I was struck once again while watching this episode, at how clear the Shin-Lee team have been about their goals and what they’ve been striving towards all throughout. Whatever else the showrunners could be accused of, they can’t be accused of pulling a bait and switch with any of the dominant characters or their respective arcs. The course was clear to anyone in the audience who wasn’t in the grip of any kind of agenda which is why I’m sure there’s great rejoicing among certain fans today now that ships have hauled anchor and gone a-sailing. Patience has been rewarded with a full-throated confirmation. I’m rejoicing too because Kim Jun-han aka Ahn Chi-hong had a nice little cameo which reminded me for the nth time how different Neurosurgery feels without his modest affable self. Although he wasn’t destined to get the girl, Seon-bin is right in highlighting the importance of his presence in keeping her sane in those early years of her residency. Likewise, all throughout this season, I never once stopped thinking about how integral he was to the dynamic among the residents. And not just in NS either. I console myself that they’ve taken the time to celebrate his contribution to the Yulje family.
Once again, thank you for your brilliant thoughts! 🥰
I want to rejoice with you about the best part of the episode aka Chihong's cameo! 😁 You really took the words from my mind - this episode was quite NS-centric, perhaps to show us that Songhwa has raised her team well and can cut down on work to pursue other things in life, but for it to gel, I personally needed that smile and that humble "many hands make light work" comment from him. Oh how my heart was full.
I also have to say that four love lines, however lovely and well-done, are too much for my brain. :) I was happy for Minha, because this episode highlighted how great a doctor and person she is, indeed better than Seokhyeong or we thought, but by the time we got to Songhwa and Ikjun's heart-to-heart, I was exhausted. Like, 'oh, she confessed, they got together - yay, I guess'.
I still can appreciate how masterfully this scene was down, with the camera slowly oh so slowly going for a close up of them, and this awkward pause, that could be perfectly described with a quote from Maugham's Theatre, 'Never pause unless you have a reason for it, but when you pause, pause as long as you can... ' But I can't say I am too excited to see these two lovely people finally dating... because they have been dating each other all this time without knowing that? So far, I don't see what is the meaning of this relationship narratively, because both Songhwa and Ikjun are such mature people, and the points where they could grow from being a couple are somewhat unclear at the moment... But the authors will have the whole season 3 to convince me, right? (Right?)
I'm pouting hard at not having a wedding! (lol, me) I'm grimly certain they would do a timeskip next season and show us only a wedding photo on some random coffee table (if we are lucky).
This was the first episode where we were properly introduced to the new residents, and it was nicely done, though some things we've already seen before. I like the new lot, especially the Ob-gyn girls, because their seniors like them a lot. I loved how smug Seokmin has become :) and how his gf subtly reminded him what a nightmare chief he actually was. The show also bought back some 'villains' to remind us that Yulje was not this super ideal work place - professor Min and the foxy resident leaving Minha to deal with a difficult patients. Very nice.
Jeong-won's talk with Geon has showcased a great change in his mindset over two years, it was like he was talking to his younger self, and Geon is probably set to be his student *in season 3*. Fingers crossed for season 3. It's too good to end this soon.
I'm hoping that not having any wintergarden scenes in the preview means they have a surprise for us. A wedding would be best but even Jeongwon meeting his mother in law would be great.😊
Your weekly Hospital Playlist reviews give me life, to be honest!!! I always enjoy reading them. 💕 Thank you so much for this!
“There are no twists or turns or nasty surprises. It’s only a matter of when.” Yes and Episode 11 is a huge testament to this. Despite everything being laid out by the showrunners, the show still maintains its element of unpredictability as it leaves us guessing which episode these things would come to fruition or how they will make these things happen.
Who would have thought that they’d make the GomGom and IkSong ships officially sail in a span of one episode? I thought that they used the remaining 20 minutes of Episode 12 for these things to happen but I guess not! 😅
Second, I saw some people accusing the showrunners of reusing the “leaving the country WG-ish trope” for the Gomgom loveline but here we are! It turns out to be a move made by Seokhyung for her overbearing mom to accept his choices.
I just want to say that I’m so happy for Minha. I love how this show highlighted her ability to deal with introverts: Gyeoul, the new resident, and her professor turned boyfriend Seokhyung. I’m quite of an introvert myself so I know how difficult it is to deal with our kind. 😅
“One thing I’ve noticed is how much Seok-hyeong laughs when he’s with Min-ha.” Yes! Love can really do wonders to people 😭
Contrary to the very obvious shift in dynamics among the GomGom and IkSong couples, I think this episode shows “subtle” progress in the relationships of both the Bidulgi and Wintergarden lovelines.
Aside from being the push for Songhwa to confess her feelings, Ikjun’s incident also serves as parallel of Iksun’s accident in Season 1. That episode signaled the start of the Bidulgi dynamics in Season 1 so I guess they’re using this episode to further restart their relationship by giving them more moments together and by providing Iksun another glimpse of how Junwan is inside the hospital. I just hope that the scene where she’s observing a very tired Junwan will make her realize that he needs someone to take care of him and she can be that someone.
As for Wintergarden, the conversation between Jeongwon and Rosa provided us updates on their dynamics. I just love the stability of their relationship! They’re so sure of each other’s love.
And seriously, give the best mother in law award to Rosa now! 😭 No wonder Jeongwon grew up to be the person that he is…his Mom is such a good person.
Jeongwon telling Rosa to give Gyeoul all the gifts she has in store for her says alot coming from someone who refuses to accept an inheritance from her own mother. Yes Rosa, he’s head over heels for her. 😉
I also love how they show Wintergarden’s work/professional dynamics through Kim Geon’s arc. I just love their teamwork. 😭
With all the hints of Wintergarden marriage, I don’t think I can accept a season ender without a marriage talk between the two, to be honest! 🤣 Can we at least get Gyeoul’s YES to the marriage proposal please? 🤣 Yes, I specified it. I don’t want an unanswered proposal. I don’t think I can wait a year for that! 🤣🤣🤣
With all the ships sailing, I have quite lowered my expectations for a Season 3, to be honest. I just think that they’ll end Season 2 with all the ships in a good place but leaving some opening for a Season 3 if they ever decide to push for it.
But I still pray for a Season 3 though. They focused more on personal issues of the lovelines this season so I hope that they’ll make Season 3 to tackle more social issues. There’s just so much potential for all the couples to tackle social issues such as:
1. the stigmatization of divorcees being in new relationships (IkSong and Gomgom)
2. Wintergarden juggling family and work life as parents. I really think the ER scene where a patient’s mother went hysterical was a hint to Wintergarden’s future. Dr. Bong told them that the patient’s mother was his classmate, a fellow pedia from another hospital. I think they wanted to show how motherhood can also affect career progression. Dr. Bong is a professor already but his classmate remains to be a fellow and I think this has got to do with motherhood - the need to take maternity leave if one ever decide to conceive. Gyeoul was there to witness that scene and I think they’re telling something…
3. the stigma of having step mom/step son for Uju and Songhwa
4. the power dynamics between Seokhyung and Minha. Unlike Wintergarden, Seokhyung is a direct supervisor to Minha so I want to see how they’d go around that…
We’re down to our last episode for this season (hopefully not for the show) next week!!! This is giving me mixed emotions, to be honest. 🤣😩😥 *sighs*
Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts and this space with us.
Always nice to read your analysis! It’s a bit of reprieve from the extreme swings of the last few days, with the release of so much content including the last minute Introduce Me A Good Person pov. Now that things have calmed down from the high of the episode, it’s nice to reflect on some of the things that make this series special.
Chihong’s return in the flashback is certainly much welcomed, because he was a very good doctor. The loss of this character as a regular in Season 2 has definitely changed the dynamic, and there’s just a big Chihong-shaped hole in the resident/fellow scenes. The night duty scene this week brings back to mind the scene where Seokmin takes Chihong out for drinks after his first difficult procedure, and Seonbin offered to cover Chihong that night instead. Perhaps by that time, Seonbin and Chihong were already able to develop a system that allowed them to work independent night shifts, but the way they covered each other’s backs was only reinforced in this week’s ep.
So so many things I loved about this episode which you have so eloquently written about, so I would repeat. I do love to see Jeongwon, Rosa (and the family) having a meal with Gyeoul and her mom and brother, embracing them with the warmth of the Ahn Family. I cried when little Uju burst into tears in the arms of his appa, and i want to see his universe to include Songhwa.
One thing that I wanted to add: the 3 men - Jeongwon, Seokhyung and Ikjun are really those who date with a purpose. They have a long term view of a relationship and they work towards it. In the world of casual dating today, this is so refreshing to see, and so healing. I guess it's part of why HP appeals to some of us. Sigh. Can these professors run a 'Dating with Purprose' programme for men, please?
Ahhh.. I keep waiting for your blog each time I'm glad you updated!
Your review was so on point that I resonated with each of them observations. The Bear couple front was so very in line with their characters. You could see SeokHyung trying hard to be a good conversant and he admires MinHa for wanting to make him a better conversationalist. And MinHa knows him inside-out; she knows he just needs a motivation. He's a great person otherwise. But what is interesting to me is how well planned the entire HP world is. SongHwa confessed EXACTLY when SeokHyung made a parallel revelation to MinHa. It was as if the universe wanted to say that it is only IkJun now for SongHwa and no friendship will be ruined.
I believe the same kind of linkage for WG and Bidulgi. Although WG is 'almost' already at the start of a new beginning, Bidulgi never actually had the yearning phase before their relationship started. But what's love without longing and that's what they're going through now. They'll be just fine and come to a much stronger relationship in the end. And probably that is when we get to see a WG proposal with 'To You' in the background !! Additionally, I hope all moms and moms-to-be learn a thing or two from Mama Rosa. Imagine raising kids like JeongWon !
On the work front, HP continues to maintain that the drama is about hospitals and doctors and residents and patients in the core. The 3 min conversation between WG could have been literally anything but it was about an intern. That speaks volumes.
I have a couple of complains though (sorry if this may not be in sync with some of the readers). First, I knew SongHwa needed a blow to realise her feelings for IkJun but I wish it wasn't an accident. To me, it was very cliché and I expected ShinLee magic to give me a surprise but they made some random guy hurt my IkJun for SongHwa to open her eyes. Second, I wished to see a little more of Paediatric department and Cardiothoracic department too. But it was majorly focused on Neurosurgery. But I get to see ChiHong and I'm happy 😊
Ep11 was indeed another monstrous episode! I also did not expect for ShinLee to give us two ships sailing in one episode (esp. it took 12 episodes to get WG shipped🤣).
I love the message throughout this episode regarding the importance of a good support network. The episodes reminds me of Ecclesiastes (Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.... Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken), esp. with Chihong and Seon-bin's flashback. It was very heart warming to see all the different peer groups, as well as positive interactions across the levels. What a difference an encouraging comment could make - SeongYong was ready to go cultivate land for SW nation, and Geon was ready to go again after the talk with JW. And even the silent acceptance / sharing the workload between residents / fellows helps build them up. And it was not just one-directional. I think by talking to Geon, JW probably saw his old self and reconfirmed his calling and determination to stay even if he cannot save all his patients.
I also appreciate the focus on goodness throughout the show. Love comes as light and overcomes darkness. Minha is a great example, she does not focus on the dark past of SeokHyeong but focuses on the goodness in him, as well as in herself to go forth as a couple. I really love how they presented her character! Same as w/ WG, Rosa and JW really sees GU as who she is and what a great person she has become despite the struggles; they did not waste any thoughts on how the dark background could damage the relationship or the family's reputation, because compared to the happy future they'll have together with GU, the darkness has no room.
You said it well that "there are no twists or turns or nasty surprises. It’s only a matter of when. It’s understandable that individuals have to sort out and work through their own obstacles (real or perceived) at their own pace" - and there is no set orders / time between each phase / couple. WG was going on full speed but now they are waiting for the right timing for GU and her mom to get settled; and while it took them so long, I would not be surprised if IkSong or GomGom get hitched much faster if they are ready. I also felt that there was a lot progress for Bidulgi, esp on Iksun. She was the one to tell Ikjun not to keep his assault from their family and also started to make small talks with JWan. And it was nice to see that JWan being able to show his tiredness and his demanding life at the hospital in front of Iksun. I feel this couple potentially can work through their obstacles any time and head directly to the alter before everyone else!
I saw the news that Ep12 would be close to 3 hours. I am excited but also wonder if that means there might not be S3. As long as 2 hr and 40 mins as an episode, there are indeed still a lot to wrap up. Would we finally see a WG wedding, or at least a proposal, or a conversation between GU's mom & JW+Rosa? I selfishly hope that there could at least be a "confession" from JW to GU. I know he loves her from his actions, but so far I think he is the only one who has not expressed verbally, and there might be a reason why ShinLee has not let them use the very phrase of ILY?
Thank you again for your awesome posts. Hard to believe we are down to the last episode. Have a wonderful week as we wait for next Thursday!
The highlight of this episode for me was honestly Minha! I mean, I totally rejoiced with most of the internet at Seokhyeong finally sharing his feelings with Minha and how happy he is to be with her and take care of her, but I was really touched by Minha's growth as a mentor and doctor. Eunwon finally appeared after many episodes (I missed her for a bit!) and again went MIA on Minha, leaving her to deal with the most fussy and difficult patients. The thing that struck me was that Eunwon runs when things are annoying, but Minha stays and gets through it, and in having gone through the crucible of consecutive night duties and difficult patients, she herself has learnt how to be more patient and tempered in her approach to others. And I think it translates to her approach to her introvert friends and mentees as well: she's learnt not to let differences in expression be a roadblock in forming a meaningful relationship with them, and tries to meet each person on their own terms even though it's still difficult for her. And perhaps the ultimate representation of that is her relationship with Seokhyeong (who of course used to be the biggest introvert) and how I believe she is able to meet him in a more balanced capacity. The theme of growth was so present this episode (with Seokmin, Seonbin, Gyeoul and Kim Geon as well) and brought me great joy!
But going back to Seokhyeong, the scene where he steals some samgyeopsal for Minha and then crumples the receipt to stop everyone else from figuring out where the other food went was golden. For all his hesitancy before this, he's certainly become a dedicated man which is hilarious and delightful to see.
Also, Mama Rosa continues to be the best mother-in-law as expected and I'm giddy thinking about how Rosa and Jeongwon exemplify love given freely, especially towards Gyeoul. She is precious and irreplaceable to them and to be honest I'm so excited for them to be family whether we get to see it or not (though it certainly wouldn't hurt :p).
Kim Duna's case continues to be a difficult story to watch amidst the humour and camaraderie of the hospital and I really wonder how ShinLee will close her story next episode... With Duna being unable to communicate much herself, I feel like such a helpless witness to her story and there's also the question of "what is the point of recovery?" or maybe "how do we recover?" in her story. I sure hope ShinLee answers that question somewhat next episode.
To end off, you're totally right about the romantic pairings being rather obvious yet in contrast the way the characters' layers and concerns and ambitions have unraveled surely but slowly to bring them together has been memorable throughout, even more so because to me all the couples feel so different and wholly themselves. I've always seen Hospital Playlist as a lesson in how to show love and grow and be with others in one's own individual way, which is where the magic for me. I guess this is just me sorely hoping for a Season 3 and not being sure how to say goodbye next week!
Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts - it's always an enjoyable and insightful read and hope you have a good week ahead! :)
Just like fellow commenter Nina said, your HP review & analysis gives me life! Such a treat to start my weekend with too ❤️❤️
I am a 110% with you on being over the moon with Ahn Chi Hong's cameo. Perhaps over-dramatic but I actually paused that scene to take it all in. I was not expecting that cameo at all and to be reminded through that scene of his gentle and humble personality was far too much for my ACH-fan heart. I am fantasizing of an alternative universe where ACH stayed at Yulje and is mentoring Seonyeong and Yunbok. Alongside Songhwa, I am sure they would attract and retain many other residents.
I've been thinking about the series as a whole and wondering what is it exactly that makes me love it so much to the point of obsession (hello to rewatching each episode more than once). A quick answer perhaps would be how the series has never adopted a dramatic or grand method to reveal important plots or revelations (but ok Ikjun's accident is up for debate). Songhwa's subtle grab for Ikjun's hand could have easily been missed by others unless in close proximity like Gwang-yeon. The handholding moment was a quiet and non-flashy one but it carried so much meaning of yearning, longing, regret. Iksong fans were rewarded with the intense confession and smooch in Ikjun's car but to me, that ER moment was the confession itself. And with Junwan and Iksun, I appreciated that there were no loud angry voices and tears, just calm conversations and now in ep 11 a return to some semblance of comfortable familiarity without the classic kdrama trope of prolonged avoidance of each other. Everything is out in the open and in good time perhaps even another shot at their relationship.
Another thing I love about Hospital Playlist is how the ladies take charge of their lives both in their careers and romantic relationships. Seokhyeong may have brought out the big guns in asking her out on a date but it was important for Minha to clearly ask Seokhyeong and set the record straight if they were in a proper relationship. No cowering in fear or sleepless nights over an ambiguous relationship.
I am satisfied with how the series has been so far and am ready for Episode 12. Come what may!!
Been a silent lurker/reader for a little while but thought I'd join in the chat given HP is just about to finish! I have a sneaky suspicion that the creators will wrap up in a way that can conclude the series or continue with S3 if they so wish, particularly since I'm led to believe they have originally planned for 3 seasons.
I must say I have really enjoyed all your posts on HP so far (and I think I only just realised that you had an old blog https://lilyroots4love.blogspot.com) which I stumbled upon while looking up reviews/posts on HP1 when I binge watched back in Feb this year! Your posts and views have mostly been objective and is a breath of fresh air compared to others! I'm not overly familiar with K-dramas (as my memory/impression is stuck back to the Winter Sonata days XD) but CLOY had somewhat reignited my curiosity after heavy persuasion by my mom and sister to watch is during lockdown haha!
Fair to say I'm also not up to date with the latest or famous K-stars, therefore carry no bias nor interested in engaging shipping wars going into any K-dramas (as I'm acutely aware how serious fandoms can be). In fact I wasn't familiar with ANY of the main leads of HP so have a rather open mind in OTP formations.
I've mentioned this elsewhere, but HP reminds me a lot of the HK medical drama- Healing Hands featuring an ensemble cast. There are similarities in the two, with the main leads being close friends in their 30's/40's and their life stories as doctors/lawyers. It's not an easy feat when there are many characters to focus on, I remember getting quite confused in the first 2 episodes of S1. Also when not handled well the series will suffer from incoherence and plot holes which was what HH unfortunately ended up by S3). HP is not perfect, but I certainly appreciate the amount of detail and thought poured in by ShinLee throughout the production and I certainly look forward to their future works (this is my first drama by the duo, haven't watched Reply series).
My favourite pairings of the show are IkSong and Gom-Gom. Not that I dislike the rest but I didn't find myself particularly invested in WG or Bidulgi combo.
IkSong: Some bias here as I've come to adore Shwa, cleverly portrayed by the lovely JMD. While I'm not against the pairing of ACH-SHwa (I share your sentiments that Show did dirty on CH in S1 just to pave way for IkSong), but they have come a long way and I'm satisfied they finally got together in this episode. It would be the most interesting dynamic if CH ended up with SHwa, because unlike WG and Gom-Gom where male lead is the one of "higher position", SHwa is the professor and would introduce interesting developments in the relationship (or would it simply not survive in a patriachy South Korean society)
Gom-Gom: In the early episodes of S1 I actually didn't really like Min-ha as she came across a little busybody and weird with the make-up, but she's really grown on me as a kind-hearted and brave woman who's clear on what she wants. I think I read some people found her pushy in her pursuit of SH but she effectively broke his shell and changed him for the better :) Little note also- contrary to what the other 3 guys think; big bear does make phone calls but only to the ladies in his life- his mom, SHwa and MH.
WG: Probably unpopular opinion but the development of this pair took me by surprise. I think one of your earlier posts pointed to the hints given early on in the show but I still felt that it was rather hasty from AJW's POV. It's love at first sight for GU but I didn't find JW's developed feelings for her convincing.
Bidulgi: Yet another pair whose development was fast and furious which felt a little...superficial? JWan and IJ are childhood friends, so for JWan to not even know IS's name and started liking her after the hospital incident just didn't quite hit the chord for me.
Since Flowergarden was mentioned, I can see why people root for them but I saw a video that analysed the 99s dynamics and said they were more like soulmates/pillar of the group being such perceptive beings. But as mentioned earlier, the pairings were made clear in S1, and even in interviews the actors have explicitly mentioned their pairings so insisting they are not canon is frankly quite pointless. I still gave a benefit of doubt in S1 (due to daddy long legs) but was fully convinced FG will never sail when JW confessed to the gang about his courtship with GU and received full blessings from everyone. Also as pointed out by many, despite some minor trolling by Shin, there would've been more foundation laid down if FG were ever going to happen but nothing eventuated.
HP definitely deserves high ratings that it carries so far, but if I were to nitpick some flaws (hey nothing is perfect, right ;) ) it would be how Show glosses over events which I think are significant or deserves further expansion. One example is Ik Jun's divorce and how it was over in 1.5 episodes. I read that ShinLee don't like anything melodramatic but it was carried through at a pace that one would be forgiven to forget it ever happened! Nevertheless, this definitely is a drama worthy of multiple re-watches and one that I will cherish for many years to come.
Thank you once again for your inputs and letting us share our views. "how clear the Shin-Lee team have been about their goals and what they’ve been striving towards all throughout."– Amen
Chihong was such a pleasant surprise that was icing in the cake. I was wondering why was this lovely character written only for one season. But I guess that again is realistic in a way, don’t we all face such impressionable and caring people but they move on quickly from our lives.
Friends to lovers trope was done so beautifully here taking the sweet time of twenty plus episodes to show it gradually and with the latent intensity. The injury propelling Songhwa though seems cliched, from story telling perspective like you said it helped bring in Ik-sun and U-ju. It is again not far from reality especially when the friendship is this long and comfortable, she might have preferred the status quo. Even Ik-jun told her his feeling when she moved to Sokcho and realized he may not be able to see more of her. Realising your feelings when there is a possibility of not seeing the other as much isn’t uncommon. Know personally a couple of proposals irl that happened this way. Isn’t everyday life cliched in some ways 😊
The few second sarcastic interaction between Ik-jun, Ik-sun and Jun-wan was trusting the viewer’s intelligence and not having to spoon feed with details that Ikjun is aware of the relationship. And Ik-sun’s don’t laugh to Song-hwa was such a sibling thing to say😊 And also her immediately picking up the undercurrent of romance – is it a Lee sibling trait or was it her woman’s instinct that our other three professors couldn’t sense. But again, two of those three took their sweet time to realise their own hearts and JunWan poor thing, he is barely breathing after a year so he is excused😊
Gomgom -from his ‘do I need to say it’ to her wanting confirmation, haven’t seen such an endearing yin to the yang couple! The whole scene was so warm, Kim DaeMyung brings to life SeokHyeong with such perfection. The smile changing to warm and gentle gaze, his hand on her head was like him holding and patting the newborns that he delivers!
My first post... I love your blog and the insightful discussions in this group! Just wanted to share that WG's arc is the best in an overall terrific drama. It mixes in important messages with the lovely couple fluff, which emerged clearly in Eps 10 and 11, that can really touch and change lives.
Of the thousands of people who watch HP, some will have similar traumatic backgrounds as Gyeoul/her mother. HP's message to them is that "you're special and worthy of love and a good life". Their gentle and hopeful way of portraying this arc, can also encourage victims to speak out and seek help. I think it's amazing that ShinLee created such a deep and meaningful storyline about a very difficult and often hidden issue, and the actors brought it to life and delivered! SHB's acting in Ep10 was spot on in portraying the emotional struggles and suppressed feelings of abuse survivors in an authentic way (pretty sobbing belongs to Kdrama fantasyland, not real life ... I hope the HP producers won't be influenced by some of the netizen "complaints" abt WG and cut their scenes or anything like that)... these scenes were so touching and well done!
Rosa and JW's responses to Gyeoul and her situation are also a reminder to viewers to be less judgmental and critical of people with difficult backgrounds. Instead, they model acceptance, love and support. Again, this can resonate with viewers who find themselves in a similar situation and give them a new perspective and understanding.
WG truly has an inspirational message, delivered so sensitively and respectfully (and it doesn't hurt to have the amazing chemistry of SHB/YYS on top of it). WG fully deserves a wedding filled with light, love and laughter ... so let's hope that we will be rewarded with that in Ep12! Thanks again to this discussion group for the really thought-provoking sharings.