This week, in addition to the hurdles facing our main characters, we have an ode to the unsung heroes of the hospital — people without whom the patients cannot be properly treated, but who don’t usually get the attention they deserve.
Talking at last? No?
We begin with an extended version of the bus scene we had last time, where Ik Joon sees his opportunity and manages to put Ik Soon and Jun Wan on the same bus. But then they just sit there and don’t talk to each other. For a four-hour trip! Not until the bus arrives in Seoul does Jun Wan ask Ik Soon if she will be around for the weekend and if she can meet up and just talk.
Telzeytalks: You have to be kidding me! How can they sit on a bus for four hours and not talk to each other? That’s the one thing I was expecting from this episode!
Karie the Maknae: I’m so done with this ship. I don’t even care if they get closure at this point, even though Jun Wan obviously needs it.
Kmuse: I am so frustrated that so much is happening off-screen and I’m never sure where all the couples stand when they do interact on screen. It is frustrating.
The hospital has a table tennis tournament, and Ik Joon has amazing luck. When he plays against the ER docs, an emergency case comes in just as they are starting and Dr. Bong has to forfeit the game. When he plays Cardiothoracic Surgery, no sooner does the ball get lobbed into the air than a code blue is called and Jun Wan is gone before the ball hits the table. Dr. Shin from Radiology never lets his partner hit the ball and is disqualified.
Ik Joon makes the finals, but in the game against Nuclear Medicine we watch him and his partner try their best, but go down in flames. At the end of the match we finally see their opponents. It’s a cameo by two famous Olympic table tennis players, Hyun Jung Hwa and Joo Sae Hyuk. “Are you really doctors?” Ik Joon asks. Everyone in Korea probably knows who they are.
Telzeytalks: Maybe it’s a coincidence, but we are going to see these doctors later in the episode, so watch for them. It’s kind of funny that they all have to forfeit, and yet I can’t help thinking that it was poor planning on the part of somebody. On a side note, does anybody know why the scorekeeper kept eating all those bananas?
Karie the Maknae: This was one of the best parts of the episode. The reasons the matches got forfeited were serious and perfectly timed, and there may have been a lot of giggling at my house as we watched them. And my daughter and I totally guessed that the Nuclear Medicine docs were actual Olympians and WE WERE RIGHT. That was a nice touch.
Kmuse: By far my favorite part of the episode. One of our Patreon members shared that they filmed it all without an actual ball and it was entered in digitally after the fact. That makes a lot more sense than our doctors being able to get so many of those crazy shots.
The ER doctors
A traffic accident victim is brought into the ER. Dr. Bong and his resident, Jae Min, do some tests and make decisions. They put in a chest tube to treat a collapsed lung, and use a long catheter to drain the abdominal bleeding. Then Dr. Bong identifies the heart and intestinal injuries and calls in Jun Wan and Ik Joon to do further surgeries.
After the patient is taken to a ward, Jae Min goes up to see him. Chang Min, Jun Wan’s resident, goes at the same time and the patient and his wife recognize him. They thank Chang Min profusely but say nothing to Jae Min. Feeling deeply hurt, Jae Min leaves quietly and Dr. Bong finds him later outside. He tries to cheer him up, saying the whole ER staff knows he did well. Jun Wan, when asked what the most critical point was for the patient, decides it was in the ER, because they had to quickly give the right care, or the patient would never have made it to surgery.
Telzeytalks: Poor Jae Min. It’s part of the growing up pains that we all go through in some way. I like that Dr. Bong tells him, “When the patient gets better, then we know we have done a good job.”
Karie the Maknae: Dr. Bong has been consistently likable throughout this series, and this episode did a great job of highlighting why. ER docs are definitely not in it for the recognition. They’re there to make sure the patient can make it to the doctors who can help them the best, and the story made it clear that Dr. Bong humbly recognizes that. He just puts his head down and gets the work done.
Kmuse: I second what my fellow Fangirls have said. This was a well-done small story arc within the episode that really showcased how many hidden helpers there are in the medical community that we don’t notice.
Anesthesiology and Radiology
Gyeo Wool quizzes GS resident Kim Geon about a liver transplant patient who’s returned to the hospital with clogged bile ducts. He recalls several procedures they have tried that haven’t worked, and decides the next step is surgery. She praises him and prompts him with the name of the surgery so he can impress Ik Joon later.
Ik Joon calls Dr. Shin about doing the ultrasound during the surgery for the bile ducts. He is on a bus on the way to Busan for a conference, but says he’ll come. Ik Joon starts the liver surgery, and we notice the anesthesiologist with the deep voice. In the earlier surgery for the traffic accident victim, Ik Joon had kept asking for updates on the patient’s vitals, and the anesthesiologist had told him to just worry about the surgery because he was monitoring the vitals and making sure the patient was okay. He is a steadying influence. Now, for the liver surgery, everyone is surprised when Dr. Shin walks in! He had gotten off the bus and taken a taxi back to the hospital. He has been helping treat this patient for two years, and really wants to follow up and make sure it is done right.
Telzeytalks: I don’t know the name of the anesthesiologist, but he is always there for Ik Joon’s surgeries. I have been noticing him because he has such a lovely voice.
Karie the Maknae: I feel like this story highlighted just how far the Yulje doctors will go for their patients, and to support their fellow doctors. Ik Jun’s surprised happy face was a delight.
Kmuse: This made me actually a bit tired for the poor doctors. It doesn’t seem like they have very much time where they are not saving lives in between their naps in their offices.
Jeong Won does morning rounds in the NICU. One nurse cuddles baby Min Sol, who is crying and likes to be held. Another nurse feeds little Si On, who is not taking much. Min Sol quiets down, and as the nurse picks up another baby we notice a pain patch on her neck. Just then Min Sol’s mother comes in and asks why her own child doesn’t get held. Uhh. At the end of the day when Jeong Won checks in again, the nurse reports that Si On is eating well now.
The next day Jeong Won tells Si On’s mom she can take the baby home soon. “We owe it all to you.” the mother exclaims. “You saved Si On’s life!” He tells her that since the surgery, he has only made short visits, and the nurses do most of the care and should get the credit. The next day the nurses are surprised and touched when Si On’s mom leaves a fancy box lunch for them with a thank you note for all their care of her baby.
Telzeytalks: I like that the unsung heroes got some recognition this time, and what it meant to them. That lunch looked delicious by the way, no wonder they were happy.
Karie the Maknae: I’ve always thought that nurses were the ones who were really in tune with the patients, since they’re there for the minute-to-minute care. It was awesome to see Jeong Won acknowledge that, though I know any of our five doctors would have.
Kmuse: I know that in the times I have been at the hospital, I always had my favorite nurses. They can make or break a hospital stay.
Jeong Won, Ik Joon, and Seok Hyeong meet in the hospital garden on a break. Min Ha brings ice cream for Seok Hyeong and gets teased because she doesn’t have enough for all of them, but holds her own pretty well. Later Ik Joon gets Jeong Won alone and asks, “do you think Seok Hyeong knows his own feelings?” Jeong Won answers, “Yes, he is probably figuring out the consequences. They will have a few hurdles. You saw that look on his face. It’s already game over.”
Jeong Won calls Gyeo Wool and asks to see her, but she’s going home to make dinner for her mom. Their relationship once looked like the happiest, but now she seems to be avoiding him.
Ik Soon had promised to meet Jun Won at 6:00, but falls ill and texts him she can’t make it. Ik Joon takes her to the ER and then calls Jun Wan to tell him where she is. Pretty soon Jun Wan walks into the ER and tries to talk, but she just looks uncomfortable. Before they can solve anything, he gets called away to deal with an emergency.
Ik Joon and Song Hwa get caught in a sudden rain shower. He takes her hand to help her over a puddle and then says, “There are three more; think of them as hurdles. You can do it. Jump over them.” He takes off running and after giving him a little wistful look, she follows.
In a flashback to med school days, we see Ik Joon text Song Hwa to meet up, that he has something to give her. She is excited and asks where to meet, but gets no answer. Finally, she gets another text, “Sorry something came up. See you another time.” She puts her head on the desk and weeps.
Telzeytalks: It seems like the two love affairs that were going swimmingly at the start of the season have now stalled, and the other two are becoming more promising. But it’s looking like nothing will get resolved until the very last episode. We all thought that Song Hwa had liked Ik Joon in med school days, and now we have proof. In the first season, we saw that Seok Hyeong liked Song Hwa too, and Ik Joon threw away a gift he had bought for her when he found that out.
Karie the Maknae: At this point, I’m done shipping ships. I’ll just watch how it plays out and try not to get frustrated out how the tension is being artificially drawn out.
Kmuse: I loved getting this flashback. I miss those special glimpses from the past this season.
Thoughts and Feelings
Telzeytalks: If you wanted a real slice-of-life drama set in a hospital without power politics, where everyone works together well for the good of the patients, that’s what you got. Scenes take place all over the hospital to characters we have gotten to know little by little. Even the joke about Song Hwa being a terrible singer is amazing, because in real life, actress Jeon Mi Do is a professional singer. I don’t know how she manages all those off-tones and squawks!
Karie the Maknae: One of my favorite parts of this episode came at the beginning. I wasn’t sure why we were watching all these surgeries without stories attached to them until we got to Jeong Wan, who was operating on his tiny patient and asked for mosquito forceps and a peanut sponge. LOL. On the other hand, I feel like our drama’s pace has slowed down quite a bit — I’m not DYING to watch each episode as soon as it drops, and I’m feeling pretty ambivalent towards season 3. I guess I’ll see how these last three episodes play out.
Kmuse: I also am having some issues with the pacing. I am not completely positive if it is the show or just the medical stuff that is happening in my real life. Either way, it just isn’t hitting the same as season 1. That said, I am still invested in seeing our doctors be happy. I just wish more of that happiness happened on screen.
Side Note: The September 2nd episode of Hospital Playlist will be delayed until the following week due to a sporting event.
Until the next set of rounds, we remain —
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi