You know that Dr. Seuss rhyme, “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish”? This week we get one doctor being less lonely, two doctors going camping, mothers with red lipstick learning to be less interfering, and a doctor whose scrubs AND life are blue. We get a mostly cheerful episode this time without much crying, and a few signs of progress in development of our main characters. And a lot of stories about mothers.
Not eating alone
We begin with the hospital staff greeting each other at the start of the day to strains of The Nutcracker, which made me wonder if it was suddenly Christmas. But no, it’s just Seok Hyeong playing cheerful music in the car, and turning up the volume as he nears the hospital. When he arrives he is met by Min Ha and intern Hong Do, with the information that his first appointment is late. He tells them he missed breakfast and Min Ha is super happy when he falls in with her suggestion to go eat together. This is progress from last season, when he much preferred eating alone in his office.
The next day he studies up for a surgery while eating in the cafeteria. As he returns to his office he runs into Min Ha and Hong Do again, heading in for lunch. They invite him to eat with them, and he doesn’t skip a beat as he joins in, commenting absently about what is on the menu. Realizing suddenly that he kind of gave away that he’d already eaten, he explains that he saw it in a dream!
Telzeytalks: Seok Hyeong and Min Ha are my favorite couple right now. She is always so happy to see him that no wonder he always feels cheered up when he sees her. Her little bounces of joy are delightful.
Karie the Maknae: I love it when our adorable OBGYN has a life outside of his empty apartment. He’s really warmed up during this season.
Kmuse: Watching Seok Hyeong have a happier pep to his step when with his underlings makes me happy. Despite their relationship not being romantic (YET), Min Ha has really done wonders for Seok Hyeong’s work relationships. I say that because once he let her in with her questions, he has let others come through his walls at an acquaintance level.
Ik Joon picks up Song Hwa to go to lunch, and then takes the long way around the hospital to get to the cafeteria. He keeps making detours to talk to friends, even going the wrong way on the escalator to finish a conversation. A security officer stops by Ik Joon’s table to say hi, prompting neurology resident Seong Yeong to admit that he is scared of this guy because of the way he treats people who park in the no-parking zone.
But Ik Joon becomes all business when Song Hwa begins to eat. He has a mantra for her to say, to help her eat more slowly, and he is very serious about it. In fact, he adds another line for her to say. It’s like the time he tried teaching her to say no to people who give her extra work. He wants to help her, and she indulges him. For now.
Telzeytalks: Frankly, I was annoyed with the way he kept wandering off and talking to everyone. If someone did that to me, I would have left them and gone straight to lunch by myself. But Song Hwa is amused by him, and it shows us his personality, and how friendly he is. Also, it introduces us to the security guard.
Karie the Maknae: Finally! We got to see how Ik Jun knows EVERYONE at the hospital. His interactions are short, but you can tell he’s genuinely interested in the people he’s talking to, and he remembers details about their lives. He’s the epitome of a bubbly extrovert with a high level of emotional intelligence, and I am HERE for it. Also, his mealtime mantra for Song Hwa cracks me up EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Kmuse: Ik Jun is my hero and the kind of doctor I would want to be my doctor. He truly cares for everyone around him and his sincerity shines in this episode. I wasn’t at all annoyed, more charmed by his sincere interest in others. Sometimes I think it is very easy to stay in one’s lane and not bother with those around us and seeing the opposite just made me happy.
Try to be understanding
One of Ik Joon’s patients is getting a liver transplant from her dad. Her family nitpicks and complains, and the brother asks for a more experienced nurse because all the blood draws are giving his sister bruises. Intern Yun Bok takes umbrage, but head nurse Su Bin assures him they will do that. Then he tells Ik Joon to go to bed early and not drink! Ik Joon calmly agrees. The surgery is complicated and takes longer than expected because the blood transfusions make the patient’s organs swell and they have to wait several hours to close the incision.
Once the surgery is over, the brother brings snacks and apologizes to the nurses, but they are still annoyed. Ik Joon explains to them that patients’ relatives are very stressed and they should try to be understanding. Yun Bok suddenly remembers behaving like that when her mom was in the hospital. She sheds tears over the memory, in one of our two crying scenes. Ik Joon comments, “My sister is ill but I can’t donate because I have hepatitis B. Now my father, who is over 60, has to have surgery.” Who doesn’t think this little tidbit will not get around?
The mother of a baby with serious heart defects comes to Jun Wan for a second opinion. She is the other cryer. He talks to her gently and compassionately and explains why the baby’s condition is so bad, and why more procedures would not help. But he tells her she did the best she could for her baby. He is different from the way he was in the first season when he often was very matter-of-fact with people and the nurses would come along and tell the family, “He’s a very good doctor; that’s just the way he is.”
Telzeytalks: Neither of these stories went the way we expected. The brother was very bothersome, and the second-opinion lady was tearful, but they both ended up reasonable. It made me really appreciate our docs and head nurse for their clear-mindedness and reassuring manner.
Karie the Maknae: Caregiver stress is a very real thing, and I was pleased to see how well it was handled here, both for us to see and as part of the storytelling.
Kmuse: I think I had sympathetic caretaker stress just from watching these two story arcs.
All the mothers
The high point of the episode is when Seok Hyeong’s mom is eating with Jeong Won’s mom, Rosa, in the hospital cafe. She is putting on lipstick just as Min Ha comes in and accidentally bumps her, and draws a vivid red smear right across her face! Min Ha apologizes, but Mom gets after her sharply and even drops honorifics. Then Min Ha calls her halmoni (grandma). Rosa does her best to get out of there and prevent a scene, but Seok Hyeong’s mom rants, “I don’t care who he dates. Anyone will do. Except her!”
Jeong Won has a young patient who can hardly get a word in edgewise because his mother always interrupts and answers for him. Finally Jeong Won diplomatically asks his age and suggests that he is old enough to answer for himself. The boy immediately launches into an explanation of his symptoms, which are not quite what his mother had supposed. After this, Jeong Won negotiates follow-up with the boy, who flashes a look of triumph at his mom. Maybe he will be able to assert himself after this.
On the other end of the spectrum of controlling mothers is the story about Ik Joon’s security guard friend. An elderly lady is brought into the ER and determined to be brain dead. The hospital tracks down her next of kin, who turns out to be this security guard. He is suddenly confronted with the question of donating her organs and worries whether he even has the right to make that decision. Finally, he tells Ik Joon that his mother had left him when he was a child, and he hadn’t seen her since. But he thinks that donating her organs is a way for him to be a son one more time and do some good.
Telzeytalks: The stories of the young boy and the security guard were both very sweet, and even though Seok Hyeong’s mother is a pain, she at least lends a little spice. I can’t wait to see what happens when Seok Hyeong introduces her to Min Ha. It’s going to be good!
Karie the Maknae: Was it just me, or was our adorable OB’s mom made up to look like a ghost? Her face was very, very pale. Maybe we needed a greater contrast with her lipstick. Ooooorrrr maybe she’s going to land herself in the hospital again. Who knows? I did love the preteen patient and Jeong Won’s acknowledgment of his autonomy. I’ve been the helicopter mom myself, and it’s a good reminder to remember to let my kids speak for themselves. But oh, that poor security guard — there’s a whole drama right in that story right there.
Kmuse: It was interesting to learn why Seok Hyeong’s marriage failed and his mom’s part to play in that. I also enjoyed that Min Ha was not letting the mom get away with talking down to her. It was an enlightening interaction.
The last five minutes
Gyeo Wool tells Jeong Won that she doesn’t like keeping their relationship a secret, and he asks to meet later and talk about it. In the last five minutes of the episode, he is waiting for her at a church when she gets a call that her mother is injured and needs surgery. She texts him to say she has to go to her hometown and can’t talk now but will tell him everything later. He sits there looking at a ring box, and then gets up and leaves.
Jeong Won’s mother, Rosa, has been very forgetful the last few episodes. When she spaces her niece’s wedding, Jeong Won tells her it is okay because everyone forgets things now and again. But in the last five minutes here, she tries to get into her house and can’t remember the code to her door lock. Oh-oh.
Ik Joon and Jun Wan are driving home from their high school reunion when Uju calls to ask for fried chicken. Then Ik Soon chimes in with a comment, which gives away the fact that she is in Korea. Jun Wan looks stricken, and we recall that he has been having a hard time because of her. We saw him eating alone, and sitting dejected on the floor when he spilled something. Ik Joon doesn’t say anything at all. He just keeps driving.
Telzeytalks: This Kdrama thing about not telling people is one of my pet peeves. It’s bad enough that we have this dragged out story of not telling Jun Wan about Ik Soon. Drama Geek noticed in episode 5 that Gyeo Wool has something she’s not telling Jeong Won. Now she takes off for an emergency without telling him anything and just lets him worry. All these people need to trust each other more!
Karie the Maknae: So many cliffhangers! I’m sure they’ll turn out for the best in the end, but what a note to leave the episode on. And I can’t have Rosa losing her memory. She’s my favorite mom and I really don’t want that for her. ON THE OTHER HAND, can we please move forward with Jun Wan and Ik Sun? He and his story have been languishing for far too long, and his loneliness is hurting my heart.
Kmuse: I have been very frustrated with everyone not taking Rosa’s memory loss more seriously. I know it is for plot pacing but I wanted to scream at them regardless. Especially once she forgot the wedding of her favorite niece. Warning signs are all there blaring.
Thoughts and feelings
Telzeytalks: This episode seemed very slow when I first watched it, but looking back at it, I feel like a lot happened. It actually is mostly upbeat, but leaves us with a glum feeling because of the last five minutes. It’s kind of like Uju looking forward to camping out, but then not enjoying it because he had a fight with his best friend.
Karie the Maknae: There’s been some discussion among the Fangirls about what feels different with this season of Hospital Playlist. I’m halfway convinced it’s the pacing, but the others have made a good point that we’ve been less focused on the doctors and their personal lives. Now that I think about it, I agree, and I hope we turn back to that part of the story. I mean, the camping trip with Song Hwa, Ik Jun, and Uju was short and adorable and showed some progress in their relationship. I need more stories like that!!
Kmuse: I felt we got a ton of plot movement today in many of our doctors. I agree that the patient to doctor story arcs is a little patient heavy but I have hope that leading into the last few episodes of the season, we will get more doctor focus.
Until the next set of rounds, we remain —
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi