Welcome back! After a slightly clumsy second episode, I think it’s safe to say that “Hospital Playlist 2” is just about back on track this week. However, the same can’t necessarily be said for the characters that occupy its world. In this episode, some will find clarity in their lives, whereas others will be thrown into chaos.
Korean Title: 슬기로운 의사생활 시즌2
Genre: Friendship, Comedy, Life, Drama, Medical
Channel: tvN, Netflix
Episode Number: Episode 3
Episode Length: 80 minutes
Episode three is packed with drama right from the get-go, with the opening scene being an emergency situation in obstetrics. Minha is trying to convince the guardians of a patient that a vaginal birth will be unsafe, but they’re worried that surgical intervention will render the baby less intelligent. Minha rightfully tells the guardians that they’re being ridiculous (particularly since the mother herself WANTS the surgery), but Seokhyeong swoops in and tells her to stop dallying and just head to the OR.
After parking the busy Seokhyeong’s car for him, Ikjun starts off his day at the similarly busy hepatobiliary pancreatic surgery department by seeing his outpatients. Before the first appointment, Ikjun amazes Gyeoul with the details he’s remembered from the patient’s previous appointment, and he brags that he grew up watching ‘Janghak Quiz.’ Gyeoul admits she doesn’t know much about it, because she’s from the ‘Golden Bell’ generation. Ikjun pouts that he’s also from the Golden Bell generation, but Gyeoul isn’t buying it. As Ikjun’s appointment kicks off, a cool continuous shot pans out of his office and carries us through the hospital, to where Junwan is getting ready for his own appointments.
In the elevator, a child named Hayul lists all the lollipop flavours she has at home to a nurse, but when it’s time to see Jeongwon in his office, she can’t seem to recall the last one. Jeongwon tells Hayul’s mother that her jaundice is going away, and when she admits that Hayul recently had a fever in response, her daughter covers her mouth with a tiny hand in an attempt to shut her up. Jeongwon draws Hayul a portrait of her on a tongue depressor, and she draws one back for him. Finally, she remembers the lollipop flavour she’d forgotten – scorched rice.
Over at CS, we head into Professor Cheon’s office. Oh crap. I’m already ready to cringe. The man makes it weird from the very beginning, looking vexed that the couple politely waiting for him haven’t already sat down. He tells them that the results seem okay, and when they ask about the x-ray, blood test, and ECG, he snaps that he’s already told them they look fine. The patient’s wife tells him that her husband has been getting leg cramps at night, and he curtly cuts her off, telling her that her husband’s symptoms have nothing to do with his heart. Immediately after, Professor Cheon promptly waves the couple out of his office, leaving them looking perplexed.
Nearby, in Junwan’s office, he politely calls after a patient as they exit, telling them to get home safely. Junwan’s next patient is a woman accompanied by her husband, and Junwan breaks the anxiety in the air by observing that she’s cut her hair. She nervously asks if there’s anything wrong with her results, but he assures her that everything looks good. He tells her that her x-ray, blood work, and ECG are all fine, and the couple sigh in relief. Junwan whirls his monitor around and shows the patient her pre-surgery and post-surgery x-rays, pointing out the improvement of her condition in a way that’s accessible and easy to understand. Finally, he walks the patient through her post-surgery symptoms and medications. Thanks to Junwan’s thorough explanation, the couple leave looking relieved and satisfied. Take notes, Professor Cheon.
In the ER, an assemblyman with a pneumothorax is waiting on his golf buddy Professor Cheon to come down and perform a thoracostomy on him. Soye asks if he’d like a CS resident to come and help out “just in case,” but he declines. Big mistake, buddy. Soye, Kwanghyun, and ER nurse Heesoo discuss how Professor Cheon hasn’t performed lung procedures in over twenty years, in spite of the relative simplicity of the procedure. When Professor Cheon finally arrives, naturally, he majorly embarasses himself. The camera pulls away as he fumbles around, and the assemblyman cries out in pain. Guess they won’t be playing golf together anymore.
Back in Ikjun’s office, he tells a patient and his son that he has virtually fully recovered from his cancer, and they express their relief. After they leave, Ikjun’s appointments are over for the day, and Songhwa appears in his doorway, telling him that she’s hungry. He smiles at her, and they head off to eat.
Outside the PICU, Minchan’s mother is trying to get a glimpse inside, but Eunji’s mother arrives and knowingly tells her that she won’t be able to get a good look. She suggests that instead of trying to peek inside, they eat dinner together, and Minchan’s mother agrees. In the cafeteria, the mothers enjoy some side dishes, and Eunji’s mother comforts Minchan’s mother, encouraging her to rest and take some time for herself. She emphasises that they just need to hold out as long as they can, adding that she believes in miracles.
As Jeongwon prepares to leave for the day, Junwan appears and tells him that the cafeteria is serving gomtang for dinner, but Jeongwon brushes him off, telling him that he has a date. Seokhyeong is similarly disinterested, as he’s eating dinner with his mum. Ikjun doesn’t pick up his calls either, and just as Junwan is looking lonely and disheartened, lo and behold, Jaehak appears. Junwan pretends not to see him, but it’s too late. Jaehak is beyond excited, having finished his exams, and Ikjun finally calls Junwan back, similarly excited about the soup. Junwan and Jaehak make their way to the cafeteria, and when Junwan offers to pay for his dinner, Jaehak jokingly suggests that they eat out. Junwan affectionately observes that “our Jaehakie has grown up” if he’s teasing his professor, exciting Jaehak with his endearment.
Ikjun and Songhwa’s meal is already well underway, and they discuss Ikjun’s busy surgery schedule. Songhwa hesitantly asks him if he’s willing to take on one more surgery, from the Daddy-Long-Legs program. She’s expanded the program to include other hospitals, and wants to know if Ikjun can take on a transplant case that would be too difficult for a hospital outside of Seoul. Ikjun agrees to see if the surgery is doable, and Songhwa smiles in relief. Ikjun senses that Songhwa knows the doctor in question personally, and she admits that it’s Baek Hyeongdo, their ex-classmate and Ikjun’s “rival.” Ikjun scoffs at the notion that Hyeongdo is his rival, but Songhwa insists that Hyeongdo hated his guts.
Junwan and Jaehak finally arrive at the table, and Junwan agrees that Hyeongdo thought of Ikjun as his rival, once buying him a ticket to a nightclub so that he’d stay out all night partying and bomb his exams. Ikjun is shocked, having thought that Hyeongdo got the ticket for free because his uncle (who’s actually a Buddhist monk) owned the nightclub. Ikjun makes some lame jokes about dancing so hard that his pelvis flew out of his body, then shuffles away as Park Jinyoung’s “Don’t Leave Me” plays.
In front of the ER, Gyeoul is once again waiting for Jeongwon, and once again, the weather is working against her hair. Jeongwon pulls up in Songhwa’s old car (which she apparently gave him for free), excitedly exits the vehicle, and opens the door for his girlfriend. Gyeoul worries that they’re being a little too obvious (no kidding), but Jeongwon brushes it off. Little does he know, a bunch of his colleagues witnessed the interaction through the ER lobby’s glass windows. In the car, Jeongwon notices that Gyeoul’s hands are cold, so he holds hers in his. Cute, but maybe don’t drive with one hand?
Over dinner, Seokhyeong’s mother encourages her son to date, promising that while it’s comfortable to be single, his life will be a lot more enjoyable if he has someone to share it with. On that note, we revisit Jeongwon and Gyeoul as they’re wrapping up their date. Jeongwon is jokingly upset that Gyeoul insists on calling him “professor” even when they’re not at work, but she dismisses his complaints, warning him that their coworkers are on the verge of finding out. There’s a flashback to a meeting last week, showing that Jeongwon was noticeably attentive to Gyeoul, with Ikjun unwisely joking that one might even think they’re a couple, causing Jeongwon to panic. Luckily, the other doctors were oblivious, but as Gyeoul fears, it’s likely only a matter of time before everyone finds out. Before she heads off, Gyeoul gives Jeongwon a quick peck, which he reciprocates, before it quickly evolves into a proper kiss.
The next day, Jeongwon is heading out at an ungodly hour to see his mother. Now that Jeongwon is staying at the hospital, his relationship with her seems to be better than ever. Jongsu confides in Rosa that his eldest son callously advised him to draw up a will while he’s still of sound mind, and envies her loving relationship with Jeongwon. To prove his point, he informs Jeongwon that his mother intends to leave him a large amount of land as inheritance, which Jeongwon says he doesn’t need. Jeongwon suggests that Rosa sell the land instead in order to live comfortably, even offering to take out a loan in order to help her out. Concerned, Rosa asks with a snap why a doctor would take out a loan. As she walks off in a huff, Jongsu offers Jeongwon a finger heart in consolation.
Over at Yulje, Ikjun calls Songhwa, telling her that he thinks he can pull off the surgery she asked him to do. Songhwa offers to call Hyeongdo and let him know, but Ikjun asks for his number instead, wanting to ask him a few questions. Ikjun hangs up and Woojoo enters his office, clean hands raised as though he’s about to perform surgery. Ikjun asks Woojoo what he wants for dinner, and Woojoo tells him that it’s either:
- A hamburger
- A burger
- An option that he doesn’t quite remember
Back at home, as the father and the son enjoy their PPL burgers from McDonald’s, Ikjun asks if Woojoo’s “girlfriend” Mone and her twin sister Mane are doing well. Woojoo says that they’re always bragging about going camping with their dad, and Ikjun assures Woojoo that they can go camping too. Sadly, it’s only a matter of seconds before he gets an emergency call about a patient, and has to go to the hospital. Woojoo handles his disappointment gracefully, telling Ikjun that he doesn’t need to feel sorry, because his line of work is all about doing good deeds. He shares that Iksun told him that although Ikjun wants to spend time with him, he has to look after a “bigger universe” (“woojoo” means “universe” in Korean). Ikjun looks at his son lovingly, and rubs his face affectionately before leaving.
The next day, after Ikjun successfully finishes a liver resection surgery on his chief’s younger brother, Seonbin pays Songhwa a visit in her office. Seonbin tells Songhwa that Yoo Gyeongjin’s mother has been pestering her for information about her, still eager to set her up with her son. Seonbin suggests that she pretend that “chaebol” Jeongwon or her “best friend” Ikjun is her boyfriend to avoid the situation, but Songhwa laughs it off and tells Seonbin to get going to her conference.
Wrapping up a phone conversation with his rival Hyeongdo about the Daddy-Long-Legs patient, Ikjun asks him if his uncle still owns that nightclub. Having clearly forgotten his lie, Hyeongdo confirms that his uncle is a Buddhist monk. After shaking off the sense of betrayal, Ikjun meets with the patient and his son, to find that they’re every bit as kindly as Songhwa and Hyeongdo described them to be. Ikjun promises to do his very best, and they cry gratefully.
In the PICU, Junwan reassures Minchan’s mother that her son will be fine after he suffers from a bilateral pleural effusion. Junwan receives a call to check up on another patient, and after he does, Hongdo leaps up, ready to share every last thing he’s studied. Facts fly out of his mouth at a million miles a minute, but of course, he takes too long to think about Junwan’s impromptu question, meaning no brownie points are earned.
Peering at her through a glass wall, Jaehak excitedly makes “eye contact” with Professor Cheon’s patient Gyeongmi, just ‘cause he can. Junwan arrives to take Jaehak to eat, and they discuss Gyeongmi’s condition – despite having endured a difficult surgery which might leave her quadraplegic, she’s an orphan with no family to attend to her. We snap back to Gyeongmi’s room, where she’s lying down, looking lonely. Minchan’s worried mother looks similarly worried as she sits in the hallway, but Eunji’s mother comes to the rescue once again.
Ikjun checks up on the Daddy-Long-Legs patient, but his wife seems more nervous than either of the people actually undergoing surgery. Over lunch, Songhwa and Jeongwon discuss the surgery with Ikjun, and he quickly phones Hyeongdo when Jeongwon casually mentions the pair’s dreaded rivalry. Hyeongdo despondently tells Ikjun that he’s too short-staffed to perform an important surgery tomorrow, but Ikjun seems intent on resolving the problem.
Over dinner, Eunji’s mother and Minchan’s mother discuss that another mother has purchased an apartment near the hospital so that she can travel to and fro comfortably. Suddenly, Minchan’s mother receives a phone call from a PICU nurse informing her that a suitable donor has been found for her son. She emotionally informs Eunji’s mother of the news, and she shares in her excitement. As Minchan’s mother sprints away, Eunji’s mother smiles and wipes tears from her eyes. Junwan discusses the transplant surgery with both Minchan’s mother and father, and they’re congratulated by other parents in the hallway. As they walk away, Jaehak asks Junwan if he agrees that Eunji’s turn will come too, and Junwan says that he believes it will.
That night, Junwan receives a call from Iksun, who excitedly informs him that she’s going on a trip to Bournemouth with her friend Sekyung and two others. Junwan is worried that they’re travelling by a rental car, given that people drive on the left side of the road in the UK. Iksun tells him it’s no biggie, promising to update him later. After hanging up, the expression on Junwan’s face is grim. Shortly after, Jaehak knocks on his office door, asking if he wants to go for a walk with him. As they’re heading out, Junwan offers Jaehak the chance to be his second assistant for Minchan’s surgery, but he declines, instead offering to handle the procurement. Just as they’re about to go outside, they notice Eunji’s mother crying in the courtyard, and wait inside in silence.
The next day, Junwan and Ikjun both conduct their important surgeries, and finish up with minimal difficulties, much to the relief of their respective patients’ guardians. Meanwhile, as Songhwa congratulates Gyeongjin on getting discharged, she’s ambushed with a guerrilla date. Gyeongjin’s mother has roped her son (portrayed by Prison Playbook’s Lee Kyuhyung, in the first cameo appearance of the season) into coming to the hospital, so Songhwa basically has no choice but to have a coffee with him.
Luckily, he apologetically tells Songhwa that he actually has a girlfriend, his mother just doesn’t approve of her. Songhwa asks how he met his partner, and he tells her that she was a long-time friend of his who suddenly confessed to him, whom he initially rejected because he didn’t want things to become awkward. Sound familiar? He shares that he eventually warmed up to his friend’s feelings, after realising that she makes him happy. He asks Songhwa if she has a friend like that, and she looks over to see Ikjun messing around with a carton of coffee, causing her to chuckle.
After resolving Hyeongdo’s situation by cashing in a favour with the chief, Ikjun heads to band practice. The song he’s chosen this week is Cho Yongpil’s “I Like You,” a track that describes feeling a mixture of confusion and excitement in response to a love confession.
Once band practice is over, Junwan calls Iksun, concerned that she hasn’t called him yet given that she should be at her destination by now. Finally, a man picks up, and he informs him that Iksun has been involved in a car accident, though her injuries aren’t serious. An alarmed Junwan asks for the man’s name, and he tells him that he’s Ko Sekyung – the close friend Iksun has been constantly talking about.
Episode in review:
Whew. There was a heavy amount of foreshadowing there, so I saw that car crash coming from a mile away, but certainly not the twist that Sekyung is actually a man! For a moment there, I was half-convinced that they were going to kill Iksun off, so the revelation that her best friend in the UK is a guy feels significantly less dire. Personally, I’ll be insanely annoyed if Junwan kicks up a stink about this, particularly since he himself told Songhwa’s ex-boyfriend that close friendship between a man and a woman is perfectly normal. You can obviously tell that the guy’s patience is wearing thin, but I sincerely hope that he practices what he preaches and has some trust in his girlfriend.
On a happier note, I’ve been saying from the start that I wanted more focused, self-contained arcs, and this episode really delivered. My favourite storyline this episode was definitely that of the PICU mothers – Eunji’s mother’s emotional clash between happiness for her friend and pain for her own daughter was heartbreaking to watch. Ikjun’s patients also stood out this week, as it was through his cooperation with his “rival” Hyeongdo and Songhwa that his kindness and his commitment to his work really shone through. I also loved the brief nod to how Woojoo copes with his situation. Given that Ikjun is a single father and a busy surgeon, Woojoo has had to learn to accept early on that his dad won’t always be around. The way he displays maturity beyond his years is adorable, yes, but it’s also pretty sad, and I’m glad the show touched on it. (I do sort of feel like I need to briefly acknowledge that there are certainly worse things than having a successful doctor for a dad.) I also think Kim Joon deserves praise for his obvious improvement in acting, so kudos to him.
We also got a fun cameo from Lee Kyuhyung, and his character’s conversation with Songhwa will undoubtedly have a huge impact on how her relationship with Ikjun plays out. She’s started to consider the possibility that maybe it’s not that she doesn’t like Ikjun, but that she’s just scared of her own unrealised feelings. Of course, we already knew this. Given the significance of this scene for Songhwa, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are major developments in that regard as soon as the next few episodes. Woojoo’s wish to go camping just might be fulfilled in the end – it is Songhwa’s favourite hobby after all.
Overall, I’d say the season has markedly improved since the last episode. The smaller stories this week felt far more carefully written, and the bigger arcs began to be fleshed out. Provided that this momentum continues, the future of the second season looks promising.
This week’s playlist:
I love both Cho Yongpil and Jang Beomjune, so in my eyes, this week was a total win. “I Like You” not only lyrically reflected Songhwa and Ikjun’s storyline, but also tonally added to the episode’s bouncier feel, a much needed shift. Both the OST version and the band’s rendition are fantastic, and Mido, Jungseok, and Kyungho in particular totally knocked it out of the park with their guitar performances.
Most valuable MD this week goes to Ikjun, for just working his ass off, particularly when it involved helping out a guy who literally tried to trick him into failing his exams.
Ultimately, thanks to well-devised subplots, interesting setups for future arcs, and a refreshing OST, episode 3 of “Hospital Playlist 2” is a joyful and touching addition to the season.