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Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim: Episode 5

Our resident hothead doctor starts singing a different tune once he learns of Teacher Kim’s true identity, and goes from being arrogantly sure of himself to being in damage control mode. Unfortunately, he’s quickly reminded that Teacher Kim isn’t the type to welcome anyone with open arms, nor is he the type to give pats on the back for a job well done, so no amount of brown-nosing is going to get him any closer to his new idol.

 

 
CHAPTER 5: “Relative Principles”

After his confrontation with Teacher Kim, Dong-joo presses Ki-tae to confirm his suspicions that Teacher Kim is the legendary surgeon Bu Yong-joo. For our benefit, Dong-joo details what makes Bu Yong-joo so impressive: his ninety-seven percent operation success rate, the fact that he’s the only triple board certified doctor in the country, and that he’s otherwise known as the “Hand of God.” However, Dong-joo adds, at the height of his popularity, he mysteriously vanished without a trace.

Ki-tae continually feigns ignorance until Dong-joo dangles the possibility of remaining on staff at Doldam, if—and only if—Teacher Kim is who Dong-joo thinks he is. Ambition flares in Ki-tae’s eyes, and he rips up Dong-joo’s resignation in confirmation, reaffirming that he didn’t say anything. Pleased, Dong-joo smiles, and the men shake hands.

At Geodae Hospital, Dr. Do hurriedly walks through the halls as Dr. Song jogs up beside him to ask how his meeting with CEO Shin went. Dr. Do doesn’t mince words, and tells Dr. Song that Bu Yong-joo is at Doldam Hospital.

We flash back to an operating room, where Dr. Song desperately tries to resuscitate a patient that is rapidly bleeding to death from a bungled surgery. Teacher Kim enters the OR just as the the surgical staff calls on Dr. Song to declare the time of death. He knocks Dr. Song out of the way and tearfully looks over at the unconscious patient. He then looks up at the gallery and locks eyes with Dr. Do, who is staring back at him.

As the scene plays, Dong-joo narrates:

“In an era where one’s success trumps everything else, an era in which everything including one’s morals and others’ lives are pushed aside for selfish gains. People who offered excuses and justified his or her actions by saying that “it couldn’t be helped” while sacrificing others, and who used their own lack of power as an excuse to turn a blind eye to the truth. Such cowards banded together and dominate the world out of a sense of entitlement.”

We cut back to the present, where Dr. Song cautions Dr. Do that Teacher Kim must not operate on CEO Shin, or it could negatively affect his upcoming re-election. With a hardened gaze, Dr. Do instructs Dr. Song to provide Dong-joo an opportunity to return to Geodae, and Dr. Song smiles knowingly.

On a dreary autumn morning, a group of cyclists glide down a relatively empty road in the countryside. The man in the rear blows his whistle to alert the others of oncoming traffic, then the pack moves closer to the edge, making room for cars to pass. On this particular morning, an exhausted truck driver drives up behind the cyclists, but instead of rounding around the group, the driver’s eyes droop closed, resulting in him stomping on the accelerator and smashing through the line of riders. All are hit except the man in the rear, who had gotten away in time to watch the calamity unfold in horror.

At Doldam, the nurses express their disbelief at Seo-jung’s demotion, and when asked if she really intends to serve her sentence, Seo-jung confirms it. The nurses claim that Teacher Kim is always kind to them and wonder why he is so harsh toward Seo-jung. At first, Seo-jung puts on a brave face and acts like being an orderly is no big deal, but the facade fades quickly, and soon she’s begging Nurse Oh for assurance that she’ll survive the ordeal.

She doesn’t have long to despair, because Ki-tae soon walks in with Dong-joo in tow, and reintroduces the surgeon as the newest member of their staff. No one looks thrilled by the announcement, specifically Seo-jung, who quickly excuses herself.

Dong-joo follows after her once he hears the news of her reassignment. She pretends to be taking it all in stride again, but when Dong-joo asks if he can start ordering her around, she casts him a warning glare. She then takes the opportunity to inquire as to why he decided to stay at Doldam after all — she thinks he’s doing it to deliberately annoy her, but he acknowledges that he wants to learn from Teacher Kim.

Seo-jung finds his sudden about-face hilarious, and proceeds to remind him of his recent embarrassing behavior toward the chief surgeon. But Dong-joo isn’t particularly bothered by her needling, and says that that was before he learned Teacher Kim’s true identity.

Seo-jung is shocked to hear that Dong-joo’s figured out the Doldam secret, and he grumbles at her for hiding the truth from him all this time. She tries to dissuade him from his endeavor by citing Teacher Kim’s temper and terrible personality as impediments.

However, Dong-joo’s made up his mind and reveals his second reason for wanting to stay at Doldam: Earlier, as he was leaving, Seo-jung admitted that she did miss him, and if he were to leave now, then he would never get to find out why. D’awww.

She unconvincingly informs him that romance isn’t allowed at the hospital, but he straightforwardly asks for some romance anyway. They stare deeply into each other eyes for a long moment, but then suddenly Dr. Moon’s phantom voice echoes through Seo-jung’s mind accusing her for causing his death, and she recoils, clutching her ear.

Dong-joo asks what’s wrong, but she flinches from his touch and becomes trapped in her hallucination. Thankfully, the phone in the ER rings and snaps her out of her spell—the injured cyclists are on their way.

Given the brutal and grisly nature of the accident, it’s become big news across the internet, and reporters have flocked to the hospital eagerly awaiting to hear updates. Seo-jung briefs Teacher Kim on the patient count: seven have arrived at the hospital, but one died en route, two have minor injuries, and four more are on their way.

One of the cyclist patients needs immediate surgery, and Dong-joo formally requests to assist Teacher Kim in the operation. He informs Teacher Kim of his decision to stay at Doldam, but Teacher Kim isn’t interested in Dong-joo’s change of heart and says nothing of it. He calls Dr. Nam to also help with the surgery, then instructs Seo-jung to call for an alternate at another hospital.

Dong-joo stands aside meekly and obediently follows Teacher’s Kim’s every instruction. When Teacher Kim moves onto the next patient, Dong-joo observes the living legend’s every medical movement with new eyes, utterly awestruck.

The staff can’t work fast enough against the rising odds as patients continue to flood the ER—especially Teacher Kim, who struggles to give up on one patient that ends up dying. He collects himself with a deep breath before moving on to the next patient, who complains of pelvic pain.

Around that time, the drowsy driver wakes up in the ER as the tragedy he created unfolds around him. The man in the rear, and the only witness to the accident, spots him from across the room. He calls him a murderer and curses him for daring to receive treatment when he is responsible for all the damage.

As Teacher Kim tends to as many other patients as he can, he can’t help glancing over to the driver. Intuiting that something is wrong, he goes to check on him and concludes that he has cardiac tamponade, a condition that is characterized by the excess buildup of fluid around the heart.

Seo-jung points out that cardiac tamponade is rarely caused by blunt injuries such as the driver’s, which causes Teacher Kim to pause. He tells her that just because something is rare, it should never be overlooked. Ashamed, Seo-jung apologies for her oversight, but Teacher Kim callously tells her that she is only an orderly who isn’t expected to make diagnoses.

As Dong-joo prepares for surgery, Dr. Song calls him and asks to meet up. However, since Doldam is so short-staffed, Dong-joo explains that he anticipates being very busy for the foreseeable future. With an arrogant grin, he then thanks Dr. Song for introducing him to a really famous mentor and promises to learn as much as he can before returning to Geodae. Huh, so I guess Dong-joo still wants to go back to Geodae. Why though?

Dong-joo enters the prep room and thinks he’s going to help Teacher Kim with his surgery on the critically injured cyclist. But he’s surprised to learn that he will actually be helming the procedure while Teacher Kim operates on the driver. They commence simultaneous operations.

Meanwhile, Ki-tae is informed by the police that all the cyclists involved in the accident are cancer survivors. Namely, the patient Dong-joo is operating on has a history of liver cancer.

On Teacher Kim’s side, things seem to be going smoothly when Ki-tae comes in to inform him of his newly acquired information. Initially, Teacher Kim thinks nothing of Ki-tae’s revelation, until he mentions that the congressman Dong-joo operated on (who subsequently died) also had liver cancer.

Ki-tae’s concerns are timely, as the situation in the other OR begins to rapidly unravel. Dong-joo recognizes the similarities as the cyclist’s cancer begins to relapse. The memory of the congressman’s death paralyzes Dong-joo from continuing with the procedure, but then, Ki-tae enters with Teacher Kim on the phone.

The chief surgeon tries to talk Dong-joo through his fear by giving him two options: He can quit now, but if he does, then he’ll be haunted by the experience for the rest of his life. Or, he can buck up. Dong-joo quickly tries to resign from the procedure, lacking the confidence to save the patient.

But before he does, Teacher Kim imparts a few words of wisdom—when a patient dies on an operating table, it isn’t the grief that haunts surgeons long after, it’s the guilt of feeling like they didn’t fight until the end trying to save the patient. “Regret drives a person crazier than failure,” he adds.

Near tears, Dong-joo repeats that even so, he doesn’t think he can save the patient, and everyone in the room looks defeated. Vexed but resigned, Teacher Kim tells Dong-joo to do what he wants and sew up the patient if he isn’t going to try. Nurse Oh and Dr. Nam, who are with Dong-joo in the OR, are far more sympathetic as they try to coax Dong-joo back into the ring.

Nurse Oh tells Dong-joo that she has helped Teacher Kim with numerous procedures far more complicated than this one. And though there were times that they failed, there were more occasions where they prevailed because they persevered until the bitter end. Dr. Nam adds that the cyclist patient is currently fighting for his life, so they should fight on too.

Their words reach Dong-joo, and he returns to the table with fresh resolve. Ki-tae hurries over to tell Teacher Kim that Dong-joo triumphed over his fear, but the surgeon talks over him and hands the finishing touches over to Seo-jung before leaving.

Teacher Kim reappears in the neighboring OR and offers to take over, but Dong-joo refuses. He manages well at first, but he clearly still has a lot to learn, and Teacher Kim calmly coaches him through a misstep, which Dong-joo receives gratefully. Finally, Dong-joo is able to break past the debilitating effects of his fatal failure, and the operation concludes successfully.

Post-surgery, Dong-joo sits alone, deep in thought. When Teacher Kim walks by, Dong-joo asks if Teacher Kim would have really let him give up back then. Teacher Kim confirms it, stating simply that it wouldn’t be his fault if the patient died. Baffled and confused, Dong-joo asks why he wanted him to stay at Doldam, and if not, then why did Teacher Kim tell him, “If you don’t change, nothing else will” after Dong-joo decided to leave? Was it that he knew that Dong-joo would recognize him immediately, and would want to stay at Doldam? Gah, these two are so dysfunctional.

Teacher Kim makes the connection, and asks if that is the reason why Dong-joo has been acting so oddly all day. He adds that if Dong-joo thought he would praise him for his surgical victory, he’s sorely mistaken. Instead, he rightfully rebukes Dong-joo for not checking the patient’s medical history and for failing to perform a CT scan before operating.

Dong-joo accepts the blame for not reviewing the patient’s medical history beforehand, but argues back that it was an emergency situation, and he was afraid of cardiac arrest occurring. Teacher Kim asks why Dong-joo isn’t conducting his due diligence like he usually does. He then accuses Dong-joo of trying to emulate his free-wheeling medical methods in order to ingratiate himself with him.

Dong-joo thinks Teacher Kim is being overly severe over an error done in a panicked state when he was merely trying to be flexible, but Teacher Kim hisses that his one error almost cost someone their life. He adds:

“Whether you leave or stay is your business, so do whatever you want. But if you’re expecting something of me, wake up. All I have to offer someone who changes his principles based on the situation is contempt, scorn, and a whole lot of insults.”

A little while later, Seo-jung joins a dazed Dong-joo for a symbolic can of coffee and some wise words. She tells Dong-joo that she warned him of Teacher Kim’s ways, but even so, she can’t help but envy Dong-joo for receiving the opportunity to operate alongside Teacher Kim when she’s dreamed of doing so for the past five years.

Dong-joo doesn’t see it that way, and says that Teacher Kim intervened on his surgery and pointed out all his flaws and mistakes. That she envies too, she says, since she’d rather Teacher Kim criticize her than be totally uninterested in what she’s doing, like he is now.

Dong-joo is less understanding, and thinks that Teacher Kim has some serious personality issues and enjoys pissing people off. Seo-jung disagrees, believing Teacher Kim to have deep wounds that cause him to act the way he does. And the fact that he threw away everything he had to hide away in Doldam means that he’s struggling with something in his heart, just as they are. With that thought, they sit quietly together and let the furor of the day settle in.

We then flash back to complete the memory of the surgery Dr. Song botched, and the same one that Teacher Kim barged in on from earlier. Outside in the hall, Teacher Kim pummels Dr. Song and demands to know who authorized him to operate on his patient. Dr. Do arrives to correct Teacher Kim—Teacher Kim was the one who killed the patient, not Dr. Song. Dr. Do explains that Teacher Kim barged into the operating room, kicked up a fuss, and caused the table death. At least, that is what the official records will say, and that’s the story the surgical staff will corroborate as well.

Teacher Kim looks around wildly to each person from the operation, but they all avert their gaze, confirming their complicity in Dr. Do’s fabricated narrative. Dr. Do suggests Teacher Kim get on his knees and beg for a second chance, since he might be inclined to forgive him. Dr. Do alludes to the fact that this serves as a punishment for Teacher Kim’s arrogance.

But of course, the Teacher Kim we know would never kneel to a such manipulation, and so he tells Dr. Do that he should kneel before the mother of the patient that they let die just so that Dr. Do could play his power games. His eyes water as he evokes the patient’s name and mourns for all the days and dreams stolen from her. As Teacher Kim walks away, Dr. Do rages and vows to blacklist Teacher Kim so that he can never work at another hospital again.

In the present, Dr. Song, In-bum, and Dong-joo’s sunbae (whose name is IN-SOO), arrive at Doldam to get a drink with Dong-joo (and court him over to the dark side). In-bum, who is interested in meeting with the infamous Seo-jung (aka “Crazy Whale”) heads in first, but as he approaches the door, Teacher Kim comes out and carelessly smacks the door into In-bum’s hand. In-bum cradles it preciously, but confirms to Teacher Kim that he wasn’t hurt.

Taking note of the way In-bum handles his hand, Teacher Kim asks if he is a pianist. In-bum corrects that he’s a surgeon, and Teacher Kim scowls at his response. In-bum demands an apology, but Teacher Kim retorts that he said he was okay. So In-bum complains that he was almost hurt, to which Teacher Kim barks back that he should be more careful then. Ha.

As Teacher Kim walks by their car, Dr. Song hides in the backseat and reports back to Dr. Do confirming that Teacher Kim is indeed at Doldam. As he slinks up in his seat thinking the coast is clear, he’s alarmed to see Teacher Kim staring into the car window and right at him. HAHA. Their faces.

Their reunion is surprisingly civil, considering what we know know about their relationship. Teacher Kim impatiently asks Dr. Song why he came to Doldam, and Dr. Song pretends to be just as surprised to run into Teacher Kim. He claims to be innocently visiting Dong-joo, whose talent he admires and hopes to cultivate. Seeing through him, Teacher Kim asks why he sent his favored pupil to a crappy place like Doldam if he likes him so much. Perhaps sincerely, Dr. Song cites Dr. Do’s penchant for allowing others to take the blame for his failings.

The admission prompts Teacher Kim to ask if Dr. Song is still living as Dr. Do’s dog, and Dr. Song argues that he’s now the chief of the surgical department. Teacher Kim pointedly asks why was he hiding in the back of a car if he’s such an important person—was it out of fear of seeing him again? He demands again to know the real reason Dr. Song appeared at Doldam.

It seems to be the same question In-soo Sunbae is pondering with Dong-joo, who asks the same thing. Adorably, Ki-tae lurks nearby and eavesdrops, afraid he might lose his big catch to Geodae. In-soo Sunbae tries to convince Dong-joo to come out for drinks, but duty calls, and Dong-joo runs off to attend to a patient in the ER, looking at ease with his new life.

In the ER, the staff receives an unconscious patient. Dong-joo orders a CT scan, but Nurse Oh intervenes and instead brings over some food. Nurse Oh explains that sometimes homeless people arrive at the ER. Immediately, upon smelling the food, the patient opens her eyes and begins chowing down. Understanding, Dong-joo nods and tells the patient to take her time eating. When he walks away, she peeks over at him shyly.

Meanwhile, In-bum sneaks ahead in to search for Seo-jung, and eventually finds her jamming out alone while folding sheets. He stands there observing her for a while, and weirdly his fingers curl as he watches. What the…?

When she finally spots him, she screams in surprise. He lies that he is lost when she asks why he’s there. She points him back on his way, but he lingers instead, asking if she knows someone called “Crazy Whale.” Seo-jung identifies herself as the person in question, but then asks who he is. In-bum doesn’t answer right away, which is when Dong-joo appears in the doorway. He introduces In-bum as Dr. Do’s son, much to Seo-jung’s bewilderment.

We switch back to Teacher Kim and Dr. Song, who fesses up to his real reason for coming down to Doldam: CEO Shin’s surgery. He advises Teacher Kim to give up on the surgery so that he won’t get hurt again by Dr. Do’s ambition. However, Teacher Kim merely laughs as he wonders aloud at what kind of twisted fate he has.

But then his expression turns hard, and he glares back at Dr. Song.

 
COMMENTS

For some reason, I don’t think the big emotional arc of this episode packed as strong of a punch as it could have. All the elements were there, but it fell a little flat to me. I wanted to care more about Dong-joo’s internal turmoil in that operating room. I wanted to feel the sharpness of his pain and fear. I wanted the impact of the moment when he chose to abandon his patient to hit me right in the heart. But it fell a bit short, somehow. I wish we saw beforehand how Dong-joo was still struggling with the trauma of his first table death, and how he was grieving in his own way. Because I never felt like Dong-joo particularly cared that the congressman died—instead, I felt as frustrated with Dong-joo as Teacher Kim did when he hung up the phone.

It may very well be that Dong-joo convinced himself that he wasn’t to blame for the death since the odds were stacked so high against him, but then I wish they showed Dong-joo becoming surprised by his own unresolved feelings over the matter. Ultimately, I think this is what’s happening right now: Since these characters are constantly having to defend themselves against attacks and criticism from each other, there are less moments that allow them to be vulnerable or show their fears and to let us, the audience, in. I really want to be let in. But right now, everyone is a little too hotheaded and too closed off. And that’s okay—I can wait for those emotional payoffs.

On another note, I thought that Teacher Kim’s speech about Dong-joo needing to be the best doctor he can be was very informative in explaining why Teacher Kim treats Seo-jung and Dong-joo the way that he does. I think that despite his moniker, he is a really reluctant teacher. He probably doesn’t want anyone to follow in his footsteps and become like him. But somehow, he’s ended up with two troubled students, and he doesn’t really know what do with either of them. Instead, I think he wants them to become good doctors that he can respect. He wants people that he can also clash with from time to time but trust completely, so that they can create an environment predicated on the fundamental beliefs of doing the right thing and always putting the patient’s life first. Kind of like his relationship with Nurse Oh. At the end of it all, Teacher Kim wants equals and not underlings like Dr. Do does.

To be fair, Teacher Kim didn’t seem to have any intention of criticizing Dong-joo for his behavior in the OR until Dong-joo began begging for some kind of recognition. So one could say that Dong-joo brought it all upon himself.

Anyway, that moment when Teacher Kim was staring at Dr. Song in the window was perhaps my favorite thing ever. It was so funny, weird, and totally unexpected. I was shocked to see the way Teacher Kim interacted with Dr. Song—I was anticipating more collar-grabbing and punching, but what unfolded instead was much more interesting. I loved that Teacher Kim holds some empathy for Dr. Song having to live perpetually in Dr. Do’s dark shadow, and reserves all his scorn for Dr. Do. I think Teacher Kim knows Dr. Song is a result of his circumstance and that he isn’t the mastermind. And that’s very interesting to me, because clearly Teacher Kim bashes on Dong-joo for those very same reasons, but treats the two very differently.

What that tells me is that Teacher Kim sees Dong-joo as someone that can be changed and put back on the right path, as well as someone who also needs to build up the confidence to be great. Just like Seo-jung said, Teacher Kim expresses his interest and concern in someone by criticizing and shouting. And maybe it’s only then that we can get to the heart of it all.

 

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Still loving the show :)
It seems that SBS is once again the ratings leader for the weekday dramas..

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Thanks for the recap and the comments, Murasakimi. I really loved what you said about what Master Kim does not want underlings, but equals - that really captures the essence so well!

Here are my thoughts on the episode:
1. I really did love the dynamic between Master Kim and Dong Joo in this episode. Master Kim's words are so scathing, direct and cruel but it really cuts straight to the heart of what Dong Joo really needs to work on. It's so perfect - reminded me of harsh bosses I worked for, but who really had good intentions.

2. I did find the characterisation of President Do rather problematic. Perhaps it's the idealistic side of me, but I found it hard to believe that the President of a hospital could be so conniving and hard-hearted. Do Im-bum's introduction in this episode was also rather awkward, but we get a clearer sense of his position in episode 6.

3. Unlike previous episodes where I found the romance between Dong Joo and Seo-jung too rushed, we had more quiet moments of romance in this episode. I appreciated that.

Have elaborated on them further on my blog: https://kdramaanalysis.wordpress.com/2016/11/22/romantic-doctor-teacher-kim-episode-5/

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This drama is AMAZING!!! I love how every ending of an episode provides something brand new and unexpected. Brilliant, incredible show!

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Yes! Don't have second thoughts of watching it just because of the title! :)

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Seeing that truck of doom is almost everywhere, it really must be getting popular.

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I have not enjoyed a medical drama for a very long time. Dropped Grey's at Season 5, House at Season 8.... was bored with kdrama Doctors. But I'm really loving this one. I've been carefully selecting my drama watching because 2017 is approaching and I don't want to be too addicted (again) to kdrama before my study schedule starts. Hehehe.

SJ jealous of DJ's opportunity and DJ not realizing how lucky he is to have performed the surgery with Teacher Kim! One of the first things a senior resident told us before coming in as first years: if we stop noticing you, if we stop pointing out your mistakes, QUIT.

President Do is a whole new level of evil! Like Queen Shouldneverhavechildren! I mean, that he can falsify documents to say that it was Teacher Kim who operated on the patient is just.... just... AAAARGHHH. President Do my butt! He should be President Do-some-time-behind-bars! GRRR.

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House m.d was over in the 8 s.?

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I think I just watched episode 1 of that season. LOL

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Hospital politics not getting you down? That's the reason I usually get fed up of medical dramas- they play up the politics to crazy psycho levels- like how they could get an entire OR of people to agree to blackmail Teacher Kim. Boggles my mind.

To me it's President Do-not. Do-not collect 200, go immediately to jail; Do-not have kids; Do-not deserve to live! Lol.

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@Mitchykdrama: Yes! that Blackmail part was like: HOW??? Is everyone in this hospital INSANE???

But afterwards, I just accept it,... there's gotta be some psycho-villain in the show. If they were trying to make me rally against the antagonist of the show, I was already there from the start, but okay Show...whatevs. LOL

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Never did watch Gray's Anatomy when it was all the rage, am not a nursing or med student then anyway. House was the better show for me coz I love psycho docs haha, I lasted til season 6, bu then am too busy with kdramas and american tv series lost its appeal on me.
for 2016, I think I enjoyed Beautiful Mind, sad that it was missing 2 episodes, but that was a good one still.
DOTS, overrated and tho I like SJK and SHJ, can't really go through til the end, dropped it by ep 4.
Doctors - dropped it after the first kiss, I can't really... they hv no chemistry and I find the story boring.
Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim - didn't watch til ep 7 was out, the reviews are good so I decided to give it a try. Fine enough for me, there's the shocking first ep with the passionate kiss between our leads and a mysterious doctor who is supposed to be the one in the title role.
Didn't I say I love psycho doctors? I think he is one.

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@Lessa I dropped those shows too! I did watch ER until the bitter end though! It's probably been 5 or 6 years since I watched a medical drama. I also am enjoying this show immensely. The only reason I started watching it was because of a Korean friend who went to school with the main female character :o. So glad she mentioned it!

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Dr. Do the elder strikes me as just as horrid as the Big Bads in BEAUTIFUL MIND, Kang Hyun-Joon and his minion Dr. Chae Soon-Ho (Oh Jung-Se and Lee Jae-Ryong). I wonder what made him that way? Is it jealousy in addition to power tripping, or something else? The look in his eyes is like that of a shark... which may be an apt metaphor for the predator at the top of the food chain.

I feel bad for his son, and can't help but wonder if he's colluding with Pops. And just what was that finger curling supposed to mean?

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And just what was that finger curling supposed to mean?

Because SeoJung stole the love-of-his-life-Dr-Moon's attention, love and body. And now she "killed" him too, so he was fuming with repressed anger at her audacity to dance so care-freely in the face of his preciousssssssss' death.

Disclaimer: This may all be the nonsensical rambling of a sleep-deprived trainwreck.

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Har! For a second there you had me going. ;-)

Hmmm. Could be that that's the hand that hit the front door. Or he's got an itchy trigger finger... oh, wrong genre. No shootout at the OK Corral.

Happy Thanksgiving to Beanies sitting down to feast with family today.

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Hey beanies! I have been a silent reader all this while (mainly because I take a SUPER long time to type a coherent paragraph, and there has always been someone who writes out the exact same thing that I have in mind more eloquently than I can), but I think it's time that I contribute a little something before I retreat back to my silent reading :P

"And just what was that finger curling supposed to mean?" I think I have the answer to that! Correct me if I am wrong, but what I learned from years of k-variety show watching is that it's a korean thing to "curl their fingers and toes" when they see or hear something cringeworthy. So in this case, the son was cringing towards seojung's crazy little dance.

Thoughts? (:

p/s: a shoutout to all recappers and commenters - thank you for this amazing platform of ideas and thoughts sharing! It's an amazing go-to place of mine every day without fail <3

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@asuwakurukara,

Thanks for decloaking to share your comment, to which I will reply in the episode 6 recap comments. ;-)

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This show is reviting. The acting is superb. Korean dramas are using their game big league this year.

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Even though I loved this drama to bits until I watched the raw at 4am and woke up at 10am to watch the subs, I found this episode slightly disappointing. It felt choppy to me. It felt like too many things were happening at once and nothing was the focus.

I agree that there was no signs of remorse/guilt shown on the screen when the VIP patient had a table death except a look of betrayal. And suddenly, in this episode, he was experiencing some sort of trauma which was so severe that he was on the verge of giving up the surgery. It did not fit his personality portrayed.

However, I could see the subtle care and concern that Teacher Kim gave to Kang Dong Joo. Teacher Kim was willing to teach Kang Dong Joo, and he was honest when he pointed out his mistakes - as a general surgeon and as a teacher. He pointed out Dong Joo's tendency to rationalise everything himself which Dong Joo did not understand, yet.

Just a sidenote, if Kang Dong Joo was able to top in his board examination, why did he still look so amateurish during an operation?

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I agree that there was no signs of remorse/guilt shown on the screen when the VIP patient had a table death except a look of betrayal. And suddenly, in this episode, he was experiencing some sort of trauma which was so severe that he was on the verge of giving up the surgery. It did not fit his personality portrayed.

My interpretation is that Dong-joo knew going into his first fatal operation that the patient's condition was bad and that the game was rigged, but it was much worse than he'd anticipated. I think also that he's been an excellent student whose book-learning exceeds his hands-on experience, but he only really found that out when he assisted Kim Sabu in surgery at Doldam. I think his remorse/guilt has been festering all along, but he's pretty compartmentalized, and has managed to keep it at bay (aside from breaking down on the phone with Mom) while attempting to acclimate himself to the madhouse to which he was exiled. Suddenly recognizing the same symptoms in his current surgery patient was the straw that broke the camel's back -- after he'd recently lost another patient despite his dogged best efforts.

However, I could see the subtle care and concern that Teacher Kim gave to Kang Dong Joo. Teacher Kim was willing to teach Kang Dong Joo, and he was honest when he pointed out his mistakes – as a general surgeon and as a teacher. He pointed out Dong Joo’s tendency to rationalise everything himself which Dong Joo did not understand, yet.

Fully agree. I noticed a shift in Kim Sabu's tone or vibe, which was less combative than previously when he was encouraging Dong-joo to hang in and not give up on the patient. But ultimately he left it up to Dong-joo as to how to proceed. It was an interesting contrast with how Nurse Oh and Doc Nam kept encouraging him until he could unfreeze. They could see his anguish... something he was not in the habit of revealing to others... and kept encouraging him until he could see his way clear to continuing surgery.

That shift in tone came about after Nurse Oh went postal and chewed out Kim Sabu like a mama bear smacking around her cubs to get their attention.

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Being a top in board exam does not mean you will be topnotch in real situations. Some people are good in exam but not in practical situations. You can recite the steps perfectly how to do a certain procedures yet when it comes to doing you loss it!
That's why practice and experience makes you adept in doing things. Interns need to work in the hospitals so they can apply what they learn, in books and classroom.
Being a good Doctor involves so many things being smart is not enough you need to have compassion, knowing how to communicate to your patients is very important, you should love what you do and most of all you have a heart !

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I understand that excelling in written examinations may not be a proof of the application of knowledge in real life. However, Kang Dong Joo had already finished his 'intern' period which was pretty long for a doctor, and then managed to get the general surgeon specialisation, which I believed, adds up to a total of at least 6 years in the hospital. Therefore, I would have believed that he should at least be better than what he was been portrayed.

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This is where the drama is leading to for KDJ to hone his skills into becoming a better surgeon under the mentoring of Dr. Kim. The last surgery he performed was a major and the patient was more at risks because of his medical history. Plus he still getting over his patient dying from the last time. He loss his "mojo" and he needs to regain his confidence back.

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Thanks, murasakimi, for the recap and commentary.

I, too, got the biggest kick out of the Dr. Song-as-prairie-dog scene. I just knew he was going to get busted, and the look on his face was priceless. Upon rewatching, when Song ducks down in the back seat, I could see Kim Sabu's shadow at the very bottom of the window reverse direction.

You bring up several very good points about Song's thralldom to Do, and Kim Sabu's treatment of Dong-joo as an intervention to get him to live up to his potential as a physician. It now comes across to me as an expression of tough love rather than equal-opportunity misanthropy...

I agree that Kim Sabu wants colleagues, not underlings and yes-men.

I cracked up as Seo-jung boogied down in the linen room. Nice tip of the hat to her earlier singing career with M.I.L.K., and her DIY exorcism scene in OH HAE YOUNG AGAIN.

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I haven't watch this episode yet, but wanted to comment that I loved the end of episode 4. I felt like I could see the hearts shooting out of Dong-joo's eyes when he was looking at Teacher Kim :D

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Finally caught up and loving this show! Thank you murasakimi for the wonderful recap.
I'm so happy that it's worth bringing back Han Suk-kyu to drama land. I was really nervous that this might end up being another Secret Door.

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is seo-jung not leading or actively participating in surgeries anymore because of her hand injury? lol its kinda sad to see how she went from this "legend" in the first episode where she was tackling all these difficult operations and doing all these crazy things just to be an assistant..

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I know right? Not only that, her role become a character who have the least character depth among the tree after ep 3-4 which is sad. She is really a very talent actress and can show depth alot better than she can shown in this drama.

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I think this whole situation is meant to convey that Seo-jung is still severely traumatized by the auto accident that killed her fiance and continues to wrestle with a bad case of survivor's guilt.

Seo-jung was busted down from surgeon to orderly (the hospital equivalent of being demoted from officer to buck private in the US Army, the very lowest enlisted rank, not even a private first class) because of her suicide attempt. Kim Sabu cited the 2 legal codes relating to mental qualifications of physicians, and told her he couldn't trust her with patients because she harmed herself. After Nurse Oh went ballistic, he became willing to allow her to gradually work her way back into the OR while he observes her progress in overcoming the inner demons that drove her to attempt suicide.

We haven't seen much footage of her state in the five years after he brought her in from the mountain, although the one of the "old timers" at Doldam says something along the line of "here we go again" when they get the call that she's wigging out. It'll be interesting to see if there will be any flashbacks of her calling out while hallucinating or under sedation, especially if she mentions a certain someone's name other than Dr. Moon. I suspect that may have happened because Kim Sabu accused Dong-joo of trying to get Seo-jung back in the ER with him during the episode with the flambéed chefs. Just my supposition.

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I think we'll gradually see more of Seo Jung's usual self and medical skills again soon. She had faced such a terrible experience. I'd like to see her overcome that and move on fully by the end of the show.

Seo Hyun Jin's acting is superb btw. I adore her. <3

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Usually i don't watch medical dramas but this one caught my attention...i'm really happy i decided to watch this drama, it quickly became my favorite ;)

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btw, Happy Thanksgiving to those in the U.S.!

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That fingers curling thing was really wth? The focus was on that I kept wondering why is this? What does this mean? It was random yet meant to have some meaning. May be future episodes reveal.
I found the character quite twisted thought, in his interactions with crazy absolute n feigning ignorance. He didn't even ask for her directly and was all sorts of crookedness. But surprise does this show! Good surgery skills, calmness, n recession making all reminded me of kim himself n kim also saw his potential n asked his dad for him his hospital. I found that a good move , good writing. Skills and temperament wise, he seems better that dr kang dong joo. I found this quite a surprise, to make the second lead better than the hero himself.

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Crazy whale not absolute.
Decision not recession.

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Oh my. This show is just perfect. I love everything about it. The characters, the plot, the acting, the directing.

There are so many mysteries that I can hardly wait to reveal. Monday can't come soon enough.

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it's 1 AM and I am hate-watching this. The only reason why I still watch this is because I want to see more of Seo Jung. But I feel like she's got thrown under the bus and the story mainly revolves around Dong Joo //sigh

And when they're together, (don't get me wrong, I appreciate the quieter moments in this episode) Dong Joo act somewhat aggressive and it's creepy to see him pushing himself to Seo Jung instead of approaching her like a normal person would (especially considering that she's somewhat unstable?).

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yeah...she has definitely been thrown under the bus and forgotten to grow as a character...so much depth to her character in the first episode! now all the focus is on dong joo..

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murasakimi, that comment about Kim wanting equals, not underlings, was amazing. :) I didn't see it that way but after you pointed it out, it makes so much sense how he's been treating the two of them.

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Does anyone knows the name of the ending (credits) song???

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The closing credits song is 'The Stranger," by Billy Joel.

Well, we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out
And show ourselves when everyone has gone

I like that Seo-jung is folding sheets and singing "Loser" by Big Bang.

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In this age of pandemic, I'm horrified by the blood splatter touching DY's eyes during the liver-cancer victim's surgery.

Otherwise, this drama's great.

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