Ghost Doctor: Episodes 15-16 Open Thread (Final)
As we bid farewell to Ghost Doctor, many of our characters find themselves saying their own goodbyes, but not all partings are permanent. Some of them lead to new beginnings and happy endings.
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP
Now that Ghost Doctor has ended, I find myself a bit wistful. The final two episodes really delivered this week, giving me a bit of everything I loved and wanted to see more of earlier in the series. I was really harsh on this drama in the middle because it seemingly lost sight of the heart of the story, but the pieces came together in the end. And now I’m sad to say goodbye to these characters — even Se-jin.
She still ranks lower than Mandu on my list of favorite characters, but once she found a reason to smile, Se-jin became quite tolerable. I thought we’d be off to another mopey start with her character this week, given her brother’s orchestrated drive-by head whacking, but Seung-tak (and Young-min) survived the incident with only a minor hand — that’s right, hand not head — injury.
Se-jin is so giddy that she starts planning to redecorate Young-min’s apartment for their future cohabitation, and — much to Seung-tak and Soo-jung’s annoyance — Young-min keeps borrowing Seung-tak’s body so he can weigh in on his curtain and blanket preferences. A jealous Soo-jung decides it’s time to set some ground rules, and while she hashes out a boyfriend-body-sharing schedule with Se-jin, the men sit back and enjoy some food.
Seung-tak agrees that he needs a little break from being Young-min’s mouthpiece and pretends that he can’t see or hear Young-min. The prank is short-lived, though, because Seung-tak has to use his ghost-whisperer skills to determine why one of the ER’s patients won’t wake up. It’s a teachable moment, and Young-min advises Seung-tak to embrace his sixth sense. As a doctor, seeing his unconscious patients and being able to share their stories on their behalf is a strength, not a weakness.
The peaceful camaraderie before Young-min’s surgery ends when Young-min’s body takes a turn for the worse. The doctors meet to reevaluate their surgical plans and discuss other options, and the consensus is that the originally planned surgery is now too risky and beyond Tae-sik’s skill level to perform. It’s better for them to use a less-invasive bypass surgery. Unfortunately, while Young-min will undoubtedly wake up following the bypass operation, his quality of life will be diminished, and his days as a surgeon will be over.
Young-min is the only doctor skilled enough to carry out the original surgery, but the probability of him glitching mid-operation is too high. He agrees with the other doctors’ assessment, and the bypass surgery is scheduled. With his days as a coma ghost limited, Young-min resolves to wrap-up some unfinished business before he wakes up and forgets his fellow ghosts.
Young-min finds Hoon-gil standing on the edge of the hospital’s roof and — for a comedic moment — forgets that he is already partially dead. Even so, Young-min talks Hoon-gil down from the ledge like he would someone who was contemplating suicide because Hoon-gil has lost his will to live and wants to cancel his surgery.
It is during their exchange that Young-min admits he failed as a doctor by measuring which lives were worth saving. Young-min’s confession convinces Hoon-gil to go through with the surgery, and it’s a good thing, too, because he discovers that Bo-min’s fiancé is a cheating scumbag. Even better, though, is when a knowing Se-jin convinces Bo-mi to talk to the unconscious Hoon-gil, and Bo-mi shyly encourages him to wake up and fulfill his dreams. My heart!
Unfortunately not every life can be saved, and Young-min’s heart-to-heart with Guk-chan is more somber. Young-min’s previous conversation with Hoon-gil left him feeling ashamed, but Guk-chan comforts him and assures him that he knows Young-min did everything he could to try and save him. He’s made peace with the fact that he will never wake up, so his final request of Young-min is for his body to be transferred to a nursing home near his family so he can see them more often. His request is granted, and his departure from the hospital is bittersweet as he happily steps across his former hospital boundary.
Young-min’s conversations with his fellow ghosts remind him that, as a doctor, he should take his patients’ wishes into consideration, and it’s time for Young-min to start thinking like a patient — not a doctor. And what he wants is to wake up and still have use of his golden hands. He and Seung-tak both resolve to perform the original surgery together, but Seung-tak is a little uncomfortable with Young-min’s suggestion that they have Tae-hyun assist them. Young-min, however, is confident that Tae-hyun will do the right thing.
The surgery is tense, but Young-min manages to push through some minor glitching and complete the hardest part of the surgery before he’s ejected from Seung-tak’s body. Seung-tak is prepared to have Tae-hyun take over, but Young-min encourages him to complete the surgery with his own “sh*t hands.” As Young-min begins to fade, he reminds Seung-tak to do a clean job; he’s still unmarried and doesn’t want a scar.
Hoon-gil wakes up from his surgery first, and he’s instantly the hospital hottie. The other ladies don’t stand a chance, though, because Seung-tak eagerly points Bo-mi in his direction, and Hoon-gil catches her cutely peeking around the corner. It’s not much, but just enough for me to believe that my favorite Ghost Doctor couple will eventually get their own happy ending.
It takes a few more days for Young-min to wake up, but when he does, he coldly rebuffs Seung-tak’s eager handholding. Thankfully, it’s all an act — a little payback for when Seung-tak pretended he couldn’t see Young-min — because I otherwise would have sharpened my pitchfork. You can’t make Young-min go through all that character growth only to have him forget about it in the final hour!
The upside to Young-min’s little fake-out is Seung-tak’s resulting overzealous skinship. He can’t stop touching Young-min every chance he gets, and it’s absolutely adorable. The downside to Young-min’s little ruse, though, is that Young-min also subjected Se-jin to the lie under some misguided idea that he wanted to control the narrative of their romance now that he was awake. I, too, prefer rom-coms to melodramas, Young-min, but you just don’t do that!
Well, his plan backfired because Se-jin went back to the US after her brother, Tae-hyun, and Seung-won were arrested, and she didn’t even bother to tell Young-min that she was leaving. Seung-tak sagely points out that she probably couldn’t take him being a cold-hearted jerk to her any longer. Young-min begs Seung-tak for her contact information, and Tess watches the two of them fondly, knowing he can leave the hospital in their care.
The idea that Tess would pass the torch on to Young-min and Seung-tak has been hinted at since the beginning, and the drama did well to wrap up his goodbyes, allowing him to have meaningful moments with his daughter and granddaughter before he left. The scene that absolutely wrecked me, though, was watching him bid farewell to Seung-tak in the ER — exactly where they first met twenty years ago and this story really began. When Seung-tak bowed deeply to him — giving zero flicks that he looked like a looney bin in the middle of a crowded room — I teared up.
But my tears quickly dried because Tess’s parting was followed by Young-min hashing out his poor post-coma choices with Mandu. If only Mandu could talk and call him an idiot for lying to Se-jin on our behalf. Young-min doesn’t have to stew in his abysmal choices for long, though, because Se-jin lets herself into his apartment and inserts herself into his life and future, knowing full well he remembers everything.
It’s a happy ending that closes with some more — highly preferred — bromance between Young-min and Seung-tak. They arrive at work at the same time, and Young-min warns Seung-tak that he will keep him by his side and train him extra hard — so many squats! Seung-tak eagerly follows and bounces on his heels like a puppy, cheekily insisting that Young-min will regret his decision. In their final moments on screen, we see them working in tandem and high-fiving after a successful surgery.
Overall, I’m very pleased with how Ghost Doctor tackled the themes of mentorship and the value of human life, and I absolutely loved the relationship — a rom-com, according to Seung-tak — between our leading men. Most of my disappointments stem from my high expectations. When this drama was good, it was good, which leaves other parts of it glaringly flawed. But like Young-min, who learned the value of not giving up on life, I’m glad I continued on with this drama. The journey may have occasionally been flooded by Se-jin’s excessive crocodile tears and blocked by her brother’s boulder-sized rings, but at least it led to a satisfying ending.