Doctors: Episode 8
Relationships are difficult. A lesson Hye-jung has learned time and time again. Whether it’s between colleagues, family, or lovers, it takes effort to forge a strong bond between two people. Sometimes a connection happens naturally; other times networks intersect and force two people together. While all relationships require time, sometimes the depth of an interaction rather than the length influences the strength of a tie.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
The episode opens from Ji-hong’s perspective, and he watches Hye-jung happily talking with Soo-chul. He narrates, “The thing I most envy when a man and woman are in love is meeting someone who can bring out childish feelings.”
In his office, Ji-hong takes out a doll, from a drawer filled with plushies, and chucks it at a wall. Ji-hong yells, and kicks his shelves to defuse some of his anger. He narrates, “Childishness in a relationship between a man and a woman is healthy. Childishness is the best present I can show someone.”
The scene changes to Soo-chul riding his motorcycle next to Hye-jung, who’s in her car. Ji-hong calls her, and his face falls when he hears that she’s with Soo-chul. He jokingly tells her to stop meeting him, and she says that she can’t stop seeing her friend.
Soo-chul winks at Hye-jung and then zooms ahead of her. As he enters an intersection, a car suddenly appears, and Soo-chul collides head-on. Ji-hong hears Hye-jung panicking, and asks her what’s wrong.
Hye-jung exits her car and runs over to Soo-chul, who’s motionless on the ground. She yells at the crowd to call an ambulance, and her hands tremble as she lifts the face shield of his helmet. Soo-chul weakly smiles up at her, and Hye-jung suppresses her sobs at the sight of her friend, bloody and semi-conscious.
She asks if he can move his arms and legs, but he can’t. Fighting through her tears, she tells him to move his fingers, and he can barely move one. Hye-jung holds onto his hand to give him moral support (just as Ji-hong taught her in the past).
Ji-hong arrives, and shortly thereafter, the paramedics arrive, too. Hye-jung helps Ji-hong gently move Soo-chul into a neck brace, but Soo-chul is having trouble breathing. Ji-hong checks his chest, and finds a nasty bruise on his side.
At the hospital, Ji-hong performs a chest ultrasound, which shows Soo-chul’s lung filling up with blood. He inserts a tube to let out the blood, and tells Hye-jung that they’ve passed the first hurdle.
Pa-ran hears about Soo-chul from his assistant, and learns that the neurosurgeons will be going into surgery before him. He asks his assistant if it’s Ji-hong, and Pa-ran visits him and Hye-jung, who are examining Soo-chul’s scans. He advises them to finish their surgery quickly because the patient will die from blood loss if they take too long.
Once Ji-hong and Hye-jung are alone, Ji-hong asks her if she wants to stay out of the surgery. He tells her that it’s all right for her to stop now—especially since it’ll be too much for her to handle if the surgery doesn’t go well.
Hye-jung asks if she’ll get stronger if she participates. Ji-hong thinks that she’s plenty tough enough, but also tells her that being weak isn’t a bad thing. She tells Ji-hong that she doesn’t want to go in, and Ji-hong gives her an understanding pat.
Hye-jung visits Soo-chul before his surgery and reassures him that he’ll be fine because Ji-hong is a skilled surgeon. However, Soo-chul wants Hye-jung to do it because he’s scared. If it’s her, then he’s confident that everything will be all right because she can accomplish anything. Hye-jung is hesitant, but the look on Soo-chul’s face convinces her otherwise: She tells him that she’ll be there with him.
Hye-jung changes into her scrubs, and in the men’s locker room, Ji-hong does the same. While he’s washing his hands, Hye-jung walks up next to him and tells him that she’s assisting. Wearing a slightly amused expression, Ji-hong consents.
Tae-ho is watching a surgery video when Myung-hoon enters his office unannounced. Myung-hoon pretends to worry for Director Hong, saying that the director shouldn’t be stirring up trouble by holding a press conference. Tae-ho doesn’t believe Myung-hoon for a second, and tells him to drop the pretenses.
Immediately in banmal, Myung-hoon tells Tae-ho to stop interfering because he’s the owner, and Tae-ho should be satisfied as long as he gets to eat and live well. Responding back just as informally, Tae-ho says this is why he dislikes Myung-hoon, and asks if he can’t be more dignified. Myung-hoon accepts Tae-ho’s insult, but says that Tae-ho is a kite without a string whereas he’s a man with a silver spoon (literal translation: gold spoon) in his mouth.
Director Hong holds a press conference to address the recent scandal about his stocks. A reporter asks about the rumor that his stocks will be absorbed by the hospital as “donations,” and Director Hong loses his temper at the accusation. He tells the reporters to not believe such nonsense, and leaves in a huff.
He returns to his office where Director Jin is waiting for him. Director Jin expresses his disapproval of the press conference, and Director Hong yells at his friend for standing on the sideline. Director Jin tells Director Hong to step aside so he can help, but Director Hong changes the topic.
He asks if Myung-hoon is still pursuing his plans for the centers, and Director Jin wonders why he’s suddenly curious about that. Director Hong says that Myung-hoon is the person who would most want to see him in trouble. Director Jin defends his son, and tells him that Myung-hoon wouldn’t stoop to such a dastardly ploy.
In the hallway, Director Jin meets up with Myung-hoon, and dismisses everyone else. He tells Myung-hoon that Director Hong isn’t stepping down as planned, and Myung-hoon replies that they’ll have to see blood, then. I guess Kyung-joon wasn’t completely wrong with his theatrics; a war is brewing.
Stepmother’s face is back to normal, and Yoon-do tells Hye-jung’s father that she can be discharged tomorrow. Dad thanks Yoon-do, and follows him out into the hall to hand him bags of food from his restaurant, as a small token of his appreciation.
In Soo-chul’s surgery, Hye-jung preps and makes the first incision. She steps aside for Ji-hong, but as soon as he starts, blood spurts out. Soo-chul’s blood pressure drops rapidly, and the clock is ticking against them as the pressure mounts for Ji-hong to finish quickly.
Kang-soo is sleeping at his desk when an unknown hand yanks his hair. Of course it’s Kyung-joon, who berates the first-year for sleeping and doing a poor job. Joong-dae pipes up that Kang-soo is actually competent, but that only gets him in trouble with Kyung-joon too. To quell his superior’s fury, Joong-dae submits a flash drive with his scanned book, and Kyung-joon gives him a free pass.
Kyung-joon places the bags of food from Hye-jung’s father on the table, and Young-kook walks in. Kyung-joon grumbles that his timing is impeccable whenever it concerns food, and then he scolds Young-kook when he explains that he left the surgery because Hye-jung was doing everything.
They start talking about Hye-jung’s family, but then Kyung-joon (who first brought up the topic) yells at the residents for wasting precious time gossiping. Kang-soo pouts and lightly hits Kyung-joon on the chest before leaving. Before any harm falls on him, Joong-dae reminds Kyung-joon of the flash drive, and is allowed to leave.
Kyung-joon mutters that he’s going to explode, and Young-gook wonders aloud what will happen then. Kyung-joon demonstrates by throwing two punches at him, but Young-kook easily catches them. Kyung-joon, copying Kang-soo, pouts and hits Young-kook on the chest. That was hilarious.
Seo-woo waits for Yoon-do to finish his surgery, and once he steps out, she informs him that her grandfather and father want a meal with him today. He declines since there’s the welcoming party for their department, but Seo-woo knows her father will be persistent. Thus, Yoon-do reluctantly complies.
Back in Soo-chul’s surgery, Ji-hong stops the bleeding, and he finishes without any other major setbacks. Hye-jung and Ji-hong wait outside for Pa-ran, and when he arrives, Pa-ran assures them that he’ll do well.
Outside, Hye-jung waits nervously, and once Pa-ran emerges from the operating room, he jokes about having a meal. Hye-jung is too anxious to joke around, and wants to know clearly how the surgery went. In a singsong voice, he tells her that the surgery was a success.
Hye-jung looks over Soo-chul’s scans that Young-kook prepared, and Ji-hong joins them. Young-kook reads the atmosphere and quickly excuses himself. Once he leaves, Hye-jung addresses Ji-hong and repeats his words back to him: “What I’m about to do is from one human to another human.”
She takes a tentative step forward and slowly raises her arms around his neck. Now it’s Ji-hong’s turn to get nervous as she gets closer. Hye-jung reaches up slowly and he lifts his arms in preparation to hug her… but she just fixes his collar and steps back. Ji-hong’s arms limply drop down to his side.
She asks him what he was imagining, and Ji-hong returns to his playful demeanor. Hye-jung thanks him for everything, and he can’t help but smile, which flusters Hye-jung. She hurries out of the room, and Ji-hong fails to hide his giddiness.
Hye-jung visits Soo-chul in the ICU. She tells him that the surgery went well, so now it’s his turn. She knows that he can’t move his legs and arms yet, but she’s confident that he can return to his old self. She reminds him of the time when she wanted to die, but he stayed by her side because he’s considerate and cool.
Soo-chul remains unconvinced, so Hye-jung tells him to move his finger. He doesn’t think it’ll work, but when his index finger moves, Soo-chul is filled with hope. With his spirits lifted, Soo-chul even starts to joke and says that she shouldn’t date that old fogey (aka Ji-hong).
Ji-hong goes over the procedure of the awake brain surgery with Seo-woo and Hye-jung, and assigns them specific tasks. Once they’re in the surgery room, patient (and Olympian archer) Soo-jung lies nervously on the operating table as Ji-hong inserts a probe into her brain. They send one volt to stimulate her brain, but the tremors don’t stop.
As they continue, Soo-jung’s vision suddenly blurs, and she starts to panic. There’s a hemorrhage, and Seo-woo suggests that they remove the probe and wait for the bleeding to stop. On the other hand, Hye-jung thinks they should stop the bleeding now. After a pause, Ji-hong agrees with Hye-jung.
Seo-woo continues to voice her concerns even as Ji-hong is working to stop the bleeding, and Hye-jung snaps at her. In the viewing balcony, Tae-ho tells the residents to calm down as they all tensely watch the surgery. Luckily, Ji-hong successfully stops the bleeding, and orders another volt to stimulate the brain. With bated breaths they wait, and this time, Soo-jung’s vision returns. Not only that, her hand stops shaking, too!
Ji-hong comes around to face Soo-jung, and asks her to move her arm and do various poses. Soo-jung’s bow and arrow are brought in and given to her. She pulls back, takes aim, and fires. It’s a bullseye. Everyone celebrates the success of the surgery, but Seo-woo doesn’t look too pleased.
Back in the women’s locker room, Seo-woo confronts Hye-jung about her curt response during the surgery. Exasperated, Hye-jung explains that Seo-woo’s dissent was causing Soo-jung distress, so she rebuked Seo-woo to calm the patient. Before Seo-woo can continue their argument, she receives a call from Ji-hong along with a message concerning her behavior today.
In his office, Ji-hong reprimands Seo-woo’s attitude during the surgery, especially since the patient was awake. Rather than listening to his words, Seo-woo sulks and thinks he’s being excessive. She asks if he would act the same if it were Hye-jung who spoke up.
Frustrated with Seo-woo’s obsession over Hye-jung, he clarifies again and again that the problem they’re addressing right now is her work attitude, but Seo-woo isn’t willing to listen. Ji-hong tells her to stay out of his surgery room for the time being and dismisses her. Seo-woo leaves without a word, and Ji-hong mutters that he’s going crazy.
Hye-jung is making her rounds with Kang-soo, and they run into her father. Kang-soo acts friendly towards Dad, but noticing his superior’s icy behavior, he scurries away. Dad tells her about Stepmother leaving tomorrow, and Hye-jung merely gives a terse response.
Ji-hong visits Soo-chul, but Soo-chul isn’t too happy to see him, thinking that Ji-hong is dating Hye-jung. However, Soo-chul quickly deduces that the two aren’t dating, and then Ji-hong learns that Soo-chul got married (though Ji-hong doesn’t learn that he also got divorced).
Ji-hong’s attitude changes completely, and he smiles at Soo-chul, acting extremely friendly and cheerful. He tells Soo-chul that he’ll get better through physical therapy, and even says that he always knew Soo-chul was cool from the moment he saw him—pfft.
On her rounds, Hye-jung warmly explains a patient’s condition to a guardian. From the doorway, her father witnesses the exchange and looks disappointed. Hye-jung notices him too, and her face falls.
She meets her father outside, and he yells at her for her cold behavior towards him. Ever since she left, he worried about her every day, and he doesn’t understand why she’s acting this way. She asks why he’s trying to act friendly all of a sudden, but he says that it’s because she suddenly reappeared: While a child might forget a parent, a parent never forgets a child.
Angry tears pool in Hye-jung’s eyes, and she vehemently replies that they can’t suddenly decide to be close when they’ve never been close before. Even a parent-child relationship is a human relationship, and between them, they share no past. Her words strike a chord, and Dad stands there numbly, unable to respond. Hye-jung walks away, and cries for a brief moment.
In the residents’ room, Joong-dae and Kang-soo prepare for the welcoming party, and Young-kook walks in, his spirits high. They’re also celebrating Young-kook leading his first surgery, and Joong-dae merrily asks Young-kook if he’s ever been dropped from residency. Young-kook smiles at him: “Now I know exactly why Chief Kyung-joon wants to hit you.”
Hye-jung meets Kyung-joon in the ICU, and he tells her that Yoon-do commanded him to prepare her for an upcoming surgery. Yoon-do is outside and talking on the phone to “Director Jin” (most likely Myung-hoon). He says that he’s not joining the board of directors, and only notices Hye-jung once he hangs up.
She brings up the surgery, but Yoon-do interrupts her to say that it’ll be a good experience for her. She tells him to do it with Seo-woo since they originally worked together, but Yoon-do asks if she only gets close to people she originally knew and only dates people she originally knew.
Hye-jung thinks his analogy is stretching it, and Yoon-do admits that her word choice of “originally” made him furious. She laughs at his straightforward confession, and Yoon-do compliments her smile. He asks if she knew that her father gave him soup and that he ate it deliciously.
Hye-jung looks away awkwardly, and Yoon-do sighs that it didn’t make her laugh. She stares at him quizzically, and Yoon-do says that he likes this expression. She cringes in embarrassment and tells him to stop. Yoon-do says that cringe-inducing things become addictive, and he even uses hand motions to demonstrate his point.
Yoon-do declares that he sees her as a woman, and tells her to eat at the hospital cafeteria with him tomorrow before the surgery. He answers “yes” for her before she can reply, and as he walks away, he gives himself a victorious fist pump.
The celebration begins at Soon-hee’s café, and nearly the entire neurosurgery department is there. The emcee for the night is Kyung-joon, the self-proclaimed eternal cutie, and they’re celebrating Kang-soo’s inauguration and Young-kook’s first lead surgery.
Tae-ho is given the microphone, and the crowd chants for him to give a speech. Since it’s a celebration, he decides to say something short and predictable: The neurosurgery department deals with brains, the brain governs the body, and therefore… The crowd cries in unison, “The neurosurgery department governs everything!”
In stark contrast to the jubilant festivity, Seo-woo and Yoon-do arrive at a fancy restaurant where Myung-hoon and Director Jin are already seated and waiting for them. They talk about the future of the hospital, and Director Jin says that they need talent like Yoon-do.
Unfortunately for them, Yoon-do has no interest in management, since he became a doctor to be free of political power plays. Myung-hoon tells Yoon-do that he can just support Seo-woo, then. Yoon-do abruptly excuses himself from the table, and Seo-woo follows after him.
In the hallway, Yoon-do tells Seo-woo that he’s leaving, and makes it clear that he’s never felt a spark for her. Lashing out, Seo-woo predicts that Yoon-do will be miserable because it’s Hye-jung’s jinx that everyone around her will be miserable. Yoon-do replies, “Then I’ll be miserable.”
The party is in full swing, and everyone is having a blast. Tae-ho raps, the residents belch out songs, and Ji-hong adorably bobs his head to the music. Of course, no party in Korea is complete without copious amounts of alcohol.
Yoon-do arrives, and Kyung-joon hands him a drink as punishment for his tardiness. Yoon-do drinks it in one gulp, and then another, and everyone cheers. Kyung-joon announces that it’s initiation time for Ji-hong, but Hye-jung offers to go first since he doesn’t know what to do.
Hye-jung slams her head on the table (making the shot glass fall into the beer), and drinks it in one swig. It’s Ji-hong’s turn, but Hye-jung says that she’ll be his “black rose” (the female version of the “black knight,” meaning his substitute).
Ji-hong wants to try, and mimicking Hye-jung’s actions, he slams his head on the table. His first attempt fails, and though Tae-ho tries to stop him, Ji-hong is now too embarrassed to quit. He tries again, but only worsens the big red bruise on his forehead. Hye-jung chuckles at him, and Ji-hong laughs out loud to conceal his humiliation and pain.
The atmosphere is tense at Seo-woo’s dinner, and Myung-hoon reproaches her for allowing Yoon-do to belittle her. He doesn’t know how he can entrust the hospital to Seo-woo if she can’t even manage a single man. Seo-woo looks heartbroken and shovels food into her mouth, holding back her tears.
She takes a bathroom break, and receives a text from Young-kook. He sent her a group photo from the party, and asks when she’s coming. Seo-woo notices all the happy faces and, in particular, a smiling Yoon-do sitting next to Hye-jung. Tears spill from her eyes, and she calls Yoon-do a bastard.
It’s time for Kang-soo’s “bowl ceremony,” in which everyone fills a pot with alcohol for him to drink, and while everyone’s attention is diverted, Ji-hong motions Hye-jung to follow him. Kang-soo drinks the entire pot, and smiles at everyone until he falls to the floor.
Young-kook and Kyung-joon rush over, and Kyung-joon yells that he’s not breathing. Oddly, Tae-ho is super calm and tells them to do an intubation. Kyung-joon says that they have no equipment, but just then, Joong-dae brandishes everything they need from his bag like a superhero. Kyung-joon says his usual pun about Joong-dae actually bringing something (his name sounds like “joon-dae” which means “to give”), and even plants a kiss on his cheek.
Ji-hong is taking Hye-jung to another place as thanks for being his “black rose,” and Yoon-do watches them leave from a distance. Ji-hong brings her to an arcade, and Hye-jung easily beats him at shooting and basketball. Thus, Ji-hong takes her to his specialty (the claw machine) and wins her an armful of dolls.
Ji-hong notes that Hye-jung seems to really like competitions, so he decides to take her to a new place. They arrive at a soccer field, and Ji-hong races Hye-jung to the goal post. She beats him, but Ji-hong is having too much fun to care about winning.
They decide to race again, and as they walk back to the starting line, Hye-jung tentatively reaches out and grabs Ji-hong’s hand. She smiles at him and says that she’ll lose on purpose this time. Ji-hong looks awestruck, and thinks to himself that this is the first time a girl has held his hand first. Hye-jung leads him down the field, and the two of them run around in circles, holding each other’s hand.
I much preferred this week’s episodes, and I like how the show played to its strengths. Undeniably, Doctors is clichéd and cheesy, but those traits aren’t negative on their own. I actually think the show does best when it embraces its cheesiness, and allows the scenes to flow rather than try to build up romantic moments or manufacture tension. The difference between the cheesiness of Episode 8’s ending versus the ending from Episode 6 is that the director isn’t trying to manipulate the viewer’s emotions, and is letting the scene speak for itself without the heavy-handed delivery or over-the-top effects.
I also liked how the episode balanced important character moments with lighthearted ones. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s the comedic beats and chemistry among the actors that reels me in. While I think that there isn’t much plot to the story, it actually makes it feel more like a slice-of-life drama, and often while I’m watching, I keep thinking that the show would make a great sitcom. Hence, I get the impression that Doctors is one of those dramas that you have to like subjectively as a viewer. That’s not to say the show is without its objective merits, but it comes down to preference at the end of the day with shows like these. Thus, when I watch Doctors as a slice-of-life drama with a good dose of romance and sprinkles of comedy, the show is entertaining and breezy, and I hope it stays that way.
In the beginning, I was frustrated at Seo-woo and her insistence that Ji-hong was treating her unfairly, but at the end, I found her character sympathetic (much of it due to Lee Sung-kyung). Myung-hoon probably loves his daughter, and from previous conversations, it seems that he’s proud of her, too. However, he was a complete jerk during the dinner scene, and his warped view of relationships explains, in part, why Seo-woo can’t seem to have many relationships herself. She’s grown up in an environment where relationships are only seen as connections for power, and this upbringing has caused her to fail to see the more complex social ties between people beyond the “zero-sum game” mentality she’s been taught. I especially liked the bathroom scene because it revealed the chasm Seo-woo has created around herself, and revealed a deeper longing for happiness and human interaction within her. I wish the drama would depict more of Seo-woo’s loneliness and struggles rather than her continued obsession with beating Hye-jung, and give her some character growth where she finds happiness outside of Yoon-do. While I’m sure having Yoon-do will make her happy (because he’s adorable), I think what Seo-woo really needs is to learn to love herself and others without comparing and quantifying love.
While I sometimes dislike and sometimes sympathize with Seo-woo, I almost always love Hye-jung, who’s an awesome lead. She’s confident and spunky, and doesn’t expect others to come and save her. Hye-jung plows forward, and her tenacity and passion help her accomplish whatever goals she plans. It’s no wonder that she has so many suitors after her. I like how Hye-jung is now taking the initiative in her own love life, and I might have developed a girl crush when she grabbed Ji-hong’s hand and told him that she’d lose this time (ah, the double meanings!). I’m one of those viewers that don’t care about ships or shipping wars, and never get hurt over someone not getting the girl or boy. That being said, you guys can fight over Ji-hong and Yoon-do (who are both, in my opinion, swoon-worthy men), and I’ll just quietly be in my corner with Tae-ho and his sparkling hat. Oh, and all the residents, too, because they’re just so lovable and hilarious together.