Drama Recaps
Doctor Stranger: Episode 2
by | May 9, 2014 | 136 Comments

It’s been a great opening week for medical thriller Doctor Stranger, which polished off its unique and chilling backstory in another suspenseful hour that’s high on emotions, stakes, and pretty much anything else that would appeal to the adrenaline junkie in all of us. Especially those with a soft spot for a moony-eyed hero who knows how to save lives and end them.

And though I was sure it’d be a cold day in hell before I’d ever like a medical drama enough to commit the previously unspeakable act of continuing to watch, the time has finally come. If I thought it’d help my case, I’d mention how my interest in this show is directly relative to how dark it’s gone and how emotionally scarring it’s still willing to go—but I wouldn’t, because that’d be a completely crazy reason to study a show on a weekly basis. I mean, no one could be that masochistic.

On the ratings front, the race for first remains close: Triangle still won out with 9.6%, while Stranger rose to 9.4%. Big Man had the smallest numbers at 8.2%.


Bobby Kim – “Stranger” from the OST. [ Download ]

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Hoon watches helplessly behind a locked gate as Dad is shot in front of him. Despite the dozens of armed soldiers who soon surround his father, Hoon frantically works at the lock until he opens the door.

He knocks away the soldiers who try to hold him back as he forces his way into the circle to cradle his dying dad. He screams for immediate medical intervention, but none of the soldiers are keen on complying.

Dad knows as much, and chokes out his final words to his son: “Make me just one promise. From now on… don’t ever forget the fact that you are a doctor.” Aw.

With that, Dad passes, leaving Hoon to sob over his body. (Is that Agent Cha watching?)

Hoon’s planned trip to Budapest is still on schedule for the next day, even though he has to choke back his tears at the sight of the courtyard where it all happened. Agent Cha is there to menacingly remind Hoon to do his job and secure the foreign funding, “If not, you’ll end up like your father.”

But just because Hoon’s leaving the country, he’s not off Agent Cha’s suspicion radar, since he instructs his minion to find out everything he can about Hoon’s relationship to Jae-hee.

Budapest is a busy international hotspot these days, since we find Assemblyman Jang there to give a presentation to an audience of both Koreans and Hungarians. His creepy bodyguard (who wears his sunglasses at night) seems to be especially on guard after he receives a secret update on a secret, secretly.

Hoon arrives on site in an ambulance carrying a still-unconscious Jae-hee on a gurney. But he’s not alone—Agent Cha has managed to get there before him (Pyongyang has a better commercial airline infrastructure than I thought), because he knows it’s not just coincidence that Jae-hee is Hoon’s patient when he now knows that they both attended the same school. Uh oh.

While Assemblyman Jang gives a speech about how the Korean community in Hungary will positively influence their economy, Bodyguard Nightshade covertly accepts large sums of money by men claiming to support Jang’s potential run for presidency.

But when they get back to the meeting hall, Nightshade is shown images taken by the South Korean Embassy of Agent Cha, Hoon, and the rest of their party in Budapest.

Though Nightshade knows they’re from the North, he doesn’t see why their presence would’ve alerted the embassy, until his colleague tells him that one of the party members has requested political asylum. It’s Hoon.

Speaking of, Hoon visits Jae-hee’s hospital bed after being snuck an ampoule by a sympathetic fellow doctor. Her eyes slowly open after he redresses her surgical wound, and Hoon is almost brought to tears as he chokes out, “Do you recognize me?”

The first thing she asks about is her father, and a tear escapes her eye as she reads Hoon’s pained silence as confirmation that her father didn’t make it. If only she knew why.

Hoon looks so loving, and so very, very afraid as he asks her to trust him. She nods her assent, and Hoon breaks open the smuggled ampoule to administer its contents into her eyes so that they stay closed.

And just in time too, since Agent Cha comes snooping around because he’s got a strong feeling that Hoon is the one who requested political asylum from South Korea. He makes sure to warn Hoon that his plan would never work—he and Jae-hee could be killed at any time. I love that Hoon reaches behind him to squeeze Jae-hee’s hand protectively, while his eyes shoot daggers at Agent Cha.

Luckily for Hoon though, he’s too important of an asset to be done away with right away. Agent Cha knows that they need him to secure the foreign funding, because if they don’t get it, not even he will be spared from prison camp.

While the guards aren’t looking, Hoon injects Jae-hee with a syringe that will stop her heart in a few hours. In voiceover he says, “You have to endure it, Jae-hee.”

Meanwhile, Nightshade delivers Assemblyman Jang’s blood money, meant to help his run for the presidency. It’s no surprise that he’s corrupt, but he’s reminded of his murderous past when Nightshade brings up the fact that Hoon, son of the man Jang left to die, is in the city.

A code blue is announced, since Jae-hee’s heart has stopped as per Hoon’s plan. In order to use a defibrillator, Hoon demands that the guards remove the metal handcuffs keeping Jae-hee tied to the bed. Smart.

And then we see just how meticulous Hoon’s plan is—using advice from the sympathetic Hungarian doctor, Hoon secretly unplugged the heart monitor so that even if he did get her heart to start beating, it would still look to everyone else that she flatlined.

Agent Cha, suspicious as ever, feels for her pulse and opens her eyes to see if her pupils react to light. They don’t, and though we know that it’s due to Hoon’s ampoule, it serves as confirmation to Agent Cha that she’s dead.

Aw, I love that Hoon’s made a friend in the sympathetic Hungarian doctor, since he comes in to (falsely) confirm that Jae-hee is, in fact, dead. In a flashback, we hear the doctor tell Hoon that after he confirms her heart has stopped, Hoon has only five minutes to revive her.

As Jae-hee’s bed is wheeled out, Hoon attacks one of two guards with a syringe. The other one won’t go down as easily, and Hoon struggles desperately to free himself from the man’s grasp so that he can save Jae-hee, who’s only feet away.

His eyes are wild as he’s held down, and his watch tells him he has only three minutes left. In a burst of strength, Hoon throws the guard off him and uses an IV stand as a weapon to knock him down before using Jae-hee’s gurney to knock another oncoming guard down the stairs. Badass.

The clock is ticking, but Hoon’s not out of trouble yet—Agent Cha and his lackeys come running. But Hoon, with Jae-hee held tightly in his arms, plays a game of cat and mouse with his pursuers, smartly using the building’s architecture to his advantage.

One minute left. Hoon rushes Jae-hee into a shower where he douses her in hot water and performs CPR. Still desperate when she doesn’t respond, Hoon brings his fists down hard on her chest. One. Two. Three.

And then… she wakes.

By the time Agent Cha finds the pin Hoon accidentally dropped near the shower, he’s too late—the lovebirds are gone. While the petulant little man screams his frustration, Hoon carries Jae-hee to a car he had prepared (man, he really is a genius) and speeds off.

Another car collides with them as they make their getaway, giving Agent Cha and his men an opportunity to surround the vehicle with guns drawn. But no one’s inside.

And that’s because Hoon escaped with Jae-hee out the back door, and by the time Agent Cha realizes it, Hoon has already commandeered (okay, stolen) a motorcycle with Jae-hee weakly holding onto him from behind.

Hoon speeds through the narrow streets of Budapest while Hoon and his men stay hot on their tail in a thrilling high-speed chase. Agent Cha proves ruthlessly persistent as Hoon takes a detour through a building, but just when you think Hoon’s safe after driving his motorcycle down some stairs that Cha’s car can’t follow, he finds himself trapped.

You see the wheels turning in Hoon’s head as he realizes that he has only one very dangerous way out—he has to drive back up the stairs toward Agent Cha and a gun.

After taking in a few nervous breaths, Hoon makes his move, and runs over Agent Cha to freedom. Agent Cha knows that they’re going to the South Korean embassy and orders his men to keep pursuing them.

While Assemblyman Jang mulls over Hoon’s request for political asylum, considering that Hoon might remember just how much Jang was responsible for what happened to his family, Hoon shares a tender moment with Jae-hee as they drive toward the embassy.

But when they reach the golden gates of the embassy, the doors are locked. The guards inside approach unlocking said doors like they’re practicing their arthritic slo-mo, and while Hoon and Jae-hee embrace each other in relief outside, the moment screams that it’s too soon for celebration. They’re not safe yet.

Inside, Assemblyman Jang pats himself on the back for taking the credit for saving the country from nuclear war all those years ago, since that’s what put him on the road to being a presidential candidate. At least his right hand man, Nightshade (aka Secretary Kim), seems to have a conscience as he asks whether Hoon’s father really had to die.

Assemblyman Jang qualifies his answer in that twisted logic loved by especially crazy villains round the world: “It was a sacrifice for a higher purpose.” And then he reminds Nightshade that his hands aren’t clean either—because ten years ago, Jang ordered him to kill Hoon’s mother.

But as we see in a flashback, it’s possible that Nightshade had mercy on Hoon’s mother. Iiinteresting.

Assemblyman Jang makes a call which bars Hoon and Jae-hee entry into the embassy. The guards inside turn a blind eye to Hoon’s pleas to be let inside, while Jae-hee seems resigned to her fate as Agent Cha and his goons converge on their location.

While Hoon and Jae-hee run for their lives, Assemblyman Jang seems almost amused as he watches from his window. After convincing himself (which isn’t hard) that he can’t afford the scandal Hoon could bring to his run for president, he implicitly suggests that Nightshade get rid of the threat.

But Nightshade looks to a jar of lollipops he’s collected ever since the day that Mini Hoon offered him one out of kindness. Aww. He does have a conscience. I like this ajusshi.

Hoon and Jae-hee try escaping on foot, but Jae-hee’s too weak to go much further. She urges him to escape alone but he flatly refuses, even when they’re trapped by Agent Cha and his men.

To his credit, Hoon fights for their lives, but his willpower alone isn’t enough. As one of the agents aims his gun, Hoon positions himself protectively in front of Jae-hee and squeezes her hand behind his back.

Hoon closes his eyes as the sound of a gunshot rings out. After a long, tense moment of uncertainty, his eyes open. Has he been shot?

He focuses on Jae-hee, who now stands in front of him. In horror, Hoon looks down to see blood staining her dress. Oh god, she took the bullet for him.

His eyes grow wider and more frightened as she starts backing toward the bridge’s railing. Hoon reaches out as she falls over the edge and catches her hand before she plummets into the river below.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Hoon tries to reassure her, even though she’s hanging on by a thread. She can only cry feebly as a gun is pressed to the back of Hoon’s head, helpless to help him or herself.

A shot rings out, and Hoon’s would-be murderer drops like a stone. The sniper is none other than Nightshade, who chooses not to shoot Hoon as ordered and instead shoots at his attackers.

But Agent Cha is determined as ever to get his, and manages to shoot Hoon in the shoulder. Blood drips down Hoon’s arm and onto Jae-hee, who’s still hanging onto his hand.

Again, Hoon tells her that everything’s going to be all right, but Jae-hee knows better. He knows what she’s planning to do as her expression goes serene, and begs her not to let go.

“Please remember me,” she says through her tears. “My doctor… Comrade Park Hoon… Goodbye.” Hoon is crying now, still pleading, but she squeezes his hand one last time before she lets go.

He screams in agony as she falls down, down, down, and after she disappears into the water below. The arrival of the local police force is the only thing that stops Hoon from jumping in after her.

Two years later.

At a hospital in Seoul, Doctor MOON HYUNG-WOOK, spokesdoc of the cardiothoracic surgery department, discusses the pros of having Assemblyman, now Prime Minister Jang’s upcoming surgery at his hospital.

Even if the new prime minister’s surgery is turning into a publicity stunt, Doctor Moon sees it in a positive light—maybe it’ll encourage more medical students to get into cardiothoracic surgery, since he claims they steer clear due to the difficulty level.

A code blue interrupts his meeting, and while doctors and nurses alike rush to the emergency room, one doctor in particular seems more interested in building an intricate doll house. He’s cardiothoracic surgeon HAN JAE-JOON (Park Hae-jin), because fictional reality was made for doctors just like him.

…Although he’s also got that how-did-you-even-get-here quickness of Batman, since he’s in the room with the flatlining patient before Doctor Moon even catches his breath.

While Jae-joon suggests taking the patient into surgery, Doctor Moon would rather blame everyone around him for messing things up, since he’s got Prime Minister Jang’s people to impress.

But the arrival of Hospital Director OH JOON-GYU (Jeon Gook-hwan) puts a stop to their bickering, as he reminds the doctors present that they have a patient to save. In order to cover his ass in case the patient’s condition was their fault, Doctor Moon declares that he’ll head the surgical team.

Jae-joon seems to have his own plans, however, and makes a call to assemble his preferred dream team. The first doctor he calls is OH SOO-HYUN (Kang So-ra), and the other two doctors arrive after a game of Dramatic Telephone. Cue slow motion doctor walk.

Doctor Moon must not know how to get around in his own hospital, because he makes it to the operating theater in time to find that Jae-joon and his team have already beaten him to the punch and are prepped for surgery. Jae-joon wins.

Doctor Moon goes to Director Oh to complain about being suddenly upended from his position because of one tiny mistake, but Director Oh is firm in his decision to suspend him—they’re going to be responsible for Prime Minister Jang’s surgery, so they can’t afford any bad press.

But if Doctor Moon wants to change his lot, he has to create a dream team that’s capable of beating out Jae-joon’s.

We finally get to catch up with Hoon outside a Seoul prison, and it’s made clear that this isn’t his first rodeo. He’s pretty cavalier about it though, even as he’s picked up by his tomboyish friend LEE CHANG-YI (Sistar’s Yoon Bo-ra), who calls him “hyung” like she’s one of the guys.

Like him, she’s also a refugee from North Korea, and is made fun of for her attempt to fit in better by adopting a Seoulite accent. From their conversation, it seems like they pooled their resources to buy a small clinic, which Hoon wanted her to sell while he was in prison so he could take half the cash.

Chang-yi knows that he wants the money so he can continue his attempts to find Jae-hee, since he’s convinced that she’s still alive and that she was taken back to the DPRK. But he won’t listen to reason when she tells him that she’s been trying forever to smuggle her mother into South Korea, all to no avail.

Until now, that is. He’s more than a little skeptical when she tells him she struck a very expensive bargain with a human smuggler they both know in the hopes that he’ll deliver her mom to her, but changes his attitude when Chang-yi tells him that he needs to make money if he wants the smuggler to bring Jae-hee.

In his quest to earn money, Hoon gets into an adorable tiff with a little girl over who has the rights to a dropped coin. The little girl wins, but Hoon notices that her finger is broken and uses nearby objects to set it. Then he asks her to pay him for his services… to the tune of that one coin. Haha.

Having ignored the fact that Hoon wanted her to sell their tiny clinic, Chang-yi forces him back in a headlock because she advertised for the clinic’s reopening. But when they find the inside filled with mobsters, she scrams to save her skin, leaving Hoon to face them alone.

He doesn’t seem too concerned, as usual, until he realizes that the thugs aren’t there to collect—they’ve brought their boss for treatment, since he can’t exactly go to a real hospital for help. (Is this music reminding anyone else of Disneyworld on cocaine?)

Hoon uses his medical genius to diagnose the boss with appendicitis, and performs a breezy surgery while the underlings look on. (It’s worth noting that Nightshade knows where Hoon and his clinic are.) And he’s smart enough to ask for payment when the boss’ abdomen is still open, since the underlings have no choice but to pay him to finish the surgery.

And ha, Hoon cheerfully extorts every single dollar that he can, even going so far as to charge separately for each stitch. To top it all off, he asks for a fifty cent coin, since he lost his chance to snag the one who got away at the playground.

Hoon rushes to meet Chang-yi as she gives the shady human smuggler the last of her money… and to Hoon’s utter surprise, her mother is actually delivered straight to their door as promised.

Mother and daughter share a tearful reunion, all thanks to Teacher/Smuggler Im. After they’re gone, the smuggler tells Hoon how his operation works and then mentions Jae-hee’s name. Now he’s got Hoon hook, line, and sinker.

Hoon tries to give him the money he received from the gangsters in exchange for information, but gets nowhere with Smuggler Im’s American Dollars Only policy.

Meanwhile, Nightshade returns to Prime Minister Jang (who’s of course not content with being prime minister when he wanted to be president) with the latest report on Hoon’s movements. They know everything about him, and worse yet, they wanted Hoon to react the way he did to Smuggler Im. I know, I don’t know either.

Prime Minister Jang seems interested in Hoon only because they know he’s the best cardiothoracic surgeon in both Koreas, and he’s in need of Hoon’s doctoring skills for his own ailing body. But it’s getting Hoon to agree that’ll be the problem.

So by their own design, Smuggler Im has the same tape of Jae-hee in a North Korean prison camp as they do. Huh. But what matters most is that Hoon gets his first piece of solid evidence that Jae-hee is, in fact, still alive.

All she can manage to eke out is Hoon’s name, and he hers, as they reach out to each other across the digital divide.


And the plot thickens. I’m sure it surprised none of us that Jae-hee was still alive, since the saying “water is life” finds its best application when used in drama logic. I’m sure it also surprised all zero viewers that Prime Minister Jang is sticking to his villainously corrupt character trajectory, which means that we’re left to try and piece together the last two years of Hoon’s life as well as Jang’s murky involvement in Hoon’s quest to find his missing love.

Based only on what we know right now—while keeping in mind that the amount of things we knew dropped drastically after the time skip and country switch—the conspiracy to get Hoon to agree to perform Prime Minister Jang’s surgery comes off as unnecessarily complicated, doesn’t it? Unraveling those strands is going to have to depend on more than just coincidence, because if Jae-hee being fished half-dead from a river in Hungary only to be transported back to a North Korean gulag turns out to be anything less than a conspiracy, then we’ll have a lot more on our Issues plate than Hoon’s prison sleepovers and how exactly he’s practicing medicine.

Speaking of curing the sick and injured, one of Doctor Stranger’s biggest initial draws for me was the dark and downright horrifying places they went with Hoon’s character—and all in its first hour, no less. What started out as a familiar, boy-and-his-genius tale turned into anyone’s worst nightmare, but especially so for a kid who wanted only to be a doctor. To then put him through half a decade of being forced to treat people like guinea pigs while committing unspeakable atrocities and flat-out murder is one of the deepest and darkest would-be hero introductions in recent memory. I mean, he literally killed Jae-hee’s father because he liked her better. If that doesn’t immediately register as one of the most messed up ways to show undying love for another human being, then romance is really and truly dead.

On a lighter note, but hopefully not one underscored by music the show pilfered from an unloved toddler’s birthday party, all the macabre backstory in the world could not a compelling hero make—so for that, we thankfully have Lee Jong-seok, whose performance thus far has been so off the charts that it deserves a special mention and then some. The whole chase scene in Hungary depended on his ability to use silent action to express his devotion, and if nothing else, we can believe in his obsessive and maybe even dangerous love for Jae-hee.

However, the jury’s still out on Hoon’s x-ray vision. It seemed inevitable that in dramaland’s never-ending quest to make each genius more genius-y than the last, adding superhuman abilities to the heroic gene pool was just a matter of time. What matters now is whether the show will choose to use its willingness to go where others of its ilk dare not, hopefully to set a new precedent in its timeworn genre. Because to not do so would be a waste of all the potential Doctor Stranger has to take us for a bloody good ride.


136 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Alinka

    Well, that was certainly a ride. Don’t know that it’ll come to this, I’ll say, Lee Jong Suk, you’re truly capable of playing characters of your age, not only those of students.
    Thank you HeadsNo2, I am hoping for the very best that the curse of you recapping “troubled” dramas won’t happen here (and it looks almost certainly won’t) ;D

  2. Narina

    Welcome back HeadsNo2 🙂

  3. Silverteem

    I’m not going to say that I’m entirely hooked to the idea of mashing all three/four/five genres on this show just as yet. At most times, I still find myself cringing at the sudden changes of tone. May it be the pacing or just the overall directing, it’s a kink that I hope to be mitigated soon. Plot-wise, I don’t expect the whole NK vs SK political aspect be played out fully until towards the end, together with the looming comeuppance of our equally ridiculous villain in PM Jang. And to be honest, even though I have always wished that this show become more political-action/spy-thriller oriented, on hindsight, I could live with less of it just fine. Having said that however, I still do prefer the political-action/spy-thriller over the medical genius aspect of it. Which I admit, it puts me into a quandary as a viewer.

    Ridiculous plot lines and holes aside, the show’s biggest draw for me though is still the romance. I could turn a blind-eye on the other contrivances and just focus on the rom-com/melo-rom aspect of it—for how long, I’m not really sure—which puts the onus of keeping me onboard, on the strength of the given OTP and the subsequent love square. Fortunately, I am rooting for the OTP already and would totally dig the jealous-rivalry between LJS and PHJ both professionally and romantically.

    If there is one thing that I’m truly liking with the show right now, it’s how resilient both Hoon and Jae Hee are, physically, emotionally, and even psychologically. Living in NK alone is already tough, being sent to concentration camps, tougher, getting separated and eventually reunited only to narrowly escape death and be separated once again, is borderline toughest. As a JSY fan, I’ve once mentioned that this show will be like playing a Russian Roulette, and true enough, the girl survived being sent to a concentration camp, having her heart replaced, having to die momentarily, getting shot at, falling down a bridge, and getting sent back to prison all over again. The metaphorical last bullet in the barrel is putting me on edge and it’s as if it’s mocking me. How glorious will it be if the show decided to flirt with the JSY-must-die-in-a-drama trend, but ultimately gratify us by subverting it? We fans have to have some pay-offs too, so c’mon Show.

    • 3.1 Silverteem


      But it isn’t only Jae Hee who is tough; likewise, Hoon is a walking Zen with an iron clad sense of positivity. If I were to make a comparison, he would be the equivalent of Spiderman (sorry folks, just watched it over the weekend, cannot resist) with his ability to be upbeat and even joke around despite considering the disadvantageous circumstances that he is in. Just as Spiderman survived the **SPOILERS** death of Gwen Stacy (and uncle Ben prior to that) and is able to start kicking villain’s butt all over again, one wise-crack at a time, Hoon too, is able to bounce back from his father’s death and the subsequent separation with Jae Hee, and is able to maintain a light and fun personality nonetheless. Indeed, I could easily question his sanity, his ability to adapt—Batman (in spirit of comicbook hero movie references) became the jaded and brooding Dark Knight because of the tragedies that he faced in life—but Hoon chose to be Spiderman. It stands to reason therefore that viewers feel off-put by this, because the guy is shouting and crying at one scene, then joking and fooling around soon after. Perhaps the jarring shifts in tone could be attributed to Hoon’s polarizing characteristic?

      The more that I think of it, the more that I come to realize that Dr. Stranger is becoming more of an acquired taste. Initially, I’m appalled by it, and the first two episodes didn’t really help change my opinion of it either. However, I do see the potential in it—deep down that entire disheveled premise, there is that heart—and I do hope that I’m not just imagining it. Moreover, the things that usually annoy me just come off funny. In fact, I’m finding myself oddly enjoying it. May it be the over-the-top vibe or perhaps the show itself being self aware of how ridiculous it is, there is a sense of being honest of its quirks, and rather than pretending to be something else, it fully embraces it. Whatever it is, the appeal is definitely strange.

      • 3.1.1 NewFan

        I completely agree with you. I get excited watching all the action, but I’m simultaneously slightly put off by the ridiculousness of it. For example, how, just HOW, did Jae Hee fall over that bridge? It was up to her chest. Evil dude couldn’t get a shot off while the moped was (slowly) coming toward him? Really?

        I was also really confused about what kind of drama this is supposed to be, exactly. I’ll keep watching for now, but I don’t know how long I can stay.

        • hydesamagirl

          Right, both of those holes in seeming logic leapt out at me as well. I can’t help but think there must be some way to have the same outcome, but with better execution. Even the way she fell, I thought how could he not stop her from falling over. So, while the acting is great, and the show hits awesome emotional beats, I am still stuck a little bit outside of it.

      • 3.1.2 DS

        I love your spiderman comparison 😀

        I have mixed feelings about this drama. I don’t know why but yes I’m oddly enjoying it as well. There’s a lot of potential and I hope they don’t disappoint us.

        • pg

          her spiderman comparison made me love the show even more……..
          oh my god the sukkies-ness in me that unlike many others I defy to see the flaws and keep persisting that the drama is what it is for its own reasons which we will find in its latter episodes and am daze at the awesome ness of our dear lee jong suk………

    • 3.2 Cynthia

      Her kidney was replaced, not her heart. 🙂

      • 3.2.1 Silverteem

        Aye, though that raised further questions for me. Humans (save any alien hybrids), typically have 2 kidneys. Normally, a person can survive with just one perfectly well. So why did HJ’s father have to sacrifice himself to save her? Were they both missing a kidney and running on just one all this time? If not, then what’s the use of a transplant?

        • tanya

          If I remember correctly, Jae Hee’s dad had only one functioning kidney left.

        • Anna

          Jae Hee’s father only had one functioning kidney left, and he gave that one to his daughter

    • 3.3 messy

      Doctor Stranger – My favorite part in the series is when he tried also to jump but eventually stop by the Hungarian police it was too heart wrenching for me. It was so easy to understand the complexity of feelings over there. I want the story to be fast paced my mother watch it with me this midnight and she LOVE it. I don’t know why some people keep on bashing it. Because what I see with all the dramas that are running right now, this one is really good. I know some of the medical parts are quite absurd but so I can overlook that.

      Triangle – 1/4 of the show made me roll my eyes that’s why I’m dropping it.

      You’re All Surrounded – I like it just to balance the tragic story of Mon-Tues drama, well I’m still hoping that Lee Seung Gi smile. And I miss Go Ara’s attitude when she was teenager. Ahn Jae Hyun is an eye candy. And I like it.

      • 3.3.1 sarangchan

        you should really watch witch romance it is also very very good!

  4. Kaybee

    “Secret update on a secret, secretly” 😀 well you got me there! Hahahaha….

  5. maknaee

    HeadsNo2, welcome back deaar <3

    I've been watching almost on every Lee Jong-Suk drama/movie project, and so far I'm pleased with them. This man.. I respected him as an actor. I love every expression he has.

    I'm enjoying episode 1-2. Can't wait the hospital interaction between LJS, PHJ, KSR, JSY.

  6. KimLeeChanee

    Still trying to come up with a believable reason why Triangle would beat out Doctor Stranger in ratings? WHY??????

    • 6.1 windsun33

      I actually think that Big Man is the best of the 3, but that’s just me.

      • 6.1.1 Silverteem

        I haven’t watched Triangle, nor do I plan to. But I definitely think that Big Man is more consistent. Dr. Stranger is highly volatile, as it could end up being another woozy concoction of a mad writer’s fantasy, or a thrilling success. Big Man’s synopsis though was misleading in a sense that it could scare initial viewers off, but it actually runs on a time-tested melo formula, so I put it up a notch ahead Dr. Stranger.

      • 6.1.2 TS

        I agree, Big Man is awesome.

        This shoes, doctor stranger, not my thing, though it has moments like the tiff with the playground girl.

        But Lee Jong Suk… So, I’ll watch as and when I have time.

      • 6.1.3 bluesky

        Just watched the 1st ep of Big Man and I can feel I will love this show the most for Mon-Tues slot^^

        Both pilot ratings are neck to neck so the real battle will be starts from this week and I was right, last night episode, both showing a huge different ratings..

        As for me DS has potential to be a very good drama but also can be worst in term of logical..For “Triangle” I’m still waiting more from those 3 brothers characters coz so far I’m not feeling that excited to know more..Good luck DS, Triangle and BM

    • 6.2 kopytko

      Because Triangle promises less, but delivers enough whereas Doctor Stranger tempts with a unique and complicated setup but sadly doesn’t deliver. Holes, absurds, immortal North Korean girlfriends…

    • 6.3 kopytko

      There is another possibility:
      the viewers prefer Jaejoong’s abs and Baek Jin Hee to Lee Jong Suk’s abs and Jin Se Yun.

      • 6.3.1 TS

        2 sets of abs vs 1 set plus an immortal girl with a doppelganger. That’s almost 2 vs 3.

        Tis a tough one.

    • 6.4 wtf

      Doctor Stranger won rating via streaming. epsd 1 : 19%, epsd 2 : 24%. Big Man rating is no.2 via streaming. doctor stranger, LJS, JSY, Big man trending on daum and naver but Triangle not.

  7. windsun33

    I have already noted in other threads that this drama managed to get on my “watching it for the WTF stuff” only list, so won’t go into that again.

    My major problem with this drama is not the dozens of historical and technical errors, or the many WTF plot devices: It is the fact that nearly all of those problems could have been done so much better if the writer knew WTH they were doing.

    And BTW, I don’t think the girl is really in a North Korean prison – he is supposed to meet some “mysterious woman” who looks just like her later, so I am guessing that is actually her (with amnesia, of course..).

    And I think I am the only one that noticed that the PM is named “Jang” – the same name as the executed uncle of our friendly dictator in the North, Kim Jong Un.

    • 7.1 messy

      I see you keep on bashing this show I read your comment also in some of the threads. That’s life without haters you will not be famous right????

      • 7.1.1 amy

        @messy, windsun33 is exercising her freedom of speech so criticising the drama’ flaws is completely acceptable. If you do not like her comment you have the option NOT to read it.

        • TS


    • 7.2 Ppasun

      JANG is one of the more common place Korean last names with various different bonkwans. I mean if you meet 2 random people with that same last name, you will not be wondering if they are related because they probably are not. What is your point? Just curious.

      • 7.2.1 windsun33

        I guess you missed the parallel I was trying to make that both Jang’s were 2nd in command, and it ended rather badly for the North Korean one.

    • 7.3 TS

      Ooh, interesting idea. Perhaps it is the same person later, but with amnesia. Now, that would be an amnesia storyline I could get behind.

  8. JoAnne

    Heads is back! Let the party commence!

    • 8.1 becca_s

      *throws confetti*

    • 8.2 risa

      I haven’t watched this ep. yet but I just had to stop by to join in the chorus of “Yay, Heads is back!”. Time to break out our virtual pojangmacha. Hope you’re healing well… you’ve definitely been missed around here.

  9. Silverteem

    First off, welcome back Heads!

    However, the jury’s still out on Hoon’s x-ray vision. It seemed inevitable that in dramaland’s never-ending quest to make each genius more genius-y than the last, adding superhuman abilities to the heroic gene pool was just a matter of time. What matters now is whether the show will choose to use its willingness to go where others of its ilk dare not, hopefully to set a new precedent in its timeworn genre. Because to not do so would be a waste of all the potential Doctor Stranger has to take us for a bloody good ride.

    I do think that given Dr. Stranger’s already vertiginous melding of genres, it will come to no surprise that another layer of fantasy, in the form of supernatural powers within a medical genre will be unprecedented. This will definitely add an interesting if not revitalizing twist to the already getting worn-out medical (genius) genre. Although this has been done before on Dr. Jin, the use of the supernatural however was emphasized more onto another subset of trope within the sci-fi genre (time travel). On another hand, Hoon having a special set of supernatural skills dedicated for and complementary with his medical acuity, in itself, is a refreshing take–as far as K-drama is concerned. Of course, there are always risks involved, as I tend to have a perception that K-drama have an innate weakness towards “super-powers”, in that they have yet to produce one that have as much consistency (as far as explaining lore and power mechanics is concerned), say like the same way manga adaptations are done in J-doramas, or well, just mangas in general. It would be a welcome premise though, if only it will not add distraction to the already cluttered genre mish-mash that Dr. Stranger is.

    • 9.1 windsun33

      With all the other tropes in this drama, they might as well give DoctorWTF super powers – or maybe he already has them. After all, he does not need x-rays, or CT scans or any of that newfangled junk, he can just lay his hands on them and “feel” what the problem is…

      • 9.1.1 Quel

        I didn’t understand that scene as Hoon having X-Ray vision, but as the doctor applying the visualizing technique his father taught him. That’s how he operated in the dark before, how he drained the old man’s chest in the village without any equipment. It’s not a super power but a heighten sensibility. The “x-Ray” shot was just a visual device to show us that he can diagnose accurately without equipment, because he was trained under the worst conditions.

        • kopytko

          But just as @windsunn33 said – it makes all the progress in medicine merely stuff for untrained losers.

          • Quel

            Not really. It’s an interesting debate. All the equipment makes diagnosis more accurate and risk-free and doctors in first world countries have come to rely on them heavily. Moreover, a wrong diagnosis can lead into a costly lawsuit. But in third world country, the best doctors have to make do and come to trust their instincts far more because they have no other choice. It speaks not of capability, but of circumstances.

          • kopytko

            I respect those doctors and their dedication a lot. But sadly, there are many cases that they are unable to save their patients, whereas elsewhere in the world those problems have become trivial. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of medicine is not the same in poor and in rich/developed countries. One can get over the circumstances, but only to an extent.

        • vivi

          You got it right. In North, bc of the lack of resources and limited high-tech equipments they have developed advanced old-fahioned-Korean-medicine-style diagnostics: Besides using the high-tech diagnostic machines, doctors are trained to use 5 senses to exam and diagnose the patient is the baseline of the story. Hoon’s geniousness or the genious level Hoon has attained is the result of several factors: 1. we can ignore the gene play – His father was the best cardiac surgeon in Korea. And we saw the glimse of Hoon’s innate talent where he started to tie the knots he saw from the distance in the OR. Those knots aren’t easy to do. surgeons practice countless hours before they can actually perform that in the OR. 2. He was also trained by his father as we saw it in the ep 1 of the father-son probono clinic. 3. He was locked in the research center performed countless unimageable unspeakable live human experiments for 5 years day in and day out that ‘he is not seeing” as he answered to Dr. Moon in ep5, he just knows all about the heart (and i’m sure all the organs and body parts of humen being) that he doesn’t have to see it with his eyes. His hand can feel and sense and knows what to do basically.

      • 9.1.2 hehe

        I see you keep on bashing this show I read your comment also in some of the threads. That’s life without haters you will not be famous right????

        • TS

          Who is famous?

          And this is the exact same grammatically weak comment you made above under the different name.

          • messy

            I’m starting to love socialmedia

  10. 10 Allison

    There were some baffling music choices in this episode. And I still need to see how much medical stuff they’re going to show before I commit to this drama because I’m easily grossed out, lol. I’m going to try for LJS!

  11. 11 AdAl

    Welcome back Heads! You were missed.

  12. 12 becca_s

    Yay! Welcome back, Heads! We missed you!

    My greatest hope for this show is that it doesn’t lose its darkness – especially where Hoon is concerned – going forward. Fingers crossed!

  13. 13 mudaepo

    So, I was in Budapest a few days ago and while I was visiting the city I had a moment: “Hey, that’s the bridge from where that north korean girl played by Im Soo Hyang jumped in IRIS 2!”.
    Now I’m sure Jin Se Yeon survived the fall, she must have gotten some tips from her Age of Feeling co-star!

    And please please make that the last time I associate this drama with IRIS 2. The first episodes were awesome and I’d like it to stay that way. 😀

  14. 14 alua

    I’m not surprised that Jae-hee is alive, but I find it utterly ridiculous. Not because I don’t want her to be alive or because I’m not cheering for the OTP, but because the writer was operating on plains of alternate reality when he didn’t need to. You can create drama and conflict realistically too – but a shot, freshly operated heart transplant patient (weakened from life in labour camp no less) surviving a fall into the Danube which healthy people don’t necessarily survive… just too incredible to believe. (And that’s ignoring lots of other inconsistencies and WTF moments in this drama.)

    I really want to know how they are going to explain that: who fished her out (if it’s Koreans, sorry I’m not going to buy that!), how did they communicate and get her treatment (she needs medication for not rejecting that heart transplant at the least!) etc etc.

    Hope the drama will do better on SKorean soil and not go so way over the top as it did in this episode that it becomes too silly to be believable (I can accept the X-ray vision though). Fingers crossed that the super-villain becomes more interesting too – he’s so one-note at the moment that he only bores me right now.

    • 14.1 windsun33

      Maybe I am weird, but the only character so far I care at all about is NightShade. Maybe a little for the other North Korean refugee girl, but have not seen enough of her to tell yet.

      • 14.1.1 alua

        Nightshade at least is an interesting villain. Things are definitely not clear cut with him, so I curious to find out more about him.

        Same cannot be said about super-villain “me-want-power” Jang.

    • 14.2 atz

      Seriously, Jae Hee who just had a kidney transplant and was artificially dead for nearly five min, cannot possibly survive in the river diving incident. Since this drama is packed with not so real events, maybe Jae Hee is dead. NK found out that she is very important for Hoon and realized that they can lure him back by using her. They decided to put a girl under knife and made her look exactly like Jae Hee by a SK plastic surgeon who was kidnapped. Who knows? Is my theory very unlikely? I guess so in this not- real- events packed drama but in reality, many go under knife to be just like some celebrities whom they like.

      • 14.2.1 windsun33

        I think you are correct in them making another girl look like her.

        But I have a different take on the rest (since we are going total makjang in this show anyway). Despite being chopped up, temporarily killed, chased, shot, and falling 100 meters into the river, she did not die.

        She somehow lived (perhaps rescued by some Norwegian fisherman trolling for squid in the Danube), but now also has amnesia (!). She will show up later as the “mysterious girl” who looks just like her appears (with no explanation of how she got from Hungary to South Korea).

        • alua

          Hmmm, there could be another girl impersonating her. Why that should happen, I’m not so sure (that would seem like another convoluted, contrived twist).

          If she did indeed live, I going to have to with the theory of immortal woman (you know, some being from another planet with super-powers).

          • windsun33

            That is possible also – one impersonator in North Korea, another one in South Korea. Or perhaps one is the long lost twin, one of which was smuggled out of North Korea decades ago and grew up in South Korea…

          • atz

            Our possible scenario on what happened to Jae Hee are testimony of anything -and- everything- crazy- things- can -happen in K Dramaland. What windsun33 suggested, one impersonator in North Korea, another one in South Korea, is also a good possibility, I think. I guess if this were the case, while she dived into the river, she suffered from amnesia??

      • 14.2.2 alua

        Wasn’t she supposed have had a heart and kidney transplant?

        May have watched something with inaccurate subtitles though…

    • 14.3 Cynthia

      Kidneys, not heart. 🙂

    • 14.4 ohduhree

      she had a kidney transplant, not heart.. (i think someone else mentioned it also in his/her reply.) but i see that your point still applies because she’s still a freshly operated patient..

      i strongly doubt her survival as well, wouldn’t she get bacterial infection or complications of some sort if she was taken back and put to a dirty prison after that surgery? hmmm.

      or maybe they had that video earlier, and that at present the girl is already dead…and they just planned to use it to control him at some point… and so that jin se yeon can play the other girl with the same face. just a crazy idea haha

  15. 15 DS

    I wished they explained a little more about how Hoon managed to get from Budapest to South Korea, and how he actually spent the 2 years. The escape scene at Budapest was longer than necessary. They could have cut that and added in something else to at least give us more information. Stop with the time jumps, they are distracting. In 2 episodes, there were 3 time jumps. We have too much missing knowledge about things.

    And I actually wished Jaehee died – I don’t want Hoon to be all about Jaehee, and I’m afraid they would make him that way.

    Even then, I love that they’re back in South Korea, and I’m hoping that it’ll get better now that they’re back since they’re on familiar grounds. (And may I add that I love South! Hoon).

    This show got me crying when Hoon’s daddy died, and LJS got me really emotional at the scene where he let Jaehee go. This isn’t the best drama plotwise, but I’m staying on board for LJS’s acting. I do hope the plot gets better though. When I watched the first 2 episodes, it felt as though he was the one carrying the entire show on his shoulders, and I’d say he did a great job with that. He got me invested. He’s really grown a lot from the last time I saw him on IHYV. Good job to that man.

    • 15.1 DS

      Oh, and I forgot to mention, I’m totally shipping Hoon with General Cha. They have this….weird tension that I really love. Or Hoon with Lollipop Ajusshi.

      These two are more intriguing than Jaehee tbh.

      • 15.1.1 TS

        ROFL, I don’t mind Jae Hee dying either. I felt that way about OkRyun too…

  16. 16 Laica


    I haven’t seen this show yet so I’m half-covering my eyes to avoid spoilers, but I just wanted to say WELCOME BACK! And also, please be careful not to overdo it. It’s absolutely lovely to see you posting again but do try to take it slow. Your health is the most important. <3

    I'm going to have to start watching this now so I can follow your recaps! 😉

    • 16.1 PL

      I definitely agree with Laica. Do take care, dear~

    • 16.2 TS

      @HeadsNo2 does such amazing recaps, you don’t need to watch the show. Just wait for her. 🙂

  17. 17 pg

    finally finally after the upteempth time,,can’t even tell you how many oddest time of the day and how often I checked this page to see this review………….. I really really wish the drama had someoneelse for the lead actress but now that it is done deal (since the dramas already started) I hope I can grow to love the lead actress….I have seen her in two previous dramas which I did not bother completing, although both had a promising start cause I was too bored at the latter half….and in this one as well she looks the same and acts atlmost the same I love lee jong suk so much I just hope that she will not ruin this for me…. I hope they have more screen time together so we get to see more of their chemistry which I believe they should since it is first and foremost a romantic drama ….and since it is I really want to be connected to the leading lady as well and not just to park hoon only then can I be completely drench in this love story and can go along with its emotional ride..

    I love the fact that the drama is not a medical drama like so many of the predecessor of this genre had been, some of which had let me down so bad that i am now always reluctant to give a medical drama a chance, but this one is( as to how i see it) straightforward a love story a sheer unrequited lovestory of a guy named park hoon whose had an unusually adventurous life and also who happens to be a genius doctor in the whole of korea
    lee jong suk makes me wanna cry every time he is there on the screen he is just too good for the show , well he has been in the first two episodes… and I just can’t take the wait I might just give up and do a marathon when it finishes but haha who am I fooling as soon as it is Monday I will literally be the first one to surf to get my hands on the eng subbed version….

  18. 18 JMorris

    Am I the only one that thinks she didn’t get a heart transplant? He clearly freshened up bandages on her lower body. And when he was talking to his dad, I’m pretty sure they were talking about kidneys. Just because he can do heart surgery doesn’t mean that’s the only type of surgery he can do (he did fix the gangster bosses appendix).

    Just curious. Everyone in the comments here and on other sites seem to think it was a heart transplant.

    • 18.1 HeadsNo2

      It was definitely a kidney transplant.

      • 18.1.1 messy

        I think he won in that coin thing because he chose tail and tail it goes.he just didn’t know what the kid was saying. hehehe…

    • 18.2 windsun33

      It was kidney. For some reason (I think the word/characters for kidney and heart are very close) it got translated on some sites as “heart”, even though it clearly showed a scar where the kidney would be.

    • 18.3 Cynthia

      Gummimochi inadvertently read it wrong and corrected herself in the comment section of the ep 1 recap. 🙂

    • 18.4 cindyckx

      Jae Hee had kidney transplant. Initial plan was that Jae Hee’s father (whose heart was “bad”) would get the heart transplant from her (whose heart was “good” but had “bad” kidneys). Hoon chose to have a kidney transplant for her instead of heart transplant for JH’s dad.

      • 18.4.1 Silverteem

        That explains a lot. And here I thought that both of them were missing a kidney, hence the need of sacrificing one for the other.

  19. 19 pg

    to all the others who are complaining about how the drama doesn’t meet the facts well it is a drama someones imagination and the scenario has been fabricated on its respect and not to the actual fact….and I know that the drama has crumbled too many things in just two episodes which kind of overwhelms you and making you bit perplexed as to what just happened but that only makes one intrigued and interested to understand what just happened in the show and possibly want to do a rerun of the show… so for me it only made the show more interesting and truthfully saying it is not even that hard to understand and I also don’t understand why so many have problem with the time jump ,….is it not obvious that the makers are only trying to make the show interesting doing that and in time they will let us know what happened…
    or may be i am just ready to not be bothered with them flaws and let it go unseen since i feel like i get to get the better part of the deal,,as i am getting to see lee jong suk after so long in a drama.. i just i hope i will come out loving this drama even more not sad and disappointed… crossing my fingers,,,,,,, two more days to go for the proceeding episodes

    • 19.1 windsun33

      I can forgive flaws and errors up to a point. And I can go with non-reality for quite a ways. And I can forgive the time jumps.

      What I cannot forgive is that so much just made absolutely no freeking sense at all, and the fact that the writer has twisted a reality that is SO easy to check into some alternative universe with no basis in real places or events.

      I could totally accept the Men In Black series of movies. It was all fantasy, and we don’t really have an alien task force. But things made SENSE in the context of the movie, and followed a logical pattern.

      • 19.1.1 pg

        thank you for replying and I feel really terrible saying this but I really don’t understand what the misinterpretation of Korean history is in the drama that every one keeps mentioning,,,,,,, I might seem very ignorant when I say this but I really didn’t know that it had any relevance with the real north and south korea turmoil….. is it alright If I ask you what it is…….is it the fact that in the drama the north Korean president lives or the fact that the US were planning to attack the north when it was the most vulnerable…..

        • windsun33

          That whole scenario in ep1 where the US was going to attack North Korea if the Great Leader died. In fact the US had no such intention, and he actually DID die (in real life) just a few weeks after the drama timeline showed the “successful” operation.

          In fact when he did die, there was hardly a ripple in North Korea or anywhere else, as Dear Leader moved right in to take his place.

          And don’t get me started on the “seaplane barge” rumbling along right next to an island and causing the fishing shack to shake…

          • pg

            thanks again for replying and the clarification and as far as my knowledge goes there was once a time (when I was quite young or say around my late teen and did not bother much about the world around) when everyone was whispering about another world war coming into surface about the whole north Korea not agreeing to stop their nuclear weapon venture and chances of the US including the other countries going to any extent to stop it but how it came into a halt is what I don’t know…
            anywez but I don’t know the real situation back then nor do I wish to go around and surf for it cuz I am a bit of a cynic so refuse to believe that was brought into light through the media since everything and anything in paper and news are I believe ,scrutinized so thoroughly thus what we get is just the glamorised version with what “they” want the public to believe

            so what ever the fact I see the drama as a tale of a doctor named park hoon in a world where there was possibility that north could have been attacked by the US if not the so existing regime had fallen due to the presidents demise
            it may defy the actual history but that is what the drama wants us to believe so I will believe and with LJS acting and the amazing cinematography It does look believable doesnot it… well

            well thanks again for answering my question.. I just wish that people would enjoy the drama as much as myself and some few of us have and overlook the flaws…it is only a drama revolving in a hypothetical world…

            I just hope all these negative review wouldn’t hamper the ratings of the drama like some of others have mentioned whateva the wtfukery is going in the drama at the end of it we are engaged to the drama and also loving even its idiocy and that alone is saying a lot cause to make such bizarre and clichéd sequences and yet get the mass entertained means something is working right,,,, I just hope that you could forgive the drama for its mistake and entertain the drama believing it to be in a complete hypothetical world if not for lee jong suk’s amazing performance…

        • Quiet Thought

          Unfortunately, that entire scenario in which the United States wants to attack North Korea at some moment of weakness also fails an elementary test of logic. The US has had the ability to bomb North Korea into bloody rubble since the 1970s. There is nothing the North Koreans could do to prevent it. But it would accomplish nothing. The North would kill a hundred thousand South Koreans and several thousand Americans, and bombing would not overthrow the North Korean government.

  20. 20 dtdt

    One thing I don’t like about TWdramas are sometimes they think the audiences are stupid not able to think. Some of the Kdramas are the same, dramas are not real but at least the facts need to make senses.

  21. 21 pg

    the fast pace of the drama and the ridiculousness( as some have put it as) it brings along is kind of give, is it? so i dont’ understand people keep complaining about it….the title is doctor stranger…. it is the story of a doctor stranger who certainly has had a strange life since he was kid so… for me it is alright… and i take it as an anecdote almost like big fish but obviously not incredulously massive imagination like big fish( big fish is tim burton who am i kidding) but a strange tale of a doctor who was a stranger to his own land and his even more mind baffling over the top ride to get the love of his life…

    • 21.1 pjd

      After watching this episode I told my sister it should be called “Dr. Stranger by the Minute”

    • 21.2 KDaddict

      Everybody knows that dramas are made-up stories. But most of us want the stories to make sense, based on the facts, feelings and logic that we know. Even when they are manga or fantasy based, there are rules to those genres as well. In All dramas, there will be moments when the audience has to suspend belief, but if the drama fails to make most members of the audience make that jump, without too much difficulty, then it is not a well-written drama. If most ppl keep scratching their heads, and keep saying WTF, ep after ep, then it descends into Dr. Jin territory, i.e. they watch it to laugh AT its WTF-kery!
      You don’t seem to ask for too much resemblance to reality in dramas. I’d say that’s somewhat unusual.

  22. 22 Dorotka

    Heads, welcome back. I take it as a sign you are fully recovered (I was a bit worried lately not seeing your name).

    I’m not watching this drama, not my cup of tea… but I wish you a nice ride with this one!

  23. 23 Giegie

    I enjoyed episode 1 more than epi 2, I must say, but it doesn’t mean this episode was not good. It was, it’s just that some scenes were so ridiculous, take for examples the hospital scenes where the patient flatlined, instead of reviving him the doctors were bickering leaving the patient to just die, and those dream team doctors looked like they were going to a party instead of operating room. I must mentioned the chase scene too, Jae Hee was still weak and can’t run fast and yet it took Agent Cha and his healthy men a long time to catch the two. Geez! I’m still looking forward to next week’s episodes though because I am enjoying the show, after putting the flaws aside that is. And I love PM Jang’s secretary, I think he did not kill Hoon’s mom and I’m curious what his role is to Hoon’s journey. ^^

    Thank you for the entertaining recap HeadsNo2, “Nightshade” & “arthritic slo-mo”, made me laugh so hard. 😀

  24. 24 KimNaNa

    I don’t think the video is proof that Jae Hee is still alive. I think it was filmed pre-surgery. It doesn’t prove that she’s not alive either, but I just doubt that she went through all that only to end up back in a camp.

    • 24.1 messy

      I think she is really alive because what I remember when the Chang Yi and Hoon talking inside the delivery truck. Hoon told Chang yi, his friend Dr. Kim told Hoon that she was somewhere in North Korea alive that is why Hoon keep trying to crossed the border but always end up in prison.

      • 24.1.1 Loulou

        Maybe Mr. Kim is a NK spy , and he is just manipulating Park hoon to make him believe that Jae hee is a live

        • messy

          not kim its han the german doctor…

  25. 25 Dramafan100

    While it feels rushed right now, I am hoping the holes in the timeline will be covered up through flash backs later. It feels like writer and director wanted to get Park Hoon to South Korea in a hurry because the true plot clearly is in SK.

    Both the episodes kept me very engaged and interested, though time skip and lack of some explanation was a bit jarring.

    I am looking forward to the rest of it.

  26. 26 DayDreamer

    Welcome back, Heads. It’s so wonderful to see you again. Hope you are feeling much better now.

    I love this drama. It’s crazy, replete with sheer wtfery in terms of reality, but it sure tugs the heart and gives an adrenaline rush. Like you said, Heads, it’s probably the adrenaline junkie in me talking. I mean, how awesome was that chase scene?? I was there every minute of the way, feeling the excitement and encouraging Hoon and Jae Hee to escape the baddies’ clutches. It was mostly because of Lee Jeong-sook’s acting prowess. He showed the right emotions at the right times and reeled me in. Bravo, my puppy…..you make the senseless stuff feel right, LOL.

    So yeah….unbelievable stuff may have happened but I was emotionally pleased. And really, that’s all I need to enjoy a drama. To not feel empty or bored.

  27. 27 PollyRose

    Heads! You’re back! I haven’t watched the show yet, so I’ll read the recap later, but I just wanted to say welcome back and I hope you are feeling MUCH better!

  28. 28 Eunyungah

    I don’t mind the entire insanity of this show because like HeadsNo2 I was surprised by the show’s willingness to go there…go dark. I can forgive some crazy shenanigans just for the fact that LJS is amazingly expressive. After the last drama session I’m ready for a little humor (you’re all surrounded) and some downright crazy in Doctor Stranger. I’m in it for the long haul even if it’s insane. Nothing can be worse than Gu Family Book in terms of…ahem, I digress. Onward~~~

  29. 29 HellaLife

    Well, I just notice when I was watching this again for the second time, the picture frame from the start is the picture of the German Doctor and Hoon’s father. You watch out guys you need to watch it in Dramafever because their translation is accurate. And also I think its kidney transplant, I understand that people think that it’s so absurd that Jae Hee is alive but for me the willingness of the person to live is the important part, maybe she is that lucky, why questioning her why she’s not been killed at all. The next thing is the medical part I think they are trying to make us swoon but not me, well its totally absurd but I like it to be true so that many people will survive because some of the doctors is incompetent but I’m not saying all of them.

    And the story is so captivating maybe 30% directors effort 50% Lee Jong Suk’s good acting and the rest is history.

  30. 30 light

    I am watching this because of Lee Jong Suk, whom I underestimated his acting abilities in IHYV. I have not watched the second episode, but already he and his on-screen father made me cry.

    • 30.1 Garro

      He is awesome <3

  31. 31 Rushie

    I’m here for Park Hae-jin.
    Hey Heads, hope You’re healing properly.

    • 31.1 light

      Park Hae Jin! Love him in My Daughter Seyoung.

  32. 32 Ace

    I laughed out loud when Jae-hee died. Was really, really happy. But then…she lived? Only in kdramas. Could’ve been better if she remained dead though. Writer-nim, can you kill her again please and let her stay dead this time? Plus, thank goodness on that video of Jae-hee on the prison camp that she looked a bit like someone who stayed in a prison camp. On E01 when Hoon saw her on the stretcher, I was scoffing that she and her dad were the healthiest-looking prisoners I’ve soon on a show. With long, shiny, salon-cut hair and all. She should’ve worn that messy wig the first time. Other than that, it’s a good show for the M/T slot.

    • 32.1 Ace

      *I’ve seen on a show

  33. 33 PPasun

    This drama is so ridiculous that it is great. Throughout the 2 episodes I was laughing hilariously or just shaking my head in disbelief. For example, Jaehee getting shot on that bridge of no return and falling over the high balustrade and into the river? Please explain to me what law of physics would allow that to happen on this planet?

    People who are mad because the history is all screwy in this show, please don’t be mad because distortion of history is in vogue in K-dramaland nowadays. Empress Ki, need I say more?

    At least, I figured out how long the first time jump is. Wonder Girls’ “Tell Me” came out in 2007, so the first time jump is 13 years. The second time jump, 5 years, and the third one, 2 years, so now we are in the Year 2014.

    • 33.1 HellaLife

      Like IHYV the law thing is stupid but the story is captivating.

  34. 34 maldita

    If only the surgeons in my hospital looked like Park Haejin. ❤️

    • 34.1 Malou


  35. 35 tsuiteru

    Am I the only one who’s sceptical about Jae Hee being alive… The synopsis did say the other lady with Jae Hee’s face would have a secret mission. I don’t think we can discard the possibility of her pretending to be Jae Hee to manipulate LJS’s character’s feelings & get him to perform heart surgery on the President. I’m also noting the lady in the video’s wavy hair… Which is the hair style of the other lady… Hmmm…
    It’s not very plausible since the President seems to only just be finding out about her as well.
    But yeah, I’m doing everything I can do to deny to absurd possibility of JH’s survival. It’s ridiculous, she literally JUST WOKE UP from being half dead…

    • 35.1 Loulou

      Me too, i think she died and the girl in the video is not Jae hee

  36. 36 Gigi

    All what I know that I am loving this Drama, convincing not convincing, flaws no flaws, unrealistic, etc… I don’t care.. the first 2 episodes made me cry, laugh, angry, sad,nervous…and that s enough for me to keep watching…
    I am on Board ,as long I am enjoying the show, and till now I am definetly am..
    Can’t wait to see Episode 3 and read your recap 🙂 thank you a lot @HeadsNo2

    BTW LJS acting is superb, you are doing great kidoo

  37. 37 Loulou

    anyone else thinks that the OST is really amazing? I can’t stop hitting the replay button

  38. 38 divyrus

    I Was not sold on first episode , but second episode hooked me in.
    Yes, the plot holes and these medical things seem over the top, but I found myself edge of the seat during entire Budapest sequence.
    That part is what the show did best!
    Lovers trying to be together and save each other with guns blazing giving a life-death consequence. True , I never actually believed she would die but I forgot for few moments that it is just episode two. The main reason would be Lee Jong suk! He could have just been pretty and good as usual to carry this off in easy way, but his acting was with so much passion that I forgot it all and only cared about their impending doom.

    I still feel they wrapped up too much in first two episodes, they could have taken it slow to establish their love and all the actual dark horror going on behind, with father and general cha, it wouldn’t feel so mashed up.

    But if they do have a great story to tell, and which they are sure of, I won’t be complaining ! And I trust the PD !

    And am I the only one who got too much city hunter vibes !???!? Guess I need to shake off old dramas, to actually enjoy a new one without comparison !

    And Lee Jong suk , just keep rocking your character, which I guess would be the only thing helping the show if indeed the story becomes a mess !

  39. 39 Adele

    Welcome back Heads!!!

  40. 40 pg

    listening to sam smith reading this recap over and over again I am sorry dramabeans I have been vandalizing your site typing my non sensical thoughts over and over again but this is how much I have been overwhelmed by the show and I can’t thank you enough for posting this review and also beacuz ,unlike so many in this blog, you speak only in the favour of the drama turning completely blind-eye to all the craziness going in the drama…this is my only solace until Monday and Tuesday…

    how I wish all of sam smiths song were to be the ost for this drama…and the acoustic version of latch were to play in the bike scene in Budapest in slow motion oh my god imagination.

  41. 41 anduril

    Thanks Heads and welcome back. I cannot think of anyone more qualified to recap zaniness. Here’s hoping for a great ride.

    While enjoying the episode and studiously ignoring the flaws I came across this gem of a Viki comment. “I need to watch titanic to cheer me up. mageinblack”. Bwaaa ha ha. It would be difficult for him to have a more horrid backstory (not that kdrama couldn’t).

  42. 42 light

    Ok i am saying this just for the fun of it. Because i watched My Daughter Seyoung, lee bo young’s ‘father’, ‘father-in-law’, ‘twin brother’ are in this drama, and her lead in IHYV as well! Ok. End fun.

    • 42.1 jihou

      And she may do a cameo in Dr. Stranger 😀

      • 42.1.1 light

        As a nurse who hands LJS or PHJ his scalpel in the OR. lol

        • jihou

          LOL, anything except a sick person who needs kidney or heart transplant 😀

  43. 43 Lovely.

    This is so insane that I love it. I can already tell this is going to be my new drama crack.

    Yes, it’s not realistic or accurate but darn why am I so entertained?

    I’m not even a huge LJS fan…

    HeadsNo2, welcome back ^_^

  44. 44 Quiet Thought

    I would like to point out that there is nothing in this episode that prevents the writer from using my suggestion that Se Jeon play the Terminator in her next role.

  45. 45 August

    I have no complaints with the acting and performances of Lee Jong-Suk and Kim Sang-Joong in Doctor Stranger.

    My issue is with what the writer Park Jin-Woo and the director Jin Hyeok have presented to viewers so far. From some of the plot holes; to the suspension of disbelief [Apparently you can blatantly buck the system and boldly say what you will and will not do when you live in a de facto power state (regime) like North Korea] required with the actions of certain characters and events; to the historical inaccuracies shown as truth; and their decision to creatively and artistically gloss over the militarized and totalitarianism of North Korea in many of the scenes in the storyline is definitely jarring.

    Not yet feeling invested in the OTP Park Hoon and Song Jae-Hee.

  46. 46 Adal

    Awesome show, quite brilliant really and imo the best of all the new kdramas out there. LJK is doing a bang up job with his acting and has successfully reeled me in. I’m engaged in a way I haven’t been in quite a while. Here’s hoping the drama keeps up its momentum and does not fizzle out like so many other kdramas tend to do. They start with a bang and end with a fizzle. LJK Fighting!

    However I must say there are to many of City Hunter’s cast in this show. Considering the fact that I just finished my nth rerun of City Hunter, it’s a tad confusing.

  47. 47 MaSiu

    So glad HeadsNo2 funaly gets a good drama to recap!!

  48. 48 Lilian

    Lee Jong Seok is definitely the main reason for watching. However, from the short scene Bora seems pretty interesting too! Also, I can’t wait for him to compete against the “top team” in the hospital…

    • 48.1 Loulou

      I can easily ship those two, they look cute together

    • 48.2 bluesky

      Yes..Bora’s character seems fun to watch..both looks cute and have a nice chemistry

  49. 49 coby

    glad to see that Heads is back! Dunno if I’ll pick up this drama though

  50. 50 bluesky

    Welcome back Heads^^

    I will check another 2 eps this week to decide whether I should continue or not..

    I personally interested with the theme and ready to accept the strange/geenius things but certain scenes especially at the bridge, I think it’s a bit over dramatic which caused me cringed watching it..And this might be my 1st time didn’t care about the heroine’s life..So I’m okay if they kill her character coz it will be more realistic..But as I know JSY gonna be a different person later, not sure maybe only changing identity or it’s really a different person..That’s one of the reason I will continue another 2 eps this week..
    And I want to know more about Park Hae Jin & Kang So Ra character at the same time..Good luck show!

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