Good Doctor: Episode 11
With so many lives to save each day, it’s also important to take out the time for self-care—to examine the risk factors of traumatic history, the symptoms of the emotional present, and the treatment guidelines to a happier future. These underlying issues can lie dormant for years, even decades, but the incredible thing about the body is that once the warning light comes on that something is wrong, it’s going to do its damned best to get your attention to make sure you do something about it.
As the show continues to pump more heart through its narrative veins, ratings also saw an increase as this episode hit 18.3%.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
After fainting in Yoon-seo’s arms, the young mother is wheeled into the emergency room. Doctor Min asks what happened, and one look towards the austere mother-in-law is enough of an answer.
Doctor Choi is understandably frustrated when Mom doesn’t give him a straight answer about her whereabouts for the past twenty years. He frowns to hear that Shi-on doesn’t recognize his mother, who considers this as karmic punishment.
The patient now stabilized, the doctors discuss their next course of action. They agree to wait a few days before pursuing surgery again, but the newfound health risks now limits their window to operate on the fetus to a mere fifteen minutes. Eek.
Shi-on stands vigil beside the young mother’s bedside as she wakes. He assures her that the baby is fine, and that she’s safe from her mother-in-law’s “Joker-like” men thanks to the “Batman-like” security guards outside. Hehe, I rather like his comic book references.
He thanks her for choosing to have the baby, and when she notes that’s something a husband should say, he immediately apologizes for overstepping his boundaries. But she’s thankful all the same, and he gives her a soft “Fighting!” encouraging cheer.
Shi-on keeps up the storybook references afterward, referring to the mother-in-law as the evil witch in Snow White. He says he thinks he finally knows why people curse now.
Ha, that glint in Yoon-seo’s eye cracks me up as she whispers at him to give it a go. So Shi-on takes a deep breath and spews a list of PG-rated schoolyard insults, much to Yoon-seo’s disappointment. I’ll laugh if your next endeavor is to teach him how to curse.
They’re interrupted by Opera Mom, who bears good news—their family has decided to adopt little Eun-ok. Yay! She worries if she’s ready for the task, and Shi-on says that she is and shoots her a thumbs up.
Do-han apologizes to Chae-kyung for his harsh words earlier, but still expresses his concerns about her plan to take over the hospital. She tells him that she’ll reconsider, but it’s apparent that she has no intention to do so anytime soon.
So when Do-han suggests that they take a break, Chae-kyung coolly accepts the idea without argument, even wishing him a happy birthday before he leaves.
His team, however, surprises Do-han with a cake and present when he returns to the staff room. Aww. They just laugh good-heartedly at Do-han’s gruff reminder to hit the books and not to do something this superficial again. D’aww, they luff you.
Shi-on pulls Yoon-seo aside to express his guilt for not chipping in for the birthday present. She tells him that he doesn’t have to, but Shi-on just shuffles away.
Shi-on drops by Do-han’s office later with his own present. He thanks his boss for not hating him, and now he finds Do-han a little less scary than when they met. Inside is a toy stethoscope, and Do-han breaks into a smile, reminded of his brother’s gift of a children’s anatomy textbook. Cute.
In-hye’s sister meets with Doctor Kim, who appears reluctant when she says she’ll soon have enough to pay for In-hye’s surgery.
He reminds her (for perhaps the umpteenth time) that she could end up like her sister if something should go wrong, but she’ll do anything it takes to save her sister. She asks that he keep these risks secret from the pediatric department and her sister.
Over at the nurses station, In-hye names Shi-on as the most handsome. Nurse Jo grows upset at this, and makes the offhand remark if that means beautiful people earn more. To that, Shi-on spouts information from various research studies that support that theory, which only fuels his already sour mood.
In-hye’s sister joins them and the air quickly turns awkward when she notices Jin-wook. Shi-on points out her bandaid, saying it looks like she took a blood test. Both Jin-wook and In-hye look up at that, but she dismisses it as exhaustion before ushering In-hye away.
Jin-wook catches up with In-hye’s sister (her name is In-young), concerned for her health. He apologizes for asking her out so suddenly last time, but he insists that he wasn’t just kidding around. In-young answers that she knows that, but apologizes that she’s not in a position to accept him right now.
Shi-on finds In-hye crying in a stairwell by herself. Through her tears, she confesses how guilty she feels over how hard her sister has to work to pay for her hospital bills. If they’d only caught the people behind her hit-and-run accident, they could have collected compensation money instead.
Now it’s Shi-on’s turn to comfort her as he apologizes that he didn’t know. He says that his hyung would have done the same thing for him if he was in In-hye’s situation, but In-hye cries over how hard her sister has it. Shi-on softly pats her on the shoulder comfortingly.
President Lee doesn’t seem too worried about the takeover rumors, saying a children’s hospital doesn’t generate enough profit. But Doctor Choi tells her that that’s exactly what the rumor mill has been churning out—to turn the place into a for-profit hospital.
He figures the one behind the move is biding one’s time waiting for change in the healthcare system to make a for-profit hospital legal. Obtaining everything from medical equipment to medicine suitable to children would be very costly, but parents would pay any price for their children.
Furthermore, this would mean big bucks for private insurance companies, who would see children as profit targets. So although this would mean exceptional healthcare for children, it would be the patients and their families who would suffer.
That evening, Yoon-seo understandably thinks that Do-han is off to celebrating his birthday with Chae-kyung, but she’s surprised when he asks her out to dinner instead.
In the car, she wonders if they got into an argument. Do-han denies it, and he turns it into a jab about her lack of dating experience instead. She grumbles at that, and says that she’ll find a great catch. Do-han answers: “What’s the use? They’ll all run away once you start drinking.” Ha.
Yoon-seo insists that she’s never an obnoxious drunk when it comes to a guy she likes. Do-han points out that she was with him the night he piggybacked her home and nearly confessed her feelings for him.
He smiles as he recalls it now, and she practically dies of embarrassment, wondering how he still remembers. But hey, doesn’t this also mean that you’re acknowledging to him that you remember it, too? She rolls down the window to vent her mortification.
Elsewhere, Shi-on notices Chae-kyung sitting by herself at the cafe. He takes the table next to her, and she greets him with a smile. She asks if he’s given more thought to their earlier discussion about the phrase “for Do-han’s sake.”
She sits up a little straighter to listen when Shi-on says that he has. He tells her that it means not to disobey Do-han’s orders, but also: “To hang out with him when he’s alone.”
Those words give Chae-kyung pause, and she listens as Shi-on says that Do-han always eats alone and shoot hoops by himself. He adds that Do-han barely smiles, that the required muscles to smile doesn’t ever seem to be in use.
Then he digs into his chocolate muffin, and Chae-kyung smiles at the sight. So maybe there are some emotions beneath that cool exterior.
Yoon-seo basically creams Do-han at the bowling alley, and she isn’t hesitant to rub it in to him. He gets all peevy about it (hee), and she reminds Do-han that he was the one who first brought her here.
He recalls it now, saying it was shortly after she confessed her feelings for him. Yoon-seo pouts again. He asks why she never told him how she felt after that, and Yoon-seo answers that he soon started dating Chae-kyung, so she gave up on him.
She argues that Chae-kyung is much more impressive than she is, calling herself a grubby doc always in her white coat. Do-han tells her that she’s plenty impressive, and then gives her a noogie before the compliment sinks in.
As Doctor Choi sits in his office, he thinks back to when he was trying to teach young Shi-on how to speak in the country clinic. Although Mom was also present for these lessons, she would be staring out the window instead.
Shi-on knocks on his door, having woken up after another dream in the mines. He tells Doctor Choi that he keeps having this dream, and how he used to only recall pieces of it. But now he remembers everything, and asks: “Why did you save me?”
He says that Hyung was smarter and stronger than he is, and that people would have been happier if Doctor Choi saved Hyung instead. Oh no, it’s survivor’s guilt. Doctor Choi says that it’s not true, but Shi-on pinpoints the reason why Doctor Choi chose to save him: He saw potential in Shi-on’s abilities to make him into a doctor.
Doctor Choi stutters nervously in response, but Shi-on barrels on: “I should have gone to heaven back then. Hyung was supposed to live.” Oh gosh, those words are heartbreaking.
Doctor Choi swallows hard and asks if Shi-on wants to know the real reason why he was saved. It was because Shi-on’s chances of survival was higher than Hyung’s, he explains. If it was the other way around, he would have chosen Hyung instead: “Because… I’m a doctor.” Uh, your answer sounds pretty hesitant there.
Shi-on drowns his sorrow in soju while Doctor Choi buries his face in his hands in his office.
When Do-han drops Yoon-seo off at home, he thanks her for always being by his side. That leaves her smiling, but she goes into noona mode when she sees Shi-on sitting on the doorstep, wondering if he’s been drinking again.
Once she’s filled in, she tells him that Doctor Choi made the right choice. Shi-on knows it too, but he still feels sorry towards Hyung because they went into the mines because of him. Yoon-seo says that as doctors, they’ll come across countless cases they can’t do anything about, just like the little girl she couldn’t save.
All Shi-on needs to do is to give back to the world and treat the children who need him. But that doesn’t change how sorry Shi-on feels: “It might have been better if I wasn’t born. Then [Doctor Choi] wouldn’t have had to go through such hardship, and Hyung might have not have had gone to heaven. It’s all my fault.”
Yoon-seo takes Shi-on’s face in her hands. Gently wiping his tears away, she wonders how anybody could think him a child when the guilt he feels is something most children and adults can’t do.
She rests his head on her shoulder in comfort, and then sits by his bedside as he sleeps.
Doctor Choi shares with Do-han his suspicions about the assistant chief’s involvement in the potential takeover. Now we learn that Doctor Choi was offered to resume his chief-of-staff duties if the hospital turns for profit, and Do-han in turn shares what the assistant chief asked of him.
Do-han informs Doctor Choi that he changed his mind once he learned of the man’s intentions to use Shi-on’s condition as a publicity move. They have no choice but to wait at present, and Doctor Choi mentions that Chae-kyung should know about this too. Do-han doesn’t answer.
Doctor Choi thanks Do-han again for taking Shi-on back in, and tells him that Shi-on is his student now.
Shi-on and Eun-ok share a tearful goodbye when it’s time for her to be discharged. She places a hand on his cheek, and says, “Doc…tor. I… love… you.” Shi-on: “I love you, too.” I’m not crying; there’s just a little bit of dust in my eye.
Yoon-seo grabs Shi-on into a playful headlock once they leave, which makes his heart race again. He quickly excuses himself, leaving Yoon-seo confused.
Shi-on tries to catch his breath in his usual corner. That’s where In-hye finds him, and she tells him to confess his feelings towards his mystery girl, complete with roses and dressed in a nice suit. Shi-on says he’s too afraid of being rejected, but she tells him to do it anyway, since he’ll feel better about it regardless.
In-hye claims that he could die from lovesickness, and he argues that lovesickness isn’t a real diagnosis. Keh. So In-hye tells him to give her the name or she won’t counsel him in love advice ever again.
Shi-on agrees to write it down. He turns his back to jot it down, and then hands it to her before running off. In-hye opens the note which reads: “I’m not telling you!” HEE.
Do-han confronts Assistant Chief Kang about his intentions, to which the latter notes that Do-han makes it sound like he committed a grave sin. The assistant chief finds it a pity that both Doctor Choi and Do-han would refuse an offer that would ultimately benefit their careers.
Do-han says that they don’t need it, but he does ask Assistant Chief Kang one last thing: Is Chae-kyung involved in this plan? The assistant chief raises an eyebrow at that, which is enough for Do-han to gather that the two aren’t working together.
Do-han calls Shi-on into his office, laying out a stack of all the pediatric research studies in the past three decades for him to know by heart. He adds that Shi-on will be tested on the material via applied questions, and there’s a penalty if he fails—denied entry to the operating room.
Shi-on says that he’s confident about the memorization portion, but not about Do-han’s quizzes. Do-han figures that he’s not up for it, but Shi-on takes them with him, saying he’ll do it.
The residents gasp and offer sympathy when they hear about the immeasurable task. That is, everyone except for grumpy Il-kyu. Shi-on says that he has that awful feeling when you run right after you eat, and Jin-wook tells him that he’ll do great.
As they exit the operating room, even Do-han acknowledges that it’s an impossible assignment for any doctor, including himself. Yoon-seo asks if that means he assigned it to Shi-on because he believes in him. Do-han just smiles.
Yoon-seo is called away just then, and damn, that mother-in-law wasn’t kidding when she threatened divorce. She arrives just before the young mother stamps the divorce papers. Her attempts to persuade the mother to reconsider fall flat, and the young mother seals the deal.
Thankfully, the patient’s heart condition has improved (for now), and Do-han suggests that they perform surgery as soon as possible since they can’t afford to wait when her heart is so unstable. Doctor Min agrees with that decision, and they schedule the surgery for the next day.
As Shi-on stays up studying by himself, he thinks of the tender moments he shared with Yoon-seo. Which is when Yoon-seo appears just over his shoulder, her face mere inches to his.
I kinda love how uncomfortable Shi-on gets at the close proximity, and Yoon-seo doesn’t help by putting an arm around his neck. She tells him to read up for tomorrow’s surgery too before she heads out.
Shi-on sits outside a little later, and pulls out a stethoscope to listen to his own heartbeat. He thinks back to In-hye’s words urging him to confess his feelings and lets out another little sigh.
He adorably practices the words at home as he irons his clothes, saying, “Doctor… I… I…” before giving up. Looking at his wall mural, he asks Hyung for help.
Next thing we know, Shi-on shows up at Yoon-seo’s door dressed in a suit. Yoon-seo wonders what he’s all dressed up for and invites him inside. She turns away just before Shi-on can pull out the rose from behind his back.. and then he stuffs it behind him again before she sees.. HA, you totally followed In-hye’s suggestions to a tee.
Shi-on hands it to her a moment later, but she hilariously misinterprets this gesture as a way to butter her up for a favor. Which is when Shi-on finally works up the nerve to say something, and starts, “D..doctor…”
Yoon-seo tells him to come out with it, and he finishes, “… have you had dinner yet!” She says she has and he pouts.
So he changes the subject, asking about her apartment decor, but Yoon-seo tells him to hurry up and say whatever it is he came here to say. Shi-on shrinks away, saying it’s nothing, but Yoon-seo isn’t about to let him off that easy.
He insists he just came back to visit, adding that she knows he can’t lie. But she asks about his wardrobe, and Shi-on says that it’s his Monday night tradition. Ha, so much for not being able to lie.
Then Shi-on quickly excuses himself, and he buries his head in his pillow. At the same time, Yoon-seo looks at the rose now sitting on her desk and smiles.
She stops Shi-on in the hall the next day and asks if he did something wrong (therefore giving her the rose in apology). Shi-on denies it, so she tries the scare tactic to pry his secret out of him, but he still doesn’t admit anything.
She rallies that they have a successful surgery and they fist-bump each other. So cute. I hope this becomes a new Thing for them.
The doctors assure the mother that everything will be okay, but she begins to cry and says if they encounter a situation where they have to choose her or the baby, she asks that they save her baby. Doctor Min slaps on a smile on her face, but I don’t know—I’m already biting my nails.
Doctor Min and Do-han brief their teams to stay alert during this especially risky surgery—they’ve only got fifteen minutes to operate on the fetus. Then they head to the operating room for the surgery.
Doctor Min makes her first incision and “delivers the baby.” They start the countdown, but the surgeon has trouble intubating the baby, whose neck is swollen. Shi-on pipes up to say that it’s due to internal bleeding and has a restricted respiratory tract as a result.
So Do-han steps in to intubate instead, but with less than seven minutes on the clock now, he chooses to go the tracheotomy route. But Shi-on says that that’s not an option anymore, and by now, the mother has started to bleed profusely. And then she starts to crash.
Panic washes over everyone’s faces and Yoon-seo asks if they can’t perform the tracheotomy from a different direction. Shi-on says they can’t and Do-han echoes that thought—the baby could die because of the excessive bleeding.
Four minutes. Everyone looks at Do-han as he holds the baby his hands, racking his brains for a solution.
C’mon Super Doc, think! Even though this worst-case scenario was a long time coming, I couldn’t help but to hold my breath at the suspense of the time-crunch in surgery. It’s a classic sign of countdown syndrome as the stakes get raised higher with each passing second. I admit that I laughed at the hilarious shot of what might be the largest group of surgeons take that dramatic walk to the operating room, but now our surgical team is at another crossroads, and soon they’ll have to choose which life to save (unless by some miracle, they’re able to save both lives): the mother who is profusely bleeding or the baby as she requested?
It comes down to whoever has the better chance of survival, the same dilemma that Doctor Choi faced down in the mines with the brothers. He was forced to make a decision, and I can see why the choice continues to haunt him. I can understand Doctor Choi’s alarm when Shi-on questioned his reasoning behind his choice; perhaps it taps into an inner fear of which choice to make. At this point, I don’t know for sure if there’s more behind that story or not.
What is apparent at present is Shi-on’s survivor’s guilt as the age-old “What if?” question that plagues his conscience. I actually appreciate this internal emotional conflict of living while his brother didn’t make it, since it seems Shi-on spent most of his years with the simple explanation that Hyung went up to heaven. It was heartbreaking to watch him to wrestle with himself over how he got a second chance to live whereas his brother didn’t, and thereby blaming himself. Then I love that Yoon-seo is right there to listen, to affirm that there are some things that are out of his control and all he can do is to keep on living and make the most of it.
On a lighter note, I do enjoy how Do-han is slowly but surely warming up to Shi-on. Do-han still has that gruff, cold exterior that virtually no one can penetrate, but I love that he found himself smiling over that toy stethoscope—that it triggered a happy memory of his own brother. I can’t wait to watch how their relationship evolves from a feared sunbae-hoobae relationship to hopefully something that they can both find healing from. It makes me wonder if Shi-on has yet to realize how much joy he brings to people in this hospital, be it a popsicle, a toy stethoscope, or a fist-pump.