Ghost Doctor: Episodes 13-14 Open Thread
The death of a patient leaves our resident second guessing his skills and his desire to become a doctor. While the rest of our heroes try to coax him back to the hospital, the bad guys plot their next murder attempt.
EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP
Ghost Doctor returned this week with a taste of its earlier charm, but with the finale approaching, there was a lot of backstory and character development to cram into two hours. On the surface, this week’s episodes were enjoyable and entertaining, but they only served as a reminder of what could have been.
At its heart, this is supposed to be a story about Seung-tak maturing into a real doctor, and Young-min rediscovering his passion for saving lives (even the ones that seem beyond his ability). The drama tries to drive home this message this week, but what Ghost Doctor stuffs into two episodes, I would have preferred to see sprinkled out more through the series.
Following the patient’s death, everyone — even Seung-won’s shady lawyer buddy — agrees that there was nothing Seung-tak could have done to save the patient. But Seung-tak can’t easily shake the trauma of watching his patient die. He goes off the grid, leaving his colleagues either worried about him, or talking smack about how he flew too close to the sun and got what he deserved.
Among the many conversations Young-min eavesdrops on (in order to find a clue about Seung-tak’s whereabouts), is a confrontation between Seung-won and Seung-tak’s mother. Seung-won plays the nice guy at first and assures her that Seung-tak will be fine after a little time alone, but Mom is worried that Seung-tak will close himself off from the world the same as he did following his father’s death.
“Then why’d you make him become a doctor?” Seung-won asks, and I’ve got to hand it to him — it’s a legitimate question that points out a glaring flaw with the storytelling. Despite all of Seung-tak’s recent successes, he hasn’t given the people around him a reason to believe he truly wants to be a doctor.
Initially he was pressured — intentionally or not — to follow in his family’s footsteps, but we never see him develop his own passion or strength. Instead, he rides on Young-min’s body-possessing coattails for most of the drama. Where’s the assertiveness and curiosity that would indicate a true desire to become a doctor? As much as this week’s episodes want us to believe that the fire has always existed within Seung-tak, we shouldn’t have to rely on Tess and Young-min’s assertion that it’s there.
I would have preferred to have seen Seung-tak grow increasingly interested in developing his own skills and follow Young-min’s advice. But it only takes a few pep talks from Soo-jung and Tess — because that’s all there’s time for — and Seung-tak gets his groove back. Cue an amusing little montage of Young-min channeling his inner Mr. Miyagi as he trains Seung-tak to increase his dexterity and properly suture. Among Young-min’s plethora of teaching techniques is having Seung-tak sew stitches into a cloth draped over a balloon and eat his rice grain by grain.
The next time we see Seung-tak in the ER, he shines. He tackles the injuries that are more appropriate for his true skill level and defers to more experienced doctors when needed. While some of his peers assume he’s being overly cautious because he recently lost a patient, Soo-jung and Se-jin are aware that he’s finally come into his own as a doctor.
A patient goes into cardiac arrest, and Seung-tak jumps into action and begins chest compressions when the other doctors seem ready to call time of death. His gaze is fixated on the dying patient’s ghost. Everyone watches his desperate attempt to revive the man, but the nurses and doctors all wear expressions indicating they don’t have the heart to tell him to stop.
Suddenly the ghost is gone, and the patient’s heart is beating. Seung-tak collapses in relief and gazes up at his mentor with tears in his eyes. In that moment, while Seung-tak learns that he shouldn’t give up on himself, Young-min also acknowledges that he shouldn’t give up on others. He resolves to rectify his mistakes, beginning with his fellow coma ghosts.
Although I don’t like how the backstories of our remaining coma ghosts were shoehorned into these penultimate episodes, we finally learn Tess’s past through a series of — unnecessarily repetitive — flashbacks. Twenty years ago, he passed away from a heart attack in his sleep and lingered at the hospital long enough to say goodbye to Soo-jung at his funeral. Soo-jung, who was sick and running a fever, was able to see him. She followed him from the funeral to the ER, where she saw him possess Tae-sik in order to save Seung-tak’s life.
We also learn more about the handsome Hoon-gil, who was — quite appropriately — a budding actor. He’s lonely now that Bo-mi has woken up and returned to her life, but Bo-mi seems to be missing him, too, on a subconscious level. She often stares in his direction, as if she can sense him watching nearby. She has no memories of her time as a ghost, but a change in her personality subtly reflects the experiences she went through during her coma.
The new, inexplicably assertive version of Bo-mi tells her mother that she doesn’t wish to pursue a PhD, and Hoon-gil acts as her invisible cheerleading squad. Sadly, he also witnesses her fiance give her flowers and reveal that their parents have discussed setting a wedding date. Someone (a.k.a. Seung-tak) needs to play Hoon-gil’s movie for Bo-mi so she can remember him, because my heart is breaking for this could-have-been couple. (Unlike another couple…)
Se-jin spends a good deal of her time crying this week because her brother is a thug with a fondness for tacky jewelry — I mean, because he plotted to kill Young-min. Luckily, Young-min overheard Min-ho scheming with Seung-won and Tae-hyun.
In order to prevent Tae-hyun from murdering him during his upcoming life-saving surgery, he asks Tess to possess Min-ho and adjust his hospital bed so that Young-min aspirates on his feeding tube. He survives and Min-ho (Tess) gets caught on CCTV being a baddie. Although Young-min successfully delays his surgery while his body undergoes a round of antibiotics, the recent events are too much for Se-jin to handle.
A broken mug sends her spiraling into whatever the opposite of ugly crying is — beauty tears? — and Young-min dramatically stretches out his hand, stopping just short of touching her. It would be an emotional moment if we hadn’t already seen his impression of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam a billion times. We get it. She cries a lot, and you want to comfort her.
She eventually gets some pep in her step after Tae-hyun reveals the big secret and all the pieces start falling into place. She’s so happy that her comatose ex-boyfriend has been flirting with her via Seung-tak that she makes an impromptu trip to a salon, where she supposedly gets something done to her hair that makes Young-min stare at her lovely — but remarkably unchanged — appearance.
Rather than tell Young-min and Seung-tak that she found out the truth, she makes a game out of seeing if she can get Seung-tak and Young-min to slip up. It’s unsurprisingly easy to do. Seung-tak struggles to come up with convincing lies to explain why he has insider knowledge of events that he wasn’t around to witness (e.g. her mug breaking), and while Young-min is quick to give Seung-tak disapproving looks whenever he flubs, Young-min is just as bad at keeping their secret.
Se-jin takes Young-min — in possession of Seung-tak’s body — out on another non-date, and he stumbles into all of her traps. He eats chicken, which Seung-tak doesn’t like, and he corrects Se-jin when she recalls her past with Young-min and intentionally switches a small detail. Se-jin looks genuinely happy for once, but then Min-ho shows up.
He delays Se-jin in a convenience store long enough for his hired goon to appear. Se-jin rushes to warn Seung-tak of the impending danger and calls out Young-min’s name, but it’s too late. A Motorcyclist of Doom swings a pipe at Seung-tak’s head and knocks him unconscious. Young-min is ejected from Seung-tak’s body. As Se-jin shakes him and alternates between calling Seung-tak and Young-min’s names, Young-min slowly begins to fade into gold dust.