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Hospital Ship: Episodes 1-2

MBC’s new medical drama Hospital Ship starts off well with compelling characters, a novel premise, and more pretty faces and gorgeous cinematography than you can shake a stethoscope at. We get a solid introduction to the doctors and their personal challenges in this episode, which manages to be funny, heart-pounding, and heart-warming all at the same time. I’m not normally one for medical dramas, but if the show continues on like it began, I think we’re in for quite a wonderful journey as we watch these doctors learn from their patients how to not only be doctors, but caring human beings.

Note: This is just a first episode recap.


 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

A small ship tosses dangerously in a storm, as its crew frantically ties the cargo down in preparation for a rough night. Two sailors lift a hatch to the cargo hold, and one climbs inside while the other begins to hand down boxes.

A wave crashes over the ship, slamming the open hatch closed. The sailor’s arm is caught and his bones are crushed as the hatch locks down on his arm, and he wails in agony.

Up in the cockpit, CAPTAIN BANG decides that they have to turn back. One of his men tries to force him to continue on their current course, but his first mate yanks him back and yells that if they keep going, the ship will capsize.

The sailor screams that they can’t leave their fellow sailor with a mangled arm, but the first mate declares forcefully that that won’t happen. He says that they can take him to the hospital ship, and we see a woman in scrubs running belowdecks and into a bright light.

We open on that same woman as she jogs through a forest, eventually coming out of the trees and to an urban intersection. In the quiet morning, a sports car zooms up the road and clips a parked car, flipping several times before coming to a stop.

The woman startles for a moment, then runs over to check on the driver. The next thing we know, she’s atop the driver’s unconscious body on a gurney, performing chest compressions and barking orders to the medical personnel rushing him into the ER.

An intern arrives with a massive syringe, but when he hesitates, the woman grabs the syringe and plunges the needle into the patient’s heart. The patient is rushed to the operating room as the woman, Dr. SONG EUN-JAE (Ha Ji-won), showers and scrubs in for surgery.

In an auditorium, medically trained soldiers prepare to receive their assignments. They’re informed that they will draw a card from a box which will determine the order in which they can choose their assignment—with the exception of the hospital ship posting, which has its own card and cannot be turned down.

Two soldiers, KIM JAE-GUL (Lee Seo-won) and his buddy CHA JOON-YOUNG (Kim In-shik), twitch nervously that they’ll take anything but the hospital ship (Joon-young even slaps a talisman to his forehead to ward off the dreaded posting), but of course, they both draw the offending card.

They trail behind Captain Bang and his first mate with long faces, as the captain cheerfully reassures them that it’s not like the hospital ship is haunted. Cut to: the hospital ship floating on a dark foggy ocean, looking haunted as hell, as the nurses discuss the fact that it’s considered the worst posting because the doctors have to live on the ship.

A man drives his car into a parking garage and sighs in annoyance when a woman clips his fender with her vehicle. He gets out to confront the other driver, who informs him snappishly that she won’t apologize since she hit him on purpose.

This is KWAK HYUN (Kang Min-hyuk), and the other driver is his mother. She adds that she won’t apologize for being with “him” when Hyun saw them, either, and says defensively that the reason she’s like this isn’t her fault but his father’s.

He calmly offers to call a driver for his mother, studiously ignoring his mother’s exclamations for him to go back to Seoul immediately. She insists that he can find a good position as a doctor there, afraid that he’s endangered his career by leaving abruptly. But Hyun refuses to discuss any of this with her and tells her to go home.

Hyun finds the hospital ship at the docks and introduces himself to the nurses standing on the deck. They gape when he informs them that he wasn’t assigned to work here—he volunteered, which is almost unheard of.

One of the nurses, Nurse Pyo, explains how things operate as she gives Hyun a tour of the ship. She tells him that there are two teams—ship operations and the medical team. Hyun seems very comfortable on the ship, nimbly climbing the rigging and smiling a mile wide as he’s introduced to everyone.

Belowdecks, Nurse Pyo shows Hyun where the doctors see patients for internal medicine, dentistry, and Oriental medicine. There’s even a small pharmacy and an X-ray room, and Hyun seems to like the small cabin which will double as his office and exam room.

Back in Seoul, our competent surgeon, Eun-jae, operates on the car accident victim, and she chides an intern when he gets emotional over the patient dropping blood pressure. She continues operating dispassionately as the patient’s vitals crash, instructing intern Jae-hwan that if he lets himself feel fear then his hands will shake, and he could very well cause a death.

As Eun-jae and Jae-hwan continue operating, another doctor frantically informs the chief of surgery that Eun-jae’s patient is Jang Sung-ho, the heir to a vast business conglomerate (cameo by Jo Hyun-jae). Chief Kim is confident in Eun-jae’s abilities, but the mention of the patient’s connections has him worried.

Things are growing critical in the operating room, but Eun-jae keeps her cool until the surgery is over and the patient is closed up. Chief Kim visits the operating room as the surgery is concluding and asks Eun-jae to come speak with him.

Eun-jae briefs Chief Kim on the accident and resulting surgery, so when they’re suddenly confronted with a crowd of reporters, he’s able to rattle off the details as if he were there himself. Eun-jae sidles away, unnoticed, with a tiny smirk on her face.

She makes her way to the break room, where intern Jae-hwan joins her and asks if she’s bothered that she did all the work and Chief Kim is getting all the attention. She doesn’t seem to care, more bothered by the fact that Jae-hwan took so long finishing up the surgery.

She leaves, and another doctor tells Jae-hwan that Eun-jae actually orchestrated that whole situation with the reporters. He says that it’s her dream to be the youngest female chief of surgery, so she’s kissing up to Chief Kim in the hopes of being named his successor.

In the morning at a seaside boardinghouse, Hyun meets Jae-gul and Joon-young, who introduce themselves as a doctor of Korean medicine and a dentist, respectively. Jae-gul has a bit of a chip on his shoulder about Hyun’s father, a famous doctor who travels around the world with Doctors Without Borders.

Interestingly, Hyun tenses up at the mention of his famous dad. But when Jae-gul sneers that his father probably sent him to the hospital ship with orders not to embarrass him, Hyun smirks and says that in fact, it was his idea to come here and change up his thinking.

To prove his point, Hyun takes the guys to the deck where they lounge comfortably and he tells them, “If you can’t avoid it, enjoy it. Let’s think of the hospital ship like a tourist ferry.”

The nurses huff in indignation, though Nurse Pyo notes that the view is nice, hee. NURSE YOO (Mina) goes to give the doctors a piece of her mind, but Hyun informs her that they aren’t doctors until their shifts start in another half-hour. From the upper deck, Captain Bang grumbles to the first mate that he’d like to shove all three of them into the ocean.

Back at the hospital, Eun-jae is embarrassed when an elderly patient mentions that he knows her mother. She calls her mother, who lives on one of the islands off the coast, and her mom hilariously throws the phone like it might bite her when she sees Eun-jae’s name on the screen.

Mom’s sister (Kim Sun-young) calls Eun-jae the Grim Reaper and makes Mom answer. Eun-jae gives Mom an earful for sending her friends to her hospital again and snaps that this is the last time, or her mother will never see her again. Her mom asks how she’s eating and sleeping, but Eun-jae already hung up on her.

Eun-jae’s aunt fusses at Mom for talking up her daughter to the neighbors when she knows Eun-jae is busy. Mom admits that she does it because she’s lonely. Awww. She says that for the past six years, since her husband disappeared after committing bank fraud and she almost ended up on the streets, she’s had to count on Eun-jae to pay for all of her expenses.

She admits that she’s embarrassed to be living with her sister with no way to earn money, so even though she knows it bothers Eun-jae, she can’t help wanting to brag about Eun-jae and send patients to her. She confesses that when island folk come back from Seoul, they’re full of praise for having a daughter like Eun-jae, and it makes her feel like her life hasn’t been a waste. That is so sweet and sad.

When Eun-jae’s rich patient, Jang Sung-ho, wakes from surgery, Eun-jae is called to his room to meet his father. Chairman Jang is grateful to Eun-jae for saving his son’s life, but she gives all the credit to Chief Kim for being a great teacher. Chairman Jang says that he likes humble people, and from his bed, Sung-ho quips that he likes pretty people like Eun-jae even more.

As Chief Kim and Eun-jae leave the room, Chief Kim compliments Eun-jae on her ability to read people. Since Chairman Jang has promised to double his company’s donations to the hospital, Chief Kim asks if Eun-jae wants anything. She mentions a patient from her hometown, telling Chief Kim that he has liver cancer.

Chief Kim makes a call to have the man moved to a private room and his surgery scheduled as soon as possible. He even offers to take her other patients so she can perform the procedure herself. But he does make a pointed comment that although Eun-jae’s mother seems a selfless person, it would probably be best if she stopped sending patients, because Eun-jae has her position to consider. Ouch.


 
EPISODE 2 RECAP

That evening, Eun-jae’s mother complains to her sister of an upset stomach. But the island they live on doesn’t even have a pharmacy, much less a doctor. Aunt says that the hospital ship will be there tomorrow, and since it’s free, Mom decides to get checked out.

The next day, Mom ends up in Hyun’s exam room. Elsewhere on the ship, the first mate sighs wistfully over a magazine article profiling Eun-jae and her miraculous hands. Nurse Pyo asks if he wants to try hiring her, but he knows that a famous hotshot doctor like her would never work for them.

Hyun diagnoses Mom with indigestion and acid reflux. He mentions that her EKG was inconclusive and advises her to get her heart checked out, since heart attack symptoms in women can often present like indigestion.

Impressed by the handsome young doctor with the gentle bedside manner, Mom shows Hyun a picture of her daughter and mentions that she’s smart and single. Only half-joking (and probably used to this happening a lot), Hyun grins and asks her to set them up, then pretends to be scared when Mom warns that Eun-jae is fussy and that she snores.

He quips that he’ll overcome his fears in the name of love, ha. Hyun thinks they’re kidding around, but Mom grows emotional and says that love should be like that. She offers to think about setting them up for real before she leaves. Hyun realizes that she left the picture of Eun-jae behind, but by the time he gets to the deck, she’s already left.

Back home, Aunt thinks that Mom should go see Eun-jae and get a full checkup, and take the chance to visit with her daughter.

The next morning, Eun-jae is at the end of a seventeen-hour shift, worn out from having been called in the middle of the night to cover for Chief Kim. A code blue is called in chaebol Sung-ho’s room, but when she runs in, she finds him awake and perfectly fine.

Eun-jae isn’t impressed or amused as Sung-ho grins at her and says that he just wanted to see her and that he’s been calling the whole hospital looking for her. He tucks an envelope into her pocket, monetary thanks from his father for saving his life, but Eun-jae tersely hands it back. Sung-ho threatens to call another code if she leaves, but she just makes a call to have him transferred to the psych ward as she walks out, ha.

So she’s exhausted and in a terrible mood when her mother calls to say that she’s in Seoul. Mom’s in the hospital lobby, in fact, and tries to tell Eun-jae that she’s the patient this time. She follows her daughter through the halls, always just a step behind and unable to catch up. Eun-jae snaps at her mother to take whatever patient she brought right back home, wailing that she’s having a terrible day and just trying to survive before hanging up.

Feeling bad about intruding, Mom watches from a distance as Eun-jae slumps into a chair and eats some packaged bread that’s been squashed in her pocket. Eun-jae chokes on the dry bread and pounds her chest, and Mom sighs to see her daughter struggling.

Mom leaves the hospital and heads home, stopping to look back at the building. She smiles a bit, proud of her daughter, then turns to go.

At the end of the day, Eun-jae gets a call from her aunt, who’s screaming incoherently as she hovers over Mom’s unconscious form. Eun-jae issues orders to call the coast guard and gives instructions on how to start chest compressions, which her aunt does in between begging her sister to wake up.

Meanwhile, Eun-jae runs back to Sung-ho’s room and demands repayment for saving his life. But she doesn’t want money—instead she screams at him to call her a helicopter to take her to her mother. He’s bewildered at the request but complies, and she spends the flight alternately praying and staring out the window, willing the helicopter to fly faster.

Mom is rushed to the nearest hospital, but as hard as the doctors work to revive her, it’s too late. Just as the attending doctor is about to call time of death, Eun-jae arrives and begins chest compressions again, yelling at them to prepare more equipment. They try to stop her at first, but after hearing that the patient is her mother, the attending doctor nods to his team to let her try.

But Mom continues to flatline, even after several shocks with the defibrillation paddles. As Eun-jae labors over her mother’s unresponsive body, she says in voice-over, “I’d done this so many times, it came to me more naturally than breathing. That’s why, for a short while, I forgot that I was treating my own mother. I’d forgotten.”

Eventually the reality of the situation hits Eun-jae and she drops the paddles. She robotically calls the time of death, but the attending doctor gently steps in and says that she doesn’t have to do that.

Eun-jae’s mind flashes back to the phone call earlier, and she realizes that the last time she spoke to her mother, the patient who needed her help had been Mom.

She stumbles out of the hospital in a daze, thinking, “If I’d listened to what she had to say, then maybe I could have done more for her. But all I did for her as a doctor was to pronounce her dead.” She sinks to her knees on the pavement, devastated but feeling as though she has no right to cry.

On the hospital ship, Joon-young suffers from terrible motion sickness as Hyun and Jae-gul laugh at his distress. They get to work, and get their first taste of working with these island patients. Jae-gul performs acupuncture on a grandmother who yelps at every needle prick, and Nurse Pyo advises him to warn his patients before sticking them. (“Does saying that make it hurt less?” he wonders.)

Joon-young prepares to extract a tooth on another patient, but Nurse Pyo stops him before he can, noting that his patient is on blood thinners. She reminds him to check the patient’s chart thoroughly before he hurts someone.

A man runs up to the hospital ship with his crying grandson in his arms, bellowing for a doctor. He tells Hyun that his grandson has been having terrible belly pain since yesterday, and Hyun’s exam indicates that the little boy has appendicitis. The first mate tries to call for transport to a hospital, but the strong wind prevents the call from going through.

Hyun says that the boy needs immediate surgery and that they can’t afford to wait. The grandfather begins to panic that his grandson will die and begs Hyun to do the surgery now, but there isn’t a surgeon on the ship. The grandfather wails that with so many doctors around, not one can help his grandson, just as a voice rings out: “Yes, the operation is possible.”

The crowd parts to reveal Eun-jae standing in the doorway. She approaches the patient, but Hyun grabs her arm before she touches the boy and demands to know who she is. Eun-jae looks him in the eye and says calmly, “I was assigned to this post. I’ll be working here from now on. I’m surgeon Song Eun-jae.”

COMMENTS

Oh, I like it, I like it very much. Even though our two leads didn’t meet until the last few seconds of the episode, I thought the chemistry between them in that eye-to-eye challenge was crackling, and I can’t wait to see them butt heads over their wildly differing medical philosophies. I was a bit worried about the difference in age between the two actors (thirteen years exactly, they even share the same birthday!), but visually they look great together. Ha Ji-won never ages, I swear, and Kang Min-hyuk has grown up a lot, and I didn’t feel the age difference at all once I got to know the characters.

Yes, Hyun seems a bit immature for his age as he rebels against his father’s long shadow, and Eun-jae falls too far in the other direction with her blindness to anything but her career. But I didn’t feel as though they were too far apart that a little temperance for them both couldn’t bring them together to a level playing field, both professionally and romantically (if the show goes there). I like the potential clash of personalities like Hyun and Eun-jae’s, and I can’t wait to see them learn how to be better doctors from each other. Eun-jae could stand to loosen up and enjoy life a bit, and Hyun needs to learn that regardless of how he got there, he is a doctor, and he has a responsibility to his patients to do his very best for them.

I was under the impression from the promo releases that Eun-jae was banished to the hospital ship as a punishment for some sort of professional calamity. But if she’s gone there as penance, to make up for the devastating personal loss of her mother, I like that setup much better. I find Eun-jae an interestingly complex character, extremely driven in her career to the point that she’s cut herself off from her emotions and the people who love her. I almost don’t blame her for the callous way she reacted to her mother sending patients to her unannounced, knowing how cutthroat hospital hierarchies can be and how having country bumpkins showing up several times a month could affect Eun-jae’s career. But I do think she was unnecessarily harsh with her mother, who seemed a sweet, if naive, soul, and I think that Eun-jae knows it too.

Hyun also appears to be running from something, but his situation seems to be the complete opposite of Eun-jae’s. He’s obviously grown up under the shadow of a near-legendary father, was possibly even pushed unwilling into medicine, and he’s taking advantage of this job position to get away from the expectations of greatness that come part and parcel with his privilege. No doubt he sees the hospital ship as a vacation from crushing responsibility and expectations. He appears to be a caring and conscientious doctor, but I’m sure he thinks that serving on the hospital ship will be more like a cruise than work. I think he’s going to get a very rude awakening.

This first episode gave us a really nice introduction to the world of Hospital Ship, and its quirky characters with their interesting backgrounds and differing reasons for being there. At the beginning, there was a bit of tonal discord between the humorous moments, particularly involving the ship’s captain and first mate, and the later gravitas of Eun-jae’s loss, but it felt like the episode had balanced itself out well by the end. I find the characters interesting and amusing, and the concept of a ship that travels around offering medical care to island inhabitants novel and intriguing. But I was mostly impressed with the gorgeous cinematography (I love how the Seoul hospital scenes are almost in greyscale, with dark, depressing lighting, while the ship/island scenes explode with light and color), and the musical score that gives the whole thing a solid emotional base without being distracting.

I love a good strong beginning like this, because it gives me hope that the drama will continue to offer a quality experience, both visually and story-wise. With such a strong cast, a fresh and interesting twist on the standard medical drama, and beautiful camera work, I’m confident that Hospital Ship will have a lot to offer in terms of meaningful character development, not to mention no few tears and touching stories as our fledgling doctors learn that their patients are not just cases, but real people.

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I knew that @lollypip would pick up this show to recap now that BoTWG's over. You've been awesome with the recaps, lollypip! I'm so glad that the recap for this show is here as I was still deciding whether or not to watch this drama. So thanks to the recap, I'm planning to watch this drama soon, but I think I'd just watch this drama casually.

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Only a first episode recap.

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I overall liked the start and am hopeful for little, if any, boring hospital politics. I know the writer needed a compelling reason for the doc to give up her successful career and go to the ship, but I didn't love the scenario with the mom. It just seemed a little OTT (yes, I know, it's a drama), but I'm happy that at least the pacing is on target.

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Unpopular opinion, but this show has a weird directing (and I guess, writing). Like the moment when Eun-Jae's mother and her friend were having a casual chat, than out of blue she starts talking about her sad backstory. Or the moment where she decides to go back because her daughter was against treating STRANGERS. A bit of a sudden decision, when mother has even prepared a food for her.
Cinematography it is also in the wrong place and wrong time, I feel that director tried to squeeze it in all places possible.

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But it was her sister, and that sister has been helping to support her. It's not all that odd to get suddenly personal and emotional with someone who is that tightly connected to you.

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Her mom not giving her the food was more than a bit silly, but it worked for plot advancement purposes. The mom recommending people to her daughter isn't too weird either. She actually explained it in her conversation with her sister. It's also not atypical of Korean parents as presented in drama land.

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The thing is, I know it worked for plot advancement because that's how it -obviously- looks. Writer wrote down the points-here we hear about mom's sad life story, here Eun-Jae loses her chance to save her mother. And then tried to fill them with dialogues. It doesn't look natural but it is for plot advancement.
Stories are plot driven or character driven and writer is good when we are having a hard time to tell which one of them we are watching.

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When Mom kept tsk-tsk-ing as she stood by and watched Eun-jae eat (and choke) on her bread, I was like, "Omg! Why don't you just go over to her??? Give her the foooooooood!!! Get a checkup!!!" Arrrrrgghhhh!

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me too... mom was also "not wise" enough. She was already there!
I knew she would die... i am upset with her for fulfilling this prediction. :(

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I do agree it all seemed very foreshadowey and not completely natural, but here's my take.
If Eun jae wasn't even buying a little milk or even getting a glass of water for crying out loud - it's probably because she doesn't have the time. Time and mental space to devote to anything else besides functioning like a smoothly oiled machine. Perhaps if mom had given her the food after all Eun jae might have slowed down enough to eat a proper meal... Or it would have taken a couple of hours out of an already busy and troublesome day, for her to have to eat her words, feel awkward, apologize to mom, assure mom that she was in fact doing fine, then worry about mom's health, and then run off after another case and somehow still find time to have a sit-down meal with a gazillion side-dishes.
Mom might have been satisfied to see her daughter struggling but doing well nevertheless, and decided to leave today because surely there would be another time they could meet instead.
Usually in k-dramas you see moms rushing in to save their babies and smother them with love and delicious food. In real life sometimes moms understand that the smothering is too heavy, and try to spare their children that - sacrificing their own need to be close to their children and do all they can.

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I've seen people not connecting with the show because of the plausibility of various practical medical and ship matters, but I think this is a show that is going to be very much about characters. If you can set your probability monitor to hazy, I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

Also, Ha Ji Won is amazing at playing reserved but not cold characters. And it's great seeing an actress playing an accomplished surgeon who's old enough to be one!

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If you can set your probability monitor to hazy, I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

?. Yeah, you really can't be too critical of this drama. It seems to be one of those just go along with the flow and enjoy the ride kinda dramas. I'm sure I'm going to have to eat crow later on, but hey.

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You definitely need a lot of logic suspension for this, and the directing is not the best. But my major problem is the cast of characters - since when would a hospital ship with only 4 doctors include a dentist and an oriental medicine doctor? And pretty brainless nurses in cute pink uniforms?

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The doctors make sense to me. If there are no health facilities/doctors on the islands, then it makes a lot of sense to have them on the ship. Poor oral health can lead to other medical issues and oriental medicine is popular in Korea.

As concerns the nurses, you shouldn't let one bad apple spoil the barrel. If anything, Nurse Pyo potentially saved the dentist's patient. I can't vouch for the accuracy of medical practice in the drama though.

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I agree with your last statement. It may be hard to balance accuracy of medical practice with a character development-centered drama. So far, the few Kdramas done in a background of Surgery that did not make me cringe are Golden Time, Obstetrics & Gynecology Doctors, and Surgeon Bong Dal Hee. Those are very old ones in dramaland but they handled the surgical aspect really well with slightly more realistic presentation of procedures. As far as I can remember.
For example, I was hoping to see the intubation part but they cut it. Also, when she did that abdominal aneurysm case. Maybe it's just me. Well, I'd still watch this for Ha Ji Won and her character's journey and growth. And the Hospital Ship setup is definitely a unique one in a sea of medical dramas in Kdramaland these days.

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happy to see @lollypip recap this..i always love her oppinion the best.im agree i like it, i like it, i like it.mybe because i didnt excepted this drama to be this good.and agree cinemathography was the best part of first 2 eps.. i really liked mom story idea,big shock to give her cause to join hospitalship..pulse i like the idea of mom as join bridge between hyun and eunjae...much better than childhood memories that we can see in most of kdrama.im already hooked

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erm, it's just a 1st episode recap

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Anyone know why they only recapped one episode of this? @lollypip ??

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@lollypop has put forward a very positive assessment of the show, but while I somewhat enjoyed the first two episodes, I'm worried I might not be sticking to it. This show calls for a suspension of disbelief on a level akin to fantasy dramas, without being a fantasy drama. :/

On the other hand, I was not expecting the three guys to be in military service, but thought the show would try to pass Ha Ji Won and the guys as being around the same age. So that's a plus.

I have my fingers crossed for a noona romance. Does seem to be going there with the mother wanting to send up Kwak Hyun and Song Eun Jae. ?

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LollyPip, sorry.
My phone insists on typing lollypop behind my back.

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As you brought up the noona romace thing. It always cracks me up whenever there is a huge age gap between the actors--at least by noon drama standards--playing the same ish age, but when the same thing or less occurs in a noona romance, the characters are quick to say that the age difference is much too great for things to work out--at first.

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Hahahaha true. ^^

I guess that can be explained by the nature of the relationship between the actors and the relationship between the fictional people they portray. The actors are just two people working together - their ages are unimportant so as long as they are suited to the role.

But the fictional people are two people with a large age gap, in love. That is bound to be a raise eyebrows from society, as well as be a cause for friction from within the relationship.

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"I was a bit worried about the difference in age between the two actors (thirteen years exactly, they even share the same birthday!), but visually they look great together. Ha Ji-won never ages, I swear, and Kang Min-hyuk has grown up a lot, and I didn’t feel the age difference at all once I got to know the characters."
While I was skeptical about this pairing and Kang Min-hyuk playing this character, I'm eternally grateful that the writer didn't write his character as a cold broody genius. That would have been a ridiculous stretch because Kang Min-hyuk definitely does not give the cold broody vibe. I largely preferred the second episode (3&4) to the first one. I didn't really feel sparks between them, but I'm willing to give it time. Kang Min-hyuk just isn't what I personally consider manly so it's going to take some immense suspension of disbelief on my part to fully accept him as a worthy love interest for Ha Ji-won and her character.

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Agreed. As I'm not a follower of k-pop, I've never come across Kang Min Hyuk before, and was surprised to learn that he's a drummer! While this is of course, a massive generalisation, I'd normally expect drummers - even women drummers - to be a little more 'masculine'/'tomboy-ish'. Because drummers sweat heavily, and need so much energy, it's not as 'pretty' a position as say, playing a guitar.

Dunno if that makes sense. But anyway, yeah.

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I've never seen Kang Min-hyuk, not a fan of CNBlue, but I imagine he has a different vibe when he plays the drums. It's just personally, I find him more sweet than swoony. He's handsome but more the kind that makes me go aww than the kind that makes me go damn, y'know what I mean?

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He's adorbs, I know exactly what you mean.

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Actually, I do find his sweetness swoony in the first four (two?) episodes. ^^

This is a preference but since I started watching K-dramas, my taste in men - always veering towards sweet guys anyway - has not steered further to the less 'masculine', more 'adorable' (but reliable) category.

However, I am not sure about a pairing between his and Ha Ji Won's characters either. He's just too young and naive when compared to her experience of the world.

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I recommend you to watch him when he is drumming. Oh gurlssss
https://youtu.be/qEVb2dYT3kQ

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Now, Damn! I might be partial to drummers, though. I like him better after seeing this.

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That is a great description of men in Kdrama world, aww vs. damn. The ones that truly succeed can master both sides. One moment they make us go "aww", and the next "Damn! Where did that come from?"

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Have a look at him as the dorky drummer in Heartstrings. Adorable. I'm liking his transformation into an easy-going doctor here.

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Yay! @lollypip is doing the recaps for this! Thanks for the recap.

Ok, so when this episode started and we see the hatch slam shut the first time, I thought to myself that these guys were absolutely nuts to be playing chicken with the waves and the hatch in loading the supplies below ship. Sure, it's their job and it needed to be done but dang was that dangerous. Having said that, I think it showed that the show is willing to use less that subtle indicators and instances to advance the plot and make it a medical drama. Eun-jae had to get from the hospital to the ship somehow right, and what better way to do it that kill her mom off and have her feel immense guilt.

Anyways, I get the feeling that this show is presenting itself as a melodrama first and a medical drama second. Some of the scenes come off so over the top that it just makes me laugh. Other scenes were well done though. I absolutely love Hyun thus far. I think he loves his job, or at the very least respects his job. That's the vibe I got from his consultation with Eun-jae's mom. I also love most of the cast. Nurse Pyo and Jae-gul might end up being two of my favourites.

Melodrama aside, this first episode sold me. I appreciate that they are explaining things as we go and fleshing out characters gradually and hopefully surely. Wednesday can't come soon enough.

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That whole rough weather scene was just cringe worthy to anyone that has ever spent any actual storm time on a working or navy ship. I will keep watching it for a while, but my initial impressions are not great.

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Those "anyone" are limited I think

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Thanks for the recap !

I enjoyed this 1&2 episode (I've already voiced my opinion for 3-4 episode on fan wall). I like the tonal contrast between the hospital and the hospital ship and the island. It makes you want to spend time on the island with patients rather than in the sad and sterilized hospital.

Ha Ji Won's character got me the most invested. I want to see how she's going to change the life and job of the hospital ship medical team and patients. The opposite too. How they will affect her and help her open up. Actually, I don't want to have hospital politics because the humane aspect offers so much more potential.

The ship lacks medical material. I suppose it's not made for surgical operations therefore the lack of anesthesia for example. So is it just for general practitioners ? And when their patients need surgery or further treatment they need to go to a "real" hospital ?

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I find the idea of Conducting surgery on a small ship ridiculous. Even if stationary, the ship is going to sway/rock left and right with the waves. How on earth are surgeons to keep their hands and feet steady while performing delicate operations inside someone's body?

It makes sense that the ship would contain GPs providing medical advice and referrals when necessary, to people on remote Islands (economically - this makes sense, the population of each island is probably too small to support of a hospital).

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I would think they would be docked somewhere, so not bobbing in the ocean in the middle of nowhere during sủgery. At least I hope?

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Should be since they should be picking up patients from shore

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Don't think so. I live by the coast, and have been on enough ferries and boats to believe otherwise. Docked or not, the boats are bobbing.

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Actually an open appendicetomy is probabky possible, but brain surgery or heart surgery? Nope. So it depends. But after reading the recap I'm not super confident about the medical accuracy... and I'm not sure if I'm compelled enough to check it out ?

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Haha maybe, I'm not a doctor. But I definitely wouldn't want to find myself under the operating table under the conditions presented in this show. ^^

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Hi michykdrama. in reply to your question from the previous thread, yeah I've seen Hospital Ship :D. And yes, I like it quite a bit, actually. I roll my eyes at the medicine (in fact, I think I spent all of episode 3-4 rolling my eyes), but I'm really in it for the characters - esp Ha Ji Won's character. It is shaping up to be a great ride on the character-driven front, so I am excited to see where it goes and I hope it doesn't let me down.

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Had the same thought! Then decided ill give it a shot for a few more episodes considering it a fantasy drama ;)

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Actually hospital ships do conduct surgery -- yes it's not the most ideal conditions but if the ship is large enough and the weather calm enough, the ships are very stable. Do look at the amazing work folk are doing on the Africa Mercy https://www.mercyships.org/who-we-are/our-ships/the-africa-mercy/

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Oh! This is so surprising and interesting! I wish they had given some such info at the start of the series.. otherwise it just sounds unbelievable

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and of course.. hats off to the amazing work done by these people!

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Thanks to @lollypip for this recaps.it was so much better than what i expected.i liked the mom idea so far..her death as a one reason for eunjae to attend hospitalship and her meet with kwak hyun befor her death.the best part for me is that they didnt try to hide age gap...hyun seems new doctor when eunjae is super proffesional surgen..now we can see why they choosed young actor for this role,not someone bigger than 30 years old.as a nuna romance lover i have finger cross for romance cause we can see the sign of it specially in 3-4 eps and i think their relationship sold so far.(at least for me)

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Solid first week. Thank you for the recap.

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Paging Dr. Kim. Code Blue.

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This show seems to have been written to go down a list of plot points and put check marks in the boxes -- with a few too many boxes for "big dramatic moment". The one at the end seemed overdone even by kdrama standards. Perhaps they thought Ha Ji-won's fame and screen presence would be enough to pull it off. Didn't work for me.

BTW, now we have two shows with a female hotshot surgeon and a male traditional Eastern medicine / accupuncture doctor.

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I agree, I think with an idea like this, they could've done so much more. I don't think I will stick with this drama (too contrived for me).

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Yes. I can't say I was really expecting otherwise, but checked it out in the hope that I might be proven wrong. I guess I'll watch a little longer but it's already so overly dramatic and contrived and with major suspension of disbelief required that I'm not very likely to last long.

Maybe if the premise felt fresh – while there may not have been a kdrama like this, there have been several jdramas and films either set on boats or (more often) remote islands that done the "there's one doctor, one nurse, and we're basically out of equipment" narrative. This is a very shiny version of that (8 medical staff, some – from rich families – lounging on the hospital yacht) so it's quite hard to buy into. Actually, what I pity about that is that the premise – remote location, very basic medical care options – is actually a very real and interesting scenario that I would love explored in a slice-of-life kind of way (no unresolved traumatic background stories for any of the doctors or hospital/family politics).

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I noticed the acupuncturist/ surgeon link too. And I'm going to have SLS all over again. *see comment below*

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I am still trying to figure out why a hospital ship with such a small medical crew would have a "traditional medicine" guy as part of the team. And let's not even go to the "pretty in pink" nurses...

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Comparing the outside of the ship with the length of the hallway inside, the ship seems a bit Tardis-y to me --
"Bigger on the inside". But unlike the Tardis, here we don't have "Best ship in the universe".

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I was thinking the same thing.. but then decided not to probe too much into the practicalities and just enjoy the ride! Lol
Like one of the commentators above mentioned.. how in the world can you do surgery on a rocking ship?!

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As soon as I saw the scene of her mother talking to her aunt, I knew that her mother was going to die and that would somehow be the catalyst to her leaving her job in the City Hospital to work on a ship.

As sad as the event was, I'm glad that events proved me right. Her mother was too radiant, too proud of her daughter to remain in the drama for long. I don't even know if what I'm writing makes sense? In other words her arc was complete.

I read comments on other forums criticizing the hospital ship of being ill equipped, dirty and staffed by semi competent nurses and doctors, that it was unrealistic. But I feel that is part of the charm of this drama - I think it's going to be a story of how an ill-equipped barely functional medical facility becomes a top notch medical Ship with well trained professionals. It's fascinating to me and I can't wait to see what happens.

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What you said about mom made a lot of sense - in the kdramaverse. Fortunately the rules are different ILR.

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I agree. During the first episode, I was thinking, oh! It's McGiver as a ship doctor :D

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Ah, where to start? Disclaimer: I did a residency in pediatrics and have a subspecialty in allergy/immunology and treat both adults and children.

First, the bad: I like medical dramas that do have some medical accuracy. I don't really stick around if I'm yelling at the screen every 2 minutes because someone's stethoscope is the wrong direction or if you're trying to defibrillate a systole (flateline, at least she did give Epi first)--which is a pet-peeve of mine. I also found myself yelling at the screen for mom to leave the food--which surprised me in a medical drama. ? There are two truths that really don't have anything to do with medicine in a physician's, and even more a surgeon's, life: 1) there is no time to eat and 2) there is no time to sleep. Physicians are notoriously eating on the run, don't take breaks or lunch very often, and when they do, they are eating crap! I know, I've done it--which is why I appreciate food so very much now. Which is why it bothered me so much that her mom made the effort to make her something, come all the way to the hospital, and then didn't even leave it in the break room! I remember working over Christmas one year in the ER. It was one of the saddest nights of my life until one of the other resident's mother brought in a whole Christmas spread and set it up in the lounge! I've never cried because of food in my life, until that night. It was beautiful. So, speaking from experience, that one little gesture from her mother would have probably opened the door to communication about her heart issue and she may not have died. But I get why her mother had to die. I just think it would have been better if she died during a catheter procedure from a complication, after she gave her the food, of course. She could have had an anaphylactoid reaction from the dye or something. Still, it would have been too late for the daughter to reconcile with her mother and medically, it would have been more interesting too. It's usually a bad sign when I start rewriting dramas in my head.

The good: I loved the sunsets and island scenery. I like our ragtag misfit doctors with their experienced nurses who will get them out of making grave mistakes. Nurses make doctors, and they usually have more experience than most new physicians--as all of these guys are. I have a great respect for nurses. I hope we come to love our Hospital Ship team because they are definitely rubbing each other the wrong way now which will make it all the better when they start respecting each other. And I can't complain about the chemistry between Ms. Surgeon and Mr. Internal Medicine because I felt it too. I think it was built already by the sweet encounter he had with her mother. He was adorable there! I think I even said AWE! out loud a couple times.

And it's tragic she was the one to declare her mother's death, but that happens irl sometimes too. (I could really write a book.) I felt the weight of that...

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...moment because it's my worst fear as well--watching a family member die, thinking that I may have saved them if I had acted sooner.

So, I'll continue sailing on this ship to watch my competent female surgeon kick these newbies into gear, with the help of some snarky nurses who I think I'll love by the end of this. And the view from the top deck isn't bad either, and I'm not taking about the islands ?.

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I knew it- They would defib an asystolic patient while getting their actors to practice how to operate. ? Like you, it's one of my pet peeves. I'm not sure if I'm gonna watch this one... despite all the prettiness. Other than Ha Ji Won, how is the acting?

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I love all these boys so far! But I'm really just here because I had SLS in TLAHL, and wanted to see Chan Young again, lol! There, I said it. I can wax poetic, but I'm really just here for him ???.

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I kind of can see why she did it though! She was desperate and I think the other actors may have raised their eyebrows when she did it? Her mom was already dead, so no amount of Epi or joules would have saved her. They were about to call time of death before she even walked into the room.

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Couldn't upvote you so here is a total like for your comment.

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This made me ?.

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I come from the opposite side - my medical knowledge is right up there with the Minions, but I did spend considerable time at sea, much of that on a search and rescue ship not much bigger than the hospital ship (on the outside..). And I wonder if this ships crew is possibly the most incompetent crew since the invention of rafts.

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I've always wondered if they (PDs and writers) get any experts to help the production to be accurate at all, because it makes a HUGE difference. So, they've thrown a whole new wrench in the mix with it being at sea. Where, in a traditional medical drama, you'd just have people like me over analyzing everything; now, they have a whole new section of society analyzing all the nautical incongruences as well! ?

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Gee. Maybe they could have checked the weather forecast and done what they needed to with the cargo and the hatch in advance. Or run for some nice sheltered harbor?

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i saw a scene that ha ji won cut a man"s wrist with axes like its a horror movie...guess i saw it at a wrong time but it kills any intention i have to watch this drama.

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Oh, that's in ep 2 (technically ep 4). What an ending! I can't wait to see what happens next! Basically, Ha Ji-won being a crazy ax lady is the continuation of the opening in ep 1, after the guy got his arm CRUSHED by the hatch. She couldn't feel his pulse, so I think she thought it was necessary to completely amputate his hand before it got worst–he could get infected and possibly die. Eek! I feel so bad for him, though.

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I haven't seen this episode yet--but I doubt she would just cut it off. She might be cutting the fascia to relieve the pressure so he doesn't get compartment syndrome and end up with a useless hand. It's when the pressure from swelling is so great that it cuts off circulation to that area, and then it basically withers away and dies. But I haven't seen the episode yet, so we'll just have to see.

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Yep (just saw ep 4) that's what it looked like to me--although, I probably wouldn't have gone with an ax as my first choice cutting instrument! The show wants you to think she's chopping off the hand, but she's just relieving the pressure to it. My uncle had compartment syndrome in Vietnam, couldn't see a doctor, let alone a surgeon, and his whole arm is now just a withered shell. He can use his thumb and forefinger, but that's about it. He's been told to amputate it for years, but he won't. (I really should write a book. LOL.)

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They obviously went for drama a la "crazy murderous ax woman".

In a more realistic scenario she would have used a different instrument and taken a few seconds to instruct the people around her so they'd assist and also know what she's doing. I mean, they are doctors and while this may be a new, extreme situation for them, they'll have some concept of what she's doing from textbooks. But the way it's set up is she runs away, returns swinging an ax, rushes into the middle of people and slams it down onto the injured man's hand – endangering everyone around her and looking like she'll chop the whole hand right off (with no one to catch it since it's bound to go flying on that wildely rocking boat). It's like a scene from a horror movie!

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thanks for your explanation it helped so much. but it was so dramatic she could just said what she was doing

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Ouch! That ending is quite something. Her getting almost pushed over the edge of the ship shows how much they should improve. As a doctor, communicate before you cut someone's limb off!
My first reaction thoug, was 'she can't possibly have cut the whole wrist, maybe just a bone that was sticking out? Poor guy.

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I'm not even going to lie, I just about died laughing when she raised the axe. It seemed a little over the top to say the least.

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Definitely overdramatic, this drama.

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Thank you for the recap, @lollypip. Even though I've been slacking on reading and participating in the recap threads, I'm still bummed that this is only gonna be a first episode recap. Oh well, we can always talk about this show on other parts of this site, so it's all good. I was trying to add this drama to my "MY SHOWS" the other day, but couldn't, so I'm glad I get to do it now.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Kang Min-hyuk here. I noticed how mature both Min-hyuk and Lee Seo-won looked in the promo pics, but wasn't sure how'd they'd be in action. I'm very happy to report that they're pretty good–they look great and so far, their acting is all pretty much on par with each other. Let's just say, no one's made me cringe yet. Let's keep it that way.

I knew Mom would pass away, but it just sucks that her death could've been prevented. If only Eun-jae let her mom finished talking on the phone to find out that the patient she was sending to her was herself. If only her mom just told her daughter anyway, met up with her to give her food, and have her daughter give her a full medical checkup. Gah! When she turned away and started walking outta the hospital, I just knew. Eun-Jae's narration when her mom passed away got me so bad, and when she called out her own mom's time of death, and the other doctor was like, "You don't have to do that," I was a goner.

I love how quickly the boys befriended each other, after their seemingly hostile first encounter. While it's not necessary, I'm pretty sure Show's gonna hook up Eun-jae and Hyun, but after seeing them both in action together, I could definitely be on board that ship (my goodness, y'all. Negl, I'm probably gonna use that pun as much as I can when I'm talking about this show). I'm really liking how there's no signs of Jae-gul liking Eun-jae (I can't say the same for Joon-young, ha), and I'd like for it to stay that way. I don't do very well with love triangles. Or squares. Or any shapes. Let's just not, okay, Show?

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Oh yeah, we are totally gonna milk the 'ship' joke.

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It's crazy how far I went to NOT use that pun--I could't pass it up either, so just didn't mention any "ships" at all. Especially coming from The King Loves recap going on right now, where every other comment is about "shipping!"

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Oh no! Is that why there's no Hospital Ship icon at the bottom? DB isn't recapping Hospital Ship? :(
Too bad. BUT thank goodness for the OT, weekly ratings and what we're watching. ^^ I'm sure we'll be able to discuss it there though I'll miss the DB recapper's well considered views.

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I'll be adding my own take in the fan wall, don't you all worry?!

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I was kinda sorta hoping for more of a Doc Martin kinda vibe (or the off beat feel of Clinic on the Sea) but with the first few episodes it appears to lean more towards standard melodrama.

To be more realistic (ha!) it would be rather more useful to have an opthalmologist or perhaps even geriatric specialist on the ship rather than a surgical specialist to complement dental, internal and traditional medicine. (as noted, likely surgeries on a ship would likely be limited to bone-setting, sewing wounds etc and not organ removal). Realistically speaking (ha!) the more critical part of the surgery would be post operative care and any sort of surgery would require an anaesthesiologist and ICU facilities (plus lots of blood/plasma etc etc) But I guess checking eyes is not as dramatic as surgery. Major suspension of disbelief needed here.

Well this drama got through the scene setting fairly quickly but unfortunately appears to be indicating that counter-authority and politics (no doubt driven by the current angst in Korean society) will be the main dramatic arc. (sigh...)

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Loved episode 1&2. Definitely have a feeling they are gonna have good chemistry.

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I'm really enjoying what I've seen so far. The cinematography is gorgeous. I find Eun-jae so much more intriguing than her description on paper. She's not a tin man without a heart; she's just blunt and a perfectionist and mentally strong.

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I thought there was a promising chemistry there between Ha Ji Won and Jo Hyun Jae. Cried buckets when she tried to save her mother and announced time of death.

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I'm hopeful for this show since it's Ha Ji Won on the cast. Was also bothered with the age gap between the two leads, but once I watched their first scene together, it seems fine. Kang Min Hyuk just became a man after all this time with those shoulders and chest behind those shirt. Hihi. Hail to the comeback of the Empress!

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yes to the Empress. I dont get worried about age gap to becoz Min Hyuk is so manly here not a puppy anymore.

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Exactly!! Have you seen his shower scene? Hahahaha. Fan service! 😀😍👍

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Thanks for the recap @lollypip! The first 4 episodes look promising, I'm on board the ship for now!

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tbh sad that you wont be doing the other episodes because I am thoroughly enjoying this drama although you could say it is too early to be talking about it with high regards. But the two episodes that follow these ones cemented my new found love for this drama >////<

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yeah.. too bad dramabeans not recapping this drama

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I didn't really care for the first few eps. It all felt very medical drama cliche to me. There were so many things happening that happen in every medical drama ever.

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This first episode was so over dramatic (and it didn't get better by the next eps imho) The concept of the hospital ship and the potential to view life on the korean islands still fascinates me so I forced myself through but yes, this wasn't what i really wanted. i was hoping for more slice of life drama, something quieter, something more focused on the lives of the patients. I was also hoping that with a range of skills on board we would have less focus on surgery. but by the next episodes it seems this is def going to be the dramatic illness needs surgery immediately! ha ji won to save the day! show. :/

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True that, I'm hoping for something more relatable

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Apparently this is labelled as a blockbuster. Unfortunately, that means very little slice of life and plenty of dramatic shouts and painful inaccuracies. Could still be fun though!

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After seeing the recap, the first thing I did was check out whether a Hospital Ship icon is finally placed on the recapped list. When there was none, I knew that this would be a first-episode recap only.

But hey, who knows someone at DB might pick this up.

You know - noona romance, opportunity to gush over KMH, and the literal shipping.

Also, Jo Hyun-jae and Ha Ji-won might actually look good together in a drama.

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First thing first, anything medically wrong could make it goes all the wrong way for me, since it irk me too much. I always wonder, why can't Korean writer research first before write something medically wrong, since it will give the wrong perception for the audience

Set that aside, I love Ha Ji Won's performance like usual. She is belieavable as a surgeon. Also Kang Min Hyuk, love the internist manner.

I hate hate hate the over reaction of the others, like the gramps, the nurses. Or maybe because i put this one side by side with Japanese med drama? I dunno

Last thing to correct:
You don't shock flatline, you compress it until the end. You only shock in VF or or pulseless VT. For so long the only Korean med drama who done it right is Master Kim

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That was the most glaring inaccuracy I saw as well. Also, that they even let her work on her mom---I know someone whose daughter came to the ER when he was on, and she died, but no one allowed him to even set foot in her room when they were resuscitating her. And then it wasn't even her hospital where she had privileges...so, in that 2 minutes, already 3 things were innacurrate.

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< I always wonder, why can't Korean writer research first before write something medically wrong, since it will give the wrong perception for the audience

I'm starting to think they do research by watching other medical dramas... same inaccuracies portrayed over and over thus become "real".

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This 'not research it first" seems not only happened with medical dramas I'm afraid. Sadly, with some other kinds of drama too. As I think that those 'trivial' things take the least concern for those drama writers.

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I'm excited to watch it after a terrible dry spell. Cute cast and plenty of medical action on islands is plenty and all I need.
I believe Kang Minhyuk was in Beautiful Mind? He's all right here with enough inner drama to keep his arc going.

It's funny that the two other doctors(not sure abt the dentist) are from influential doctor families that they're running away from, while Eun Jae is super hardworking and motivated and the only thing holding her back is her poor background. And assholes of the shitty hospital politics (they're even on a ship!). Damn. Excuse my French, chingus.

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Thanks for the recap @lollypip! I also noticed the contrast between the gray hospital and the vibrant colours at sea - it perfectly reflects my mood and wish to get away from the city during the summer.

I wish someone would continue the recaps if possible, now that a couple of dramas are close to ending? Not that this drama is a 'blockbuster' for me, but its characters may provide interesting thought for discussion (and hopefully not shipping wars). For example: even the incompetent nurse in pink seems like she will learn something at sea. I wanted to smack her for dropping the anesthesia ampule in episode 3, but I guess accidents can happen, and I love that Eun-Jae already called her out for being clumsy. Seeing the cold doctor take on a mentoring role would be great.

Of course I'm also fascinated by the medical explanations given by knowledgeable beanies )and how we are all wondering if it is even possible to have major surgeries in such different conditions than a regular hospital). It may be over the top, but this is one drama that I won't axe from my watching list yet (see what I did there? *angel face*)

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I don't usually go for medical dramas, but this recap is making me reconsider! I might give it a shot after I'm done catching up with School 2017.

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Thanks for recapping @lollypip!! I'm so glad the recap is here, excited for this new medical drama

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Ok. I like it too....
question: will Lee Seo-won be the second lead again??
I also cried when the mother died, and I knew she would, since she even started to say she felt lonely.... I knew it!
In this sense, it was predictable, but i didn't mind.
I hope the best for this drama... Prepare the tissues, for I am sure we will cry with them!!!!

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Have a real good feeling about this drama and hope you recap it. I bet Ha Ji Won is gonna have amazing chemistry with Kang Min Hyuk. She doesnt even look old beside Kang Min Hyuk compared to Yoo Ah In- Kim Hee Ae which i liked.

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Watched 4 reps so far, enjoying the show. Quite a few countries have Hospital ships with full OR's & ICU's. Not to mention Mercy Ships. Like most stories, some suspension of disbelief is needed to enjoy it. Looking forward to the series.

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I am sticking to this thread in the high hopes that DB will recap this.

Wonder how Kwak Hyun will be able to see break through that seemingly impenetrable wall around Song Eun Jae.

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First time to watch an ongoing series! I'm such a fan of Ha Ji Won, so I couldn't not watch - and I'm loving how it's going, so far.

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I'm a huge fan of CNBLUE, but Kang Min-hyuk's acting skills always impress me. He has so much potential. . . In fact, I only discovered the band after watching Min-hyuk's performance in Heirs.

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@lollypip why you didn't continue writing the recap of hospital ship... please write soon

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How come there are only recaps for the 1st 2 episodes when DB is watching this show and now it is already the 12th episode. This show is getting better but with no recaps, so sad!

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pls continue the recapping

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