Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Group fist-bump, that we’ve made it to the end, together! ❤️😉
I hope you guys are ready to chat about Dr. Romantic episodes 19 & 20! A little bit of logistics, and our usual ground rules, before we begin:
1. We will be discussing the special episode (listed as episode 21 on some sites) next week, on 12 May 2021. No spoilers for the special episode, please!
2. I will be putting up a brainstorming post shortly (edit: it’s here!), where we can discuss what shows we’d like to consider for our next group watch – if you guys still want to keep the group watch going, that is. Please take some time to pop on over, to share your thoughts! 😃
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this pair of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
It’s a very confronting hour for our Dong Joo; there are so many different thoughts and feelings warring against each other, within him. It’s a difficult time for him, and it’s hard to watch him struggle, but like I said before, I do feel that this specific struggle is needful, for him.
It’s a hard thing for Dong Joo to hear, that Master Kim had made the decision to operate on the other patient first, even though, as a doctor, he fully understands what Master Kim is saying, about weighing the urgency of each case.
I’m proud of Dong Joo, though, for essentially sucking it up, and putting his emotions aside, in order to perform the surgeries as needed.
He could have made a different choice; he could have chosen to give in to his emotions and kick up an even bigger fuss; he could have accepted Master Kim’s offer for In Beom to take over the surgery, if he didn’t feel up to it.
But instead, Dong Joo chooses to do the surgery. He put the patients’ needs, and the needs of the situation, above his own emotional needs. And I think anyone who makes that kind of choice, deserves respect.
Yes, Dong Joo’s still not in a good place. Of course he isn’t; he still hasn’t had the time or space to work through how he feels about it all. Therefore, I can understand that he’s not at his emotional best, even as he deals with the patients’ guardians.
I just think he deserves some credit and acknowledgment, because putting aside such a huge emotional wound, which is freshly open, thanks to President Do’s meddling, takes a lot of inner strength. And he does do a good job, with both surgeries.
I’m glad that Dr. Nam thinks to give Dong Joo a word of friendly praise, as he says with a smile, “You failed to disappoint me yet again, Dr. Kang.” Aw. I like Dr. Nam. He’s a good egg.
On a tangent, I can’t help noticing how unflappable Master Kim is, even though his small team is under pressure to operate on 3 urgent cases.
His groundedness surely is evidence of his years of experience and maturity. He doesn’t give in to the pressure that the staff from outside try to apply, with earnest enquiries about how much longer the surgery will take. In fact, he even has the presence of mind to coach Seo Jung, through the tying up of the proximal.
It’s clear that this doesn’t actually extend the length of the surgery, since the procedure has to be done while waiting for the patient’s temperature to rise, so there’s enough time for him to talk Seo Jung through it.
I just think that in a situation where things are tense, and everyone’s antsy over how much longer the surgery would take, most head surgeons would, I imagine, opt not to coach someone else through a procedure, in case anything goes wrong.
It just seems more straightforward, to do it themselves. Which is why I can’t help feeling a healthy sense of respect for Master Kim, that he’s so unmoved and unaffected by the flurry of stress around him.
He even remembers to praise Seo Jung for a job well done. I mean, it’s one thing to coach well, but it’s a whole other thing to coach well, while in the middle of what is technically an emergency.
It’s such a good thing, that Seo Jung picks up Dong Joo’s phone, when Mom calls. Mom is clearly worried about Dong Joo, and if anyone can calm someone else down, just by being herself, it’s Seo Jung.
I love the way she talks so warmly and so easily with Mom, which effectively lifts Mom’s spirits, even though she doesn’t get to check in with Dong Joo.
In the meantime, I really do feel for Dong Joo, as he wrestles between his head and his heart.
What he says to Master Kim, in response to Master Kim’s explanation of the situation, sums it up perfectly, “I understand what you are saying with my head. But why do I feel like I’ve been fooled? As a doctor, I know what the situation is like. But as a son, why do I keep getting upset?”
Aw. Dong Joo looks so torn up and broken, that I just want to reach into my screen and rub his back and tell him that it’s not his fault.
I appreciate that Master Kim chooses to speak to him gently, even as he reminds Dong Joo that he’s the only one who can answer that question; that he’s no longer a helpless kid, but a doctor. It’s a gentle form of tough love, and it does feel like the right choice for right now.
As it turns out, though, on that fateful day, Master Kim hadn’t known about the dissection patient coming in before the VIP patient.
I do respect Master Kim’s explanation to Dr. Nam though, that even if he’d known, he would have made the same decision, and that telling Dong Joo he hadn’t known, wouldn’t bring any comfort to Dong Joo at all.
Such a wise and well-considered position, truly.
Dang. President Do really keeps up his reputation for being the biggest slimeball in South Korea. I can hardly believe that he’d actually get articles published, that blatantly claim the changing of the artificial heart is a success achieved by Geodae Hospital.
Wow. That’s low. 🤯
It might be argued that it’s technically an achievement from within the Geodae Hospital family, since Doldam Hospital is affiliated with Geodae Hospital.
However, President Do’s intentions are clearly not aboveboard, given that the articles don’t even mention Master Kim, even though Master Kim was the lead surgeon on the case.
I have to confess that I felt very gratified to see every member of the Doldam team politely turn down the invitation proffered by Director Song, to attend the celebration organized by Geodae Hospital.
I love that for all of them, except for In Beom, the reason is simply they will not attend, since Master Kim is not attending. Heh. I love how they are clear about that.
I feel bad for Dong Joo, that not only are the patients’ guardians acting out in ways that appear unreasonable and ungrateful, he even loses the patient, when the man goes into cardiac arrest.
From his point-of-view, this really is the last thing that he needs; his nerves are already frayed, and he’s operating under a great deal of stress. It’s understandable – though not right – that he would lose his patience and speak unprofessionally.
However, I think Show does a good job of demonstrating that neither guardian is truly nasty or evil. Both women are just extremely stressed and worried about their husbands, and it’s human nature to look for someone or something to blame, when things aren’t going well.
I feel that both women were pretty realistically portrayed; I could believe that people in their situations, would behave the way they did.
Keeping in mind that Dong Joo still hasn’t had time to process his multitude of thoughts and feelings, the outburst that Dong Joo has in front of Master Kim, in his office, feels organic to my eyes.
The sense of being maligned and misjudged by the guardians, even after he’d done his best, and the desire to blame Master Kim for what had happened to his dad, even though he knows, as a fellow doctor now, that Master Kim had done what he felt was best, just like Dong Joo had done today, all comes to a boil, and overflows in a rush of angry words.
I like that even though Master Kim doesn’t say much, he manages to show a sense of empathy, by pointing out that even though, as doctors, they work to save lives, they inevitably have to take criticism and blame, because of the work that they do.
I think just presenting that as part and parcel of being a doctor, is a helpful (and neutral!) perspective, that will help Dong Joo process everything.
Dong Joo also finds out from Dr. Nam, that it was Master Kim’s decision to step down from his position, that had shielded him and his mother from the cost of damages, from when he’d stormed the ER after his father’s death.
So.. Dong Joo had been the kid that Master Kim had saved?
Wow. I do think it’s good that Dong Joo knows this, even though it occurs to me that Dr. Nam has just broken that promise, to take that truth to the grave. 😅
I’m glad that Dong Joo eventually finds himself in a clear-headed enough space, to apologize for being out of line, and I’m glad that when he does, Seo Jung is there to give him affirmation, with an assuring smile.
That sure is a sight for sore eyes. ❤️
Guh. I know President Do is an awful excuse for a human being, but that flashback, where we see that he’d used Master Kim’s compassion for others, to force him to take the blame and leave, just makes me so angry. 😡
President Do had clearly planned this, knowing that the future of the seven employees would be his ammunition in forcing Master Kim to accept all the false accusations. UGH.
I’m glad that, upon learning this truth, Reporter Oh does a bunch of investigating and leaves the evidence on Master Kim’s desk, so that Master Kim now has some ammunition of his own.
I love that Master Kim wastes no time in creating an opportunity to use that ammunition, by getting Director Song to invite him to the celebration hosted by President Do – and then taking his entire team with him.
Also, I do love that little beat, where Master Kim casually asks Dong Joo, “You’re coming too, aren’t you?” and Dong Joo answers, “If you go, I will go, too.”
Ahhh!! That shared look of warmth, tinged with some amusement and mischief is so fantastic. I’m so happy that they’ve overcome this, and are on good terms again. 🥰
I love the slo-mo group hero walk we get to witness, as our team, all dressed up and snazzy, makes their grand entrance at the party, and I love how Master Kim answers President Do’s question of why he’s there:
“I thought this was a party for the artificial heart implant. I should be here. We are the protagonists of this surgery.”
YES. Say that proudly, Master Kim, in front of all the reporters and supposedly important people, and put the Weasel in his place. 😈
In case any of you are wondering, this is Show’s actual final episode. Episode 21 is officially listed as a special episode, and some sites (like Viu) don’t even have episode 21 available. Which is why I’m treating this as the final episode, even though we will have another Open Thread for episode 21 next week.
(If you’ve been following along on Viu, you can watch episode 21 on iQIYI here instead.)
For a final episode, I’m reasonably happy with how everything shakes out, although I do feel like Show leans a bit indulgent, overall. However, I will qualify that by saying that because I’ve grown so fond of our characters, I didn’t even mind the indulgence, so much.
I feel like the showdown at the celebration dinner, which turns into an actual brawl between President Do and Master Kim, was.. a little lowbrow?
What I mean is, I have a hard time believing that Master Kim had marched all the way there, just to throw those papers at President Do (and apparently without making a copy of the evidence either?), and I also have a hard time believing that President Do would lose his cool to the extent that he’d attack Master Kim right in front of everyone, especially while there were reporters present.
President Do seems to care too much about his image to do that, even in the heat of the moment.
That all felt quite convenient, like it was a quick way to take down President Do and put him in an unfavorable position, so that he’d no longer be a major focus for the rest of the episode.
I have to admit that after so many episodes of having President Do as our Big Bad, this felt rather under underwhelming, to me. I mean, make no mistake, I’m glad to see him go down; I just wish it had felt more satisfying to watch, y’know?
President Do’s downfall is more implied than anything, since all we see is him kneeling before Chairman Shin and accidentally outing himself of his misdeeds, while asking for help.
Thereafter, we do hear Chairman Shin start to berate him, but we don’t actually see what happens next.
And the conversation he subsequently has with Master Kim, where he asks why Master Kim lives the way he does, is more to reinforce the meaning behind Show’s title, than anything specifically to do with these characters or their relationship.
All of that wasn’t terribly satisfying, for me personally.
I also feel like Master Kim’s wrist injury was teased as a potentially serious matter, what with him being secretive about it, and Dong Joo, Seo Jung and the rest of the team getting all worried for him, only to have that maybe-semi-wrapped up, with Master Kim telling Seo Jung with a smile, that he’ll be fine.
That felt like quite an anticlimax too, if I’m being honest. It’s all rather vague and inconclusive.
On the upside, it is a nice touch, that the nurse who’d been secretly dating Dr. Moon in episode 1, actually reaches out to Seo Jung, when she sees Seo Jung at Geodae Hospital.
Even though she doesn’t actually reveal that she’d been Dr. Moon’s girlfriend on the side, I do appreciate that she sincerely wishes Seo Jung well.
At the same time, I feel that Seo Jung wishing her well in return, didn’t carry the same weight, since Seo Jung isn’t aware of the full extent of their connection.
Anyway. I rationalize that it doesn’t matter whether Seo Jung knows or not, since this is all in the past.
I also like the way In Beom carries himself, in the scene where he dresses his father’s wounds.
He focuses only on making a stand for himself, in the most calm and dignified way possible, given his father’s unstable emotional state. I like that he doesn’t allow himself to be intimidated by his father’s shouting, and even manages to tend to his father’s wounds in a gentle, professional manner, despite his father’s grumpy state.
That takes patience and self-control.
I also like that when President Do asks him menacingly if In Beom’s daring to disobey him, In Beom simply states that he wants to make the decisions in his own life.
He’s holding his ground, without being combative, and that feels so much more grounded and mature than what we’re seeing from President Do.
On a lighter note, we finally get confessions from In Beom and Yeon Hwa, about who they have crushes on. We already knew that Yeon Hwa likes Dong Joo, but this is the first time we have confirmation from In Beom that he sees Seo Jung as his ideal type.
Sigh. I guess there goes my hope for a sibling-esque relationship between In Beom and Seo Jung. 😅
We don’t get to see the implications that this new information has on the way our characters interrelate, though I’m sure this would make things more interesting.
We do see that Seo Jung and Dong Joo feel the need for a hurried exchange in person, if only to ensure that this new information won’t affect their relationship – which of course they agree it doesn’t.
The way Dong Joo calls after Seo Jung, “I love you,” and the way this brings a pleased, tamped-down-but-definitely-delighted expression to her face, is cute, and Dong Joo’s contented smile makes me smile too.
I like that these two are happy together in such a steady, down-to-earth sort of manner.
Other that this, we also get a nice little epilogue where we see that Chairman Shin decides to save Cartoonist Dude by paying for his expensive surgery in exchange for his artwork, and we see that eventually, Cartoonist Dude even draws a story for Master Kim, detailing Chairman Shin’s life, and how he’d been saved by a mysterious stranger when he’d collapsed due to heart failure.
Heh. Of course that had to be Master Kim, yes? 😆
And, we also get a final scene that teases at Master Kim’s reunion with a mysterious lady (Kim Hye Soo), whose arrival at Doldam Hospital brings tears to his eyes.
That sets us up nicely for episode 21, which the title cards tell us is a prequel titled “Master Kim’s First Love.”
Hee. It’ll be interesting to see what Master Kim is like, when he’s in love.
Because of the nature of our story, things aren’t wrapped up neatly like they often are, in other dramas. Instead, we are given the sense that these characters will continue to earnestly work to save lives, working as a team, long after the credits stop rolling. And I do like that.
My favorite little beat in this finale’s last stretch, is how the entire team immediately abandons their celebration dinner at Dr. Nam’s restaurant, once they hear that there’s been an accident and a high number of casualties are being brought in to the ER.
I love that focus and dedication, where it’s not even a question, whether they would drop the team dinner. That unspoken sameness of heart and mind, is wonderful. And I do love that slo-mo group superhero walk down Doldam’s hallway, as they each suit up, ready to do battle.
So much casual, matter-of-fact swag. 🤩
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Slurpable, earnest and heartwarming, in its melodramatic sort of way.
FINAL GRADE: B++
Thank you kfangurl for the group watch! I never would have watched this show without it, and I enjoyed it a lot! I love it fact I wanted more so I watched Hospital Playlist immediately after, which brought a lot of emotional feels. Interestingly, immediately after my first watch (I binged through in a few days), I too thought that Dr Romantic would not rank in my top tier of dramas. I found the human drama and cases more moving in HP as in I shed more tears. But over time I feel my fondness for Dr Romantic grow. So many awesome moments and character growth. These weekly posts and the group comments and camaraderie definitely helped too! I think there were more comments on the earlier episodes as they were much more controversial. Glad that the show mellowed out and had a lot to offer beyond the OTT soap drama!
First I want to once again take on the conclusion. I have problems with the close of many shows in KDrama land. For example, without getting into it, I was disappointed with the way Vincenzo closed itself out, seeming to me to have sold out on half its original premises, though it was satisfying to most of the fans who watched it. On the other hand, I had no problem with the way Mr. Queen finished, none, as it made entire sense to me given the totality of the show, rather than the interest I had in a single character, and I had no problem with the concluding episode of Dr. Romantic as it was originally intended. None, zero. I found it entirely satisfying. And it is because I think what makes a good ending for me is one that works within the original logic of the show as a whole, rather than what I wish for any particular character out of my affection or disaffection for that character. Thus for me, not only did it strike me that show worked through all its major plotlines and plot complications, but did so in a manner that was very much in line with what we have over the course of twenty episodes come to understand about its characters.
While, perhaps the one caveat, I do not exactly understand why the reporter could not have written a story giving credit to Dr. Kim for the artificial heart replacement surgery, and acknowledging the injustice with which he had been treated in the case of his former student, let alone the ethics scandal concerning Dr. Do, I have no need for Dr. Do to have suffered more. No need for him to suffer more than being humiliated by how his entire staff at the ice breaking get together gathered round Dr. Kim with a thousand questions after Do’s being called to task and professionally humiliated by Dr. Kim in front of them all; or more than his losing the allegiance of his own son, that horrible, angry, whiny, crying out “Do In Beom,” as In Beom walks out on him, fundamentally choosing Dr. Kim over him, his own father; and my goodness, dropping to his knees and begging for Chairman Shin’s support, while hoisting himself on his own petard. Do any of us really need to see the hearing in which he will be stripped of his position? It’s gonna happen. Does anyone doubt the trauma center is going to be built at the Doldam, not this profit making elder care center rife likely as not with all sorts of financial exploitation of old folks. Fait accompli. i really do not need anything more from that plot line or of that character. He has lost the game, period. I do not need to dance on his grave as well.
And as I have explained in an earlier post, I think for show to do so, would discount both show’s vision and Dr. Kim’s heroism. While staff is celebrating, there he is getting up from a nap in the emergency room, ready, Kim Sabu, Hand of God surgeon, to meet and greet any old drunk stumbling into the ER, any burn victim, someone with a bad spleen, some crazy galoot full of piss and vinegar, some over the top grieving wife, husband, or child, and so on. As the voice over points out, society in its cynicism thinks the Do’s of the world are more accurate and certainly ubiquitous, but we want our Kim Sabu’s to win out, even if it seems like a fantasy that they might do so. Even Dr. Kim has no illusions about who he is–he does not want to save the world, nor does he believe he can do so, but he believes he can save some lives, and he has every right to that belief, grounded as it is in who he is.
So…I do not know what more we want than Kang Dong Joo and Seo Jung have become real doctors with real experiences under their belt, and after a long, difficult stretch in which Dong Joo had to grow up some and Seo Jung had to work out her own inner conflicts and demons, they are a thing, so much a thing that it would be much more awkward for her to call Dang Joo’s mother, madame than mother, and the two of them are entirely nonplussed by the idea that other people they know might have a thing for either of them.
We now see how Dong Joo is more intimately and temporally connected to Dr. Kim’s excommunication in a way that both emphasizes Dr. Kim’s heroism and his tough love concern for Dong Joo from the time they reconnected in the casino to their early confrontations–ah, that incredible pause Dr. Kim has after Dong Joo confronts him about his father’s death in episode 19. All of what had gone on before between them so eloquently on display in that silent pause.
Earlier on, we were informed by Nurse Oh of how finding Seo Jung injured in the forest brought Dr. Kim back. That is by the end of the 20th episode we the audience as Kim Sabu in an earlier voice over indicates that he sees how the patterns in his life were coming together, because he too grows over the course of the show, from someone intensely private, for good reason, to someone ready to go out on a limb for his young acolytes, someone ready to show those in his profession how integrity actually stands for something, especially when backed by actual expertise rather than powerful connections.
Then the little things: the second time we meet Dr. Kim, he is walking in the woods, and comes across Seo Jung, whom he not only carries out of the woods, but performs what would be career saving surgery for her. The third we see him is at the casino, where he regularly goes to help people out as the joint seems to have a constant plethora of health emergencies. Can it be really so surprising, that back in the day when Chairman Shin made his dime as a ruthless loan shark whom everyone hated so much that nobody would even call an emergency number in his behest, that Dr. Kim upon finding him there saw him as a human worth treating (think of the surgery on the rapist) and not only save his life then, but provide Chairman Shin with an epiphany, such that in advancing age he became the Chairman of a Hospital Foundation, funding medical solutions to human difficulties? And then…talk about tying off your sutures, pays for our oh so sympathetic webtoonist who really SEES Doldam staff as superheroes, because they treat every one and allow folks to pay on credit, to illustrate that interaction and epiphany in trade for the cost of his heart surgery.
I guess I really do not know about other folks’ expectations with regard to the end of this series, but for me I really could not have asked for more, my favorite element of the final episode, how the final glance of when ER staff huddled up with one another was that between Seo Jung and Kim Sabu. It is hard to qualify in a single word the affectionate relationship that often occurs cross gender between mentor and student, not exactly parental or sibling, not exactly friendship, and while somewhat charged by gender difference and the romance therein, distinctly not erotic, but powerful, beautiful, healing for both concerned. Among all the lives saved in show, the most touching for me was how Seo Jung and Kim Sabu saved one another.
And this…as the crew strides into reception for heart surgery, I love as we all have a face is on the ost, when it comes to “some are leather” camera pans on Nurse Oh.
There is one element here that I actually have direct knowledge of. I have been a mentor of young scientists of all gender descriptions for 35+ years now, guiding them through their advanced degrees and working closely together on projects of mutual benefit and interest. I would describe many of these relationships as close and caring, but at least for me, not “romantic” (I think that may happen elsewhere but it’s a red flag when it does). It’s more like when you are rooting for your best friend to succeed. My own relationships with my (male) mentors are still among the most important of my life and I do my best to provide the kind of support and guidance that I received as a young man. So certainly, when Seo Jung and Kim-sabu exchanged unspoken moments of mutual respect and mission, it completely resonated.
When I spoke of romance, I was not speaking of what we commonly think of using that word, ie, in terms of engaging in an intimate relationship, at all, and yet there is something, hard to put into words exactly, yes rooting for a friend to succeed, but also something softly enchanting in the emotion. You can see it in the difference between how Kim Sabu relates to Kang Dong Joo and Seo Jung and vice versa; she has a kind of crush on him, not that she would think of him in any way as a love interest in the erotic sense–but there is something and it is real and it is mutually healing.
I hadn’t noticed the “some are leather” pan and went to check it out, and in so doing ended up with an interesting experiment. When I went to check out the scene, I hadn’t turned off the VPN from an earlier session and, apparently, the Singapore Viki replaces “The Stranger” with some milquetoast random music. And, boy, does that scene not pop nearly as well. Music makes such a difference and anyone who wants to be convinced of this can see with this comparison.
I have enjoyed passively patricpating in this group watch. I think I actually was able to handle a medical drama because of this weekly type of viewing instead of binging. It made the episodes more rewarding, which I often feel while watching live airing dramas despite the binging culture of kdrama land. Quietly hoping that the groupwatch choose season2 for the next group watch because I would love to keep going on this Doldam journey with everyone.
I have to agree that the Director Do and Master Kim showdown at the event felt OTT for a mediocre end game. I truly despite Do begging on his knees don’t know what came out of that? But yet it took a lot screen time. I personally would have used those two minutes on a tender moment between Dong Joo and Seo Jung, I felt like despite them being weaved into it all I wanted more time with them.
I am happy In Beom has come into his own and in a very respectful way told his father what he wants to do. I can’t help but feel proud.
Dong Joo has my heart forever tbh. The growth, the grief, the pain, the understanding, all of that broke me and put me back together. His relationship with Master Kim is so tender too, from the nurturing to the recognition and collaboration. There were definitely some points where I was shipping Master Kim and Dong Joo as the endgame.
I appreciate what this show reaffirms about the importance of role models and mentors in your life, and being on a strong team. I found it to be rewarding show less in terms of a linear plot but more on character growth and I think that’s helping me reckon with the subpar ending. It’s in the end not about what happens but the people and the place.
Not quite the end!
Medical drama trope #16: when something goes wrong in surgery, blood will squirt on the surgeon’s face!
Now we have the Magnificent Seven, striding out to face the enemy.
I’m really not a fan of the confrontation at the party, it seems a bit forced and unsatisfying.
It feels like they don’t know how to end this thing. I guess a lot of dramas kinda fluff around at the end, as others have mentioned. I can certainly think of worse endings. And there’s a bit more to come.
I’ve enjoyed this show quite a bit, it does have something to latch onto in every episode, so there’s no mid-season slump for me. The overarching tensions was a bit weak I thought but the moment to moment tensions were quite good. There are a few loose ends, but that’s ok too.
Number one trope: innards held open by forceps with some pink organ pulsing beneath, sometimes with just a trickle, sometimes whole great splashes of blood to uptempo music.
Number two: scalpel (mes, such a bunch of mes)! bovie! metzenbaum! suction! gauze! cut! cut! cut! (this always following some intricate and blindingly quick cat’s cradle work, ost band rocking away, with suture twine), and my very favorite, specimen! That is, this show tied more loose ends than any in all of tv history!
If doctor doing the diagnosis was Seo Jung uisa-nim, then all this is accompanied by some obscure medical problem name, written out in Latin, English, or German in lower left side of screen with some Hangul translation for that beneath it.
Ha ha yeah I love “Specimen!” the most too!
As usual I will save my big comments for tomorrow. But I want to say this: what attracted me to show on first viewing was Han Seok Kyu. He is what in my first viewing kept me in the game from first episode on, and right on through watching season 2. For my money, he is if not the, one of the most riveting and charismatic actors in all of K entertainment land. I have seen him in a few things, and in this as much as any, the wonder of his acting is how without a love interest, without being an abdominal muscle young lad doing derring do with fists, feet, or swords, he projects in his characters, in this as much as any, the ability through his sheer charisma, his range of emotional expression, his ability to project mastery, intelligence, in the moment sensitivity, the whole heroic nine yards, so that while he is on screen, he is on screen every moment, moment after moment.
And I love the fall of Director Do in this. I love the whole way Kim Sabu, like a jiu jitsu master, more like an experienced tree cutter, just cut Do down to the final moment, and then got out of the way and let him fall. And let him fall in every way, including with his own son, not to mention before the Chairman Shin, walking away saying in that stylish bravado he has, you can call it romance. So Kim Sabu. Han Seok Kyu is a wonder, and even if 21 is an extra episode, something for the fans, just the way at the end of episode 20, after story has been told, and pats on the back all around, including that beautiful, affectionate, quick back and forth glance between Seo Jung and Dr. Kim, the story of how Dr. Kim not only saved Chairman Shin’s life, but redeemed his soul we see him, our solitary hero walking the hall late at night, taken and slightly shaken seeing standing in the lobby this beautiful, grown woman, whom he recognizes from the back, then turning toward him both shy and smiling a kind of intimate crooked smile back at him with all the innuendo of it’s been awhile–is he a bit stopped midstrde, does his macho smile grow weak? all that tremulousness he expresses on his face, expressing so much. Han Seok Kyu, Kim Sabu…in the best possible sense, bad, bad men.
I agree with the B++ grade, maybe even a tick higher (A- -? 😂). What’s cool to me is that when I watched DR the first time (just a few months ago), I gave it a halfhearted B, and the difference is entirely due to the group watch experience. I appreciate slowing down my watch and, most importantly, being able to think more deeply/attentively about the drama because of the group’s insights and perspectives. Both fun and stimulating. Thank you!
I have to laugh – I was sure you were kicking up your heels, KFG, to be nearly finished with summarizing for 2 simultaneous group watches, on top of all your other posting. To state the obvious, that’s a lot. But, don’t you know it, you seem to be up for Round 2. Your nubbed finger(s) is our gain!
First things first: thank you to kfangurl and the group watch community for choosing Dr. Romantic for a satisfying collective experience. I wouldn’t have chosen this show, not being a fan of medical dramas in general, but I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with you all and the show itself.
And so our drama comes to its (almost) end. We have elsewhere discussed how unsatisfying k-drama endings can be, but by and large Dr. Romantic came to a solid conclusion. An advantage of shows with slices-of-life elements is that they need not necessarily have a big climax but rather simply amble off into their fictional future (or, in this case, a second-season-future). Sure, Kim-sabu did get the better of Director/Asshat Do on this occasion, but just as in real life, our enemies are not vanquished but usually live onto to annoy us another day. In contrast, the forward movement of our core characters was wonderful, especially our OTP pair.
Part of the enjoyment came, for me, in the form of these gifted actors plying their craft in the service of a drama meant for popular consumption. There was no one whose performance I didn’t like, but would especially call out the triumvirate of Han Suk-kyu (so different from Trees w/ Deep Roots but compelling in a contemporary roll), Yoo Yeon-suk (who got to show some range through his emotional journey), Joo Hyun, and Kim Jeong-yeong (Dong-joo’s mom). But of course, special kudos for Seo Hyun-jin, Crazy Whale extraordinaire and the emotional center of our story. I will continue to look forward to her future work (curious: anyone seen “Black Dog” yet?). For a little fun, you can see many of the cast living it up at the SBS awards show at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LItCNnMnZs.
I’ll say more later, but for now I feel as though I owe Billy Joel an apology for dissing his song in an earlier thread. In this episode, the segue from the whistling intro into that guitar figure accompanying our awesomely garbed Doldam staff strutting into the OK Corral, uh, Geosan University Hospital was just about perfect. For some reason, it always feels special when a credit theme song finds its way into an episode proper and this was such a moment.
I’ve not read other comments yet but I’m feeling somewhere in the B+/A- range for the overall show: excellent work that gained great popularity (two things that decidedly do not always go together), but not quite in the top range of my drama experience. Will I watch season 2, even lacking our OTP? You bet I will.
Seo Hyun-jin really was a find; she brought so much nuance and personality to her part, and showed off some really great comedic timing, to boot.
The season two OTP was very different, but also quite enjoyable in its way (IMO), plus every time I’ve seen him I’ve really liked Ahn Hyo-seop (and season two was actually the first time that I did see him).
I want to echo Trent on Ahn Hyeo-Seop, albeit I thought season two with one major variation, pretty much kept to the same themes with similar beats, so similar in fact that one has to credit show runners for actually pulling it off. I do not know if I would be ready for a second group watch or whether it would attract a large enough interest, but I have no problem saying I liked Season 2 as well, and most of the ensemble remains, a shift in otp, and one very good new staff member.
I liked the ost as well:
Just looked up Ahn Hyeo-Seop. I thought he was winning in Thirty But Seventeen.
I mean, not much to really say at this point; you covered all the points. One fairly minor bit that struck me, is the scene with the nurse at Geosam U. Hospital who reconnected with Seo-jung. This is the nurse that was in a secret relationship with Seo-jung’s almost-fiance from the very first episode. I think it is clear (and meant to be clear to us) that she had actually gotten pregnant and had a child whose father was the deceased almost-fiance (why else would Show have Seo-jung notice the splash screen on the nurse’s phone, and have the nurse not only confirm it’s her son, but confirm his age as five years old–the exact time frame that would put deceased doctor guy as the likely father?). Seo-jung walks out having never found out not only that her boyfriend was two-timing her, but also that he left behind a son. Which is my preferred result for her, actually; she’s moved on to a happy place in her life, and there’s no need for her to know or revisit more pain from that time.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this show (enough to essentially rewatch it with everyone on the weekly schedule, after binge-ing at the beginning). I will say, however, that I slightly prefer Hospital Playlist, both because Dr Romantic leaned just a bit melodramatic in tone for my taste at times, and I think HP was more subtle and restrained tonally, and then also, I loved the core five friends dynamic of HP so much.
That said, this show did have many great moments to enjoy, and some really fine performances (it turned me on to Han Suk-kyu and Seo Hyun-jin for the first time, for one thing, which is a clear win right there, since they’re both fantastic). Overall, I think your grade of B++ gets it just about right (I might go to an A-, but I’d give Hospital Playlist an A, so just above it).
Thanks so much for the hard work and diligence of going through these eps so meticulously each week and always meeting the schedule. Daebak!!
I want to also echo everyone thanking you KFG. I loved the way you really got into this, and gave us such a blow by blow run down.