THE SHORT VERDICT:
Season 3 is comparatively more dramatic, and perhaps more case-focused than our previous seasons, but I do think that we get enough of what makes us love this series, to make this worth the watch.
Alongside – and often, in the midst of – the bigger cases that Show serves up, we get to see our characters grow in themselves, and in their relationships with one another, as they wrestle with the various challenges that come their way.
And, along with all that, Show does give us the warm, hopeful feels, along with lashings of poignance, that we’ve come to know and love, from this series.
THE LONG VERDICT:
Y’know, I was going to start this review by saying that because I was primed to like this show, having really enjoyed Seasons 1 and 2 (Open Threads and Flash Review here and here respectively), that you maybe should take my opinion with a grain of salt, since I’m so fond of these characters that I’m just grateful that this season exists.
After having checked out the first couple of episodes of The Uncanny Counter 2: Counterpunch, and not taking to it much at all, despite really really liking Season 1 (review here), and having lots of affection for the Counter crew, I’ve come to a different conclusion.
And that is, not all sequels work, unfortunately, and it’s really hard to recapture the magic of what made the original work so well, that people wanted a second or third season in the first place.
This show manages to do that, for me.
In spite of any shortcomings it might have, it manages to give me enough of what I loved about Seasons 1 and 2, to make this feel like a satisfying and worthwhile watch.
That said, I also wanted to say that there are definitely folks who are loving Uncanny Counter 2; I’m just not one of them – so far, anyway. 😅
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it, while you read the review.
While I didn’t actually mentally register any particular tunes or songs during my watch, I have to say that the OST was very effective, in amplifying and elevating my watch.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a few things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. You should probably at least watch Season 2, before checking out this one.
I do think you can safely skip Season 1, because the happenings in Season 1 don’t actually affect the happenings in Season 3. But, a lot of what happened in Season 2 is expanded on, in Season 3, so having that knowledge and context is really helpful, I think.
Would you be able to make sense of Season 3 without Season 2? I think so, yes, but at the same time, I think that your ability to appreciate the significance of various things, would be compromised.
Which is why I feel that it’s quite necessary to watch Season 2 before getting into this one.
2. Some suspension of disbelief is needed
If you’re familiar with the earlier seasons of this drama, then this wouldn’t be a surprise to you, but I do think it’s helpful to be ready to suspend disbelief, sometimes.
Sometimes, character turnarounds lean on the quick and convenient side of things, but I’m personally not too fussed about it, partly because I was expecting it, and also, partly because I’m in support of Show working to serve up the feel-good, positive, hopeful vibes that tend to come alongside.
HOW I’LL BE APPROACHING THIS REVIEW
First I talk about what I liked and liked less, in a pretty macro sort of fashion, before doing a selective deep dive into characters and relationships.
If you’re interested in my blow-by-blow reactions while watching this show, you might like to check out my episode notes on Patreon here.
STUFF I LIKED
Of course, this is completely subjective, but I personally found Show very watchable.
For reference, I was watching Doctor Cha (review here!) at the same time as I was watching this show.
Honestly, side by side, I found this the much more engaging and easy watch, even though, on paper, Doctor Cha, with its emphasis on personal journey, family and relationships, should’ve been my natural pick.
Seeing the Doldam Team back in action
This was the whole reason I was looking forward to Season 3; the opportunity to see beloved characters again, in their element; always unhesitating and focused, when it comes to saving lives.
Here are just two times during my watch – one in the beginning of Season 3, and one about halfway through – when this really hit home for me. 🥰
E1. One of the things that I especially love about watching Master Kim (Han Seok Kyu), is that he’s unfailingly calm, even in the most stressful situations.
And so, Master Kim’s unflappable composure, as he gives unusual orders to the team, and the team’s quick and unquestioning responses, has that medic (Lee Hong Nae, whom we later get to know as Seon Wung) all discombobulated – which I love.
I love how he’s all, “Do they.. all understand what he’s saying..?” 😁
This tells me that he’s not only in awe of Master Kim, he’s in awe of the entire Doldam team, because this means that this is an indication of how they always work. I do love that.
That’s our Doldam team: they’re radical and they’re rogue, and they’re remarkable at what they do. 🤩
E9-10. The thing that strikes me a great deal, watching the Doldam team in action, is just how much heart they put into their work.
It’s not just a job to them, and it’s really clear to see, from how much emotion they feel, as they survey the destruction and the wounded, and also, as they tag the victims.
When they come across victims who don’t survive, like when that schoolgirl that Woo Jin (Ahn Hyo Seop) was trying to treat flatlines while he’s trying to save her, it seems to affect him in a very big way.
Watching our Doldam team approach the task of saving these people, with so much heart and sincerity, really brought a lump to my throat. How touching is it, that they care so deeply, for people whom they’ve never met? 🥲
The other thing I like, is how efficient our Doldam team is, even in an emergency.
Together, they form a well-oiled machine, and I do love this idea that they have honed their teamwork and their synergy so well, that it all just works, even in the most trying circumstances. 🤩🥲
STUFF THAT WAS OK
Show’s choice to amp up the case drama, this season
I think some viewers didn’t really like that Show amps up the drama this season, but I found that I was ok with it, overall.
Here are my thoughts on the upsides and downsides.
I actually found the amped up drama solidly well done, overall.
I didn’t love it uniformly, certainly, and there were some points where I felt like it really was a little much, that this much drama was descending on our little Doldam Hospital.
However, on balance, I do think that I was able to enjoy the amped up drama more than not.
Here are a couple of examples, from my watch.
E1. The amped up drama of this opening episode feels like it not only does justice to a tradition where Dr. Romantic opening episodes tend to be full of action-packed drama – but even takes it up a notch.
I mean, North Korean defectors that need to be kept secret? Surgery in a makeshift operating room on board a floating vessel?!? Wow. (And also, how do you even keep a steady hand, considering that you’re likely bobbing up and down with the waves?)
This all had me wide-eyed and breathless, watching as our trusty Doldam team boards the Coast Guard vessel to save the wounded rescues.
I honestly did a silent squee, seeing Woo Jin, Eun Tak and In Soo (Ahn Hyo Seop, Kim Min Jae and Yoon Na Moo) make their slo-mo entrance, complete with that rousing Dr. Romantic signature track – and wind blowing in their hair. 🤩🤩🤩
I just love when folks are in awe of our Doldam team, so I immediately got a good deal of satisfaction when our team’s calm sense of professionalism, paired with their agility in thinking out of the box, has that medic (Lee Hong Nae) in awe. 😁
And then of course, there’s the second wave of amped-up coolness, when Master Kim arrives, along with Eun Jae (Lee Sung Kyung) and new resident Jang Dong Hwa (Lee Shin Young).
E9-10. Oof. This was such an emotional episodes, not only for our characters, but for me as a viewer as well. I literally felt like I was sobbing (on the inside) through a good chunk of these episodes, and I feel rather spent, as I type this – but in a good way. 😅
I found it all quite overwhelming, in various ways, and found myself having to pause the episodes at points, just to catch my breath and just.. recover for a bit, before I felt ready to continue.
That’s just testament, though, to how engaging and absorbing this show is.
The main downside, I think, to having all this drama going on, this season, is that we have less time to spend on our characters’ relationships and personal journeys.
I do understand, though, why Show’s makers might have felt that it was important to amp up the drama, in order to make this season more exciting than previous seasons.
And, I do think that Show does a reasonably solid job of weaving our characters’ relationships and personal journeys into the fabric of the various dramatic arcs.
I felt like I had to look a little more carefully, to find how it all connected, in terms of these personal arcs, but overall, this wasn’t a deal-breaker for me, which is why this point is in the neutral zone, for me.
The way Show teases us, sometimes
I got the feeling that Show knows its audience well (or at least, that it knows me well), coz there were times during my watch when I felt like Show was toying with my emotions a bit, or rather, playing my emotions in a way that got a particular reaction out of me.
I don’t mean this in a bad way, which is why this is in this section.
Sometimes I felt disoriented, and sometimes, I probably had the exact emotional response that Show was looking for, so while it may have felt unsettling sometimes, it also felt like Show knew what it was doing, if that makes sense?
Let me try to explain, with this example.
E7. Starting episode 7, which flashes us forward to the part where Woo Jin sits with the shooter in the hallway, I was utterly confused, and had to double check that I got the right episode.
Which is very similar to how I’d started this show, actually – I was so confused by the opening scene in episode 1, that I thought I’d gotten the wrong show, somehow. A little unsettling and confusing, to be sure. 😅
This show really likes to tease us, eh? *affectionate side eye*
On hindsight, I do think that it was a savvy choice on Show’s part, to start with that flash forward in episode 7, because the knowledge that Woo Jin’s going to soon find himself in a dangerous situation where he might actually – gasp! – die, gives the watch experience of all the happier moments that come before, an underlying sense of tension and foreboding.
That’s clever and sneaky of Show, I do think.
STUFF THAT I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
Some of Show’s humor didn’t work for me
This didn’t happen much, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.
There was a time when I didn’t appreciate Show’s sense of humor, and here it is.
E5. I wasn’t the hugest fan of the little prologue involving Dong Hwa and Seon Wung.
I know Show’s just teasing, and the humor here is very much within Show’s DNA, but I can’t help thinking that Show’s choice to use gay overtones in this scene for the purpose of bringing the laughs, isn’t very sensitive to the gay community.
The good thing, though, is that Show brings the scene back in the epilogue, and resolves it on a much more neutral note, by filling in the context for us, that Dong hwa and Seon Wung aren’t actually getting ready for any hank-panky sexytimes, but are actually preparing to practice taking and reading ultrasound scans of each other, lol.
SPOTLIGHT ON CHARACTERS / RELATIONSHIPS
I have lots of affection for the Doldam team, but I’ll only be doing a selective spotlight on various characters, so if your favorite isn’t mentioned, I’m sorry – I’m sure I like your favorite too!
Han Seok Kyu as Master Kim
Han Seok Kyu is pretty much unfailingly great in every role he plays, but having seen him as Master Kim in three seasons of this show now, I feel like this is quite possibly my favorite role of his.
Master Kim’s just so great at what he does, and in how he takes all these broken people and mentors them to become better people than they thought they could ever be. I love that about him.
I do think that it’s a good move on Show’s part, to explore some of Master Kim’s self doubts, this season, and have him wrestle with that.
It not only humanizes him, but also makes him feel so much more fleshed out, as a character.
Here are some of my favorite Master Kim moments, from this season.
E1. I also very much love how persuasive Master Kim is, in convincing the Captain of the Coast Guard vessel (Lee Do Yup), that the patients need to be moved to Doldam Hospital, despite the political implications at play.
This quickly reminds us of the “romantic” part of Master Kim’s moniker – he cares about saving lives, and he doesn’t care about politics.
And, in reminding the Captain that this is also his priority as Coast Guard, he manages to reach an agreement with the Captain.
It might be a little clichéd, but it rings true to me: appealing to people’s deeper values is oftentimes the only way to get them to reconsider their decisions, in situations like this.
E2. I love that when the power goes out and Manager Jang (Im Won Hee) is running around like a headless chicken on steroids, Master Kim is completely calm and unflappable, even though they are in the midst of a difficult surgery.
He doesn’t even speak faster, and simply asks the team to shine their mobile phone flashlights into the body cavity, so that he can continue with the surgery.
SO. BADASS. 🤩🤩
E4. I’m also glad that Master Kim’s got his eye on Woo Jin, and is supporting him from behind the scenes.
I mean, that scene where Master Kim gives Dong Hwa a sharp earful of perspective was quite something to behold, especially since Master Kim is so unflappable and calm in even the most stressful medical situations.
It’s a little startling to see him lose his cool over Dong Hwa’s bad attitude, but that’s really exactly the kind of doctor Master Kim is.
He’s completely zen in the face of medical emergencies, but won’t take it lying down, when he sees poor attitude in his colleagues, whether they are residents like Dong Hwa, or senior veterans like Dr. Cha.
E6. Given all that’s going on with the Doldam team, it’s also not hard to see why Master Kim would start to second-guess himself, and doubt his own approach to things, because his people are suffering as a result of his decisions, in a manner of speaking.
I do think it says something about Master Kim, though, that he would actually offer the reins to Dr. Cha, to see what kind of outcome is possible with Dr. Cha’s approach, even though he and Dr. Cha are basically at loggerheads.
That kind of action requires a lot of openmindedness and humility, and I respect Master Kim, for even taking this step.
Plus, he’s taking a step back and eating humble pie, so to speak, not for his own sake, but for the sake of his people. That’s a pretty selfless act of love, in my eyes.
E9-10. Watching Master Kim’s extremely worried and angry reaction at Woo Jin and Eun Tak entering the collapsed building, I really get parent vibes from him; like, it dawns on me just how much he treats the Doldam team members like they’re his children.
He feels responsible for them, and he worries for them, and I feel like there’s some guilt in there, amidst his worry, because they’ve learned this attitude from him.
E11-12. I do love how, in typical Master Kim fashion, he talks to Seon Wung about being Paper Bag Guy, in a manner that is as penetrating as it is accepting.
It’s like he bears down on Seon Wung and talks as if Seon Wung’s already admitted that he’s Paper Bag Guy, but he doesn’t come off as judgmental about it. He just comes off as wanting to understand Seon Wung’s reason for doing it, and wanting to impress on Seon Wung, how damaging this is, to his own character.
And shortly after, he gives Seon Wung a fresh slate and a chance to lead his first surgery, with Master Kim personally being his first assistant.
Gosh, what a demonstration of care, support and belief, in a situation where someone else could have easily wielded condemnation and censure instead.
I can practically see Seon Wung’s heart glomming onto Master Kim, in this moment, and I completely understand why.
E11-12. I really appreciate the way Master Kim approaches both President Park and Dr. Cha, in this situation with Assemblywoman Ko (Oh Min Ae).
He doesn’t take a hard stance with President Park, and instead, tries to convey to President Park, that he’s misreading Assemblywoman Ko – and then lets President Park see for himself, the hard way, that Master Kim was right after all.
And then with Dr. Cha, I was pleasantly surprised when he told Dr. Cha that he’s been rooting for him to succeed, even though they are very different in their approaches to things.
The amount of respect that Master Kim shows for Dr. Cha as a fellow doctor, is something that feels generous, not because Dr. Cha doesn’t have the skills or experience, but because Dr. Cha hasn’t accorded the same respect to Master Kim, in the time that they’ve been colleagues.
I like that Master Kim is so matter-of-fact in telling Dr. Cha that he’s putting his attention on the wrong priorities, without sounding judgmental about it.
Also, it feels so mature and gracious of Master Kim, to acknowledge Dr. Cha’s strengths, and the value that he could bring to the Trauma Center, and then challenge him not to quit, but to endure it to the end, in order to make a better world.
Despite everything that Dr. Cha’s done that’s been in direct opposition to Master Kim’s own values, Master Kim’s urging him not to give up, but to keep fighting on. That takes a pretty special person, I feel, and Master Kim is absolutely living up to that label. 🤩
Kim Joo Heon as Park Min Guk
I’ll talk about President Park in the next section, where I discuss his relationship with Master Kim, but I just wanted to say here, that I really, really liked having Kim Joo Heon back, as President Park.
After being our resident antagonist in Season 2 (where, the record, I really liked the way Show fleshed out his personal conflict), it feels really gratifying to see him in Season 3, being more of the man that he’s always wanted to be.
My favorite scenes involving President Park, are the ones where he gets his hands dirty and gets involved in saving patients and solving crises, right alongside the rest of the Doldam team.
So dang gratifying, honestly. 🤩
Master Kim and President Park
One of the most gratifying things for me, in Season 3, was getting to see the new-and-improved relationship between Master Kim and President Park, compared to the more antagonistic vibe between them, in Season 2.
In a manner of speaking, this was almost as fun to witness, as an enemies-to-lovers sort of relationship, in Dramaland. 😁
Any time we got to see President Park and Master Kim demonstrate that they are now on the same side, I cheered internally and got a tear in my eye. 🥲 It was just that satisfying, for me. 🥰
Here are some highlights, of this relationship.
E1. I’m really pleased that Park Min Guk and Master Kim are still working together towards the trauma center, which is an agreement they’d come to, at the end of Season 2.
I really like the idea of them working on the same side, after we spent all of Season 2 with Park Min Guk as our antagonist.
That said, it’s realistic that things aren’t that smooth sailing between Park Min Guk and Master Kim, because of their different priorities. That adds a nice level of frisson and spark between them, that I think spices up our story.
E2. I do love that Park Min Guk actually tells Dr. Cha that watching Master Kim in surgery, he only has respect for him, and nothing else matters. 🤩
E3. I’m really pleased that President Park and Master Kim are actually working together on getting Dr. Cha to agree to join the Trauma Center, and are on the same side, versus the picture that President Park paints for Dr. Cha, where he makes it look like he’s choosing Dr. Cha over Master Kim.
This is such a welcome dynamic to me, after President Park and Master Kim were on opposite sides, last season.
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me, to see them on the same side, discussing decisions, and working together.
The way President Park tells Master Kim that he can’t do without Master Kim at the Trauma Center; that it’s something that he can’t even think about; is such a cozy heartwarming balm for sore ears. 🥰
I mean, I just love the idea of them being on the same side, and being.. brothers-in-arms, kinda, because I feel that they do each other good and balance each other out – when they’re not at loggerheads.
E11-12. While I’ve been saying that I love seeing Master Kim and President Park on the same side, this set of episodes, we do see that there appears to be a fundamental difference in one of their values.
And that is, when push comes to shove, President Park is willing to compromise on what is right and wrong, if the chosen option promises to help him achieve his goal; meaning, the means are justified in his mind, if the end result is worth it.
Which is completely different from Master Kim’s stance, which is that right and wrong must not be compromised, even if the end result is right.
I do think that deep down, President Park feels a measure of guilt; it seems to me that he’s convinced himself that this is an ok approach to take, because they’ve been forced into a corner, and this approach will save the Trauma Center.
This is likely why he looks like he’s ready to crawl into the ground, when Master Kim is proved right, by the end of episode 12, and Assemblywoman Ko pretends that she never indicated that the budget for the Trauma Center would be approved as a result of their deal.
In comparison, Master Kim’s a much better judge of character and situation, because he rightly discerned that Assemblywoman Ko’s true intention had been conveyed that day, when she’d first promised to respond to Dr. Cha with a political war.
Lee Kyung Young as Dr. Cha
This season, Show introduces Dr. Cha as our main antagonist, and I think it’s safe to say that I had the most complicated feelings around Dr. Cha, out of our various characters, this season.
There were many times I just didn’t like Dr. Cha and the way he conducted himself, and this was a visceral reaction, for me.
At the same time, I have to credit Show with peeling back his layers sufficiently, so that by the time we said goodbye to him, I felt like I could understand why he was the he was.
Rather than a two-dimensional antagonist, he was not inherently a bad person, but a product of his circumstances, where the choices that had shaped him, were heavily influenced by his circumstances.
In this sense, I appreciate that Show put thought into fleshing out our antagonist and making him interesting, even though I spent much of my watch not liking him all that much.
Here are my somewhat sprawling reactions to Dr. Cha, during my watch, and how my view of him evolved, as I went.
E2. I’m glad that when Dr. Cha talks with Woo Jin in that rest area, he remains dignified and restrained.
As in, he doesn’t say, “I want you to stay away from my daughter,” or anything like that.
I personally feel that Dr. Cha’s being rather shortsighted in saying that there had been no problems in his family until Woo Jin had come along.
Because, the issue at hand, is that, when it comes down to it, Eun Jae’s values are different from the rest of her family’s, and if not when Woo Jin showed up, it would’ve shown up at some other point.
However, I do think that it feels rather meaningful, that Dr. Cha’s parting shot to Woo Jin, is that Eun Jae is very precious to him.
E5. When Dr. Cha enters the room and starts defending In Soo after the death of Assemblywoman Ko’s son, I have to admit that I actually appreciated him protecting In Soo, and assuring him that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
In that sense, yes, I can agree with Chief Jang, that Dr. Cha acted in a way that was kind of cool.
But, on the other hand, even though Dr. Cha does protect In Soo, he doesn’t show any empathy or compassion for the mother who’d just lost her son, and that’s a problem too.
I can also understand why Nurse Oh is so horrified by Dr. Cha’s words to the Assemblywoman.
E5. How troubling to hear in voiceover, that Dr. Cha’s response to tasting the excellence of the Doldam team, is to covet it for himself.
The way he decides that he wants to steal all of this from Master Kim, is so casually villainous. Like, he doesn’t even seem to think that there’s anything wrong with that?
This will definitely be a problem for the future of the Trauma Center, since Dr. Cha’s basically positioning himself to create conflict, when the most helpful thing would be everyone working together.
E6. While the Doldam team’s tuned in to putting their every effort into saving a patient, even when the odds are dismal at best, Dr. Cha’s approach is to not put in that effort, because the likelihood is that the patient won’t make it anyway.
Of course, given what we know about Dr. Cha, it’s not hard to conclude that the reason he holds this view, is because he’s been burned before, and badly, and that’s why he’s arrived at this more pragmatic approach, which has more to do with self-preservation than actual heartlessness.
But it’s still an attitude that could kill patients that would otherwise have a chance, and we see that play out very clearly, this episode.
If the Doldam team had listened to Dr. Cha, Bae Yu Rim would have died.
E6. I appreciate that Dr. Cha promises Bae Yu Rim’s mother that he will do his utmost best for Yu Rim during the surgery, but.. I’m not sure how I feel about him turning the surgery into a big show for all the staff, and having them all hang out in the OR, to watch.
That feels like a very political sort of move, and I am instinctively recoiling from it.
E7. At the top of episode 7, Dr. Cha’s obviously somewhat offended, when Nurse Oh strongly suggests that they call in Master Kim, because he’s had experience with gunshot wounds.
I’m glad, though, that Dr. Cha isn’t stubborn enough to resist Nurse Oh’s strong suggestion, even though he isn’t happy about it.
This tells me that he does have the wellbeing of the patients in mind, and that there’s a part of him that acknowledges that perhaps he really doesn’t know enough about trauma cases, to make an informed call.
Very similar thing, when it comes to the advice that he gives Eun Jae, which, when she’s swayed to follow it (because he’s her dad, and she believes him to be much more experienced and wise than she), almost costs them the patient’s life.
I’m glad that Dr. Cha doesn’t let his pride get in the way, and approaches Eun Jae to ask her if she’s upset about it.
Also, there’s the thing where Dr. Cha urges Eun Jae to evacuate to the holding area, and Eun Jae declines, saying that she needs to stay with her patient, because he’s still unstable.
I feel like, in the course of this entire arc, Dr. Cha gets a real taste of just how much he still has to learn about the ways of a trauma center. And, I’m hoping that this is causing him to reconsider his earlier statement, of wanting to steal all of this from Master Kim.
On that note, however, this set of episodes, Dr. Cha is definitely homing in on the stiffness in Master Kim’s hand, and looking quite suspicious about it.
The silver lining to this, is that beyond the surface bickering, there does seem to be clear notes of mutual respect at play, in the conversations between Dr. Cha and Master Kim.
I’m cautiously hopeful that this will translate into Dr. Cha becoming more collaborative with Master Kim, going forward.
E9-10. I’m not at all impressed by Dr. Cha’s behavior, this set of episodes, even though I understand that he feels that it’s his duty to defend the Trauma Center to the world at large.
The fact that his point is that the complaining party should put up with the shortage of medical staff that’s created by the complaint, feels kind of petty, particularly when you think about the potential deaths of patients that might occur because of that shortage of medical staff.
This means that Dr. Cha is willing to let people possibly die, in order to prove his point, essentially, and that’s just not the kind of thing that a true doctor would do.
The way he obstinately and deliberately ignores all calls and messages from the hospital, the entire time he’s on his way to the trial, and while he’s at the courthouse, is quite aggravating, I feel, because there’s this air of “I know better” about him, and I just want to slap him upside the head, to stop being so pigheaded already. Grrr. 😤
It’s such a stark contrast to literally everyone else in Doldam, when they learn of the building collapse.
Everyone springs into action – even famously laidback Dong Hwa, and I’m more convinced than ever, that Dr. Cha and Doldam are just not a good fit.
E11-12. The person whom I felt the most complicated feelings about, is no doubt Dr. Cha. I feel like I had feelings from pretty extreme ends of the spectrum, for him as a character, this set of episodes.
In the beginning of episode 11, I was really shocked, honestly, when Assemblywoman Ko informs him and the other Doldam representatives, that she intends to appeal the court’s ruling, because she’s mourning the loss of her son in her own way.
To which he answers, “Wallowing in self-pity and blaming everything on others isn’t mourning but being a nuisance.”
Woah. The lack of compassion for her as a mother in mourning really shocked me.
I mean, Assemblywoman Ko is cold and calculative, yes, but the woman lost her son very suddenly, and in the Trauma Center, while in the care of the Doldam doctors, so even though it’s something that Dr. Cha is speaking in defense of, I’d expected that there would at least be a sense of compassion for Assemblywoman Ko’s loss of her son.
Or, at the very least, some courtesy around that, if there is no real compassion.
But Dr. Cha shows neither, and I’m stunned, honestly.
I think that’s the moment the definitively told me that he’s just not cut out for Doldam, at the heart of it.
Because whereas the rest of Doldam is driven by heart, passion and compassion, Dr. Cha shows, in this moment, that he doesn’t seem to have any of these.
And yet, I’m intrigued, because Dr. Cha does show a more vulnerable side, this set of episodes.
Which, altogether, leads me to think that this harsh persona is his way of protecting himself, perhaps.
Because, as we see later in this week’s episodes, there’s a lot of uncertainty and insecurity haunting Dr. Cha, and a lot of that comes from being accused of pushing that resident to the point of suicide.
On the surface, Dr. Cha’s brushed it off as false accusations, and maintained that he was just doing his job as the resident’s professor, in teaching him to take responsibility for his actions, but it does seem that underneath it all, this has caused him to second-guess himself.
Before we get to that, though, it’s clear that his brusque, proud persona that he shows to the world, has resulted in a lot of hurt and resentment.
Not only did that resident kill himself, it’s created a lot of resentment in Seon Wung, so much so that this dorky, earnest dude would actually plant that bloody pen to provoke Dr. Cha.
E11-12. It’s huge, that Dr. Cha would talk to Woo Jin about that resident’s death, and how everyone assumes that he’s the one at fault.
And, I have to credit Woo Jin for being very tactful and diplomatic, while still managing to get his point across.
When Dr. Cha remarks that Woo Jin’s generation doesn’t work hard and complains the moment they’re given something to do, Woo Jin doesn’t get defensive.
Instead, he pinpoints the fact that the era his generation is living in, is not an era of possibilities, but of endurance.
More importantly, when Dr. Cha asks if he thinks that the resident’s death is his fault, I like how Woo Jin appears to go off on a tangent by talking about how Master Kim might curse or yell when he doesn’t like something, but he never gives up on Woo Jin or anyone else at Doldam.
That’s an important and deep lesson for Dr. Cha, and it appears that Dr. Cha does take something from it.
I mean, not only does he not fight Woo Jin’s point, he even gets to the point where he praises the house that Woo Jin and Eun Jae chose together, and says that it’s a good place for them to start something together, and then tells Woo Jin to treat Eun Jae well.
That’s Dr. Cha giving his approval, isn’t it? And, this isn’t in the context of Woo Jin and Eun Jae getting married; it’s in the context of them choosing to live together, before (or without) marriage, and that feels like a Big Deal.
I’m actually rather sorry to see Dr. Cha leave, by this point, because it finally feels like he might be ready to adopt a new approach to the way he thinks about things and deals with people.
But, I do really appreciate the conversation that he and Eun Jae have over the phone, while he’s driving back to Seoul.
I love how Eun Jae tells him that he’s always been a hero to her; this feels important and healing, for Dr. Cha and for their relationship, and I’m glad that he returns to Seoul with these poignant feels in his heart.
Ahn Hyo Seop as Woo Jin
If you read my review of Season 2 (review here), you’d already know that I really like Woo Jin as a character; I just find him a lot more approachable and easy to understand, than Dong Joo (Yoo Yeon Seok), our male lead from Season 1 (Open Threads here).
Because I like him so much, just having him on my screen in Season 3 already made me happy, not gonna lie. 😁
I also think of Woo Jin as a bit of an MVP, this season, because even though he’s far from perfect, there are many occasions where he conducts himself with gravity and grace, even when other people are not, and I find that pretty darn admirable.
I will talk more about Woo Jin in relation to Eun Jae and Dong Hwa, in other sections in this review, but for now, here are some Woo Jin-specific highlights from my watch.
E4. I’m especially intrigued by the fact that Woo Jin is part of Dr. Cha’s selection of doctors for the Trauma Center, since Dr. Cha’s shown, in more ways than one, that he’s not keen on Woo Jin’s way of looking at the world.
I hafta say, though, I did an internal cheer and fist pump, when Woo Jin baldly states that he doesn’t want any part of this, even though this might offend Dr. Cha.
Like, Ahhhh! I love Woo Jin’s loyalty to Master Kim. It’s dogged and persistent, and I find it completely endearing.
E5. Woo Jin does say something in support of Master Kim – and he does it so coolly too. 🤩
And, I love that Woo Jin doesn’t get riled up in response to Dr. Cha’s taunts, which come one after another.
“That seems like a good excuse.” “Either you don’t feel confident in your skills… or you’re uncomfortable with me.” “Are you unable to step outside of Bu Yong Ju’s shadows? Come to think of it, he has been raising minions, not teaching doctors.”
Ugh. Such manipulative words, clearly designed to provoke Woo Jin.
I’m SO glad that Woo Jin keeps his cool so well, and offers responses that are matter-of-fact, and polite.
“I don’t perform surgery merely to show people my skills. “
“I just want to keep working at Doldam Hospital with Master Kim. “
But also, best of all:
“Professor. I was the one who willingly became a minion. Master Kim was the one who didn’t look down on me and treated me with respect as a junior doctor.”
I love how Woo Jin’s words praise and acknowledge Master Kim – while providing some indirect burn to Dr. Cha, because Dr. Cha is absolutely looking down on him and treating him with disrespect.
And yet, Dr. Cha can’t fault him for that indirect burn because it’s that indirect. Muahahaha. I liked this a lot. 😁
E5. I couldn’t help but cheer on the inside, when Woo Jin shows up at the Trauma Center, just when Dr. Cha’s questioning Dr. Yang (Ko Sang Ho) about his approach to the surgery, and Dr. Yang’s stuttering coz he has no good answer – and Woo Jin starts explaining, in an articulate, detailed, well thought-out fashion, his intended approach for that very surgery.
Ha. I can just feel Dr. Cha’s respect for Woo Jin go up, as Woo Jin talks, and that gives me a great deal of satisfaction, because Dr. Cha’s been so very disdainful and snooty, up to this point.
It’s also really satisfying to watch the surgery, not least because Dr. Cha’s clearly impressed by Woo Jin’s skill and precision in the OR. I mean, I know that Woo Jin isn’t doing the surgery to impress Dr. Cha, but it doesn’t hurt that Dr. Cha is very impressed. 😁
Lee Sung Kyung as Eun Jae
While we did see Eun Jae grow a fair bit in Season 2, she still is rather skittish in some ways, when we see her again, in Season 3, and I appreciate that Show gives her the opportunity to grow, in a couple of areas, so that she becomes more confident in herself, at the end of Season 3, versus the beginning.
I’ll talk about Eun Jae in relation to Woo Jin in the next section, but for now, here are some thoughts that I had around her journey to be more confident in herself, as a doctor – particularly when in front of her father.
E4. Good on Eun Jae, for being so skilled and calm during surgery now, compared to when she’d struggled so much, in Season 2.
I feel bad for her that her father, Dr. Cha, won’t acknowledge her skill in the OR, and prefers to harp on the philosophies and fundamentals where he and Master Kim clash, but I’m glad that Woo Jin is quick to provide the affirmation that Dr. Cha refuses to give her.
Good on Eun Jae too, for being quick enough to spot the suspicious-looking dude among the patients, and thereby clearing that elderly lady of any potential charges for arson.
E7-8. I feel like Eun Jae learned a very important lesson this set of episodes, and it’s exactly what Woo Jin tells her: that it’s her patient, so it’s her call.
It’s admittedly really scary for Eun Jae, when the patient goes into cardiac arrest because of a decision that she’d made, and with her history of surgery anxiety, I can understand why she might freeze up like that in the OR.
But, I’m glad that Eun Jae pulls through, and I’m also relieved that together with Master Kim, she’s able to save the patient.
Most important of all, though, I really like that Eun Jae comes out of this realizing that she shouldn’t blame Dr. Cha for his advice, because, in the end, it was her call, because it was her patient.
This new determination to take full responsibility for her patient, down to every decision related to their treatment, feels like an important step in the right direction for Eun Jae.
And, it also feels like an important step forward, in her relationship with her father.
I do like that little beat, where Dr. Cha mutters to himself that his daughter is so cool (my subs say “brilliant,” but the actual dialogue is closer to “cool,” so I’m going with that).
It feels like he’s got a newfound respect for Eun Jae as a doctor, and that is very excellent indeed.
E11-12. I really appreciate the opening voiceover and flashbacks that we get at the top of episode 12, because it gives us some important context for how Eun Jae feels towards her father.
With her articulating that her father had always been the person she admired most in the world, her discomfort, hurt and uncertainty, in the face of him being the subject of gossip among her colleagues, makes even more sense.
This isn’t just her getting uncomfortable because this is her father; she’s facing what must feel a bit like an existential crisis, because it must feel like everything she’s ever believed in, is being challenged.
In the end, I’m glad that Eun Jae eventually chooses to make her stand with Mom, that this is the life that she’s chosen, and the man she’s chosen, and I’m also glad that she expresses to Dr. Cha, that she thinks it’s better for him to return to Seoul.
Woo Jin and Eun Jae
In terms of our OTP, I really appreciate that we get Season 3, so that we get to explore their relationship and how it develops, beyond the minting of the OTP relationship, which we got in Season 2.
I feel like most romances in Dramaland focus almost exclusively on the lead-up to the minting of the OTP relationship – and that’s nice, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the squee of that as much as the next fangirl or -boy – but it’s just a nice change, to focus on how our OTP gets settled into their relationship, and takes it into deeper, stronger territory, while still keeping it kinda swoony. 🥰
Granted, our OTP relationship doesn’t take centerstage in this story, since this is an ensemble sort of drama, and we have lots of patients that need saving as well.
With that as a constraint, I will say that Show manages to do a nice job of giving this OTP relationship enough screen time, so that watching this relationship develop on my screen, still gave me a sense of satisfaction.
E1. I got a bit of a thrill from learning that Eun Jae and Woo Jin have moved in together, because when we’d left them at the end of Season 2, they’d just become a couple.
Eun Jae’s still all coy and stuff, but Woo Jin definitely seems comfortable in his shirtless, smoldery glory. 🔥
(How unusual, isn’t it, to have a shirtless scene this early in our drama? Not that I’m complaining, because Ahn Hyo Seop’s lookin’ all, uh, strong and healthy, heh. 😁)
E2. I’m very appreciative of how gentle and empathetic Woo Jin is towards Eun Jae, when talking with her about her father.
It’s less in what he says, and more in his tone, I feel, because his tone is very tender, as he asks Eun Jae is her father is still upset about what had happened with her brother. It’s like.. a gentle hug, but with the timber of his voice, if that makes sense. 🥰
E3. In terms of our OTP dynamic, I am noticing that Eun Jae’s still in a pretty tentative, skittish sort of space when relating with Woo Jin, while Woo Jin’s in a much more grounded, rock-solid, “I’m here for you; you can depend on me” complete with molten gaze sort of space.
Right now, it feels like he’s the one who’s anchoring the relationship, and giving Eun Jae the assurance that she needs.
I’d like to see how Show explores this dynamic, because right away, my first want, is to see Eun Jae actually relax into this relationship, and be as grounded and comfortable as Woo Jin appears to be.
Also, isn’t Woo Jin just so matter-of-factly swoony, with the way he makes that tomato juice for Eun Jae, and then just smolders at her, when she attempts to do some aegyo at him?
That was a weirdly squee-worthy moment for me, at any rate. 😁
E3. I really, really love the scene where Eun Jae asks Woo Jin, very nervously and tentatively, about letting her dad stay with her for a while, and Woo Jin answers her with such a grounded sense of assurance, that of course they can do that for her dad.
“Eun Jae-ya. He’s your dad. And I’m your man. It doesn’t have to be so hard for you to ask me, okay?”
Melt. That is so sweet, and so assuring. 🥰
ALSO. The fact that Woo Jin’s so casually forgiving about Eun Jae giving the tomato juice to Seon Wung, earns him a whole boatload of extra brownie points, in my books. ❤️
E4. Can I just say, I really like that beat where Eun Jae gives Woo Jin a quick word of assurance, on her way into the operating theater?
Last episode, I’d said that she was the skittish one, while Woo Jin felt like the rock in the relationship.
Well, in this moment, at least, while Woo Jin’s feeling nervous and on edge, Eun Jae comes through with a quick word to assure him that all will go well, and it feels like she’s the one being the rock in the relationship right now. Very nice.
E5. I’m glad that Eun Jae and Woo Jin clear up the spot of tension between them, about Eun Jae not telling her father about Woo Jin.
I really like the way Eun Jae explains her thoughts to Woo Jin.
“You know, you’re actually pretty cool. Sometimes, you’re so cool that you make me feel small. That’s how I feel about you.
But you know, Woojin. Despite all that, telling my dad that we moved in together is not that easy. Honestly, ask any daughter in Korea. It’s hard to tell your dad about something like this. And you keep butting heads with my dad too.
On one hand, I have the guy I love. On the other hand, I have my dad whom I love. What can I do?
I just wanted you to try and get closer to my dad. That’s just how I felt.”
That’s really quite lovely, the way she acknowledges Woo Jin and her feelings for him, while also explaining why it’s hard for her to bring up the subject with her father.
And, I also like that Woo Jin acknowledges that he was probably upset because he’d been apart from her for too long.
Aw. Yes, please make up and recharge; you two just miss each other, is all. 🥰
E7-8. How casually cool is Woo Jin, to not even tell Eun Jae about what he’s just been through, when she comes storming over to him, to berate him for not answering her calls and making her worry.
I guess that whole experience, putting him so near possible death, really made things clearer for Woo Jin; I kinda love that the only thing he feels that he wants to say to Eun Jae, in the moment, is “I love you.”
Aw. Yes, that is truly the most important thing in their relationship. 🥰
E9. I have to say, I do like the way Woo Jin responds to the situation, because Mom (Lee Ji Ha) is not making much of an effort to contain her displeasure, and generally doesn’t seem to care that she’s not coming across as very hospitable at all.
I understand Eun Jae’s instinct to just leave, because the way Mom’s behaving, it just promises to be a really uncomfortable time for everyone.
I do love the way Woo Jin reacts, though, completely unfazed, and all smoothly pleasant and laidback, as if Mom’s being nice to him. I thought that was so steady and cool, honestly. 😍
E11-12. In the face of all the rejection and judgment from Mom, I can understand why Eun Jae’s instinct is to just grab Woo Jin and go get married – but Woo Jin turns down her suggestion.
I understand Eun Jae’s instinct to do something solid to establish the relationship in the face of external threats, but I’m with Woo Jin on this one: which is, not like this, essentially.
I do think that Woo Jin should emphasized the “not like this” part of his answer, because Eun Jae gets into such a funk over it, probably thinking that he doesn’t have any desire to marry her, period.
E13-14. I’m glad that Woo Jin and Eun Jae make up well, this set of episodes, even though it’s through a simple exchange of texts, where she texts him, “I love you,” and he responds by cheekily echoing her aegyo from before. 😁
Kim Min Jae as Eun Tak
Even though, generally speaking, Eun Tak doesn’t get a whole lot of focus or screen time, I really do enjoy Kim Min Jae in this role, and I’m glad that, this season, we do focus on his backstory, a little bit.
I feel that this helps deepen our understanding of him as a character, and why he might act a certain way, in response to the situation around him.
And, I must say that Kim Min Jae really rose to the occasion. In the more difficult scenes, I really felt like his delivery of Eun Tak’s complicated emotions, was very nicely done.
E7-8. In terms of Eun Tak meeting his druggie ex-friends, I did feel bad for him.
It feels like Eun Tak’s worked so hard for so long, to start a new life away from his old one (which we’ve been told snippets of, in the past, but not quite the full picture), and now, with him coming face-to-face with these ex-friends who seem to relish the idea of dragging him down with them, it all feels like it could be for naught.
On top of the risk to his own person, and the risk to Doldam Hospital’s reputation, it’s clear that there’s also the fact that his ugly past is being unceremoniously unveiled to Ah Reum (So Ju Yeon), in a manner that he can’t control.
I can see how this would be very unsettling for Eun Tak.
I must say, Kim Min Jae does a really nice job of Eun Tak’s scenes, this set of episodes.
There’s so much tension about him, in his entire body, and his gaze conveys so much complicated emotion, as he faces these ghosts of his past.
You can tell that he’s wary, and angry, and uncomfortable, all at the same time, and you can also see that he’s exerting a lot of effort, to keep it all as tamped down as possible.
A really nice delivery by Kim Min Jae, I thought.
And, I am just so, so relieved that Eun Tak doesn’t end up giving in to that druggie ex-friend’s demand, of stealing narcotics for him, in order to preserve Doldam Hospital’s reputation.
Instead, he reports druggie to the police, and that’s an arc resolution that I can absolutely get behind. 😅
Eun Tak and Ah Reum
This loveline gets even less screen time than the OTP loveline, but I hafta say, I have a huge soft spot for it, because Eun Tak and Ah Reum are just adorable together.
Sometimes Show gives us a little moment of cuteness between them, and I find that it’s enough to give me a bit of a goofy grin, and that goofy grin lasts a while. 🥰
Of course, this loveline isn’t without its challenges, and I do think that overall, Show does a nice job of exploring the challenges, and resolving them, in a way that feels organic and true.
E3. That scene where Ah Reum gives Eun Tak that gift of gloves, while telling him that it’s because his hands are precious, is the sweetest, cutest thing. 😍
And then the way Ah Reum tilts her chin up for a kiss, thus scandalizing Eun Tak, is adorable. But then, the way Eun Tak then takes her hand to take her somewhere where he can kiss her, is so full of smolder, that altogether, I can’t decide whether to giggle or squee. 😅
E4. How cute is it, when Eun Tak chases down Ah Reum and offers to go with her in that helicopter, as she escorts the patient?
I don’t know how they’re doing it, but the tiny crumbs that we’re getting with this secondary OTP, is effortlessly giving me the goofy grins. Love. 🥰
E6. Ah Reum’s got such a pure, warm heart, that I’m not even that surprised, that Dong Hwa starts being drawn to her, after she talks about she’s always exhausted and past her limits, but can’t help smiling because she feels proud to be doing what she does.
I mean, she’s lovely, and absolutely endearing, why wouldn’t anyone fall for her, right?
Plus, she’s so kind and helpful, when it comes to helping Dong Hwa and Seon Wung get better at reading ultrasound scans.
It’s just the way Dong Hwa goes about things, trying to cast about for information about Ah Reum’s boyfriend, while being distinctly aloof around Eun Tak.
Which is why it feels so delicious, when Dong Hwa asks Eun Tak what Ah Reum’s boyfriend looks like, and Eun Tak looks him squarely in the eye, and says, “He looks like this. I’m the man dating Ah Reum.”
Muahaha. Burrrnnn. 😜
E7-8. I’m glad that Eun Tak and Ah Reum get to talk things over soon after the whole thing with his ex-friends, and I’m proud of Eun Tak for being honest and telling Ah Reum everything.
And, I’m so heartened by Ah Reum’s response.
Eun Tak’s so worried that Ah Reum would be disappointed to learn about his ugly past, but instead, she tells him about her own ugly past, and pronounces, in her signature simple yet charming way, that:
“I believe that without a past, you don’t have a present. If you love the present, there’s no past you can’t understand.”
Isn’t that so gently lovely and liberating?? Gosh, I love her. 😍
E9-10. I’m a little wistful that Ah Reum gets all upset with Eun Tak for not even thinking to update her that he was ok, even though she’d been so worried about him.
I’d imagined that this couple would always be cute and sweet together, since they are both such understanding people who tend to be on the same wavelength, but I suppose even the sweetest of couples have their rough patches.
I do think that Eun Tak needs to learn how to be a little more overt in his expression and communication with Ah Reum, so that she can be assured that she is absolutely very important to him.
E11-12. I definitely think that Eun Tak needs to learn to be more communicative with Ah Reum, rather than assume that she would know things, because they work in the same hospital.
I’m glad, though, that Ah Reum doesn’t take Dong Hwa up on his offer to put on a show in order to make Eun Tak jealous.
I love how, when she realizes what Dong Hwa’s proposing, shuts him down immediately, saying that while it’s true that she’s mad at Eun Tak, it’s not right to test his feelings like that.
Gosh, I love Ah Reum. She is just the sweetest, and such a pure soul. 🥰
Jin Kyung as Nurse Oh
Even though we don’t get an arc specifically focusing on Nurse Oh, I do consider Nurse Oh to be one of our MVP characters, this season.
Without her sharp ability to observe and analyze what’s going on, and her proactiveness in suggesting course of action to the persons in charge, I feel like a lot more could have gone wrong, for our characters.
Here’s just one example, where I feel like Nurse Oh was an unspoken hero.
E7. I’m relieved that Nurse Oh pushes for Master Kim to be called in to treat the gunshot patient the way she does, in spite of Dr. Cha’s displeasure.
If she’d listened to him and waited to see the condition of the patients, a lot of time would have been lost.
I think Nurse Oh is just so impressively badass, to push the head of the Trauma Center like that, and without hesitation, even though he’s well-positioned to make things difficult for her, if he so wishes.
Even when Dr. Cha shows that he’s annoyed, and throws down those books, she only flinches for a split second, before informing him that he doesn’t know much about trauma cases, and if he doesn’t know, then he should learn.
Ooh. The burnnn. 😏
Lee Shin Young as Jang Dong Hwa
Our new resident, this season, is Jang Dong Hwa, played by Lee Shin Young, and I have to admit that I felt that Show made it unnecessarily difficult to like him.
As in, I understand that a new resident might be irresponsible, due to immaturity and inexperience, but Show makes Dong Hwa SO irresponsible, that I found it a hard-sell, to buy the idea that he would come around and become a better version of himself, by the end of the season.
Show does pull it off reasonably well, yes, but I still think that Show went a little ham on how careless and rash Dong Hwa is, at least in our early stretch.
Just to give you an idea of how I felt about Dong Hwa as a character during my watch, here’s a glimpse at my thoughts while watching. 😅
E1. I’m not taking to the new resident, Jang Dong Hwa, very well.
I get that he’s tired, but the way he sneaks off when he’s expected in surgery, is just very alarming.
If he’s irresponsible enough to abandon a surgery, what other irresponsible acts would he be capable of, right?
E2. I have to wonder whether it’s the right thing to NOT fire Jang Dong Hwa, because his behavior this episode is even more atrocious than in episode 1.
First, he goes AWOL and refuses to respond to calls, in favor of playing computer games. (Not even spending the time on sleep, mind you, after complaining that he was working too many hours!)
And then, after he gets reprimanded by Woo Jin, and assigned to watch over a critical patient, and told that the patient could go into arrest at any time, he sneaks off to the washroom, to play more computer games?
Gah. I wanted him fired, immediately.
But, I think Show has other ideas, because he gets that big scare this episode, where he almost gets stabbed by that patient, and Woo Jin saves him.
I still have my doubts as to whether this will actually turn him around, especially since, in the moment, he was of absolutely no help to Woo Jin, even when Woo Jin was the one with that sharp instrument being held to his neck.
But, I am guessing that Show is going to have him turn around at some point, if not now, and if that’s true, then yes, our Doldam doctors are made of better stuff than I am, because I just want him fired, NOW. 😅
Woo Jin and Dong Hwa
This season, Woo Jin gets the chance to mentor, instead of just being mentored, like in Season 2, and this proves to be a journey of growth and learning for both Woo Jin and Dong Hwa.
It’s a learning curve for both of them, and I found it interesting to witness the various sometimes wobbly steps towards stability and maturity, for these two.
E3. In our earlier episodes, it had seemed like Woo Jin is generally faultless, while Jang Dong Hwa is just always wrong, but this episode, Show balances that out a little bit, and that does humanize them both, I do think.
It makes sense to me that Woo Jin might get into a little bit of a complacent sunbae sort of space, with the kind of skills he possesses, and the rubbish that he’s had to put up with, from Dong Hwa.
Over time, I can see how this might evolve into a situation where Woo Jin’s short and snappy or coldly matter-of-fact with Dong Hwa, as a general rule.
On a related tangent, I can see how a string of successful cases might put Woo Jin in a slightly overconfident sort of space. At least, that’s what I feel coming from him, this episode, in the way that he makes his diagnoses, particularly in the fast-paced ER environment.
Over on Dong Hwa’s side of things, I can see how he might be more on edge than ever, if he’s physically exhausted.
Add on the way Woo Jin’s been snappy with him for quite a while, and I can see why Dong Hwa might grow resentful of Woo Jin.
Add on the fact that Dong Hwa is expected to stay respectful of his sunbaes, and I can see how this might all get channeled into the passive-aggressive attitude that we see from him, this episode.
I think that the situation between Woo Jin and Dong Hwa is pretty believable, in that, I can see how someone who’s impatient and has high standards, might become short with someone who’s not very competent and doesn’t have a good learning attitude – and how, over time, that not very competent someone might become resentful of how they were being treated.
E4. It makes sense that Dong Hwa would try to hit Woo Jin where it hurts, while Woo Jin’s down.
Even though I can understand where Dong Hwa’s barbs are coming from, I still feel protective of Woo Jin, because at the heart of it, regardless of what lashings of arrogance he might be giving in to, Woo Jin still does his best to be the best doctor that he can be.
Compare that to how we saw Dong Hwa making the conscious decision to put his computer game over the safety and wellbeing of a patient, and I will always be on Woo Jin’s side.
It really blows my mind that Dong Hwa would have the capacity to even feel a little bit superior to Woo Jin, and therefore poke at him where it hurts, because Woo Jin had sent the patient away – and the patient had later come back with a severe injury.
As a silver lining, though, I do have to concede that something seems to have shifted in Dong Hwa, because when he sees that the ER is flooded, he doesn’t clock out like he’d said he would, and stays to help.
I still hate Dong Hwa’s barbs at Woo Jin, though, and I want to reach into my screen and smack that smug look off his face, when he tells Woo Jin that he doesn’t want Woo Jin to be wrong again.
I have to say, I’m very impressed with the later reveal, that Woo Jin actually takes Dong Hwa’s advice to heart, and adjusts his approach to the patient – and then even acknowledge Dong Hwa’s part in saving the patient – despite the disrespectful way the suggestion was packaged.
That definitely upped my respect for Woo Jin, right there.
E7-8. It’s good to see Dong Hwa rise to the occasion, and help Woo Jin save that patient, even if it means scooping out that patient’s blood clots with his hands and getting blood all over his feet.
It’s really pretty great, to see Woo Jin acknowledge and praise Dong Hwa for a job well done.
Dong Hwa’s clearly hungry for affirmation, and this feels precious, coming from Woo Jin, who’s been pretty strict with him, ever since Dong Hwa pulled that stunt of going AWOL during an emergency.
I know I’ve been rolling my eyes at Dong Hwa for a while now, but I must say, it does look like we’re seeing glimmers of change in him. That’s good progress, honestly, because I’d actually been afraid that he’d continue to be annoying until our late episodes. 😅
And yet, here he is, doing better, at Show’s halfway mark. 😁
It also says so much, that it’s Woo Jin’s words of affirmation, that give Dong Hwa the courage to stand his ground and protect his patient in the face of the armed shooter, even though he’s scared out of his wits.
I’m pretty sure that, without Woo Jin’s acknowledgment after the surgery, Dong Hwa wouldn’t have been able to do what he did.
That’s such a powerful testament, isn’t it, to how much we affect the people around us – particularly the ones who are under our charge?
I’m glad that Woo Jin reflects on how he’s benefited from the love and support of people like Master Kim – and how he’s now in a position to do the same, for someone else.
Woo Jin’s still feeling his way around this, a little bit, which translates into some uncertainty, but I just like the fact that he’s thinking along these lines, and challenging himself to help mentor Dong Hwa, the way he’s been mentored.
It feels like Woo Jin’s reaching a new stage of his own development, and I like this very much. 🥰
And, you can see how much this is affecting Dong Hwa too – in the most positive way ever.
Also, once Woo Jin steps in and lures the shooter away from the ICU where Dong Hwa is, the way Dong Hwa’s care and concern for Woo Jin bursts forth, is like a river breaking a dam.
Isn’t it so endearing, the way he rushes over to Woo Jin, to make sure he’s ok? 🥲 Aw. I feel like these two are going to become a really cute pair, by the time we get to the end of this season. Maybe. 😁
Lee Hong Nae as Seon Wung
I just wanted to give Lee Hong Nae a shout-out, because even though he appears in episode 1, it wasn’t until episode 2, that I realized that the dorky medic was him. 😅
That’s how different he comes across, in this show, versus his role in The Uncanny Counter (review here), where I found him completely arresting.
That’s saying something, about his ability to morph into his various roles. Very impressive, I thought.
In this section, I just wanted to highlight a couple of scenes / arcs that really stood out to me.
E7. I have to say that I did feel a ping of pride, watching our Doldam team swing into action, to treat the gunshot wound victims.
Even though Doldam Hospital isn’t an official trauma center, they’ve functioned like one for a long time, and it just feels pretty dang satisfying to see that where Dr. Cha is kinda lost, they all go about their way like seasoned pros. 😁
And, it’s also pretty great to see how everyone flexes with the situation, to make sure that both the Doldam ER and the Trauma Center are sufficiently staffed, during this very unusual situation.
Of course, it’s just like Dr. Yang to sneak off to town to have a chicken burger for lunch at his favorite restaurant, and then get stuck in traffic getting back to the hospital, pfft.
His plaintive phone call with President Park, who happens to be in the car right next to his, is so ridiculously pathetic, it’s no wonder President Park hangs up on him like that.
Afterwards, though, I love when President Park joins Dr. Yang in rushing those blood bags to the hospital, on foot, that was pretty cool.
I mean, Dr. Yang is far from cool, with his desperate pleas with President Park to maybe run a little slower, but dang, the way President Park is so focused and so fast, like some kind of human heat-seeking missile, is very impressive.
And I think it’s even more impressive, really, when we see that he collapses on the floor the second after handing over the bags of blood. This shows that he was really pushing himself to the limit, in order to get that blood transported, and that’s quite touching, honestly.
Aw. I am liking President Park a lot more this season, than in last season.
E9-10. Given how much heart our team puts into saving people in need, I’m not terribly surprised by Woo Jin’s decision to undertake the risk of entering the collapsed building, in order to give emergency treatment to the math teacher who’s trapped in the rubble.
Honestly, he is a boy after Master Kim’s own heart, isn’t he? Because, I do believe that in his place, Master Kim would have made the same choice.
And therefore, I’m not surprised that when Eun Tak is unable to stop him from going in, Eun Tak makes the decision to go with him.
Augh. Our Doldam team really are willing to put their lives on the line for one another, and it’s so poignant to witness.
But it IS worrying to see them go into a dangerous situation like that, and it’s no wonder Master Kim loses his cool so quickly, when he learns that Woo Jin and Eun Tak have gone into the collapsed building – which might collapse further.
In particular, I feel like Woo Jin’s making a deliberate choice to model himself after Master Kim, both in terms of striving for medical excellence in and in terms of putting the patient first, always.
I don’t know if I’m right, but I get the feeling that Master Kim’s got a particular soft spot for Woo Jin, most likely because he sees a lot of himself, in Woo Jin.
To have Master Kim, who’s usually so unruffled and calm, even in the most stressful medical emergencies, lose his cool and look legitimately worried over the wellbeing of Woo Jin and Eun Tak, is quite affecting to witness, to be honest.
It feels like this must be something very worrying indeed, because the usually unflappable Master Kim is anything but calm now.
At the same time, it also shows us how deeply he cares about his people. 🥲
I’m not at all surprised that Master Kim would insist on going to the site, in order to do everything he can to save Woo Jin and Eun Tak.
Isn’t that just such a fatherly thing to do, though? To tell everyone to stay calm and focus on the tasks at hand, while flying out there, into danger, in order to save his kids?
This isn’t just work; this is very, very personal, and I’m just beside myself, at the potency of his love. 😭
That scene, where Master Kim turns to face President Park, and says that nothing President Park will say could make him change his mind about going out there, and President Park simply gives him support and tells him that his car is outside, and to go bring the two of them back safely, just hit me so hard, in the feels.
I love when they’re on the same page, and this season, we’ve gotten a lot of that, but this scene hit me the hardest, with how supportive President Park is, even though he knows that Master Kim’s going out there against protocol, and to do something dangerous.
He understands, viscerally, that this isn’t about protocol, but about family, and I love that, so much. 😭 I love them together on the same side, so much. 🥲
That scene, where Master Kim keeps shouting for Woo Jin and Eun Tak, at the site, and then becomes more and more desperate and hopeless, when he doesn’t get a response, is so, so affecting. 😭
You can really feel how much he loves them both, in the way he yells out their names.
And then, when Eun Tak manages to get to his phone and actually respond to the call that Master Kim’s making, the relief on both sides, on finally making contact, is so palpable.
The joy is soon tainted though, when Eun Tak reveals that Woo Jin’s pretty hurt.
Gosh, the look of worry that crosses Master Kim’s face, as he processes the implications of Woo Jin’s injury, feels so personal. This isn’t a senior doctor worrying about his junior, this feels like a father worrying about his son. 😭
The way Master Kim doesn’t hesitate to go into the rubble himself, to save Woo Jin and Eun Tak, along with the other people with them, is just proof that Woo Jin was right, that Master Kim would’ve done the same, in his shoes, isn’t it? 🥲
The entire scene that follows, in the rubble, kept me breathlessly on the edge of my seat, not only because I was worried for Woo Jin and Eun Tak and Master Kim, but also, because of the bonds among them, that are so apparent.
Even Dong Hwa shows up there, to be of assistance, when not so long ago, he would have run away from any danger, or even any extra work.
But now, he’s basically in tears over Woo Jin being trapped in the rubble, and it’s honestly quite sweet how he follows Master Kim, even though he’s probably terrified and uncertain of what he can do to help.
Aw. Dong Hwa’s legitimately glomming onto Woo Jin as his mama duck, isn’t he? It’s very heartening and sweet.
But my heart’s not able to really stop and appreciate that much, coz it’s so nerve wracking to watch Master Kim cut the rebar, with it impaling Woo Jin’s hand, ack.
The fact that Woo Jin agrees to the cutting without hesitation, even though it would most likely result in worse injury to his hand, and even though he knows it’s going to hurt like heck, because that’s all worth it, to save the math teacher, is so heroic, honestly. 😭
When he screams and hyperventilates in pain during the cutting of the rebar, I winced alongside, even as I registered with gratitude, that Master Kim’s got him in a big bear hold. Choke. It’s so hard to watch, but that bond between them is so beautiful. 😭
Like I said, this is all very personal for Master Kim, and I’m honestly so moved, when he tells Dr. Bae that he doesn’t care if doing the surgery ruins his own hand; he has to personally perform this surgery, to save Woo Jin’s hand. Augh. My heart. 😭
I feel like I was holding my breath through the whole surgery – especially at the part where Master Kim’s hand gets the tremors, and he looks like he’s uncertain of what to do next, because he wants the best for Woo Jin, but his hand in that state is not the best for Woo Jin. 😭
I was just so relieved when Master Kim manages to complete the surgery successfully, and they are able to verify that the blood is flowing normally again. Glug. SUCH a big phew, honestly.
When Eun Jae cries in relief at seeing Woo Jin in the recovery room, I’m crying on the inside with her. 😭
It’s sweet of Woo Jin to be all valiant and tell Eun Jae that he’s ok, even though he’s honestly been through a lot.
And, it’s sweet of Eun Jae to tell Woo Jin that the patient whom he’d guarded with his life, is ok too.
Aw. I didn’t manage to mention it earlier, but I do appreciate the fact that the thing that gave Eun Jae the strength and focus to perform that surgery, despite not knowing at that point, whether Woo Jin was ok, was the knowledge that he’d protected that patient with his own life.
In this way, Eun Jae and Woo Jin really do get each other; she completely understood what this meant to Woo Jin, and that had given her the strength to get it together, to take the baton from him, and save the patient. Gosh, that’s beautiful, isn’t it? 🥲
It’s just such a relief to see Woo Jin and Eun Jae together again, in a non-dangerous situation.
And, it really is quite touching to hear Woo Jin answer Eun Jae in voiceover, that the reason he’d gone to that extent, to save the math teacher, is because he keeps thinking of where he and Eun Jae would be, if they hadn’t met Master Kim – and that he’d sensed that this teacher was the same kind of presence, to his students.
🥲 Truly, meeting Master Kim has been a life-changing experience for Woo Jin, in more ways than one, yes?
And then, I’m so touched that the restaurant lady basically is like a mother to Woo Jin, from worrying about him when she sees the news, to cooking all that food for him, because food is healing, and food is medicine. 🥰
With how much she cared about Woo Jin, I literally forgot for a long minute, that she isn’t Woo Jin’s actual mom.
I love this idea of her basically adopting him like this, and now I want them to really be a mother-son pair, going forward. 🥰
SPOTLIGHT ON EPISODES 13-14 [SPOILERS]
E13-14. Let’s just say that I was both surprised and not surprised, by this pair of episodes. 😅
On the one hand, I’m kind of surprised that things unfold in such a rocky manner, with Dong Joo’s return to Doldam, because, to my mind, he is, after all, Doldam alumni, and has learned the ways of Doldam and its people, in the years that he’s spent there.
And, I’d imagined that that would have helped him have a much smoother time, taking over the Trauma Center.
On the other hand, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, because:
1, Dong Joo’s a character that has always had that streak of ambition in him, and it’s true that he and Master Kim have different ways of looking at things, and,
2, this is traditionally the portion of a 16-episode drama, where dramatic tension gets amped up, in the lead-up to the finale.
With Dong Joo’s return being strategically placed at the episode 13 & 14 mark of this 16-episode story, I should have anticipated that it would be rocky, just based on that alone – but I didn’t. I guess I was being optimistic? 😅
I mean, I was right there with Nurse Oh, and Do Il, and Chief Jang, in anticipating Dong Joo’s return.
I generally have neutral feelings towards Dong Joo as a character (versus how I have positive feelings for Woo Jin), but I did very much like the idea of Dong Joo coming back to Doldam, since that was a place that had shaped him in important ways.
The nostalgic factor is strong too, because things had ended on a positive note in Season 1, and him coming back now, felt like a grown-up son coming home, finally.
And in concept, it feels like a promising thing, for the Trauma Center to be headed by a Doldam alumni, rather than someone brand new to Doldam, like Dr. Cha.
But, in the end, Dong Joo’s arrival at the Trauma Center turns out to be anything but smooth.
One of the things I find interesting about the whole “interim head” arrangement, is that the entire idea of being an interim head implies that this isn’t long-term, and therefore, is unlikely to come with long-term authority.
And yet, the things that Dong Joo is working to do, to introduce a new way of doing things, and even bringing in new staff, isn’t very interim at all; these feel like long-term interventions that should be done by someone who’s the actual head of the Trauma Center, rather than an interim head.
Meaning to say, fundamentally, I feel that there’s a mismatch between the authority that Dong Joo’s given, which is pretty full, to the authority that other people perceive Dong Joo to have.
I mean, isn’t it a mismatch, that he’s demurring from occupying the office that belongs to the head of the Center, but is absolutely unflinching and proactive, in introducing new systems and ways of doing things, to the extent that he’s ready to lose doctors over it?
I don’t know if this is even something that Show is cognizant of, in setting up this situation, but I feel the mismatch quite acutely, and I can see why people would feel bemused at the changes that Dong Joo’s introducing.
On top of that, Dong Joo’s manner of management is very dictator-like, in the sense that he gives orders, but does not stop to explain why those orders are being made.
This is surprising to me, because I’d imagined that after having worked in Doldam for some time, he would understand that communication and relationship matter a great deal, at least in this environment.
Instead, he comes in there, guns blazing almost, and with a distinct “”I know better” air about him, because he’s studied trauma centers in the US for two years.
Way to alienate the people you’re going to be working with, Dong Joo.
And that’s not even yet taking into account the chip on his shoulder, where he seems to feel that he has something prove; that he’s as good as Master Kim, if not better.
Not a helpful attitude to bring into the situation, for sure.
Now it’s all about ego, and doing things his way, rather than doing what’s best for the staff and the patients, and everyone instinctively feels that, I think.
Or at least, they are properly confused and anxious, when Dong Joo keeps turning patients away, and redirecting them to Doldam Hospital’s ER instead.
If he’d just explained the rationale to everyone in the first place, then at least everyone would know why it was important to send emergency patients away; so that they would be properly ready and have the resources and manpower to deal with real trauma cases, when they did happen.
If he’d done that, it’s much more likely that Eun Jae wouldn’t have run off like that to operate on another patient at Doldam Hospital, and been unavailable, when a trauma patient actually shows up.
And, if he’d done that, then perhaps everyone wouldn’t have decided to go on strike, at Dr. Yang’s urging.
For the record, I don’t think the staff made a good decision to go on strike, either. I just put more responsibility on Dong Joo, because it’s the leader’s job to manage the situation, so that people understand and therefore are more likely to cooperate to achieve the chosen outcome. He did not do that.
It occurs to me that the way Dong Joo is doing things, isn’t really that different from how Dr. Cha had done things, when he’d been head of the Trauma Center.
They’re both quick to assert their own judgments as correct, and they don’t listen well to others; they wield their power and authority like a weapon, and express that they aren’t afraid to lose doctors in the process.
It’s just extra interesting to me, this time around, because Dong Joo had trained under Master Kim’s wing.
But, it looks like his takeaway is still somewhat different from what Woo Jin and Eun Jae are taking away from Master Kim.
On this point, I would say that Dong Joo does have a point; only Master Kim can be Master Kim, in the end. They are all different from Master Kim, and shouldn’t try to be him, because they will fail in the end.
However, to my eyes, I do like what I see in Woo Jin and Eun Jae; what they’ve taken from Master Kim, is his unwavering passion for putting the patient first, and always doing everything possible, to save a patient’s life.
All that said, even though I do instinctively prefer Master Kim’s way of doing things, I do think that he could have done better than simply ask Nurse Oh, Do Il and In Soo to blindly support Dong Joo.
Yes, it’s better than no communication at all; at least this way, they know to brace themselves and prepare themselves to adapt to requests that they may not like.
But I do think that giving Dong Joo free rein to Dong Joo, without an understanding of exactly what Dong Joo had in mind, was rather shortsighted.
I do appreciate Master Kim being a gentle moderating voice in the midst of all the tension, however.
His manner is so gentle and fatherly, that I can’t help but feel viscerally comforted and more relaxed, in response.
The way he intervenes is so non-invasive, and yet, so assuring, like the way he speaks to Dong Joo on the phone, to ask if he needs help, and the way he praises Eun Jae for doing a good job, before telling her that it’s ok to leave things at the ER to him, that he’ll take care of things.
Through all of this, I also appreciate Woo Jin as a voice of reason.
When everyone’s all up in arms, and getting upset over the way Dong Joo’s managing the Trauma Center, Woo Jin’s the only one who’s calm and reasonable, and I can’t tell you how welcome I found his voice of reason, in the midst of the furore.
And, it’s not like he’s not in the thick of it himself, since he volunteers to help Dong Joo as his first assistant, when Eun Jae is unavailable.
But, even in the thick of all the tension and drama, Woo Jin can still see reason, and can still exercise empathy, and I like him so much more, for it. ❤️
Additionally, I like that even though Woo Jin instinctively feels a sense of competition with Dong Joo, he is quick to recognize Dong Joo’s impressive skills, when he sees it.
I like that too.
That said, I do wish that Dong Joo would have been able to see Woo Jin’s talent and skill in the OR as well, because Woo Jin is a talented surgeon.
It’s just too bad that Woo Jin’s hand isn’t recovered.
And, at this point, I’m concerned, because we’ve heard Dr. Bae talk with Master Kim about how it’s possible that Woo Jin’s hand may never recover its full dexterity.
I’m really really hoping that that isn’t the case, and I’m waiting with bated breath, for Woo Jin to hopefully be in his operating element again, before we get to the end of this season.
I really do like Dr. Bae’s advice to Woo Jin, though, which is to keep looking forward, and not be concerned about what everyone else is doing.
It’s a very needful and helpful message, I feel, not just for Woo Jin, but for all of us too.
I paraphrase, but I love the message, that we don’t need to struggle to keep up with everyone; we just need to focus on our own journeys, because our journeys are unique to us, and they demand their own time and rhythm. 🥰
And, on a not too dissimilar sort of note, I also appreciate Master Kim’s advice to Eun Jae, where he basically urges her to resist the urge to nitpick, and put herself in others’ shoes, to try to understand why they do the things they do.
That’s a good reminder for all of us too.
I also like that other Master Kim soundbite, this set of episodes, where he says that the reason he’s able to read between the lines so well, is because when you know someone, you can see their intention, and once you see their intention, you can read between the lines.
So wise and insightful. ❤️
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
This finale worked really well for me, all in all, even though some might argue that it’s weak in spots.
Most importantly for me, is that the feels that this finale brought, felt real and very solid, and very much in line with Show’s hopeful and warm nature; it’s the thing I enjoy most about this series, and I’m glad that we end on a note that affirms the things that I love about it.
This finale, we have a forest fire descending, and quite possibly threatening the very existence of both Doldam Hospital and the Trauma Center, and the complication is, the strike, because the Trauma Center staff are unhappy with how Dong Joo’s managing the Trauma Center, is still on.
It’s a lot for Show – and our characters – to deal with, and, yes, it does mean that some things come off as a little convenient or miraculous, but y’know, I don’t really mind it.
To my mind, in this show, the Doldam team and their relationships are more important, I realize that I’m willing to roll with a fair bit of stuff, for the sake of these.
Regarding the strike, I have to say that both Dong Joo and the group of staff who decided to go strike were at fault for the unfortunate situation, but I personally put more responsibility on Dong Joo, because as the Head of the Trauma Center, it’s his responsibility to communicate his vision to the staff in a way that helps them to understand.
Once they understand, it becomes easier for them to cooperate with him, especially since, on the surface, it looks like he’s unreasonably turning away people who are in need of medical care, and that’s just something that goes against their DNA, pretty much.
Two of my MVP characters, this finale, are Woo Jin and Nurse Oh, because it’s their voices of reason, spoken with care and empathy, that finally gets through to the group of striking staff, and Dong Joo, respectively.
With how effective Woo Jin and Nurse Oh are, in getting through to these people, who, in the heat of the moment, don’t actually want to listen to reason, I felt, for a good long second, that it would be great to have them co-head the Trauma Center, heh.
And while it might be unrealistic to some extent, I really appreciate how our characters still find the capacity to care for each other, even with a disaster looming over them.
The way Master Kim takes time to comfort and encourage Seon Wung, that he doesn’t need to beat himself up over not being able to see the chemical burns on that patient, because he’s been doing great, is so very kind and fatherly.
I love it, and embrace it, because yes, maybe it’s unrealistic, but it’s aspirational, and we should all aspire to have the capacity for empathy and kindness, even when the situation is stressful.
I was perplexed along with everyone else, when Master Kim is nowhere to be found, when everyone’s supposed to be evacuating with urgency, but y’know, it’s also just like Master Kim, to be a rebel, in that romantic sense.
This Trauma Center is his dream, and I can understand that the romantic in him – who’s usually completely unflustered in emergencies anyway – would want to take a few extra moments to stand in the operating theater that is basically his dream, brought to reality, through years of hard work, in the face of many challenges and obstacles.
It feels perfectly apt, that it would be Nurse Oh who would be the one to find him, and the one to speak to him, about how it’s not about skill, but about gravitational pull, and that as long as he’s around, he will draw the right people to him.
That it’s essentially not the place, but the person, who makes the Doldam magic, and that they’re not going to lose it, because of this forest fire.
It completely sums up the appeal of this series, and it feels fitting, that this is the thought that sets Master Kim’s heart at ease.
Yes, the rain could be considered a bit of a deus ex machina sort of move, but it’s also true that it’s entirely possible that it could have rained, so I’m just rolling with it. After all, I want Doldam to be saved too.
And then there’s how Assemblywoman Ko has her turnaround at the end, because she experiences through another harrowing accident, and finally sees how hard the Doldam team works, and how dedicated everyone is.
Some may argue that this is convenient, because she hadn’t had this turnaround before, when she’d had that other experience being buried in the building collapse.
Y’know what, though, I feel like some people need to be told something more than once, or, in Assemblywoman Ko’s case, experience something more than once, and be confronted with something more than once, for them to change their minds and attitudes.
And so, I’m willing to buy the idea that it’s a turnaround that’s been a long time coming, and that each experience that she had, contributed to her eventual change of mind.
I also really appreciate Master Kim’s manner of talking to her, when she confronts him.
Instead of turning around and telling her, “I told you so,” he speaks with just the right amount of toughness and softness, so that she knows he’s being just and fair in his remarks, but is also extending compassion and empathy for what she’s experienced, in losing her son.
I was silently giving Master Kim a standing ovation for that spiel, not gonna lie. 👏🏻
I’m also glad that Dong Hwa has that talk with Master Kim; it feels perfect, that Master Kim would give Dong Hwa that scalpel, that he’d once put aside for Dong Hwa’s sister, Hyun Ju.
And, it also feels true to his character, that he isn’t actually sure whether he wants to be a doctor, since he’d only embarked on a career in medicine, in honor of his sister, and to give his parents a reason to smile.
It’s time that he figure out whether he wants this for himself, and it feels like a wise decision, that he give himself another rotation at Doldam, to arrive at an answer that feels right.
I didn’t expect anything less, but I was very, very glad to see Eun Tak and Ah Reum make up, instead of break up.
I do love that the thing that really hits Eun Tak the hardest, is the look of worry and anguish on Ah Reum’s face, when she’s trying to reach him, in the midst of the chaos.
Truly, sometimes you just have to be there, to understand, and this is the case for Eun Tak.
I’m glad that in the end, both he and Ah Reum take responsibility for their parts in their relationship breakdown, and then waste no time in resealing their relationship with hugs and kisses.
They look adorable as ever, as they happily drown in each other’s embrace, and this really put a goofy smile on my face. 🥰
I was also very, very glad that Show didn’t forget about In Soo, and allowed him to have that tearful reunion with his wife.
That’s something that I’ve wanted for him for quite a while now, because he’s given up so much, for the work at Doldam, and I just didn’t want him to have to suffer the loss of his marriage, as the price for his dedication.
Which is why I felt so moved, to see him finally reconcile with his wife. 🥲
As for Woo Jin and Eun Jae, I’m definitely very happy that Woo Jin proposes, and that they both look so happy about taking this step together.
In fact, the happiness and contentment on both their faces, is the thing that strikes me most, as we close out this season. And, seeing that happiness and content just gives me a distinct warm glow.
I have a soft spot for this couple, and I’m so glad that they’ve managed to weather all the storms of this season with their relationship very much intact. ❤️
As for the future of Doldam and the Trauma Center, even though they receive news that the inspector had found problems with how the Trauma Center had been receiving non-trauma patients, I’m sure that our Doldam team will find a way to make adjustments that will work for everyone.
More importantly, it’s great to see Woo Jin start to dream a new dream, because he’s that taken with Dong Joo’s new dream, to make the Doldam Trauma Center, the go-to trauma center in the region.
As we approach the final credits, and our Doldam teams get ready to receive yet around round of patients, I feel assured that they will continue to serve the sick and wounded, as well as one another, for a long time to come.
Also, for the record, I wouldn’t be mad, if Show comes back with a Season 4. Coz I’m just that fond of these characters. 🥰
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Rather more dramatic than past seasons, but ultimately warm, positive and feel-good.
FINAL GRADE: B++
The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of Dr. Romantic 3, is Heartbeat [Korea]. I’ve taken an initial look at Heartbeat and I’m happy to say that I’m having a lot of fun with it, so far.
You can check out my E1-2 notes on Heartbeat on Patreon here.
Here’s an overview of what I’m covering on Patreon right now (Tier benefits are cumulative)!
Foundation Tier (US$1): Entertainment tidbits + the first set notes of all shows covered on Patreon (that’s 2 episodes for kdramas and 4 episodes for cdramas)
Early Access (US$5): +Heartbeat [Korea]
Early Access Plus (US$10): +When I Fly Towards You [China]
VIP (US$15): +My Lovely Liar [Korea]
VVIP (US$20): +King The Land [Korea]
Ultimate (US$25): +Hidden Love [China]