Hospital Playlist 2: Episode 3
No matter how talented a doctor might be, saving a patient requires more than individual skill. Resources, timing, and luck also play a part in the success of a surgery and a patient’s fate. However, finding a capable and compassionate doctor can increase those chances, and on occasion, miracles do happen. In reality, though, most miracles are a result of a countless number of people’s time and efforts to make the impossible possible.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Min-ha rebukes two guardians for selfishly insisting on a natural birth and explains the precarious situation. Her words make little difference as the guardians dismiss her advice and neglect the mother’s wishes. Dashing to the scene, Seok-hyung yells at Min-ha for stalling, and he sternly tells the guardians that their goal is the safety of the mother and child—end of discussion.
By morning, patients fill every corner of Yulje Medical Center and patiently wait for their turn. While preparing to meet his outpatients, Ik-joon treats it like a quiz show, both impressing and confusing Gyu-wool with his skills and outdated reference. Thus begins another hectic day at the hospital.
Jung-won meets with a young patient who adorably shares the flavors of her lollipops to any willing listeners. However, whenever her mom tries to inform the doctor about her fever, the little girl covers her mom’s mouth for oversharing. Without missing a beat, Jung-won distracts the girl with a doodle, and they finish the meeting without any hitches.
Dr. Chun sees his outpatients as well, but he responds to their questions with dismissive, one-word answers—leaving his patients bewildered by his cold attitude. In contrast, Joon-wan gives his outpatients detailed explanations, helping them understand their condition and easing any worries.
In the ER, Fellow So-ye asks a patient if they should call a resident to treat him, but the patient refuses since he wants Dr. Chun. Surprisingly, Dr. Chun offers to come down immediately, but of course, his sudden sense of duty only arose because the patient is an assemblyman and a golfing buddy.
As Dr. Chun operates on the patient in the ER, he struggles with the common procedure and blames his incompetence on the tools. The patient glares at him, clearly regretting this decision, and the ER staff grimace from the sidelines.
The sun has set by the time Ik-joon meets with his last outpatient, and thankfully, he ends the day on a high note: the patient is fully recovered and cancer-free. After working all night and day, Ik-joon finally takes a break, and Song-hwa pops up at his door, inviting him out for food.
The mothers of Joon-wan’s patients stand outside the PICU, and as the veteran guardian, Eun-ji’s mom takes Min-chan’s mom someplace else to wait. Meanwhile, Joon-wan returns to his office and gawks at Jung-won for turning down a good meal at the cafeteria. He finds Seok-hyung next but gets rejected a second time.
While Joon-wan searches for an available friend, he crosses path with Jae-hak who finished his exams and interview. He offers to buy his chief resident a meal as congratulations, so Jae-hak suggests a nice dinner outside. Joon-wan runs away, and Jae-hak chases after him, saying that he was only kidding.
The two moms eat at the guardian restaurant, and Eun-ji’s mom sets out the food she brought from home. She gives Min-chan’s mom some advice based on her own experience and tells her how to increase her son’s chances of finding a matching donor. Min-chan’s mom blames herself for her son’s illness, but Eun-ji’s mom encourages her to stay positive. Finding comfort in each other, they hope that both their children will receive hearts soon.
At the cafeteria, Song-hwa asks Ik-joon about his busy schedule, and he tells her that he accepted a surgery on behalf of Dr. Kwon. Noticing her lack of appetite, he knows she has something on her mind, and Song-hwa finally broaches the subject of the Daddy-Long-Legs program.
She expanded the program to all hospitals in the country, and a doctor reached out about a liver cancer patient. The problem, though, is not just the financial restraints but the feasibility of the case. The patient’s son volunteered to donate his liver, but due to the size difference, the current primary physician cannot perform the transplant.
After searching around, Yulje Medical Center became their last hope, which is how Song-hwa ended up in this position. She wonders if Ik-joon can take a look, and he takes on the extra work without the slightest hesitation.
In the midst of Song-hwa’s long-winded explanation, Ik-joon realized that the doctor she mentioned is an acquaintance, so she tells him that it is Baek Hyung-do, their university classmate and Ik-joon’s rival. The last bit is news to Ik-joon who finds it unfathomable for anyone to hate him. Heh.
Joon-wan and Jae-hak join the table at the tail end of their conversation, and the former instantly recognizes the name of Ik-joon’s rival. Jae-hak asks for more details, so Joon-wan tells him about the time Hyung-do bought club admission tickets for Ik-joon so he would fail his tests; but it backfired because Ik-joon actually did better.
Hearing this story for the first time, Ik-joon points out that Hyung-do’s uncle owned the club, but Joon-wan tells him that he is actually a Buddhist monk. Regardless of Hyung-do’s intentions, Ik-joon says that he had a blast and jokes about losing his hip from all the dancing, which garners a laugh from Jae-hak and Song-hwa.
Gyu-wool waits outside for Jung-won when a strong gust of wind ruins her nicely dried hair. To her shock, Jung-won drives up in his new car (courtesy of Song-hwa), and he opens the door and helps her with the seatbelt. She worries about getting caught, but Jung-won assures her that no one is around.
As the couple leaves, the camera pans over to the hospital where a whole crowd of people watch from the windows. A moment of silence falls over them as they process what happened, and then they all come to the same conclusion: Jung-won really is a gentleman. Pfft.
Noticing Gyu-wool warming up by the heater, Jung-won extends his hand out for her, and they hold hands while driving. The sweet moment cuts away to Seok-hyung’s date with his mom, and she nags at him to find someone new. She says that the joy of being single is nothing compared to love, but Seok-hyung just chuckles and asks for the bill.
At a park, Jung-won hugs Gyu-wool and whines about her calling him professor even outside of work. She tells him that they will get caught at this rate and reminds Jung-won of what he did yesterday during the GS meeting.
With everyone gathered in the office, Jung-won came in last and unconsciously grabbed a drink for Gyu-wool. All eyes turned to him, but they chalked it up to his good manners. Only Ik-joon knew the truth, but when he brought up the possibility of the two dating, the others called it crazy. After diverting the attention away from them, Jung-won whispered to Ik-joon to meet him afterwards, but his friend squirmed away and told him that he needed to emigrate.
Unwilling to let Gyu-wool leave, Jung-won cups her face and holds onto her despite saying farewell. Gyu-wool feels the same way and pulls Jung-won towards her for a peck on the lips. They both giggle and take turns giving each other little kisses. Jung-won finally leans in for a proper one, and they stay outside for a while more.
Jung-won leaves early in the morning to visit his mom, and during breakfast, she brings her still growing forty-one-year-old a heaping pile of rice. After they finish, Jung-won does the dishes, and Rosa’s best friend drops by to see her.
Jong-soo stares at the falling leaves and comments on how they resemble him. Rosa asks if his sullen mood is related to his children, and Jong-soo tells her that his son asked for his inheritance. Though his head understands, his heart still feels hurt and resentful.
Rosa thinks he is overreacting and assumes his son must have struggled to bring it up. He says that his children are not like Jung-won, and to prove his point, he tells the garlic-peeling doctor that his mom plans to give him a large piece of land.
The two adults wait for Jung-won’s response, and as Jong-soo predicted, he tells his mom to use the money for herself. While Rosa smiles at her son’s thoughtfulness, Jung-won misspeaks when he offers to take out a loan to help her, and she yells at him for being broke despite having a well-paying job. Enjoying every moment of this, Jong-soo grins and sends Jung-won a heart.
Ik-joon works on the weekend and looks over the charts of the Daddy-Long-Legs patient. Calling Song-hwa, he tells her that the transplant is possible and offers to inform Hyung-do directly. Woo-joo walks into the office with his hands raised like a little surgeon, and Ik-joon asks him what he wants for dinner. Woo-joo presents his answer as a quiz, and all the options are hamburgers.
At home, Ik-joon orders food as per Woo-joo’s specific instructions, and they enjoy their meal together. Ik-joon suggests making burgers next time from scratch, but his son shakes his head because fast food tastes better.
After recovering from Woo-joo’s comment, Ik-joon asks about his girlfriend, and Woo-joo tells him that she goes camping with her dad all the time. Ik-joon says that they should go camping too, but he gets an emergency call from the hospital and needs to head out. He apologizes to his son for leaving, but Woo-joo tells him that he understands how his dad wants to stay but needs to save a bigger woo-joo (aka, the universe).
Ik-joon operates on Dr. Kwon’s younger brother, and after the successful surgery, he finds the chief doctor kneeling outside. Dr. Kwon thanks him for the help and offers to return the favor. Ik-joon asks for coffee then, but takes back his request and tells Dr. Kwon to get some rest.
Song-hwa returns to Yulje Medical Center for the entire week, and Seon-bin comes to her office with bread. They briefly talk about Seok-min who is leaving the hospital, but Seon-bin changes topics since she is mad at her boyfriend. Instead, she asks Song-hwa about the violinist’s mom, and Song-hwa tells her that she already turned down the offer to meet her son.
Seon-bin thinks the mom will not give up that easily and suggests making up a boyfriend. The first candidate is Jung-won who pops in to ask about their band’s song, but Song-hwa turns down the idea. Seon-bin brings up Ik-joon next since he always makes her laugh, but her professor says that he is too busy.
Ik-joon gets in contact with Hyung-do and tells him to come on Friday to see the surgery in person. Though Hyung-do would like to, he has an operation on that day as well, and Ik-joon congratulates him on his hospital’s first transplant surgery. Before hanging up, Ik-joon asks about Hyung-do’s uncle, and he tells him that his Buddhist uncle is doing well.
Meeting with Hyung-do’s patient, Ik-joon tells the family that a transplant is possible, and they thank him for helping them. The patient counts his blessings, but above all else, he asks Ik-joon to take care of his son.
In the PICU, Joon-wan tells Min-chan’s mom that they will continue monitoring her son and tries to lessen her worries. Receiving a call, he rushes to his other ICU patient where Intern Chang-min and Hong-do are waiting for him.
After Joon-wan checks on the patient, Hong-do launches into his prepared answer, going into every exhaustive detail. When Hong-do refuses to stop, Joon-wan throws him a simpler question and scolds him for taking too long to answer. Once Joon-wan leaves, Intern Chang-min consoles Hong-do and wonders if the professor even knows that he is a fixed intern.
Joon-wan finds Jae-hak conversing with Dr. Chun’s patient, and on their way to lunch, Jae-hak fills him in on her background: she’s an orphan with no guardian. Though he tries to stop by as frequently as possible, Jae-hak does not have enough time, and Dr. Chun’s patient spends most of her day laying in her bed with no company. Meanwhile, Eun-ji’s mom sits with Min-chan’s mom in the hall and offers her some hope as a fellow guardian.
Ik-joon visits Hyung-do’s patient before the surgery, and he assures the worried family that he will take care of the difficult part. The patient asks if he can pass along his gratitude to his primary physician, and Ik-joon promises to tell Hyung-do.
A couple of the friends eat in the cafeteria, and Jung-won balks at Song-hwa’s overflowing tray. She sulks over his slightly judgmental comment, but seconds later, she forgets everything and happily munches on her food. Heh.
Hearing about the program expansion, Jung-won asks Ik-joon about his surgery as well as his rival. Hearing Hyung-do’s name, Ik-joon decides to call him, and over the phone, he picks up on his friend’s downcast voice. Hyung-do tells him that his only assistant is ill, and Ik-joon recognizes the gravity of the situation.
Off in the guardians’ section, the two moms eat and talk when Min-chan’s mom gets call. Tears stream down her face as she hears the message: they found a donor for her son. Eun-ji’s mom congratulates her on the miracle and urges her to go on ahead. Watching her leave, Eun-ji’s mom wipes away her own tears.
Joon-wan explains the situation to Min-chan’s parents, and they thank him for everything. He tells them that the donor’s family deserves their gratitude for making this difficult decision, and they agree to live the rest of their lives indebted to them. Though Joon-wan advises them to rest at home until the surgery, he knows that they will wait by their son’s side.
Away from the others, Jae-hak asks Joon-wan about Eun-ji and her chances of finding a heart. Joon-wan thinks it over for a bit before saying that he knows it will come.
Later that day, Joon-wan answers a call from Ik-soon, and a smile spreads across his face when he sees her. She tells him about a trip she is taking with her friends, and she promises to keep him updated. Their conversation ends quickly, and after they hang up, Joon-wan turns somber again.
Jae-hak knocks on his door, inviting him out for a walk, and Joon-wan joins him for a break in the garden. On the way, Jae-hak volunteers for procurement, and Joon-wan thanks him for the help since it gives the younger residents a chance to assist. Once they reach the garden, Joon-wan waits by the door, and with one look outside, Jae-hak understands why: Eun-ji’s mom is crying on the bench.
Joon-wan and Ik-joon operate on their respective patients, and the surgeries go well. In the meantime, Song-hwa visits her violinist patient who is being discharged today. As soon as the mom sees Song-hwa, she calls it fate and calls over her son (cameo by Lee Kyu-hyung).
Song-hwa deftly avoids the mom’s advances without disrespecting her and maintains a professional distance. Undeterred by Song-hwa’s walls, the mom suggests taking a photo together to commemorate the moment and quickly tells her son to join them. While the son does respond, he asks Song-hwa out for coffee instead, effectively giving her an excuse to escape from the room.
Min-chan’s parents wait in Joon-wan’s office and wonder why the surgery ended an hour early. Dispelling their worries, Joon-wan immediately informs them of the successful transplant, and both parents break down into tears. Back at the operating unit, Ik-joon’s surgery ends as well, and he passes along the good news to the mother.
Song-hwa has coffee with the son, and he apologizes on his mom’s behalf. She thanks him for saving her back there, and he chuckles at the compliment since he has years of experience dealing with his mom. Meanwhile, Ik-joon and Joon-wan head towards the café, but Joon-wan gets a text about his patient and heads back to the PICU.
The son tells Song-hwa that he actually has a girlfriend, but his mom does not approve of her family background. He says that they used to be best friends, and Song-hwa asks how their relationship shifted. He tells her that his friend confessed first, but he initially rejected her because he was afraid of losing their friendship.
However, when he thought about his response, he realized that he never answered her question, which made him reevaluate his feelings towards her. Once he opened himself up to the possibility of something more, he found out that he simply loved being in her presence.
The son asks if Song-hwa has anyone like that in her life, and she spots Ik-joon in the corner of her eye. He shoves a straw up his nose, and Song-hwa chuckles at his silly joke. Having accomplished his mission, Ik-joon shuffles off and hands over the coffees to Gyu-wool. She wonders why there is a missing straw, and he takes that one for himself.
Ik-joon answers a call from Hyung-do and chuckles at his friend’s exasperated scolding. After Ik-joon heard about Hyung-do’s predicament, he went straight to Dr. Kwon and used his favor. Despite cutting back on surgeries because of his impending retirement, Dr. Kwon accepted, and his assistance helped Hyung-do successfully complete his hospital’s first transplant.
The band plays “I Like You” by Cho Yong-pil, and the two guitarists get a chance to show off their skills.
After practice, Joon-wan returns home and tries reaching Ik-soon who keeps missing his calls. When he finally gets in touch, a man answers the phone and tells him that Ik-soon got hurt in a car accident. He says that it is a minor injury, but nothing else gets through to Joon-wan except for the fact that his girlfriend is hurt.
The man tells him that Ik-soon is getting examined and promises to pass along his message when he can. Joon-wan thanks him for the update and asks for the man’s name. He tells him that he is Ko Se-kyung, Ik-soon’s best friend.
Jung-won and Gyu-wool continue being an adorable couple, and I love the setup of everyone assuming Jung-won is basically a celibate priest who is currently a pediatrician. Since he built an image as the gentleman who acts kind to everyone, no one suspects his niceness towards Gyu-wool as anything outside the norm. Like Gyu-wool, I suspected the couple would be discovered because of Jung-won’s inability to hide his feelings, but as it turns out, he didn’t need to hide them in the first place. On the other hand, the news of their relationship when it eventually gets out will definitely shock people, though clearly, the mere fact that Jung-won is dating at all will definitely be the biggest point of interest. Overall, I get the impression that Jung-won and Gyu-wool’s relationship will move along smoothly for the most part, and the show will allow the two characters to enjoy each other’s company in bliss without unnecessary histrionics.
Like the new couple, Joon-wan and Ik-soon had their lovely moments back in season one when they first started to date, but as time passed, conflict naturally arose in their relationship, which the long distance has heightened. While the two of them still like each other, there seems to be a communication issue between them. Ik-soon opened up to Joon-wan after a terrible past relationship made her wary of love, and Joon-wan has been a patient and loving boyfriend, consistently reassuring her of his feelings and loyalty. While Ik-soon has made strides in the relationship, too, it feels like the two of them haven’t resolved the main issue they had before she went away to study abroad. Joon-wan and Ik-soon seem to want different things out of their relationship—he is interested in something more serious than she can return—and it shows in the way they share their lives with each other. While Se-kyung turning out to be a guy could raise some flags, it’s the deeper implications of this “twist” that suggest rough waters ahead for this couple. It’s odd that Ik-soon didn’t share a lot about her best friend to Joon-wan, especially since he believes that men and women can be platonic friends. One possibility is that the time difference makes it hard for them to talk, so she spends their precious time together on more important things. However, the main issue for me is not Se-kyung’s gender identity, but Ik-soon’s response after the accident. She does not want her family or boyfriend to know she is hurt because she does not want to worry them, but by doing so, she distances herself from her loved ones. Even though Joon-wan wants to be part of her life—for the good and the bad—Ik-soon draws a line between them. While Ik-soon has every right to set boundaries, there needs to be better communication between the two of them in order for their relationship to grow and endure through this separation. If not, I fear that their end might come sooner than later.
Besides the two established couples, the show had a small moment between Song-hwa and Ik-joon, hinting at the possibility of her accepting his feelings in the future. It did feel overly convenient to have a random character suddenly reflect Song-hwa’s current situation and provide her with some clarity, and in all honesty, I wish Lee Kyu-hyung’s cameo was better utilized to match his talents. However, I’m not opposed to the idea of Song-hwa realizing her feelings for Ik-joon after his confession because the show gives her space to think things through without pressuring her to make a decision. She wanted to stay friends with Ik-joon, and he respected her answer. The show does not imply that Song-hwa is confused or in denial about their relationship. Her choice to remain friends is valid, which is why Ik-joon never pursues her or makes her feel uncomfortable afterwards. By inserting Lee Kyu-hyung’s character, the show simply presents an opportunity for Song-hwa to mull over the confession in a different light, and opens up more possibilities for the future of their relationship. It gives Song-hwa agency over her own love life, and whether or not she chooses to date Ik-joon, it does not change her character because her identity is not tied to who she dates.
The highlight of this episode was the two mother’s stories, and the conflicting emotions that occur amongst guardians. As individuals solely tied to each other because of a shared tragedy, they are at once intimately connected yet distant. Because they have the same struggles, they can empathize with each other like no one else can and find comfort in knowing that they are not alone. At the same time, one person’s miracle means another lost chance for everyone else, so it becomes difficult for the other parents to truly feel happy in these situations. While I suspect Eun-ji’s mom was genuinely relieved for Min-chan’s mom, it’s also a mix of emotions ranging from envy to fear. Despite having waited the longest, Eun-ji still has not found a matching donor, and every time another child leaves the hospital with a new heart, I’m sure a tiny flicker of hope goes out. However, Eun-ji’s mom understands the nature of transplants and never lets her own worries dampen the lucky parents’ joy. She hides her own pain from the world because this is a marathon, and she needs to stay strong for her daughter. Besides her strength, Eun-ji’s mom is compassionate beyond words, and though she has her own stressful situation, she offers guidance and encouragement to the other suffering parents. Through her presence, she is able to bring peace even amidst her own misfortune, and it takes a special kind of person to be able to set aside her own sorrows to heal others. In the end, I really hope Eun-ji and her mom get their miracle as well.