Hospital Playlist 2: Episode 9
While a patient may only ever interact with a handful of individuals at a hospital, there are a lot more people working behind the scenes than meets the eye. Sometimes the lack of recognition can be disheartening, but even so, the staff continue doing their best because seeing the results of their efforts is reward enough.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
After putting Woo-joo to bed, Ik-joon continues working when his sister texts him to let him know that she will be riding the midnight bus. Later that night, he receives a call from Joon-wan who needs a ticket, and a light bulb goes off in Ik-joon’s head as he tells his friend that the earliest time is all booked.
Jung-won sends the group chat the recording of their latest band practice, and while Ik-joon watches the clip, Ik-soon listens to the same song on the bus. When they reach their stop, Joon-wan waits for the other passengers to get off before approaching Ik-soon’s seat and asks if they can meet this weekend.
All five friends are busy in their own operating rooms alongside their team of doctors and nurses, highlighting, once again, how much goes on behind the scenes. Throughout their hectic day, the hospital staff play in the table tennis tournament, and Seok-hyung gives a shy “fighting” to the OB/GYN nurses, which is nothing short of a miracle in their eyes.
Jung-won finds Seok-hyung lost in thought in the garden and asks if something is bothering him. Seok-hyung tells him that he is gathering his thoughts after pondering over something and wonders why Jung-won is not playing in the games. Though Jung-won wanted to beat Ik-joon (who is participating, of course), no one else in his department knows how to play.
Ik-joon and his teammate, Dr. Lee, have reached the quarterfinals, and their opponents are the radiology department. While both sides look nimble and determined to win, most of their fancy moves are for show since they only got this far for the same reason.
Rewinding back to their first game, Ik-joon’s team went up against the ER department, but before they could start a rally, Dr. Bong received an emergency call and rushed out. Their next match was against Joon-wan and Jae-hak, but as soon as they tossed the ball up, a code blue alarm went off, sending the cardiac surgeons out the door.
Thus, the HPB surgery and radiology departments have their first, real match, and Ik-joon engages in a little pre-game trash-talk with his opponent, Dr. Shin (cameo by Yoo Jae-myung) or as Ik-joon likes to call him, “the bluffer.” However, this game lasts only a few seconds longer than the other ones as Dr. Shin pushes aside his partner and hits every ball. The referee disqualifies the radiology department, and Dr. Shin wonders why they lost. Pfft.
Before the semi-finals, Ik-joon attempts to distract the opponents by spreading false rumors, but his plan backfires and earns him a “banana” card. Unlike the previous match, the orthopedic department actually knows how to play and reaches match point first. Ik-joon and Dr. Lee refuse to give up, though, and their efforts pay off as they tie up the score.
Ik-joon and Dr. Lee break out into a Deux dance to celebrate their deuce, but their moment is cut short when Dr. Lee gets a cramp in his leg. Ik-joon calls for a timeout and gives him a cat massage (a pun on the word cramp which sounds like mouse in Korean). The orthopedic department sees this as their chance to win, but the tables turn when one of their wives goes into labor.
After multiple strokes of luck, Ik-joon and Dr. Lee make it to the finals, and their opponents are the undefeated nuclear medicine department. When Song-hwa offers his team some hot tea to calm their nerves, he tells her to hold onto it since he will drink after winning the match.
They march up to the table with confidence, but all that shatters in the blink of an eye as Ik-joon and Dr. Lee take turns getting hit by their opponents’ smashes. Ik-joon keeps one-half of his promise at least since Song-hwa’s tea is still hot by the time the game ends. Heh.
Ik-joon and Dr. Lee wonder if their opponents are a national athlete and an Olympic gold medalist, and as it turns out, they technically are (cameo by table tennis athletes Hyun Jung-hwa and Joo Sae-hyuk). While their opponents barely worked up a sweat, Dr. Lee gets another cramp in his leg, and Ik-joon meows to scare it away.
On his way out, Jung-won calls Gyu-wool to see if she is free tonight, but she cannot meet him since her mom needs her. Though he tells her not to worry about him, Gyu-wool sighs after hanging up. While she gets ready to leave, Min-ha drops by her office to grab food, but Gyu-wool turns down her offer, explaining how she has to make dinner for her mom.
Min-ha asks how her mom is doing, but Gyu-wool avoids answering and promises to tell her everything later. As she turns to go, Min-ha grabs her shoulders and reminds her friend that the things troubling her now will soon pass, too. In the meantime, she will always be here to help her, and Gyu-wool smiles in appreciation.
As the only ones on night duty, Ik-joon and Joon-wan eat chicken together, but Ik-joon gets irked when Joon-wan stuffs his face instead of helping him set the table. Grabbing a bottle, Joon-wan tells “Jung-won” to leave and sprinkles water at his friend. Ik-joon says that he is actually Gyu-wool and throws water back at him. Ha!
Song-hwa drops by the ER to bring Dr. Bong a cup of coffee, but he doesn’t even get to sip it before another emergency sends him off to work. A TA patient comes in, and one look at his vitals shows Dr. Bong that he will need surgery—possibly two of them.
Seon-bin and Seok-min hold hands in the stairwell, but as they lean in for a kiss, Hong-do opens the door. Frazzled by the sight, he runs in the opposite direction until Seok-min points out that the neurology office is the other way.
Barging into the room, Hong-do whines at Yoon-bok for ignoring his texts and asks for her help with some analyses. She brushes him aside since she is busy with assignments, but after her brother leaves, Yoon-bok sighs since she is just as clueless as him.
When the door opens again, Yoon-bok cries at her brother to stop asking because she does not know how to do it, but Sung-young stares at her with half-closed eyes, wondering what she means. As he makes himself a cup of coffee, he gives her some advice and hands her a cup, too.
Touched by Sung-young’s gesture, Yoon-bok tells Seon-bin what happened, but Seon-bin bursts her bubble: everything feels romantic right now because she is tired. Yoon-bok refuses to believe her, so Seon-bin shakes the young intern and orders her to snap out of it.
Ik-joon and Joon-wan head to the ER and decide to operate on the TA patient with both of them in the room in case his vitals drop. Joon-wan goes first to stop the bleeding in the heart, and once he finishes, he switches places with Ik-joon.
Passing the four-hour mark, they nearly reach the end, so Joon-wan goes out to talk to the guardian as the head physician. Afterwards, they move the patient to the ICU where Joon-wan and Chang-min watch over him until he wakes up.
Before their rounds, pediatric resident Hwang Ji-woo quizzes Hong-do on the patient’s background, and he recites the information without any hiccups. Once Jung-won joins them, they visit the NICU, and as expected, Jung-won asks Hong-do about the patient. Unfortunately, the question stumps both his intern and resident, so Jung-won explains it instead.
The NICU nurses have their hands full with fussy babies, and though they try their best, the crying will not stop. While Jung-won appreciates their hard work, not all the guardians share in his views as one mother assumes her baby is being neglected even though the nurse was carrying her child just seconds ago.
Song-hwa’s birthday has arrived again, and her song choice leaves the others flabbergasted. Even sweet Jung-won is up in arms about her pick, but nothing they do will change her mind. While a couple of the friends worry together in the garden, Seok-hyung answers a call Min-ha who shows up with two ice cream cones.
The friends play a game of rock-paper-scissors, and even though Ik-joon wins, Min-ha hands the cone to Seok-hyung. Before she leaves, Ik-joon sends her some finger hearts, and she returns the gesture, which makes Seok-hyung chuckle.
During their smoke break, Ik-joon and Joon-wan talk about Seok-hyung’s uncharacteristic display of emotion. Ik-joon wonders if Seok-hyung knows his own feelings, and Jung-won tells him that he probably does. In fact, he guesses that something might happen soon given his earlier reaction.
Joon-wan exits the ICU after checking on his patient, and Jae-hak intercepts him at the elevators. He invites his professor out to his hiking club this Saturday, but Joon-wan turns him down since he has plans that evening. Jae-hak tries his best to persuade him to come, and Joon-wan gives it his all to run away. Heh.
While eating dinner, Ik-soon starts singing, and Ik-joon joins her for a verse before telling her to stop. He asks if she wants to come biking with them tomorrow, but Ik-soon is meeting someone then. He frets about her health, and she assures him that she has it under control. She sings again to lighten the mood, and Ik-joon gets up to dance and sing.
Ik-joon returns home after his outing with Woo-joo, but his smile disappears when he hears about Ik-soon’s worsening condition. She agrees to go to Yulje when Ik-joon tells her that Joon-wan will not be there, and she cancels her meeting with him.
While Ik-soon rests in the ER, Ik-joon steps out for some air and bumps into Jae-hak. The fellow wonders why he is not with Joon-wan since he had plans today, and Ik-joon puts the pieces together. Sitting in his office, he calls his friend and tells him that Ik-soon is in the ER.
Joon-wan finds Ik-soon’s bed, and she looks up in shock to see him. She lies about her illness, but he already saw her charts and knows everything. He asks if she really had an affair, but before she can answer, Ik-joon texts her. She hides her phone from Joon-wan, but he senses something off and reaches for it. His own face looks up at him from her phone, and he asks for an explanation.
Flashing back to the time Ik-joon saw his sister’s phone, he realized then that she still had feelings for Joon-wan. Thus, the bus encounter was not a mere coincidence since Ik-joon purposefully bought his friend a later ticket knowing that the two would meet.
While Joon-wan waits for her reply, his phone rings, and Jae-hak asks him to come to the hospital quickly. Postponing their talk to another day, Joon-wan leaves.
Gyu-wool asks Resident Kim Geon about a patient, and her detailed questions catch him off guard. She tells him that Ik-joon will probably quiz him on this and gives him the answer. Just as she predicted, Ik-joon asks him the same question during their rounds, and Geon smiles at Gyu-wool after getting it correct.
Due to the suddenness of the patient’s surgery, Dr. Shin is unavailable because of a conference, so Gyu-wool asks if they should book someone else. Ik-joon agrees to her decision if that is their only option, but wishes Dr. Shin was here since they have been monitoring this patient together for years.
On his way to check on the TA patient, Chang-min runs into ER resident Yeon Jae-min who wants to tag along with him. Jae-min explains how they worked hard to stabilize the patient when he came in, but to his disappointment, the patient only remembers the surgeons and calls them his saviors.
Ik-joon calls Dr. Shin to notify him about the operation, and the professor offers to turn the bus around and get back to Yulje. Ik-joon assumes he is bluffing and tells him to forget about it and enjoy his trip.
Jae-hak and his wife meet with Joon-wan and tell him that the TA patient is actually the husband of a friend. Now that the patient is recovering, the couple started to wonder when was the most critical moment for the husband, and Jae-hak turns to Joon-wan for his opinion.
Jung-won tells the guardians that their baby can go home now, and they thank him for saving their child’s life. He says that he only checked on the patient for five minutes a day, so someone else deserves their gratitude more: the NICU nurses.
During the operation, Ik-joon asks for an ultrasound, and to everyone’s shock, Dr. Shin walks in. He checks to see if everything is connected and hopes their patient will get better now.
Back in the café, Joon-wan tells the others that the ER staff’s efforts were the deciding factor to the patient’s survival. Going back to that night, we see Dr. Bong working diligently with his staff by his side, doing everything in his power to stabilize the patient’s vitals.
Ik-joon asks Dr. Shin how he came back so soon, and he tells him that he begged the bus driver to let him off and took a taxi. He jokes about almost not coming because of Ik-joon, but they both know that he wanted to be there for his patient. To show his appreciation, Ik-joon gives Dr. Shin a massage, but Dr. Shin is more interested in understanding why he lost the table tennis game.
In the ER, So-ye tells Dr. Bong that Jae-min disappeared, but he tells her that he saw him in the smoking area earlier. She assumes the resident is slacking off, but Dr. Bong stops her from scolding him and offers to fetch him since he looked troubled.
Dr. Bong sits with Jae-min and listens to his struggles about the lack of recognition from the TA patient. Though he can understand where the resident is coming from, Dr. Bong cannot relate since he never felt this way before. He says that the patient’s recovery is enough of a reward for him, but if Jae-min is still upset, then in lieu of the patient, he and the other ER staff will recognize his hard work.
Someone dropped off food at the NICU, and when the nurses sit down to eat, they find a note inside from the guardian whose baby was discharged. The guardian thanks them for taking care of her child like a mother, and her words bring the nurses to tears.
While on her walk with Jong-soo, Rosa tells him that being sick helped her realize that her advice meant nothing to him back then. Everything felt pointless when she was ill, but now, things are different. She is glad to have taken up the piano, and Jong-soo says that he started cooking as a hobby, too. Instead of the support he probably expected, Rosa nags at him for skipping work, and he distracts her by pointing at the storm clouds in the sky.
Song-hwa and Ik-joon take a stroll in the garden, and she tells him that her family has gotten closer after learning about her mom’s illness. It starts to rain again, and they are caught in the downpour. As they run towards shelter, Ik-joon grabs her hand to jump over a puddle but then lets go. He tells her to think of them as hurdles and runs off ahead while she stares at him with a curious expression on her face.
The dreaded day has arrived, and Song-hwa chugs a glass of raw eggs to lubricate her throat. The guys ask one last time if she wants to change songs, but Song-hwa reminds them that today is her birthday, which means she gets to choose.
The song for today is “You’ve Fallen for Me” by Nobrain, and Song-hwa belts out a shaky first note with all her might. She pushes forward, undeterred by her lack of skills, and her friends jam along for the entire song.
While Song-hwa has a blast on her birthday, the same cannot be said for her past self. During her university days, she received a message from Ik-joon, asking to meet, and she could barely contain her excitement. However, after waiting all night, he cancelled on her, and Song-hwa cried over her broken heart all those birthdays ago.
This was another fun and lighthearted episode overall, and I appreciated the show for putting the spotlight on the lesser seen departments and workers. While the tournament storyline was a bit random, it was a nice way to showcase how big and interlocked the hospital was. There were thirty-two departments participating in the table tennis matches, and it even included teams like marketing and security. Though our five friends are the main characters, Yulje is able to function because of everyone’s hard work, and the show calls attention to how big the hospital is outside of our usual groups. The table tennis games were also a riot to watch, and there were so many jokes thrown around in those scenes; words cannot do it justice. I particularly loved Yoo Jae-myung’s cameo and thought he fit seamlessly into this world as if his character always existed. His rapport with Ik-joon was hilarious, but what made him such a memorable character was the juxtaposition of his silly bluffs with his sense of responsibility. At the end of the day, he made his lie come true, and when it counted, Dr. Shin was man of his word.
Oftentimes, medical dramas portray nurses as individuals merely there to assist doctors rather than professionals with their own duties. They either have nonexistent roles or are relegated to insignificant tasks. When they are used, shows rarely highlight their importance, so it was like a breath of fresh air to see Hospital Playlist 2 emphasize how much time and effort nurses devote to their job and patients. Especially given the current social climate, it’s nice to see nurses get the appreciation they deserve, and hopefully it served as a reminder to the audience that these people are humans, too. On a similar note, the show spent some time with the ER staff, which depicted a different perspective on the issue of recognition and rewards. While the nurses are overshadowed by doctors, the ER staff are forgotten because of the nature of their role. Despite being on the frontlines and seeing critical patients first, the ER staff’s work is frequently overlooked because their responsibilities end once the patient moves on to another department. In the eyes of the patient, surgeons are the ones who “healed” them, and thus, people forget about those initial, crucial moments. For doctors like Jae-min, it can feel like someone else stole credit for his hard work, and I don’t criticize the young resident for being upset about the lack of recognition. However, his response emphasizes how amazing Dr. Bong is as a doctor because he has always found his patients’ recoveries fulfilling enough. It makes sense why Dr. Bong is friends with the main group because he’s just as thoughtful, responsible, and skilled as they are. He may have spent most of his time in the first season sharing stories to the curious residents, but just like the five friends, he was busy in his own corner doing his part and saving lives.
One, minor detail that bothered me in this episode was Joon-wan looking at Ik-soon’s medical history. Maybe the law in South Korea is different, but something about it felt very intrusive. Whether or not Joon-wan had the legal right to look at a patient’s charts, it feels like a gray area for a doctor to check on his ex-girlfriend’s medical history, especially when he is not her primary physician. Part of my dislike for this behavior stems from the casual way the situation is handled and the implications. It’s used purely as a device to get Joon-wan to find out Ik-soon’s “secret” and make sure she cannot lie again. While I am firmly on team Joon-wan in this relationship (I just want him to be happy at this point), I don’t like how the show is slowly stripping Ik-soon of her agency and silencing her voice. Even if I don’t agree with her actions and find them selfish (as well as illogical), if she does not want to tell Joon-wan about her illness, then it is her right to keep silent. No matter how much I love Joon-wan and want him to heal from his breakup, I do not want it at the expense of Ik-soon’s personhood. However, this isn’t the first instance of something like this happening in the show, so I’m wondering if South Korea is more lenient about confidentiality issues or if this is a crutch the writer likes to use.
Despite my quibble, I thought the reunion between the two characters was well done, and I enjoyed Ik-joon’s meddling. After realizing that his sister and his best friend were still not over each other, he gives them an opportunity to reconnect, and I liked the subtle yet not so subtle way he does it. He makes it appear as if fate crossed their paths again with the bus incident, and it’s the intention behind his actions that I appreciate. He does not necessarily want the two of them back together in the same way he plays matchmaker for his other friends, and thus, Ik-joon’s interference is more about giving them space to talk and heal. The future of their relationship is solely in their hands, and Ik-joon takes a step back since he knows it is not his place to sway their decisions. If they do start dating again, my only wish is that they tell Ik-joon this time rather than keep him in the dark, and regardless of what happens to this couple’s future, I hope they appreciate what a great friend and brother he is.