Hospital Playlist: Episode 11
After decades of working and being friends, things might be changing for our group. While some deal with family drama, others have romantic issues to face, but despite the problems that loom in the horizon, there’s always time for a good meal, a karaoke session, and a little nighttime band practice.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Nurse Song brings her daughter So-mi to Song-hwa, who shows them the MRI scans. It looks like a pituitary tumor, but luckily, it’s treatable. Nurse Song remains calm despite the news, and comforts her scared daughter. However, when Song-hwa asks why they didn’t come sooner, Nurse Song finally tears up and apologizes for not knowing about her daughter’s condition sooner.
During the meeting, Song-ha receives a call from Ik-joon and learns about Chairman Yang—he might not make it. Later that night, she brings Seok-hyung a jacket and sit with him in the hall. He tells her about his muddled feelings, unsure of what to do, but she assures him that it’s okay to just stay still. As the rest of the friends join them, they tell Seok-hyung to go home, but even Song-hwa’s words can’t convince him to rest. Though he isn’t superstitious, Seok-hyung has a bad feeling and wants to stay.
Unfortunately, his premonitions come true, and Seok-hyung watches over the chairman’s funeral. Rosa and Jong-soo come to pay their respects, and Seok-hyung stops by their table to thank them for coming. Rosa asks about the others, and he tells them that his friends already visited in the afternoon.
Despite having surgeries, the rest of the gang show up again to be with Seok-hyung, and Jung-won hands him some toiletries and useful items. While they eat, the friends hear about the mistress coming to the funeral, and to their indignation, Seok-hyung let her pay her respects. He tells them that she talked about her pregnancy and how her child would have a nice, older brother. Seok-hyung let her ramble since the baby isn’t at fault, but his friends yell at him unison for not taking a tougher stance.
Staff and patients bustle about in the General Surgery department, and in the center, guiding everyone, is Nurse Song. From the corner, So-mi films the scene with her phone, but the intern catches her and assumes that he’s the subject of her video. So-mi corrects his misconception and continues filming down the hall as Hong-do walks past.
Song-hwa’s herniated disc bothers her even more as of late, but she puts off taking medicine while meeting her outpatients. It isn’t until she gets a call from the emergency room that she finally takes a few pills before running off.
In the director’s room, Jung-won tells the hospital director that he’s leaving at the end of the year, which is very bad news for the hospital. Since the other pediatric surgeon went down to the Sokcho branch, Jung-won’s departure means the entire ward will have to shut down. Despite the negative impact his resignation would bring, Jung-won seems set on leaving.
Song-hwa checks on the emergency patient and informs the guardian that surgery is the only option. She goes over the high possibility of brain damage, but the guardian begs Song-hwa to at least save her husband’s life—as long as he lives, she doesn’t care if he is paralyzed.
Resting after his surgery, Joon-wan talks with Ik-soon on the phone when Ik-joon enters the lounge. While Ik-soon tells him about her plans to stay at her brother’s place this weekend, Joon-wan answers back vaguely to keep his friend in the dark. However, nothing can stop Ik-joon as he climbs on top of Joon-wan to eavesdrop.
Once Joon-wan hangs up, Ik-joon comments on how he’s meeting this person for a long time, guessing that she’s great, and Joon-wan drops all the jokes and says that she is. Ik-joon orders his friend to stop acting serious, so Joon-wan scrunches up his face at Ik-joon. Heh.
Not soon after, Ik-soon calls her brother to tell him that she’s coming up to see him and asks for crabs. Ik-joon complains about her sudden request, but the next day, Joon-wan rings his doorbell with a box of crabs on his shoulder. He claims that the crabs are for Woo-joo since he likes them so much, and Ik-soon makes her nephew play along.
As they eat the crabs, Joon-wan explains that his water stopped working at his apartment, which is why he came over. Ik-joon calls him out on his lie, pointing out his stylized hair, but Joon-wan says that he woke up like this. Changing the subject, he asks why Ik-joon is going to the hospital when he’s not on call, and Ik-joon tells him that he’s studying for his symposium.
Ik-joon tells the two not to fight before leaving, and as soon as he’s gone, Joon-wan hugs Ik-soon and asks for a kiss. Just as they get cozy, Ik-joon pops back in, and Joon-wan scrambles to the floor. While Ik-joon moves Woo-joo to his room, Joon-wan wipes the ground furiously with one eye on his friend, but Ik-joon catches his odd behavior and mutters under his breath about Joon-wan cleaning the same spot.
After tidying things up, Ik-soon talks with Joon-wan about her brother and how much he changed after getting married and having Woo-joo. Though she’s glad he didn’t end up on the streets, on the other hand, it makes her sad that he’s no longer living his life for himself. Joon-wan sees the situation differently and calls it blessing since it means Ik-joon loves Woo-joo that much more.
While Chi-hong goes to the hospital despite it being his birthday as well as his day off, Ik-soon tells Joon-wan that Chi-hong has always been diligent. Everyone thought he would become a general, so when he got sick and was discharged from the military, it left everyone in tears—including Chi-hong.
She was worried about her friend going to medical school at first, but was relieved when his mentor turned out to be Song-hwa. Joon-wan brags about his friend, and Ik-soon agrees that just looking at Song-hwa makes her happy. She asks if there really isn’t something between her brother and Song-hwa, and Joon-wan waves aside her conjectures.
At the hospital, Seon-bin marvels at Chi-hong’s dedication, but he brushes aside the compliments, claiming to work out of habit. A couple of patients enter the elevator with them, and Chi-hong correctly guesses which floor they want.
Chi-hong goes to check on the ER patient who’s now in the ICU, but Song-hwa is already monitoring him even while wearing a neck brace. He waits outside for her and asks if they can have dinner together. She refuses at first, worried that he would make the atmosphere awkward, but Chi-hong promises to keep it casual. Elsewhere in the hospital, Ik-joon plays games on his computer when his sister calls for help with Woo-joo.
In the elevator, Chi-hong asks Song-hwa if she remembers the first day he met her, but before he can explain, Ik-joon enters. He stands right next to Song-hwa—their shoulders touching—and the three of them stand in awkward silence for the entire ride. When they arrive at his floor, Ik-joon pats Song-hwa on the shoulder before getting off, which Chi-hong notices.
Joon-wan and Ik-soon walk outside and discuss her upcoming move next month. They agree that the distance will inevitably lead to the fights, but Ik-soon takes it a step further, contemplating their eventual breakup as well. Joon-wan tells her to not worry about things that haven’t passed, but Ik-soon knows that he wants to get married eventually. She doesn’t want him to waste his time, but he corrects her:
“What I want isn’t marriage. It’s to be with you for a long time. Of course, I want to marry you, but if you don’t want it, we won’t. I’m already so happy now. Ik-soon, three years will go by fast. Forty years went by fast, too.”
He asks her to put out her hands, and Ik-soon immediately reminds him that she said no presents. To her embarrassment, Joon-wan pulls out earbuds, and they laugh at her overreaction. They listen to “Emergency Room” by Izi as they walk, and Joon-wan claims that every doctor dislikes this song. (Fun fact: Kim Joon-han, the actor playing Chi-hong, was the drummer in Izi.)
Song-hwa drives Chi-hong back to the hospital since he usually sleeps there, and during the ride, Ik-joon calls Song-hwa to ask what she’s doing. Though Ik-joon hangs up almost immediately, the conversation seems to bother Chi-hong. He tells Song-hwa that it’s his birthday once they arrive at the hospital, and when she offers to buy him a present, he asks if he can speak to her casually.
She agrees after he promises to not cross the line, and turning towards Song-hwa, he tells her to drive home safely. She smiles at his comment, but it disappears in a flash when Chi-hong pats her on the shoulders. As soon as he leaves, she heaves a big sigh.
Lunch today is in Jung-won and Joon-wan’s office, and the menu is meat. The food fighters stare at the food in joy, which triggers warning bells for the others who share knowing glances. Ik-joon and Jung-won volunteer to set up the table and get in a couple of bites before letting the food fighters back into the room. All the while, Joon-wan and Song-hwa stare through the small window in the door looking betrayed by the friends for keeping them away. Ha!
As soon as they start eating, Song-hwa and Joon-wan get excited over the different side dishes and feed each other food. The others suggest that the two of them should meet for meals even after they get married, but the food fighters don’t hear their friends’ taunts. During lunch, Jung-won gets a call from Gyu-wool about an operation since he’s assisting on her first lead surgery today.
In the operating room, the others congratulate Gyu-wool since it’s rare to lead a pediatric surgery, and Gyu-wool thanks Jung-won for the opportunity. As they begin, Jung-won guides her from time to time, and Gyu-wool performs the operation without any problems. Meanwhile, the hospital director notifies Jong-soo and Rosa about Jung-won’s resignation. In a whisper, he asks if there’s something wrong, but doesn’t receive an answer as Rosa leaves the room for a smoke.
In his office, Ik-joon meets with a patient, and tells him that he has liver cancer. Though a living donor is their best option, the patient says that he doesn’t want to burden his family. His parents and younger brother reassure him that they aren’t burdened, and as soon as the patient leaves the room for some tests, they turn towards the wife and pressure her to donate. Unable to disagree, the wife complies.
Sensing the tension, Ik-joon sends the rest of the family out of the room to run some errands, and gives the wife privacy to tell the truth. He tells her that it’s a difficult decision and no one can criticize her if she refuses, especially since she has a young son. With tears pooling in her eyes, the wife asks Ik-joon to lie to the family that her liver doesn’t match, and Ik-joon agrees to talk with the others about it.
Sensing Rosa’s sullen mood, Jong-soo tells her that it might be time to let Jung-won go and offers to play with her instead. She doesn’t react to his comment and asks for directions to the garden since she’s supposed to meet Jung-won. Taking her hand, Jong-soo leads the way.
They find Jung-won in the garden with Gyu-wool, where the two of them are talking about her first, solo surgery. When Gyu-wool gets up to leave, Jung-won watches her with a smile, and from inside, Rosa watches him with a twinkle in her eye. In a much chipper mood, she tells Jong-soo that she’s going to make an all-or-nothing gamble, and takes her friend out to eat instead of meeting her son.
Joon-wan is worried about a baby patient whose only option is a heart transplant. He informs the parents about the situation, but the mother refuses to give up hope. She mentions how their child is still alive because of Joon-wan and begs him to not give up, either. Joon-wan says that he hasn’t and promises to do his best.
Min-ha stands outside of Seok-hyung’s office and practices what to say until Joon-wan and Jung-won catch her. She hastily greets them before running away in embarrassment, and Seok-hyung comes out, none the wiser. As for the other two friends, Song-hwa is at the neurosurgery department party, and Ik-joon tagged along. Pffft, of course he did.
At the party, the younger crowd plays spin the bottle where the chosen person must answer a question or drink a shot of soju. They do a practice round, asking Seok-min what he thinks of Seon-bin, and when he tries to get out of answering, Ik-joon takes interest and shows the group some pointers. When the game begins, they take Ik-joon’s advice and use it against him: did he ever consider Song-hwa as more than a friend?
Ik-joon refuses to answer and drinks instead. As the game continues, Ik-joon is chosen again, and Seon-bin asks about his first love. He reaches for the glass, but Chi-hong intercepts and acts as his “black knight.” Since he took the punishment, he gets one wish, so he asks Ik-joon to answer the previous question. Song-hwa sits uncomfortably between them, and after a long pause, Ik-joon admits that he has.
After the party, Song-hwa rides a taxi with Ik-joon who’s passed out, and gets a call from Jung-won who shouts at her to join them. In the karaoke room, Joon-wan sleeps on a couch, Jung-won sings as he spins around a pole, and Seok-hyung plays along until he crawls to the back to sleep.
As the only sober person in the room, Song-hwa orders her friends to go home and steals the remote from Jung-won. With only a minute left, Ik-joon wakes up from his slumber and inputs a new song: “I Knew I’d Love You” by Shin Hyuo-bum. As he sings, we flash back to April 1994 when Ik-joon bought a ring for his girlfriend—the same box he threw away on Song-hwa’s birthday.
Back in the karaoke room, Joon-wan wakes up and thinks back to his date with Ik-soon. He shared about his Hawaii trip, and she told him about her ex-boyfriend. At the end of their conversation, she asked him to be forthright if he ever wanted to break up because she only wants to keep good memories of him. As Joon-wan reflects on her words, he takes out a set of rings from his pocket.
The scene transitions to Seok-hyung’s basement as the band plays the same song. After Ik-joon finishes, the song continues in the background, but this time, Jeon Mi-do (the actor playing Song-hwa) sings.
Spring of 2016. Chi-hong arrived at Yulje Medical Center for his first day as an intern and met Song-hwa on the elevator. He watched her press the buttons for the other passengers before they asked, and when they got off at the same floor, he assumed she was an intern, too.
Song-hwa smiled at his comment, and Chi-hong soon realized his mistake when he saw her in the neurology department—not as an intern but as a professor. In the present, Chi-hong sits on his bunk bed; the memory of that day bringing him a mix of emotions.
Joon-wan is notified of a donor for his infant patient, and he paces in the hall, waiting for an update. He turns to Jae-hak, making sure he kept the news a secret from the parents, and Jae-hak tells his nervous mentor that he knows that much. Once the donor is confirmed, Joon-wan notifies the parents, and though it won’t be easy, he promises to give it his all.
As Joon-wan leaves for the day, he checks his forehead and worries about a fever. He calls Jae-hak over to check as well, and the chief resident places his hand on Joon-wan’s forehead. Rather than find a thermometer, the two of them touch each other’s faces and even put their foreheads together to check Joon-wan’s temperature. In the end, Joon-wan seems to be fine as he goes into the operating room.
Nurse Song is busy as usual when the other staff members call her over to watch So-mi’s new video. It’s a video dedicated to Nurse Song (with Hong-do as clickbait, heh), and using a play on words with the show’s title, So-mi cheers on all the nurses like her mom.
Chi-hong updates Song-hwa on the ER patient’s improvements, and she’s relieved to hear the news as she goes to check on him. Contrary to their positive outlook, the patient is angry about his paralyzed arm. Though Song-hwa tells him that rehabilitation will help, the patient shuts out her advice and expresses his wish to die.
After the transplant operation, Joon-wan explains what happened to the parents, and actively tries to put them at ease while delivering the news—seems like Jae-hak has influenced him for the better. Once the parents leave, Joon-wan drops his composed act and asks his chief resident to monitor the patient. Jae-hak smiles and nods, unable to take his eyes off his mentor.
The test results for the liver donor match are in, and Ik-joon tells the family that the wife’s liver is too small. Unlike the rest of the family, the husband says that it’s a relief and comforts his crying wife.
In the garden, Chi-hong brings Song-hwa coffee and calls the patient out of line. Despite his attempts to raise her spirit, Song-hwa keeps her emotions bottled up, and instead, places the patient’s need first. She asks Chi-hong to tell the guardian about rehabilitation and offers to answer any questions she might have.
With all her friends gathered in her office, Song-hwa tells them that she’s moving to the Sokcho branch for a year to rest and fix her neck problem. The friends respond in turn—though Ik-joon is uncharacteristically silent—and though they hate to see her go, she assures them that she’ll still come by frequently.
She changes to the topic to Seok-hyung’s mom, and he tells her that she’s just staying the hospital because she’s been feeling weak recently. Later that day, he visits her in the VIP ward with Lawyer Pyung, but there isn’t time for idle chitchat since people from Chairman Yang’s side are coming over to talk about his will.
In the hospital garden, Rosa meets Gyu-wool, who tells her that she’s nothing to Jung-won. Rosa disagrees, and explains how she saw them together. With one look at her son, she knew that Gyu-wool was special to him. Though she could be wrong, Rosa wants to hold onto this last strand of hope and asks Gyu-wool for a tough favor: will she ask Jung-won to stay at the hospital?
With only one episode left in this season of Hospital Playlist, it doesn’t feel like the show will give us a lot of closure to the questions raised so far. In some ways, this penultimate episode was like a preparation before the actual goodbye as characters are slowly planning their departures. Song-hwa might move to Sokcho, Ik-soon is going to the UK, and Jung-won is leaving to become a priest. I love when all five friends are together, so the thought of even one of them moving away leaves a hole in my heart. However, as much as I want them to stay, I would understand if the group breaks apart for a while. Having the friends deal with separation would raise a new set of questions and problems for the show to tackle. Much like love, friendship is a choice that all parties involved need to actively pursue, and just as long-distance relationships are hard, the same applies to friendships. I know their friendship remained intact even when Seok-hyung went to the United States for a couple of years, but maybe that was possible because it was Seok-hyung. What happens when the nurturing one (Jung-won) and the emotional pillar (Song-hwa) are both gone? Will the guys be okay with just Ik-joon, Joon-wan, and Seok-hyung? Granted, there’s no guarantee that any of the friends will leave, but it does make the audience wonder what would happen to this group as they face new challenges.
Besides physical separation, there is also the issue of romance. Though it hasn’t been explicitly stated, it’s clear as day that Ik-joon likes Song-hwa, and she is somewhat aware of his feelings. While I said in the previous episode that I could see the two friends ending up together, if it does happen, I highly doubt it will come into fruition this season. As much as I like Ik-joon and Chi-hong, I love Song-hwa as much or even more than them, and from the way these two acted this episode, I don’t think Song-hwa is ready to accept either of them as a love interest. Their attempts to show their feelings for Song-hwa came across as selfish and prideful, as if it was more about “outdoing” their competitor than actually caring for Song-hwa. Chi-hong’s wish could have been a touching moment if he let it end with just the first comment—a show of endearment without being pushy or making the mood awkward. Even Song-hwa laughed at first at his sweet and innocent attempt to step closer to her as a person rather than a junior. However, when he patted her on the shoulder, it immediately ruined the mood, and I couldn’t help but shake my head at Chi-hong for forgetting his first promise to not make things awkward. Part of my distaste for Chi-hong’s pat was that it didn’t feel natural. Chi-hong looked like he was trying to force a connection and mimic what Ik-joon did in the elevator. If he doesn’t realize his mistake and pushes Song-hwa into these uncomfortable encounters, I wouldn’t be surprised if she drew an even firmer line between them. As for Ik-joon, I didn’t find him much better than our resident. Following them to the party was fine because it fit his character, but instead of answering the questions with wit and not putting Song-hwa in an awkward position, he seemed to accept Chi-hong’s challenge. The alcohol probably caused a lapse in judgement, but in that moment, Ik-joon wasn’t thinking about Song-hwa but himself and Chi-hong. In that regard, jealousy may have spurred Ik-joon to action, but if he’s not careful, it could also be his downfall.
Though Song-hwa and Jung-won might leave, it’s really Ik-soon who is the most likely to go away. While three years might be short in the grand scheme of things, a long-distance relationship is still a huge hurdle for any couple. However, more than the separation, a different problem nagged at me throughout the entire episode concerning Joon-wan and Ik-soon. A terrible, past relationship has scarred Ik-soon, and though she loves Joon-wan enough to start dating again, it seems that the hurt from her ex-boyfriend hasn’t mended fully. I get the impression that Ik-soon is dating Joon-wan with their end in mind. Presently, she loves him, but in the back of her head, she can’t get rid of the thought that eventually their love will fizzle out because it happened to her before. In an attempt to protect herself from heartache, she’s mentally preparing for their breakup, which hinders their relationship. Joon-wan seems to be aware of this problem as well, and repeatedly lets Ik-soon know that he’s not like her old boyfriend. On one hand, I want him to be honest about his wants and give her the rings to symbolize his commitment to her (not proposing marriage), but I also understand his hesitation because if he pushes her too quickly, she might retreat into her shell. While Ik-soon is worried about Joon-wan breaking up with her, I’m more worried about her breaking up with him. Hopefully they can work through these problems because I really do believe that they love each other, and unlike his previous relationships, Joon-wan seems willing to stick around rather than bail at the first signs of trouble.
While I love a good romance, my favorite parts of these creators’ work (including Prison Playbook) has always been the family ties and friendships, which continues with this show, as well. I love the portrayal of friendship in this story, and the five friends never fail to make me laugh. Though I sound like a broken record, I adore them—flaws and all. Despite their busy schedules, they make time for each other, and their friendship feels genuine. No matter what storm passes through, I trust that these five individuals will always love one another and be there for each other in their times of need. In addition, they act comfortably around each other even if they don’t always see eye to eye. In fact, I think it’s because they are so different that their friendship has lasted this long. They all bring something to the relationship, and though they might complain about each other and claim not to match, that doesn’t hinder their friendship.
There were so many great moments this episode between the friends like the scenes where the group comforted Seok-hyung as he went through this family drama. Even though they already visited, the friends joined him at the funeral at night after all their surgeries. Then when he shared the story about the mistress, they got mad on his behalf (even Jung-won got angry). We also got the hilarious karaoke scene with drunk Jung-won, who’s a riot. I love the repeated use of the two food fighters and the way they get excited over their meals—but their relationship is even funnier by how the others accommodate their fast-eating friends. I also love the way Jung-won takes care of the others, bringing them stuff or asking how they are. I love the way Ik-joon shows no boundaries and can cuddle up to Joon-wan like it’s the most comfortable spot on the couch, and I love that Seok-hyung was the one who brought the band back together even though he’s a self-professed homebody and sociophobe. More than any romantic relationship, I ship their friendship and hope that nothing comes between them.