Good Doctor: Episode 12
There can be no room for error when it comes to surgery, and one second of hesitation can mean the difference between life or death for the patient. The hospital politics and the medical cases take a backseat as we drive the romance (or sometimes lack thereof) to the forefront as feelings collide from every angle. But just like a car accident, it takes a bit of time for the whiplash to kick in.
On the plus side, the latest episode of Good Doctor hit a new series high of 19.4%. Here’s hoping things keep looking up instead of crashing down. Fingers crossed.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Four minutes. With two lives hanging on the balance, Do-han must make a decision: either save the mother or the baby. Doctor Min says they must forsake the baby.
Two minutes. Shi-on thinks back to Hyung in the mines and declares that they must save both persons. They each have a fifty-fifty chance of survival, so they must save them both or else the one who survives will be sad.
Do-han collects himself and announces they’ll go ahead with the tracheotomy. The doctors argue that it’s too risky, but they have no time to lose. They’re forced to go by touch and Do-han assigns Shi-on to the task.
One minute. Shi-on closes his eyes to envision the target area in his head, and then points to where the incision should be made. Do-han successfully completes the procedure, to everyone’s relief. We didn’t forget about the excessive bleeding, right? I hope that blood transfusion order worked out.
Do-han completes the rest of the surgery. He calls Shi-on to see him afterward about Shi-on’s statement of the patients’ chances of survival. He turns it into a teaching point, telling him it’s a surgeon’s job to reduce the patient’s chance of death in the operating room.
He advises Shi-on that he doesn’t use his own guesswork to make a claim in front of a life again. Do-han says all of this without yelling this time, and before Shi-on shuffles away, Do-han tells him that he did well today. Aw.
Yoon-seo apologizes for saying that Shi-on asked too many questions at their briefing, since all of his worst-case scenarios came up in surgery. Shi-on plays it off like it’s no big deal. She doesn’t miss his attitude change, and teases him for getting a big head these days.
They end up awkwardly walking in the same direction later, so she points him in the direction he needs to go, but he sticks around. With a smile, she asks if he’s trying to walk her out.
Nervous, Shi-on searches for an excuse, saying he needs to run out to pick up a few things, but Yoon-seo replies that everything he needs can be found in her desk. So he blurts that he’s off to buy a hammer (at a convenience store?), and that’s good enough of a reason for her.
But when they exit the hospital, Do-han is already waiting for her to drive her home. Shi-on pouts. Aww.
When they reach her place, Yoon-seo asks if things are still tense with his fiancée. At his silence, she warns him to be careful or he may soon find himself dumped. Do-han: “Then I guess I’ll be dumped.”
Do-han says that he and Chae-kyung did love each other once, and Yoon-seo still gets goosebumps just thinking about how much of a lovey-dovey couple they were. Do-han tells her that he doesn’t know why he keeps forgetting things these days, sometimes even days at a time.
She figures it’s because he’s overworked and apologizes that she can’t alleviate his burdens. But Do-han just smiles and ruffles her hair the same way she usually ruffles Shi-on’s.
HA, Shi-on turns up the next day with a hammer. Yoon-seo lifts it up and asks, “Is there a convenience store named ‘Taeyang’s Hardware’?” Hahaha, you so enjoy pulling his tail and I so enjoy watching it.
When Chae-kyung and Do-han run into each other, she notes that he looks worse for wear. He says that he’s been busy, and she tells him to take care of himself because she can’t anymore. He asks if her plans have changed, and takes her silence as his answer.
Chae-kyung calls out to him before he walks away, wondering how they ended up like this. She points out that taking some time should be painful for both parties, but it’s not like that for either of them.
A man drops by the NICU asking to see the baby of the young mother. Ah, so this must be the husband who was previously in the States. Yoon-seo asks if he’s visited the baby’s mother yet, since she’s the one who’s having the hardest time.
She tells the husband that the baby’s mother is an amazing woman because she doesn’t resent anyone. “It’s not because she’s dumb or too kind, but because that’s the way she can love her family.”
That’s why Yoon-seo believes that she’ll become a great mother. The husband walks away without a word.
In-hye scoffs in disbelief when she hears of Shi-on’s not-a-confession. She tsks at him, saying that she’s starting to realize why her teachers gave up on her in her studies. Heh, this girl.
In-hye asks if his mysterious girl sees him as a kid, which could explain why it’s so hard for him to get the words out. She asks for a name and birthdate to read their fortunes. Ha, is this another tactic to get him to spill the beans?
Shi-on is eager to find out if they’re a match, and he answers: “Snow… White.” Hehe. Jealous and bitter, In-hye tells him to forget it.
It turns out the husband didn’t visit his (recently-divorced) wife, but the baby mother doesn’t blame him at all—it’s just that his mother is too controlling. She’s sad that she hasn’t gotten a chance to see her baby yet, which is when Yoon-seo shows her a picture on her phone. Aw, that’s sweet.
And then the husband shows up after all. He apologizes for not being there for her when she needed him most and thanks her for protecting their baby. He pulls his wife into a tearful embrace.
Shi-on hurries to make it to his first test with Do-han and takes a deep breath before they begin. Do-han starts drilling him with questions and Shi-on doesn’t hesitate to recite the answers back to him. You can see that Do-han is a bit impressed by the end, and he tells Shi-on that he passed for today. Oh phew.
There’s a literal skip in his step as Shi-on celebrates on his way out. Cute. Yoon-seo is relieved to hear that Shi-on correctly answered all the questioned posed to him, even one outside of pediatrics.
Assistant Chief hangs up on a concerned call (his family perhaps?) when Doctor Choi comes up the stairs. He takes the reminder of his resignation with a smile and leaves Doctor Choi with a final cryptic word: “You were supposed to hold onto me.”
Mom is pleased to hear that Shi-on is a great doctor, amazed by how far he’s come since he was a little boy. She admits that things were so hard for them back then that there were times she even thought of dying together. She blames herself for Shi-on’s bad fortune of having met such a horrible mother.
She doesn’t know of her abusive husband’s whereabouts, and Yoon-seo thinks over Mom’s words of how she hopes that Shi-on never runs into his father ever again.
A film crew visits to shoot a documentary on the pediatrics department. Everyone is abuzz with excitement, apart from Do-han, who is reluctant to let the film crew in.
Yoon-seo whispers towards Shi-on, who is in the middle of re-arranging his hair to look good for TV. She signals at him to cut it out, and he tussles his hair back to its usual disheveled state. Hee.
Everyone in the department is extremely aware of the cameras, trying to look good for their possible five minutes of fame. Yoon-seo notices that Shi-on is especially distracted and wonders if he’s looking to become famous. But Shi-on answers no—rather, he’s hoping that his parents might recognize his face onscreen.
The other residents tell Shi-on that Do-han and Yoon-seo left work together today too. They wonder if things aren’t too peachy with his engagement with Chae-kyung, although they aren’t quite smart enough to put two and two together.
Shi-on gapes at this fact, having heard of the engagement for the first time. I know; I was pretty surprised when I first heard about it, too.
In the car, Yoon-seo wonders where Do-han is taking her. He doesn’t say where, and just says that he wants to do something nice for once as her sunbae. Or her new potential boyfriend. Yunno, tomayto-tomahto.
He takes her shopping, and he oh-so-casually tells her to pick something out, citing that she complained about only wearing her doc uniform all the time. Sure, blame it on the white coat.
Yoon-seo whispers that she has plenty of clothes and that this place is too expensive. But that grates Do-han’s nerves and he flatly tells her to choose something and steps out, leaving Yoon-seo utterly confused.
Shi-on waits for Chae-kyung outside her office, and over dinner, Shi-on confesses that he hasn’t bucked up the courage to confess his feelings towards his crush yet. So he’s here to ask how Do-han confessed his feelings for Chae-kyung. Ooh, if only you knew.
He figures that it was probably impressive, just like Do-han is, and Chae-kyung instructs him to ask Do-han himself. But Shi-on says that wouldn’t work, and does his best Do-han impersonation, to Chae-kyung’s amusement.
Chae-kyung tells him that she probably won’t be much of help since she was the one who confessed first. She does admit Do-han’s confession came much later, but then can’t think of a time when he did. Shi-on deflates.
It clearly troubles her, but Shi-on says it’s okay if she doesn’t remember since he can’t recall his own mother. “But when I think about it, I think it’s because I don’t want to remember.”
He says that he had such a tough time growing up that he must have erased all of his childhood memories from his brain, including his own parents. So while he tried to block out the bad, he also blocked out the good.
The residents gripe at Jin-wook for ordering one measly bottle of soju among the four of them. But Jin-wook, ever the responsible one, says they can’t drink too much in case there’s an emergency.
He suddenly rises from his seat mid-pour when he catches a glimpse of In-young sending off a pair of drunken gentlemen across the street. Ruh-oh, does unni work as a bargirl to make ends meet?
So Jin-wook heads to the bar, and comes face-to-face with In-young. Oh boy, this is awkward. In-young tries to hide her shame by acknowledging that this is the world she lives in, and that a lofty doctor like him must find it fascinating. Aw, can we give the guy a chance to speak first?
Jin-wook speaks to his own defense—that’s not what he was about to say. Truthfully, he thought that she must be exhausted from working late into the night and concerned about how it would take a toll on her health. Aww.
Shi-on is standing outside when Yoon-seo finally returns home. His eyes find the shopping bag in her hand, and she awkwardly laughs that she bought some new clothes. Yoon-seo notices him shift uncomfortably and asks if he has something to say. But Shi-on denies it and heads back for the hospital.
Then we see a montage of our developing love triangle as Shi-on finds himself unable to sleep that night; Yoon-seo thinks back to Do-han’s tender moment in the car; and finally, Do-han smiles at the thought of Yoon-seo’s smile.
President Lee informs her daughter Chae-kyung about how she believes the assistant chief is connected to the rumors to turn the hospital into a for-profit organization. Chae-kyung is surprised to hear the assistant chief sought out Do-han, but they’re interrupted with even more bad financial news.
Shi-on greets Yoon-seo in a small voice at work, and he says that nothing’s wrong when she asks about his dejected mood. A moment later, Do-han calls Shi-on away.
They relocate to the operating room where Do-han reminds Shi-on that he’s still uneasy during surgery. It’s imperative that Shi-on learn how to maintain full control in order to overcome any situation he may encounter in the high-pressure environment, Do-han adds.
He’s well aware of Shi-on’s ability to envision the body in his head, so Do-han will paint the imaginary scenario for him, and Shi-on will perform the surgery as if it’s taking place right in front of them.
Do-han describes an emergency surgery with a newborn baby on the operating table. They have no time to lose or else lose the life. Shi-on starts to grow anxious, but Do-han orders him to begin.
We see the imaginary surgery come alive before our eyes, and at Shi-on’s shaking hand, Do-han reminds him that he must hurry. Shi-on only grows more nervous as Do-han calls out the pretend baby’s continuously deteriorating state, which triggers a panic attack.
Do-han keeps a close eye on Shi-on, and declares that their patient is dead. He barks at Shi-on that he can’t even handle an imaginary surgery without panicking—how does he expect to survive in a real situation?
Being book-smart means nothing if Shi-on doesn’t have the applied skills to perform surgery successfully. Do-han warns Shi-on not to think that he’s improved lately because in his eyes, nothing has changed.
Shi-on sits by himself even more dejected than before. Yoon-seo sits beside him, and though she didn’t watch his pseudo-surgery, she gives him a few encouraging words that he’ll get better in time.
Yoon-seo brings it up with Do-han afterwards, and she notes that Shi-on may be more susceptible to psychological triggers due to his childhood trauma.
Do-han is shocked to hear it, but he says it won’t change the rigorous training he’s putting Shi-on through. He argues that Shi-on is likely used to sympathy and compassion, but he feels it’s necessary that they break him out of that, no matter how painful it could be.
Shi-on confides in In-hye about how he feels embarrassed these days and has a tough time hiding it. Using Do-han’s words, he calls himself a “shell” of a surgeon, and In-hye tells him to stop calling himself that.
In-hye asks if it’s because Shi-on doesn’t want to reveal his embarrassment to his crush. Shi-on runs off without giving her an answer.
The pediatric team gathers to watch the finished documentary together. At a clip of Shi-on, Il-kyu complains the viewers will think that they’re “just like him.” Do-han warns him to watch his mouth, something Shi-on and Yoon-seo doesn’t miss.
But Dad sees the same documentary, and his eyes grow wide with shock to see his son on TV. OH NO.
Do-han brings Shi-on back in for another round of imaginary surgery. This time, Yoon-seo is standing outside and Do-han lays out another emergency situation with a stern reminder they cannot lose this patient like last time.
But Shi-on panics in this round too, and Do-han barks they’ve lost another child. Breathing hard, Shi-on asks to take a break but Do-han says they’ll continue, adding that it won’t make a difference if Shi-on practices on his own.
He points out that Shi-on isn’t the type to give up easily, to which Shi-on asks, “How can I keep doing something that won’t work out?”
Do-han: “Then quit. If you keep this up, you won’t be a surgeon with a scalpel and no different than a murderer holding a knife.” Damn, that’s harsh, but true.
Yoon-seo comes inside to console him, but Shi-on refuses her offers to go out to blow off some steam. Shi-on: “I’m not a child who only likes to eat!” He storms out.
Yoon-seo trails behind him, calling out that she knows he’s upset. She eventually catches up to him to explain Do-han’s tough teaching ways, but Shi-on says he knows all of that already.
She asks why he’s upset then, and Shi-on admits that he feels embarrassed around her these days. She doesn’t understand why on earth he’d feel ashamed around her of all people, so Shi-on blurts out: “Because… I like you!”
Holding back tears, Shi-on hollers: “Because I hiccup and my heart races whenever I see you! I don’t want to look dumb in front of someone I like!”
Shi-on shuffles away but soon runs into trouble when he encounters a pair of drunken young’uns. They wonder if he’s not right in the head, and then proceed to beat him.
Do-han pulls up in his car along the street just then, and jumps out to deal with the punks. As Do-han fists fly at their jaws (and mine punches the air), Shi-on is reminded of how Hyung once came to his rescue as a boy.
The punks insist to the police that Do-han came at them first, and claim that Shi-on just hurt himself because he already looks like a half-wit. Do-han rises in anger at the insult.
When Yoon-seo comes to collect them later, Do-han marches up to Shi-on to ask why he didn’t fight back. Shi-on says he doesn’t hit other people. Do-han asks how long he plans to let others beat him and hurl insults at him, to which Shi-on says that he isn’t what they say.
So Do-han tells him to prove it or Shi-on will be stuck in that same cycle for the rest of his life.
As they walk back home, Yoo-seo broaches the topic about his confession, but Shi-on cuts her off to say sorry. He says there seems to be so many things that require the right credentials in this world: to become a student; to become a doctor; to become a man; or to like and love someone.
Shi-on says that there are a lot of things he must learn to acquire those various certificates, and he can’t do anything without them. He asks to walk by himself today.
A mysterious person arrives at the hospital the next day, but his profile looks rather familiar…
Yoon-seo mentions to Do-han that she thinks Shi-on’s pride was hurt last night, which Do-han considers as the first step. Then Shi-on joins them to announce that he’s ready to face the imaginary surgery again.
They’re interrupted by an arrival of a guest—it’s Dad. Accckkk. He yells at Shi-on for not recognizing his own father.
Which is when the memories of being beaten by Dad come flooding back to him, and Shi-on collapses onto the floor.
Ohnonono. I knew Mom’s mention about Dad would be bad news. I was content knowing that Dad was somewhere out there and that he wouldn’t come knocking at Shi-on’s door. It makes sense that the source of the trauma, the abuser, would trigger that response. So I do appreciate how his character is a narrative catalyst for Shi-on’s memory to return, though we have yet to learn how much has returned just yet.
Grah, it bugs me that Dad is going for the my-son-is-a-doctor-therefore-he’s rich approach. This is where I’m glad that both Yoon-seo and Do-han are aware of Shi-on’s abusive past. On one hand, this allows them to step in to prevent Dad from overstepping his boundaries, and on the other hand… this is dramaverse, which means characters will let conflict play out and wrestle with them for a few episodes until they are resolved, if ever.
At first, I thought that we had made some headway for Do-han as he dialed down the yelling and assumed a more caring (well, more caring for him anyway) type of teacher towards Shi-on. But at the end of the day, he’s still a surgeon who is responsible of who will handle a life in the operating room. Looking through the lens of a medical professional perspective, I agree with where Do-han is coming from—a surgeon must be knowledgeable about his work, anticipate the worst-case scenario, and act accordingly within the operating room. Performing a surgery is more than just going in to fix something and stitching them back up; you’re fighting against the clock, trying to cheat death from taking another life.
In that respect, his stern teaching style lacks that sympathetic, compassionate quality that Yoon-seo has, which is turning out to be failing her at present. We can see that there is merit in the little changes of his changed behavior towards Shi-on, and that Do-han will still swoop in to Shi-on’s aid. He brings up a fair point that Shi-on must go beyond merely acknowleding his limitations and seek out a way to overcome them if he hopes to make it in this field, where others will be far more unforgiving than he is. But at least we know that there’s a soft underbelly lying beneath that strict sunbae exterior, even if you have to dig deep, deep down in order to get there.