Drama Recaps
Doctor Stranger: Episode 14
by | June 19, 2014 | 89 Comments

If you had a hope in your head and a song in your heart that things would get better if only we knew what the big overarching plan was—you know, the one governing the surgical competition of the ages, the very same one responsible for the running the minutiae of a hospital no sane person would ever admit themselves to—then this hour might come as a bit of a disappointment. It’s not all doom and gloom though, because we finally get an answer as to what The Plan is all about. And say what you will about it, it is a plan. If there is only one thing I can say with certainty, and there is, it’s that a plan is most definitely the thing that it is.

Big Man took the top spot for its finale this week with 12.6%, leaving Doctor Stranger with 10.8% while Triangle continued to struggle in the single digits.


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Hoon calls Mom’s number in the States and speaks to a woman who knew his mother and was instructed specifically by her to keep this number in case he ever called. “What took you so long?” the woman asks despairingly.

As the woman tells Hoon that Mom went back to Korea twenty years ago to find him, he sinks to his knees as he remembers the ajumma from the hospital desperately clutching her teddy bear. Does he know she’s his mother?

The woman relays a message to Hoon that Mom instructed her to tell him should he ever call: “She said… that she’s sorry, that she was wrong.” He thinks back to the ajumma in the hospital, and the words she’d said which he’d initially brushed off: “I didn’t know what you were going through. But don’t forget, I love you more than anyone in this world. I’m sorry, my son. I promise, Mom will come and find you. Don’t be sick, and stay well until then.”

At the time, Hoon noted how jealous he was of her son. In the present, Hoon thinks of Mom in the hospital in complete shock as we cut to her murmuring, “I’m sorry, my son.”

No sooner does Hoon complete that call that another comes in, this time from Prime Minister Jang. Looking and sounding pleased with himself (as always), he croons, “Did you get to meet your mother?”

With tears in his eyes, Hoon demands to know what Prime Minister Jang did to Mom. “Oh… we didn’t do anything,” Jang replies evilly. “But keep this in mind: We’re capable of doing anything.” He urges Hoon to hurry and see Mom, because prime ministers can totally talk this way over unsecured lines—I mean, it’s not like they have to worry that they could be recorded, right?

As Hoon is followed by shady dudes en route to see Mom, Nightshade receives the news while keeping watch over Seung-hee in the hospital. Mom is moved to another area of the hospital with a bodyguard close by, working under Nightshade’s orders.

Miraculously, Mom manages to escape her bodyguard’s watch with the help of Seung-hee, even though she can only walk at a shuffle. Hoon is always a step too late in trying to find her, seeing as how the hospital can’t account for any of its patients ever.

All we know is that Prime Minister Jang wasn’t involved in Mom’s escape (though Nightshade could very well be), since Jang hollers over the phone to Nightshade that they needed Mom and Hoon to meet in order to better be able to control Hoon. Oh, okay. Way to make Seung-hee/Jae-hee’s existence even more moot, guys. I thought she was supposed to control him to do that thing no one cares to explain.

Seung-hee takes Mom to Chang-yi, who’s still residing in Hoon’s clinic. Though Chang-yi is initially reluctant to trust her, Seung-hee convinces her not to tell a soul, not even Hoon, that Mom is there because the bad guys will use her against him.

Wizard Cha magically appears in the hospital where Nightshade and his men are still searching in vain for Mom, and gets in a jab about how this wouldn’t have happened if Nightshade had left Mom in their (the North’s) care.

But when Nightshade asks if her disappearance was their doing, Agent Cha thinks back to Seung-hee’s erratic behavior and finds her leaving a surgery to ask if she’s the one behind it.

Seung-hee denies any involvement, claiming that she couldn’t have left in the middle of a surgery anyway—even though she did so by trading out with Min-se. Agent Cha offers the customary “Good, because then I’d have to kill you and Hoon” threats before slipping into some corner he’ll hide in until the next scene.

When Hoon can’t get a hold of the prime minister, he tries to take a cab to his mansion only to find that Seung-hee paid the driver to take him elsewhere. It’s there she tells him his mother is safe.

Hoon grabs her by the shoulders as he asks if she knew where Mom was all along. When she nods, he erupts in anger—why didn’t she tell him if she knew? He doesn’t seem to believe her when she claims that Prime Minister Jang wouldn’t tell her where Mom was because he didn’t trust her.

“He was only sure I wasn’t Song Jae-hee after I showed him that there wasn’t a surgery scar on my stomach,” she explains. She goes on to say that she underwent many surgeries before coming to the South, and that Prime Minister Jang only trusted her when he was convinced that she was someone just made to look like Jae-hee, in existence only to fool Hoon.

“Did you ever think that I would be suspicious of you?” Hoon asks, and Seung-hee replies that she never thought that for a second. Even if she had surgery to look like someone else, she was sure that he’d recognize her. She urges him to trust her, even when she won’t tell him where Mom is because she has a plan that will protect Hoon and Mom.

But Hoon is done with blind obedience, and questions why he should trust her when she has nothing to show for it. “I don’t know if you really know where my mother is, and I don’t even know what you’re planning. So how can I trust you? Truthfully… I can’t trust you. No, now I don’t even know if you’re really Jae-hee. I don’t care about the plan.” Amen, brother.

He threatens to go to the press if Prime Minister Jang doesn’t tell him where Mom is, but Seung-hee argues against that, claiming that Jang won’t ever leave him alone. “Then he can kill me,” Hoon says, but again, Seung-hee brings up his mother—what would happen to her if Hoon died? The very reason she lost her mind is because of the guilt she suffered for twenty years, after all.

“That’s why I need to see her,” Hoon says, holding back angry tears. “I need to tell her that I’m sorry, that I was also wrong.” Using that, Seung-hee begs him to just trust her this once. In one month, for whatever reason, everything will be over.

But he pulls his hand out of her grasp and wordlessly walks away, leaving her in tears.

Chairman Oh smirks to himself as he flashes back to the moment when Prime Minister Jang handed over the folder and CD as they talked about Myungwoo’s role in his surgery.

Only now we hear the rest of the conversation, as Jang explained to Oh that the president eliminated the first hospital he chose, which means he doesn’t trust him. So he’s using that against him in order to make him choose between Myungwoo Hospital and one other competitor that Chairman Oh needs to get rid of, using the files Jang just handed him, in order to clear the way for Myungwoo.

And in that case, Prime Minister Jang wants him to take Hoon back so that the competition can continue(!!). God of Dramas, why hast thou forsaken us?

Things go according to plan when Chairman Oh releases the damning information on Prime Minister Jang’s first-choice-but-not-really hospital, leaving the president to choose Myungwoo Hospital for Jang’s surgery.

As for Hoon’s missing mother, Nightshade believes Seung-hee is behind it because he also believes she’s Jae-hee. Prime Minister Jang isn’t so sure since he saw no surgery scars on her body, though Nightshade argues that Seung-hee saving Mom says everything about her true identity.

While Chairman Oh and Doctor Moon talk about carrying on with the competition (*sob*), Soo-hyun decides to use her day off to deliver last night’s leftover curry to Hoon. She preens nervously until Seung-hee notices and decides to send her off with a home-cooked breakfast so Hoon won’t be eating curry all day every day.

Soo-hyun finds Hoon asleep in his clinic, and claims that she’s there to hear his apology for their quibble last night after he jokingly asked her if she liked him. Hoon is way too exhausted to play games so this time he asks quite bluntly, “Hey Quack, do you really like me?”

She’s taken totally aback by his question and fumbles for an answer, at first trying to claim that she only came because Seung-hee made him food and definitely not because she likes him—though it couldn’t be any clearer that she does.

Hoon can be dense, but at least he realizes the truth as he gives Soo-hyun the apology she was looking for, along with advice for her to stop visiting him so Jae-joon won’t misunderstand. Ouch.

Soo-hyun knows it’s a rejection, and runs out before she can betray her own emotions to him. “Am I crazy to like you?!” she wonders to herself as she pulls off all the jewelry she’d put on to pretty herself up for him. Hoon can hear her call him a jerk, but says nothing.

Chang-yi is conflicted over whether to tell Hoon about his mother or not, at least until a man clutching his chest walks into their clinic. I love that the dramatic music playing as Hoon examines him abruptly stops when he offers to write the man a prescription. Hahaha. Is the show actually making fun of itself?

Just when you think the show is going to have its first case that doesn’t end in surgery, Hoon uses his Genius and concludes that the man needs surgery. But the patient runs out, claiming he could never afford it.

Doctor Moon drops by to try and bribe Hoon to come back to the hospital and re-enter the competition to no avail. Hoon would rather just let Jae-joon represent the hospital… until Chang-yi comes in dragging the patient who’d just left.

He’s collapsed, and Doctor Moon recognizes him as Doctor Yang’s patient—though he had to be discharged because he didn’t have enough money to pay for treatment. As usual, Doctor Moon sees sick people as opportunities, and grins from ear to ear as Hoon is forced to take the patient to Myungwoo Hospital.

While Chang-yi beats off Chi-gyu for asking her to a movie, Hoon pays Doctor Yang for the patient’s hospitalization fees with the money Doctor Moon tried to bribe him with, since Doctor Yang is insistent that the patient receive no medical care if he can’t pay for it.

By the time Hoon finally sees Seung-hee, he’s thought over her proposition and decides to give her the month she asked for to sort things out.

Now that Myungwoo has been chosen for Prime Minister Jang’s surgery (again), Chairman Oh seems shocked at Jae-joon’s pleasant reaction when Hoon is brought back to the hospital.

For reasons of respect on Hoon’s part toward Jae-joon, the score is now 1:1, which shows just how little any of these rules or mid-operation threats matter. Chairman Oh even asks, literally asks, “Then, is this the final round again?” I don’t know. Is it?

The patient Hoon picks is the same man that walked into his clinic, since it means the surgery he’ll receive is free. As it just so happens, Jae-joon has a female patient exactly like him who’s already found a donor for a heart transplant. But Hoon will have a much harder time trying to find a donor quick enough for his male patient.

So Hoon proposes the installation of a ventricular assist device, or VAD, which is extremely expensive but will assist the male patient’s failing heart either while he waits for a donor or permanently, since the device can replicate the human heart well enough to be used for years.

Doctor Moon throws a fit because of the cost, but that’s not Chairman Oh’s concern—he knows Hoon’s patient has an illness where his blood doesn’t coagulate (meaning he’ll just bleed out if cut open), so there’s no hope of installing a VAD. “Even if God himself performs the surgery, he’ll die.”

Jae-joon is taken aback, since this means that Hoon doesn’t even have a fighting chance, until Chairman Oh reminds him that he’s on thin ice: The man he forgave was the Jae-joon his daughter cares for, not the Jae-joon who defied him.

He reminds Jae-joon just how easy it is for him to lose everything, clearly upset that Jae-joon and Hoon are acting so friendly. He gives an entire monologue about how important winning this competition is for Jae-joon, how everything is on the line, how this is the last chance, etc. We’ve heard this all before one too many times.

After Jae-joon is filled in regarding where Hoon’s dad was when he was supposed to be testifying for them, he visits Hoon’s old house and flashes back to his mother’s heart attack as they waited in vain for Hoon’s father to help them.

“Park Chul, Park Hoon,” Jae-joon grits through clenched teeth. “Are you the son of that bastard Park Chul?” Aw, he’s disappointed that the Hoon he’s come to like is the son of the man he hates.

Soo-hyun is giddy as she gives Hoon his doctor’s gown back, and though he notices her controlled expression, he decides to treat her like he always does and bickers with her like a child.

Hoon introduces the device he’s going to implant in his patient’s chest after putting him at ease about the costs: not only will this surgery be covered, his future heart transplant will be as well. The patient and his family are beyond relieved.

Hoon then confronts Seung-hee over the mysterious plan she refuses to disclose to him, this time remaining firm as he demands that she tell him. He can’t wait another hour, much less an entire arbitrary month.

When she sticks to her guns and reminds him she can’t tell him, he asks, “What’s the reason? Why can’t you tell me?!” Seung-hee: “Because it’s not in the script!” Okay, maybe that last part is a mistranslation, but that’s pretty much her line of reasoning.

She all but begs Hoon to just sit quietly and be a good doctor so she can save him and his mother. “A good doctor? Is that what you want?” he throws back at her, as he grabs a brick with the intent to smash his hand. “Tell me, or else I won’t be able to hold a scalpel ever again.”

Just as Hoon is poised to follow through with his threat, Seung-hee breaks down and admits that the plan is to meet the president… because Prime Minister Jang isn’t the one who needs surgery. It’s all a coverup so the citizens wouldn’t find out about the president being ill.

Naturally, Hoon’s next question is why the prime minister would want him on the team. “Because he wants to kill the president,” Seung-hee replies. That’s why he wanted to control Hoon by using Hoon’s mom and Seung-hee/Jae-hee.

But he doesn’t want the president dead right away—rather, he wants him to stay in a comatose state while he runs the country. Seung-hee’s counter plan was to meet with the president secretly and promise to save him if he saves her and Hoon.

She knows it’s a foolhardy plan, but it’s the only one she has. She also plans on giving Prime Minister Jang an ultimatum, in that she won’t do as he says unless Jae-joon performs the surgery. When Hoon asks why it has to be her of all people, she fights back tears as she replies, “Because I love you! Because if they threaten to kill you, I must do as they command.” So… her ultimatum isn’t going to go very well, is it?

Seung-hee then urges Hoon to forget everything she just told him, claiming that it’s okay for him to lose the competition. She even wants him to lose, so that way he can become the good doctor he’s always wanted to be.

Leave it to Jae-joon to buy Soo-hyun a Metaphor Purse, as he compares the temporary act of her trying it on to her temporarily being drawn to Hoon. “I can’t take anything more than that,” he adds.

But at home, Soo-hyun clutches Hoon’s stethoscope instead of Jae-joon’s message-laden gift.

Hoon and Jae-joon’s patients are wheeled into the operating theater for surgery. Hoon catches Seung-hee outside to apologize for the night before and to tell her that he’s not going to do as she says and lose the competition: “No matter the operating room, I won’t let you go in alone.”

He reminds her with a smile that the competition is about saving the patient first and foremost, which is exactly what it isn’t about for Chairman Oh, since he’s decided to willfully withhold the vital and potentially life-saving information regarding the male patient’s bleeding problem.

So, in case anyone is confused, Chairman Oh doesn’t care whether the patient dies because all that matters is Hoon losing. And there’s no better way to make sure he does than by bribing Doctor Yang to keep mum about the patient’s bleeding problem, and also to make sure Hoon’s surgery is unsuccessful.

While Nurse Min is distrustful enough of her husband(?) Doctor Yang to ask Seung-hee to perform the necessary pre-surgery checks, Jae-joon confronts Hoon now that he knows who his father is. He doesn’t mention Dad’s tie to his own past, instead opting to talk around the issue by bringing up how Dad saving the DPRK’s supreme leader must’ve been the reason Hoon graduated from Pyongyang Medical School.

Hoon picks up on the weird vibe coming off Jae-joon, but can’t get anything more out of him other than a cold “good luck.” He’s especially taken aback when even Soo-hyun acts distant around him, wondering what got into everyone’s water.

The entire hospital staff watches as Hoon finds out that his patient has a very serious bleeding disorder, a test which Doctor Yang claims he just forgot to perform. Wamp wamp waaaamp. Oh well, it’s not like the hospital just escaped from a medical malpractice lawsu—… OH WAIT.

It’s sad that all the doctors Hoon claimed were the only “real” doctors in the hospital talk about this new development with literal shrugs, since the patient’s now unfixable ticking clock means that Jae-joon will win. Soo-hyun and Jae-joon are the only ones who manage to look even halfway human over in his operating room.

Doctor Yang tries to do his job in dissuading Hoon from performing the surgery, but Hoon ignores him as he comes up with a complicated plan that Chi-gyu explains using an orange. All we need to know is that it involves opening the heart, removing the dead, unworking tissue, and closing it back up again.

The only catch is that the procedure no longer exists in modern medicine, because the success rate is so low that no doctor would dare to try… until now.

As the president watches the proceedings from the Blue House, Doctor Moon throws his usual hissy fit. Doctor Yang argues that the procedure won’t be successful, and when that fails to convince Hoon, he reminds him that the patient’s guardians would have to sign off on that kind of deadly procedure. And they won’t.

But Hoon won’t listen, since the patient can’t wait until his family is consulted. Doctor Yang has no choice but to participate in the surgery as Hoon makes his first incision…


I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular from this show going into this week, but I was honestly taken aback when the competition was brought back from the dead again, like a brainless zombie someone forgot to double tap. Despite us knowing what The Plan is now, it doesn’t excuse the plot’s crippling reliance on doctoring in the vacuum of a competition that means everything at any given moment while meaning absolutely nothing. Ever.

There’s a funny thing about basic storytelling that’s both fantastic and awful all at once: You can make your universe as crazy or mundane as you want it to be, as long as you make sure not to negate the rules you create. The reason why it’s beyond difficult to buy the events in this universe is because nothing is static or dependable—everything is constantly changing, and never in a way that builds upon itself or makes a modicum of sense. What was initially a silly competition to determine the best cardiothoracic surgeon has now morphed into an unholy love child between politics and… well, more politics. Exciting stuff, right?

The whole there-are-no-rules-except-when-there-are bit is probably the worst thing about this competition and beleaguered plot point, even worse than the fact that the people running Myungwoo Hospital as well as the country of South Korea in this show are not only completely incompetent, they’re literally inhuman. You can’t spend a week harping on how Myungwoo would never survive a medical malpractice suit only to have Chairman Oh treat the possibility of Hoon’s patient dying from Doctor Yang’s medical malpractice as nothing but a bump in the road toward Jae-joon’s success—which Chairman Oh really, really cares about now, for realsies this time.

From a character perspective, it was a little sad to see Jae-joon undergo a factory reset back to his vengeance-y self, since I thought he’d left that behind when he literally left that behind by choosing to do his job last week. I can only guess that the branch hospital Chairman Oh keeps threatening to ship everyone off to doesn’t exist, because no one ever gets sent there. Come to think of it, no threats are ever followed through with, no matter how plentifully they’re doled out. And I’m not touching the Seung-hee/Jae-hee issue because if she can be Jae-hee even without a surgery scar, then there’s still nothing to go on. We’re still in Not Knowing Land, party of all of us.

Although I’m sure Seung-hee’s declaration that Hoon is now allowed to lose will come back to bite her in a big way, the fact that she made it at all seems to negate the seriousness with which Hoon’s involvement was treated for the entire show up until this point. Basically, we went from “The world will end if you lose!” to “It’s okay if you lose, really!” at yet another drop of a hat, which, again, makes it very difficult to care about any of the stakes thrown at us when they’re all so easily changed. There are only so many times Agent Cha can be stopped from killing Hoon and only so many last chances Chairman Oh can give Jae-joon before this all turns into a drinking game. For the sake of our collective livers and sanity though, let’s hope we never reach that point.


89 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. fan

    Thanks for the recap! oh nooooo competition again! Finally we know what the PM’s deal is – still does not make much sense to me (and stupid)

    • 1.1 scantilily

      Seriously another competition. This drama sure fizzled faster than expected. I really liked the early episodes, and thought wow, what a cool drama. Then it went off the rails.

      Don’t know what happened, but the drama started to do too much. Started adding unnecessary plot twists, almost too cool for school.

      Both lead female characters are weak and the actresses playing them are not that far off from that description as well. The drama team, needs to send LJS a big thank you basket, cause he is the reason the drama is still ahead in the ratings.

      Of all three Mon-Tues dramas, Doctor Stranger was my #1, because I couldn’t get into Big Man, and Triangle was missing something. Now Triangle seems to have found its footing, while DS is unraveling more and more.

      I think it’s reached the point where writers should be required to produce a significant percent of the scripts, before shooting starts. It’s like these writers have only enough story for a film or few episodes and then start throwing in the sink and everything towards the middle of the drama, and then end with a subpar conclusion

    • 1.2 scantilily

      Since, I am already voicing my displeasure, I might as well say this – What is up with the way Korean dramas depict South Korean hospitals.

      It’s like every drama goes out of their way to demonize the hospital hierarchy, as power hungry suits, who do not care about patient lives, except for their own advancement and wealth.

      Considering, how many times this trope has been shown, one begins to wonder, if there is some truth to it after all.

      Not only are the doctors power hungry, but patient lives are put at stake at the hands of incompetent physicians, because no one wants to speak up against a sunbae/senior – WHAT???

      Then patients are refused life saving treatment, if they lack funds – this in a so called “First World” beacon of advancement society.

  2. mystisith

    Courage, dear recapper!
    Did a bit of research about the 2 writers of this show. They obviously didn’t read “Scriptwriting 101”.
    I honestly stay only for LJS like many others and I think that SBS can thank him for the quite good ratings cause I’m not sure they are deserved…

    • 2.1 TS

      This is the second thing I’ve seen Kang Sora in, and sadly, the other was Dream High 2. So, she’s really annoying me with her yet-again-insecure-&-incompetent character.

      I was also really annoyed at the choice between the stethoscope and the purse, like she had to choose between being a doctor and a wife. No, she doesn’t. A doctor is what she has trained to be for several years, and is what should be embedded in her psyche and consciousness by now. Pretty bags and a husband are irrelevant.

      • 2.1.1 Lord Byron

        Yeah, it’s good to hear it said, however it may seem unnecessary to state the obvious.

        But, in K-dramaland, its denizens and their fans live by very different principles and desires. As a visit to High School King of Savvy or You’re All Surrounded and reading the comments there will quickly confirm.

      • 2.1.2 scantilily

        The 2 female actresses are weak links in this drama. Which really doesn’t help, when the writing is also weak.

    • 2.2 icy

      The writers have this “come what may syndrome” so they give “a come what may show”.

    • 2.3 secretlyaddicted

      This show had so much potential! Darn those writers!

      • 2.3.1 boholanna

        I thought the same thing (show had so much potential) – the first 2 episodes were epic and I was on my way thinking I’d love this drama. I’m still reading the recaps (Thanks HeadsNo2) but don’t have the energy to watch it anymore.

        That is very rare for me to stop watching a show. I’ve sat through (maybe fastforwarded a bit) a lot of other dramas. This one I’ll sit out.

  3. Quiet Thought

    “A Good Doctor? Is that what you want?” he throws back at her, as he grabs a brick with the intent to smash the writer’s typing fingers . . .

    • 3.1 Drama2014

      Epic comment! LOL

  4. thestrider

    “…….Nightshade offers the customary “Good, because then I’d have to kill you and Hoon” threats before slipping into some corner he’ll hide in until the next scene.”
    Hahahahahahahhaha…this line was awesome. Loved it!!!!

    • 4.1 Liza

      LOL I die laughing when I read that sarcastic line
      HeadsNo2, you’re the best!!

  5. Kimbumchum

    Seriously, i do not understand jae hee/seung hee’s reasoning of “because i love you”. I mean since when? If she is actually jae hee who lost her memory and miraculously regains it, yeah sure, i believe you but gurrll as seung hee, i totally do not understand your “love” for the guy.

    • 5.1 kk


  6. icy

    PM Jang is using too many people to execute his plan. Can’t he just order his secretary to threaten/blackmail one good anesthesiologist in the country?

    • 6.1 TS

      Evil masterminds are so stupid.

    • 6.2 Crysta

      I was thinking the same thing! Heck, it doesn’t even have to be a good one or even a real anesthesiologist. You would think he could find some low life on the street, pay him alot of money, rig a diploma for him, then give him the exact amount of drugs he needs to do the job. It can’t be that hard in his position! He could even kill him afterwards and be done.

      (Disclaimer: I swear I’m not an evil mastermind, but, if I were to go down that path, I would be a smart one at least.)

  7. Rainbowfish

    Nope. Absolutely not. I stopped caring about the other stuff, but I will not sit through Jae Joon’s misunderstanding of Hoon and his father. I was so happy when the bromance started to bloom! Now they want to rip it away from me a second later? Boo.
    I miss the darker stuff of the fist two episodes. Now it’s just “We must save this patient who chairman oh is trying to kill for his own purposes! Hey who’s that evil dude lurking in a corner and generally having no purpose?” And that line seems to come up EVERY SINGLE EPISODE OMG SRSLY. I’m just so tired of all of it.

    Thanks for the recap, though! I can’t imagine how much torture this must be for you.

    • 7.1 Anduril

      Agreed. They had better clear everything up VERY shortly. The bromance is the only thing left in this show that makes sense. It is one of the few reasons left to watch this show (bromance, morbid curiosity, and HeadsNo2 disbelief)

  8. yu

    I really feel like the show is going nowhere and it’s so frustrating. I think this is the first dud in all of lee jong seok’s projects.

    on the other hand, is anyone watching big man, is it good?

    • 8.1 Jenna

      Big Man is great! And you can marathon it since it finished this week. You won’t believe Daniel Choi’s performance. And of course Kang Ji Hwan is the glue that holds it all together.
      Strongly recommended.

    • 8.2 windsun33

      I thought Big Man was OK, but not great. I liked Golden Cross a lot better. Doctor WTF is of course long off of my watching list, just the recaps.

  9. Dee

    I am so disappointed with this show’s trajectory I want to cry. If I could turn back time to 14 episodes ago and decide not to start watching it I would, but I can’t, so here I am watching it while silently grieving for LJS. Gawd, I want to steal him away from this monkeyfest.

  10. 10 Fairy

    It actually improved from the show only focused on political drama and Jae Hee mystery and Hoon’s obsessiveness for the girl to medical stuff…I don’t mind the competition, it actually makes it fun and giving lead perfect surgeon an almost impossible task to do..gives adrenaline rush.

    I saw both Big Man and Triangle(few eps) and among them DS deserves rating ….then again I am LSK and medical drama fan , so….still love the fact the how drama ended at boring points a few weeks ago but now I actually wait for next week…

  11. 11 kanz

    Seung-hee: “Because it’s not in the script!” Okay, maybe that last part is a mistranslation, but that’s pretty much her line of reasoning. ROFL

    True, this drama is just gonna keep One Plan that goes nowhere and I don’t even know the consequences, except it’s dangerous for Park Hoon.
    I should never watch medical drama again and esp from this writer, my brain seems bleeding every episode because of the plot.

    • 11.1 Dafuqwhat

      LOL true, it seems in this drama everyone’s line of reasoning is “because the script and writers said so, logic be damned”

    • 11.2 jessa

      Oohh..Not all medical dramas are like this. The very first medical drama I’ve watched that made me like this genre is “NEW HEART” which stars Ji Sung and Kim Min Jung. The drama is also about thoracic surgeons. I really love that drama that’s why i started to like medical dramas.

      My second favorite medical drama is Obstetrics and Gynecology Doctors.

      Among my favorites also include Golden Time, The Third Ward and Good Doctor.

      • 11.2.1 kdramaajjang

        Have you seen Doctor X (a jap one)? It’s reallly good!

      • 11.2.2 kanz

        Okay, I revise my comment, I should never watch bad medical drama again.
        I have watched 3, Good Doctor, MTT and this one….
        Good Doctor also filled by incompetent doctors except the leads, MTT was boring and Dr.Stranger is crazy.

        • theravennest

          Yea, def don’t judge medical kdramas off of only those three. They are certainly not the best representations of this genre.

          “OBGYN,” “Surgeon Bong Dal Hee,” “Golden Time,” and “White Tower” are better examples of the genre.

          Bonus: “Sign” and “God’s Quiz” are both pretty good if you like your Doctoring to be mixed with Detective-ing. lol

    • 11.3 windsun33

      I would not consider this a medical drama. It is more of a Keystone Kops that just happens to be set in a hospital.

  12. 12 Pyromaniac

    I am a hoon-soohyun-shipper and even though I want to see this relationship progress I know in dramaland no.1 lead will never end up with a no.2 lead. Sigh. Actually the only hope I have for this show at this moment and even this won’t work out.

    • 12.1 verte

      Wait what? Soo Hyun’s not the lead?

      • 12.1.1 Sur

        I hope this was sarcasm. Otherwise you are in for a huge letdown

  13. 13 Scientis

    This competition is this show’s cancer. It never made sense thr first time, but why they keep introducing it is probably more of veering away to the source material.

    As posted on soompi:

    President might actually have a heart problem that demands a highly skilled surgeon like Hoon, so before they could even put him into a coma they must successfully operate first; hence, Hoon. Though your fist point hits right at home. They only needed a skillful surgeon, so technically, they could have just went with Jaejoon and gotten rid of that convoluted competition altogether. To that end, Jaejoon’s existence to the drama actually unnecessarily padded the story with filler, when and if it were solely Hoon, then the competition arc could have just easily been done away with. This actually ties to both second lead character’s importance to the plot–Jaejoon and Soohyun respectively had made this story unnecessarily longer and abstruse, that when we remove both of them, the story could trim the unneeded plot points and let it revolve around Hoon and Jaehee, making the show more streamlined and in fact bearable to watch.

    So one of the many pitfalls this show actually had is casting too many stars. I could probably see Soohyun’s weight as the unavoidable love angle to supplement the romance part (though I would definitely do away with her because she just adds gratuitous fanservice noise), but Jaejoon is definitely redundant. As a consequence we have this plot that goes all over the place trying to cover every character’s arc and integrating them to the main pair’s storyline, which only serves to marginalize the respective lead (Hoon and Jaehee) when episodes could have been focused more onto fleshing them out, especially Seunghee/Jaehee. Now we’re 6 episodes away from the finale and what we have is a fandangled story which was a result of an overambitious production that bit more than it could chew. It’s not just about star-power, plot consistency is still King.

  14. 14 TS

    When does this show end?

    • 14.1 Sabreena

      Next week. Ep 15 & 16 will be aired next Monday & Tuesday respectively, then that’s the end (& time for celebration too;) )

      • 14.1.1 TS

        I’m basically curious how they’ll wrap it up!

        • Sabreena

          Sorry my bad, it’s actually a 20 ep drama as mentioned by someone else… So I guess the story has some way to go before it ends

    • 14.2 zingo

      lol..after i read the recap these are the 5words that comes to mind. i really want to watch the ep20 next week.

    • 14.3 ditzy

      6 more episodes to go! It’s a 20 episode drama!

      • 14.3.1 Liza

        16 episodes of nonsense aren’t enough to torment us? Now they want to add 4 more??? WTH writers!!

  15. 15 Giegie

    God what is wrong with the writers of this show. Why bring back the stupid competition??? Old men in this show are crazier than the younger ones!
    Thanks HeadsNo2 for the recap, I really enjoyed today’s recap. So funny. 🙂 “Because it’s not in the script.” LOL

  16. 16 rhia

    I’m just here for the pretty pictures. ;D

    • 16.1 Hiddles is God

      LOL 😀

      Like you, I’m here just to read the comments and giving the obligatory likes.

  17. 17 maz

    Still following the drama just to see kang sora.. the story line is crap!

  18. 18 Sajen

    I find that if you watch the show as if it was a Monty Python skit it helps.

  19. 19 Mystified

    Your recap is hilarious and mirrors my growing frustration with this serial. It started off quite promisingly and I watched it because I had just enjoyed Emergency Couple, another medical drama.
    But like a bad itch that would not go away I can’t help but keep watching it to see how the plot can grow more ludicrous. I must say I never expected this ep’s twist on the president being the one actually needing heart surgery. Why didn’t I see it coming??
    I wonder if the cast can keep a straight face with some of the ridiculous lines they have to deliver in the midst of all these bewildering plots and subplots… Sometimes LJS looks genuinely confused, I’m sure he himself has given up trying to second guess the what the writers will come up with next!

    • 19.1 dal

      he looks like having fun in behind the scene, but definitely he always smile since I’ve seen him long time ago…

      • 19.1.1 Mystified

        Yes I love his sunshine smile! Few actors in kdrama land have such an endearing and natural smile. Makes me think of an adorable puppy 🙂

  20. 20 alua

    I have not been watching this since ep. 2 (where the whole Budapest chase made so little sense that I just couldn’t get myself to watch ep. 3).

    I’ve been reading the recaps though, and most of the time it just strikes me how utterly confusing this show is and how it constantly recycles the same thing. I can’t believe they are back on with the let’s-play-with-our-patients competition yet again (other than the fact that it is infuriatingly unethical).

    It’s sad that Triangle is struggling with readings, I’m reading recaps there only too but it just sounds so much better.

    <Does he know she’s his mother? — Oh, how characters magically know things…

    <he’s disappointed that the Hoon he’s come to like is the son of the man he hates. — I'm not sure why he'd actually hate Park Chul. I mean if anyone let me down because they were sent to North Korea and didn't come back, my first assumption would be that they didn't have a choice. And even if someone tells me that they were treated as VIP there, I wouldn't be believe that they've gone to paradise. Even those in favour of KJU aren't 100% – see execution of his relatives. And for someone who is originally from the South and would know the freedom they are missing, there's no way they were having a jolly good time in the North. And even if Jae Joon does believe all that and wants to blame Park Chul without thinking about the situation at all, why doesn't he ask Park Hoon what life in NK was like?

    <And I’m not touching the Seung-hee/Jae-hee issue because if she can be Jae-hee even without a surgery scar — So, how does a girl that goes from prison camp to, forcibly, (presumably) spy camp, with no family or connections left, get multiple surgeries of the highest quality (removing such a scar can't be easy?)? Did I miss something here, but wasn't this scar-removal surgery to deceive other people in on the conspiracy as well? How did she do this without anyone noticing, and how did she pay for this?

    Anyhow, I feel sorry for the actors, they must find this show so frustrating.

  21. 21 owl

    “If…then you’ll both die at my hands.”
    “If…then we’ll both die.
    “If…then you’ll be shipped off to the dreaded hospital branch.”

    And the revived competition just in time for the heart candidate. I do not, for the life of me, get the competition revival.

    Such repeated threats, scenarios and national conspiracies have gotten us this far, but where exactly are we?

    Great recap and comments, HeadsNo2. Thanks ~

    Chck out my Dr Hoon fan art and other stuff at http://www.cimiart.wordpress.com if you’d like.

    \ /

  22. 22 Andromeda

    This episode just clarified my point. Park Hoon is officially bipolar. I don’t even know him anymore and ever since he got a haircut, it seems a “new” Hoon was born. Nothing about his character is consistent anymore and he acts like a random person. I’m blaming it on the haircut that makes him look like he graduated from pre-school.

    • 22.1 TS

      The new haircut doesn’t suit him much, either.

      • 22.1.1 Patch

        It’s got that new cut look, like the hairdresser took just a tiny bit too much off and now he has to wait for a few weeks for it settle in.

  23. 23 divyrus

    I don’t think the writers ever had anything more than the 2 line story.
    Joined conspiracy between NK and prime minister of south to kill the president, for power.
    And since they couldn’t make this two line even into a synopsis, they kept seeing all other shows out there and threw stuff in together.
    Yes, medical dramas always have a following, let’s make our hero a doctor !
    Then let’s make him a damaged doctor by forcing him to kill people, and yes, let him leave home country and be without home.
    And yeah, we do need a heroine, let’s make her a north Korean spy. And of course the customary, second leads ! Doctors ! Coats! Competition !

    Even with all this, you got nothing left !

    Such a horrible let down. Poor LJS. Am sure he is feeling bad now for choosing this.
    Sometimes taking a break is okay, you don’t have to work ALL the time !

    And to think the first two episodes were actually good in a way !

    *sighs* if they never had anything to write in SK, why didn’t they take atleast more than 2 episodes to explain his early years, at least it would give the viewers a pairing to root for. Now all that I wanna do is shoot Jae hee.

    • 23.1 Andromeda

      The writer shot himself in the foot by “killing” off Jae Hee without a proper character development and it’s really hard to sympathize with her when all we know about her is that a.) she loves Hoon b.) she’s a NK citizen.

      However, this episode is building up her much anticipated character by revealing her motivations and finally the “big mission.” In my opinion, it’s already too late for the show to flesh out Jae Hee/Seung Hee’s character because now, I could care less about her. If DS had done this a tad bit earlier in the show like in ep 11 or 12 instead of showing useless fanservices, I’ll most likely root for Jae Hee. But now, whenever I see her, my reaction to her is “Eh..”

      • 23.1.1 Liza


      • 23.1.2 Liza


    • 23.2 Patch

      Or separate the two storylines so Hoon gets involved with the plot to kill the president because one agent looks exactly like his North Korean girlfriend. While at the same time he’s desperately trying to make up for his past and become a real doctor. Going up against JJ who is working to ruin the hospital.

      And the surgery competition never happens.

  24. 24 hal


  25. 25 Anduril

    I think Jae Joon should go back to America, but instead of taking Soo-hyun, he should take Hoon. Hoon could take his mom back to her friends. And both boys could leave that nightmare of a hospital.

    Although, I must say, I do think Jao-Joon might be doing the county a service if he continues with his revenge plot. Clearly this is a hospital that needs some shaking up.

    • 25.1 alua

      Sounds like a plan.

      …for sane people (or people who want to stay sane), which seem to be scarce in this drama.

  26. 26 Bee

    If I was the president, I would ask for both the docs in the OR. They both are awesome doctors (and hot! :-D)

    Also I am super confused about when Jae Hee said that the reason she had to be in the OR was cause the she loves him and she has to do what they ask if they threaten to kill Hoon… ummmm wasnt the PM shocked to learn that she was Jae Hee and not Seung-hee. Soooo how is that leverage over her.

    I swear my brain is jelly watching some of the dramas that have been airing (I am looking at you as well Hotel King!!)

  27. 27 Curio Serand


    I am with the majority here when it comes to being frustrated and annoyed by this drama but I find myself also rather intrigued. I’ve never followed such a nonsensical narrative with so much pleasure!

    Now, i’mma follow the writer’s example and go off on a tangent now with the hope that some cultural clarity might actually result from staying with this hot mess.

    So in this ep 14, this ‘everything-but-‘ hodgepodge of a story we all know as “Doctor Stranger” draws focus on a particular kdrama trope that’s been a thorn in my side for a while and I cannot find any clarification on the interwebs.

    The trope in question: “Child Abandonment.” WHY is this trope soooo prevalent in kdrama? I’ve seen nearly 150 dramas (I keep a list) and in at least 2/3rd of them so far, (that’s like 100, y’all! I checked) there is an abandoned child and the issues arising from that abandonment drives their story.

    If the adage “write what you know” has any bearing in KDrama, then this must be a significant psycho-social issue on the peninsula and I would like to know if anyone has any cultural or historical insight on it.

    In the 100 or so iterations of the trope that I’ve seen in kdrama, the children are abandoned primarily because the parents have financial difficulties (‘Hotelier’, ‘Shut Up Flower Boy Band’, ‘That Winter the Wind Blows’, etc.) or they are just plain narcissists (‘You Are Beautiful’, etc.) They get adopted abroad (US and Australia are popular destinations – although the sageuk include Chinese/Qing adoptions.) The foreign adoption also applies to bona fide orphans (see, for example, ‘Doctor Stranger’s resident Harvard-educated adoptee Jae-joon…)

    So what gives? Any historians or anthropologists out there who could shine a light on this particular issue. Please…?

    • 27.1 TS

      i’d put this question on Friday’s Open Thread, if I were you. More people to answer, including some who are studying in Korea.

    • 27.2 kimberly

      There is a video on youtube about a man who has spent his life trying to save the unwanted babies in Korea. He set up a baby drop box at his home to help the mothers who Korean law wont help leave their children with someone who cares. Korea has been trying to put him in prison for it. Havent checked to see if they have succeeded in doing so.

  28. 28 AdAl

    This episode was the first one that made any sense in a while. To be honest, I feel that with the “Big Reveal” the writer is back on track with the first episodes.

    Honestly, objectively speaking, if you extrapolate the plot from the first two episodes (shipping wars aside), the essential elements of the plot were:

    1) Hoon escaping out of NK
    2) Finding out what happened to Hoon’s mother
    3) Exposing the part that the dirty Prime Minister played in trapping Hoon and his father in North Korea with the order to execute them when their mission was completed;
    4) Finding out the facts surrounding the medical malpractice law suit that Hoon’s dad was involved in.

    If you figure all this out, then Soo-hyun and all the “lovey dovey” scenes she has with Hoon is not at all essential to the plot; we could also argue the case that Jae-joon’s romance with Soo-hyun is not essential to the main plot either; but his revenge story is, because it is tied into the mystery regarding the law suit that was mentioned at the beginning of the show.

    I see that many are still questioning whether or not Seung Hee is Jae Hee, but I wonder why this is so? Did she not explain away the scars? Is it not possible that she could have had corrective surgery to cover up the signs of the first surgery Hoon had done on her since she knew that she was coming in as a spy with a faux identity and a different agenda? Agreed that it’s a big stretch, since the last we knew of her was that she was back in prison camp; but in the world of Kdrama, it’s not totally unbelievable. Do we need to know if she had a sponsor who paid for the corrective surgery, and find out where and when it was done before it all makes sense?

    Seung hee/Jae Hee’s participation is still essential to the plot when you extrapolate it from the first few episodes. Now, many of the scenes involving the Prime Minister, his mocking of the President and the jeering way he spoke of his heart condition in earlier episodes, finally make sense.

    It also explains his jerking around of the various hospitals; and the silly medical competitions that he keeps making them do. I’m not saying it makes total sense (as I agree the plot has been all over the place), but finally, there’s some kind of consistency out of all this mess.

    • 28.1 AdAl

      Another argument in favor of Seung Hee being Jae Hee is this – if you study her actions, she’s been doing all she can to keep Hoon alive, and not killed by Agent Cha. As Jae Hee she would have a motive and a vested reason for keeping Hoon alive, as Seung Hee, probably not. Why invest so much time and effort to keep Hoon alive, and even kidnap his mother to keep in a safe place away from the evil guys, when Seung Hee would gain so much more by just focusing on Jae Joon, eliminating Hoon and proceeding with the mission? So if we take away our prejudices against the character and how she is portrayed and just focus on the plot; it makes sense that Jae Hee and Seung Hee are actually the same person.

      • 28.1.1 kimberly

        You can look at her actions in another way. She started all this I love you stuff after she told him to let the patient die and he started to question who she really was. Then she freaked out and told her compatriot to not second guess her and just trust her. So this could all just be an act to keep his trust and maybe she has fallen in love with him but cant figure out how she can keep him and still do her mission. Any way you go about it I just dont like this character. I like the water bottle girl the best.

    • 28.2 meh

      I LOVE YOU.

      All the hatred circlejerk everywhere annoys me to no end. The show is a mess, yes, but it has sort of an internal consistency in between the crazy.

      Especially the “lovey dovey” parts, I agree so much that they’re not essential to the plot. Soo-hyun has been reduced to a teenager in love and as a result, her scenes are extremely boring and out of place.


  29. 29 Anduril

    5) Finding out what the new plot is between Prime Minister and North Korea.

  30. 30 Marly

    Gave up on the story line . Just didn’t make sense after awhile. Acting is the best it could be ,with the terrible plot and writing. Too bad cause it had a great beginning. Maybe the actors should ask to see the whole script before they agree to look stupid in a drama.

  31. 31 rose

    HeadsNo2 and gummimochi, hats off to both of you for persevering on in recapping!jeongmal kumawoyo!:)

    Talk about how anticlimatical it was for the revelation of that so-called big plan. Oh WHY, writer-nim, after holding out for sooooo long it, you gave it such a “meh” let out? I was hoping for at least some intense, action scenes to hype it up. I seriously don’t understand, almost at a loss of words to described the disappointment. In where I come from, this is what we call a very severe case of “potong stim”!*hands holding head*

    And as if this isn’t enough, another even “meh” let out was that Seung Hee actually showed a ‘no-scarred’ body to PM Jang, trying to prove to him she’s not Jae Hee. From ep 3 till now, honestly, I am still unsure of who she really is. Her “I am sacrificing my life to safe you because I love you so much” to Hoon is so unconvincing. I actually wonder if this is another act she is putting on.

    For Jae Joon – please, pleaseeeee don’t return to the dark side. His somewhat move away from wanting to take revenge in the previous ep gave me a glimmer of hope for some warmth in this drama (in the form of bromance, of course!). Hoon and his dad deserve at least some sympathy for all the torture and suffering they have been through after being manipulated by evil politicians. NOT more misunderstandings and hatred in the form of revengey Jae Joon. If this is where the writer wants to take it, he’s killing off any little hope left in this drama about humanity (not even gonna mention about how they trade lives for power and fame).

    With all the mess that’s going on, I can’t help but wonder if there is any way to salvage it. Is there any bigger secret or plot the writer can use to turn it around? Given that this drama is already at a crazier-than-crazy level, will it be possible to make it that Hoon is actually the mastermind behind all these, in collaboration with Nightshade? Because there are still the loopholes of how Hoon came to South Korea after the Budapest incident and how JaeHee was saved from the river (assuming again SeungHee is JaeHee). So, maybe the story could be Nightshade came into contact with Hoon after saving JaeHee and told him about PM Jang’s plans to take over the Korean President’s position. From there, they started to plot this whole thing out. And even engaged the help of Agent Cha (who was saved by Nightshade after he was immensely tortured by North Koreans and banished). Hence, everything we are seeing now is actually a show in the real show. 😀 Haha, am I getting way too ahead of myself with this? Is this even plausible? The thing is, I am still hoping against hope this drama will turn around and redeem itself, after all the love it made me have for it in the beginning. And I don’t want this to be a bad project for Lee Jong Suk. Oh show, please say you will end well…

    [Sidenote: Wow, I didn’t realise I just suggested that Nightshade is the life savers for that many ppl!…

    • 31.1 canvaspp

      I dunno about plausible but it would be more interesting.

  32. 32 tenminutes

    i like where this show is going lol if you dont like it dont watch it.

  33. 33 SplendaChan

    I’m still enjoying the drama! I like the competition, but it’s getting old. And Agent Cha and Chairman Oh KEEP REPEATING THE SAME DAMN THING LIKE IM GONNA KILL U OR R GONNA BE SENT TO SOME DREADED BRANCH.

    I was sad when the Jae Joon and Hoon bromance was gone.

    I kinda don’t like Jae Hee/Seung Hee. I find her annoying LOL I’m still not convinced she’s Jae Hee. I’m just going along with what the show says though, since if I sit down and try to sort this plot out, I’ll probably die!

    I’m a Soo-Hyun X Hoon shipper! Like every moment they r together I’m cheering!~~

    Also Agent Cha always has the same look on his face! Like his head is tilted slightly upward to the left haha.

  34. 34 ellyelectricshock

    Too tired to watch the whole drama that I skipped to Hoon and Hyun parts only & also Jaejoon and Hyun parts LOL (the song of the day though haha igeon overdose!)

  35. 35 eh

    eh, the only thing that kept me watching was the possibility of hoon and soo hyun getting together but now that soo hyun has been rejected. i’m totally out

    bye mess

  36. 36 Julie

    What the heck is with the script? They took 14 episodes of building hints of the big plan, going around in circles and confusing the hell out of people to only drop the bomb now? Soooo lame. Need better writers. Only watching for lee Jong suk!

  37. 37 comatose

    Throughout the episodes 4 – 10, I was thinking that I had misunderstood something or missed a piece of information as to what’s actually going on. I was so emotionally invested into the first two episodes of this drama.

    …ah pure disappointment.

    And then, this anticlimactic lead up to a half-assed ‘plan’.
    There is so much irrelevant bs in this drama – it feels like a 10 year old has written it.

    I’m hoping that Seung Hee isn’t actually Jae Hee and that she’s been cosmetically altered to look like Jae Hee. Idk. The writers don’t have much to work with at this point. I reckon they’re just trying to get this failure of a drama over and done with.


  38. 38 mika-chan

    my friend loves this show and i cannot for the love of God understand why.

  39. 39 kikimbap

    I just watched ep 15. I gotta say I HATE IT.

    Too much heartbreak in one episode.

    Dramabeans, please do the recap already.


  40. 40 kikimbap

    And yes, the plot, the script– such a disaster. The writers are probably having a GREAT *sarcasm* time establishing the whole giddimit story. Like, hello. They only got a few days left for them to have a reasonable ending.

    I still hate ep 15. I was really all for Dr Quack. Argh.

    • 40.1 Quacker

      I think I’m gonna quit because they just killed the reason why I still watched this… D: TEAM QUACK </3

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