Episode 2 gives us a wide range of experiences, from being silly to comforting to holding firm. It’s largely about difficult patients and serious problems, which are handled well but take a while to resolve. All this effort results in the really touching and memorable scenes that this series is known for.
We get a verdict for one of our cliffhangers from last year, so first let’s talk about Seok Hyeung and his ex-wife. Ik Joon sees them together in the elevator, and later barges into Seok Hyeung’s office to find out if they are getting back together. He gets a straight answer, “Zero chance.” Seok Hyeung still feels bad when he sees her. So there you are. Never make people feel bad when they see you.
Telzeytalks: Ah good, nice to have that settled so quickly. Now we can move on.
Karie the Maknae: I was surprised at how firm Seok Hyeung’s “Zero chance” was, but it makes sense. He’s gentle and compassionate, so it would LOOK like he was ready to get back together with his ex-wife when he really was just being nice to her.
Drama Geek: If all you think of when you see someone is your past mistakes, it makes it hard to move forward with them. I’m trying to remember if they specified why they divorced, but I don’t think they did. I feel like it was mostly his career and family issues that got in the way of them having a happy marriage. Sounds like a lot to handle in a marriage, and he doesn’t seem to want to bring that kind of hardship on her again. He’s still a workaholic who only has time for band practice and his mom. 🙂
Kmuse: I am glad that this didn’t come to fruition. Obviously, they had problems in the past and I don’t think that time makes those kinds of things go away. I’m looking forward to what is in store in his future.
The silly end of the spectrum is found in the hospital cafe where Gyeo Wool is using Ik Joon’s credit card to get a coffee. Jun Wan takes it away from her and buys drinks for all the nurses just to rack up the balance. That shows how much these guys tease and prank each other all the time even though they are best friends! Or maybe because they are.
Then there is the strawberry-eating scene where Jeong Won is trying to make an announcement. He is immediately interrupted and they all talk over him. Finally there is a pause, he takes a deep breath, and tells them that he is seeing Gyeo Wol. There is dead silence until Song Hwa serenely replies that she always thought they would make a good couple, and then everyone relaxes. Ik Joon warns him not to call her “our Gyeo Wol,” which is an endearment and would give everything away.
Telzeytalks: I loved it when Seok Hyeong admitted that his mom had already told him. She is friends with Jeong Won’s mom, and of course she heard about it!
Karie the Maknae: I was so impressed with how patient Jeong Won was with his friends, and I really laughed at the throwback mention to the fact that Song Hwa and Jun Wan will eat EVERYTHING if the other friends don’t claim the food they want immediately and loudly. Also, those strawberries really did look delicious!
Drama Geek: They truly are family. This scene just hammered that in with how it played out. My earlier comment about Seok Hyeong being a workaholic holds true for all of them. They are very dedicated doctors who care deeply for their patients and the only other people who can understand their crazy life and schedules is each other. I’m not saying other relationships won’t work out, I just think they really need each other. I was also very happy about the laughs. These scenes bring me great comfort.
Kmuse: So much great support for each other both when things go bad and when things go good. They are truly friendship goals.
A little boy who had cancer surgery comes in to have Jeong Won take the stitches out of his back, but keeps yelling and won’t hold still. They finally give up and decide to try again later. The mom apologizes but Jeong Won isn’t upset. He is understanding and kind as he talks to her about how her child has gone through so many treatments and surgery, and coped with a lot of pain already. He affirms that she has done a great job taking care of her son, and it’s ok to wait and give him some space.
Jun Wan has a heart patient who is only four years old. The mother is very distressed, and his matter-of-fact manner doesn’t help. Then another mom comes into the PICU and finds her crying. She is very sweet and comforting, and is a real highlight of this episode. She assures the first mom that Jun Wan is an excellent doctor, and confides that her own child has been on the very same treatment for three months and is doing fine. She should have faith in her child, and they can get through it all together.
Seok Hyeung has a patient who is presenting a potential miscarriage and fights it for a month but loses the baby. She is devastated, and Seok Hyeung is heartsick to think he couldn’t help. When the patient goes home she leaves him a basket of flowers with a note thanking him for the extra time she and her husband had with their baby, listening to the heartbeat, and feeling him move. This time it is the patient who consoles the doctor.
Telzeytalks: One of the things I love about this show is how many of the characters are good people. I love how we are getting to know Seok Hyeung in particular, who seems unemotional but is actually a very sensitive soul who feels the pain of others.
Karie the Maknae: I was worried at first about the two moms in the PICU — it sounded like one mom was throwing all the toxic positive platitudes at the new mom. But as she kept talking, I saw how comforted the new mom was, and it made me think that sometimes the best people to surround ourselves with aren’t the experts, but the people who have experience and know exactly what we’re feeling.
Drama Geek: I wasn’t sure what to think about the little boy with stitches and his parents. They kept yelling at him and were so easily frustrated, then when he pulled her aside and we found out the little boy is a cancer patient, I could totally see the weariness in the parents. I loved how it reaffirmed how patient or Buddha Doctor is and how much he sees his patient’s pain. The loss of the baby hit hard, and I’m glad that the parents were able to help our doc. They are not impenetrable robots and this show is one of the best at reminding us of that.
Kmuse: I love that this drama shows us all the nuances of being a doctor, both good and bad. I feel that medical shows tend to be dramatic saves or that one loss that leads to others screaming that they need to take responsibility. It has always greatly annoyed me that we never see the hospital reality where sometimes people die. With this show, we see the humanity and hardships in those moments and not just blame and hatred.
Song Hwa has a new VIP patient who is a famous violinist. She is taken aback at how hostile and contentious the patient’s mother is, but stays very calm and polite, and answers every question. When she returns that evening with her resident, they realize the mother didn’t know who she was and was waiting for a professor. The mother is much more conciliatory when she finds out who Song Hwa is. And Song Hwa is awesome as she stands up for the residents and gently explains that they are neurosurgeons too, and very knowledgeable.
The day of the surgery, the mother is very nervous and not nearly so dressed up and formidable looking. But she’s got her confidence back by the end of the episode, when she tries to set Song Hwa up with her son! For once Song Hwa is left without words.
Telzeytalks: Song Hwa has a history of staying calm, and in fact, finds compromises in difficult situations. She deals amazingly with this mother, and it seems like she is still assisting Dr. Min, that older doctor who is not good with some of the newer surgical techniques. (What continuity!)
Karie the Maknae: Song Hwa’s ability to deal so kindly with difficult people is one of my favorite aspects of her character. I wouldn’t have been nearly so nice.
Drama Geek: My favorite part of this entire storyline is that she’s in it for the money! Yes, she is a nice doctor who cares about her patients, but she wants those VIP surgeries for her side hustle as Momma Long Legs.
Kmuse: She is just an amazing character in every way.
At the other end of the spectrum from the silliness, we see that our doctors can hold the line when they need to. Ik Joon has a patient who has had two liver transplants and is doing poorly again. He knows from the bloodwork that this man has been drinking, which is really hard on the liver. You absolutely cannot drink if you have had a liver transplant. In a quiet but implacable voice, Ik Joon tells him he is being disrespectful to his two daughters who were the donors, to the doctors who gave so much effort, and to other patients who lost their chance to be treated because this guy was taking up hospital space. He recommends another clinic and firmly says he will not treat this man anymore.
Telzeytalks: Am I the only one who grew slowly annoyed with this patient and called out, “Yes!” when Ik Joon gave him the ultimatum? But I must say I liked the actress in this scene and thought she did a wonderful job here as the long-suffering wife.
Karie the Maknae: Oh, this patient was so frustrating. How could he take his daughters’ sacrifices so lightly? Obviously, he’s an addict and needs to go through rehab, and this episode showed how hard the family of an addict has it.
Drama Geek: I think of my father and if a doctor had denied him heart surgery because he wouldn’t stop eating bacon for breakfast or putting salt on everything. I never had to give up a piece of myself because of him, but it would be really hard to see it go to waste, but just as hard to not beg the doctor to work on his heart one more time. Sadly, for this man, the same result my dad had will probably be his fate, and the family will grieve their loss. Ik Joon is in an impossible situation. There are other people waiting on lists for life-saving organs and doctors to perform those surgeries. You have to take the patient’s behavior into account when you decide which patients to see. I guess I’m seeing it from all angles and there is just no correct answer.
Kmuse: It really is a no-win situation and I understand giving him multiple chances because he had two family members willing to sacrifice. But to take away another person’s chance to live for a third time up to bat when he obviously has an addiction that he needs to address. It is just that one step too far. That said, I don’t think that Asian shows give any concept to addiction recovery. This would have been a great moment to try and get the man into some serious rehab facilities that could maybe extend his life in a different way.
Thoughts and Feelings
This is a serious and thoughtful episode, with not a lot of fun, everyone having difficulties, but with rewarding relationships. Our patients and doctors support each other and that makes all the difference. As we watch Ik Joon descend on Seok Hyeung with questions or just sit quietly and share the pain, we see what good friends they are. This is what we are watching the show for.
Telzeytalks: At first I thought this episode was all about people comforting each other, but then realized that there is more to it than that; we are being shown several different ways of reacting to hardship, and the impact that choice has on other people. There is so much to find in these stories.
Karie the Maknae: As I watched this episode with my daughter, I was listening for her giggles. It wasn’t as frequent this time, but I think we were both touched by the difficult situations the doctors had to deal with.
Drama Geek: At its funniest, this show makes me guffaw loudly and repeatedly. At its saddest, it makes me dig deeper within and see so much about the world that is good and wonderful, even during the hardest times. The heatwave we’re experiencing has me desperate for Thursday. Can someone bring me a refreshing strawberry?
Kmuse: I continue to connect in with the characters and can’t wait to see what adventures they have next week.
See you during the next set of rounds!
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi