Ghost Doctor: Episodes 11-12 Open Thread
Our ghost doctor has some serious emotional hurdles to overcome as he faces the stark reality of his situation and how it affects his loved ones — particularly the woman who rarely leaves his bedside.
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP
It’s an emotional week on Ghost Doctor as the reality of Young-min’s situation gives way to more character development, but I find myself wondering if it is too little, too late. As much as I enjoy the buddy comedy aspects of this drama, it has set me up for a particular viewer experience, so I felt a bit thrown-off by the tone of this week’s episodes as we delve deeper into Young-min’s internal turmoil and his uninteresting romance.
Last we saw our coma ghost, he was glitching mid-surgery, but — other than a few dropped surgical instruments — the operation is textbook perfect. The glitching rattled Young-min, though, and he’s uncharacteristically insecure following the surgery, especially when he sees that Seung-joo hasn’t returned to his body.
When he’s alone with Seung-tak, he runs through the surgery step-by-step in order to convince himself that nothing went awry. Seung-tak assures Young-min that Seung-joo won’t instantaneously return to his body; it takes some time. Sure enough, Seung-joo shortly thereafter fades away and opens his eyes with no memory of his time as a ghost.
Although Young-min shouldn’t be surprised that Seung-joo can no longer see him, he’s upset and directs his frustration at Seung-tak, scolding him for not taking care of his body and hands. He assumes their glitching in the OR was caused by Seung-tak’s poor physical condition, but Young-min’s anger is displaced. The real source of his pain is Se-jin, who is still keeping vigil over his body. Seeing her depriving herself of food and sleep in order to take care of him causes Young-min to break down and beg his body to wake up so he’s no longer the source of her misery.
It’s a very intense scene that shows off Rain’s amazing range as an actor, but the setup for Young-min’s breakdown felt contrived, largely because Se-jin is as dull as dishwater and I can’t imagine anyone exhibiting such visceral emotions because of her. There’s a stronger connection between Young-min and Mandu, and if he’d burst into tears because someone forgot to feed his sugar glider, I’d have bought it — no questions asked. Se-jin… not so much.
Aside from my issues with the buildup to Rain’s Oscar worthy crying, I appreciate how the situation lays the groundwork for exploring Young-min and Seung-tak’s very opposing opinions on what’s best for grieving family members. Seung-tak, who has spent most of his life with the unique perspective of being able to see ghosts, sympathizes with the ghosts’ desire to cling to hope. Young-min, on the other hand, has more experience with the grieving families and believes their agony is unnecessarily prolonged because their loved ones have not passed on.
Their diverging opinions also cause them to be at odds over how to approach Se-jin, who worries that she’s projecting her feelings for Young-min onto Seung-tak. She decides it’s best to have fewer interactions with him, but that also means that Seung-tak will have limited updates on Young-min’s progress.
Seung-tak resolves to tell Se-jin the truth, believing it will be better for her morale, but Young-min shuts down the confession. He doesn’t want to scare her or put her in the position of being the only one with memories of a time that he will forget once he wakes up. He’d rather tell her how he feels with his own mouth. But, as Seung-tak reminds him, what if he doesn’t wake up? What if a random complication kills him before he ever gets a chance to tell her how he feels?
Cue Tae-hyun, who has been blackmailed by Seung-won to put an end to Young-min. After Se-jin collapses from sheer exhaustion and is whisked away to Young-min’s apartment for some much needed rest and relaxation, Seung-won gives Tae-hyun the all-clear to infiltrate the hospital and kill his former mentor. Luckily, Seung-tak had the forethought to post a guard outside Young-min’s room, so Tae-hyun turns the corner, sees the guard, and immediately retreats. It’s all very anticlimactic.
The quickly eliminated threat allows us to “enjoy” the totally-not-a-date-but-it’s-soooo-a-date outing between Se-jin and Young-min (as Seung-tak) without fear that Young-min is going to die in the middle of their picnic by the lake. I almost died from secondhand awkwardness, though, because their non-date is 90% Young-min making goo-goo eyes at her while she toes the line between having fun and reminding herself that she’s not into this younger guy whose mannerisms are eerily similar to those of her comatose ex-boyfriend.
The scene by the lake is where the show loses me, yet again. Young-min claims he doesn’t want to reveal the truth or tell Se-jin how he feels, but he’s perfectly fine with going on “dates” with her as Seung-tak and using Seung-tak to assure her that Young-min loves her? How is this less confusing or emotionally gut-wrenching than telling Se-jin the ghostly truth? Poor woman. Clearly what’s “best for her” is whatever is most convenient for the plot at the moment.
Thankfully, not all romances in Ghost Doctor are a struggle to watch. The cuteness factor between Seung-tak and Soo-jung went up a notch when she inadvertently admitted that she was jealous of Se-jin. The misunderstanding quickly resolves itself after Soo-jung figures out that there’s history between Young-min and Se-jin, but she can’t in good conscience let Seung-tak wear a bandage that Se-jin placed on his hand. Seung-tak teases her for replacing the bandage, and she seems to enjoy his brand of flirting. (For the record, I do, too.)
There’s not only a subtle change in Seung-tak’s relationship status, but his work ethic, as well. He’s started exercising, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, drinking protein, and in general he seems to be more focused and driven. In particular, he has been researching comatose patients to try and find a solution to Young-min’s coma, much like they did with the now-revived Bo-mi.
He doesn’t find the answer in a book. Instead, after accidentally squirting his grandfather with a hose pipe, he has a random epiphany and discovers that a thinned artery is limiting the blood flow to Young-min’s brain. Presumably, all that’s standing between Young-min and wakefulness is an operation.
The surgery is scheduled, and Seung-tak is set to assist. Given that Young-min’s spiritual form is weakening now that he’s closer to waking up, he and Seung-tak go over the surgery together, just in case the worst possible scenario happens and Young-min glitches again.
But before they can operate on Young-min, an emergency patient arrives in the ER and — once again — there’s not an available doctor who is skilled enough to perform the life-saving surgery. Seung-tak insists on scrubbing in, but Young-min hesitates, worrying that he will glitch during the surgery. He caves, but his worst nightmare is realized when he’s forcefully ejected from Seung-tak’s body mid-surgery and the patient’s vitals rapidly decline. Tess bursts into the OR and starts yelling instructions, but Seung-tak is distracted by the fading ghost of his dying patient.
It’s quite the cliffhanger, and I legitimately fear that the patient will die and Seung-tak will face some serious repercussions, assuming Tess isn’t able to save the day somehow. Either way, Seung-tak is bound to hit some mental roadblocks following this incident, which is the kind of character development that should have been explored earlier. There’s only four episodes left and a lot of dangling loose ends without a traumatized Seung-tak thrown into the mix. I’m weary, but maybe if they dial back on Young-min’s romantic relationship with Se-jin there will be enough time to wrap everything up somewhat satisfactorily.