Hospital Playlist 2: Episode 7
Everyone holds prejudices which can then lead to biased perceptions and incorrect judgements. However, every single person has a story, and sometimes, first impressions can be wrong. The hospital is often a place where people experience some of life’s worst lows and greatest highs, and while the doctors and nurses may be accustomed to these situations, the same is not always true for patients and their guardians.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
It is another busy day at the hospital with little time for proper hair care but just enough for food and drinks. As if reading everyone’s minds, a GS nurse brings coffee for the staff and even made sure to buy Gyu-wool two.
While Song-hwa arrives to work, she answers a call from her mom who is curious about everything her daughter does and clearly proud of her. Song-hwa, on the other hand, sighs at her mom and hangs up quickly.
Jae-hak greets Joon-wan at the elevators and confesses his love for his professor. Joon-wan pleads with him to stop loving him, but Jae-hak refuses to ignore his heart. (Ha!) Chasing after his professor, Jae-hak tells him that he is missing his jacket, so Joon-wan steals his and silently complains about the short sleeves.
Since Seok-hyung’s meeting was pushed back, Min-ha suggests grabbing breakfast, and he agrees. They run towards the cafeteria, and Hong-do happily bobs along behind them. Back at the GS department, Ik-joon comes to work in a cheerful mood, but his smile disappears when he notices the large group of people waiting to join him on his rounds.
Jung-won meets with his patients early in the morning, and his next one is an older boy. Every time he asks a question, the mom interrupts her son, so Jung-won gently reminds her to let him speak for himself. Once given the chance, the son answers all of Jung-won’s questions with thoughtful answers, and unlike his mom, he understands that seeing his doctor less is a sign of recovery.
Song-hwa visits the TA patient, Doo-na, who is able to obey commands but still cannot communicate properly. She explains to the guardian that rehabilitation will be an arduous journey, but the guardian tells her not to worry since she considers all of this a blessing from God.
On his rounds, Ik-joon checks on his new patient, and the guardians express their worries about the upcoming surgery. When the brother questions his skills, Ik-joon explains how all transplants are difficult and never once drops his professional demeanor.
Afterwards, he stops by Song-hwa’s office, and though they exchange no words, they seem to understand each other perfectly and head out together. As they walk, the two friends discuss all their recent ailments, but Ik-joon disappears in the middle of their conversation.
Song-hwa finds him talking with the hair salon owner, and on their way to the cafeteria, Ik-joon converses with every staff worker they come across from the custodian to the helicopter pilot. She wonders how he knows everyone, and he tells her his secret: “I’m adorable.”
Before they eat, Ik-joon makes Song-hwa repeat her mantra to not devour her food. She follows along at first but glares at him when he adds another phrase. The neurosurgery fellows and intern join their table, and as they eat, a security guard greets Ik-joon with a smile. The others are shocked by the sight since the guard is notorious for being strict, and Sung-young, in particular, is not a fan of the guard.
Taking a break in the garden, Ik-joon watches a video of Woo-joo dancing, and Song-hwa brings them coffees. She asks if he has plans this weekend since she is going camping tomorrow, and Ik-joon immediately tells Woo-joo that they are going camping and brags about his well-prepared friend.
The next day, the three of them set up camp, and Song-hwa builds them a campfire. While the adults eat ramyun, Woo-joo stares at the fire, lost in thought after his fight with his girlfriend.
Rosa and Jong-soo walk around the neighborhood when Jung-won calls to ask where his mom is. They were supposed to meet for a wedding, and Rosa berates herself for forgetting such an important event. Though Jung-won reassures her that these things happen, she looks troubled by her forgetfulness.
Jong-soo tells her that he ate lunch twice yesterday because he made two plans on the same day, and his story gets Rosa to smile. He asks her what six and three are, and she answers, “Eighteen,” which sounds like a swear. He tells her that the answer is “building” (as in the 63 Building), and he laughs at her for cursing. Heh.
Even though it is the weekend, Seok-hyung has lunch in the hospital cafeteria and talks with his mom over the phone. Meanwhile, Song-hwa experiences an existential crisis when Ik-joon asks what she would choose for her last meal. She lists all the possible options, and Ik-joon tells her to eat the whole cow at this rate.
At the hospital, Seok-hyung runs into Min-ha and the other OB/GYN doctors, and he asks if they are on duty. Min-ha says that they are and wonders how he knew. He points out that she just told him, and she laughs at her silly question. Hong-do calls her funny, and Min-ha takes it as a compliment. She invites Seok-hyung to lunch, and he joins them, even though he just ate.
While on night duty, Gyu-wool talks with Jung-won over the phone, and he suddenly appears at the door. He offers to buy her dinner, but Gyu-wool hangs up since she cannot leave. Pfft.
They enjoy takeout instead, and Jung-won reminds her of their meeting next Sunday. Gyu-wool tells him that she has not forgotten, but something else is on her mind. Tired of lying about their relationship, Gyu-wool wonders if she should tell the others that they broke up, but Jung-won tells her to hold off on her plans until next week.
He puts out his hand, and Gyu-wool looks at it curiously and shakes it. He giggles at her reaction, and she grabs his hand properly this time.
Alone at home, Joon-wan stares at his empty fridge and takes out a piece of bread and soda for a meal. As he stuffs his face, he chokes on the food and spits it out. Looking sad and lonely, Joon-wan sits on the kitchen floor and cleans up his mess.
Song-hwa and Ik-joon sit by the fire while Woo-joo sleeps and talk about their moms. While they love them dearly, they also get annoyed by their questions and laugh over their mutual experiences. As the night deepens, the two friends become more drunk and reminisce about the old days.
When Ik-joon suggests listening to some music, Song-hwa stops him and heads to bed first. After they wave goodbye, Ik-joon grows quiet and his smile turns into a pensive expression.
In the garden, Gyu-wool gawks at her friend’s makeup, but they only talk for a bit since Min-ha leaves to see her brother. At the café, Rosa shares a drink with Seok-hyung’s mom when Min-ha bumps into them. She apologizes profusely for the mistake, but as she turns to go, Seok-hyung’s mom calls her out for leaving without a proper apology.
Min-ha blinks at her in confusion, calling her grandma, and Seok-hyung’s mom huffs at the comment. Rosa jumps in before she creates an even bigger scene and takes her to the bathroom to wash off the smeared lipstick.
While Seok-hyung’s mom cleans herself up, she tells Rosa that this is why she meddles in her son’s love life, in case someone like that becomes her daughter-in-law. Rosa scolds her friend for behaving miserly, and Seok-hyung’s mom listens to her advice.
The brother of Ik-joon’s transplant patient walks up to the GS station and complains about the bruises on his sister’s arm. Nurse Song explains in detail as to why it happens, but he requests a more experienced nurse come by from now on. As he walks away, Yoon-bok frowns at the surly guardian.
Ik-joon visits the patient before the transplant surgery, and the brother waits for him in the hall. He tells Ik-joon that they chose this hospital specifically for him and orders him to succeed no matter what because two lives are on the line. He ends it with an awkward cheer, and Ik-joon returns the gesture.
The surgery last for over ten hours, and in the end, Ik-joon opts for a delayed closure in order to minimize the chances for infections. He tells the guardians about the situation, and the waiting game begins. After four hours—and many cups of coffee—they finally finish up the operation.
An elderly woman is rushed into the ER, but by the time she arrives, it is too late to save her. She is declared brain dead, and Sung-young calls the coordinator since she is registered as a donor.
Due to a colleague’s sudden illness, Gyu-wool has even more patients to watch for the next month. She checks up on one of the new patients to deliver them some good news, and the guardians call her their lucky charm, begging her to assist in the surgery as well.
In the hall, Gyu-wool runs into Yoon-bok who invites her out to grab some snacks. On their way, they spot the brother from before in the distance, and Yoon-bok frowns nervously, wondering why he returned.
Back in the ER, Song-hwa talks with the elderly woman’s guardian who happens to be the strict guard at their hospital. The coordinator goes into more details about the donation process and explains how they need his permission. The guard listens with a blank expression and asks for more time to think it over.
Joon-wan complains about the song choice this week but perks up when Jung-won asks if he is free this Sunday. To his dismay, Jung-won already has plans and was asking him to pick up groceries. Joon-wan tells him that he is busy, too, and it turns out to be true as Ik-joon drops by to talk about their upcoming reunion.
Just as quickly as he appeared, Ik-joon bolts out of the room to answer a call from his sister. Jung-won wonders who it is, and Joon-wan tells him that it was a Japanese name. In the hallway, Ik-joon tells her not to teach his son anything odd, but his warning comes too late as Woo-joo proudly informs his aunt that he can touch his nose with his tongue.
While the guard contemplates over what to do, the mom’s condition worsens. Sung-young makes a comment about the guard, and Song-hwa chides him for speaking about the guardian without knowing the full story.
The coordinator meets with the guard again, explaining the need to make a quick decision, and as soon as she finishes, he gives them his permission. Sung-young notifies Song-hwa about the recent development and tells her that she was correct—the guard did have his reasons for taking so long.
Ik-joon finds the guard sitting in the garden and listens to his story. Today was the first time in thirty years since he saw his mom, and the guard felt conflicted over his sudden role as son to a woman he could not remember. He questioned his right to make this decision, but after mulling it over, he decided to accept this as his mom’s last gift to him. The guard asks if he made the right choice, and Ik-joon tells him that he did.
Joon-wan looks over a new patient’s chart and sighs at the strange situation. He meets with the mom, and she apologizes for coming to him for a second opinion. However, with her child’s life on the line, there is nothing she will not do.
Ik-joon enters the GS office and finds Gyu-wool and Yoon-bok eating rice cakes. They tell him that the brother bought it for them and even apologized for his behavior. Ik-joon says that none of this is necessary, but Yoon-bok disagrees, admitting to disliking the guardian.
He gently reminds her that this was the patient’s third hospital, and while these situations happen to them all the time, from the patient and guardian’s perspective, this is their most emotional moment. He says that he would probably act the same if in their position and advises her to be more understanding.
Yoon-bok tears up after hearing his words and apologizes. She tells them that she acted the same way when her mom was sick and criticizes herself for forgetting about how it feels to be a guardian just because she donned a doctor’s gown.
The patient’s mom asks if they should use a VAD, but Joon-wan is against the idea. Though it sounds harsh, he gives her his honest opinion of the patient’s condition and says that she has done a lot for her baby already.
The mom thanks Joon-wan for his objective answer and explains how they gave it a lot of thought, too. She leaves the room sobbing, and the others realize that she did not come here to ask them to save her baby.
Gyu-wool and Yoon-bok go down to the ER, and while they are there, they come across a mom screaming at the staff to come see her child. While she yells at So-ye to hurry up, Dr. Bong arrives at the scene and recognizes the mom as a pediatric doctor.
On his way out, Jung-won spots Gyu-wool sleeping at the nurses’ station and silently stands next to her so she can lean on him. In the morning, he picks her up for their date, and she kisses him on the lips as soon as she sees him.
That weekend, the band plays “To You” by Kim Kwang-seok, and Jung-won sings. The scene changes, and Jung-won waits at the cathedral for Gyu-wool while wearing a suit. She does her makeup on the taxi ride over, but gets a call from a hospital, asking for her permission to operate on her mom.
Rosa stands outside her house and inputs a string of incorrect passcodes. With each mistake, her anxiety mounts, and she desperately tries over and over again.
Ik-joon and Joon-wan return from their school reunion early, and Woo-joo calls his dad to ask for fried chicken. The two of them smile at his adorable request, but their faces become rigid when Ik-soon speaks next. Hearing his ex-girlfriend’s voice, Joon-wan stares out the window in silence.
Though the sun has set, Jung-won sits in the same spot as he did in the morning and reads a message from Gyu-wool. She tells him that she has to go down to Gwangju and promises to explain everything to him later. Grabbing the ring box he prepared, Jung-won leaves the cathedral.
The central theme of this episode was the idea of misconceptions. The doctors misunderstood guardians, the guardians misunderstood doctors, and characters, in general, went through misunderstandings built on bad first impressions of each other. One example was the brother who acted hostile towards the hospital staff. He questioned the doctors and nurses’ skills, and his behavior irked some of the staff members like Yoon-bok. However, this experience was turned into a learning lesson for the young doctor as Ik-joon explained the delicate nature of hospital relations. He pointed out their duty to be understanding since the patient and guardians are under a lot of stress. With his guidance, Yoon-bok realized that she was not actually that different from the antagonistic brother—in the end, everyone becomes more emotional when their families’ lives are at risk. This idea was further explored with the ER guardian who turned out to be a pediatric fellow, and Yoon-bok witnessed, first-hand, that anyone can become a worried guardian, even doctors.
While there were many subplots on this theme such as Sung-young with the guard or even Seok-hyung’s mom with Min-ha, my favorite scene was with Joon-wan and the baby’s mom. When they saw the patient’s chart, they all assumed the mom was here to save her child, and thus, Joon-wan seemed a bit wary when he shared his honest assessment. However, as Ik-joon told Yoon-bok, guardians know a lot more than doctors sometimes give them credit for, and in this case, the mom did not come to Joon-wan expecting a miracle. She knew her baby’s condition, but was having a hard time accepting the truth. As a result, she sought out Joon-wan not for a way to save her child but to confirm that their choice was correct—it was time to let go even if doing so would break her heart. Despite it being a short scene, I found it to be one of the more impactful moments in this episode, depicting the less-than-ideal side of a doctor’s responsibility and their limitations.
For the most part, I’m enjoying the hospital-aspects of the show, and the different insights into the lives of doctors, nurses, patients, and guardians are interesting to watch. However, I find myself less invested in the love stories than I was in the first season, and part of my frustration is with the lack of development and nuance. The main couple this time around is Jung-won and Gyu-wool, but their relationship feels one-dimensional, especially in comparison to before. The central conflict for them in the first season was whether Jung-won would pursue priesthood or remain at the hospital, but now that the problem was resolved, there hasn’t been any other major progress made with their relationship. I think they are both adorable, but “cute” seems to be the default plotline of this couple now. I don’t feel as emotionally invested in their relationship because the show leaves its viewers to infer what is happening between them rather than showing us the underlying problems. Thus, when things like the final scene happen, I don’t feel connected to Jung-won’s pain nor Gyu-wool’s struggles.
My biggest problem, though, is with Joon-wan. I think the creators are doing a disservice to his character this time around when it comes to love, and the Ik-soon plotline feels dragged out and unnecessary at this point. It’s been a year, but for the most part, I don’t feel the passage of time when it comes to the romantic relationships in the story because everyone is stuck in the same place. I wish they would delve deeper into Joon-wan’s loneliness and explore these topics in more detail. There is a lot of potential about this characterization of Joon-wan needing companionship and feeling left behind by those around him. These issues are about more than his breakup with Ik-soon, but it feels like the show is portraying him as sad and lonely just to emphasize the fact that he still misses her. It’s also an odd choice to depict him as depressed all the time if Ik-soon really is the end game because it creates no sympathy for her character. At this point, I just want Joon-wan to find happiness and let her go because a year without contact is a definitive sign that he needs to move on.
Though I did complain about the romance, I don’t think all the love stories are a weak point for the show. While Song-hwa and Ik-joon’s relationship is also at a standstill, it works for them unlike the others because their main issue is whether to remain friends or get to know each other romantically. Right now, they chose to the former, but there’s an unspoken undercurrent in their relationship which was excellently presented in the camping scene. They share a comfortable rapport and make each other laugh with ease, but when it is time to separate, Ik-joon longs for something more. He loves being her friend, but unlike Song-hwa, he isn’t completely satisfied with just that role. He clearly hates seeing her leave, but at the same time, there is nothing he can do to cross the impassable line between them. Though I wouldn’t mind if they remained friends, I think the show does a great job capturing Ik-joon’s conflicting feelings and the complexity of their relationship.