A Poem a Day, Episode 3-4

I keep thinking about this drama. I have gotten interested in how the poems fit into the story. Even though some of the people are rude, even though some of them are crazy, the poems bring them together in an endearing way.  By this time we are starting to expect our characters’ annoying behaviors, and sometimes getting surprised with them. I’d like to talk mostly about the high points, which means THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

Episode 1 Poem

Flowers That bloom When Shaken by Do Jong Hwan

Where is the flower that blooms without shaking?
Any of the beautiful flowers of this world
All bloom while being shaken.
They shake on stems that grow upright.
Where is the love that grows without shaking?
Where is the flower that blooms without being soaked?
Any of the shining flowers of this world bloom as they are soaked.
Soaked by wind and rain, petals bloom warmly.
Where is the life that goes without being soaked?

This is the plant wall in the foyer from Episode 1. Did you notice that far wall? Would you say that it illustrates love that grows? As a gardener, I appreciate the poem because I know little indoor starts have to be hardened off in the spring before you put them outside where the sun and wind cause the leaves and the stems to grow more cell layers and become stronger. Trees become stronger and thicker as they stand up against the wind, so you can’t leave them with supports too long or they will be weak. Our flower is, of course, Bo Young and the poem tells us that she is going to have storms before she can bloom.

High Points: [Remember there are SPOILERS.]

You know this is a comedy because no serious drama would have a staff of all slackers. Would they? Our resident jerk is still pushing work off onto Bo Young and trying to sell things to the trainees. We see him with Bo Young’s roommate Yoon Joo, taking it easy on a break while Bo Young tackles patients alone. Even the department chief hands off most of his work to Dr. Ye. The chief is amusing, though, with his running joke of writing the jerk’s resignation letter for him.

Bo Young is starting to stand up for herself. She does the jerk’s research for him but copes pretty well with a patient who is faking an injury for the insurance money. (That turns out as a surprise, so wait for it!) In Episode 4 when she goes with the mobile clinic to the rural village she assists her patients by doing chores such as cleaning out a chicken coop. We love her because she is so warmhearted even though she is a klutz and may I say that even though someone seems to fall down in every episode, it isn’t always her.

We think Min Ho might be starting to behave, but no. He agrees to get along with Bo Young and then blurts out, “Just kidding”. He seems to be getting along well at work (that would surprise his parents) but is still full of pranks. At the rural village, he tries to get out of cleaning the coop, and then scares Bo Young with a chicken. He has a slight mishap with that and then ditches her. Is he making up for it when he lends her his coat?

We are given hints about Dr. Ye’s background such as unwanted gifts from a sports agency and calls from a mysterious woman. Rumors are circulating about why he left his previous hospital. He is still acting distant and superior and giving out advice, but surprises everyone by noticing how put-upon Bo Young is and making changes to even out the workload.

His attention to Bo Young results in the staff, especially our two moray eels from Disney’s The Little Mermaid interns ragging her about “being on the Ye Line.” You just have to wait to see how Bo Young gets herself in trouble when it all starts getting to her!

Tweedledee and Tweedledum discover that they are outcasts in the radiology group, with each thinking the other is pitiful. At the mobile clinic that starts to change. An elderly man makes a scene because he forgot he had already been x-rayed and demands another one. Tweedledee (Dae Bang) humors him and pretends to be first his brother and then his father. Aww…he ends up taking him home, cleaning up, and fixing food. Tweedledum (Joo Yong) starts cutting him some slack.

What Were They Thinking?

What is the staff thinking? They aren’t, of course. I’m calling them out for being unprofessional and rude, referring to Bo Young as “Dr. Cry-baby” all the time and teasing her about the Ye Line. If it’s part of the plot do we have to give it a pass?

What is Dr. Ye thinking when he antagonizes people with passive-aggressive remarks? Has he always been like that? Bo Young likes him because he notices her efforts, but is she going to end up with him? At the end of Episode 3, he gives her an amused look, and by the end of Episode 4 he actually smiles, which she doesn’t see.

Min Ho is the other possible candidate for the romantic lead. He’s got quite the mean streak, but we have seen plenty of rich annoying guys in other dramas who get the girl. Is it significant that he has had a lot more screen time than Dr. Ye? Lending a girl his coat isn’t enough! But then that face….

We find out in Episode 3 that the resident jerk behaves the way he does because of the family pressure he’s under. We feel a little sympathy for him as well as for the chief, who is touched and tries to help him. I really hoped the jerk would do better after this, but already in the next episode, he’s back to his old tricks.

The Episode 3 Poem

I like you by Kim Yong Taek.

One spring day I saw your love light up my backyard with happiness.
Which once was dark, under the shade.
You who called me out from the darkness with your love
With bright light that can only come from darkness,
You stood in front of me and smiled like a wildflower.
Ah, even the thought of you makes me happy.

The poem serves as a wrap-up for the end of the episode. Bo young is standing at the bus stop reading the poem on a poster. Min Ho is shown during the line, “called me out from the darkness with your love,” which sounds nice but he’s laughing at a picture of her. So if he does that, it’s not happening yet. The jerk is shown riding on the bus talking to the chief during the line, “can only come from darkness,” so we wonder if he is coming into the light now that the chief is helping him. Then Dr. Ye appears; he makes Bo Young happy and is kind to her even though she is drunk.

The Episode 4 Poem

This is the poem that made me really start noticing how all the poems were functioning. It brings together all the elements of the story at the end of the episode like how we see the grandmother with the bad knee who Bo Young helped at the mobile therapy unit. She notices the grandmother struggling and helps her with the cart, of course, we expect her to. We also see Min Ho’s friend Nam Woo walking around miserably outside because his dorm room was flooded and he was kicked out. And we also see the man with dementia who Dae Bang had taken home and taken care of. He is peaceful and resting comfortably.

Standing Close by Kim Sa In

Her bent back collects newspapers and cardboard boxes.
Her work pants are loose on her shrunken body.
When a car enters the alley
She stands close to the side with her small cart,
which is her only flesh and blood.

Standing close in solitude
Like a spider on a dirty cement wall.
Like an old sting ray at the bottom of a water tank.
Standing low and close to a gray wall.

Once the car passes
The grandmother, who was like crinkled paper,
Slowly straightens out again.
The cart’s wheels follow her at her heels like young goats.

If I think about the worn out television that will turn on in that room
If I think about the tilted sink, pots, and pans
And the bent back that will stand in front of it
I choke up.
I think about the rag in the corner,
Which she has probably wrung out.

See, they even have the television. All of these people, no matter what their day was like or what their foibles are, receive dignity from the poetry. That is what I love about this drama. I know I am behind, but I am staying with these characters that we see humanized and then elevated. I invite you to follow along and find out with me whatever lies in store.

 

Telzeytalks of Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

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