Dr. Champ: Episode 2
Pointy vulcan ears and Superman tee, the dream of a geek girl!
Howdy, my friends! So glad to be here writing (thanks to our overlords Javabeans and Girlfriday 😉 ) alongside my lovely kaedejun sunbae! I’ll start by saying this: I had minus forty-two expectations for this drama. In fact, the only reason why I decided to check it out was my love for Kim So Yeon. Surprisingly, I ended up liking it a lot!
SONG OF THE DAY
Wheesung – My Way
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Episode 2 recap
Infuriated, Ji Heon tries to get the hell out of there but Yeon Woo easily stops him, saying that he must stay put if he wants to have a future as an athlete. Upon Coach’s arrival, Yeon Woo firmly expresses that she did what she had to, Ji Heon’s leg was in serious danger of being lost. Those words clicked in Coach’s mind, so he orders Ji Heon to sit down until Dr. Kim is done butchering, while he’ll go and say that he’s forfeiting.
Ji Heon is not planning to forfeit, affirming that, in order to keep his dream alive, he must go. Didn’t Dr. Kim say that the critical stage had passed? She rolls her eyes – which part of you-will-lose in this condition haven’t you understood?! You need a power point presentation explaining it?!
Out of despair, he grabs her wrist (ehem, at least he didn’t drag her), looks at her with fierce eyes and makes his point clear: “If the operation you performed went wrong, I won’t leave you alone. I’m saying I can end your doctor career for life”. Er. Scary. I miss your dreamy glance from the balloon scene, kiddo!
Having said that, Ji Heon goes to the arena, making the coach worried – will he be able to do it? He evades the potentially losing my leg issue, focusing on the importance of this moment, the one he’s been waiting for since the death of his brother.
That’s gonna hurt.
Ji Heon goes against his nemesis (Sang Bong), putting all his effort and trying to do his best but utterly fails. His sight goes blurry, his movements become erratic, his defeat is clear and definitive. That’s not the worst part: after the final point, he faints and his wound starts bleeding. Yeon Woo witnesses how the paramedics enter the arena and take him away, without being able to check him out by herself.
After this depressing scenario, good news arrive! Ji Heon wakes up to the announcement that he’s been added to the national team members list! The coach also informs that the doctors who treated him, found the incision made by Yeon Woo to be particularly well done – if it wasn’t for her, he would’ve been in big trouble. The lady whose identity he ignores, saved his career. Aw.
Meanwhile, Yeon Woo is arriving home, where her mum is acting all sweet and lovely in order to take advantage of her daughter, easing her heart with food (that would certainly work on me!). Too bad, Yeon Woo’s not stupid, she knows her mum needs money for her debt and refuses to repay it, even when there’s not so much left. Leeching mum pushes her to the edge – her brother paid for her tuition, why isn’t she helping them?
Why? I’ll tell you why.
Oppa almost went to jail for stealing his company’s money.
Will she be unemployed forever, then? After graduating from med school? Definitely, Yeon Woo won’t continue with this discussion: Oppa has been taking money from her sis for 2 years, so they have no right to ask anything from her.
Now, we’ll see a little bit more of Lee Do Wook. He’s playing games with Manager Bom, affirming in a casual way that his injury was because of a bomb in Afghanistan working with the CIA. When the other guy expresses admiration for his credentials, without a wink, Dr. Lee replies: “You’ve heard quite a few times that you aren’t a humorous person, right?”. How can he be so cutely sarcastic? Or… Sarcastically cute?
After finding the peace of solitude, Do Wook takes a look at a magazine, but stops at a small photograph of a female coach: Gang Hui Yeong. He closes it with a meaningful glance, as if something was bothering him, and sits to stretch his leg.
And it’s on! Do Wook is totally prepared for his new job and aware that his straightforwardness might cause a problem or two. He requires more doctors, an MRI and an oxygen tank, considering that there are 352 athletes in the facility. They agree to give him one more doctor, and then they’ll see. He doesn’t care if his changes will need money, he’s not here to take care of finances, but as a member of the medical department.
Outside, Dr. Lee meets Coach Gang. Hui Yeong greets him with a sigh, and he’s not his previously joking self, he behaves with cold hostility.
Do Wook: I’m not here because I was picked for the national team, you see.
Hui Yeong uncomfortably notices that he can walk, even when she thought he wouldn’t be able to. He thanks her for that and at the same time, he takes this chance to revive a fire that seemed extict.
Do Wook: Are you living well? That loser, what was his name?
So, they had a melodramatic tangle in the past, huh? That lo-ser is her husband now, whether Do Wook likes it or not (he obviously doesn’t). The air around them becomes thicker, talking about the past Do Wook, who “was different from that of today” and her “first love”. Wrong choice of words, sistah, his eyes become violent as he commands her to use the respective form. With this final statement (to which she agrees), they part ways.
The Ghost of Lovers Past haunts them: she looks back and sighs, he goes to the swimming pool and remembers…
Mr. Flashback takes us to a past, happy time when Hui Yeong was training with a sane 24 year old Do Wook. They were all lovey-dovey, promising kisses in exchange for the gold medal. Suddenly, they heard a sound, and they both went underwater to keep their torrid romance unknown. When coast is clear, they shared a passionate kiss…
After that, Mr. Flashback ends and we’re left with grumpy Do Wook again.
Back to the hospital, Ji Heon receives his nephew’s approval to be (illegally) discharged for the night, and borrows some clothes from an all broken guy who… won’t be leaving anytime soon, right?
At a medical center, Yeon Woo meets a seemingly kind hearted head doctor who accepts her application without even thinking it twice: she’s the best out of all the residents, why would she need to be interviewed? Super flattered and with a bright future ahead, Yeon Woo goes out.
Ji Heon calls her, putting up a creepy voice and threatening her – what will she do about what she’s done to his leg? Just as Dr. Kim arrives to the hospital where he’s supposed to be suffering an impending disability, Ji Heon greets her from a short distance, teasing her while feigning an acute leg-pain.
This guy is seriously adorable. He even made restaurant reservations!
Yeon Woo is clearly not thinking that this is any kind of funny. Not getting the message over why she is so upset, he asks if she would’ve felt better if he was in fact on the verge of another operation. That’s not the point – why did he lie, then? He was afraid she wouldn’t go!
Indeed, she wouldn’t have!
Eeep, she’s just proven his fears, losing the argument. What-e-vah, SHE-WON’T-GO. Almost defeated, he calmly almost begs “Won’t you have dinner with me just once?”. That request made with those puppy eyes, is impossible to decline.
At the restaurant, she points out that it seems like an expensive place and chooses the cheapest course that, judging from his face, will take his kidney and half of his assets to pay. Her strong face is starting to fade away: she even gives him a tiny, minimal smile. That’s a beginning, right? Well, don’t be too happy, guys, because this is gonna get ugly.
Ji Heon, sensing that her moody behaviour is soothing, tries to get her to say her name – in his cell phone she’s just “Balloon Lamp Noona”. Too bad kdramaland is so small, and coincidences are always around the corner: Jerk Ex and his current foxy lady are having dinner there too! At first, Ji Heon doesn’t understand what the frak is going on, why she has suddenly darkened her expression and she’s willing to leave immediately. Foxy Lady pushes Jerk Ex to go and greet Yeon Woo (!!!), generating a confuse episode in which the latter finally learns that they’ve been dating for 100 days. After slapping him for being such an ass, Yeon Woo tries to go away, but Ji Heon stops her: “What did you do wrong? If someone’s to leave, this punk should be the one to leave”.
Life’s lesson number 1: butting into a stranger’s problem can cause more harm than good. Case in point: Yeon Woo gets upset because of this ruckus and leaves the restaurant. He tries to explain his reaction, he did it for her, he even chose that place because it’s the one that’s near the hospital where she works. She gives the newsflash: she quit.
And thus is how the evening of hell ended.
…or did it?
Yeon Woo goes to a pub to drown her sorrows in alcohol. However, she’s not alone! Ji Heon has followed her; he paid $200 at that restaurant but barely ate, now it’s time for dinner. Thanks to him, she’ll get the opportunity to drunkenconfess all the pain she’s been concealing.
What about some ahjumma love?
Ji Heon encourages her, serving glasses of soju one after the other, while he just listens and pretends as if he was drinking. Yeon Woo catches his tactic and forces him to drink, only to find out that he’s a weak drinker – now, she’ll have to drag him home, after a greasy ahjumma plays with the idea of keeping him for the night.
At Yeon Woo’s home, while she’s in another room, a passed out Ji Heon suddenly regains consciousness with the sound of his cell phone. Unable to believe that he’s there, he tries to return to his “passed out” position on the couch, while putting the cell phone away in his pocket… Alas! A naughty condom was inside, and it thought it was time to get out and play, ending up on the floor.
Holy jumping condoms, Batman!
Yeon Woo arrives, sees the guy who wanted her to absorb alcohol like a sponge trying to hide a condom and well, hilarity ensues as Ji Heon tries to explain that the clothes were borrowed. Who would believe that? She obviously doesn’t and chases him out with pillows and shouting.
The next day, Ji Heon convinces the mummy guy to tell Yeon Woo the truth: the condom is his. She just listens and hangs up, smiling.
Poor Yeon Woo, she must’ve been a really bad person in her previous life. Not only she’s been dumped, the job she was going to get is over. So, now she has to face the fact that: a) she was fired… b) …by a pretty powerful doctor who… c) …is determined to end her career.
Doctor Terror (Dr. Seo), coincidentally, is having an interview with Do Wook. The former is curious for the reason why such a famous doctor with a job at Johns Hopkins Hospital is now working at the athletes’ village.
Do Wook: I’m making ten times more money here.
Doctor Terror: Really?
Do Wook: No.
Heh. Now, he’ll take a look at the installations.
In the corridor, Doctor Terror will have a not so friendly chat with Yeon Woo. She wonders why-oh-why must he be such a jerk, sabotaging her career and leaving her with no option but to help Jo Min Ji with the lawsuit… which is inexistent now, since the family couldn’t afford the legal war. In the end, the fighter for justice is the hospital’s laughingstock now.
Bummer by two!
Do Wook has overheard this conversation, and now will use it to pick on Yeon Woo for being a whistleblower, when they share the elevator – she betrayed her colleagues ergo she has no future as a doctor. Yeon Woo is surprised by these nosy remarks, so she bitterly asks if his leg is like that because he got surgery by Dr. Seo. Just as she goes out, she finds her Jerk Ex, who wants her to apply for a job at the athletes’ village (they must be ignorant of her case). She declines, saying she’ll never ever in the story of, like, ever go there, while Do Wook listens to her words from afar.
This is a sad day, indeed. Yeon Woo, defeated, hits rock bottom: her career is over, no matter how hard she’s fought to evade this fact. Meanwhile, as rain starts falling, Ji Heon pays a visit to his brother’s grave, and tells him that he won’t return until he wins the gold medal.
Later, at night, Ji Heon’s happily at his nephew’s home until his sister in law arrives, with her full-of-hate attitude, surely based on events we still don’t know. He goes to talk to her in private, but she cuts him short: once he goes to Taereung, he has to stop visiting them. He pretends not to take her words seriously, while he leaves an envelope (supposedly with money).
At last, we get to meet the athletes at Taereung, they sweat a lot, they train hard, they show their abs. They gather up to hear from Oh Jung Dae (Ma Dong Suk), that softies and people who are not prepared, will be cut off.
The person that’s responsible for executing the director’s and the coach’s words is the national team leader and newbies hater, Heo Tae Koo (Lee Shi Un). Tae Koo is an anti fan of, especially, Ji Heon (obviously) because he’s so good looking and a magnet for women: just as the training ends, Kwon Yoo Ri (Kang So Ra) runs to hug him and pats his butt, utterly excited to see him at Taereung. She’s clingy, but she’s cute too, and potentially funny.
Talking about funny stuff, Ji Heon and his nemesis are roommates. They fight over who will use which bed (yawn) and hot stare each other for a while until they’re informed that they’ll be climbing in 2 hours.
At a mountain’s base, they’re informed that the director and the coach will be waiting at the top, so they must double back in 50 minutes. If not, the training will be really tiring next day. As they start running up, the only two that continue are Ji Heon and Kang Woo Ram (Shin Dong Hee), the newbies. It seems like they’re getting their initiation ritual.
When he reaches the top, Ji Heon realizes that they’ve been pranked. Woo Ram wasn’t as lucky; he didn’t even made it to the top because of his ankle, and still hasn’t figured out the truth. When they meet their peers at the base, it’s super late, and an upset Ji Heon asks what was the point of what they’ve just done. What if something had happened? Sang Bong blames them for taking a lot of time to come down, everyone does this same ritual every year and everyone did it before dark. Furthermore, they do it every week; won’t they do it just in case they get hurt? What a pair of pussies! Mood’s broken, the group disbands.
Next day, Yeon Woo has decided to apply for the job at Taereung while his star patient is suffering the consequences of his injury – his leg hurts as hell when he’s training. Don’t worry, hun, hopefully Yeon Woo will get this job and she’ll ease your pain. But that may be in the distant future, since as of now, she’s facing the medical director who’ll interview her.
And that’s none other than Lee… Do… Wook. The guy that confronted her in the elevator.
Raise your eyebrows and say yeah!
My unexpected attachment to Dr. Champ might be due to the the lack of histrionics or over the topness. Granted, you have the casual k-drama cliché, some eye rolling coincidences, but heck, they were not as insulting as to make me too concerned.
Secondly, I can’t say enough how much I’m hoping for the characters to keep on being this relatable and compelling. Sure, we’ll have dramatic developments in a future, but the strong point of this drama is how it behaves as a quiet, low key story. I generally like So Yeon, but I’m not the biggest fan of Uhm Tae Woong’s acting (don’t throw rocks at me). Jung Kyeo-woon, I’ve never seen him anywhere, but I’ve read that the guy can’t act even if his life was at stake. Here, a bit of awkward stiffness is coherent with his character – the guy is a dorkish and adorable judoka with a big heart. So, as long as everything is kept simple, they can pull a convincing trio.
[Talking about Lee Do Wook, much has been said about his Dr. House-ness. If it’s a “funny homage”, kind of “okay”, if it turns out to be an unnecessary ripoff, I’ll be pissed. Time will say, I still don’t know what to think ’bout this.]
Aside from the characters, I absolutely value the general vibe and style of the drama. The music is never too loud or intrusive, the color palette is harmonious and the general directing transmitted a feel of calmness I digged – the story flows at a nice pacing; not too fast, not too slow.
Just to finish, it’s clear that this is not gonna be massive – it won’t draw big audiences or mania love. Maybe I’m wrong, and it could be either a hit or an absolute mess (or both). It has the potential to warm the heart with a tender feeling and to be the perfect “before going to sleep” drama: one that leaves you with a smile that makes you forget the hardships of the day.
Let’s hope for the best.
If the potential is misused, I’ll always have my uzi prepared to shoot at the writers for messing everything up.
See ya next week!