You Who Forgot Poetry: Episodes 1-8
I started this show partly on a whim, and my interest in young actors Jang Dong-yoon and Shin Jae-ha persuaded me to try it out even though I wasn’t sure if there was really any other draw.
I’ve been giving Lee Yu-bi the side-eye since the shambles that was Scholar Who Walks the Night, and watching the first couple of episodes of Poetry, I wanted to drop it SO many times, because! Seriously! Not one good thing happens to her!
But then something changed. Lee Yu-bi’s character and our protagonist, WOO BO-YOUNG, starts pushing back and asserting herself, and there’s something so charming about her that you can’t help falling in love, even while you’re simultaneously crying in embarrassment.
EPISODES 1-8 WEECAP
Once a poetry-loving liberal arts student, Bo-young became a physiotherapist instead for the sake of reliable employment since she has to support her mom. She’s a hard-working contract-employee at Shinsun Hospital, and wants nothing more than to be taken on as a full-timer. That means she’s got the worst of both worlds, because her seniors are always taking advantage of her, while her juniors look down on her.
It gets worse when two of her college hoobaes, SHIN MIN-HO (Jang Dong-yoon) and KIM NAM-WOO (Shin Jae-ha) arrive in her department as trainees. Min-ho turns out to be the guy she liked back then, and she’d wooed him with poetry, only to be unkindly rejected.
Things finally look up when she gets a patients’ choice award for most friendly staff member, but it’s quickly and cruelly taken away since it’s only for full-timers. To compound her misery and humiliation, her history with Min-ho also comes out and everything is terrible. But she finds solace and strength in poetry and decides to give it all another shot.
Her new start coincides with a new addition to their department in the form of hotshot Dr. YE JAE-WOOK (Lee Joon-hyuk), who used to work at a prestigious university hospital. We learn that he left after testifying against a colleague for medical malpractice, but what really drove him away was discovering that his girlfriend and love of his life was cheating on him—with that same doctor. (I’m not sure if there was a revenge angle there, or if it was coincidence.)
Jae-wook seems rigid and cheerless at first, but he set shippers’ hearts on fire by noticing how hard, how much, and how well Bo-young worked, and also how others took advantage of her. He has a habit of prefacing nearly everything he says with, “Shall I give you some advice?” but his advice to Bo-young is always something warming and encouraging, so how can you blame her (and three-quarters of the fandom) for falling for him?
Elsewhere, in the radiology department, HAN JOO-YONG (Park Sun-ho) has been assigned to work with department outcast, KIM DAE-BANG (Defconn), who suffers from pathological indecision which drives everyone bananas, including Joo-yong.
Joo-yong is no less an outcast, an entertainment junkie who watches waaay too much TV when he’s meant to be studying, and the men slowly become closer thanks to their mutual pity of each other. (There’s also a fistfight over who is the bigger loser, lol, and suffice it to say that it was a fight with no winners.)
When impoverished Nam-woo is left homeless, Jae-wook pulls some strings and gets both trainees housed in hospital accommodation. That turns out to be together with Joo-yong—who was also their former college-mate and deeply ashamed of the fact. But for all that, don’t they seem to suit each other perfectly? Ha. They all kind of deserve each other, and I actually mean that in a nice way. I think.
Back in the physiotherapy department, after working alongside Bo-young for a while, Min-ho not only comes to respect her, but also… like her (very much against his will). Except he immediately turns petty when he realizes she likes Jae-wook and does everything he can to make her look bad in front of him.
Thanks to Min-ho’s provocations, us Ye-liners are crying this week because Jae-wook’s rigid facade seems to be cracking, and he’s been doing aaaalll sorts of things that are out of character for him, both in defending Bo-young and in seeking out her company.
It pushes Min-ho to finally admit to the boys (and himself) that he likes her, though he has yet to repent being such an ass.
What’s great about all these characters is that they’re various combinations of petty, vain, silly, and at times, downright cruel, but the moment you begin to hate them, they reveal a vulnerable human side, a too-soft underbelly, that stops you from writing them off even if you haven’t quite entirely forgiven them.
This is true of Min-ho, who’s taken particular delight in torturing Bo-young whenever possible, yet there is something deeper going on beneath that frivolous surface, he just rarely lets himself go there. The second son in a family full of high-achieving doctors, he’s practically invisible to them, and though he’s rich, he’s starved of affection.
It’s also frequently true of Bo-young’s immediate seniors, Dr. KIM YOON-JOO (Lee Chae-young) and Dr. PARK SHI-WON (Kim Jae-beom), and especially so this week: Divorcee Yoon-joo struggles after coming face-to-face with her ex-husband for the first time since they split, and we learn she left him because she found out she couldn’t have children, though she never told him that.
Shi-won struggles with providing for his family. He does whatever he must to ensure his own survival and refuses to apologize for it, though I think he secretly hates himself a little. They’re complicated characters who are often unlikable and even unpleasant, but they remain sympathetic and emotionally accessible, and that’s what tugs the heart.
What did you guys make of this week’s developments? I’ve been firmly Ye-line since Jae-wook turned up, but I feel like the ending this week was kind of ominous. The show’s at its midpoint so the worm is definitely about to turn… but which way?