Good Doctor: Episode 20 (Final)
And so we must bid farewell to our pediatrics team with whom we’ve come to know and love through their dedication and devotion to the lives they save each day. Any good surgeon knows that one must close up cleanly to speed up the recovery process. But there are always unforeseen factors that serve to complicate the situation, and then one can only hope that time will heal all wounds.
Good Doctor finished its run with a 19.0% and 19.2% for its penultimate episode and series finale, respectively.
SONG OF THE DAY
Good Doctor OST – “Dacapo” [ Download ]
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
Do-han gathers his team together to confirm the worst when In-hye doesn’t wake from her surgery as planned. All they can do at present is to replenish her blood with constant transfusions until the bleeding stops while Jin-wook lies to unni that all is well.
In this crucial time period, Doctor Choi tells them there is one last treatment they must do as doctors: to cling onto the hope that their patient will recover.
Yoon-seo considers these turn of events as another cruel twist of fate, but Shi-on remains optimistic. He thinks of all their happy memories together as he stands by In-hye’s bedside.
When Shi-on goes to see his father next, Dad gives him another I Have No Son speech for not visiting him often enough. Jeez Dad, you should be happy that he comes to see you while you’re still alive.
This time Shi-on calls the old man out, admitting that he still hates Dad, but he’d be sadder if he died because of his hate. “Please let me like you just a little, Father, so that I can be less sad later.”
Dad’s stone-cold heart is moved at this as his eyes actually well up with tears.
Now we learn about the former assistant chief’s plan to save the hospital when he instructs Chae-kyung to continue to apply for loans from foreign banks. He assures her that she won’t run into any difficulty since they know he’s working against Creepy Chairman.
Chae-kyung wonders why he’s helping them now, and the assistant chief honestly answers that he doesn’t know.
Shi-on confides in Nurse Jo, still bothered by the gossip about his relationship. He doesn’t want the hurtful remarks to reach Yoon-seo’s ears, and the nurse offers up his fists to beat those knuckleheads down. Aww.
Elsewhere, Yoon-seo’s friend mentions an upcoming get-together, adding that their mutual friends are dying to meet Yoon-seo’s new boyfriend even though they have no idea “what kind of person he is.” Yoon-seo takes issue with that phrase, and confirms that they’ll both be there.
Shi-on isn’t keen on the idea, however, and when Yoon-seo asks for a reason why, Shi-on isn’t able to give on. She misinterprets this as a lack of confidence in their relationship, which is when Shi-on asks why she doesn’t consider his feelings on the matter. I’m with Shi-on on this one, sister. She relents and drops the subject.
Recalling Doctor Choi’s words to earnestly wish for In-hye to wake, Do-han takes Chae-kyung to a church where he sits awkwardly until she instructs him on how to pray.
At the hospital, Shi-on thinks about the Peter Pan tale and ignores a call from Yoon-seo (saved under the nickname “God-given body,” ha) as Yoon-seo sits up in her bed, troubled by the fortuneteller’s words that there’s only one bridge supporting their relationship.
Doctor Pomade presents his evil brother-in-law with the list of doctors to terminate from the hospital, but the man immediately finds it strange. Then a flashback teaches us that Doctor Pomade previously showed the list to Doctor Choi, identifying the listed doctors, including himself, as those who enjoyed pharmaceutical cutbacks over the years.
He tells his brother-in-law that he’s a doctor first and foremost, and advises him to get his act together as a better husband before marching out. Dayum.
In more surprising and daring news, Assistant Chief outs himself as a traitor to Creepy Chairman. Throwing the chairman’s words that children are the future back at him, he levels that one cannot gambles with children’s lives. With a final bow, he calmly walks out.
Yoon-seo asks why Shi-on is ignoring her calls, and she grows frustrated at the answer that he had a lot on his mind, wondering what could occupy his thoughts so much.
Shi-on likens their relationship to Peter Pan and Wendy, saying that they’re from different words. Yoon-seo asks if that means he plans to take her home and never see her again. But her angry response scares him, and he says she wasn’t like this before.
Things are different now, she says; they’re not in a noona-dongsaeng relationship any longer. Shi-on sadly notes that perhaps it was better for them then. Bah.
Shi-on says it’s hard for him to endure all the gossip Yoon-seo faces because of him, but Yoon-seo couldn’t care less about what other people think of them. Near tears, Shi-on says it affects him and it feels like someone is scratching at his heart to see her as the target of such undeserved abuse.
It’s more bad news bears for In-hye, who is now in danger of becoming brain dead in the coming days. Jin-wook reads In-hye’s journal of happy memories with a sigh while Yoon-seo sits by her bed, holding her hand.
As Shi-on lies in bed, he thinks out loud: “In-hye, I still have a lot of things to say to you. Who will I confide in if you go?” He then dreams the same dream of In-hye, but this time she’s joined by the little girl who died in Yoon-seo’s hands. Oh noes, does this mean she’s dead?
The girls play in the meadow together, until the little girl bids goodbye to In-hye, who walks away as Shi-on wakes the next morning.
…and then In-hye’s finger shows the slightest movement of life. Yoon-seo wakes up in a start as In-hye’s eyes open a crack. In a tired voice, In-hye ekes out, “Doc.” Ohthankgod.
Everyone is astounded by her miraculous return, and Shi-on tells her, “I missed you, In-hye.”
President Lee breathes a relieved sigh at the news that the hospital is out of imminent danger, all thanks to the assistant chief. And this time, Chae-kyung is the one to suggest that they go out for a meal together.
As Assistant Chief Kang sits with Doctor Choi, we finally learn the reason behind the man’s change of heart:
Assistant Chief Kang: “The pediatrics department possessed the most outstanding treatment method, something no pharmaceutical company can create. But this treatment disappears if you try to buy it with money, because you cannot exchange its worth by monetary means.”
Do-han catches the assistant chief on his way out, and asks the man what he plans to do now. Assistant Chief Kang answers that he’d like to remain as a father. He leaves Do-han with a final word of respect and a smile, his head held high.
Shi-on rushes over to see Dad, who has chosen to return home to spend his final days there. He tells Shi-on that he doesn’t have the strength to hit his mother anymore, let alone stand on his own two feet. He asks that Shi-on prepare his memorial in exchange.
Doctor Choi appears a moment later, and Dad gruffly thanks the good doctor for raising his son. Then Shi-on spends a quiet moment alone, hoping to be left with at least one good memory of his father before he passes.
Nurse Jo has another go at asking Nurse Nam out, who gets all flustered. She involuntarily slaps him and feels immediately bad about it afterwards, but Nurse Jo takes her hand, saying she’s the first woman to ever hit him. Another smack.
Yoon-seo pulls aside the gossiping docs (Dr. Kim’s minions, to be exact) when she catches them chatting away by the stairwell. She puts them in their place—how dare they ridicule Shi-on when they’ve never held a scalpel before?
She heads downstairs to find Shi-on standing there, having overheard the entire lecture. Frustrated, she asks why Shi-on didn’t confront them himself before dropping the matter again.
Back at the staff room, Shi-on broaches the topic of heartache with Jin-wook, saying that he’s beginning to understand what it means now: “I thought that love was a perfect painkiller, but it hurts too.”
Jin-wook clarifies that in his experience, there exists a difference between the two kinds of love. While love may be a painkiller, painful love is like a disinfectant: “It hurts at first, but the wound heals cleanly later.”
“In the end, painful love heals you too.” Jin-wook concludes. So he advises that Shi-on bear the pain and wait for it to heal.
While Yoon-seo is out on a hike, she stops to help an injured hiker. Yoon-seo recognizes her as the fortuneteller from the previous episode, who confesses that everything she said at their visit was due to her incredible powers of observation and that she feeds the “one bridge” metaphor to every couple to keep them on their toes.
Yoon-seo beats herself up over her own gullibility, but the fortuneteller thinks that Shi-on is a good man, words that bring a smile to Yoon-seo’s face.
Chae-kyung wonders why Do-han is so anxious at home, asking if there’s something he wants to say. He corrects her by saying that there’s something he must do, and then presents her with a ring. D’aww, you could do better than that Super Doc!
Chae-kyung remains silent for a long minute, and then notes how entirely unromantic his proposal is. You and me both, hon. So Do-han adds a few more phrases, and asks what more he needs to do. Would it be too much to ask for at least an “I love you” right now?
But Chae-kyung smiles, saying that’s enough for her and hugs him.
Yoon-seo arrives at a restaurant with Shi-on in tow that evening, much to her friends’ delight. Her doctor friend asks for a moment alone (and Yoon-seo tells the others to “be nice,” heh) and advises her to keep their appearance short for their own benefit. Yes, yes, words of concern I would find meddlesome if only you didn’t show up at the eleventh hour, supposed dearest friend. But alas!
But then their attention is drawn back inside where Shi-on is busy regaling the group with the story of how they first met. Looks like he’s doing just fine on his own.
At the question of what Shi-on likes most about Yoon-seo, he answers: “She’s like a Christmas present. I miss her when I don’t see her, and I’m so happy when I do. She makes me sooo happy whether she’s here or not.” Awww.
One friends ask about their first kiss, to which Yoon-seo realizes they haven’t shared one yet. I love how Shi-on just pouts back at her.
And at that moment, Shi-on swoops in to kiss her. Eee! Well, I guess you can mark that day as today then!
Yoon-seo pretends to be upset about the surprise kiss afterward, joking that he should have at least given her a sign. He promises to wink next time, and she laughs, saying that it’s too weird.
She then pegs him with questions about how he felt during the kiss. Shi-on describes it as a short, dizzying experience. He places a hand on his lips… then giggles and shuffles away as Yoon-seo chases after him. Cute.
As Do-han sits in his office, he thinks back to his memories with Shi-on from his first day to how far he’s come now. Holding the solved 12-sided Rubik’s cube in his hand, he smiles.
The pediatric team sits Doctor Choi down to talk about Shi-on’s future at the hospital. They note that it’s been three months since Shi-on joined them and they’ve arrived at a decision. Doctor Choi braces himself for the worst, only to hear a chorus of praise from everyone, including Il-kyu, who hopes to be a better sunbae.
Filled with joy, Doctor Choi tearfully reads the board’s decision to overturn Shi-on’s medical probation and induct him as an official resident.
When the day of induction ceremony arrives, Shi-on fumbles with his tie. Do-han steps in to help and asks if Shi-on remembers the challenge to surpass him. Shi-on nods, and Do-han says, “You’ve already surpassed me… because you overcame everything.”
Then Shi-on is called to accept his certification in the presence of the hospital board and pediatric team. The entire room applauds this momentous occasion and Shi-on gives a word of thanks:
Shi-on: “I’m still… a little different than other people. My mannerisms are also a bit different, which is why I worked hard to overcome them. However, it did not work out well; it only hurt the harder I worked. That’s why I thought I would be different until the day I die. But a lot of good people covered for me, which is why I’m able to stand up here today.
“Thank you for covering for me; thank you for not avoiding me,” And then smiling at Yoon-seo, he finishes, “And also thank you very much for loving me.”
Afterward, Yoon-seo praises him on a job well done, and they take turns thanking the other before sharing a tender embrace.
A little later, Shi-on stands in the observation deck, twirling his toy green scalpel in his hand. This is where Do-han finds him, and he smiles at Shi-on’s explanation that this precious toy was what made him become a doctor.
Shi-on asks about Do-han’s “green scalpel,” and when Do-han answers that it was his younger brother, Shi-on blurts out that he heard the story from Yoon-seo. He apologizes for his mistake, but Do-han says it’s okay because his brother was as precious to him as this scalpel.
Shi-on shoots Do-han his trademark thumbs-up, to which Do-han asks, “Do you do this with Yoon-seo too?” Heh.
Then Do-han calls him, “Shi-on ah” for the first time and asks if they should have a hyung-dongsaeng relationship. Omo, it’s a bromance invitation! Eee, take it!
It catches Shi-on off-guard, but calls Do-han “hyung” a moment later. Why am I most excited about this pairing in this show? Then Do-han warns him not to call him “hyung” in public. Hee.
But their blissful moment tumbles down to Earth just then as Shi-on receives a call from Mom informing him that Dad has passed away. He returns home and silently comforts his mother.
One Year Later. We see a group of children gather around a 3-D TV, courtesy of—who else?—Shi-on. Aww, so he did fulfill his wish for the kiddos.
As for Shi-on, he gives Mom a quick hug before he heads off to work where he scolds the newbie resident as the others sit nearby. Why helllooo there Park Ki-woong!
Shi-on is a no-nonsense sunbae, and Yoon-seo tells him to go easy on the rookie, thoroughly entertained. As Shi-on continues the lecture, I love how Yoon-seo points to herself, all, He learned that from me. Hehehe.
Doctor Pomade finds Ki-woong sitting alone outside and… takes out an ice cream? Ha. He fails to break it evenly however, and then Ki-woong asks for the bigger half. Muhahaha.
The team sees In-hye off when she’s finally discharged for hopefully the last time. They invite her to come back to visit and Shi-on reminds her to be careful. She in turn tells Shi-on to handle his relationship issues on his own now.
After another surgery, Shi-on shares Yoon-seo’s words that a good person becomes a good doctor. He asks Do-han what he thinks on the subject, and Do-han answers, “Every doctor who reflects on what kind of doctor is a good one.”
In the show’s final moments, we see Do-han lay flowers at his brother’s ashes and a glimpse of Shi-on and Yoon-seo sitting in the surgical observation desk.
Shi-on: “Now that I think about it, I think that’s right. Every doctor who wonders what kind of doctor is a good one is a good doctor, and also also good people. But to become a good person, I realized that one must have a lot of scars. If one is to heal another person’s wounds, one must first understand what being hurt is. So I’ll be hurt everyday but even so, I think I’ll be okay. Because I’ll be among people and I’ll be loved by someone.”
A sweet yet grounded open-ended ending for a contemplative show that had us wondering about issues of life, love, and happiness. It’s this humanistic quality in the show that makes me appreciate the philosophical lessons in each episode often described in poetic metaphors. Indeed, you could say that these same idealistic principles are what kept this show rooted in an virtually picturesque dramaverse that paints a world where nearly all of our characters can find a happy ending. And if the goal is to portray the journey of reconciliation, forgiveness, and acceptance in our characters, then the show certainly achieved that end.
We see how the highlight of the series remains with our ever-changing character relationships on numerous occasions throughout the series, be it within the romantic, familial, or professional relationships. I love that our hero is the agent of that change of heart whether he is aware of it or not with that innocent and childlike perspective on life. Furthermore, I appreciate that we explored all levels of acceptance to Shi-on and his autistic condition with the rest of our cast from his grumpy father to the fellow medical residents and with Yoon-seo and Do-han. There were times that I felt that some of his habitual expressions fluctuated depending on whatever case-of-the-week we were currently dealing with or to drive the narrative forward, leaving me confused about the boundary of an accurate portrayal of the condition versus creative license. But through it all, it was still Joo-won‘s commitment to the role that brought Shi-on to life as a hero you want to root for.
Conversely, the main conflicts and evil in this drama can only be described as laughable, issuing empty threats that never ventured further or resolved with little to no consequences. For instance, Assistant Chief Kang is the one man who both sets the hospital takeover into motion and stops it singlehandedly with his change of heart. But even though the swift and simplistic move should upset me more, the hospital politics was never a pressing matter that grabbed my attention at any given moment. Then of course, Yoon-seo’s friend is practically forgettable, though the conflict of facing societal scrutiny because of the couple’s relationship as a whole still holds true.
As for the main romance itself, I was prepared for our leads to swing in either direction, though I enjoyed their platonic relationship more than their romance, which was still wonderfully sweet. On one hand, you want to see a hero fall in love with the girl of his dreams. And yet it came so late in the game, that the transition also seemed rather abrupt and rushed to face the societal obstacles the couple would meet each day. Though of course, I was more inclined to believe Shi-on and Yoon-seo’s relationship more than our actual romantic pairing between Do-han and Chae-kyung… and to this day I can’t explain why or how they got together in the first place.
But where the romance fell short, the bromance rose to the occasion. I love that Shi-on gains a set of surrogate hyungs through Do-han and Doctor Pomade by the end of this series. Shi-on’s quiet conversations with Hyung are still some of my favorite moments by far along with Doctor Pomade’s hilarious comic relief scene-stealers. His character is among one of the most surprising and his turnaround most rewarding in what seems like a long time in dramaland. And then you can’t forget the long list of cameos that give a nod to the writer’s connections (Ryu Deok-hwan from God’s Quiz) and the Gaksital reunion. Even Park Ki-woong‘s character is named Woong-ki! Hee.
In retrospect, I still loved how our medical cases intertwined with our narrative that often mirrored our current character conflict, no matter how dramatic (or not) the medical aspect the show got at every turn. Despite the broad strokes writing style, I can see how some of those early cases earned the show a recent screenwriter award (though it makes me wonder how one can win such an award before the ending), and how that transitioned towards one patient’s case we did care about. But if Good Doctor has taught us anything, it’s that life is but a great adventure.
- Good Doctor: Episode 19
- Good Doctor: Episode 18
- Good Doctor: Episode 17
- 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