This week, the characters of “Hospital Playlist” will take a break from examining others in order to examine themselves, with the results ranging from professional growth to personal heartbreak.
Korean Title: 슬기로운 의사생활 시즌2
Genre: Friendship, Comedy, Life, Drama, Medical
Channel: tvN, Netflix
Episode Number: Episode 7
Episode Length: 90 minutes
Another busy morning begins at OB-GYN, and Minha asks a worryingly greasy-haired Hongdo to sit in on a meeting. Gyeoul kicks off her day too, gulping down two coffees from a nurse. Seokhyeong and Songhwa speed into work, and the latter picks up a call from her mother. She mentions that Yoo Gyeongjin mentioned Songhwa in an interview, but her daughter hangs up in a hurry.
Junwan runs into Jaehak, who’s as glad to see him as ever. Junwan has an appointment, but he’s forgotten his coat, so he steals his junior’s. As Junwan walks away, scoffing at how short the sleeves are, the pair make plans to have lunch together. This is all the Jaehak we get this episode, which is pretty sad.
On their way to the meeting, Minha informs Seokhyeong that another professor will be late, and he sighs, frustrated that he rushed over without even being able to eat breakfast. Minha suggests that the three of them quickly have breakfast together to make up for it, and Seokhyeong agrees. Meanwhile, Ikjun starts his rounds.
At pediatrics, Jeongwon has an appointment with a child whose mother isn’t giving a chance to speak for himself. Jeongwon politely tells the mother that the patient is old enough to speak on his own behalf, who impresses the professor with his articulacy.
Songhwa, Seokmin, and Seongyoung check up on the now conscious Hwang Duna, whose condition seems to be improving. Although she’s suffering from aphasia as a result of her brain damage, Songhwa promises that she’ll gradually recover. Duna’s mother says that she’s okay with the lengthy rehabilitation process, and is just grateful that her daughter is even alive. As the doctors leave the room, Duna lies with a listless expression on her face.
Ikjun, Gyeoul, Soobin, Yunbok, and some rando doctor check up on a liver transplant patient named Ahn Seongju and the donor, her father. Seongju’s older brother seems especially concerned, but Ikjun promises that he’ll do his best to treat his family.
Songhwa is reading in her office when Ikjun comes to fetch her, and they wordlessly communicate before leaving. On their way to eat lunch, social butterfly Ikjun keeps running off without Songhwa noticing, leaving her talking to herself. Amused by how many friends Ikjun has in the hospital, Songhwa laughs affectionately as he chatters away.
Before eating their meal, Ikjun watches as Songhwa recites her “mantra” about how nobody will steal her food. Then, Songhwa’s juniors from NS join the table. Ikjun greets Yonghyeon, a security guard, as he walks by. Once he’s out of sight, Seongyoung remarks that he finds Yonghyeon scary, because he was once told his friend off for a minor infraction of the hospital’s parking rules. So, he was doing his job, basically. Songhwa reprimands Seongyoung, telling him that he was the one in the wrong.
Ikjun receives a call from Auntie Wang (apparently I’m the only person who didn’t realise that this lady is in no way related to Woojoo and is simply paid to look after him), who sends him a cute video of his son dancing around like a tomato. Okay then. Ikjun heads over to the courtyard to watch it, and Songhwa joins him, coffee in hand. Ikjun tells Songhwa that Woojoo skipped kindergarten because of a stomach ache, but appears to be just fine now, heh. Songhwa asks Ikjun what he’s doing on the weekend, and is disappointed to hear that he’s studying for a conference. She tells him that she was going to invite him to go camping with her, and Ikjun drops everything to tell an excited Woojoo that they’re going camping on the weekend.
The weekend arrives, but Woojoo appears to be in low-spirits at the campsite. He apparently had a big fight with Mone, and it looks like they might break up. Not the show’s strongest ship!!
Meanwhile, Rosa and Jongsu are off on another walk, and Jongsu notes that Rosa is walking slightly oddly these days. Suddenly, she receives a call from Jeongwon, informing her that she’s supposed to be attending her favourite niece’s wedding today. Oops. Rosa is visibly upset, but her son reassures her that it’s fine – even he forgets things from time to time. Jongsu consoles her too, sharing that he ate dinner twice yesterday after forgetting about a prior arrangement. After a bit of teasing, Rosa eventually brightens up. While this is going on, Seokhyeong eats lunch at the hospital cafeteria, and Iksong have a passionate conversation about food.
After Seokhyeong finishes eating lunch, he runs into Minha and Hongdo. Minha tells the professor that they’re going to lunch and asks if he wants to join them. Despite the fact that he’s literally just eaten, he agrees. The group speculate on the lunch menu, and Seokhyeong says that it’s “probably” dumpling soup and kimchi fried rice, because that’s what he “saw in a dream last night.”
In the GS office, Gyeoul receives a call from Jeongwon, who’s just wrapped up the wedding. He asks if she’s eaten dinner yet, to which the answer is no. Jeongwon agrees that the cafeteria would be closed at this hour, and Gyeoul glances over to see him standing in the doorway. Jeongwon orders some food for her, and he casually reminds her that they’re meeting at the cathedral next Sunday. The look on his face suggests that the occasion is an important one, and it’s obvious he’s planning to propose. Gyeoul says that she’s sick of evading questions about her boyfriend, and asks if they should just tell everyone at the hospital that they broke up. Alarmed, Jeongwon tells her that they can revisit the situation after next Sunday. Very subtle.
As expected, Junwan’s dinner is considerably less romantic than that of his peers. He’s got nothing to eat but bread and beer, which he chokes on and spits on the floor. The camera pulls away as he sits down to clean up, looking dejected.
Night falls, and Iksong discuss their parents’ health issues as Woojoo sleeps. Songhwa adds that she finds herself weirdly irritated whenever her mother asks her about work matters, and Ikjun agrees. As the pair get tipsier, they reminisce over how Ikjun practiced Jo Jeonghyeon’s “Sad Sea” throughout freshman year. Ikjun wants to play the song on his bluetooth speaker, but Songhwa tells him that it’d be impolite to other campers. The conversation seems to have sparked some memories, and Ikjun smiles wistfully as Songhwa gets up to go to sleep.
The next day, Minha debuts her first experimental makeup look of the season – aegyo sal highlighting. A confused Gyeoul reassures Minha that she doesn’t need to try so hard to look younger, which seems to please her. Then, Minha receives a call from her younger brother, and arranges to meet him at the second floor cafe.
There, Rosa and Younghye are having lunch, where Younghye once expresses her desire for Seokhyeong to bring home a girlfriend. Just as she’s saying that she’d be totally okay with anyone as her son’s partner, Minha bumps into her as she walks past, causing the lipstick she’s applying to streak across her face. Chuchu apologises profusely, but Younghye goes on an angry rant. Things get infinitely worse when Minha addresses her as “halmeoni.” Yikes. Luckily, Rosa steps in and pulls Younghye away to the bathroom. As she fixes her makeup, Younghye emphasises that Seokhyeong can date anyone but the rude and tacky woman she just bumped into. Rip.
Meanwhile, Soobin has to deal with Ahn Seongju’s older brother, who’s unhappy with the care his sister and father have been getting. Soobin seems used to dealing with people like him, but Yunbok is annoyed by his lack of understanding. That evening, after Ikjun checks on Seongju, her brother reiterates his concerns to him. He instructs Ikjun not to drink and to go to bed early (lol) so that the surgery will go well, and Ikjun gives him his word.
The next day, Ikjun performs the surgery, and although it takes hours to close Seongju up due to minor complications, it’s a success. The sun comes up once again, and an ambulance pulls up to the hospital. An old lady having a (really badly acted) seizure is wheeled into the ER, and a CT scan reveals she has a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Seongyoung calls Songhwa to let her know that the patient appears to be brain dead, and the professor comes down to the ER to confirm it. Seongyoung informs Songhwa that a sticker on the patient’s ID card indicates that she’s a registered organ donor, but they can’t seem to find any of her relatives. After making a call to the coordinator, Seongyoung manages to confirm that the patient is a registered donor, and begins the process of tracking down her family.
Meanwhile, Gyeoul is busy taking care of extra patients, covering for a colleague who’s been hospitalised for a month. When she informs one of these patients that their cancer hasn’t spread, the family embraces Gyeoul as his new doctor, calling her a “lucky charm.”
Songhwa and Seongyoung finally find a relative of the patients, and oh my god, it’s the security guard, Yonghyeon. Shocked, the doctors inform him of the situation, and tell him to take some time to think about the possibility of organ donation. In private, the coordinator goes into more detail about the organ donation process, but Yonghyeon just quietly asks for more time to think.
In his office, Jeongwon discusses this week’s song for band practice – Kim Kwangseok’s “To You,” with Junwan. Understandably, Junwan isn’t too pleased to hear that they’ll be covering a sappy love song. Jeongwon asks Junwan to go grocery shopping on the weekend, but he’s going to a high school reunion with Ikjun, who’s just entered the room. Suddenly, Ikjun receives a call from Iksun, and trying to conceal the name on the screen from Junwan, bolts out of the room. Jeongwon asks Junwan who called him to make him dash away, and Junwan says it looked like a Japanese name. I don’t know if Junwan is playing dumb or not, but something tells me he isn’t. By the door, Ikjun discusses Iksun’s work with her, but she hurriedly hangs up the phone when her nephew yells in the background that he successfully managed to touch his nose with his tongue.
Seongyoung tells Songhwa that Yonghyeon still hasn’t consented to the organ donation yet, despite the fact that her condition is progressively worsening. Seongyoung sighs that he knew Yonghyeon would take a while to make his decision, and Songhwa chides him, telling him that he probably has his reasons. The coordinator meets with Yonghyeon again, and urges him to make his decision quickly for the sake of the organs’ health. Luckily, he gives his consent. Seongyoung lets Songhwa know on the phone, and admits that he misjudged Yonghyeon, as it turns out there was a story to his reluctance.
In the courtyard, Ikjun approaches Yonghyeon, who tells him that he was estranged from his mother for more than thirty years. When he suddenly found himself having to make such a drastic decision for someone he barely knew, he faltered. However, he decided that his mother probably wanted to give him a chance to do one last good deed as his son. He asks Ikjun if he believes he made the right decision, and the doctor reassures Yonghyeon that he did, causing him to cry.
Junwan has a consultation with a mother about the possibility of her preterm baby getting hooked up to a VAD at Yulje. Regretfully, Junwan tells the mother that her baby isn’t an ideal candidate for a transplant nor a VAD. Surprisingly, she bursts into relieved tears, and thanks him for offering an objective and honest opinion. After she walks away, the nurse murmurs that the mother must’ve wanted to hear no for an answer, and Junwan agrees.
Ikjun walks into the GS office, where Gyeoul and Yunbok are enjoying some snacks. Apparently, Seongju’s brother felt guilty about how he treated the staff and bought them food to make up for it. Yunbok admits that she resented him for his behaviour, but Ikjun reminds the intern that what’s just a daily occurrence to them is one of the most important events of the patients’ and guardians’ lives. He says that he’d do the same thing, and already feels guilty because he can’t be Iksun’s donor. Suddenly reminded of her mother, Yunbok apologises in tears, remembering that she was exactly the same way in the past.
In the ER, Gyeoul and Yunbok are checking on a liver laceration patient when a woman nearby starts shrieking. She wants a doctor to check on her daughter who’s had a febrile seizure, but it seems to be taking a while. Kwanghyun recognises the woman as Dr Kim Haeun, a pediatrics fellow from a nearby hospital, and she seems to calm down.
Late that night, Jeongwon comes to see Gyeoul, but she’s fast asleep. After checking that there’s nobody around, he stands next to her, acting as a headrest. That night, he sleeps in his car, and in the morning, she runs up to it and gets in.
At band practice, the group perform Kim Kwangseok’s “To You,” and the first line, “have you seen my garden?” is performed by Jeongwon, lol. The big day at the cathedral finally arrives, and he waits nervously, dressed in a nice suit. In a taxi, Gyeoul is touching up her makeup when she receives a call from an unknown number informing her that her mother in Gwangju is in immediate need of surgery. Meanwhile, Rosa can’t seem to remember her door code, upsetting her greatly.
Night comes, and Ikjun and Junwan are driving home from their school reunion when Ikjun receives a call from Woojoo. He picks up, putting his son on speakerphone. The friends chuckle lovingly when Woojoo enthusiastically requests fried chicken, but both their faces fall when Iksun’s voice can be heard asking to be put on the phone. She casually asks Ikjun to pick up some jjajangmyeon from a pojangmacha across the street, inadvertently revealing to Junwan that she’s returned from the UK. Ikjun says he’ll buy it, and hastily hangs up. Junwan appears puzzled and upset, but says nothing.
Yikes, poor Jeongwon is STILL waiting at the cathedral. He checks his phone, and realises that Gyeoul has texted him explaining that something has come up and she has to go to Gwangju. Jeongwon glances at the ring sitting next to him sadly, and then gets up to leave.
Episode in review:
Wow. I knew from the get-go that Gyeoul’s family situation was going to get in the way of Jeongwon’s proposal, but that was far darker than I could’ve anticipated. I had expected that Gyeoul would reject Jeongwon over fears about marriage because of her trauma, but if what we’re led to believe is correct, Gyeoul’s father has likely just put her mother in critical condition. Winter Garden’s story so far this season has been the fluffiest of all, and this looks like it’ll be the first real test of their relationship. If Gyeoul can’t find the courage to trust Jeongwon and open up to him, marriage might not be on the cards for them at all. Professor Ahn is going to have a lot to deal with next week, especially because it looks like Rosa is suffering from some sort of neurodegenerative disorder.
I’m also very curious about what Junwan will do next. Given that Iksun has given up on her precious opportunity to study abroad (and supposedly the love of her life, Sekyung), Junwan must suspect that something is seriously wrong. I really hope he figures it out (or Ikjun tells him), because Iksun’s noble idiocy isn’t doing anyone any good whatsoever. For our other two couples, things are moving slowly but surely. Episodes 6 and 7 really helped me to understand exactly why Seokhyeong is trying so hard to keep his distance from Minha, and the altercation this week really just proved his worst fears right. Nonetheless, it’s clearly getting harder for him to ignore his feelings, and I have faith that he’ll stand up to Younghye eventually. Iksong are treading carefully, yet adorably – I think the season finale will have something big in store for them.
Though I found the storyline to be a little weaker this episode, it actually delivered something I’ve long been waiting for from the drama, and that’s a little more self-awareness. Too often the show’s arcs are about how exhausting and annoying patients and their guardians are, and how brilliant the medical staff are for putting up with them. I’m sure that the people who work as consultants for the show would know better than anyone just how frequently such individuals crop up, but nonetheless, it does come across as a little paternalistic and unfair.
Characters like the snarly Professor Cheon and the nicer patients are entirely necessary to provide balance, and the episode this week really extended that. Even when younger doctors are kind-hearted and diligent, their lack of experience might at times render them a little judgemental and impatient. Life-or-death situations can make people antsy, even doctors. Sometimes, guardians have complex relationships with patients. These are all important considerations that have been largely overlooked until now, and having an episode that focused on them really increased my respect for the show.
On the whole, I wasn’t completely wowed this week, but I’m certainly very excited to see how things unfold from here.
This week’s playlist:
The group’s cover of Kim Kwangseok’s “To You” lacks the hauntingly pretty quality of the original (which you’ll be able to catch for a few minutes in the episode), but it’s pleasant enough. There’s also definitely a degree of dramatic irony to the lyrics about metaphorical romantic gestures, because Jeongwon’s never comes to fruition. You might also notice some clever little meta changes in the lyrics – “sky” is changed to “garden,” or “Jeongwon,” and autumn becomes “winter,” or “Gyeoul” (in the OST version).
Songhwa is the most valuable MD this week, for finally giving us all that camping trip.
In spite of its narrative simplicity, episode seven adds a layer of complexity and self-awareness to the “Hospital Playlist” universe, and puts a number of intriguing new developments in motion.