Hospital Playlist 2: Episode 6
Every person was once a bumbling first-year, struggling to make sense of new responsibilities and assignments. Even our five friends had their interning days where they made silly mistakes and learned invaluable lessons. Like most things in life, time and experience taught them how to succeed since no one, not even our amazing five doctors, is perfect right from the start.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
The arrival of March marks the start of a new season, and a batch of fresh faces join the hospital staff. Of the familiar ones, the twins have graduated, starting their journeys as interns, and the third-year residents have passed their board exams and continue their studies as fellows.
At the café, Jae-hak reminisces about the old days with Seon-bin when the twins drop by to greet them. Since Hong-do is already planning to join the CS department, he tries to convince Yoon-bok, but the latter has her heart set on neurosurgery. Seon-bin jumps at the chance to treat her future juniors and explains how their department is “rich” with people unlike CS which has no new residents this year.
Gyu-wool takes over Seon-bin’s seat, and Jae-hak looks at her jealously after hearing about the three new residents in her department. Adding on a couple of returning second-years, she has four residents under her wing. However, their numbers pale compared to the NS department which even saw an old face come back: Seok-min.
While Joon-wan rushes to work, the smell of Jung-won’s coffee stops him at the door, so he joins his friend for a quick sip. He asks Jung-won if he came home in the morning, and Jung-won explains how he stayed over at Gyu-wool’s place because she was sick.
As Joon-wan silently puts the pieces together, he asks him when they are getting married, and Jung-won sheepishly says that he has a proposal planned. Offering him a banana, Joon-wan asks if he can move in with them, and Jung-won glares at his crazy friend and takes back his coffee. Bwahaha!
Ik-joon argues with the GPS on his way to work and answers a call from Song-hwa. Before she can say a word, he recites his coffee order, and she chuckles at his antics.
At the café, Seok-min tells the others that he does not regret returning to the hospital and plans to study under Song-hwa’s tutelage for the duration of the fellowship. Once he stepped out into the real world, he realized that he needed more experience since he was not confident in his surgery skills, and the other fellows agree that doing a surgery by themselves feels daunting.
Seok-min’s goal remains the same—make lots of money—and Seon-bin asks if that is all. He says that he needs a lot to pay back his parents and get married. As bells ring in the background, Seon-bin casually tosses out that she has money, so all he has to bring is a spoon. In the back, Gyu-wool looks smitten by her proposal, and Jae-hak wonders if they turned invisible. Ha!
Ik-joon joins Song-hwa at the café, and the two of them enjoy their coffees during their small respite before their hectic day ahead. She goes over her list of tasks this month—a behemoth of a schedule—which gets worse when Dr. Chun drops a favor on her. Ik-joon tries teaching her how to turn down requests, but Song-hwa tells him that she can handle this much.
The twins start their days in their respective departments, Hong-do with OB/GYN and Yoon-bok with Surgery. Min-ha gives Hong-do a simple task for the surgery later, emphasizing the instructions over again. Meanwhile, a patient needs his tube replaced, and the nurse contacts Yoon-bok.
Dr. Bong checks on the TA patient, and Sung-young tells him that the guardians will not arrive for at least an hour—he should know since they are from his hometown. Since the patient is in critical condition, Dr. Bong decides to go ahead with the surgery.
Sung-young wonders where the boyfriend went, and Dr. Bong sighs since he left after treating his minor wound. Though he was the one recklessly driving the motorcycle, only the girlfriend got injured in the accident.
Yoon-bok replaces the patient’s L-tube, but she forgets to take out the first one. As for her brother, Hong-do hears the magic words (“Richardson out”), but takes it too literally and steps out of the operating room to everyone’s disbelief. Pfft.
After Yoon-bok finishes her task, Gyu-wool goes to check and sees the blunder. She apologizes to the patient, and he laughs it off good-naturedly, understanding that mistakes happen when you are new to a job.
Song-hwa operates on the TA patient and struggles to stop the bleeding. She meets with the parents afterwards and tells them that the surgery was a success. However, their daughter’s injuries were severe, and there is no guarantee that she will regain consciousness.
Over the phone, Woo-joo asks his dad to take him camping. Ik-joon promises to go before the cicadas sing, but Woo-joo points out that it would take too long. Overhearing their conversation, Song-hwa suggests going before the cicadas molt, and to Ik-joon’s astonishment, Woo-joo understands the difficult vocabulary. After bragging about his genius son, he asks Song-hwa what she wants for dinner, and she comes up with a whole menu in a matter of seconds.
Jung-won finds Gyu-wool alone in the office and massages her shoulders while looking over her paper. They jump apart when the new residents enter the room, and he greets them all by name. Gyu-wool explains how she invited them out for drinks, and Jung-won hands over his card for her to use. As Gyu-wool steps out to change, she frowns when a resident comments on how Jung-won is her style.
Despite not being on night duty, Joon-wan joins his friends for dinner since he has no one else to eat with. Song-hwa offers to introduce him to a nice junior she knows, but Joon-wan declines because he is not over his past relationship. He asks Ik-joon why he cannot forget her, and his friend excuses himself for a smoke break.
Min-ha’s face falls during an ultrasound, and she calls Seok-hyung over. After reviewing the results, he tells the expectant parents that they suspect esophageal atresia, but they will not know for sure until the baby is born. Since they need the pediatric department’s assistance with this, Seok-hyung will contact Jung-won directly.
Song-hwa and Seok-min notice Sung-young paying close attention to the TA patient, so they remind him to take care of the others as well. Song-hwa understands why he feels a kinship, though, since she was like him during her younger years. Seok-min wonders if she was ever a blundering intern, and Song-hwa tells him that she has plenty of embarrassing stories.
Seok-hyung runs into Jung-won in the elevators and informs him about his patient. The difficult part is the mother’s pregnancy complications, and Jung-won foresees a major meeting in the near future. In the meantime, he meets with the parents, and the husband asks about the surgery. He tells them that the baby’s size will affect their options, but he assures them that his previous cases went well and promises to do his best.
Rosa and Jong-soo set out for a walk, and he reminds her to grab her scarecrow hat and phone. She brings a remote instead and worries about her recent forgetfulness. He sees it as a natural part of aging, and the two friends joke around as they run across the yard.
During their meeting, Seok-hyung hands Jung-won a snack, and the latter returns the favor by shoving a cookie in his mouth. The atmosphere changes once they start discussing the patient’s situation, and Seok-hyung clashes with Jung-won over the timing of the birth. When they repeat the same arguments, the rest of the group leaves, and the two friends eventually come to an understanding.
Chang-min notifies Joon-wan about Patient Chang-min’s worsening condition. They need to inform the guardians of the bad news, and Joon-wan asks if Chang-min wants to accompany him since the mom knows him better. To his surprise, Chang-min turns him down since he is busy.
While Joon-wan munches on bread in the garden, Jae-hak drapes a jacket over him and asks about Chang-min’s parents. Joon-wan lets out a sigh since no parent takes the news of their child’s imminent death well. Jae-hak worries about their resident, too, but Joon-wan tells him that the young doctor seemed calm.
Joon-wan invites Jae-hak out for drinks, but the latter cannot join him because of night duty. After yelling at him for always being busy, he asks if he can drink tomorrow, but Jae-hak apologizes since he has plans with his wife.
Seok-hyung holds an emergency operation on the expectant mother, and Jung-won is on standby. After the baby is born, the father and maternal grandmother wait outside the NICU for an update, and Jung-won tells them that they will operate tomorrow. The grandmother tells him that her daughter blames herself for the baby’s defect and begs him to save her grandchild for her daughter’s sake.
The next day, Jung-won explains the surgery to the father and paternal grandmother, but as he heads inside the NICU, he hears the grandmother complain about the mother’s side of the family. Once the surgery begins, a small crowd gathers in the back, including Gyu-wool and Yoon-bok.
Gyu-wool explains to Yoon-bok that neonatal operations are difficult because of the size constraints, and in most cases, it becomes a solo affair. Thus, Jung-won operates alone on the baby, and his assistants do their best to help him.
Jung-won visits the mother to tell her the good news, and she thanks him for saving her baby. He turns to the paternal grandmother and addresses her as the mother’s mother. Before they can correct him, he says that this situation is not her daughter’s fault, and birth defects are not as uncommon as she thinks. He praises the mother for being strong, and the mother cries in appreciation.
Joon-wan receives a call about Chang-min and rambles on to Jung-won about his patient—unwilling to face the bad news that awaits him. However, he has a responsibility to fulfill, and Joon-wan tells the guardians that their son’s heart has basically stopped. He tells them to keep their son company in his final moments, and they fall to the ground, weeping.
Chang-min agrees to pronounce the time of death, but when the hour arrives, he is sobbing mess. He struggles to say the words, so Joon-wan enters the room and turns off the machine for him. Apologizing, Chang-min runs out while the parents cry for their son.
After composing himself, Chang-min finds Joon-wan in his office and apologizes again for letting his emotions overcome him. Joon-wan tells him that it is alright to cry since doctors are humans, too. He says that they should not hide their feelings but advises the young doctor to remember his professional duty.
Gyu-wool has her first, solo operation, but her nerves get the better of her as she fails to control the bleeding. She asks the nurse to call for Ik-joon, but he is already here. He takes over the surgery, and Gyu-wool watches from the side.
That night, he finds her brooding outside and takes her to his office for some coffee. He wonders if she is upset about the surgery, and she calls herself talentless. He reminds her that it has only been two weeks since she became a fellow and says that he assisted in five hundred transplants before leading his own. He tells her not to feel so anxious because the more experience she acquires, the better she will become.
Gyu-wool thinks an example about a mistake will cheer her up more, so Ik-joon recalls a story about Jung-won. He describes his friend as a know-it-all perfectionist—though Gyu-wool argues that he is perfect. However, back in their interning days, a doctor asked for a sulabja, and Jung-won brought him a literal drawer (aka, a sulab).
During band practice, the friends chuckle after hearing his embarrassing story, and Jung-won glares at Ik-joon. They assume he is mad at Ik-joon for telling Gyu-wool his mistake, but Jung-won announces to the group that this is Ik-joon’s episode.
Ik-joon uses aegyo to appease his friend, but it has the opposite effect as Jung-won shakes him by his hair. In the real flashback, Intern Ik-joon even brought a ruler (aka, a ja) along with the drawer. Pfft.
Sporting a new hairdo, Ik-joon defends his choices as dramatization, but Jung-won huffs in frustration and stomps away. Song-hwa asks if he shared her story, too, and Joon-wan chuckles since he knows which one he probably chose: the pillow first.
Since Seok-hyung is unaware of the story, Ik-joon tells him that a doctor asked for the pillow to be repositioned first, but Intern Song-hwa misunderstood it as a command to stick to the wall. Ik-joon and Joon-wan both demonstrate what she did and burst out laughing. While the others have fun, Jung-won calls Gyu-wool to clear up the misunderstanding and shakes in exasperation when she refuses to believe him.
As they drink more beers, Ik-joon targets Seok-hyung next and brings up the time he failed to pronounce a patient’s death and had the professor come do it for him. Seok-hyung tells his friends that he could not hide his tears in that moment, and afterwards, his professor scolded him for shaming their entire profession.
Seok-hyung guesses their ice-cold friend, Joon-wan, would not understand, but Ik-joon pops Joon-wan’s façade and mentions his past embarrassing moment, too. Joon-wan admits to crying after pronouncing his first patient’s death since the father-son relationship reminded him of his own. However, he regrets crying alone in the bathroom because he should have been honest in front of them.
The friends agree that times have changed, and unlike their professors, they teach the new generation of doctors to express their emotions as long as it does not impede their work. Later that evening, the band sings “Superstar” by Lee Han-chul, sending a message that “it’s alright, everything will be alright.”
One by one, we get to see the different interns, starting with Yoon-bok. She visits the patient from before who is getting discharged today, and they thank each other for everything. Meanwhile, Hong-do sleeps at his desk, and Min-ha drops some snacks for him along with a note, telling him that she made worse mistakes as an intern.
Sung-young stands by the TA patient’s bed and chats with her as if she were a friend. He says that it would be a waste to lay in bed all of March, and she nods as if agreeing with his statement. When she responds to his commands, he runs out to grab Song-hwa.
Jung-won meets the parents in the NICU, and they tell him that they named their child after him in hopes that he would become a doctor, too. Jung-won calls it a pretty name and walks away with a smile on his face.
The creators have always been great at choosing OSTs, and the song selection for the second season has been wonderful. I particularly loved today’s band song since it conveyed the overall episode’s message so well and connected the separate stories with a unifying, final note: “it’s alright, everything be will alright.” It’s an uplifting cheer aimed at the different interns, but at the same time, it comes across as a reminder to the audience who might find themselves in a similar situation. One of the things that endeared me to the first season of Hospital Playlist was its ability to humanize its characters and use their stories as a conduit for more universal experiences and emotions. It wasn’t simply a show about doctors but everyday people. While I enjoyed the previous episodes, I’m happy about the time skip because it feels like the story is focusing on these bigger themes again as the writers have more characters and relationships to explore. Though there are some familiar elements being reused, on the whole, I think the creators are trying to introduce new concepts that the previous season wasn’t able to explore, especially with the addition of interns and more residents. If the first season was more about five competent doctors coming together under one roof, this season has the potential to expand the world and show the complex relationships that exist in hospitals while still centered around the main cast.
Through the new fellows, the show reveals how imposter syndrome occurs at all levels of experience. Even though they have been working for years, they still doubt their skills and knowledge. To them, the shift from resident to fellow must feel sudden since their titles changed in one day, and the new responsibilities can be stifling rather than motivating. However, as Ik-joon pointed out, becoming comfortable with your new role takes time, and only experience will help you improve. I’m glad the show is using Gyu-wool for this message because she has always been the overachiever who made mistakes but constantly sought self-improvement. Out of the fellows, she does have the most experience in the operating room, but even so, she feels incompetent. Imposter syndrome is common and can infect anyone; even the most talented people and relentless hard workers like Gyu-wool can fall into this rut. One of the ways to combat imposter syndrome is to recognize its normalcy and not see it as a sign of ineptitude. The show gets so much right in this scene with Ik-joon mentoring Gyu-wool, reminding her of her accomplishments, and telling her that it is okay to feel unsure. While a lot of shows tend to idolize the “genius” characters and overuse this trope, I’m glad the creators have chosen a different path and highlighted an important topic often ignored in dramas.
Besides the twins, the show focused on the two returning interns, Sung-young and Chang-min. They were a nice contrast to the five friends, showing another side to doctors and the problems they face. As human beings, it is difficult for them when a patient dies, and the pain of loss is only heightened when they create a rapport with them over seemingly trivial things like having the same name or being from the same place. Unlike the five friends who have learned how to compartmentalize their work-life and emotions, the interns are more sensitive to these little details and situations. In the past, showing tears was seen as a sign of weakness, and the aloof doctor was praised as rational and capable. However, our five friends have cast aside that way of thinking because they believe crying alongside the grieving family can be the more appropriate response sometimes. Things have changed, and I love how the five friends are championing a healthier and more understanding work environment that treats its workers as people rather than machines.
I thought it was an interesting choice by the creators to have Seok-hyung and Joon-wan be the ones who cannot forget about the loss of their first patients because, at first glance, it seems to be an odd choice. Both characters are a bit standoffish in comparison to the rest of the group who are either super friendly, approachable, or both. While Seok-hyung and Joon-wan are great doctors who care about their patients, their rapport and bedside manners aren’t necessarily their strong suits. However, this is why it makes sense that these two characters remember their first loss so vividly and consider it an “embarrassing” moment. For someone like Jung-won, crying over a patient’s death is nothing to feel ashamed of, and no one would be surprised if he wept as an intern because he still weeps as a professor over these deaths. On the other hand, Seok-hyung and Joon-wan tend to hide their emotions, so when they do cry, it becomes a distinct memory—an outlier in their career. It portrays how everyone, especially when they first experience it, are affected by loss, and even those who appear to be cold on the outside can connect with others and show empathy. The image of young Seok-hyung crying by his patient’s bed or young Joon-wan sobbing alone in the bathroom makes a bigger impact because the audience knows how these characters usually act. It’s also a great moment for the most awkward two in the friend group to share something in common with each other, and I love how they connected over something supposedly out of character for the both of them.