Hospital Playlist: Episode 3
Emergencies can happen at any time which is why doctors have busy schedules and no weekends. Despite the sleepless nights and crazy hours, these five friends work diligently because at the end of the day, their job is to save people. As the spotlight turns to Ik-joon and Joon-wan this hour, we learn a bit more about these two childhood friends and get a deeper glimpse into the responsibilities of those in the medical field.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Forced to make a choice, Jung-won stares at his desk with a grim expression: what character bandage to use? The patient today is a young boy who cries uncontrollably, and after some failed attempts to calm him, the mother slaps Jung-won in the shoulder, play-acting to show her child that she’ll protect him. Jung-won looks hurt as the mother calls him a “bad” guy, but for the patient’s sake, he plays along.
Joon-wan meets with a patient, and as usual, he’s direct with his prognosis and orders the patient to be admitted immediately. The patient asks if they could schedule the surgery to next week since his daughter is getting married in three days, but Joon-wan firmly denies his request. After their meeting, the patient’s daughter complains to the nurse about Joon-wan’s rude attitude, but the nurse replies, “Our apologies. We already know.”
On their rounds, Chi-hong recites a patient’s treatment while relying on a note, and Song-hwa asks if he’s certain about his analysis. Chi-hong expresses doubt, so she turns to Seok-min who quickly says that Chi-hong was wrong. However, Song-hwa was testing them since the recommendation was correct, and she orders both residents to study.
In the General Surgery Department, tensions are high as seven surgeons smile at their lone resident, each hoping that Gyu-wool helps them. Unaware of the situation, Jung-won waltzes into the office, and Ik-joon quickly shuts him up so that they can hear Gyu-wool’s decision—she chooses Ik-joon. The other surgeons groan and wonder why he was picked again.
Joon-wan visits the Perinatal Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for a delayed sternal closure while Jae-hak grabs the medical students who are with the Cardiothoracic Department this week. He asks the twins if they know who the best cardiothoracic doctor is, and they answer with fictional characters. (Hong-do: “I’ve been watching medical dramas since I was ten.”)
Jae-hak and the students arrive at the PICU where Joon-wan prepares for surgery. He orders Jae-hak to bring “them” in, and the chief resident mistakenly thinks he’s talking about the twins. Joon-wan bellows at the group for coming too close and possibly contaminating the site, so the nurse whispers to Jae-hak that he means the patient’s guardian.
After the surgery, the nurse informs Joon-wan that his second patient has a fever, so he delays the operation. He informs the baby’s guardians who are young parents—the mom was born in 2000—and they take the news without much fuss.
Their lack of reaction causes Jae-hak to speculate about the mom being too traumatized to process the situation, but the nurse thinks they’re just immature. Joon-wan disagrees with them both, saying that he liked their chic attitude.
As Jae-hak motions for the twins that it’s time to leave, Hong-do says his farewell, wishing for the baby to not be sick. His eyes suddenly widen as he looks down at his hand and notices the baby gently holding onto his finger.
Jung-won cleans up the lunch they ate in Song-hwa’s office and comments about the song (“Aloha” by Cool) playing over the radio. Everyone claims that they’re the best at singing this song, so Ik-joon asks the group if they want to go to karaoke.
Joon-wan joins them late, and just like everybody else, he says that he’s really good at singing this song. Jung-won jokes about him singing it in Hawaii, and everyone else wonders what happened. Deflecting their questions, Joon-wan changes the topic to Ik-joon and points out that Ik-joon has always been a social butterfly while maintaining the best grades in their high school.
Curious about why Gyu-wool chose Ik-joon twice, another nurse and doctor ask her if she likes him, and she replies that she does. Her response shocks them, and they quickly tell her that he’s a father. Clearly not on the same page, Gyu-wool stares back at them blankly and asks why that matters.
Back in Song-hwa’s office, she asks if they ever performed the song, and Joon-wan says that they never performed at all, though there was that one time they thought they were part of their college festival. Jung-won chimes in, reminding everyone that Ik-joon registered their group as a comedy act, and Ik-joon defends his action since their band lacked musical skills.
While the friends joke about the past, Ik-joon mentions karaoke again, but everyone else has plans for the weekend. Annoyed, Ik-joon tells them that he has stuff to do with Woo-joo, too, and stomps out of the room. Later that evening, Ik-joon stands in front of the karaoke place with his son in hand. Heh.
Woo-joo guesses that his dad brought him to a nightclub since Terminator Aunt called Ik-joon a “club rat,” but he corrects his son, describing the karaoke place as his first performance. He tells Woo-joo that he dedicated his youth to this place, and starts to get nostalgic until his son breaks the mood: “Dad, please buy me another hotdog.”
Rewind back to their college days. In a karaoke room, Song-hwa sings until Joon-wan not-so-accidentally cancels her song. Lying next to them is Seok-hyung who’s nervous about their upcoming performance, and Jung-won explains that he’s a homebody, sociophobe, loner, and coward (a “grand slam” of sorts).
As Jung-won inputs his next song, Joon-wan takes the remote away from him, and they bicker about who’s turn it is (some things never change). However, the next song is “Aloha,” and the friends wonder who put it in. Right on cue, Ik-joon bursts into the room and sings his song.
Ik-joon barely gets to finish the first verse when Song-hwa jumps in with the second microphone, and soon, the entire group is on their feet and singing along. Ik-joon orders them to sit so he can have his solo, but when the chorus arrives, everyone crowds around the screen.
Even shy Seok-hyung steals Song-hwa’s microphone for the narration portion, and swings to the beat with the rest of the group. Since he can’t beat them, Ik-joon joins them, and the five friends sing on the top of the lungs.
The weekend arrives, and Song-hwa listens to the radio (cameos by entertainers Lee Soo-geun and Eun Ji-won) as she drives to the campsite. Meanwhile, Jung-won gets ready for a half-marathon, but when the race starts, he runs in the opposite direction—there’s an emergency at the hospital.
After setting up her tent, Song-hwa sits down to admire the flowers, but barely rests for a minute before receiving a call from the hospital. Another plan ruined.
Last but not least is Joon-wan, enjoying a game of golf with the hospital director and Jong-soo. He belatedly learns that the two are cousins, and while the cousins bicker, Joon-wan runs off with the cart because of a medical emergency. Pfft.
Seok-hyung eats alone in the café and watches a variety show until a couple of residents join him. He instantly freezes up at their presence, and OB/GYN Resident Choo Min-ha asks if he was in a comedy group. He denies it at first, but Gyu-wool explains that she heard it from Ik-joon.
Pretending to have received a text about some MRI results, Seok-hyung excuses himself from the table, but Min-ha learns from the other doctor that their department didn’t have any test results back. She complains about Seok-hyung’s awkwardness, but the other resident, Myung Eun-won, likes him since he gets his job done.
The others catch Gyu-wool smiling at her phone, and tease her about having a boyfriend. Min-ha asks if she’s happy just looking at photos, and Gyu-wool says that she is.
Ik-joon arrives at the ER to check on a liver transplant patient, but the teenage girl smiles sheepishly since the pain has resided. She apologizes for making Ik-joon work on the weekend, but he tells her that doctors don’t get weekends.
After taking a picture of the patient’s scar, Ik-joon finds Joon-wan sleeping in his office and asks him to take a look. He’s concerned about the scar’s size since it reminds him of his young sister, Ik-soon, who has biliary atresia. Joon-wan is surprised that Ik-soon is still alive, mistaking her for the family dog Micky.
Using Jung-won’s computer, Ik-joon stumbles across a priest’s recommendation letter, and the two friends sigh. Right then, Ik-joon gets a call from his wife, Yook Hye-jung, and Joon-wan jokingly asks if he has a wife. Despite Joon-wan’s teasing, Ik-joon is exciting to hear that Hye-jung is coming home tomorrow to see him, but Joon-wan bursts his bubble: “It’s Children’s Day in two days.”
Entering the office, Jung-won hears about Hye-jung and shakes his head at the name. Though he introduced the couple, he calls her the greediest person he knows, which shocks Joon-wan who’s never heard him badmouth someone. Ik-joon stops them from talking about his wife, and puts the spotlight on Jung-won and his recommendation letter.
Jung-won admits his intentions to quit, but not until the end of this year. Ik-joon puts the conversation on hold since he needs to see Gyu-wool, but before he heads out, he snaps a photo of them together since Jung-won is leaving. Once he’s gone, Joon-wan wonders if he’s having an affair with his resident.
Romantic music plays in the background as Ik-joon sits besides Gyu-wool, but contrary to Joon-wan’s theory, he shows her (stalkerish) photos of Jung-won. She wants him to ask Jung-won what he thinks of her because she’s too embarrassed to confess, so he agrees, claiming to be moved by her courage.
As thanks, Gyu-wool offers him some food, and while he eats, Ik-joon wonders why she likes Jung-won. She says that she likes everything about him, and Ik-joon nearly chokes on the food. He attempts to break her fantasies about Jung-won, describing him as overly sensitive, stubborn, and poor; but his criticisms deal no damage as Gyu-wool reinterprets these characteristics as positive traits. Heh.
Ik-joon drops the most crucial dealbreaker, telling her that Jung-won isn’t interested in girls. Gyu-wool gasps, thinking that he’s gay, so Ik-joon clarifies his statement, “Not pride, priest.” Gyu-wool points out that he isn’t a priest yet, which means she still has a chance.
Jung-won interrupts their conversation to ask Ik-joon for a smoke, and Gyu-wool flees the scene. Her reaction only makes his misunderstandings worse, and Jung-won confronts Ik-joon. Observing Jung-won’s response to the alleged affair, Ik-joon stares at him intently and asks for his opinion of Gyu-wool.
Joon-wan’s patient from earlier is wheeled towards the operation room, and his soon-to-be married daughter tearfully holds his hand. They both apologize for not being there for each other, but Joon-wan ruins the mood when he arrives to explain the surgery. He gives them a quick rundown of what to expect, and can only promise the family that he’ll do his best.
While Joon-wan prepares for the surgery, Jae-hak asks him to speak more nicely towards the guardians, but Joon-wan tells him that feelings don’t help in the operating room. He firmly orders Jae-hak to never tell patients that a surgery will succeed, since they can’t guarantee anything.
After the surgery, Joon-wan visits the café where he runs into the two medical students and buys them drinks. They ask him why he chose CS, and unlike Song-hwa’s answer (she wanted to keep studying), Joon-wan claims to have chosen it because he was told to by a senior. Eyeing Joon-wan’s chocolate cake, Hong-do asks if he can eat it, but Joon-wan refuses to share.
Song-hwa performs an operation with Chi-hong as her assistant, and even during the surgery, she quizzes him about what they’re doing. He answers everything correctly this time, and Seok-min sighs in the relief.
Joon-wan checks up on his infant patient and tells the nurse to bring in the guardians. Unfortunately, the young parents are gone at the moment, so Joon-wan briefly meets with the grandmothers to inform them about the surgery tomorrow. The grandmothers ask him to speak with them since the parents are young, but Joon-wan says that he’ll speak with the mom since she’s the legal guardian.
As he heads out, Joon-wan borrows a suit from Jae-hak, but when he tries it on, he gawks at his reflection. Jung-won enters the office and is momentarily speechless at the sight of his friend in a silvery, ill-fitting suit. He suddenly craves beltfish (snerk), but Joon-wan has dinner plans.
Song-hwa lets Chi-hong finish up the operation, but from the sideline, she comments on everything he does. Chi-hong apologizes, and Song-hwa realizes that she’s bothering him and tries to keep quiet.
Ik-joon’s patient is being discharged today, so Ik-joon bids them farewell, even remembering the patient’s and his son’s names. Since tomorrow is Children’s Day, the patient shares their celebration plans, and Ik-joon reminds him not to overexert himself even though the operation was a minor one.
In the halls, Ik-joon comes across the neurosurgeon residents, and from the looks on their faces, he guesses that Song-hwa scolded them. Though Chi-hong was the one scolded, he seems fine whereas Seok-min looks haggard. Seok-min wonders how Chi-hong can be so happy about having another surgery with Song-hwa, but he says that she was just asking him questions.
After another tense meeting, Song-hwa and the other neurosurgery staff exit the room and notice the gardeners planting roses outside. Upon a closer examination, the group realizes that the plants are fake, so they ask if they can join Song-hwa on her camping trip this weekend. She tells them to come if they want since they’ll be real flowers there.
Ik-joon meets with Hye-jung in the hospital café and happily offers to buy her some cake. Unlike Ik-joon, she doesn’t smile and asks him to move somewhere quieter.
Later that evening, the family of the patient from earlier wait for visiting hours, and even the daughter ditched her honeymoon to see her father. As she shows her family pictures from her wedding, they notice Joon-wan in the background. She says that he was the first one to visit her, but she seems annoyed that he refused to take a photo. Can you blame him, though?
Song-hwa finds Joon-wan staying late, and he asks her to check on Ik-joon for him. He noticed that their friend seemed off, but Song-hwa brushes his worries aside since Ik-joon isn’t the type to feel down.
Sitting uncharacteristically glum at his desk, Ik-joon is lost in thought as he thinks back to his meeting with Hye-jung. She asked for a divorce, citing their current relationship as abnormal, but he argued that she was the one who wanted this arrangement. He told her that he has no problem taking care of Woo-joo while she concentrates on her career, but Hye-jung still found their relationship meaningless.
Song-hwa checks on Chi-hong and offers to buy him coffee. Sitting in the hall, she apologizes for asking him a lot of questions today, but explains her reasoning: she wants him to always stay alert. She doesn’t scold him because she dislikes him, and tells him to trust in her guidance.
Joon-wan drops by the PICU, but the nurse on duty orders him to go home and rest. As he turns to leave, he spots the young mother in the hall, and she bursts into tears at the sight of Joon-wan. He mentions how she was holding it in so well until now, but the mother admits that she was only acting tough to prove that she wasn’t too immature to care for her baby.
With tears in her eyes, the young mother looks up at Joon-wan and asks if the surgery will succeed. He smiles at her reassuringly and says, “Yes. We’ll do our best.”
He asks where she went earlier in the day, and the mother explains that she went home to set some things up since her mother-in-law is a shaman. She apologizes for believing in superstitions, but Joon-wan says that it’s okay as long as it puts her as ease. Having heard that, the mother places a talisman in his pocket, and he reluctantly accepts.
The medical students observe Joon-wan’s surgery, but before he begins, he tells them to do the motion for Wakanda—though he forbids them from saying “forever.” As the operation proceeds, the grandmothers pace outside the door while the young parents hug each other and cry silently.
The nurse finds Ik-joon in his office and shares some bad news: the patient they discharged yesterday is now braindead. The family has agreed to donate, and since he was Ik-joon’s patient, the committee wanted to inform him.
Ik-joon asks Dr. Bong in the ER about his patient and learns that all of the tests have been done. He steps out to receive a call from Woo-joo’s nanny who tells him that Woo-joo had an allergic reaction after Hye-jung unknowingly fed him peanuts. As Ik-joon finishes his call, he finds the patient’s wife sitting in a stupor while her son asks where his dad is.
Joon-wan finishes the surgery, but before they close the patient’s chest, he allows the medical students to come and touch the beating heart. The students are amazed by the tiny heart, and flashing back to 2003, Joon-wan had the same reaction when the hospital director let him touch the patient’s heart.
Just as Joon-wan decided to become a cardiothoracic surgeon in that moment, both Hong-do and Yoon-bok announce their decision to become one, too. While Joon-wan takes off his surgical gown, he whispers to the nurse to get their pledges in writing before they change their mind. Heh.
Outside the operating room, Joon-wan passes the patient’s grandmothers to speak with the young parents first. He tells them that the surgery was a success, and they cry in relief.
Ik-joon calls the restaurant Hye-jung took Woo-joo, and the person on the phone remembers the group. He comments on how nice the couple looked with their cute son, and Ik-joon drops his phone, barely registering anything the person says afterwards.
Still in a daze, Ik-joon gets updated about the donor patient from the transplant coordinator, and his lackluster reply makes the coordinator wonder if something happened to him. Though fellows usually operate on these cases, Ik-joon volunteered to oversee the procedure, and is called down when the committee meeting ends.
Once everything is prepared, Ik-joon addresses the doctors from the receiving hospital and asks if they can wait ten more minutes. One of the doctors says that it’s fine, but another asks why they can’t just do it now. Ik-joon replies, “It’s Children’s Day.”
The patient’s wife sits with her sleeping son—who’s holding a toy that was on Ik-joon’s desk—and Ik-joon tells the group that the little boy will never get to celebrate Children’s Day with his dad again. A somber silence falls over the room as they wait for the day to pass.
After the surgery, the coordinator updates the wife about her husband’s status, and bows her head. The wife cries, knowing that her husband is truly gone.
Ik-joon talks with his mom over the phone and tells her that “she” didn’t come over to see him. As he hangs up, he hears an ambulance siren in the distance. Elsewhere, Song-hwa packs up her camping gear, and prepares to go alone since everyone cancelled due to the rain.
Back at the hospital, Joon-wan rushes to the ER to examine a military officer who got into an accident. As Nurse Seonwoo opens the patient’s shirt, Joon-wan notices a scar on her abdomen, and he stares at the patient curiously. He checks the name on the uniform, and confirms that it’s Ik-joon’s younger sister.
Song-hwa enjoys the rainy ambiance alone when she receives a call, asking where she is. She tells the other person not to come, but her visitor is already here. She smiles at her guest, surprised that he’s here, and Chi-hong reveals his face.
He kept his promise about coming and takes a seat next to Song-hwa. Looking down at her new shoes, he comments on how she wore them again, and says that he was the one who gave them to her on her birthday. Song-hwa stares at him confused, and Chi-hong smiles back.
What a terrible week for Ik-joon. First, he finds out that his wife may be cheating on him, then he loses his patient, and now, his sister is in the emergency room. He seemed like the perpetual sunshine of the group, acting as the balance to Joon-wan’s grouchiness and Seok-hyung’s awkwardness, but even Ik-joon has his struggles and woes. Though I shouldn’t jump to conclusions, I can’t help but immediately dislike Hye-jung because I’ve already grown attached to these five friends and want to protect them at all cost. As for now, there’s no justifying Hye-jung’s behavior. Even if she didn’t cheat, her talk with Ik-joon about a divorce was one-sided and revealed her selfishness. He clearly still loves her and is trying to make their relationship work, but she shuts him out with no explanation. She only wants him to act as the “understanding” one and doesn’t consider his feelings. Their current arrangement (her living in Germany while Ik-joon stays behind with Woo-joo) is hurting their relationship, but it doesn’t seem to be the cause of their problems. There seems to have been issues before her reassignment, which makes it very unfair for Ik-joon when she blames their separation as a cause of their divorce. He wanted to stay with her, offering to put his career on hold, but when she wanted to go alone, he even accommodated to that wish and took care of Woo-joo. So far, it seems like Ik-joon is doing everything for the family while Hye-jung abandons them to fulfill her own desires, and a part of me thinks that Ik-joon is far too wonderful for such a greedy person. Though Ik-joon might want to save their marriage, he can’t do it alone, but I get the impression that Hye-jung has given up a long time ago.
Besides Hye-jung, Ik-soon was also introduced in this episode, which indirectly revealed more information about Ik-joon. It’s interesting how her introduction was through other characters with little hints being dropped throughout the episode. First there was Woo-joo, who talks about “Terminator Aunt,” and when Ik-joon tells Chi-hong that he knows someone in the military, he was obviously talking about his sister. Then there was the conversation between Ik-joon and Joon-wan where we learn about her condition, and it seems likely that Ik-joon chose his specialty because of her. The last scene of Ik-joon is when he talks to his mom about someone, and it’s most likely his younger sister who came by (or was coming to) the hospital, which is why she came to Yulje instead of a military hospital. While I doubt anything terrible will happen to Ik-soon, I really hope nothing does because that would be too much for Ik-joon to handle. He’s already having a hard time, and the death of his younger sister isn’t something I want on his consciousness.
Of the five friends, only Joon-wan picked up on Ik-joon’s uncharacteristic behavior. I like how the show depicts the slightly different relationships between them, and this time, we get a small glimpse at the fact that Joon-wan and Ik-joon are childhood friends. Though I wouldn’t say that the two of them are the closest to each other because of this, I do think being together since they were young has made them privier to each other in a way that the others are not. While Song-hwa assumed that Ik-joon wouldn’t be too down, Joon-wan instinctively knew that something was wrong—even if he wasn’t able to comfort his friend about it in the end. Alongside Ik-joon, the other major focus of the episode was on Joon-wan.
As shown before, Joon-wan acts gruff but is actually sweet (just like his sweet tooth). He holds the same principle as Jung-won (doctors can only promise to do their best), but scolds his resident for the opposite reason. Unlike Jung-won’s case with Gyu-wool, Joon-wan has to reprimand Jae-hak for being too caring and emotional with the guardians. While Jae-hak might have good intentions, Joon-wan points out that they can’t guarantee a successful surgery because anything can happen, so they shouldn’t make promises that they can’t keep. However, when Joon-wan was with the young mother, he broke his own rule to comfort her in that moment. He was also the only one who didn’t speak ill of the parents in the beginning and always respected them as the baby’s guardians even when everyone else treated them as too young. While Joon-wan can seem rude at times, his words are never malicious, just blunt. He shows time and time again that he cares about his patients much more than he lets on initially, and he doesn’t care if others misunderstand him as cold and unfeeling. As with the patient with the daughter, Joon-wan attended her wedding without much fanfare, and it’s these little actions that show what kind of person and doctor he is. As back in 2003 when Joon-wan first decided to join CS, he chose this career path not for fame or money but to save lives.
Unfortunately, not all lives can be saved, and this episode reminded the viewers again that death is an all too common occurrence in hospitals. In episode one, Ik-joon operated on a liver transplant patient, saving a life because of someone’s donation, and this episode, he’s on the other side of that situation, experiencing the death of the donor in order to save many more lives. It almost seems unfair that a patient who was discharged died the very next day, but maybe the show wants to tell its audience that tomorrow is never guaranteed. While some people die after being sick for years like the little girl in episode one, death finds others with no warning. Despite the hours of work and dedication doctors pour into their patients, they can’t fix everything, but even so, these five friends and the doctors around them will try their best to save as many people as they can even if that means sleepless nights and no weekends.
On a happier note, I love the little glimpses of the friends’ past, and the karaoke scene this episode was great. They’re all such goofballs, and it’s always a treat to see how their relationship has stayed pretty much the same since their college days. As for the five friends, it seems that the PD and writer are playing with the viewers’ expectations that a ship exists amongst the five friends by introducing other people who may be interested in some of them. I was surprised by how quickly Gyu-wool’s crush on Jung-won was revealed, and from Jung-won’s slightly overboard response that Ik-joon couldn’t have an affair with Gyu-wool, I don’t think all hope is lost for our shy resident. As for Song-hwa, I really like her relationship with Chi-hong in this episode. I would have never guessed that the present was from him, and though I’m not sure if he’s interested in her romantically, it would explain why he’s so nervous around her even when he isn’t the one being grilled. Regardless of the lovelines, I just want all five friends to be happy at the end of the day and joke around with each other because their friendship is precious.