Hospital Playlist 2: Episode 8
Though our five protagonists are excellent doctors, their skills do not automatically transfer to all aspects of their lives. Sometimes, proximity can create blind spots, and what a stranger can see from a distance, a family member can easily overlook. As the show dives into the complex relationships of parents and their children, some of our protagonists start reevaluating their life choices and how they treat the ones they love.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Joon-wan and Jung-won find themselves at home much earlier than expected and drink away their respective sorrows. Though the friends can tell that something is bothering the other, neither of them wish to divulge their problems.
Rosa manages to get inside her house after forgetting her passcode, but the experience has left her shaken. She cries under her covers, and on her bedside table is a list of important dates such as her children’s birthdays.
During breakfast, Ik-soon devours a carton of eggs, which leads the siblings to squabble about her diet and make fart jokes. He orders his sister to stop teaching Woo-joo weird stuff, but his son has already learned a new, oddball trick that leaves him frozen in shock. After sending Woo-joo off to school, Ik-joon offers his sister a ride to the bus terminal since she prefers it over the train, and he fusses over her health like a caring brother.
As soon as Joon-wan arrives at the hospital, he heads straight to the ER and misses Jae-hak’s enthusiastic greeting. All the regular fellows beside Gyu-wool are on their way to the convenience store, and they notice Min-ha’s new makeup look. Jae-hak cracks a joke that leaves the others speechless, but Min-ha finds it hilarious much to his delight.
Jung-won meets with a patient, and the guardian glances down at her list of questions. She apologizes for her behavior, but Jung-won understands her worries and takes his time answering everything she prepared.
Ik-joon’s transplant patient—the recipient of the Daddy-Long-Legs program—is back in the ER, but this time, Joon-wan looks over his charts because of a heart issue. Meanwhile, the others wrap up their morning appointments and gather one by one in Song-hwa’s office for lunch.
Before Jung-won joins his friends, he receives a call from Gyu-wool, and she tells him that her mom broke a few bones after a fall. He offers to visit, but Gyu-wool says that there is no need. She might not be able to contact him for a while, but Jung-won is fine with that since her needs come first. He asks one more time if everything is alright, and she says that it is.
As the friends enter the room, they balk at the large quantity of food and wonder if more people are coming. Ik-joon tells them that Song-hwa ordered and bought them all specific flavors—even considering the muggles’ tastebuds. Joon-wan asks what a “muggle” is, and Ik-joon turns to Seok-hyung, who instantly replies, “Shut up, Malfoy.” Pftt.
The two friends are still teasing Joon-wan when Jung-won comes in, and Ik-joon stops to ask about Gyu-wool. He was surprised to hear about her break since they have a lot of surgeries scheduled, and Jung-won explains how she barely used her vacation days so the chief allowed it.
Joon-wan wonders why Song-hwa is late, and Ik-joon informs them about her lab meetings on Mondays. He knows everything about her schedule, even the fact that she advises eleven people with their thesis. (Does Song-hwa have the Time-Turner?)
After Song-hwa arrives—and eats a whole tub to herself—the friends make plans for dinner. Since Jung-won is buying, everyone agrees to show up because no one turns down free meat.
Hong-do brings the OB/GYN staff ice cream as thanks, and Min-ha walks over to grab one. The night has been quiet so far, and Min-ha has a hunch that today will be easy. Hong-do asks if she has any superstitions, and she tells him that she only believes in one: if you eat free snacks from a junior, then patients will fall from the sky in hordes.
Ominous music plays in the background as the situation dawns on Min-ha. She yells at Hong-do for his bank account number in order to buy the ice cream, but it is too late: they have a transfer patient coming now.
Min-ha heads down to the ER and notifies Seok-hyung about the patient’s serious condition. He joins her in the operating room after finishing his appointments and manages to stop the bleeding. While on their way to talk to the guardians, Min-ha comments on how the husband would have been angry if they removed the uterus, but Seok-hyung disagrees. He tells Min-ha that the husband would have understood, and she apologizes for her thoughtless remark.
When Seok-hyung informs the husband of his wife’s condition, he thanks him for saving her since her life comes first. Min-ha realizes how misguided her assumptions were, and after they leave, she berates herself for the mistake again. Chuckling, Seok-hyung tells Min-ha that everything is alright as long as she learns from this experience.
While eating dinner with Rosa, Jong-soo suggests replacing the refrigerator, but she shakes her head since she will die soon enough. She thinks she might have Alzheimer’s, and Jong-soo grasps the seriousness of her concern. She needs time before telling Jung-won, though, and Jong-soo gives her a week to think things over. To lift her spirits, he tells her to start “it” again, but Rosa refuses to do anything foolish at her age.
At the restaurant, Song-hwa and Joon-wan gaze at the meat and fight over who gets to eat what piece. Arriving late, Seok-hyung reaches over the two of them and grabs the one they were both eyeing. He tells them that it tastes great, and they yell at him for taking it. Heh.
The friends discuss an upcoming hiking trip to Mount Seorak, but only Jung-won is hyped about going to dinosaur ridge (also the name of their chatroom). After they finish their meal, Song-hwa stares at the grill pan, wondering if she could buy it, but Ik-joon prohibits her from asking. The server brings over their takeout order, and Seok-hyung hurries out with his items. The others laugh at his trick while Jung-won gapes at the bill.
Once he comes home, Ik-joon finds his sister texting her old junior, and she tells him that she was invited back to the cilantro club. She gets up to say goodnight to Woo-joo, and Ik-joon moves her phone away from the ledge. He sees something that gives him pause, but when Ik-soon returns, he stays uncharacteristically silent about it.
Min-ha addresses her teddy bear as herself and switches between forgiveness and anger, petting it one second and then shaking it vigorously the next. Another doctor pokes her head in the room, wondering about all the voices, and Min-ha pretends to know nothing.
Rosa gets up in the middle of the night and tumbles out of her bed, hitting her head on the floor. The next morning, Jong-soo gives her a call and tells his driver to turn around when he hears about the fall. Jung-won runs to the ER as soon as he learns about his mom’s accident, but Rosa keeps her eyes closed to avoid talking to him.
Song-hwa calls her friend out to show him the CT scans and tells him that she suspects hydrocephalus. She asks if he spotted any symptoms, and Jung-won recalls her forgetfulness and odd gait. She assures him that her condition is not severe, but he feels guilty for not noticing sooner.
Once they return to Rosa’s bedside, Song-hwa tells her about her condition, and Rosa tears up in relief since she thought it was Alzheimer’s. As the weight of her fears hits him for the first time, Jung-won excuses himself to cry in private.
Song-hwa informs her patient and her two children that she has a brain tumor and recommends surgery. Joon-wan also has an older patient with two children, and similarly, the only solution is surgery. In both cases, the operation would be difficult, and the children are divided on what to do.
After hearing the positives and negatives, the two patients come to vastly different conclusions. Song-hwa’s patient turns it down while her kids want some time to discuss their options, and Joon-wan’s patient cuts off his daughter to beg for the operation. Even if he only lives one more day, the older father wants to live a proper life.
Meanwhile, the older mother’s children fight in the hallway with the daughter pushing for surgery and the son firmly against it. The daughter calls him callous for caring more about money, but he argues that their mother would not want to suffer more. On her way to the restroom, the older mother overhears their conversation and looks torn.
Song-hwa finishes the initial drainage for Rosa and updates Jung-won on her condition. She gives him the same instructions she gave the caregiver, and explains to her confused friend that Jong-soo is watching over his mom.
Before rushing off to an emergency surgery, Song-hwa remembers her mom’s appointment and gives her a call. She tells her mom to not say anything embarrassing in front of her professor and hangs up when she invites her out to dinner.
That evening, Jung-won stays by Rosa’s side, and she admires her good-looking doctor. He plays along at first but reproaches himself since he failed as a son. She assures him that she is happy right now and hopes her kind son will not trouble himself over every incidence because life is unpredictable.
Song-hwa answers a call from her professor after finishing her surgery, but her cheery mood turns somber instantaneously: her mom has Parkinson’s disease. She composes herself in her office before calling her mom, and uses a reassuring tone when talking to her. She tells her not to worry because her daughter is a neurosurgeon and plans to come home tonight to see her.
When her mom worries about inconveniencing her, Song-hwa chokes on her tears and tells her that work is not important right now. She plops down on the couch, overcome with emotions, and right then, Ik-joon walks in. She tells him about his mom’s illness, and a silence falls over them as neither know what to say.
Ik-joon asks if she is going home and offers to drive her. With tears pooling in her eyes, Song-hwa asks if he could, and he tells her to change while he starts his car. Concern clouds his face as he watches his friend struggle with this news, but he is unable to do anything except give her space.
With Gyu-wool gone for the week, one of her patients sorely misses her and calls everything pointless when he hears that she might not be here for his surgery. Meanwhile, Min-ha inquires about a loan at the bank for her parents’ pension in Mount Seorak. She bumps into Seon-bin in the lobby who is on her to way to meet Song-hwa for their thesis meeting.
However, when Seon-bin arrives, Song-hwa cancels all her plans for the next couple of days. Ik-joon and Joon-wan drop by as Seon-bin leaves, and they hear about their friend wanting to rest and turn back around, as well.
Jong-soo sticks by Rosa’s side and tends to all her needs since her kids are busy. Jung-won checks on his mom again, and not long after, another guest knocks on her door. Gyu-wool greets Rosa, and the latter lights up to see her. She even gets out of bed to send her off and refuses to leave until Jong-soo nudges her back inside.
While waiting for the elevators, Gyu-wool tells Jung-won that she wanted to surprise him and explains how her mom came up to Seoul to live with her. He wonders how she heard about his mom, and she says that everyone at the hospital knows. Away from prying eyes, they hold hands in the elevator and break apart whenever the doors open.
Ik-joon is surprised to see Gyu-wool back so soon, and despite being on break, she visits her patient. The weary patient suddenly regains his energy as soon as he sees her, and the whole family smiles in relief when she promises to do her best in tomorrow’s surgery.
While Song-hwa rest in her office, Seok-min asks if he can come by to ask for a favor, but seconds later, he texts again, saying that it was resolved. Outside her door, Ik-joon stands guard, blocking everyone who tries to see her. He acts as her substitute, taking care of all requests and questions.
After giving Song-hwa some time to recharge, Ik-joon asks if he can come in and hands her a gift: the grill pan. He scoured the internet for a replica, and she laughs in disbelief at his rare find. From the door, the neurosurgeon fellows note their professor’s happy mood and leave the two friends alone.
Joon-wan notices his dwindling supply of snacks in his desk drawer and accuses Jung-won of stealing. His roommate professes his innocence, and moments later, the real thief arrives. Joon-wan gawks at Ik-joon as he casually swipes a cookie from his drawer, and the two friends engage in another childish battle.
The three of them eat lunch, and Joon-wan tells the others that he will be gone for his mom’s birthday. Jung-won asks if he reserved tickets, and Joon-wan turns to Ik-joon, posing the same question. Even after all these years, Ik-joon still buys all of his friend’s tickets because he does not know how to do it online.
Passing by the funeral parlor, Song-hwa recognizes the older mom’s son, and he tells her that his friend passed away from a heart attack. The sudden death has forced the son to see the futility of life and made him reevaluate his choices.
Jung-won stays with Rosa during her last night at the hospital, and they use this time to talk. He tells her to live more selfishly from now on and stop worrying about her kids. Even if she does have Alzheimer’s in the future, he promises to recognize her, instead, and he wishes she would live every day to the fullest. His words move her, and Rosa decides to follow his advice and start “it” again.
While Seok-hyung cleans up his basement, he receives a text and rushes to the hospital. Without their keyboardist, a couple of the friends think they should postpone, but Ik-joon found them a replacement guest: Rosa! She takes her place behind the piano, and Jong-soo cheers for his friend while filming the session. They play “Is It Still Beautiful” by Kim Yeon-woo, and Rosa blends seamlessly with the group.
Hong-do gets scolded for sending a message about Min-ha’s illness to the entire OB/GYN chatroom, but in the end, all but one of the professors just sent “get well” texts. The outlier is Seok-hyung, but Min-ha assumes it is an apparition and calls for a doctor. Pfft.
When Gyu-wool tells her that Seok-hyung is really here, Min-ha cries uncontrollably. He asks if it hurts somewhere, and Min-ha tells him that these are tears of joy. He awkwardly pats her pillow, unsure of what to do with his emotional fellow.
Joon-wan tells his older patient that his charts look good and allows him to be discharged. The older father thanks him for the successful surgery, but before he leaves, he stops by the Daddy-Long-Legs patient to give him well wishes and calls him youngster.
As for Song-hwa’s older patient, she decided to take the surgery after all, and in a surprising twist, her son is here as her caretaker. He brags about being the better child, and their relationship brings a smile to Song-hwa’s face.
Joon-wan misses his train ride after drinking with his family all night, so Ik-joon books him another ticket. Sitting on the bus, Joon-wan closes his eyes to get some sleep, and another passenger walks down the aisle. He wakes up, feeling a sense of familiarity, and he locks eyes with Ik-soon.
My heart went out to all the parents this episode, especially Rosa. The thought of slowly forgetting everyone you love must be terrifying, and her fear felt so palpable. Rosa has often been depicted as a strong and independent woman, and we have rarely seen her cry in the show. In a way, she is a stereotypical mother who sacrifices her wellbeing for the sake of her children. She obsesses over supplements not for her own health but in order to avoid being a burden on her family, and whenever Jong-soo complains about his kids, Rosa tends to side with them rather than her own friend. Thus, the idea of Alzheimer’s renders her inconsolable because it is the definition of everything she fears, and it causes her to act irrationally. She avoids the hospital, hides her pain, and basically, buries her head in the sand. She is afraid of the truth, and it is this reaction that breaks Jung-won’s heart.
All this time, his mom was trembling in fear, but he was never aware of her worries. Despite being the closest son to her as well as a medical professional, he could not detect her symptoms nor gauge the seriousness of her concerns. It takes Jung-won over forty years to finally realize how much his mom puts her family above herself, and though he is a thoughtful doctor to his patients, he is still just a child to his mom. Their talk during her last night at the hospital was one of the highlights of their relationship, and an already tight bond became even stronger. Jung-won understands what Rosa is afraid of now, and his response is perfect. He does not shy away from the possibility of Alzheimer’s in the future, but instead, assures her that she will never be alone in her struggle. Even if she forgets her kids, they will be at her side, constantly reminding her of their faces, and this assurance is why Rosa is able to move on and embrace life to the fullest. She realizes that her kids are capable of supporting her, too, and she no longer has to be scared of what lies ahead. The band practice was a great closing scene for this storyline, and I loved seeing Rosa back to her cheerful self and finding a new purpose in life with her best friend and devoted son by her side.
Following closely to this theme of parent-child relationships, Song-hwa learns about her mom’s disease and has a rare moment of vulnerability. Though bad things have happened to Song-hwa before, she takes things in strides and usually gets back on her feet immediately. She barely batted an eye when she kicked her cheating boyfriend to the curb, and when the doctor told her that it could be cancer, her response was to worry about her morning appointments. Song-hwa is the type of person who plows ahead no matter, but things changed when the person ill was her mom. Life sort of stops for Song-hwa as she processes the news, and for the first time, it feels like she is lost. Similar to Jung-won, Song-hwa feels guilty for not recognizing the symptoms sooner, but in her situation, she downplayed her worries as another typical thing her mom does. In the end, Song-hwa is still human, and she was unable to be an objective doctor when it came to her mom. What her professor saw so easily never crossed her mind, and it highlights, once again, that doctors are humans, too, especially when the situation involves their family.
The thing that struck me the most about their relationship, though, is how her mom also reacts differently when she learns about her condition. Rather than call Song-hwa and ask for help, she shies away because her intentions were never to bother her daughter. Song-hwa’s mom may be talkative, but it all stems from love and a deep sense of pride. However, once she realizes that she does, indeed, have a serious illness, her mom no longer complains about her pains because her words now hold weight. She does not want Song-hwa to put her work aside for her sake, and this breaks Song-hwa’s heart because in every other interaction between them, work did take precedent. It seems Song-hwa is devasted by her mom’s illness partly because it revealed her own shortcomings as a daughter. She has not been very attentive or caring, so hearing her mom minimize her own struggles was probably another reminder to Song-hwa of all the times she ignored her. It’s an interesting facet to her character—one that humanizes her through her faults, in my opinion—and I’m glad the show is exploring these familial relationships.
During Song-hwa’s crisis, Ik-joon stepped up, and I absolutely adored the way he supported his friend. He knew exactly what Song-hwa needed—both to make her life easier as well as happier. His actions this episode reminded me of the time in the first season when he showed up at the hospital to give her emotional support, and it highlights the special bond between these two characters that the others do not share. Ik-joon may know everything and everyone in the hospital, but above all else, he is acutely aware of Song-hwa. He remembers every detail of her schedule and catches onto the tiniest quirks in her behavior. It is not a mere coincidence that Ik-joon is there when Song-hwa is at her lowest because he is always at her side whether that be during her best or worst days.