Hospital Playlist 2: Episode 12 (Final)
It’s time to say goodbye to our cast and crew as we get a final glimpse into their busy lives. Our lovely five friends do what they do best, but even they are not infallible since doubt and misfortune plague them as well. The show reminds us again that both hope and despair coexist in hospitals, and the line between them can be faint. Like its start, the show ends by highlighting the lives of the five friends, and thus, it gives its wonderful characters one last proper sendoff.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
On her way to work, Song-hwa receives a call about an emergency operation and drives straight towards the main entrance. Meanwhile, Seok-hyung waits for the elevators but pauses when he sees the throng of people inside. However, standing in the crowd is Min-ha who greets him enthusiastically, and Seok-hyung does the unthinkable: he gets on. Aw, look at that character development!
Arriving at the hospital, Song-hwa passes her car along to Jung-won and thanks him for the help as she rushes inside. As for Seok-hyung, he gets ready in his room when Ik-joon drops by and says that he recognizes the classical music playing in the background.
When Seok-hyung doubts him, Ik-joon proposes a simple bet, and his confidence causes Seok-hyung to back down. Unfortunately, Seok-hyung just lost his chance to win a hundred thousand won since Ik-joon has no clue, and instead, imitates another voice. (Somethings don’t change, heh.)
Jung-won takes a quick nap before his appointments, and Joon-wan wakes up his sleepy office mate. Ik-joon stops by to hand them coffees and flies out almost immediately since he has more important places to be. While the two friends sip on their drinks, Jung-won mumbles to himself that he is forgetting a task, and Joon-wan orders to him to shave his face
The last stop on Ik-joon’s morning delivery route is Song-hwa’s room. Unlike the others, he takes his time to write her note, and even includes a heart at the end.
Jung-won meets with an adorable little girl whose pastime is winking at people, and he is happy to report that everything looks good largely thanks to the mom’s dedication. Despite the praise, the mom is worried about her daughter and tells Jung-won that she is open to the idea of a transplant. Before giving his decision, he asks for some time to think things over.
During surgery, Song-hwa offers Seok-min a chance to clip, and though this is his first time, he performs it well. She compliments his skills, and Seok-min thanks her for the opportunity.
Joon-wan joins a presentation about a young patient who he previously operated on at his old hospital. Because of multiple factors, the current surgeons have pushed off his surgery, so the patient’s mom came to Yulje, looking for Joon-wan. The others wonder what he will do, and Joon-wan agrees to operate.
Seok-hyung meets with one of his patients who is due soon, and the expectant mother is adamant about him delivering her baby. He promises to be there if possible, and the expectant mother assures him that she will tell her baby to come out while he is on duty.
Ik-joon walks into the operating room and is shocked to hear that Gyu-wool is finished. She downplays her own accomplishments, but Ik-joon heaps praises onto her.
The rest of the friends gather in Song-hwa’s room for lunch, and Jung-won arrives with the food. He wonders why he always buys these things, and Song-hwa tells him that he volunteered. As they set up the table, Seok-hyung asks Song-hwa if Jung-won really offered to get everything, and she tells him that he never did. Heh.
Since Ik-joon is busy catching up with work, Joon-wan wonders if they all have time this weekend for karaoke. Jung-won backs out since he will probably have a date, and Seok-hyung says that he does, too. Joon-wan hilariously asks if he is meeting Gyu-wool as well, so Seok-hyung explains how he has plans with someone. The others assume he means his mom again and yell at him accordingly. Pfft.
Joon-wan asks Song-hwa if she and Ik-joon are free, then, and she hesitantly tells them that they are going on a date. The others stare at her for a second and then turn away, thinking nothing of her comment. It does remind Joon-wan, though, of Ik-soon’s question, and they all laugh at the idea of the two friends dating.
Song-hwa tells them that it is true, but her friends do not believe her, even as going as far to bet their hand, surnames, and everything they own. Taking out her phone, Song-hwa happily asks them to repeat themselves so she can have it on record, and her friends look dumbfounded. Ha!
Gyu-wool hears about Jung-won’s upcoming intestinal transplantation from Geon and explains to the residents that it is a rare and difficult surgery with a fifty percent success rate. There is no wrong or right choice when it comes to these situations, and Gyu-wool empathizes with the parents’ dilemmas. Yoon-bok asks how many times Jung-won has operated it, and Gyu-wool tells them that he has done it three times with only one succeeding.
While sitting alone in the garden lost in his own thoughts, Jung-won receives a call from Gyu-wool and meets her in the stairwell. He shares his worries with her, and she listens patiently before offering him advice: there is no right answer. She points out that he has already made a decision so instead of considering “what ifs” he should look forward. Her words clear his head, and he finally smiles again.
Gyu-wool asks him out to dinner this weekend since she has something to tell him while wearing more appropriate clothes, and her request makes him laugh. They lean in for a hug, but quickly break apart when they hear someone enter. They make up a random conversation until the door closes again and then resume what they were doing.
Seok-hyung sits with Song-hwa outside, and a shocked smile spreads across her face when she hears about his date with Min-ha. She already assumed that he liked her so the surprise comes more from his speediness than anything else. She asks if his mom knows about his relationship yet, and he tells her that he is going to inform her tonight and came up with a contingency plan just in case.
As Seok-hyung gets up to leave, he wonders why Song-hwa is staying late, and she tells him that she is waiting for Ik-joon. The truth slowly dawns on him, and Seok-hyung sits back down, unable to fully grasp the situation. Once it hits him, he laughs and congratulates her since she made the right choice. She tells him that they are still awkward around each other, and Seok-hyung panics, realizing again that she isn’t lying.
When Song-hwa returns to her office, she finds Ik-joon sleeping on the couch and wakes him up so they can eat. While they get ready, Ik-joon suggests acting like other couples and motions to her to feed him. He closes his eyes, waiting for her to initiate, but Song-hwa bursts into giggles just looking at his face, which causes him to laugh, too.
After calming down a little, Song-hwa agrees to do it, but as she goes in to feed him, she closes her eyes, instead. Ik-joon teases her for it since she is one doing the feeding, and Song-hwa puts down the food, deeming it impossible for now. Heh.
On his rounds, Ik-joon meets with a patient whose transplant is in a couple of days. Originally, the patient was supposed to receive it last year from his wife, but for the first time in Ik-joon’s career, the recipient ran away before the surgery. This time, though, the patient’s condition leaves him with few other options, and he begs Ik-joon to save him so he can live a long life and repay this debt to his wife.
After meeting with his young patient, Joon-wan speaks in private with the mom to discuss the upcoming operation in more detail. They both know that the surgery will be risky, but he points out that the patient deserves to be able to sleep lying down and breath properly. He promises to set a date as soon as possible and takes out his phone to make a call.
The Daddy-Long-Legs recipient comes in for this monthly checkup, and Ik-joon tells him that he is doing well. He says that they only need to come every three months now, and the couple tells him that they actually moved to Seoul which makes the hospital visits much easier. Ik-joon smiles and tells them that he is still young and will adjust to the new surroundings in no time.
Joon-wan discusses his plans with Jae-hak and tells him that he already contacted another doctor for assistance. When Jae-hak hears who it is, he plops down next to him, and Joon-wan explains his reasoning. In the end, the patient’s life is the most important thing, and Joon-wan chose to reach out for help since experience is key for this upcoming surgery.
Newly retired, Jong-soo hangs out with Rosa at her house, and she laughs at his comment at being poor and jobless. She offers him a room for cheap, and he thanks her for the generosity. She asks him if he likes seeing his family again, and he nods, saying that he knew things would turn out this way. She agrees since she saw this coming as well, and they burst into laughter.
In exchange for the affordable rent, Jong-soo wants to fulfill her life-long wish, and Rosa lights up at the thought. He adds, though, that he cannot walk the whole thing, and she tells him that she cannot either. She starts tearing up at the thought, and Jong-soo says that they can go as far as they can. Not wanting to waste time, Rosa gets up to call Jung-won, but stops when they notice Seok-hyung’s mom walking towards them.
She came by to tell them about her son’s new girlfriend, and the two of them pretend to act shocked by the news. Rosa asks if her son is still moving away, and Seok-hyung’s mom says that the girlfriend convinced him to stay in Korea to take care of his mom. She expresses her gratitude for the gesture, and Rosa reminds her to be grateful rather than revert back to her old ways.
Ik-joon and Song-hwa enjoy a dinner date with just the two of them until Ik-soon calls and joins them because her party was canceled at the last minute. While they eat, Song-hwa receives a call from Joon-wan and does not see the others’ stiff reactions as she invites him to come, too.
The date ends up with the four of them, and Joon-wan devours his food without a care in the world. Ever the food-lover, Song-hwa asks how Joon-wan’s noodles taste, which spurs a discussion on regional jjajangmyun.
Ik-soon chimes in, saying that the Chinese restaurant by her base is really good, but Ik-joon balks at the idea of going all the way there for noodles. Though he refuses to visit his sister, he will put on a show with her today and asks Joon-wan to go to karaoke with them afterwards.
Song-hwa and Joon-wan watch with perplexed expressions as the siblings stand completely still, and then as the music starts, the two of them come alive. They put on an energetic performance full of gusto for their crowd of two, and both Song-hwa and Joon-wan look smitten by the pair.
Ik-soon abruptly leaves in the middle of the song to the other’s shock, but Ik-joon ignores her and continues singing. Just as suddenly as she left, the door opens, and Ik-soon walks back in as part of their elaborate performance. The joke lands perfectly with their audience, and Joon-wan smiles adorably as his eye remain glued to Ik-soon the entire time.
Jung-won has dinner with Gyu-wool at a nice restaurant, and they talk about her family. Her mom is improving, and Jung-won feeds Gyu-wool (without closing his eyes unlike someone, ha). He mentions wanting to go on a trip, but before they do that, Gyu-wool asks if he has time to meet her mom—she wants to introduce her to the man she loves. He smiles uncontrollably and nods his head.
While Song-hwa inputs her song, Joon-wan tenses up, knowing the horrors that await them, and from the first note, her voice cracks. While Joon-wan and Ik-soon frown, unable to mask their discomfort, Ik-joon stares at Song-hwa with hearts in his eyes.
As the scene changes to his perspective, she sings as wonderfully as musical actor Jeon Mi-do. However, in reality, Song-hwa is still Song-hwa, and everyone but Ik-joon grimaces throughout the whole song. Ha, this is perfect!
On their walk home, Min-ha tells Seok-hyung that her parents were excited to hear about him and liked him over the polar bear one (heh). He says that he told his mom, too, and she was happy about it as well. Min-ha asks when he will introduce her to his family, but Seok-hyung thinks it would be better to not meet his mom for as long as possible.
As he tells her to go inside, Min-ha holds onto his hand and wonders if this is why people get married. Seok-hyung smiles at her comment and points out that she should get to know him better before making such a decision. Looking him in the eye, Min-ha calls him oppa and explains how it has been a long time for her already. He gazes down at her for a while before closing the gap between them. He leans in for a quick peck, and then comes in a second time for a proper kiss.
Song-hwa and Jung-won look over their monthly profit from their VIP ward, and she frowns at Ik-joon’s low numbers. Jung-won reminds her that he was a patient last month, and it placates her as she turns her attention to Seok-hyung’s numbers instead.
Ik-joon walks in, sensing that the two were talking about him, and he asks if it is true that Jong-soo resigned. Jung-won says that he retired since he wants to take Rosa on a pilgrimage, and the others gasp when they hear it will be just the two of them. Jung-won says that they are friends like Song-hwa and Ik-joon, which only fuels the flames. Heh.
A call interrupts their conversation, and Song-hwa learns about an emergency patient who has had a liver transplant as well as heart surgery at their hospital: it is the Daddy-Long-Legs recipient. Oh no!
Meanwhile, Seok-hyung meets with Jae-hak and his wife for her examine and tells the couple that their baby looks healthy and is growing at a fast rate. Her chemotherapy treatment is going well, too, and it seems things are finally looking up for them.
As Song-hwa looks over the Daddy-Long-Legs recipient’s charts, she realizes that the case will be difficult. Before heading to the operating room, she meets with the guardians to explain the risks and tells them that they should prepare themselves for the worst.
Joon-wan visits Jae-hak to see if he wants to accompany him and also asks about his wife’s appointments. He says that she is doing well, and Joon-wan leaves looking happy for him. He goes to see the young patient by himself, but by the time he arrives, the little boy is already asleep, hunched over the bed because of his condition.
In the elevators, the twins lean against the walls to support themselves and wonder how long it has been since they went home. When the doors open, they stand up quickly and greet Joon-wan as he walks in and stands between them. Pfft.
They stiffen when Joon-wan calls Hong-do’s name, but instead of a hard quiz, he asks where their house is. He offers them a ride, and Yoon-bok gladly accepts.
Seok-hyung and Jung-won hang out in Song-hwa’s office without her, and Jung-won asks about Min-ha since he heard about the two of them from his mom. He wonders if his relationship is a secret, and Seok-hyung says that Song-hwa already knows while he plans to tell the rest of the group this weekend.
Song-haw comes into her office—unsurprised by the visitors—and asks about their band practice this Saturday. She tells them that she is on duty that day, and Seok-hyung perks up because he needs to come in as well for a symposium. Song-hwa asks what the song is, and Jung-won grins since he got to choose this time.
Resident Ji-woo resumes her work after checking on Ik-joon’s transplant patient, but after the wife leaves, the patient’s condition worsens dramatically. Gyu-wool quickly notifies Ik-joon of the situation, and they move him to the ICU. Though the transplant is right around the corner, the patient might not make it that long.
Another emergency befalls Song-hwa as she receives a call about a patient in dire condition who needs surgery immediately. As for Ik-joon, he meets with the guardians and tells them that they need to do the transplant tonight. He believes this is their best option at the moment, and the wife composes herself in order to give her approval.
While Song-hwa operate on the ER patient, she worries about the prognosis since things are looking unfavorable. To make matters worse, the patient came from his wife’s funeral, and his three children wait for their dad while still in their mourning attire. As the surgery continues, Song-hwa’s confidence in the patient’s survival diminishes, and she wonders if he will even wake up.
Also busy with his own major surgery is Joon-wan. After he finishes his part, he calls for the other professor, and in walks Dr. Chun. While his bedside manners may be atrocious, his skills as a surgeon are top notch, and the two of them operate on the young patient together. Once they complete the operation, Joon-wan checks to see if everything works, and thus begins a tense and long waiting game.
Song-hwa explains to the mourning family about their dad’s surgery and describes the first couple of days as the critical period. She mentions the very real possibility of him never regaining consciousness again even if he survives, which leaves them devasted.
As he heads out for the day, Seok-hyung drops by Jung-won’s office and asks if he will also be at Rosa’s house next week since his mom invited him. Jung-won says that he will be there, too, and asks if Seok-hyung is leaving early for a date. Chuckling, Seok-hyung shakes his head since Min-hwa is on night duty and explains how he needs to go to bed because of a symposium tomorrow.
Jung-won receives a call from the transplant coordinator who tells him that they found a match for his patient. He asks if he can call back in five minutes and sits at his desk, conflicted over what to do. Eventually, he calls her back and goes ahead with the surgery.
Waiting in the operating room, Ik-joon studies before the transplant and works on the donor first. Once he takes out a portion of the healthy liver, he enters the recipient’s room and gets update on the situation. With things looking grim, Ik-joon quickly takes over, and the operation lasts well into the night. Over eight hours pass by the time they reach the end, and after a few tries, Ik-joon finally has everything stabilized.
It is four in the morning as Seok-hyung drives to Yulje because of his patient—the expectant mom from the beginning of the episode. After checking on her, he leaves her in the care of the doctor on duty, and later that morning he returns to the hospital in a suit because of his symposium.
The family of the transplant patient paces outside and runs up to Ik-joon as soon as he steps out into the hall. He tells them that the operation was successful, and they thank him profusely for all his help. As Ik-joon leaves, the camera follows him, revealing his nape drenched in sweat.
Sung-young checks on the Daddy-Long-Legs recipient and notifies Song-hwa that the patient is completely unresponsive. She passes along this unfortunate news to the family and informs them that he may be brain dead. She tells them that he might not live through today, and the family falls to the ground in tears.
As Seok-hyung heads home for the day, he receives a call about the same patient from this morning and turns the car around. Meanwhile, Song-hwa enters her office feeling exhausted and sits next to Ik-joon who is sleeping on the couch. She asks how his surgery went, and he happily tells her that it was successful. With a sigh, she breaks the bad news about his old patient, and Ik-joon turns somber as well.
Despite it being the weekend, it is a busy day for our doctors as both Jung-won and Seok-hyung have operations. After finishing up his surgery, Seok-hyung takes a quick nap in his car until Min-ha knocks on his window. She heard about him coming to work three times today and gives him a finger heart as well as his favorite drink.
Min-ha says that the patient apologized for her uncooperative baby since she tried to hold it in, and the mom’s sweet and funny sentiment makes them both laugh. Before Min-ha leaves, Seok-hyung reaches for something and hands her a finger heart.
While checking on the ER patient, Sung-young notices him waking up and quickly notifies Song-hwa. She shares the good news with the patient’s children and tells them that this is a positive sign. She allows them to visit him, and they run to his side, calling for their dad.
Song-hwa watches them with a smile, but as she looks to the room next door, she realizes that the Daddy-Long-Legs recipient is there with his grieving family. With just a wall between them, she witnesses both the miracle of life as well as the heart-wrenching reality of death. While one family cries with joy, the other hears their cheers and silently wipes away their tears.
Jung-won explains the upcoming transplant surgery to the parents and tells them the truth: it will be difficult for their daughter as well as him. He promises to do his best, and while washing his hands, Jung-won prays. Standing outside the operating room, he composes himself and then walks in.
Song-hwa and Joon-wan light up when the ramyun is finally done, but Ik-joon tells them to wait ten seconds so the rest of them can grab their noodles first. As he takes a bite of the food, Jung-won wonders why he cooked, and Seok-hyung uses Song-hwa’s trick, telling him that he volunteered.
After their meal, Jung-won makes an announcement to his friends: he is studying in the US for a year. The news startles the others, and Joon-wan pokes his friend’s knee, asking if he is going alone. Jung-won says that Gyu-wool is coming, too, and tells them that he wants to study pediatric intestinal transplants more.
The others support his decision, and Ik-joon jokes about Rosa filling in on the drums during his absence. However, the thought of future band sessions makes Seok-hyung realize that their monthly meetings will probably end soon.
In an attempt to pick up the mood, Joon-wan says that a year will fly by, and Jung-won reminds the others that he chose the song for today. They agree to start playing, but before they move, Ik-joon comments on how it feels like their last performance for some reason. The final band song is “Butterfly” by Loveholics, and all five friends take turns singing.
At the hospital, Jae-hak receives a call from the police who tell him that they caught the rental scammer. Meanwhile, Seok-min and Sung-young visit Doo-na before her discharge, and she tells them that her mom got her a new phone for messaging.
They wonder where her mom is, and Doo-na says that she has been in the bathroom for a while. Sitting on the toilet, Doo-na’s mom cries as she reads the text from her daughter, apologizing for taking out her stress on her and thanking her.
During his appointments, Seok-hyung gets a visit from some familiar faces (the couple from episode one and two), and this time, they have good news. Tearing up, the wife says that another angel came to them, and she hopes Seok-hyung will protect them once more.
Good things happen to Joon-wan as well as he checks on his young patient who is recovering the PICU. The little boy is now able to lie on his back, and he gives Joon-wan a thumbs up. With a smile on his face, Joon-wan returns the gesture.
Later that night, Joon-wan finds Jae-hak lost in thought in the garden, and his fellow tells him that the scammer was caught. Joon-wan asks if he got his money back, and Jae-hak starts sobbing. Through his tears, he tells Joon-wan that he got it all back.
The scene returns to the band, and even Song-hwa gets a solo. They pour their heart and soul into the song, and finish their very last session together as a band.
Sometime in the future, Ik-soon runs out of her base and finds Joon-wan standing outside. She asks if he came to see her, and he says that he came for jjajangmyun. She cries after hearing his answer, overcome with emotions, and he pulls her into a hug.
Song-hwa and Ik-joon go camping without Woo-joo since he is hanging out with his girlfriend’s family, and they talk about Song-hwa’s and her mom’s upcoming health exams. He notices her looking sleepy, and Song-hwa does not deny. As she heads to the tent first, Ik-joon stays by the campfire, but unlike last time, he smiles peacefully. Putting down his drink, he goes to bed, too—the same tent as Song-hwa’s.
Four months later, Jae-hak’s wife goes into delivery, and he holds her hand while their baby is born. They both tear up at the sight of their healthy child, and Jae-hak caresses his wife’s face, telling her that he loves her. Seeing their display of affection, Seok-hyung smiles to himself.
Joon-wan receives an update from Jae-hak over the phone and tells him to call him after he is done crying. Overhearing the conversation, Song-hwa asks about his wife’s surgery, and Joon-wan tells them that her chemotherapy went well, too. Ik-joon calls this the best news that they have heard in a while, and Joon-wan agrees.
Jung-won has an appointment with his winking patient who happily munches on cookies after her successful transplant. Jung-won asks for one, too, and tells her that he helped her be able to eat. She refuses at first, but hands him one in the end, making Jung-won laugh.
Song-hwa stares at the sunset from the garden, and one by one, her friends join her, wondering what she is looking at. They all admire the sky—even though Joon-wan points out that it looks the same as yesterday. Song-hwa says that she used to like sunrises, but lately, she likes sunsets more. Ik-joon claims to know the reason why, and he tells his friends that they signal the time to go home.
What a cozy and warm ending that wonderfully captures the charm of the show by bringing the five friends together one last time in a quiet moment that is both hilarious and heartwarming. While the “watching the sunset” finale may be overdone, I think Ik-joon’s joke added a nice touch of humor that elevated the scene and also served as a moving, final message about the beauty of things coming from their ends. As Ik-joon said, people like sunsets because of what they signify, and thus, being able to say farewell to these characters and their stories is what makes the show even more special. Unlike season one, the show does not leave the audience with a cliffhanger, and all in all, the last episode took its time wrapping up loose ends and slapping neat bows on everything. For the most part, the final episode had a lot of memorable story elements, but seeing the conclusions for a few of the plotlines—some of which were developed across episodes—did make me wonder how much of the staff knew that this season would most likely be their last. Would the writers have paced certain stories differently if they knew this was the end, or was season two created knowing full well that everything needed a conclusion by the twelfth episode?
The reason I ask is that some of the plot points felt rushed in the finale, and certain payoffs were not given their rightful due. One of the biggest issues in this regard is Seok-hyung’s mom. The show spent time manufacturing a fateful and horrendous first encounter between her and Min-ha, but the two of them never meet after that. Furthermore, Seok-hyung made up a lie knowing that his mom might revert back to her old ways because he believes that she has not changed, but all this buildup is only given a brief mention and never dealt with again. Something feels absent from this conclusion because the message is a bit muddled. One of the central conflicts is his mom’s inability to change, and the solution the show reveals seems temporary since Seok-hyung’s mom still holds onto her bad habits even with Rosa’s guidance. Though the creators do not have to answer every single question they pose, given all the time spent on his family and this arc, I would have liked seeing more of this play out instead of being told that Seok-hyung plans to keep Min-ha and his mom separate for as long as possible. Besides the issue with his family, the overall relationship between Seok-hyung and Min-ha was sweet, and the show portrays how he is slowly changing for the better with her in his life. There is no guarantee about where their future may lead, but the show leaves them in a happy place that hints at more lovely days to come.
Open-ended was a theme that fit a lot of the show’s stories, including the final bit of information concerning our wonderful pediatric surgeon. Jung-won gets an abrupt “studying abroad” announcement tacked to the end of his tale, which can feel like an unnecessary addition that leaves things without proper closure. However, when seen in tandem with the prior season, this seemingly hasty move acts as a nice bookend to his story and relationship with Gyu-wool. In both seasons, Jung-won makes plans to leave, but the motivations and outcomes are completely different. In season one, it feels like Jung-won is almost running away from the hospital because he is afraid of his own ineptitude and the deaths of his patients. However, he eventually comes to the decision that medicine is his true calling and falls in love with Gyu-wool as well. In part, she keeps him at Yulje, and this change symbolizes Jung-won’s decision to stop running away from his feelings. In contrast, the move at the end of this season represents Jung-won truly overcoming his past fears and leaving in order to become a better doctor. Moreover, the transplant was successful, signifying that this departure is about Jung-won pursuing what he wants rather than him finding an excuse to hold onto another loss and wallow in self-pity. Gyu-wool’s reaction—to come along—also reiterates this point and acts as a clear indicator as to how far their relationship has come from the beginning. Though arguably open-ended, Jung-won’s story reaches a sweet conclusion that comes full circle when considering his overarching journey as a doctor.
Despite the mountain of things the creators needed to address in this episode, I’m glad they spent some time adding more depth to Gyu-wool and Jung-won’s relationship rather than gloss over them since their main problems were already resolved in comparison to the others. For most of the season, Jung-won acted as her mentor as well as significant other, and he supported her when she was struggling with her family situation. As a result, their relationship felt unbalanced at times since he was the one giving and patiently waiting—it was almost as if we were seeing Jung-won through Gyu-wool’s eyes, and he became the perfect boyfriend. Hence, I appreciated the creators delving deeper into Gyu-wool’s growth and showing that she has become a dependable doctor and partner as well. The stairwell scene may have been short, but it gave Gyu-wool a chance to shine and be the strength and comfort he needed in that moment. Her mental fortitude and composure helped Jung-won focus on the future rather than allow his doubts to consume him, and it captured why these two characters work together as a pair: They exert a positive influence on each other and fill in the other’s weaknesses.
Out of all the relationships, Joon-wan’s was left the most open-ended, and I think the reaction to the route the writer chose really depends on personal preference. He ultimately reunites with Ik-soon, and the show implies that the couple has never stopped loving each other. By mirroring a scene from the previous season, their final reunion evokes certain memories, and thus, more is told through what is left unspoken between the two. While I do find them to be an amusing couple, I think their story would have benefitted the most from a third season. While I firmly believe in Ik-soon’s apology, rebuilding trust in a relationship takes time and effort. In addition, the show hasn’t really addressed the underlying problems in their relationship that caused the rift in the first place, which makes the current ending feel idealistic. While I understand the appeal of the implied happily ever after, I personally would have enjoyed seeing them work for it, instead. Their relationship has always felt like a whirlwind compared to the others, and so there were a lot of interesting directions the show could have explored with them. Regardless of my personal preferences, I still thought the ending worked because of Joon-wan’s evident love for Ik-soon. Jung Kyung-ho was absolutely amazing, and the look on his face made it obvious to anyone watching that Ik-soon lights up his world like no one else can. My favorite Joon-wan relationship, though, is the one with Jae-hak. They had a wonderful synergy together, and I loved seeing Joon-wan transform from the prickly professor to the caring mentor episode by episode. Individually, they were both adorable characters, but together, they became even better. Their scenes were always so fun to watch because they were never stagnant and instead always growing. They learned from each other, and through their relationship, they both became better people. Even if Jae-hak’s scammer story was conveniently solved, I’m not complaining because he and his wife deserve this break, and I only wish them all the happiness in the world going forward.
Like the other couples, Ik-joon and Song-hwa also get their happy ending, but the transition from old friends to lovers is definitely not smooth. The show relishes their awkwardness as they navigate their new relationship, and the little bumps along the way only made them more endearing as a couple. One trick the creators liked to use in this final episode was reference back to previous scenes to highlight how much things have changed, and for this couple, the best scene that showcased this was the camping trip. Like before, the two friends sit by the fire until Song-hwa goes to bed, but this time, Ik-joon no longer feels conflicted nor lonely. He can watch her leave with a smile on his face because, at the end of the day, he will find his way to her side. It was also hilarious to see the group’s reaction to the news, and I enjoyed watching Song-hwa having a blast with their disbelief. It definitely takes them a while to get used to the idea, but even after they learn about their relationship, none of the friends treat them any differently. All five friends still have a comfortable and silly dynamic with each other, proving that their friendship may change and look different as they get older but their bonds will not be easily severed or forgotten.
Hospital Playlist was a delightful watch that filled my days with tears and laughter. It brought memorable characters to my screen, and in a time where the world felt bleak and controversial, the show offered solace. While it may not have been perfect, it was sincere, tender, and kindhearted, which were more than enough to make this series something special and truly unforgettable.