Open Thread: Dr. Romantic Episodes 7 & 8

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! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 7

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?

Episode 8

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? 🤯🤭😅

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beez
5 months ago

Head Nurse Oh and Manager Jang? Say what????? How’d I miss that? Did I snooze without realizing it during the episode?
Was that episode 7 or 8? Near the beginning, middle or end? I want to go back and watch that.

bbimbapp
bbimbapp
5 months ago

Seo Hyun Jin’s cameo in ROY was really 4 character references in one appearance as the writer worked with her on Temperature of Love with Yang Se Jong (Do In Beom) as male lead. His character said those words to her.

She was an actress (Beauty Inside reference), who was acting as a doctor (Dr. Romantic), whose stage name is Lee Hyun Soo (Temperture of Love) and the ID badge she wore was that of her character in Black Dog: Being a Teacher…

😁

Leslie
5 months ago
Reply to  bbimbapp

Fun insight!

Sharra
Sharra
5 months ago

Again I felt uncomfortable with Teacher Kim’s initial behaviour in episode 5 with both Dong Joo and SEO Jung. If somebody spoke to me or I observed somebody speaking to someone else like that I would have to words with them. So I reconciled myself to not being that fond of Teacher Kim but then his vulnerability with Dong Jong and his warmth with child made me warm to him! If I see more of that I will be happy. I was disappointed with the In Beom revelation I think like most others I thought that make it more interesting And can you imagine Do Jong dealing with In Beom in that setting that would have been comedic gold. Having said that I do like In Beom and I am interested how his career unfolds just hope the triangle is swerved,!

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
5 months ago

High five! Seo Jung needs this talk. Also she shouldn’t have apologised to Dr Kim for being taken hostage, for goodness’ sake!

manukajoe
5 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

I agree!

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  manukajoe

What she is apologizing for. She is an orderly. Her situation, albeit not her fault, arises because she intervenes from the position of a doctor with regard to man who kidnaps her, and not once but twice. Seo Jung would not be Seo Jung if she did not apologize.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
5 months ago

I really enjoyed these episodes.
– Dong Joo getting taken down a peg, his insecurities getting exposed when he was unable to swallow playing assistant to In Beom. He has been quite a dick these first few episodes and as I said earlier I’m looking forward to see character growth from him! I empathise very much with his insecurities wanting to be seen as accomplished, successful leading him down morally questionable paths.
– The oily, menacing gangster turning out to have such a tragic story. Ties in with the theme in this show that you shouldn’t make snap judgments of people, need to figure out what they really need.
Cannot get behind Nurse Oh and Manager Jang being ex spouses though! She’s way out of his league ha ha.

j3ffc
5 months ago

Seo Jung, hey, got a minute? We need to talk.

Now, I know you are a beacon of light in a dark, dark world and how hard that must be, since you have to fight the darkness within you as well, but you’re also human. You have just had one of the most harrowing experiences in your life and I can only imagine your relief that you are out of that operating theater. You know how protective your friends are of you, right? Did you get cut anywhere? That scythe looked sharp.

I know I’m not as good a person as you are, but I gotta say that it would have been all right, really, to not be so generous to the maniac who just threatened your life. I understand that he turned out to be a grieving, suffering maniac, but still…

I love that your empathetic nature won out in that moment, but you need to take better care of you. At the very least, do it for us.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Yeah, she is the one. Loved the conversation with Dr. Kim when he told her to not be so apologetic. Show, Dr. K, and we all see it. If she can only get past her own insecurities, that woman…but perhaps it is because she is a wounded soul that she can devote herself so completely and seemingly egolessly to healing others. I have no real idea of show writers’ background or world view, but this is such a deeply Buddhist way of looking at suffering: one’s own opens one to having compassion for others. But the essential step for Seo Jung is to begin with herself.

Sharra
Sharra
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

. This really amused me 😂I could just imagine you pulling out a chair and asking Seo Jung to sit down whilst you gently voiced your concerns.

manukajoe
5 months ago

I am liking the show more and more. To me, the pace seems to be stabilising, giving more room for subtle characterizations in between the action. I feel that the characters were pretty much all caricatures at the beginning of the season, and over time more air is allowed in to let them breath and express more complexity, even such OTT characters as Manager Jung and Nurse Oh. But especially Kim Sabu and Seo Jung are really opening out I think.

Felt a bit mixed about Im Beom’s insertion, and like you , was hoping for sibling rivalry and hoping it is not going to be a love triangle. However, I am quickly becoming more interested in him as a character, despite his privileged status he nevertheless has demons to wrestle with.

Im Beom’s inclusion also means that Dong Joo has to share the ML space with him to some extent (setting aside Kim Sabu) which also means that Seo Jung is getting more space, which @BE aluded to last time. I would actually like to see more Dong Joo at this point, he has not had much to do recently.

Will Kim Sabu’s neglect of the Dura Repair come back to bite him?!

How is Seo Jung going to avoid losing her registration?!

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Glad you are liking it. I am liking it better the second time than I did the first. I think the group chat helps. And trying to respond analytically rather than simply viscerally. I am still having a little problem with how Dr. Do is being portrayed as such a villainous caricature, but being that was the first thing that clued me in to watching show as a melodrama, I am still willing to cut show slack on that account, after all his villainy has driven the entire plot up to now. I think too show by this time had to show Dr. K’s more compassionate and tender side. And I think too Seo Jung’s many faceted personality had to be highlighted as an essential element of plot, for the reasons you as a viewer voiced last time.

Shyama
Shyama
5 months ago

So President Do sends down a bunch of professionals, including the oily Director Song just to get rid of Master Kim? To demolish Doldam hospital? To cover up the fact his son is sent here punitively?
Ugh! They skulk around, taking notes, interfere in medical procedures…just do all around rotten stuff. I’m not enjoying this part!
As much as I love seeing Seo Jung happy, she was almost too positive and glowy to be realistic. In Boem’s character shows promise. Oh, how fun it would have been had he and Seo Jung been siblings. Lost opportunity.
Can’t wait to see the next two episodes.

Trent
5 months ago

So the whole hostage-taking episode is total over-the-top makjang melodrama…and like you, I was kind of slurping it up. As I always say, there’s a reason shows go for the emotionally manipulative stroke: because so very often, it works, it’s effective. I mean, the whole “this bad bad man whose life you are saving raped my daughter” is just such textbook overkill manipulation, and I was still following along very intently. So I guess I’m an enabler, what can I say?

(I’ve found it really amusing that already Seo-jung has responded to a couple of Dong-joo’s more florid pronouncements by accusing him of wanting to create a big makjang scene. So I would say show is not entirely lacking self-awareness and a bit of willingness to poke fun at itself).

You are entirely correct that show is completely dropping the ball on appropriately dealing with Seo-jung’s trauma, in service of its own melodramatic narrative demands. Not exactly following mental health best practices here, alas. I tend to believe that Master Kim is putting on his expected gruff tough love front when he tells Seo-jung she’ll be out if she succumbs to PTSD again and that in the event he would be more compassionate and professional, because that’s definitely not how PTSD and its treatment work. But I’m probably guilty of being a Master Kim apologist there…

Have you been taking note of the head nurse from Geodae hospital, scurrying around with her little notebook of doom, eavesdropping around corners and eagerly dropping dimes to Dr. Sung and no doubt to Director Do back in his lair? Speaking of stereotypical obnoxious little Dolores Umbridge wannabes…

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I think show and Kim Sabu regard Seo Jung’s dilemma to be a spiritual not psychological one, and he respects her enough to put her fate in her hands. We can talk about good practices, but do I trust that medical system to have them? I don’t know given what else I am being presented in the world of this show.

The one thing this show does well, I think is intersperse these abjectly over the top emergency room scenes into the larger story being told in a way to highlight the progress of that story. The irony of Kim Sabu going down for allowing Seo Jung to work at hospital, when she is an orderly, and when in fact she abjectly apologizes for putting herself in the situation to be kidnapped (after all the other young female orderly is way out of the action, is she not?) and how Dr. Kim visibly hates how she is being used as a weapon against him.

I do think that while in early episodes seeing him as a martial arts master is probably the best light for some to get Doctor Kim’s mannerisms, by this time we can already see how the head nurse can speak with him, and how he admits to his own errors, lack of perfection. How he listens to others with a sympathetic ear, especially when he respects what they are saying and doing. We can see as arrogant as he seems, he is also the humblest character in the story.

j3ffc
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I’m always a sucker for a good self-reference* and so got a big kick out of Seo Jung’s bemused comment to Im Beom to the effect that “why are you coming up with this big makjang story about us being related”?

*This is why “Be Melodramatic” is one of my favorite dramas ever.

Leslie
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Speaking of reference… I got a kick out of the scene in Record of Youth where Park Bo Gum, playing an intern in a hospital drama, approaches his hoobai, played by our hero Seo Hyun Jin in a special appearance, and asks her with a clear gaze “Can I ask you out?” Not waiting for an answer, he walks away cockily and takes a bow at the sliding doors. I mean, he didn’t say “Sunbae, I want to sleep with you” but… 😂 The echoes of DR were deafening. (Finally! I felt like a kdrama insider. 😉)

Trent
5 months ago
Reply to  Leslie

Man, I missed a bunch of cameos in Record of Youth that would have so much more meaning now! Seo Hyun-jin, obviously, but also Lee Sung-kyung (who’s a lead in Dr Romantic 2, which I hadn’t seen at the time), and Hyeri! (I hadn’t seen Reply 1988 then).

I did catch Kim Hye-yoon at the beginning; I had seen SKY Castle at that point…

Leslie
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Oh, my. So many new rabbit holes to go down! 😂 I didn’t catch these other references in RoY. Maybe I’m not so much inside, as one foot over the kdrama threshold. 😆

Trent
5 months ago
Reply to  Leslie

I hear you! I’m constantly finding new cross-references and insider nods, more and more as my circle of stuff I’ve seen expands. It’s one of the fun little perks of kdrama-land, I think.

Leslie
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Agreed.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I think one can see the popularity of show in how it is riffed upon in other shows. It does amaze me that the cast from Series two universally are hoping for a third season, especially as season two so closely followed one, and did so amazingly keeping up a high standard.

Show fantasy: Dramatic Comedy–The World of the Married in parody, Manager Jung and Nurse Oh. When Manager Jung operatically opines how Head Nurse Oh cannot really comprehend how he feels, in deadpan, she responds, “That is why we got married and divorced.” (BOTH!) There are many things I like about this show, but that throwaway line, a guilty pleasure.

BE
BE
5 months ago

Some echoes K, maybe ways to think about Seo Jung’s situation as well.
My notes on these two episodes:

MELODRAMA!
Do! Dr. Evil!

And Dr. Romantic? Doctor to the Bone? Crazy to the Bone?

More a makjang if Seo Jung is In Beom’s stepbro or…

And Kim Sabu not allowing Seo Jung to go back to work back before mean and punitive…or…allowing her back in because of his respect for personal responsibility…

Melodrama indictments of Dr. Romantic:
Corruption of health care system, yes we got that from the beginning and it keeps getting personified over and over–especially with regard to economic CLASS, money an enemy, the fundamental theme of Korean drama!

Classist detail–in American drama race and class, sometimes combined, scruffy hair often a short cut marker to present hooligans: in these episodes we are set up by movie gangster haircut marker of ….what? Father a working class poor person in reality. Twist and shout.

Class, over and over, such a fundamental theme all the way down to the hospital itself, trying to punch above one’s weight class, round after round, after round…just for a modicum of respect.

Conscious or unconscious the theme of toxic masculinity in patriarchal culture poisoned of itself—
beginning with opening lines vis a vis competition, followed hard on by the rivalry between Dong Joo and Im Beom–the edginess between them not only over status.

How to do the right thing, especially with all hell breaking loose around you and people’s lives on the line? IE Melodrama to raise the stakes of this existential question into broad relief:

—Sabu with doctors, with wife and daughter of man who came to kill the rapist; Dong Joo bringing Chairman to hospital–it is extremely difficult to pick way through, What makes for a man to be a good head of a household? Masculinity against our changing gender norms, how do we make the correct incisions, find the wound, tie it off with precision. Who gets the girl? Who wins the prize? Who runs the show? Who can afford to save their father? Who can keep his wife and daughter safe? Who can think clearly when one’s loved ones are in danger? Who can make the right move when the right move might be the ruin of who you are?

Sabu is one in a million, Dong Joo has finally caught on. this once, bringing in the Chairman, the big gun of money and power, and look how smug he is for having done so. We go back to Kim Sabu’s question of him—not good or best, but what does the patient (situation) need of him—how karma, not virtue, works. Melodramatic morality of show. For Seo Jung and her PTSD as well.

At same time the show heroes: Seo Jung, Dong Joo’s mom, wife and sister of patient whose heart had stopped, straight from heart, but Seo Jung also such a fast learner, be a doctor to the bone, let the chips fall where they may. Is she going to be defined by her traumas or is she going to be defined by her doctorness, making love even to the machinery of healing.

She already was his best student. Confidence outside of knowing how immature the young men are being around her, outside of her colleague from younger days when she was the Crazy Whale. The fight to overcome the loss resulting from PTSD, father who abandoned her before she was born. From perspective of show, Kim Sabu, and most of all, Seo Jung, herself, it is up to her.

Melodrama? Who do you love?
Who do you hate?
What is the good fight being fought on its plane?

What is justice in an unjust world, and how do melodramas, the good ones at least, satisfy our need for justice, inoculate us psychologically against injustice?

Dr. Romantic, Kim Sabu, Ep. 7-8 Melodrama: The plot thickens!

j3ffc
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

I gotta say, BE, your summary left me almost as breathless as the episodes!

phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

Yes BE – j3ffc is correct. Your summary rocked the house. I am hanging in there and enjoying this drama.