Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Dong Joo gets put in the hot seat more than a little bit, this pair of episodes, and overall, I’m just really pleased with how much growth we see from him. 😊
I hope you guys are ready to chat about Dr. Romantic episodes 11 & 12! 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! ❤️
Let’s just say that this episode, Show managed to make my blood boil more than I thought it was possible for my blood to boil. 😳 That’s quite an achievement, and also, I guess that means that I am well and duly invested in the goings on at Doldam Hospital. 😉
With Master Kim being so abrupt and brusque with Seo Jung for entering his office without permission, it sparks Seo Jung’s curiosity to find out more about the student whose student card she’d found in his office. And she does manage to come to a tentative conclusion that’s pretty close to the truth.
On the one hand, it’s not very nice, that Master Kim happens on Seo Jung and In Soo speculating aloud about the case, because this feels akin to gossip, even though it’s not driven by ill intent. Plus, I can completely understand Master Kim’s reluctance to talk about it, since this points to a dark point in his life, where he’d lost his student because of dirty hospital politics.
On the other hand, it does feel like perhaps this dark history is something that needs to come to light, not only to clear Master Kim’s name, but also, to bring President Do and all his accomplices to justice. I feel like left as it is, this can’t help but fester, at some level. And that’s not healthy for Master Kim.
I have to admit that I’m not even sure if it would be possible for Master Kim to clear his name, because it’s more than likely than any and all evidence related to the case would have been destroyed. But, I’d like to hope, because it just doesn’t feel right, that President Do would be allowed to get away with killing a patient, just to ruin Master Kim’s career. The awfulness of that never ceases to amaze me. 🤯
Another major arc this episode, is that of President Do trying to entice Dong Joo to become allies with him, in exchange for money and power. The price for this unreasonably attractive offer? Why, Master Kim, of course. Ugh. This thing that President Do has with Master Kim feels like the obsession of a dog with a bone. It feels like Master Kim’s already moved on from their fight, and yet, President Do just keeps on hanging on, like it never occurs to him that it’s better for him to just let go. 🙄
Dong Joo’s shown a good amount of growth and progress of late, so I have to admit I felt a little disappointed that he doesn’t flatly turn down President Do’s offer, but says that he will think about it.
At the same time, it does feel like Dong Joo’s become much more aware of the true nature of President Do’s offer, and the dark and slippery slope it entails for him personally, if he were to accept. I hope that this will be enough conviction for Dong Joo to decline – but we don’t see the outcome of his decision, this episode.
Even though Head Nurse Oh is very frustrated with Master Kim’s chosen response to the knowledge that Dong Joo’s considering President Do’s offer, I actually agree with where Master Kim is coming from, in giving Dong Joo the complete freedom to make his choice. It’s completely true that ultimately, Dong Joo has to be the one to want to stay, if his stay is going to be meaningful. And even if Master Kim were to say something nice to encourage Dong Joo to stay, Dong Joo’s stay would be short-lived and pointless, if his heart weren’t truly in it.
Of course, it certainly couldn’t hurt, if Master Kim were to acknowledge Dong Joo’s worth, but to be fair to Master Kim, if Dong Joo were sincere in wanting to stay, he wouldn’t need Master Kim’s affirmation to be a deciding factor.
The mother and son pair that Seo Jung finds herself up against this hour are next-level brazen in the way that they swan around the hospital and pooh-pooh the fact that Son’s drunk driving actually killed people. Their insistent lack of remorse, while clearly playing dirty to get their way, is absolutely astounding and their obnoxious presence on my screen, legit hurt my brain. 😖😳
Of course I would be on Seo Jung’s side, as she faces off with them and their smug lawyer. I had to love how Seo Jung stands her ground and refuses to bow down to them (both literally and metaphorically), even when Director Song gets involved and starts shouting at her and threatening her, in order to get her to apologize.
Ugh. I just want to say, the more I see of Director Song, the more I’m convinced that he’s a small and cowardly person. I mean, in this case, when his strong-arm tactics fail to get Seo Jung to apologize, he runs after her and tries to cajole her to apologize – because of the money and backing that the woman and her son have, and because, as he says, that’s the way the world works. He’s completely spineless, it looks like, and unless Show manages a massive growth spurt and turnaround with him in later episodes, I feel like he doesn’t deserve even an iota of respect, whether he’s Head of Surgery or no.
What a contrast, when it’s Master Kim who’s in the room with Seo Jung. Master Kim is pleasant and appears to play nice, but in actual fact, he’s ready to get down and dirty to play at the obnoxious woman’s level, if that’s what she prefers. No wonder Obnoxious Lady backs down quite quickly, and no wonder Seo Jung can barely contain her pleased smile.
How significant, that even though Master Kim says that he doesn’t have any students, Seo Jung insists that she’ll be his student anyway, and how poignant, that we see that Master Kim actually sees his dead student’s bright enthusiasm mirrored in Seo Jung. I suddenly feel like Master Kim needs Seo Jung as his student, as much as Seo Jung needs Master Kim as her teacher.
How significant, too, that Obnoxious Son’s conscience actually wakes up, after Seo Jung takes him to see the amputee patients at the ICU. I mean, it’s heartbreaking that there’s nothing that can give those patients their legs back, but it’s something, that he actually sees the error of his ways, and sincerely apologizes. There might be hope yet, for Obnoxious Son.
The arc with the runaway soldier is quite disturbing, to say the least, particularly once it becomes clear that the plainclothes military police guys are more intent on covering up the case, than on actually helping him in any way. That’s truly awful. My heart sank when I realized that Show was hinting at organized cover-ups at the military, for violence towards soldiers.
I honestly felt like yelling at my screen, when those military police guys tried to stop the surgery from taking place, even though Dong Joo’s telling them that without the surgery, the soldier will literally die. UGH. They literally don’t care if he dies; they only care that the people in power in the military don’t get hurt. These people really don’t seem to see the soldier as a human being.
I was ecstatic when Master Kim steps in and counters the officers’ claim of obstruction of justice, with an assertion of interference with medical treatment. Huzzah! I love that Master Kim meets them on their level, and gives just as good as he gets, such that they can’t do anything to stop the surgery.
It’s quite a treat to see Dong Joo and In Beom working together in such a synergistic manner during the surgery. It feels like they’re on the same wavelength, and make good partners. I feel like there’s a lot of potential for these two to be a combined force to be reckoned with – if they can get over their baggage and hang-ups, that is.
This episode, I noticed that In Beom hesitates, before joining the team to run to tend to the soldier patient. I wonder what his hesitation is about, and what’s getting in the way of his doctoring instincts, which we’ve seen at work before. Does he sense that his father is closing in on Doldam Hospital, and is hesitating to get involved, so that he doesn’t have to take sides?
The way President Do gets involved, and even prepares the death certificate for the soldier who is still alive, is jaw-droppingly cold. I’m hoping that Dong Joo doesn’t accept President Do’s dark offer, and I’m also hoping that Master Kim will somehow be able to stop all these dirty machinations from succeeding, and maybe even blow the top off this shady cover-up of systemic violence in the military. Would that be asking for too much..? 😬
Dong Joo is thrust into a whole lotta soul searching this episode, and.. it actually goes quite well, all things considered. Yay for personal growth, and yay for progress! 🥳
Unlike in our previous episode, this episode, we see that Dong Joo is actually less swayed by President Do’s offer than he might first appear. The fact that Dong Joo actually immediately pushes back on fudging the death certificate, instead of being thrown straight into a dilemma, is a big step in the right direction. Clearly, Dong Joo’s already grown some, from the time when we’d seen him reschedule the surgery at Geodae Hospital in favor of the VIP patient, because of a request from President Do.
I guess distance has helped clear his vision somewhat. Well, that and hanging around Master Kim and Seo Jung as well, since both Master Kim and Seo Jung do play a part each, in nudging Dong Joo in the direction that he’s already leaning towards. To that end, I just wanted to say that while it’s true that ultimately, the decision is Dong Joo’s, sometimes a little encouragement, and a bit of a reminder about why he does what he does, is pretty helpful too. I feel that that’s essentially what Seo Jung and Master Kim do for him. Seo Jung tries to talk to Dong Joo several times this episode, and each time, she very intentionally reminds him of his duties as a doctor. Coming from Seo Jung, who is someone that Dong Joo values and looks up to, it lands with more weight than it would coming from someone else, I think.
The way Master Kim joins Dong Joo at his table and asks Dong Joo to drink with him, feels like a pretty.. affectionate thing to do? As in, I feel like if we’d been in an earlier episode, Master Kim might not have sat down to drink with Dong Joo. My gut says that the fact that Master Kim would sit down to drink with Dong Joo shows that he’s grown at least a little bit fond of Dong Joo, and wants to relate with him on a more personal level.
I like that the conversation between them takes on a pretty philosophical turn, and I feel that it’s quite helpful that Master Kim drops a few nuggets of wisdom, to give Dong Joo some food for thought. Among them, this is the bit that lingers with me, “Greed is often self-justified. ‘I couldn’t help it.’ ‘That was the only choice I could make.'” Such a penetrating and insightful observation!
Even though Dong Joo protests Master Kim can’t read his thoughts, and doesn’t understand what it’s like to be humiliated because one has no power or money, I feel like Master Kim’s words do stay with Dong Joo. And I appreciate that Master Kim expresses empathy for Dong Joo’s situation, saying that he knows what it’s like to be torn between one’s reality and ideals.
It feels like a lot of important nuggets of wisdom are put out there, and most important of all, I like that Master Kim once again puts the power and responsibility of the decision, fully in Dong Joo’s hands. Similar to how Master Kim had once given Dong Joo the option of halting the surgery on the patient with the bleeding liver if he didn’t feel up to performing it, this time, Master Kim puts the video footage of the surgery on the deserting soldier in Dong Joo’s hands, and tells him to do with it what he will.
I think it’s quite a weighty action to take; it shows that Master Kim isn’t pushing or shielding Dong Joo in any way; he’s said what he feels needed to be said, and now he’s putting the next step entirely in Dong Joo’s hands. There’s something empowering about that kind of trust, and although it’s possible that Dong Joo would make a disappointing decision, I feel like that kind of empowerment does do something, in terms of making you want to do the right thing. At the very least, it gives Dong Joo a lot to think about.
I was nicely entertained by how Dong Joo’s mom’s presence at the hospital gives rise to more than a bit of awkwardness.
First, we have Seo Jung getting all mortified, after she realizes that she’s been speaking a bit rudely about Dong Joo right in front of his mother. The way Seo Jung backtracks is amusing and even rather endearing (a trademark Seo Hyun Jin capability, in my opinion; she pulls it off so well!), and the way In Beom eyes Seo Jung with amusement seems to indicate some kind of burgeoning interest.
For the record, I am not sure whether In Beom’s growing interest (affection?) is meant to be romantic; it’s just that he seems to respond to Seo Jung, when she’s around him. I’d still be completely down for a sibling-esque connection between them, I think that would be really cute.
Second, we have the very awkward situation of a very drunk Dong Joo loudly and persistently declaring his feelings for Seo Jung, and then trying to plant a big, fat tipsy kiss on her lips, while squishing her face with both hands. Ahahaha. The mortification on Seo Jung’s face is quite comical, and I can’t help chuckling in disbelief, that Drunk Dong Joo is actually doing this (he’s going to be sooo embarrassed when he sobers up, I’m sure).
It’s sweet how Mom asks, as she nurses drunk Dong Joo, whether he really likes Seo Jung, and Dong Joo replies in a very cozy, contented manner that of course he likes her. I love how amused and delighted this answer makes Mom; she seems so happy to realize that her son finally has someone that he sincerely likes. Aw. 🥰
In the end, the thing that, I think, is the catalyst that galvanizes Dong Joo into seeing everything with crystal clear vision, is how the daughter of the patient who’d eventually died because Dong Joo had rescheduled his surgery in favor of the VIP patient, comes back to take him to task for her father’s death.
It’s such a painfully stark mirror of what had happened when Dong Joo himself had railed at everyone at Geodae Hospital, when his own father had died after a VIP patient had been given priority. And, it’s extra heartbreaking that Mom is there to witness it, because these are her painful memories too. Yet, Mom has so much compassion for the woman who’s now railing against Dong Joo. Mom’s simple act of helping her pick up the flyers, then apologizing to her after identifying herself as Dong Joo’s mother, is so touching. That’s such a Mom thing to do, to put herself out there and apologize on her son’s behalf, even though she herself has done nothing wrong.
I feel like Mom’s actions play a part too, in Dong Joo’s turnaround. The way Dong Joo apologizes to the woman is unreserved and sincere, and a far cry from the Dong Joo that we’d first met at the beginning of our story. The woman rants and wails at him, and it’s clear that Dong Joo understands that she needs to rant and she needs to wail, because that’s how broken her heart is; he understands because he’s been there. And that’s why he stands there and lets her do what she needs to do, to process her grief as best as she can. 💔
I gotta say, I felt a lot of vicarious satisfaction from the way Master Kim marches right into President Do’s office, and punches him in the face. I mean.. I’m not a proponent of violence or anything, but President Do’s been so stubbornly, proudly, downright awful, that he’s had it coming to him. The fact that President Do’s own attempt at a punch lands him on the floor feels like bonus humiliation, to my eyes. Heh.
I’m glad that Master Kim throws down the gauntlet and declares that he will not allow President Do to take advantage of Dong Joo and Seo Jung any longer. This is an outright statement that these are his people now, and there’s so much meaning layered into that. It means that he not only sees potential in both of them, he approves them both, and accepts them both, and is now declaring that he will protect them both. Augh. That’s pretty darn cool, honestly. ❤️
Ultimately, Dong Joo chooses to do the right thing, and gives the dead soldier’s parents an accurate cause of death on the death certificate, as well as the footage of the surgery, so that they can use it as evidence. Even more significantly, I feel, is the fact that Dong Joo cries with them, and apologizes that he’d taken so long. Our Dong Joo; he’s really growing more empathetic and compassionate, isn’t he?
I kinda love that Director Song completely loses it when he realizes what Dong Joo has done, and yet, Dong Joo is completely serene, in the face of Director Song’s mad ranting. Actually, as Director Song keeps talking about how it can’t be that hard to ignore the feeling of shame “just once,” I can’t help thinking that on that path that Director Song himself chose, to align himself with President Do, the need to ignore shame becomes a recurring thing; it’s not a one time thing at all.
I feel so glad to hear Dong Joo say, “I came to think that this might be a place where I can pretend to be a nice person,” because the fact that he can articulate it, means that it’s become that real for him. I do think that he means more than “maybe” when Director Song questions if he wouldn’t mind not returning to Geodae Hospital for good.
It’s true that not everything goes smoothly for Dong Joo, in that Seo Jung doesn’t agree to date him this episode either, when he asks, and In Beom’s now under instructions from his father to get (probably nefariously) involved in Chairman Shin’s surgery.. but for now, I’m just very proud of him. You did good today, Dr. Kang. You did good.