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Hospital Playlist 2: Episode 11

Sometimes a little push is all a person needs to the find the courage to overcome their fears and be honest with themselves. As relationships get redefined and hearts are revealed this episode, it is finally time for our beloved doctors to address the elephant in the room and determine, once and for all, what they truly want.

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

Song-hwa drops by Ik-joon’s office and places his birthday gift and card on his desk where he can see it easily. As she heads to her car, she remembers her bag which she forgot on his chair and turns around. Back in his office, Song-hwa gets distracted by a photo of Ik-joon and Woo-joo, and this time, she leaves behind her phone and nearly exits the parking lot before going back.

Taking this as a sign to stay at the hospital, Song-hwa decides to work in her office and bumps into Jae-hak in the elevators. He assumes she must be on night duty and informs her of all her friends’ whereabouts. He asks her to pass along his birthday wishes to Ik-joon, and she tells him that she probably will not meet him today, either.

The paramedics notify the ER at Yulje Medical Center about one of their doctors being attacked on the streets, and Dr. Bong asks for his name. Meanwhile, Song-hwa makes herself a cup of coffee, and just as she hears the sirens outside, she receives a call from Dr. Bong.

Ik-joon is wheeled in to the ER with his head bandaged and blazer bloodied after being hit by a rock. Dr. Bong yells at him to check if he is conscious, and Ik-joon mumbles under his breath to be quiet because they are in a hospital.

Moments later, Song-hwa runs in and immediately grabs Ik-joon’s hand, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Dr. Bong. She asks if he can hear her, and Ik-joon seems to smile when he sees her. After making sure he can move his arms, she sighs in relief, and he drifts off to sleep.

The rest of the friends gather in the ICU to see Ik-joon, and Song-hwa tells them that he will be drowsy for a couple of days but should recover. Jung-won tries to wake him up, and Ik-joon grumbles at him to stop shining the light in his eyes.

They step out into the hallway to talk, and Joon-wan offers to contact Ik-soon and notify her of what happened. As for Ik-joon’s upcoming surgeries, the GS chief will handle this week’s cases, and the rest will need to be rescheduled.

Seok-hyung suggests taking turns during the nights to watch Ik-joon, but Song-hwa turns down his idea. She wants to stay by side for the time being, and the others follow her wishes. She sends them back home to get some rest, and they reluctantly shuffle away—each step weighed down with worry.

Back in May of 1999 during their university days, Song-hwa prepared a cap for Ik-joon’s birthday similar to the one she got him in the present. After carefully wrapping it up, she found him practicing in the basement and invited him out to dinner to celebrate.

To her shock, he refused since he had a blind date, and even though she asked if he could postpone it, he said that he could not. Accepting his answer, she walked away with tears in her eyes, and he watched her leave until she disappeared from his view.

In the ICU, Song-hwa remains by Ik-joon’s side as promised and dozes along next to him.

Joon-wan calls Ik-soon in the morning and tells her about the accident. He assures her that Ik-joon will be fine, but she still wants to be there for her brother and nephew. As they hang up, Jung-won comments on how close Joon-wan seems to be close with Ik-soon, and Joon-wan says that it is a given since she is his friend’s little sister.

Song-hwa looks over a patient’s MRI scans and suspects a meningioma. She recommends surgery to the patient, and the news stuns him. The wife takes charge, asking if he can get the operation as soon as possible, and Song-hwa tells them that they can admit him today.

Jae-hak beams when he sees Joon-wan in the elevators and asks him to join his wife and him for lunch. Joon-wan shakes his head since he would rather not interrupt the couple’s time together and changes the topic to Jae-hak’s schedule. He suggests the second-year fellow start taking appointments by himself this week, but Jae-hak pales at the thought and attempts to leave the elevator to no avail.

Min-ha calls Gyu-wool to the garden and vents about the two first-years in her department. One is adjusting a bit too well with the group—casually dropping honorifics while talking—and the other is the most introverted individual she has ever met. Min-ha calls them both good people, though, which is why she does not know what to do with them.

Gyu-wool asks if she would like to watch a movie this weekend to unwind, but Min-ha grins from ear to ear and tells her that she has a date. She dances right there in the garden, and Gyu-wool sheepishly claps for her friend.

Seok-hyung informs Jae-hak and his wife that the baby is doing well and advises her to concentrate on her own health. As Jae-hak starts to thank him, Seok-hyung finishes his sentence and tells him to buy him a meal next time.

Eating dinner with Jong-soo, Rosa balks at the news of his eldest moving back to Korea without calling him even once, and Jong-soo lets out a defeated sigh. He regrets not giving his son money when he asked since he misses them dearly. Rosa asks if he wants to drink, and he tells her that he is sleeping over tonight.

Ik-joon lets out a small laugh when he sees his sister glaring at him from the foot of his bed, and even in this situation, he checks up on her health. While they eat the porridge she packed for him, she tells him that she will inform their parents once they return from their vacation, and she repeats the same advice he gave her before about resting at home.

Ik-soon also tells him that Woo-joo will be visiting tonight since he knows about his condition. She explains how Woo-joo saw through the lies immediately, so they decided to be honest with him and let him see his dad in-person. Though not his original plan, Ik-joon thanks her for handling the situation well and gives her a reward: a tissue pigeon!

Joon-wan steps in to check on Ik-joon, and Ik-soon freezes when she hears his voice. Eyeing the two of them, Ik-joon introduces his sister to his friend, and she shyly greets him. Ik-soon asks about Song-hwa, and Ik-joon tells them that she was supposed to come by but must have taken on more work.

In the hall, Seok-min runs to Song-hwa’s side and notifies her about the aneurysm they detected in the meningioma patient. Meanwhile, Sung-young assists Dr. Min during an operation and accidentally bumps his hand while handing him a tool. Dr. Min reprimands him for being incompetent and belittles his parents, as well.

Ik-soon watches Joon-wan sleep on the couch and asks her brother if he stayed up all night. Ik-joon assumes she is talking about him until she points to Joon-wan, and he tells her that he had an emergency surgery last night.

Joon-wan jolts awake when his phone rings, and he tells Jae-hak that he will be there after grabbing a cup of coffee. Overhearing his call, Ik-joon sends his sister on an errand to the café as well, and the two of them head out together.

Song-hwa and Seok-min inform the patient of the aneurysm and explain how they need to treat it first. She goes over the possible complications and tells him that if something happens during the operation, he could lose his vision. Unwilling to take that risk, the patient refuses the surgery despite Song-hwa advising him otherwise.

As they leave, Seok-min expresses his confusion over the patient’s decision, and Song-hwa tells him that most people would have a tough time accepting all these things at once. She asks him to check on him often and help him change his mind. They split ways for lunch since Song-hwa is eating with Ik-joon and Seok-min has plans with the others.

In the NS office, Seon-bin buys burgers for Sung-young and listens to him complain about Dr. Min. Seok-min joins them mid-rant and tells the younger resident that he is only in the first stage. The older doctors have heard all three levels of disparaging comments and advise Sung-young to hang in there and not quit.

Munching on his food, Sung-young tells them that he never considered leaving and is looking forward to working with Song-hwa next week. Though she is strict, they all agree that she makes them want to improve as doctors, and Seok-min points out that everyone here joined NS for the same reason.

Ik-joon and Song-hwa sit across from each other on his bed and avoid making eye contact. With a serious look on his face, Ik-joon announces his card, and thus, begins their bluffing game. In a matter of seconds, Ik-joon correctly calls out Song-hwa’s lie, and she bursts into laughter at being caught so early.

As the game proceeds, the pile gets bigger this time around until Song-hwa calls Ik-joon for bluffing. After giving her a chance to take it back—which she refused—he flips over the card and proves that he was being truthful. Grabbing the deck, Song-hwa laughs and tells him that this game is too hard for her.

From the doorway, Ik-soon spots the two friends playing and quietly steps out without disturbing them. When Joon-wan comes by, she stops him from entering and asks when they started dating. He scoffs at her silly assumption, but when he goes inside, the playful atmosphere between them gives him pause, as well.

Running into the room, Woo-joo wraps his arms around his dad and lets out all the tears he kept in at home. Ik-joon comforts his son, and apologizes to the nanny for the extra work. She tells him that she was worried about him too, and Ik-joon cracks a joke which makes Song-hwa giggle.

Song-hwa goes home to rest after staying over for three days, and Seok-hyung takes charge of watching Ik-joon tonight since he has night duty. While pretending to sleep, Ik-joon asks about his relationship with Min-ha, and Seok-hyung tells him that they are eating dinner this weekend. Lifting up his bed, Ik-joon wonders if he can help, and Seok-hyung lowers him back down. Heh.

Jung-won visits his mom during the weekend, and the lack of news about Gyu-wool has her worried. She asks if they broke up, and he assures her that everything is good. She wonders when they will get married and lists off all the things she prepared for her one and only daughter-in-law.

He interrupts her since he has something important to say, and Rosa hears about Gyu-wool’s family situation. She admits to feeling troubled, but she knows none of this is Gyu-wool’s fault and actually finds her admirable for growing up so well. Jung-won smiles, looking touched by her response, and tells her to treat Gyu-wool well in the future, then.

Rosa asks Jung-won about the rumor of Seok-hyung moving to the US, but this is the first time he has heard of it. He doubts it is true but promises to ask on her behalf. As they finish up their laundry, Rosa tells Jung-won that she is watching a movie with Jong-soo, so he will have to find his own dinner today.

Min-ha thanks Seok-hyung for the meal even though she was too nervous to eat. He chuckles at her honest answer, and she smiles to herself as he fusses over her. They go to the theaters to watch a movie, and as they take their seats, Seok-hyung lifts the arm rest between them.

While they wait for their show, Rosa and Jong-soo enter the same theater, and Seok-hyung greets them. Leaning over, he whispers in Min-ha’s ear, explaining who they are, and she tenses up at the close proximity. She awkwardly reaches over to grab some popcorn, and Seok-hyung places the tub in her lap so she can eat it comfortably.

After the movie, Seok-hyung introduces Min-ha to Rosa and Jong-soo. Rosa asks if the two are on a date, and to Min-ha’s surprise, he says that they are. Exchanging looks with Jong-soo, Rosa promises to keep this a secret from his mom, and on her way out, she tilts her head, wondering why Min-ha feels so familiar.

At the hospital, Jung-won runs into Seok-hyung in the elevators and tells him that Ik-joon invited all of them for meat in his room. Remembering his mom’s question, Jung-won asks if he is moving to the US, and they sit in the garden to talk.

Seok-hyung says that he is not going to the US, but he wants Jung-won to lie to his mom. Though confused by the request, Jung-won agrees to keep up the ruse and hopes all his friend’s plans work out.

While Song-hwa laughs at Seok-min’s complaints about Ik-joon, they run into Doo-na’s mom and notice her haggard expression. They guess that Doo-na must be taking out her stress on her, but the mom is understanding of her daughter’s frustration. In their room, the mom watches over Doo-na practicing her motor skills, but when she fails, Doo-na refuses to do it again and hides under the covers.

Song-hwa and Seok-min smile at Hong-do who dozes off in the elevators. When Joon-wan enters, he immediately turns his attention to the sleepy resident and gives him another pop quiz. His stubbornness makes Song-hwa shake her head, but Joon-wan insists on hearing an answer from Hong-do who tries his best to disappear into the wall. Heh.

Song-hwa meets with the meningioma patient who has had a change of heart and is now willing to treat his aneurysm. The wife thanks Seok-min for all his help since he came by to convince her husband and even printed out an image to explain the operation.

On their way out, Song-hwa tells Seok-min that his greatest strength is his imperfectness and his constant strive to be better. She can see his efforts and says that he will soon be this hospital’s greatest villain. Pfft.

Min-ha gets saddled with another undesirable task dropped by Eun-won and is forced to answer questions for a patient she has never met. She apologizes on her colleague’s behalf and tries to appease the guardians’ anger to the best of her abilities. Drained by the exchange, she sits numbly in the garden when Seok-hyung calls, offering to buy her food.

The friends gather in Ik-joon’s room for dinner, and Jung-won’s plan to arrive ten minutes before the big eaters backfires since they came fifteen minutes earlier. Joon-wan points out that Seok-hyung was first, though, and Ik-joon asks him for the receipt since there should be more food. Before he can check, Seok-hyung destroys the evidence.

The missing dishes went to the Min-ha who shares with Nurse Han in the office. They invite shy, first-year Eun-mi to join them, but like always, she refuses.

Ik-joon is finally getting discharged from the hospital, and Song-hwa drops by to see him off. He notices her looking troubled, and she tells him that her upcoming operation is a difficult one. She hurries him out so he does not miss the train home and reminds him to be careful during his two-week break.

The air in the operating room is tense given the stakes, but Song-hwa does not succumb to the pressure and finishes the surgery without any problems. She informs the good news to the family but cannot guarantee that the patient can see until he wakes up.

In the ICU, she wakes up the patient, but her smile disappears when he looks around the room with a dazed expression. She asks if she can see her fingers, and he smiles, telling her that he can see them clearly. Phew!

Song-hwa skips to her office, ecstatic over the results, and calls Ik-joon to brag about her surgery. She asks if he arrived home yet, but as she opens her office door, she finds him waiting for her inside. He switched his train time since she seemed nervous, and she stares at him wordlessly, a mix of emotions on her face.

While Seok-hyung walks Min-ha home, she has a question for him and grabs his arm. She asks why he has not confessed to her yet and says that her answer is yes. When he laughs, she tells him to respond properly and wonders if she might be misinterpreting their relationship.

He asks what she will do if he turns out to be a bad person, and Min-ha says that she will blame it on her bad fate. Though she cannot speak for him, she does know that she is a good person and asks again if he likes her. He finally confesses his feelings, telling Min-ha that he likes her, too, and pulls her into a hug.

Gyu-wool notifies Jung-won about their missing resident, and he advises her to wait a little longer in case he shows up. Eavesdropping on the call, Joon-wan shares his thoughts on the matter and tells Jung-won that a higher-up could have bullied him. Jung-won doubts the fellows would have bothered him, but Joon-wan points out that a professor could be the cause.

As Song-hwa enters the operating room, she compliments Seon-bin for doing a good job, and the fellow beams with pride. Meanwhile, Seok-hyung holds a meeting with his staff, and Eun-mi barely talks over a whisper as she notifies him on the patient’s condition.

Resident Ji-woo tells Gyu-wool that Geon ran away because he felt guilt after seeing a few patients die while working in the ICU. However, she thinks her friend will return since he left his stuff behind, but Gyu-wool is worried about Ji-woo’s workload. She says that she can handle it and believes Geon will be back by tomorrow.

After Song-hwa finishes the operation, she praises Seon-bin again and tells Sung-young that he did well, too, especially since he was up all night watching an emergency patient. Once she leaves, Sung-young announces his intentions to dig for Song-hwa if she ever decides to start her own nation, and Seon-bin tells him to concentrate on their work since Song-hwa has lots of people willing to help her.

Nurse Han rushes over to grab Min-ha so she can check on a patient, and moments later, Min-ha calls Seok-hyung. While the others get the room ready, Seok-hyung comforts the patient, assuring her that these things happen from time to time.

In the birthing room, the patient gives it her all to push, but as the baby comes out, there is no cry. The doctors are shocked to see the cord wrapped around the neck three times and do their best to quickly remove it. They hand the baby over to Nurse Han, and all of them hold their breaths until the baby’s cries fill the room.

Seok-hyung explains what happened to the patient and credits her strength for the successful delivery. Resuming his duties, Seok-hyung asks Eun-mi for some sutures, but the young resident is too emotional to hear him and cries as she smiles at the patient.

Later that evening, Seok-hyung hangs out with Joon-wan in the garden and tells him about the delivery. Joon-wan shivers a little as he listens, and out of nowhere, Jae-hak appears and drapes his jacket over his professor’s shoulders.

Gyu-wool tells Jung-won about Geon’s reasons for leaving and explains how the resident is too embarrassed to return. Jung-won suggests getting Ji-woo to call him again and promises to take care of everything as long as he comes back.

Since Gyu-wool is only in her scrubs, Jung-won takes off his jacket for her, but his efforts are for naught since two other professors come out to the garden and see them. They tease Jung-won for troubling Gyu-wool again, and the couple silently chuckle at their misunderstanding.

In the OB-GYN office, Eun-mi turns into a chatterbox as she recalls the miraculous delivery today. Min-ha tells her to eat, but Eun-mi gets distracted and starts her tale all over again. The others eventually give up and let her ramble on. Heh.

Geon shuffles back to the hospital and begs the others to ignore him since he feels embarrassed by his actions. However, Dr. Lee teases him for not staying out longer, but Jung-won intervenes, lying that he begged the resident to come back, and orders the others to not bother him about it.

The band plays Lee Juck’s “Running in the Sky” with Ik-joon on lead vocals, and the friends burst out into giggles once they finish playing. So cute!

Jung-won listens to Geon’s troubles as he explains his time in the ICU. There was one particular elderly patient who came in after beating his cancer, and while Geon was on duty, the patient went into cardiac arrest. There were no available doctors to help, and in the end, Geon had to announce the patient’s death to the family.

That experience made Geon realize his own powerlessness, but Jung-won tells him that no doctor can save all their patients. He says that Geon did the best he could and thinks having these struggles indicts his potential to become a good doctor. He describes these first years as a period of learning and tells him not to blame himself too much.

While the NS doctors enjoy some ice cream in the office, Sung-young asks Seon-bin how she survived her residency. She tells him that she had someone to lean on, and the residents look over at Seok-min… who turns out to be the source of her problems. Pfft.

Seon-bin says that she had Chi-hong by her side, and explains how they both stayed on night duty during their first year in order to help each other. Song-hwa found them studying like that one night and chuckled at their explanation that two heads might at least make a slight improvement over one.

Min-ha tells the other first-year, Yoon-hee, about her habit of dropping honorifics, and she is horrified by her behavior. She apologizes profusely, and Min-ha tells her to think of this as casual advice. Unconsciously, Yoon-hee answers without honorifics again, and she gasps in shock when she realizes what she just did. Heh.

Geon finds Ji-woo in the office and offers to take her night shift duty so she can go on a date with her boyfriend. He tells her to accept it before he changes his mind, and she thanks him before rushing out the door.

While Ik-joon drives Song-hwa home, she asks if Woo-joo came up with him, and he tells her that his son stayed behind for a while longer since he made some friends on the playground. He wonders where Woo-joo gets his friendliness from, and Song-hwa laughs at his clear denial.

They notice lightning in the sky, and a few seconds later, it thunders. They stop to admire the rain, and Ik-joon runs to a café to buy them coffee. Without taking a break, Ik-joon resumes the drive, but Song-hwa stops him since she is in no rush to get home.

As they sip their drinks in silence, Ik-joon grows anxious, and messes around with the radio and heater until Song-hwa tells him to sit still. Once the quietness returns, she lets it linger there for a while before calling his name.

She tells him to listen carefully since she will only say this once and asks him to look straight ahead while she talks. Mentioning his accident, she says that the first thought she had in that moment was regret: “I should have confessed that I like you.”

She asks if his feelings are still the same, and after taking a long pause, she finally pops the question: should we date? When he does not answer right away, Song-hwa opens her to look at him, and Ik-joon turns to face her. Placing his coffee next to hers, he replies, “I’m about to answer,” and leans in for a kiss.

 
COMMENTS

Writer Lee Woo-jung has a special talent when it comes to confessions. She captures a plethora of emotions in these scenes, and the minute nuances draw the audience into the moment, making every second feel laced with a palpable tension. She then brings the confession to its climax, and everything falls in place in a satisfactory way—it feels cathartic. Coupled with the splendid acting and reflective directing, these scenes become some of the highlights of her shows to the point where years later, people still remember them. The confessions in Hospital Playlist carry on that legacy, but the particular strengths of these scenes really lie in the careful and slow buildup. The synergy between past and present emotions heightens everything in these moments because the confessions are not solely about the characters’ current feelings but the culmination of their shared as well individual histories. In Min-ha’s and Seok-hyung’s case, her anxiousness, doubts, and anticipation are not just a product of the moment because we, as the audience, know what it took to get to this point in their relationship. Min-ha is at once hopeful yet scared because she has experienced rejection before. Her bold declaration might make her appear confident, but in reality, this is her becoming vulnerable. By taking the time to develop the character, the conflicting feelings Min-ha is experiencing during her confession comes across powerfully without the need to weigh down the scene with unnecessary frills. The same can be said for Song-hwa and Ik-joon’s scene. It’s a quiet moment filled with nervous tension because of the unspoken words, and when they finally address the issue, it becomes this whirlwind of suspense, hope, and expectations until both parties lay open their feelings in complete honesty. Because there is natural buildup, the creators give the characters room to breathe and let the emotions hang in the air without rushing things. The show deliberately waits, and it is in the silence—the pauses and subtle looks—that it radiates energy and absorbs its audience. There might not be anything particularly unique about Writer Lee’s confessions, but she imbues so much love and effort into her stories that the universality of her characters’ emotions is what makes them so memorable. Her confessions are rarely, if ever, dramatic for the sake of drama because the main focus is always the characters and how they feel. It evokes a response from the audience, and makes her writing feel authentic—a true testimony to her skills as well as passion.

What also makes the confessions, and romances in general, special is the use of timing by the creators. Through Seok-hyung, the show depicts an interesting dichotomy where his actions feel sudden yet gradual because of the way they treat the passage of time. Weeks and even months pass between certain scenes, but at other times, the show slows down and takes an in-depth look at a specific day. In essence, the show is both slow and fast, which can be a detriment if the pacing is off but also a powerful advantage in weaving a certain narrative to convey specific emotions. Seok-hyung is the titular, slow-acting bear who is cautious in everything he does, and so, his behavior towards Min-ha seems to progress quickly at first glance. When he raises the arm rest and whispers in her ear, Seok-hyung displays a level of intimacy that he has never demonstrated before, highlighting how pro-active he has become in his romantic relationship. It becomes clear to the audience that Min-ha is no longer a junior colleague but someone special to him. Understandably, his actions disorientate Min-ha who has yet to hear a clear, verbal affirmation from him, and Seok-hyung knows this, too, which is why he acts coyly during this scene. Unlike his previous marriage, he is no longer a passive figure who chooses the easy and nonconfrontational route. While his failed relationship did have a negative impact on his life, it was also an important experience for him because it taught him to face his own shortcomings. He thought keeping himself emotionally distant from his family would cause the least amount of harm, but it only ruined the relationships around him. Because Seok-hyung failed once before and had the time to process what happened, he was able to move on. While Min-ha’s outgoing personality has played a huge part in him opening up, it is also because of timing and life events that Seok-hyung was finally able to recognize his own feelings and reciprocate. This rich history is what makes the characters feel complex, and thus, the idea of timing becomes an important aspect to the depiction of love because their past influences their present and futures.

The most obvious example of timing, though, is Song-hwa and Ik-joon’s relationship. They started out as two young university students who had a crush on each other, but regardless of their feelings in that moment, nothing came into fruition because the timing was off. Ik-joon met with Seok-hyung before he could confess, and she asked him out after he had already decided to move on. The creators illustrate how timing plays an important role in love, and thus, the outcome of a relationship is reliant on multiple factors, not just emotions. When Ik-joon develops feelings for her again, it is not an easy decision for Song-hwa because of their friendship. Accepting his feelings held the risk of losing the decades-long relationship they had built, and if things happened to go awry, there was no guarantee that the friend group would also stay intake. Furthermore, from her perspective, she was the only one who had her heart broken twice by Ik-joon—once on her birthday and then on his—and even if she was not consciously thinking of those moments, the use of flashbacks makes it clear that these events have shaped Song-hwa and influenced her choices indirectly. Her hesitation is warranted, and given her personality, I am not surprised that Song-hwa chose the more cautious route. She finds joy in the small things in life, so the risk of acknowledging her feelings and then failing posed far too big a threat. However, when Ik-joon got into the accident, the thought of losing him spurred her to action, and Song-hwa realized that the regret of not being honest with herself was greater than the potential consequences that may or may not happen. The timing was now, and unlike their younger days, they were able to align partly because with age came patience and wisdom. Ik-joon no longer felt the need to hide his feelings nor was he rushed to be in a relationship. He could still be her friend without having to push her away, and this allowed Song-hwa to remain comfortable around him for the most part. It took them decades to get together, but in the end, it wasn’t about young Song-hwa and Ik-joon finally getting a chance to rekindle their love but about their present-day selves developing new feelings for each other that were not there before. The show portrays how relationships can morph over time because it is natural for people to change, and sometimes the perfect moment does not come until much later.

There were a lot of big developments in this episode, but I also loved the smaller, side stories about the residents. Every character feels important to the show, and it makes the world come alive and feel vibrant. The attention to detail is amazing, and seemingly random choices turn out to be deliberate calculations crafted to enhance the story. Since the show is about the “everyday lives” of people, it lacks overarching plotlines that string the show together, and at times, an episode can feel like a collection of vignettes rather than a cohesive story. However, I have come to appreciate the ups and downs as part of the show’s charm because this is what makes it possible for the show to feel endless and full of possibilities. Life rarely has neat endings, and the show embraces this wholeheartedly. Sometimes things happen quickly or slowly, and one day, a character might be an ordinary person doing extraordinary things or vice versa. People grow, change, move on, and sometimes even regress—and that’s the beauty of this show, in all its strengths and weaknesses. It manages to be comforting and relatable because it is about people, and the creators use all of its characters, even the smallest roles, to help tell their story. I particularly liked how they highlighted Seok-min’s growth from his residency to his fellowship, and fully utilized the advantage of their seasons format. As Song-hwa said, Seok-min is not perfect—far from it—but he is constantly trying to be better, which is an admirable quality. The residents’ stories all embody this concept in a way with none of them depicted as geniuses who make no mistakes. They fail over and over again, and the show gives them space to grow every time. These incremental improvements slowly stack up, and while keeping the growth gradual, the creators are able to illustrate how much people can change for the better because, ultimately, the show’s message is one of hope.

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I want another season of Jong-soo and Rosa. I want to see the ups and downs of Song-hwa dating Ik-joon. I want to see how Seok-hyung stands up to his mother and protects Min-ha. I'm not ready to leave this neighborhood.

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I guess Screenwriter Lee is pretty good on symbolism as well.

According to this video (Mandarin only), the bluffing game between Songhwa and Ikjun is in fact a summary of their relationship in their university years as well in this season. I simply translate the theory just for fun, and see if you agree with her or not.

They play 2 rounds, both starts with Ikjun, and ends with Songhwa's losses. In the first round, portraying their relationship in the university years, Ikjun starts with spade, which looks like olive leaf, thus represent peace: since Ikjun knew Seokhyung confessed to Songhwa before he did, for the sake of keeping the friendship of the 99's gang and not breaking it up because they dated, Ikjun decided to kept his feeling deep in his heart, and rejected her. The second time Songhwa was rejected when she gifted Ikjun the hat (a red one, I will talk about it later), Ikjun was trying to play the music The Sea of Saddness, a piano song, in his guitar—This is why in S2E7 when they were camping, Songhwa remembered Ikjun did that, and she rejected Ikjun's offer when Ikjun suggested they listened together: this was the song she got hurt second time when Ikjun was playing (No, not because it was the campsite's rule). The result of his rejection is Songhwa's 4 Diamond, which Ikjun successfully catches, means Hardworking, as Songhwa going to do to get away from her broken hearts (and twice, first her birthday, then his).

In the second round, describing their relationship right now, Ikjun starts with heart, which obviously means love, and he shows off his A heart, means he told her his feeling in the beginning (S1E12). It also means “selfish”, showing that he is now following his heart about his feeling on her. This round is a long one, means it takes a lot of time to go through.

Before we get to the final card, we should mention the colour of the hats Songhwa gift Ikjun in the university and right at the beginning of S2E11: It was red/heart then, and it is black/spade now: Songhwa’s choice is just the opposite with Ikjun in these 2 period; she want to love him then, and fear to lose him now so keep the friendship instead.

Everything changes when Ikjun is being attacked. Now she fear of losing him forever, and change her mind, and tell him she in fact love him. In the end of the second round a 9 heart is revealed: this is a Wish Come True card (just one heart short from the card with most hearts), and Ikjun’s wish finally comes true. Take note that when Songhwa still doesn’t finish her question (she stops at “We” but doesn’t utter the word “date?”), Ikjun has already nod his head, means his answer is always a “Yes”.

Just a theory, it’s up to you to believe or not.

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By the way, Ikjun is good in card games is pretty obvious, but as he said, the game is suggested by Songhwa herself. Guess what meaning behind this dynamic?

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A beautiful explanation! Thanks a lot genius. I admire people who take in little details of everything just as you do.

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As beautiful as this is, I'm not convinced. But maybe that's just because I'm a little sour that we haven't gotten any actual confrontation and resolution of Song-hwa, Ik-jun and Seok-hyung's past. I just wanted one conversation to kind of get everything out in the air, even if it was just Seok-hyung saying to Ik-jun, "You've liked Song-hwa for a long time, haven't you? I'm sorry if you felt you had to hide your feelings to spare mine." You know, not anything dramatic, just an acknowledgment that what happened happened.

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If you have watched the next episode, @frabbycrabsis, you know the Screenwriter simply wraps up every relationship, let them shine a little bit, then just ends it. The length of each episode shows the problem: he wants to talk a lot of issues, develops a lot of relationships, but most of those can't develop deep enough (Ikjun-Songhwa is one of those few exceptions). Season 2 is better then Season 1 partly because some of those patients' stories develops in several episodes (the 2 mothers whose children need heart transplant, the patient from Mokpo who being treated by 3 of 5 99's), being given time to breath (the fat guy who wants to gift his liver to his thinner friend, the security who was "force" to reunited hsi mother, and make decision to donate her organs), or being packaged in themes (some rude patient guardians in Ep.7).

Some may say Season 1 is better, but to be honest, I don't think Season 1 is memorable (Probably except the twin interns and their mom with Songhwa). I even think that even for some of those main characters like the 5 doctors, their love relations and some of their characteristics (The Bear Couples, the Big Eating Duo) is like suddenly pop-up from nowhere, and didn't materialize until like, S1E8 or E9. The show is no doubt look comfortable, some relationships are touching, and several execution of scenes (Songhwa's confession in the end of this episode will surely put into history book of K-drama), but in terms of the whole drama, Hospital Playlist series is not so excellent.

Seems that Lee Woo-jung is just another overrated screenwriter, although compare to Kim Eun-seok, she is still very good (For Kim, judge from the only 4 dramas I watched, only Mr. Sunshine is masterpiece, The King is garbage, and Decedents of the Sun and Goblin's endings are garbage).

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Just a note, Lee Woo-jung is a she, sorry for the mess up ...

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Nice cameo of Chi-hong! ^^ I wish we’d had more stories of the residents and not as much angst-filled romance….
The anti could have been built up if we’d seen Geon try to save multiple people as they died and failed.

HP2 stuffed the last episode with all the scary cases instead of scattering the series with tragedy. Maybe that’s one thing which made the first series so strong.

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Agreed. I also wish they would have left more things open-ended instead checking the boxes on characters and stories. In some ways, I’d preferred they ended the season on Ep. 11.

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Many says this season is not as good as the first one. I personally think some of the reasons are because we're new to this kind of kdrama format, 5 strong actors share equal portion and important part in one show and the PD team deliver a beautiful story, excellent directing, back up by sparkling actings.
Season 2, the edges are smooth already, no surprises, continuing season 1 and tying the loose ends.
For me, it's just as beautiful. The center story is the friendship that I adore so much and throughout season 2 never once the show betrays that.
I would be happily surprised if there is season 3, but I am okay with 2 seasons. The show is so precious, it will be permanently stays on my top 10 drama.

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I was really happy for Ik-Jun and Song-Hwa. After 2 seasons, it finally happened!

If I was happy for Mina to obtain what she wanted for so long, I don't like their couple. I have no idea what they like each other others than they're both kind people. Seok-Hyung never shared anything with her... I found a little bit ludicrous than a 40 years old guy lies to hi mother about leaving Korea to make her accept his futur girlfriend (who ignores everything about the ruse). I think that Seon-bin's advice to the intern about not falling for the first nice guy was applicable to Mina.

Woo-Joo's scene was so sad. Poor little boy :(

The accident was not very well described and they didn't take the time to really explain it, its consequences, etc...

Looks like they chose the Ji-Wan-Ik-Soon's road... sigh...

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The heavy hinting at their relationship throughout the season was silly, but the culmination was very sweet. I like Ik Jun and Song Hwa, so im good with them together. I wish they had shown Ul Ju's reaction though, that would have been fun, that little boy is so cute.

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I really appreciate the recap and comments. One of the things I've struggled the most with this season is the romance arcs.

When we met these 5 friends, they were mostly single/ casually dating but still perfectly happy. The pairing up of every single one of them by the end of the 2nd season almost seemed to suggest that a 'happy ending' is only possible when you're a couple. The annoyance stemming from this feeling made me miss out on a lot of the sweetness and charm of the actual love stories. Thank you @lovepark for reminding me of that!

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I agree with this completely. You can justify it by saying for instance that characters like Jun-wan were very lonely, so pairing them up with someone else resolves that, but equally the show could have invested more time into conveying the depth of the friendships between the five instead, and the bonds they have with the people around them (I would never say no to more Jae-hak/Jun-wan moments, for instance).

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That's what I struggled with. Even with nearly 2-hour long episodes, it still felt like other relationships were being short-changed in terms of storyline in favour of romance.

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I guess this is in fact every K-drama have this struggle. This is why I like everybody but one is killed in Mr. Sunshine, the relationship go beyond classification and accompany when times is need in My Mister, even some tragic ending like Hotel del Luna--in short, a different kind of relationship with different kind of ending in K-drama. However, we only can find that in dramas from other countries, and that in fact limited our imagination on relationship. But what can we do? This is just a nature of K-dramaland ...

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I understand what you mean, but I see it as them all moving onto the next stage in their life, where they are completely established in their new workplace and about to start families. The last mentioned how they were spending less time with each, and next year they would see each even less frequently. This is because they all have other things to spend time on, and other people to enjoy time with. Not that they are now complete, but onto the next stage.

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I mean that's what I was uncomfortable with - the implication that the 'next stage' of people's lives necessarily involves setting up families and drifting away from friends. It made sense in a story like Reply 1988 where the nostalgia for your youth needed to be shown through differences in the 'grown-up' selves but less so in this story which was about mature people to begin with.

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I was really surprised by Ahn Chi Yong's appearance. Too bad its a cameo but I'm hoping he shows up in the next episode.
After being rejected, I'm not surprised SongHwa rejected his confession last season finale, and didn't even budge in episode 3. She really had to be sure they were on the same boat, which is pretty obvious now.
Can I squeal for MinHa-Seokhyung. Their confession was just bare, pure innocence and beautifully awkward. Nice writing and execution. Of all 3 pairings in the entire seasons, this one is my number one.

I could watch Jeong Rosa and Mr Ju separately in their own show. Its like watch two different plots in a drama. Their stories were independent of their kids. Their story was them.

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Beautifully expressed @lovepark Thank you for such an insightful appreciation of what HP2 accomplishes.

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After watching the scene in the garden between Jung-won and Geon it reinforced my belief the Jung-won should have followed his dream into the priesthood. I am probably the only person here that believes that. There have been a number of scenes throughout HP2 where Jung-won listened (the most important part) and then gave serious counsel to others. He should have been by now transitioning from Dr. Ahn to Fr. Ahn.
(Sorry, I never bought into the Jun-won/Gyu-wool love arc.)

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