Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! We get some significant movement on the OTP front, and considering that we are about two-thirds of the way through our story, I’d say it sounds about right. 😉
I hope you guys are ready to chat about Dr. Romantic episodes 13 & 14! 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! ❤️
Dong Joo’s our MVP this episode, and watching him pour himself out for the sake of the patients before him in need, I can’t help but marvel at how far he’s come, from when we first met him.
But first, let me back up to where we left off, last episode. We open this episode with In Beom’s voiceover, that essentially confirms that he’s lying to Master Kim about his experience with heart surgery, in hopes that he’ll be made the first assistant on Chairman Shin’s surgery, in line with his father’s orders. In In Beom’s defense, it does sound like he doesn’t want to lie, but finds himself lying anyway, before he even realizes what he really wants.
Also, I tend to think that Master Kim doesn’t actually believe In Beom’s claims, judging from his decision to appoint Seo Jung first assistant instead. Of course, that also has to do with how qualified and prepared Seo Jung is, and I’m glad that her enthusiasm, diligence and preparedness shines through, for Master Kim to see.
I do love that we get to see Dong Joo and Seo Jung working together so that she can practice her purse string suture. There’s something so pure about that; they aren’t working in competition against each other like other doctors in our drama world are wont to do. Instead, they are on the same side, and taking joy from the same small victories, as a team. It’s not a romantic moment; it’s a moment of pure solidarity and teamwork. And I find it all so wholesome and pure. What a lovely, lovely sight, truly. 😍
On that note, I think it’s significant that in the staff room, when Master Kim is getting ready to announce the team for Chairman Shin’s surgery, it’s Dong Joo who steps forward to ask who will be appointed first assistant.
The tone in which he asks it feels personal; it sounds akin to the tone he’s used before, when asking Master Kim about surgical appointments that had concerned himself. But here, he’s stepping out and asking that for Seo Jung, probably because he overheard In Beom requesting the appointment from Master Kim. And he asks it in the same invested, personal tone. Somehow, that idea, that Dong Joo is taking Seo Jung’s appointment personally, lands sweet, to my eyes.
Seo Jung’s first assistant path is anything but smooth, however, especially with the way Chairman Shin reacts when she introduces herself as his doctor, and immediately asks to be treated by a male doctor instead. Ugh. The misogyny is hard to swallow, and I’m glad that our girl Seo Jung refuses to be intimidated by Chairman Shin and his big voiced threats and his petty refusal to cooperate.
I just love that Seo Jung doesn’t need Master Kim to step in to rescue her from a cantankerous Chairman Shin. She handles him beautifully, I feel. She remains polite and firm, and even manages to soften him up a bit, with a bit of gentleness and charm. It’s clear that she eventually wears him down, because when she slips up and addresses him as “Grandpa” instead of “Chairman,” Chairman Shin even snickers to himself, as Seo Jung shows herself out. That’s our Seo Jung; she can soften up the toughest nut, and she’ll charm his socks off while she’s at it – without even needing to try to be charming. I love her.
In the meantime, we see that Dong Joo’s growing increasingly tired, as he continues to work non-stop. From the snippets that we see, it seems that he’s only snatching bits of sleep at his desk, which appear to be regularly interrupted by work-related calls. And each time, he simply rouses himself, and keeps on pushing on. That’s not at all sustainable, and so, when Dong Joo ends up being the only doctor in the ER when the entire ER is shut down for emergency quarantine, I started to worry for his wellbeing.
Through all of this, though, I can’t help noticing that for the first time since the start of our story, Dong Joo is consistently putting the needs of the patients, and the needs of the situation, above his own. He knows that he’s tired, but he also knows that he’s only doctor in the ER, and he knows that the patients need him, and that’s why he keeps on pushing on, until his body gives out. Plus, he continues to be kind to the patients, even though he’s exhausted.
That’s.. huge, coming from Dong Joo, who’d once upon a time run off to meet President Do when he should have been tending to patients, in hopes of getting his job at Geodae Hospital back. He’s come a long way, our Dong Joo.. Now, he just needs to find some kind of balance, so that he doesn’t end up running himself into the ground.
What a contrast with Director Song, who’s hurrying to get off work, so that he will have as little to do with the potential MERS situation as possible. This, even after Master Kim has specifically told him about the patient requiring surgery for acute appendicitis. My gosh. Director Song’s petulance and lack of compassion for the patient, is so stark, in contrast to Dong Joo’s selfless actions. No wonder Master Kim loses patience with him and raises his voice. Thankfully for the patient, Director Song’s cowed enough by Master Kim’s reprimand – and everyone else’s judgey looks – to acquiesce.
The way Master Kim readies himself to go into the ER after Dong Joo collapses, feels very personal and heartfelt. I know that Master Kim says that same thing that we heard Seo Jung say in an early episode, that when it comes to patients, it’s not the order of arrival; it’s the order of emergency (which is a really nice callback, because it efficiently reinforces the idea that Master Kim and Seo Jung are on similar wavelengths).
At the same time, Master Kim’s reaction to seeing Dong Joo collapse feels quite personal, to my eyes. The look on his face speaks of worry and concern, and the way Master Kim rests his head on the door of the ER, to gather his thoughts, makes me feel that it’s not just his head talking; his heart is fully in this too.
Which is similar to the way Seo Jung responds as well.
From the minute Seo Jung realizes that Dong Joo was in an emergency quarantine in the ER, she shows a lot of visceral concern for Dong Joo. And before that was even an issue, Seo Jung was already concerned for Dong Joo having been on duty for 3 days in a row without rest. Seo Jung definitely cares more for Dong Joo than she’d probably like to admit.
The way Seo Jung rushes to see if she could catch a glimpse of Dong Joo through the windows of the ER, and the way she stops in her tracks, her eyes filling with tears, when she does spot him, say a great deal about how much Dong Joo’s wellbeing means to her. On that note, I’d like to also say that the feeling is mutual, because Dong Joo’s only concern, despite being exhausted and caught in a difficult situation, is that Seo Jung step away from the ER.
Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that Seo Jung would step up and volunteer to go into the ER in Master Kim’s stead. As much as she wants to participate in the heart surgery for Chairman Shin, what matters more to her, is the current situation and what is needful – and Dong Joo’s wellbeing as well, I’m sure.
I appreciate that Seo Jung has a perfectly professional reason for her decision; that in a situation like this, it’s an emergency medicine specialist that’s needed in the emergency room, and not a surgeon. This brings to mind Master Kim’s romantic philosophy, where he simply tries to be the doctor that the patients needs, in the moment. I feel like that’s exactly what Seo Jung is doing right now. She’s choosing to be the doctor that the patients need, and as Master Kim points out, the ones who are most in need right now, are the patients in the ER. I’m sure that beneath his concerned, gruff expression, Master Kim is proud of her.
I’m hoping that the whole MERS thing turns out to be a false alarm, so that Seo Jung will still be able to participate in Chairman Shin’s surgery as first assistant. She’s worked hard for that, and even though she’s ready to give it up for something that she feels is more needful, I can’t help but wish that she’ll get to do both.
As for In Beom, I’m hoping to see some growth from him in the coming episodes. This episode, he’d lied in order to align himself with his father’s orders, and, by a twist of fate, he ends up getting the appointment which he’d originally lost to Seo Jung. While I think In Beom’s a competent doctor, it does niggle at me that he appears uncertain of what to do, when his father exerts pressure on him. That’s why I feel like I can’t trust him right now. And I’d like to be able to trust him.
This is an episode swelling with feelings, and not just of the romantic variety, and I found it pretty satisfying to watch, all-around.
Seo Jung gets to join the team in the ER like she’d requested, and this episode, we learn through her voiceover, that she’d just really wanted to be with Dong Joo, in this moment. Her interest is very personal after all, and while it’s not the impartial decision that one would hope for a medical decision to be, I appreciate that Seo Jung’s honest about it, at least with herself.
Also, what a relief, that Dong Joo isn’t suffering from a serious ailment, but is simply too exhausted and too dehydrated to function, and needs little more than some simple medication, hydration and sufficient sleep. Phew.
How significant, though, that even though, as his attending physician, Seo Jung now knows that Dong Joo’s going to be just fine, she still nurses him, holds his hand, and stays with him, all of which is way beyond the call of duty.
There are definitely some feelings going on around here, and I feel happy for Dong Joo, that when he groggily opens his eyes, that even in his half-waking state, he gets to see that Seo Jung’s right there with him. I feel like he’s earned that bit of encouragement, y’know?
Meanwhile, we see that Master Kim’s starting to show signs of being suspicious of In Beom, first in the way that he asks In Beom whether he’d been the one to tell Seo Jung that Dong Joo had fainted, because that information wasn’t shared with her floor, and then later, when Master Kim asks again to confirm In Beom’s claim that he’s done an ECMO operation before.
I’m disappointed that In Beom basically grits his teeth and continues to lie through it all, because that feels wrong, but I can also understand that feeling of being trapped in a lie that you now regret. From In Beom’s shifty-eyed frowns, I gather that he does regret telling those initial lies, when he’d first requested to be the first assistant on Chairman Shin’s surgery, but he feels that it’s too late to back out now, and therefore just continues with the lies.
I’m not at all surprised at Master Kim’s approach in dealing with In Beom’s lies. By now, it seems like quite a Master Kim sort of thing to do, to accept the lie at face value, give the person a chance to prove him wrong, and then call out the liar based on physical evidence that shows up because of the person’s lack of competence.
What does surprise me is Master Kim’s words to In Beom, “I won’t ask you why you had to do all those things. But, do not degrade yourself… by acting as if you were expendable.”
How interesting, that in reprimanding In Beom, Master Kim chooses to affirm In Beom’s worth, instead of tear it down. It feels like Master Kim sees strength and potential in In Beom that In Beom himself may not realize, and I’m curious to see how In Beom’s personal journey develops, going forward.
I was struck by the strong emotions driving the behaviors of Terrible Boyfriend and Concerned Mom, this episode. Both of them are so intent on breaking through the locked doors of the ER, but there are such different emotions and motivations propelling them.
Terrible Boyfriend is driven by fear and self-interest, and is ready to abandon his girlfriend, even though she is suffering from acute appendicitis and in a lot of pain, if it means that he can get out of there. And on the other end of the scale, we have Concerned Mom, who is driven by worry and love for her children. She doesn’t care if it means that she might be exposing herself to a dangerous virus; she just wants to be with her children. Night and day, seriously.
I was rather nervous that either or both of them might successfully break out of or into the locked ER, but thankfully, Mr. Gu and Eun Tak come to the rescue. I loved the sudden badassery that we see from Eun Tak, who basically throws Terrible Boyfriend to the floor in a single move. Wow! I never knew Eun Tak had it in him, and I’m suitably impressed. 🤩
And while I appreciate the angst of Concerned Mom, I would have expected Doldam Hospital to have handled this with more humanity; what happened to the possibility of connecting Concerned Mom with her kids over the phone? I feel like that was a deliberate oversight, in order to amp up the drama in this scene. I get that that’s how Show rolls, but in a case where we actually see doctors and nurses communicating over the phone with people on the outside of the ER, it’s hard to forget that this is also a possibility for the patients and their guardians, y’know? 😜
On another note, I just wanted to say that I’m pleased that Director Song is cornered into performing the surgery, even though he really would have preferred to go home. Muahaha. Time to join the rest of your colleagues in the trenches, Director Song. 😏
I’m relieved, along with everyone else, that it isn’t a case of MERS after all, and this means that Seo Jung gets to retain her position as first assistant in Chairman Shin’s surgery – YAY! I’m so happy for her, that she doesn’t have to give up the surgery after all.
It says a lot about Master Kim, that he would still allow In Beom to be part of the surgical team for Chairman Shin’s surgery, even though In Beom had lied about his credentials. It’s a gracious person who is able to give someone else a second chance, and so soon after discovering that person’s misconduct, too. I do think that, left to his own devices, In Beom would take this lesson seriously, and become a better doctor and person for it. However, he’s currently still under orders from his father, so I’m a little nervous at where this might go.
It’s great to see the team working so well together, as they prepare for the surgery. I love that they are all on the same side now (well, aside from In Beom, potentially), and it’s really heartwarming to see them gathering themselves around a common goal. 🥰
My drama senses are perking up because of what Chairman Shin says to his assistant about not telling Master Kim about what happened 20 years ago, until after the surgery is over. Might this mean that Chairman Shin was a VIP patient that was prioritized over someone else, which then resulted in another patient’s death? And might that patient be Dong Joo’s father..? Or did Chairman Shin have something to do with the death of Master Kim’s student..? 😳 Whatever it is, it promises to be something dramatic. 😬
I have to admit that I’m quite taken with Dong Joo’s contented expression, when he wakes up and finds that Seo Jung’s asleep next to his bed, on the visitor’s cot. He just looks so gratified and.. fulfilled, to see Seo Jung there. It’s like looking at her is enough to make him happy, and I like that.
I also like that, once Seo Jung wakes up, the way they talk to each other is casual and familiar. Even though, at this point, the romantic possibilities in their relationship is still in question, there’s clearly a personal connection here, in the way she asks after him and in the way he answers. They are definitely comfortable around each other, and their sleepy voices are just bonus, and super endearing to my ears.
While part of my brain started sending off early alarm bells at the fact that Dong Joo invades Seo Jung’s personal space, by first grabbing her arm and getting her to sit down on the bed beside him, then leaning into her face, and then hugging her, I rationalize that the manner in which he does these things, definitely helps to make it all land more comfortably.
There’s a distinct gentleness about Dong Joo, even as he leans in to search Seo Jung’s face, and I like that through it all, there’s also a good-naturedness about him that shines through. He tells her that he’s checking to see if she’s lying about not staying with him and holding his hand when he’d been unconscious, and when she admits that it was her, he leans back and smiles amiably. And then when he pulls her in for a hug, he does so very gently as well, in a way that makes me feel that Seo Jung could actually push him away, if she was uncomfortable enough to want to stop the hug from happening.
..And importantly, Seo Jung doesn’t. She gives in to the hug, and the expression on her face is happy and contented too, which in turns makes me happy and contented too, for this pair of maybe-lovebirds.
I kinda love that Manager Jang ends up nudging Dong Joo into buying a necklace for Seo Jung for Christmas (which has evolved into something of a couple’s holiday in Korea, rather than a family event). I’m pretty sure that without that nudge to buy it, along with another huge nudge in the way Manager Jang basically gives the box to Seo Jung for Dong Joo, I don’t think this gift-giving milestone would have happened.
Or at least, it wouldn’t have happened so soon. Maybe Dong Joo would’ve had to wait for someone else to give him a nudge on White Day (14 March, a day where guys give girls tokens of their affection, after the girls give guys chocolates on 14 February, Valentine’s Day) instead, heh. 😉
I like how honest this conversation is, where Seo Jung asks Dong Joo what the necklace is supposed to mean. Not only is there a nice amount of honesty in this scene, there’s also a sweet tentativeness about Dong Joo (in place of the brashness in episode 1), as he tries to understand why Seo Jung is trying to return the necklace. Here, and now, I feel like he’s sincerely trying to understand her, and is genuinely uncertain of himself, and that appeals to me quite a bit.
Significantly, I appreciate that Seo Jung doesn’t lie to him, as she tells him that she doesn’t want to receive the necklace, and why. I really like that she tells him things that she’s felt unable to articulate all this time; that she likes him; that she can’t help thinking of the accident from 5 years ago, the more she likes him; that it’s not fair to him.
I’m moved by the single tear that leaks out of Dong Joo’s eye, as he tells her that he doesn’t mind; that all he’s ever wanted, was to hear that she likes him too, and that nothing else matters.
When he leans forward to put the necklace on her, and she instinctively steps back, I’m quite struck by how vulnerable Dong Joo looks, as he gazes uncertainly into her eyes and asks, “Is it a no?” I feel like it’s his plaintive vulnerability that speaks for him, and that Seo Jung responds to. I feel like it’s why she lets him put the necklace on for her, and receives his kiss.
And what a lovely kiss it is. There’s a whole lot of pent-up emotion on both sides, but the kiss itself is gentle and tender, even though it’s threaded through with hunger. Melt. ❤️
Last but not least, how interesting that Yeon Hwa is back in our story world, and she’s now going to work as a pay doctor at Doldam Hospital! I’d had a feeling she’d be back, after that very abrupt exit, and I’m glad we get more backstory on her this time. How heartwarming, to hear that it was the Doldam team that had inspired her to continue with her chosen career in medicine, and how cool, that she’ll now get to work among them.
Her crush on Dong Joo still seems to be intact, though, and I wonder how she will react, once she realizes that Dong Joo’s now dating Seo Jung? 😛