Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Wouldja just look at these contented faces? Ah, I love it when Dong Joo and In Beom work well together, seriously. 🤩
I hope you guys are ready to chat about Dr. Romantic episodes 17 & 18! A little bit of logistics, and our usual ground rules, before we begin:
1. Because this show is listed as 20 episodes with 1 special episode, I will give my final verdict and final grade after next week’s pair of episodes, on 5 May 2021. We will still take an extra week, to discuss the special episode (listed as episode 21 on some sites), on 12 May 2021.
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! ❤️
After the cliffhanger of our previous episode, we finally get to see how Chairman Shin’s surgery goes, along with President Do and his fleet of cardiothoracic surgeons.
I was so anxious, while watching Dong Joo and In Beom step away from their standby positions to perform the surgery on the patient with the ulcer perforation. In such a tight situation, it felt like anything could go wrong, and derail Chairman Shin’s surgery. I’m just so grateful to Show, for not allowing that to happen. Phew. 😅
Instead, we get to see Dong Joo and In Beom working really well together, and it’s such a cathartic experience, really, because my gut’s been convinced for a while, that these two would make a great team. It’s also gratifying to see In Beom’s impressed looks, when he realizes that Dong Joo’s suturing skills are next level, in the tradition of Master Kim.
I was SO relieved to see Dong Joo and In Beom make it back to the other operating theater in time, and scrub in together, like the pair of reluctant buddies that they’re meant to be.
What a treat, to see Dong Joo and In Beom work in seamless tandem together, not once, but twice in a row. 🤩 Can they be surgical buddies for good now, pretty please?
It’s hugely gratifying to see the entire audience of cardiothoracic surgeons slack-jawed and in awe of the Doldam team’s prowess on their screen; I felt like a proud mother hen, even though I have absolutely no credit to claim for the team’s success, heh.
Equally gratifying, is the perplexed look on President Do’s face, as he realizes that there’s really nothing to nitpick, because, in the words of his chief cardiothoracic surgeon, everything’s done perfectly, by the book. YASS.
It’s fantastic, that the Doldam team is able to complete the surgery within 6 hours and 2 minutes, even though their best forecast had been 6 hours and 20 minutes. This, despite the fact that they’d lost 10-12 minutes from the rupturing of the aorta. Woah. That’s impressive. How surreal it must be, for the doctors from Geodae Hospital, to realize that such excellence, which they can only aspire to, exists in this dinky little hospital in the middle of nowhere.
How thoughtful of Master Kim, to pause to let Seo Jung touch the artificial heart, at the end of the surgery, because this is a significant milestone in her career as a cardiothoracic surgeon. Seo Jung’s moved, tearful expression, as she drinks in the moment, is just everything. So lovely. ❤️
The only thing that makes this moment even better, is the fist bump that In Beom reluctantly shares with Dong Joo. YES. Make peace; be friends. You guys are SO good together!
Of course, just because the surgery went well doesn’t mean that President Do won’t make every effort to make things difficult for Master Kim. That scene where he makes a fuss about Chairman Shin taking longer than expected to wake up from the anesthesia, while pretending that he’s oh-so-concerned about the Chairman, is aggravating to watch. Can he actually make Master Kim responsible for going ahead with the surgery, when it had been the patient who’d insisted on having the surgery?
I’m glad that Master Kim doesn’t take it lying down, and calls out President Do on whether or not he even wants the Chairman to wake up – which gives Director Shin some pause for thought, it seems. And, to counter President Do’s subsequent interference later in the episode, where he even orders Master Kim off Chairman Shin’s case, Master Kim produces a notarized handwritten note from Chairman Shin, authorizing him to make any and all decisions for his recovery, post-surgery. Ha. Take that, President Do. 😏
I hate that President Do calls on Seo Jung, and talks to her like he wasn’t the one who’d unceremoniously cut off their relationship. Ugh. The shamelessness of this man. 🙄 And, he even tries to set Seo Jung up with a young surgeon, saying that they should have lunch together sometime, and that Seo Jung should talk about the surgery with the younger doctor.
Of course, with Seo Jung’s longstanding desire to earn President Do’s approval, she seems stuck in a very awkward position. I think she knows that he’s trying to use her, but at the same time, I feel like she can’t bring herself to reject him, because that desire for his approval is almost programmed into her, by now.
It’s a good thing that Dong Joo’s outside keeping watch, and swoops in to whisk Seo Jung away on the pretext of her needing to see Master Kim immediately.
..Which gives our couple a bit of alone time in the staff room, where Dong Joo blusters a bit, about how Seo Jung should just get up and leave, rather than listen to this kind of nonsense, and then he gets all riled up about how he should put a sign on Seo Jung’s back, announcing that she has a boyfriend.
It seems that Dong Joo’s big show of concern melts Seo Jung into a puddle of marshmallow sweetness, coz she leans her head on his shoulder and snuggles up to him, holding his arm. It’s cute that this discombobulates Dong Joo somewhat, so much so that he feels unable to order pizza like he was going to. Heh. Cute. These two deserve a bit of couple time, where they actually learn how to be a couple, I think.
I’m rather disappointed that In Beom continues to be harsh on Yeon Hwa, but I suppose it’s realistic. Change takes time, and we’ve already seen In Beom (very reluctantly) soften towards Dong Joo. It’s too soon, I guess, to expect that he’d soften towards Yeon Hwa too.
I appreciate Eun Tak’s point-of-view, that teaching someone and belittling them are two different things, and that just because Yeon Hwa’s made mistakes, doesn’t make it ok for In Beom to scold her in a way that robs her of her dignity. At the same time, I take Head Nurse Oh’s point, that this isn’t Eun Tak’s battle to fight. I understand that he can’t help it though; boy’s definitely got heart-eyes for Yeon Hwa, after all.
On another note, I’m really happy for Dong Joo, that Master Kim praises him for a job well done, on the surgery for the patient with the ulcer perforation. It’s clear that Dong Joo feels he was in the wrong, for not seeking Master Kim’s approval before going ahead, so it’s extra surprising to him, that Master Kim would praise him instead of berate him. Aw! I’m so happy for Dong Joo. He’s been working really hard and earnestly trying to be the best doctor that each patient needs in the moment; it’s great that he’s getting some hard-earned acknowledgment from Master Kim. This dazed look of happy wonder on Dong Joo’s face is so great. 🤩
I hated watching that reporter snoop around Master Kim’s office while he was in surgery; that is so unscrupulous, seriously. I don’t blame Master Kim at all, for not wanting to speak to him as a matter of principle.
It does seem like Reporter Oh is familiar with the supposed facts related to death of Master Kim’s student Jang Hyun Joo, though. I wonder how dirty Reporter Oh is.. Like, has he actually been bribed by President Do, or does he have a personal reason for snooping around Master Kim like this?
Although it’s drama coincidence that Reporter Oh would be taking a break at Dr. Nam’s restaurant while Dr. Nam and Head Nurse Oh talk about some actual facts around Master Kim’s case, I rationalize that it’s plausible because neither Dr. Nam nor Head Nurse Oh know what Reporter Oh looks like, AND, there aren’t a lot of choices, really, if we’re talking about eating places near Doldam Hospital.
Now that Reporter Oh’s overheard that President Do was involved in putting all the blame on Master Kim, not only in Jang Hyun Joo’s case, but in the cases of other patients as well, it seems that he’s wavering, and might even want to bring the truth to light. Interestinggg. Will Reporter Oh’s desire for the truth be enough, though?
Also, what’s this nugget of information shared by Dr. Nam in relation to Jang Hyun Joo’s case, that Master Kim had made the decision to save a child’s life? And, what is up with President Yeo making that trip to Sokcho? Would that also have something to do with the child whom Master Kim saved?
Together, Master Kim’s past and Doldam Hospital’s future are the focal points of this episode, and it’s all pretty tense and dramatic stuff.
Judging from Master Kim’s refusal to comment on the truth that Reporter Oh wants to unveil, I feel like Master Kim’s choosing to punish himself for the past. Even though he’s the one who’d been framed by President Do, it appears that he still considers himself at fault for things that he could have said or done, but hadn’t. There is a lot of guilt baked into the only comment that he gives Reporter Oh, “14 years ago, Boo Yong Joo.. was a coward. He stayed silent.. and ran away. That’s all.”
Usually Master Kim appears so wise and in control, so it strikes me as sad and quite plaintive, that underneath his sage appearance, there’s so much guilt eating away at him. I really hope that by the time we finish our story, Master Kim will be set free from the weight of his conscience.
At the same time, I do like Master Kim’s voiceover, about seemingly insignificant moments in life, that eventually come together to make a path. It is true, that oftentimes, things that we don’t pay much attention to in life, are the milestones that connect to one another, to show a throughline when we look at how everything fits into the bigger picture.
The rumor that Reporter Oh starts, which then evolves into an actual threat that Doldam Hospital will be closed down, hits everyone really hard. I mean, if a cool, tough cookie like Head Nurse Oh would actually break down in tears, that means that it’s serious. 😬 I’m glad that Dr. Nam manages to be there for her, to at least pat her shoulder and let her know that she isn’t alone.
I’m intrigued by Head Nurse Oh’s conclusion, that Manager Jang had been the one to leak Master Kim’s plans for a trauma center, to President Do. The circumstantial evidence certainly fits, but Manager Jang swears on his honor that he didn’t do it. If he didn’t do it, then could it have been Reporter Oh? He’s the only other person that we’ve seen snooping around Master Kim’s office. Unless it’s someone else who’s sneaked in without our being privy to it. 🤔
Every time we get evidence of Dong Joo’s growth and maturity, I perk up with satisfaction; there’s just something about a more grounded, wiser Dong Joo that really appeals to me. And this episode, I’m glad that he’s the one who gives voice to everyone’s worries, when he asks Master Kim to comment on the rumor that Doldam Hospital is about to be forcibly closed.
Importantly, Dong Joo only focuses on what this means for the people involved; he doesn’t talk about politics or policies, only about the staff and how distracted and distressed they are. And then when Master Kim states that he has no intention of allowing Doldam Hospital to close, it’s Dong Joo who takes the lead, in resuming emergency care, when the next patient is brought in.
It makes me happy to realize that in the past, Dong Joo would have been the last in line to respond in a situation like this, and now, he’s the one out in front, setting an example for others to follow. Our Dong Joo’s come such a long way. 🤩
Chairman Shin regains consciousness in the nick of time; literally, as the team from Geodae Hospital is trying to gain entry to Doldam Hospital through the human barricade of Doldam staff, which results in a ridiculously epic slo-mo brawl in the hospital lobby. 😂
Seo Jung’s and Master Kim’s joyful expressions and warm interactions with Chairman Shin are great, but it’s Master Kim pulling that merong (메롱) expression at President Do, that steals the show. Ha. That feels out of character, but yet, weirdly in character, at the same time. 😆
I love that Dong Joo notices In Beom’s discomfort, and goes to seek him out, and invites In Beom to join him on the case where the patient’s abdomen’s been penetrated by glass shards, even though the two of them are mostly on gruff terms.
It makes me so proud of Dong Joo, to see that he doesn’t allow the low-grade tension between him and In Beom, to get in the way of him reaching out and finding a way to make In Beom feel included. That’s so important, given that in this moment, In Beom feels like an outsider at Doldam Hospital, because of what his dad is trying to do. I am so impressed that Dong Joo is able to see the root of In Beom’s uneasiness, and offer something that addresses that root in such a neat way.
More than that, I freaking love that Dong Joo maintains his good humor, even when In Beom reacts in a prickly manner. He’s so grounded now, and empathy is coming so much more naturally to him as well. I love it.
With all these steps forward, though, I suppose I should have anticipated that Show would throw some kind of spanner in the works, for Dong Joo. And this episode, we get that in the form of President Do anonymously sending a medical report to Dong Joo, which states that Master Kim had been the doctor in charge of his father’s case, once upon a time. Ack. I wonder if this is true, or if it’s something that President Do’s had fabricated.
Whichever it is, it completely messes with Dong Joo, and I feel bad for him, because it drags him back into the thick of his most painful memories. 🙁
Speaking of painful memories, we get more insight into Master Kim’s student Jang Hyun Joo, and see how she, as a patient at Geodae Hospital, had basically badgered him so brightly, and so persistently, that he’d relented and given her material to study. We also see that she’d been the one to christen him Master Kim, and that before she’d gone into surgery, she’d written him a letter and made him a present consisting of a mix tape and her student ID, which Master Kim had only received after her death, at her funeral wake.
Guh. The sight of Master Kim sobbing in the car, grieving over her death, is so heartbreaking. He’s always so calm and collected, that it’s quite startling to see him actually weeping. Which, really, just goes to show how deeply Jang Hyun Joo’s death affects him. 💔
And so it is, that Dong Joo’s most painful memories collide with Master Kim’s, as our episode’s final arc kicks into gear.
With three surgeries that need to happen urgently, and a small team of doctors that’s not quite sufficient to tackle all three at the same time, some important prioritization needs to take place. And, as fate would have it, one of the patients has an aortic dissection, which is the exact condition for which Dong Joo’s father had been hospitalized, when he’d been passed over for that VIP patient.
Dang. With the memories of the past so recently stirred up, and fresh doubt cast on Master Kim, I can see why this would hit too close to home, for Dong Joo, and I can understand why he’d be so emotionally invested in terms of whether this particular patient with aortic dissection gets prioritized or not. I can also see why Dong Joo might blurt out what he says, asking if Master Kim had passed over his dad in a similar fashion, 14 years ago.
While this is all very bad timing, and it’s hard to see our key characters in emotional turmoil, I do think that this truth needs to come to light, so that both Master Kim and Dong Joo can be set free from the shackles of guilt and the specters of “what if’s.” For both their sakes, I hope that we’ll sort through the truth soon.
I’m not sure what to make of Reporter Oh snooping around and asking questions of Dong Joo’s mom. His slimey reputation makes me nervous, but his recent expressed desire to bring the truth to light gives me a bit of hope. Is he going to help the situation, or make things worse? 😬