Hospital Playlist 2: Episode 1
The show is back and raring to go! We return to the lives of our five doctor friends as well as the stories of the various staff and patients who enter these hospital doors. Just as they were nearly a year ago, our motley cast of characters make mistakes but grow from them while experiencing the ups and downs of life. Thus, another journey begins as we explore the ordinary days of these extraordinary people.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
Continuing where the show left off in season one, YANG SEOK-HYUNG (Kim Dae-myung) receives a text from his resident, Choo Min-ha, inviting him out for a Christmas dinner. After multiple rough drafts, he decides to be blunt and declines the offer.
On his way out, he gets a call from Shin-hye, his ex-wife, and rushes to the emergency room. He crosses paths with Dr. Bong who introduces him to the new ER fellow, Kang So-ye. Seok-hyung asks about Shin-hye’s dad, and Dr. Bong gives him a brief description of his condition. He wonders how he knows the patient, but before Seok-hyung can explain, Shin-hye comes looking for him.
Alone at the restaurant, Min-ha pours her imaginary companion a glass of wine and bounces between the two seats, eating both plates of food. Her server brings out a pasta dish and a whole cake, which are gifts from the chef. Staring at the sudden dessert, Min-ha complains about the small size.
At home, KIM JOON-WAN (Jung Kyung-ho) answers a call from his girlfriend, Lee Ik-soon, who is studying abroad in London. She can tell from his voice that something is wrong and teases him for missing her.
Grinning from ear to ear, Joon-wan says that she is correct, but his smile disappears when he catches his friend and roommate, AHN JUNG-WON (Yoo Yeon-seok), staring at him from the doorway. After kicking him out, Joon-wan tells Ik-soon that the package he sent was returned, and she promises to look into it and get back to him.
Seok-hyung assures Shin-hye and her mom that the patient will be fine without surgery, and they express their gratitude towards him. Since they haven’t eaten yet, Shin-hye asks Seok-hyung to take her to a nearby restaurant, and he agrees. As they head out, Fellow So-ye hands them an umbrella and watches them leave with their arms linked.
Despite taking the night off, Min-ha returns to the hospital after her unsuccessful date. Standing outside the ER, she spots Seok-hyung exiting with Shin-hye and stares in shock. Grabbing her stuff—which includes a teddy bear meant for him—she turns around to hide from the couple.
Jung Rosa hosts a Christmas party at her house, and the whole older cast is there to celebrate: Joo Jong-soo, Hospital Director Joo, and Seok-hyung’s mom. In the kitchen, Rosa happily chats with her son over the phone, and Jung-won promises to visit her over the weekend for an important announcement. As soon as she hangs up, Rosa tells the others that Jung-won is not leaving and guesses that he might be dating someone as well.
Joon-wan bursts into Jung-won’s room to ask about their next song, and Jung-won recites the chorus for him. Hearing the lyrics, Joon-wan asks if he is dating someone. Jung-won’s eyes nearly pop out of his head, but to his relief, Joon-wan was talking about Seok-hyung. A call from his girlfriend causes Joon-wan to backpedal out of the room, and once he leaves, Jung-won rolls around his bed in a giddy mood.
Ik-soon tells Joon-wan what happened to the package, and he offers to send it again. She thinks it would be safer to get it in person, so he agrees to hold onto it until her next visit. Ik-soon apologizes for making him spend the holidays alone, and they go back and forth saying “I love you.”
Early in the morning, LEE IK-JOON (Jo Jung-seok) stretches in his biking gear and drops by his son’s room to say goodbye. Noticing Woo-joo’s sudden growth spurt, Ik-joon tells the nanny that his son grew bigger because it’s a new year. The nanny calls his logic preposterous, so Ik-joon parodies Men in Black and erases the nanny’s (and the audience’s) memory.
While biking to work, Ik-joon comes across a runner who suddenly throws up on the side of the road. When the man faints, Ik-joon immediately jumps into doctor-mode and checks the patient’s condition. He accompanies the man on the ambulance, and the paramedics inform him that they are headed to Yulje Medical Center.
Thus, Ik-joon ends up arriving to work much earlier than he expected, but thanks to this little rearrangement, he bumps into CHAE SONG-HWA (Jeon Mi-do) who’s suddenly back. She’s only here momentarily to prepare for a talk, but Ik-joon is glad to see her and invites her out to coffee.
Still awkward and shy, Seok-hyung lies to his coworkers in order to use the stairs instead of the crowded elevator. Things are also the same for Resident Jang Gyu-wool who hurries through the hall with wet hair, clearly haggard but working diligently.
While Joon-wan gets ready to leave, Jung-won steps out of the bathroom, asking if he used his shampoo. Joon-wan says that he hasn’t, grumbling under his breath about his stingy friend, but surprisingly, Jung-won tells him to try some since it’s great. Breaking into a smile, Joon-wan admits to using it, and a toilet paper roll hits his face. Pfft.
Gyu-wool visits a patient and instructs him to keep exercising in order to recover. Though he complains about the pain, she makes it clear that he needs to keep trying, and her stern lecture motivates (aka, scares) the others patients to practice, too.
During surgery, Joon-wan quizzes the intern about the patient’s history, but the intern fumbles for an answer. Joon-wan glares at him and warns him to study before stepping into his operating room next time.
After finishing a round with Dr. Kwon, Gyu-wool runs down to the pediatric ward and joins Jung-won on his. She informs him about a patient who is in a bad mood, so he goes to visit their pessimist in person.
Jung-won’s cheery attitude does nothing in improving the little girl’s glum expression, and she asks him directly how long she will live. Dropping down to her eye level, Jung-won answers, “I don’t know, but you will probably live longer than me.”
Min-ha is dressing a patient when Seok-hyung calls to give her instructions. Hearing the nurse in the background, he realizes that she is busy and tells her to call him back after she finishes. Min-ha finally notices her patient waiting awkwardly for her, and she apologizes for the delay.
Even after moving to a different city, somethings don’t change as Song-hwa continues operating at Yulje Medical Center to help out. Ex-chief resident Yong Seok-min drops by, taking a break from his studies, to see his old professor. Clearly, though, he is here to see his girlfriend, Heo Seon-bin, as well, and Song-hwa catches them acting lovey-dovey in the hall.
They talk about Chi-hong who is now working at a different hospital, and Song-hwa calls it a good opportunity to learn. Stopping mid-thought, Song-hwa realizes that she sounds like a boomer, but her residents assure her that she and her friends are no way near that level. She sighs in relief and tells them that she wants to be a villain instead. (Ik-joon, look at what you’ve done!)
Joon-wan gapes at the empty wrappers of his favorite snack littering the table. Sensing the impending doom, Ik-joon wipes off the crumbs and put on his most innocent face. When Joon-wan scolds him for eating his crackers, Ik-joon gasps and tells Jung-won to leave. Understandably confused, Joon-wan looks at the door to see if their friend is here, but Ik-joon was addressing him and sprinkles water over his head. Pfft.
Meanwhile, Song-hwa offers to ask Ik-joon about presenting at a conference on behalf of Seok-min but wonders why they want him in particular. The residents tell her that Ik-joon is super famous and charismatic, but as soon as Song-hwa enters her office, she finds the “charismatic” doctor engaged in a tickle-fight with Joon-wan. Shielding the residents from the childish sight, Song-hwa tells them that Ik-joon will attend the conference.
Still wet from the exorcism, Joon-wan only eats a bite of food before having to run to the ER. While Song-hwa devours a roll of kimbap, Jung-won struggles to open a bag of radishes and asks where Seok-hyung is. All-knowing Ik-joon informs him about Shin-hye’s dad and assumes he must be meeting his ex-wife.
Dropping by the OB/GYN station, Seok-hyung pulls Min-ha aside for a talk. He mentions the earlier incident and tells her to ignore his calls if a similar situation occurs in the future. He will let her off this once since everyone can make mistakes but will not excuse her a second time.
The pediatric nurses whisper to each other that Yeon-woo’s mom is here again even though her child passed away a while ago. After dropping off food, Yeon-woo’s mom asks about Gyu-wool who happens to walk by at that moment. She wonders why Yeon-woo’s mom is here, and she tells Gyu-wool that she was in the area for a birthday party.
Yeon-woo’s mom mentions the baby’s smooth skin which was so unlike her child’s, and her comment makes the group tense. Gyu-wool explains how they tried their best but still apologizes for all the scars. Yeon-woo’s mom knows how much they cared for her son, but in the middle of their conversation, Gyu-wool receives a call from a professor and needs to leave.
Min-ha grabs coffee with Nurse Han and admonishes herself for being dense. She lists off all her bad traits, but a call from the ER puts her self-criticism on hold since a patient needs her.
In the PICU, Joon-wan checks on his young patient, but Do Jae-hak and Jang Hong-do are already there watching over her. Joon-wan remembers Hong-do, and forgoing greetings, he throws him a pop quiz. When Hong-do hesitates, Jae-hak comes to his defense, but Joon-wan tells them both to study.
Intern Choi Sung-young finds an umbrella by the pediatric station, and one of the nurses recognizes it and calls Yeon-woo’s mom. Speaking of whom, a nurse wonders why Yeon-woo’s mom comes by so frequently to the place where her child died and worries about the possibility of a lawsuit.
After meeting with the emergency patient, Min-ha updates Dr. Yeom of the situation, and they inform the patient of her critical condition: she is too early in her pregnancy for her to safely deliver her baby. Dr. Yeom gives the patient space to process the news, and Min-ha follows after her with a heavy heart. At her desk, she writes up the chart and sighs over the unfortunate decision the patient must make.
A young traffic accident patient arrives at the ER, and Fellow So-ye calls Jung-won, going into detail about the patient’s condition. Dr. Bong snatches her phone and gets right to the point: they need him. Finishing up his surgery, Jung-won rushes down to the ER and checks the patient.
Min-ha’s emergency patient asks if she could change doctors since she read a blog post about Seok-hyung saving a baby in a similar situation to hers. She understands the taboo-nature of her request, but she refuses to give up her child without trying.
Put in an awkward position, Min-ha cautiously passes along the message to Dr. Yeom, but to her surprise, she tells her to switch without a moment’s hesitation. Min-ha drops by Seok-hyung’s office next, and after hearing about the patient’s condition, Seok-hyung agrees to see her. Though they finish their conversation, Min-ha sticks around until he specifically asks her to leave.
Seok-hyung meets with the emergency patient and tells the couple that the success rate is very low. However, he promises to do his best believing in those few percent, and the patient cries in gratitude. He explains all the positive things in her case, and Min-ha looks stunned by his analysis.
Gyu-wool dresses up and puts on contact lenses before heading out for the evening. She drops by the pediatric ward first to hand her bestie a bag of bread. Since Gyu-wool is here, Min-ha asks for her opinion on her charts, and Gyu-wool thinks the first patient has a good chance of success while the latter does not.
She wonders why Min-ha put two patients’ charts together, so she tells Gyu-wool that they are the same person. Only the primary physician changed, but the charts turned out completely different.
On his way out, Jung-won runs into a group of doctors, and Fellow So-ye grabs his arm, asking him out to coffee. Jung-won gently brushes her aside and gives her his ID badge to use.
Gyu-wool frowns at the rain since she blow-dried her hair, but a smile spreads across her face as Jung-won wraps her in a backhug. Holding her tightly, Jung-won covers them with his umbrella, and they head out to eat.
The new couple plans on keeping their relationship a secret except for their close friends, and Jung-won correctly guesses who Gyu-wool will tell. He nearly reveals the fact that he went to the ER when she was sick, but quickly covers it with a lie.
Jung-won noticed that Gyu-wool has the night shift this whole week and offers to stay with her. When she stares at him with a blank face, he adds that he will be in his room the entire time, and Gyu-wool grins. While he cannot help her directly, he can stay up with her, but Gyu-wool tells him that she can do her own work.
She does have a few questions, though, and asks Jung-won out on a movie date, which he gladly accepts. The next one is more serious as she describes the situation with Yeon-woo’s mom, and Gyu-wool looks towards Jung-won for advice. However, his response is unexpected: “Yeon-woo’s mom is coming to talk about Yeon-woo.”
In Yeon-woo’s case, he never got to experience life outside of the hospital, so no one besides the hospital staff remembers him. Jung-won explains how Yeon-woo’s mom is simply looking for people to talk to and hopes Gyu-wool can approach her first when she visits again. He says that the guardians eventually stop coming, but until then, he thinks they should treat them well.
At the hospital, Seok-hyung finds Min-ha pacing outside his office and makes her a warm cup of coffee. She giggles at the drink since Seok-hyung usually drinks his coffee cold, and he asks if she isn’t scared of him. Dropping her gaze, Min-ha admits to feeling terrified.
Seok-hyung wonders why she is here, and Min-ha tells him that she has two questions for him. He allows her to ask one a day—no exceptions—so she brings up the emergency patient and asks how he made that decision.
He says that he wanted to help the mother and child because they showed the will to fight, and Min-ha asks if he isn’t afraid of the patient resenting him if something goes wrong. He tells her that he is, but if he takes that into consideration, then he would never be able to move forward, which is why he focuses, instead, on doing his best.
He tells her to leave since it is midnight, but Min-ha realizes that it is technically a new day which means she gets another question. She asks who Shin-hye is, and Seok-hyung tells her that she is his ex-wife. Growing visibly chipper, Min-ha wonders what he plans to do tomorrow, and he tells her that he has band practice with his friends. Seok-hyung realizes that he is talking too much, and Min-ha scurries out of his office.
The guys wait outside for Song-hwa to come pick them up, and in the meantime, they talk about their dating lives. Seok-hyung shows no interest in the rumors surrounding him, and Jung-won tells Ik-joon to mind his own business when he asks about Gyu-wool.
Diverting their attention, Jung-won brings up Joon-wan’s girlfriend who is in London, and Joon-wan locks eyes with his girlfriend’s brother. Either completely unaware or feigning ignorance, Ik-joon tells Joon-wan to ask his girlfriend if she knows his sister and gets excited about the coincidence.
Thanks to Song-hwa’s arrival, the guys forget about their conversation, and they all marvel at her fancy, new car. They rush in to grab the best seats, and Joon-wan pushes Jung-won to sit in the middle.
While they wait for the truck in front to leave first, Song-hwa brags about buying her car yesterday, but to her horror, Ik-joon peels off the plastic wrap. She scolds him for taking it off, but Ik-joon changes the subject, pointing out that she is too close to the truck.
As Song-hwa leans back to check her blind spot before reversing, Ik-joon stiffens. The tension is effectively broken, though, when Jung-won complains about his seat, Seok-hyung calls his mom for advice, and Joon-wan mutters under his breath about his weird friends. Pfft.
Yeon-woo’s mom returns to the hospital with a cake since today is her son’s birthday, but the nurse on duty tells her to enjoy it with her family since no one is here to eat it. Gyu-wool interrupts, saying that she can eat it by herself, and invites Yeon-woo’s mom to join her for a cup of coffee.
The ’99 friends play “Rain and You” from the movie Radio Star, and the weather perfectly matches the mood.
At the café, Yeon-woo’s mom apologizes for her frequent visits, but Gyu-wool tells her to come any time she wants to talk about Yeon-woo. Her kindness brings the mom to tears, and she explains that this is the only place where people call her Yeon-woo’s mom. Though it may be small, she hands Gyu-wool a gift: hair clips to replace the binder clips she always uses.
After practice, the guys tease Song-hwa about her new car and give her tips on how to use all the newfangled technology. While everyone heads out, Song-hwa is left behind with Ik-joon and gives him a ride home. To fill the silence, Ik-joon turns on some music, and Song-hwa asks him to play the song they practiced earlier. In the morning, Song-hwa returns to Yulje Medical Center and calls Ik-joon, asking if he can meet her later today.
In the hospital cafeteria, Shin-hye eats with Seok-hyung, and he wonders why she asked him out. She assures him that everything is fine, so he questions why she called him then. Shin-hye says that she wanted to eat with him and asks if they can meet like this from time to time. Seok-hyung does not answer, and his silence weighs heavily between them.
Returning to his office, Ik-joon calls Song-hwa and suggests grabbing food together. She shoots down his idea and hurriedly says that she will come up to his office. Once they meet, she stands by the door, refusing to even sit down, and she tells Ik-joon that she has her answer.
She advises him to keep his feelings a secret from his friend because it would make their relationship awkward. She avoids naming herself as his crush and makes it clear that things would be better if he and his friend remain the same. All the while, Ik-joon listens to her response without saying a single word and watches her leave.
The second season starts right where the first ended, and the show jumps into its story without any introductions. For anyone new to the show, joining from the second season is ill-advised since the creators are clearly assuming everyone already knows the characters and their relationships. It feels more like episode thirteen rather than episode one of season two, and in some ways, binging the first one before starting the new season seems to be the best way to appreciate the story and all its details. While there are some odd choices (like certain characters suddenly disappearing even though the timeline is the same), the overall transition between seasons is smooth, and it feels like the show is resuming its story after being on pause for a long break. The tone of the show—the humor as well as the heartwarming scenes—remains consistent from the past, and the characters are still their same loveable and quirky selves.
Compared to the beginning, Gyu-wool has grown a lot as a doctor. She has always been dedicated and responsible, but she struggled with connecting to others and being considerate. Her shortcomings naturally attracted her to Jung-won who was probably everything she hoped to be: a skilled and kind doctor. While Gyu-wool is still stiff and awkward, the story about Yeon-woo’s mom highlighted how much she has changed. In her own way, Gyu-wool is realizing that her responsibilities don’t necessarily end after the patients leave, and being a good doctor requires more than surgical skill and knowledge. The situation with Yeon-woo’s mom was unfortunate because the hospital became the only place where she found memories of her son’s existence. Unlike the nurses’ worries, Yeon-woo’s mom just wanted to hear her son’s name again; thus when Gyu-wool offered to be her talking buddy first, I’m sure it lifted some of the guilt and burden Yeon-woo’s mom must have felt for showing up so frequently.
Seeing Gyu-wool and Jung-won dating was adorable and that backhug was sublime. It’s cute to see how the two of them have changed in minor ways with Gyu-wool caring about her looks and Jung-won setting firm boundaries between him and the female staff. While keeping their relationship a secret is probably a good idea for the time being (especially for Gyu-wool), I doubt they’ll be able to hide it from everyone in the long run. They’re already hugging in public for anyone to see, and I doubt people won’t notice their changed behaviors soon. However, both of these characters are hardworking overachievers, so I would be surprised if other people give them grief for dating. The only potential consequence I can predict is Gyu-wool’s department doctors all giving Jung-won flak for seducing their one and only precious resident, but besides that, I get the impression that most people would be intrigued by the pairing but still support them.
The other resident harboring a crush on one of the five friends is Min-ha, and her lonely Christmas dinner was a sad affair. I do think Seok-hyung might have sent her the cake, and even though he draws a line between them, it feels like he unconsciously opens up to her. While the introduction of Shin-hye might hint at a love triangle, the show gives off the impression that Seok-hyung has no lingering feelings towards his ex-wife. She might be interested in maintaining a relationship with him, but Seok-hyung keeps a respectful distance with her and never engages her first. Though there is the possibility of romance between Min-ha and Seok-hyung, I’m glad the show focuses on their professional relationship. Min-ha still has a lot to learn from Seok-hyung, and she views him as a mentor more often than a romantic interest. The latest case was the emergency patient, and through this experience, Min-ha realizes how much influence a doctor’s perspective has on a patient’s outcome. Though the situation was dire and Dr. Yeom’s assessment was correct, the probability of success felt drastically different depending on the doctor’s focus. Knowing how much the mom was willing to fight for her child, Seok-hyung decided to bet on the low percent despite his fear of failure, and because of Seok-hyung’s willingness to try, Min-ha learns once more the importance of their roles in their patients’ lives.
The other major relationship this episode was between Ik-joon and Song-hwa. The previous season ended with Ik-joon indirectly confessing his feelings to her, and the audience was left to wait for her answer. Luckily, she gives him a response this episode, but unfortunately for any shippers, she turns him down. Song-hwa’s reluctance makes sense since they have been close friends for a long time, and the show never portrayed her as liking Ik-joon as a romantic partner in the present timeline. She might have liked him in the past, but that was decades ago and things change. Ik-joon’s uncharacteristic silence depicted how much her rejection affected him, and the inner turmoil raging inside him was evident in his eyes and body language. While I doubt this will be the end of their story, I think the only way for these two characters to get together is if Song-hwa changes her mind and makes the first move in the future. Since she gave him her answer, it would be rude of Ik-joon to force his feelings onto her, and if he tries pursuing her, it would come across as him disrespecting her decision. Even if the two of them just stay friends, I think their relationship is beautiful as is because the friendship between these five goofballs is the real heart of this show.