not only does Dong Joo tell Seo Jung that Master Kim is one big reason that he’s decided to stay at Doldam Hospital, he also openly tells her that he’s also staying because he needs to find out why she’d missed him.
Ooh. That definitely flusters her a little bit, and I think the reason that this doesn’t come across as overstepping his boundaries (ie, inappropriate or sleazy) to me, is because of Dong Joo’s manner, as he says it. He is quietly matter-of-fact as he explains his reasoning, and doesn’t appear to intend the moment as a come-on to Seo Jung. It just feels like he’s answering her question honestly, and I actually rather like it.
Granted, he does talk about sleeping with her again, in response to Seo Jung telling him to forget about romance and just spend his spare time sleeping and eating properly, but again, he seems quite matter-of-fact and unaggressive about it, which somehow makes me not all that upset at him, for bringing it up.
This episode, I feel like Master Kim does treat Dong Joo with a relatively gentler touch, like when he gets on the phone to talk Dong Joo through the decision of whether he should continue to operate on the patient with the bleeding liver. Master Kim is firm, but at the same time, I feel like there’s a touch of gentleness in his tone. That “firm but kind” and “hard yet soft” quality of coaching is one of the hardest things to achieve when teaching or mentoring someone else, and I do think that in this moment, Master Kim manages it quite beautifully.
Even though it’s a tough moment of reckoning for Dong Joo, I understand Master Kim’s approach of making it Dong Joo’s decision, and Dong Joo’s decision only. If Dong Joo had perceived that he’d had a safety net in Master Kim, he would not have dug as deep as he did, to find the strength and resilience that he did. And thus, he would not have been able to break through his mental block around that specific surgical situation, like he did.
Plus, Master Kim does actually show up as Dong Joo’s safety net in the end, and it’s Dong Joo who declines his offer to take over the surgery, because he now feels like he has things under control. That’s some very effective tough love right there, I feel like.
I also appreciate that Master Kim gives Seo Jung the opportunity to finish up the last bits of his surgery for him, even though she’s officially still an orderly.
Which brings me to the point of contention between Master Kim and Dong Joo later in the episode. My take is that Master Kim is upset with Dong Joo for trying to hide behind rules and regulations, and trying to spin things in a way that makes himself look good and acceptable within those rules and regulations. My interpretation of what Master Kim says to Dong Joo, is that Master Kim wants Dong Joo to just pick a side and stick with it. Like, don’t sometimes be a stickler for the rules, and sometimes say that it’s ok to make an exception. Don’t be a poser or a pretender; own who you are.
I’ve mentioned before that I love the humanity that emanates from Seo Jung, and she doesn’t let me down. Even though she’s a little discouraged by her orderly assignment, and a little jealous that Dong Joo basically accomplished her dream by having a combined surgery with Master Kim, she takes the time and trouble to sit with him, and offer him a can of coffee, and put things in perspective for him.
Not only does she tell him that she’s jealous of him, she also points out that Master Kim might have a painful past that’s haunting him and affecting him even in the present. That definitely seems to give Dong Joo food for thought, and I appreciate Seo Jung so much, for doing this for him.
How interesting, that Show seems to be setting up In Beom to have a special interest in Seo Jung, particularly since he’s never met her, before this episode. (Also, I just want to say that Yang Se Jong looks so young and clean-cut in this role!) I’m definitely curious to see what Show does with this, since In Beom is based at Geodae Hospital and not Doldam Hospital. Will he even be present enough to make a difference to our story? The way Dong Joo reacts to In Beom’s presence, though, is full of crackly animosity, which makes me think that a love triangle situation here, would potentially be a pretty dramatic one. Which would be in complete keeping with Show’s general vibe, come to think of it. 😏 But is that what Show is going for? I’m curious to see.
With Master Kim’s confrontation with Director Song surfacing the key piece of information that Chairman Shin is actually the foundation chairman of Geodae Hospital, it does look like this will be a dramatic point of focus in our next episode. Before we go there, though, let me just take a moment to appreciate Han Seok Kyu’s rapid shift in expression, as Master Kim processes the information.
These 3 screenshots, taken in quick succession, say everything: there’s disbelief at the ridiculousness of the situation, anger at President Do and everything that’s gone before, and a haunting hurt that still plagues him in the now. Really well done, I say. 🤩
Hot dang. I know I just talked about this show maybe-potentially reaching for the edges of makjang, but I was not prepared for that birth secret reveal. What? Seo Jung is President Do’s hidden daughter? Woah. 🤯 I was not expecting that. My mind is spinning, trying to figure out the implications of it all.
First of all, my kdrama reflex question of a love triangle is now moot, except from Dong Joo’s point of view, since he doesn’t yet know that Seo Jung and In Beom are related. But, it does look like In Beom is aware of it, even though he pretends not to know. That would be the only reason that would make him plausibly curious enough about someone whom he doesn’t remember meeting, to volunteer to go on a trip to the middle of nowhere, just so that he might have the chance to see or meet her. Plus, there’s how he gets all flustered by the familiar way Seo Jung addresses him, once she realizes that he’s President Do’s son, to the extent that he’d abandon his companions and hop right into a cab for Seoul.
I actually really like the idea of Seo Jung and In Beom being related; I hope their arc will be that of them overcoming complicated histories and awkward feelings, to become true family to each other.
I’d say that Seo Jung’s already kind of on that path, since she’s not only genuinely happy to meet In Beom again, she also steps in to take the blame for him for the unapproved surgery, even though he tells her not to.
To me, this feels like a big sister trying to everything in her power to protect her little brother, and I can’t help but melt at Seo Jung’s big noona heart, which seems to come as such a reflex, to her.
On a tangent, I’m actually rather thrilled to see that In Beom’s a very skilled doctor in spite of his young age, and from the way Master Kim eyes him during the surgery, it seems that Master Kim sees and acknowledges his capability as well. Also, given how In Beom is so intent on saving the patient, even though he’s fully aware that he’s not licensed to perform surgery at Doldam Hospital, it seems that he’s much more like his sister than his father. That’s a pleasant surprise to me, since from what we’ve seen of him in previous episodes, he’d appeared to be content to toe the line and align himself with his father’s instructions.
With this in mind, I kinda love Master Kim’s demand of President Do, that he send In Beom to Doldam Hospital, not only to set things right, but also to learn from Master Kim. Nice move, Show, for making a way to move In Beom, whom I am finding to be much more interesting than I’d originally thought, to the thick of the drama (which, ironically, is a ghost town, hur).
Before I talk about anything else, I just wanted to pause to give Head Nurse Oh the shout-out she deserves, because wow does she put that shockingly unreasonable, belligerent dude in his place. More than the verbal smackdown, I love how she takes that phone and thrusts it at him, telling him to call exactly who he keeps threatening to call, so that she can officially make a complaint about him. The way Belligerent Guy turns tail and becomes Sheepish Guy is really fast, and quite gratifying to watch. Long live Head Nurse Oh! Manse! 🤩
It strikes me that during Master Kim’s conversation with Director Song, he mentions that he’d once been good at all the materialistic, ambitious things that Director Song mentions in relation to a career in medicine. Does this mean that Master Kim had had a spiritual awakening of sorts, where he’d turned away from the darkness of ambition, to embrace a more altruistic approach to medicine? If so, I wonder when that awakening happened, and what triggered it?
This context might make it easier to understand Master Kim’s more ambiguous actions, like when he goes to Chairman Shin and asks for even more equipment than before, in exchange for performing the surgery on him. Master Kim isn’t a perfect angel of a doctor; he has struggles and demons and bad days too, and I think this perspective and insight makes him more human, even though he’s described as a god-like doctor.
I really hate that Director Song flat out lies to Dong Joo in an effort to poison Dong Joo’s mind about Master Kim. I mean, considering that Director Song had been a key player in the dirty scheme that was used to take down Master Kim, it makes me gag that he can tell such a bald-faced lie, painting Master Kim in terrible patient-killing colors without blinking an eye, when he’d been the one to kill that patient. URGH. 🤮
I really hope that Dong Joo isn’t taken in by those lies, because that’d be just too unfair to Master Kim.
I feel sorry for Seo Jung, though, because it’s clear that all her life, ever since she’d known that President Do was her father, she’s only wanted his approval. And now, he expressly tells her that she has disappointed him. Aw. Poor girl. She was only trying to do right by the patient.
That scene, where she sees the patient’s wife crying by his bed in the ICU, and she comforts herself that she did well, reminds me so much of the scene in episode 1, where she’d made a similarly controversial decision in the ER in order to save the patient, and had gotten reprimanded for it. Seo Jung is such a warm bundle of compassion and humanity. I love her. ❤️
I’m glad that Master Kim tells Dong Joo, when Dong Joo questions Master Kim about what he’ll do with Seo Jung, that she did a great job in a difficult situation. YES. Thank you for choosing not to blame Seo Jung.
Also, it’s noteworthy that not only does Master Kim remind Dong Joo to make sure that Master Kim’s around before leaving the hospital in the future, he concedes that he will need to do that too. Plus, there’s that little throwaway line that Master Kim mutters to himself as he walks away, that he’d been excited to have another surgeon at Doldam. Ahh! He’s softening up to Dong Joo! And, he’s admitting to having been excited when Dong Joo joined the hospital. Cute!
I have slightly mixed feelings about Dong Joo holding Seo Jung’s hand while she sleeps, because they aren’t currently close enough in real life for him to assume consent. And yet, the way he looks at her is so full of gentle tenderness, that I feel like I can’t quibble too much. It feels like a sweet moment of comfort and understanding, which I hope Seo Jung feels in her dreams.
Show springs a surprise as we end the episode, with not just In Beom, but Director Song and a whole gaggle of staff reporting for work at Doldam Hospital, with suitcases in tow. What? I’m sure President Do has an ulterior motive for this, and I’m almost afraid to get excited. But, I do feel like things are going to get even more interesting at Doldam Hospital, with all these new arrivals.