At its core, what makes Good Doctor shine isn’t the fancy doctoring or that all of its characters are necessarily good in a moral sense, but it’s in the relationships built between flawed characters who have nuggets of wisdom to teach each other. They say that laughter is the best medicine, and this episode is no exception, bringing in the laughs along with the tears to a series that continues to stir the heart and soothe the soul.
Good Doctor continues to be strong in the ratings pack as this episode hit 20.3%. Keep it up, Show.
SONG OF THE DAY
BEAST – “How to Love” [ Download ]
EPISODE 17 RECAP
In the morning, Shi-on swings by to pick In-hye up before work, just moments before In-hye collapse, unconscious. Thank goodness the hospital is just a stone’s throw away, and the doctors immediately get to work while unni cries silently.
Meanwhile, Chae-kyung seeks out president Lee, who is understandably angry about the betrayal. All she asks for is a chance to rectify her mistakes; not for the sake of the hospital, but for the people in it—her stepmother, above all.
Yoon-seo beats herself up over having In-hye sleep over at her place, given her current critical state. She’s told that In-hye’s intestinal shock was inevitable, but the words do little to alleviate her worries.
That’s when Do-han arrives to rip a new one into his team, blaming each of them in turn for putting their patient in danger. Then Doctor Kim drops in to yell at Do-han—what will they do if In-hye doesn’t recover in time for her surgery? He warns Do-han to keep his patient alive.
The team gathers around In-hye’s bedside to apologize to In-young, who only blames herself for driving her sister to this point.
Do-han checks in on Assistant Chief Kang’s little boy (with his handy toy stethoscope, heh), and smiles warmly at the boy’s dream to become a pro baseball player when he grows up.
The boy offers up his most valued baseball as a present to thank Do-han in advance for his surgery. Do-han accepts it, though, reluctantly, and then takes the boy’s hand in his, squeezing it tight. Just outside, Assistant Chief Kang witnesses the entire heartwarming exchange.
Afterward, he speaks with Do-han outside to relay his plans to have his son see a renowned pediatrician in Japan. Do-han accepts his decision without argument, adding that he’s glad to be left to remember the assistant chief as a caring father.
Chae-kyung is surprised when Shi-on returns the sweater she bought him the other day. At his insistence that he can’t accept such an expensive gift, she wonders if there’s another reason. Is there someone who’s jealous that she got him a present, perhaps?
Shi-on’s mouth drops, all, How did you know?! Hehehe.
Amused, Chae-kyung says his crush must have feelings for him after all. Why else would she be upset about it? Shi-on asks if that’s true, and Chae-kyung laughs, saying she was just pulling his leg.
Shi-on pouts in response, telling her that he’s about to dislike her a teensy bit, and then runs off. D’aww, their budding friendship really is just downright adorable.
Next stop on the cutesy train, Nurse Nam finds herself daydreaming about Nurse Jo, only to snap herself out of it a minute later. Nurse Jo pops in just then to teasingly ask if she’s thinking of him, to which she says no in her usual half-snippy half-denial tone.
Nurse Jo brings up the topic about the hospital’s annual play, and takes it upon himself to arrange the staff play to put on for the kids. Cute.
As Do-han self-treats his stab wound, I’m really starting to worry about how it will affect his work. Doctor Choi feels the same, reminding him that self-care is necessary in order to provide adequate care to their patients.
Do-han worries about the hospital takeover plans, but moreso than that, Doctor Choi is more concerned about whether the hospital will fall into the wrong hands. That’s why principles are so important, Doctor Choi stresses: “Principle is like a sheath. Although it can’t cut anything on its own, it can cover [the knife's] sharpness, so it doesn’t hurt anyone.”
Shi-on sits beside In-hye’s beside. As he thinks of his dream of seeing her happy and healthy, he lets out a troubled sigh.
Do-han tells Yoon-seo to focus her efforts elsewhere when he finds her still analyzing the assistant chief’s son’s case. Then he winces from the pain in his side, something that Yoon-seo doesn’t miss. She worries about a possible infection, but he brushes it off as nothing.
Shi-on is approached by the mysterious father in the previous episode who now reveals himself as one of Shi-on’s old childhood bullies. (Great job on your keen deduction, everyone!) The name brings up bitter memories of Hyung as the anger wells up within him.
Once they’re alone, the bully comes clean about how he couldn’t work up the courage to talk to Shi-on when he saw him the other day. He feels terribly sorry about what happened in the mines so many years ago, and he knows this apology comes far too late.
Because of that, he feels that his moral punishment has manifested itself in his son’s illness. But Shi-on angrily tells him not to say that; the boy’s sickness has nothing to do with his wrongdoings.
Filled with remorse, the childhood bully pleads with Shi-on to forgive him. Shi-on walks away without another word. Kudos to the bully for owning up to his wrongs, but you can’t blame Shi-on for being unable to accept his apology right away.
Do-han sees Shi-on sitting by himself, deep in thought, and tells him to get back to work. But before he does, Shi-on asks whether he should forgive someone if they admit their wrongs.
It depends on the person, Do-han tells him—if they’re looking to clear their own guilty conscience, then no, but it’s okay if it’s sincere. Shi-on says he isn’t sure, so Do-han tells him that it’s simple: just take a look at how they’ve lived their lives afterward.
Shi-on walks back to the staff room in a daze when Yoon-seo literally snaps him out of it. She asks if he’s free tonight so she can buy him dinner, using the excuse that she won a free meal. Mmhm o-kay.
Cut to: cheers and streamers as Yoon-seo and Shi-on sit at their table while the employees goad them to kiss already. Ha. After she shoos them away, she mentions that she totally didn’t know her prize was intended for couples. Snerk, I’m sure you didn’t.
None the wiser, Shi-on says it’s all right; he’s just happy with his steak dinner. So Yoon-seo oh-so-casually remarks that the waiters want them to kiss after the meal, looking up at him with innocent doe-like eyes, all, “What are you going to do about it?” HAHAHA, I love how the music cuts out at that exact moment.
Then she sours when Shi-on says that he won’t do it because he was taught that only marrieds kiss each other, a notion that she finds completely old-fashioned.
He asks when and where people should kiss then. Dropping her utensils, she answers: “Anywhere and anytime; whenever you feel like it!” Oh, she is so enjoying this, and let’s be honest, so am I.
Do-han brings Chae-kyung to the surgical observation desk in an effort to help her recover some happy memories. Aw, that’s sweet. This was where he confessed his feelings towards her, he reminds her, and Chae-kyung ahhs in recollection.
He seems a bit hurt that she doesn’t remember his exact words, but he repeats them anyway about how he’s sick of being alone. After a few seconds of awkward silence, she asks: “That’s it?” Do-han: “Yeah.” Ha, maybe it was better off forgotten.
They laugh about it, and Chae-kyung wonders why she previously thought his confession was impressive. Do-han answers that she probably found him more impressive than his words.
She agrees to that, adding that perhaps good memories can’t be expressed with words. Do-han jokes that he thinks that’s true too, and describes his memory of her with anatomy descriptors.
Back at the restaurant, Yoon-seo asks if Shi-on talks to Jin-wook about each other’s love lives. Shi-on says that they do, but he hasn’t mentioned his own confession to Yoon-seo. She asks why not—didn’t he want to talk to someone about it?
Shi-on admits that he wanted to but didn’t, out of respect for the person he likes. “Because I’m different than other people. That person will be made fun of by other people. My friends were teased, too. So it was better to be alone. It was easier to be teased by myself.”
Jin-wook finds In-young in the hallway to update her on her sister’s condition. She stops him before he leaves to sleep well, and the hint of concern catches him off-guard.
She tells him that she’ll become a burden to others after this surgery, and thus it will be difficult to date people. So she asks that he ends his feelings for her here.
Jin-wook swallows hard before he asks if In-young feels like her sister is a burden. He knows that she doesn’t, and he feels the same way about her.
Next thing we know, Jin-wook is tickle-wrestling Shi-on on the sofa for his big mouth. Keke. He thanks Shi-on anyway for helping him get out his feelings in the open, since a painful love is still considered love.
In-hye finally wakes, and the first words that come out of her mouth are that she felt like she had died. She apologizes to both Shi-on and Yoon-seo, and he gently tells her that she needs to be more careful from now on.
Near tears, In-hye says that she doesn’t want to die, and he wipes the tears from her eyes. Then Shi-on sees his childhood bully lovingly sit beside his son’s bedside.
So when he and Do-han check in to confirm the boy’s surgery, Shi-on also adds his well-wishes, referring to his bully as a hometown friend. Aww.
The former bully thanks Shi-on afterward, referring to his child as his only hope. Shi-on asks if they’re really friends, and the bully says of course—he was an awful friend to Shi-on when they were young, but now he’s indebted to him
“Then I’ll forgive you,” Shi-on answers. Now it’s his turn to give a condition: that he raise his son to be strong and healthy. Overwhelmed with gratitude, the bully hugs Shi-on tightly.
Another child is wheeled into the emergency room; this time a little boy who collapsed in gym class with a complaint of stomach pain. Shi-on is excused to respond to the case, and calls for backup. Hahaha, it’s Doctor Pomade to the rescue!
The CT scans show the intestines are pressing up against the lungs, which means they must operate immediately. But Doctor Pomade says it’s too late—the patient will go into cardiac arrest if they open him up.
When the pediatric team gets wind of the case, Yoon-seo offers to do the exploratory surgery herself, to everyone’s surprise. It’s basically a repeat of her very first surgery, but this time Doctor Pomade racks his brains for an alternative.
But then he looks down at his hands, and it triggers him to order Shi-on to get the operating room ready, stat. So you can imagine Yoon-seo’s surprise when she hears Doctor Pomade has decided to go ahead with the surgery himself.
They don’t know that Yoon-seo has already left, so Doctor Pomade assign Shi-on to assist him as the only two pediatric surgeons available. It’s actually pretty frightening to see the fear wash over on the department head’s face as the patient goes into cardiac arrest as soon as they open him up.
So Doctor Pomade hurries to move the intestines manually as critical seconds tick by. He eventually gets them loose with Shi-on’s help, but now they’ve lost a heartbeat.
They get out the defibrillator just as Yoon-seo and Do-han peer in outside. They induce the first charge. Nothing. Second charge. Nothing.
Doctor Pomade starts to panic, and then he performs manual CPR. And to their great relief, the boy’s heart starts beating again. Now in the clear, they perform the rest of the surgery without a hitch, earning Doctor Pomade a round of praise from both Do-han and Shi-on.
When Shi-on checks up on the assistant chief’s son, the little boy asks if he knows anything about baseball. Shi-on doesn’t but wants to learn, and the boy beams at the idea that there are things he can teach a clever doctor like him.
The residents go out for some grub, and they all remark on Doctor Pomade’s marked change in behavior. Then they laugh about their department head’s budding friendship with the maknae resident.
Doctor Pomade now sees his patients with a warm smile. After the patient leaves, Il-kyu starts to ask the senior doc a question, but we don’t get to hear what it is.
Yoon-seo sighs when she sees In-hye’s fever still hasn’t gone down at her next checkup. In-hye tells her that it isn’t her fault, and then she asks if she knows how much she’s loved by Shi-on.
The thing about love, In-hye says, is that it’s easier to spot when it’s small. “The bigger it is, the harder it is to see.” Maybe that’s why she wasn’t see her sister’s love for her before, and that might be why it’s hard for Yoon-seo to see, too.
Then we catch up to Il-kyu and Doctor Pomade, who are out at a pojangmacha over drinks. Il-kyu musters up the courage to ask why Doctor Pomade gave him high marks when he was in danger of failing med school.
He wonders if his mother bribed Doctor Pomade, but is then told the truth: “Because you reminded me of myself.”
Doctor Pomade confesses that he once was in Il-kyu’s shoes: he was surrounded by geniuses, but still wanted to become a surgeon. He knows his method was unethical, but he saw too much of himself in Il-kyu and he saw the potential in him to become a good doctor.
There wasn’t anyone to do that for him at that time, Doctor Pomade adds, and they drink.
Shi-on yawns on his way out of the hospital after getting the night off. He then sees Il-kyu and Doctor Pomade passed out drunk across the street. Cut to: both men sleeping in Shi-on’s bed, possibly nekkid.
They bolt up, startled, and immediately think the worst. Then their host Shi-on says their clothes are in the wash and breakfast is ready.
Assistant Chief Kang finds his son’s hospital room empty that morning. That’s because he’s busy playing with the other kids, a sight that brings a warm smile to his parents’ faces.
Yoon-seo whines at her mother over the phone, refusing to go the seon arranged for that evening. She runs into Shi-on on her way out, saying she’s meeting some schoolmates instead.
She bears through the date just enough to be pleasant, and then runs out of there, stumbling in her high heels and dress. Then I love how she returns to the hospital and stands there for a long minute, waiting for Shi-on to notice her.
She finally calls out to him, and Shi-on gapes in surprise, saying how she looks like a pretty news anchorwoman. She drops telling hints that she met up with her Voldemort seon, waiting for a flash of jealousy from Shi-on.
But Shi-on doesn’t seem the least bit upset, and she points out that she lied about where she was going earlier. But Shi-on says that that’s okay too, and she pouts. Yeah, I think you’re going to have to work harder than that.
He does, however, point out that it’s the first time she’s dressed up at the hospital, and she asks if he’s really not upset. He says he isn’t, but pouts a little after Yoon-seo leaves.
Assistant Chief Kang’s son tells him that he really likes this hospital, and that he feels almost as happy as he was before he got hurt. He asks if his father remembers when they changed schools because of a famous baseball coach, but ended up transferring back because the lesser-known coach made him feel more at ease.
It’s the same thing now, because he felt sicker when he was in Boston. Assistant Chief Kang’s eyes well up with tears at those words and steps outside with a heavy heart.
So then he requests for Do-han to perform the surgery on his son. Do-han asks after the reason behind the man’s change of heart.
It’s partly because his son wants it, he answers, “I wanted someone to fulfill my hope. But it turns out, I had to choose my hope. No one could choose it for me. My anxiety as a father caused my son to give up on his choice to hope. That realization is the reason why I’ve changed my mind.”
He dearly hopes that this surgery will be a success, but he does ask for one thing: that his little boy’s case and the hospital politics are two different things. Do-han echoes that sentiment.
Dad wheezes in his hospital bed, wondering why Shi-on hasn’t come to see him lately. Uh, maybe ’cause you’re a terrible father? But Mom says their son is a busy doctor with other patients to care for.
Dad is somehow even more unpleasantly annoying as ever, even as he asks his wife to help him up… and then collapses back onto the bed.
The pediatric team assess the risks to the assistant chief’s son’s surgery, where the inserted catheter could fall in and cause the spinal fluid to leak. Eek. However, the neurosurgeon seems confident about the procedure… which can only mean that something dreadful is going to happen.
The catheter insertion portion is a success, but Yoon-seo notices Do-han wince in pain. But Do-han grits through it and picks up the scalpel. Accccck, I can’t watch!
But thankfully before he makes the first cut, Do-han doubles over in pain.
Gah, I knew that damn stab wound was going to come back to bite him sooner or later! In retrospect, with no pressing medical emergencies around, Do-han could have taken a day off to rest, but then I suppose there’d be no drama. Maybe he needs a suspension to keep the workaholic away from the hospital, but we all know how that worked out last time.
Nevertheless, I still found this episode to be engaging, entertaining, and even funny at times when I literally laughed out loud. So it’s nice to know that the show can balance its Super Important medical cases—which swing in and out like a revolving door, mostly—with heartwarming relationships between the majority of our characters, even giving us unlikely pairings.
Though brief, I like that we spent some time with one of Shi-on’s childhood bullies, who has thankfully done away with his bullying ways. Even though he feels such remorse towards Shi-on for what happened to Hyung (and sincere apologies in of itself are so rare in dramaland), I can’t blame Shi-on for simply walking away at first when he’s carried over a decade’s worth of grief, bitterness, and anger. But I’m still glad that their reconciliation came pretty swiftly, and that Shi-on was able to reach a point to move on from his painful past.
I also like how we’re seeing Doctor Pomade and Il-kyu step up to take the spotlight. For a few moments, I did wonder why Doctor Pomade seemed so frantic in the operating room when Shi-on mentioned his well-worn surgical hands. But adding a few more pieces into the puzzle including his history of being able to barely survive in his career, his anxiety and his colleagues’ dismissal of his authority began to make sense. The decision to go ahead with the surgery anyway despite his fears of malpractice is a turning point of his character, and thus he really did earn the respect and praise from his cohorts.
His story helped to shed more light upon Il-kyu’s situation, and I’m glad to see that the extra oomph towards his residency candidacy troubles him. Although I understand Doctor Pomade’s reasons for seeing potential in Il-kyu, I don’t agree with the ethics behind the decision since you still have to think of the risk to patient care if you have an incompetent doctor with a scalpel. The same could be said with Shi-on’s beginnings at the hospital, so what I can take away in this explanation is that Doctor Pomade is aware of his unethical decision, and that this is an optimistic, idealistic medical world where virtually everyone gets a second chance.
So while I appreciate these minor plotpoints that tie up our past, I do wish we spent a bit more time on In-hye, especially after her medical scare. There’s still time to address her relationship with her sister, but I admit that I was greedy to dig more into her brush with death, and how Shi-on’s dream played a part in that. Therefore, it felt pretty anti-climactic to come into an episode thinking, “Is she gonna make it?!” only to learn minutes later that she is, and then refocus more screentime to other budding relationships which are still heartwarming, but less satisfying in the moment.
Speaking of more satisfying relationships, I love how Yoon-seo has begun to question whether her feelings for Shi-on is more than just a lovable dongsaeng. To be honest, I would have been just as happy if this relationship never ventured into romantic territory, but I also enjoy her attempts to fish for some jealous reactions out of Shi-on. Plus, it looks like with Do-han and Chae-kyung’s relationship back on track, the possibility of Do-han and Yoon-seo looks like a boat slowly disappearing into the horizon. I know; it breaks my heart, too.
But moreso than who gets together with whom, I do enjoy that we explore love in a way that’s so much more than between lovers. We see that love among colleagues, among family members, among friends, and among broken hearts where they’re all looking for a way on how to love, and it always starts by opening up your heart to love.
- Good Doctor: Episode 16
- Good Doctor: Episode 15
- Good Doctor: Episode 14
- Good Doctor: Episode 13
- Good Doctor: Episode 12
- Good Doctor: Episode 11
- Good Doctor: Episode 10
- Good Doctor: Episode 9
- Good Doctor: Episode 8
- Good Doctor: Episode 7
- Good Doctor: Episode 6
- Good Doctor: Episode 5
- Good Doctor: Episode 4
- Good Doctor: Episode 3
- Good Doctor: Episode 2
- Good Doctor: Episode 1