Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Show serves up more amped up drama than ever, and even reveals a bit of our titular Dr. Romantic’s softer underbelly. I slurped it all up with ease, heh. 😋
I hope you guys are ready to chat about Dr. Romantic episodes 7 & 8! Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:
1. 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.
2. 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! ❤️
It’s dramatic days at Doldam Hospital, and that’s even before taking into account the new arrivals from Geodae Hospital, most of whom seem to be on a hostile mission to take down the good folk at Doldam Hospital.
First of all, though, I just wanted to say that the thing about Seo Jung being President Do’s hidden daughter seems to have been a red herring, since Seo Jung herself looks completely taken by surprise, when In Beom blurts out his perceived version of the truth – which, up until this point, had been my perceived version of the truth as well.
We still aren’t told Seo Jung’s version of the truth, but right now, I’m thinking that perhaps Seo Jung’s mom and President Do had been.. estranged siblings? That would explain why Seo Jung hadn’t met President Do until her mother’s death, and that would also explain why Seo Jung’s mom was so sure that President Do would take care of Seo Jung, after her death?
In this case, President Do’s instruction to young In Beom to address Seo Jung as “Noona” would still make sense, since, in Korea, males also loosely use the term “Noona” to address older cousins, or even unrelated older females. And, if President Do is the only relative or guardian type person that Seo Jung has left, I can definitely buy the idea that she’d want approval and acceptance from him, in the absence of her parents. Of course, this is still all conjecture on my part, but that’s my new theory, given Seo Jung’s amused bewilderment at In Beom’s assumption that President Do is her father.
Other than that, it’s a hectic day of emergencies and related gangster attacks 😳, amid folks from Geodae and Doldam (mostly metaphorically) circling each other with suspicion. All of this happens to translate into one Very Bad Day for Dong Joo, and I do feel a little sorry for him, because if President Do hadn’t sent these Geodae folks over to Doldam, I do think that Dong Joo’s life at Doldam would be much smoother and less complicated.
As it is, Dong Joo’s hackles are raised by In Beom’s very presence at Doldam, and it only makes matters worse, that Master Kim appears to favor In Beom, by assigning the surgery for the stabbed guy to In Beom, and appointing Dong Joo to assist.
This is definitely a blow to Dong Joo’s pride, because, as President Do had pointed out to In Beom, In Beom’s traditionally been one step behind Dong Joo, both in school and at Geodae Hospital. So, to have Master Kim appoint him to assist In Beom in a surgery now, naturally makes Dong Joo feel doubly slighted, because not only has he always been a step ahead of In Beom, he’s also been at Doldam Hospital (at least a little) longer than In Beom. Being asked to assist in a surgery where In Beom is the lead surgeon is definitely a blow to Dong Joo’s pride.
..Which I do think is the exact thing that Master Kim is trying to fix, in Dong Joo. After all, Master Kim himself steps in to assist when Dong Joo demonstrates reluctance to take on the role. This goes back to what Master Kim had said before, that he always simply tries to be the doctor that the patient needs, in the moment. I believe that Master Kim isn’t actually biased against Dong Joo; I think that, 1, he wants to have a good gauge of In Beom’s surgical abilities, and 2, he wants to test Dong Joo’s ability to put aside his pride, to be the most appropriate cog in the system, in the moment, as it were.
Could Master Kim have been less gruff and rough about it? Sure. But is that his style? That would be a No, as far as we’ve seen.
I’m beginning to get the picture that that’s just how Master Kim is; he can be really rough, and he can also be kind – but he is mostly tough, through it all. As we’ve seen, when he’s being kind, it’s the kind of tough love that pushes Dong Joo to overcome his demons about bleeding liver patients during surgery, and when he’s being rough, it’s.. hard to swallow.
I know that some of you have already made reference to this, so I’m just echoing the sentiment here, that it’s helpful to look at Master Kim through the lens of the traditional Chinese martial arts master, who has unquestioned authority over his disciples. This authority is always assumed to be used for good, and the master’s skill and wisdom is also always a given. It is also always assumed that by listening well to the master, and obeying even the most ridiculous-sounding requests, the disciples will end up growing in skill and wisdom, in ways that they would not have originally expected.
I do think that this is where Show is going, with Master Kim, and I also think that if you have trouble accepting this lens, that it might be hard for you to enjoy this show. Personally, I’m finding that this lens is coming in really useful, as it allows me to stop questioning why Master Kim isn’t kinder or more sympathetic in his teaching approach, and enjoy the story for what it wants to be.
As for our resident pair of potential lovebirds, I like the fact that Seo Jung is now much less prickly towards Dong Joo. She’s not actively running away from him anymore, and in general, it just feels like she’s unafraid of him now, which I like.
Mostly, I like what this means for Seo Jung herself, because I wouldn’t want her to continue to feel paralyzed in Dong Joo’s presence, like in our initial episodes. I want Seo Jung to feel comfortable in her own skin, enough to heal and grow, in the place where she’s chosen to put down roots, regardless of whether Dong Joo is working there or not, and right now, it feels like that’s where she is.
I love Seo Jung’s warmth and humanity; it never fails to brighten an episode of this show, for me. Even when In Beom is being all brusque and hostile towards her, she is still friendly, cordial and generous in her offers of help. And even though Dong Joo can be a bit frustrating in the way he gets stuck in his ego, Seo Jung continues to offer him sympathy, advice and the occasional bit of healing ointment for his busted lip.
Notably, it’s Seo Jung’s warm words of earnest advice that cause Dong Joo to rethink his response to Master Kim in the operating theater. Everyone else’s well-meaning shifty-eyed hints do nothing to get Dong Joo to look beyond his pride; it’s Seo Jung’s sincerity and uncalculated warm-heartedness that gets through to him. I do love that about our girl. 😍 And also, can I just say what an MVP she turns out to be, quoting the Emergency Medical Service Act, to effectively quash Director Song’s attempt to make things difficult for Master Kim? 🤩 I love her. ❤️
..Which is why I’m so nervous for Seo Jung, now that Armed Gangster has her as his hostage. 😬 Please don’t let Seo Jung be hurt.. our girl’s already got enough wounds to recover from, eh?
What a tense hour of hospital drama we get this episode, truly. 😅
First of all, the entire arc about Seo Jung being taken hostage in the operating theater is Top Grade High Melodrama, and I hafta admit, I lapped it up. I think I’m really getting into the groove of rolling with Show’s melodramatic punches, ha.
Everyone’s shocked looks in the operating theater; Seo Jung shaking so much that she’s barely holding it together, amid tears leaking down her face; Dong Joo looking slightly wild-eyed, as he wonders whether to take the situation into his own uncertain hands; everyone else kind of frozen to the spot, wondering whether to follow Master Kim’s instructions to continue with the surgery. It’s all edge-of-your-seat gripping stuff, and I was completely absorbed.
I did think that the gangster’s original vibe and his eventual sob story didn’t really mesh very well, particularly since his original expression was more in the vicinity of a smug sneer rather than in the vein of a father desperate to punish the man who’d wreaked such terror, pain and lasting damage on his family, but I rationalize that even a smug gangster can have hidden pain. Also, the backstory is horrific and tragic enough, that I’m willing to ignore the apparent disconnect between Smug Gangster and Desperate Gangster.
Through the entire showdown, Master Kim remains as unshakable as a rock, and it’s only later, during his conversation with Dong Joo, that he admits that he was barely able to keep himself under control, and that he’d only focused on wrapping things up in the best manner, so that no one would get hurt. That’s quite a revelation, to realize that underneath that apparently unflappable surface, Master Kim had been nervous too, because he’d handled the situation like a total badass. The way that he talked Gangster Dad down from the edge, while still giving him a sense that he had a choice, was so wise, and nothing short of masterful.
One of the key things that stays with not just Head Nurse Oh, but with me as a viewer as well, is the fact that Master Kim had hesitated during the surgery, looking like he was deep in thought. That is not his usual style at all, and it’s only later, that we see that he had opted to omit a certain procedure called dura repair, which, from what I can gather, would have given the damaged nerve a chance of recovery, even though, in Dr. Nam’s words, damaged nerves rarely do recover.
From what I can tell, it seems that this is Master Kim’s way of nudging the scales of justice, since, in his words to Gangster Dad (and I paraphrase), even after recovery, the patient would be so handicapped that he’d probably wish that he hadn’t lived. Certainly, this thing about deliberately withholding a chance of nerve recovery feels not quite right, for a doctor who’s taken the Hippocratic oath to treat the sick to the best of one’s ability.
However, on further thought, given how Master Kim himself has suffered injustice in his own past, I can understand how he might have more empathy for Gangster Dad, who is desperate that the perpetrator be punished more justly than what the law has dictated. This definitely feeds into his image as a bit of a rogue doctor, who doesn’t always play by the rules.
Even though he sometimes ignores the rules, however, Master Kim is a man who abides by his conscience. His heart clearly goes out to Gangster Dad’s daughter, whom Gangster Dad has said will have to live with a foley catheter for the rest of her life, due to the damage she’d suffered because of the rape, and it’s heartwarming to see Master Kim promise the girl that he will do all he can to help her heal fully, and that he will treat her for free.
The kindness in Master Kim’s eyes really shines through in this scene, and in this moment, Master Kim looks like the sweetest, gentlest teddy bear. ❤️
I also love how kind Seo Jung is to Gangster Dad, even though she’d been held hostage by him not so long ago. Instead of holding a grudge against him, she is all empathy, and even tells him that the next time he comes back to the hospital, his vitamin IV drip is on her. What a dear heart she is. ❤️
I’m also really glad that Master Kim tells Seo Jung that she did well, even though she apologizes for allowing Gangster Dad to force her into the operating theater.
However – and this is probably going to be a point of contention for some viewers – Show’s approach to Seo Jung’s PTSD is clearly never going to be what we hope for it to be. Rather than acknowledging that PTSD is a valid ailment that requires proper care and treatment, Master Kim is shown telling Seo Jung that if she allows the day’s events to cause a relapse of her PTSD, she’ll be kicked out of Doldam.
On top of that, President Do and his minions are on a mission to take down Master Kim and Doldam Hospital, and Seo Jung’s PTSD is a key point of attack. Sigh. This isn’t what I prefer, but because I would like to continue to enjoy this show, I’m going to have to just adjust my expectations and roll with what this drama world is serving up. 🤷🏻♀️
Going back to Seo Jung’s relationship with President Do, it seems that they aren’t related at all. Dang. I’m legit disappointed by this, honestly, because now In Beom and Seo Jung aren’t siblings, or even cousins, and I’d really liked the idea of them overcoming their complicated background (which isn’t even complicated anymore, with this reveal), to become proper siblings. I’m gutted that I won’t get that sibling relationship between them now. 😫 That could’ve been so good, amiright?
I’m curious to see where Show is going to take the relationship between In Beom and Seo Jung now. If we can’t have them be real brother and sister, could we have some sort of faux-sibling relationship then? 🥺 Coz that would be more interesting and unique than a love triangle thing with Dong Joo.
..Speaking of whom, I’m glad to see glimpses of growth in Dong Joo. It’s nice to see that Dong Joo’s no longer avoiding his mom and is actually talking to her on the phone quite nicely now. It’s also good to see him initiating a conversation with Master Kim, and admitting that he’d almost wanted to punch him in the operating theater, out of worry for Seo Jung.
I’m glad to see Master Kim actually open up a bit, and admit to Dong Joo that he’d been nervous too, and even talk a little bit, about his romantic ideals. And, even though it’s rather gruffly spoken, I do appreciate that Master Kim tells Dong Joo that he doesn’t hate him; he just hates seeing Dong Joo’s inferiority complex and self-condemnation get in his way. That’s important feedback and insight, and if Master Kim hadn’t pointed it out, I’m not sure if Dong Joo would have managed to identify it on his own. And knowing, as they say, is half the battle.
It does seem that Dong Joo’s interactions with and observations of Master Kim have given him food for thought. Despite Director Song’s continued efforts to feed him lies, Dong Joo comes to the conclusion that as a doctor, Master Kim makes him feel small; that’s definitely a testament to Master Kim’s greatness as a doctor, I think. And I think that’s why, when push comes to shove, Dong Joo goes out on a limb and gets Chairman Shin to come to the hospital on a (faked) invitation by Master Kim, so that the Doldam team will have Chairman Shin as ammunition (I think).
I’m really curious to know how this will pan out, and whether Master Kim will actually reward Dong Joo for taking the initiative to do this. For now, Dong Joo looks pretty pleased with himself, and I.. kinda hope this pays off for him. In this moment, at least, I do think that he’s doing this for Master Kim.
PS: I am quite amused and blindsided by the reveal that Head Nurse Oh and Manager Jang used to be married. Say, what? 🤯🤭😅