Hospital Playlist Season 2 (2021) Episode 8: First Look (2)

Coupled with the idea of seizing the moment is that of the very strong human impulse to live… to survive which plays out positively in Hospital Playlist but not so much in an apocalyptic-disaster story like Sweet Home. I don’t mean to start a controversy on my own blog but a retired midwife friend was saying last Sunday that premature babies in general are highly resilient and have an incredible will to live. The conclusion I come to even from my own experience seems to be that the desire to live starts very early probably even before birth.

Yesterday I highlighted Rosa’s decline into a state of despair as one of the episode’s main threads. The prospect that some kind of fatal neurodegenerative condition lay in the horizon completely overwhelmed her to the point she was paralysed with fear. Instead of wanting to fight, she took flight.

Min-ah seems so hard on Min-ah. At times absurdly so. It’s natural to be concerned that the spouse of the patient might not be sold on the idea of his wife having a hysterectomy when they’re still so young. Surely it’s not beyond the pale. Of course most sensible people would understand that the patient’s welfare is paramount but let’s face it, not everybody is capable of being reasonable. It’s clear though that it’s supposed to be another object lesson for upcoming doctors to look be more patient-centred — in this case to see things from the patient’s perspective. The self-talk with Teddy was cute though. I too heard at least 3 different voices in the room. As far as debriefings are concerned it’s fairly unique. :D For an embarrassed resident who is trying so hard to look good in front of a certain professor, it is undoubtedly a survival mechanism.

The show keeps giving me hope that the bear couple will be an endgame with another call back to S1. Yes, Seok-hyeong drops everything including band practice to check on Min-ah who’s lying in emergency humorously delirious and hormonally charged. I hope that this a sign that Seok-hyeong will get to meet her parents at their B & B when he goes mountain hiking with the others during the holidays in Sokcho.

It’s proving to be the case that Gyeo-ul is a fiercely independent person. That’s become increasingly evident over this season. It’s also causing to me to look at the maggot scene from S1 in a fresh way. I’m so glad that we’re seeing so much more of her now and being privy not only to her romance but also the family drama that’s unfolding behind the scenes. I’m not about to retract anything I’ve ever said about her but perhaps I will tamper some of my previous comments with more nuance. My eyes shot up when she purportedly said to Jeong-won over the phone that she looks forward to reading his texts because they will help her “escape reality even for a moment.” The language there is devastating in its implications. In my opinion. I’ve been arguing for a while (though not always very well) that Gyeo-ul doesn’t really want to expose Jeong-won to that side of her life because what she has with him represents all that is good, beautiful and true. I don’t doubt for a single moment that it has been the best thing that’s ever happened to her and it is some kind of refuge for her. The word I used in the past was “fantasy” but “escape” might be better as a more accurate representation of her state of mind. Jeong-won is a place she escapes to from all the harshness of life. It’s a way for her to compartmentalize the good from the bad. In all likelihood she doesn’t see the necessity of “tainting” their newfound happiness with all her family baggage. Dragging Jeong-won into Jang “family business” would be a confusion of categories because he is comfort food. So she’s got the Jang family stuff in one box over on one side and the Ahn Jeong-won box over on another side.

On some level I understand that. It’s also survival mechanism. A few weeks ago I had dinner with people from one of my exercise classes and much of the conversation inevitably turned to the Covid situation. This is why I don’t watch much mainstream terrestrial media although I haven’t for a really long time. In truth I just wanted to enjoy a nice catch-up and leave all that other stuff behind. But maybe that was too much to hope for. I don’t want everything to be about politics or the doom and gloom on telly because it sadly has a way of sucking the joy out of everything. Life is much much more than that. It’s one of the reasons why this blog was revived and why I’m not on social media.

Jeong-won for his part wants to go deeper. I suspect he would have happily dropped everything and gone to Gwangju if she had asked him to. He wants her problems to be his as well. Of that I am certain because of how he interacts with Rosa and the guardians of his patients. He wants to know because he wants to help. The way he patiently took the mother’s questions and answered them systematically because he knows that it’s the best way to deal with her actual need to gain some control over the a situation she was utterly unprepared for. That’s also why he got upset when he found out about Rosa. His mother was needlessly anxious while he a doctor missed all the signs that something wasn’t right with her.

It’s the same with Song-hwa. It’s the guilt that she didn’t take her mother’s medical complaints more seriously that has her completely wrecked. Second-guessing is far too easy. It’s worse for her because she’s a high achieving doctor who has fingers in so many pies. She’s an accomplished clinician and yet she too missed the signs in her own backyard. It’s like a politician who genuinely cares is busy campaigning against crime and violence only to return home to find out that his child is bullying other kids.

Song-hwa’s point that missing the implications of what the various signs or symptoms mean is one that’s well-made. Just because someone becomes forgetful doesn’t mean they’re on the road to dementia. It might. It might not. Doctor or not, when anyone’s with family it’s different as everyone’s working on a different dynamic very close up.

Ultimately it is up to the individual to take control of their own health and make that choice to do what is best for him/her.

The upside of Rosa’s short stay at the hospital is Gyeo-ul’s quick visit to the VIP suite. After more than a year, their paths finally cross again. The excitement and pleasure expressed by Rosa was one of the highlights of the episode for me. I’ve never seen a future mother-in-law this excited to see her future daughter-in-law in a K drama. Not only does it breaks the stereotype but it speaks to Rosa’s profound sense of gratitude to Gyeo-ul for keeping her son away from the priesthood. She was the one who made her son see the light and on that basis alone she’s someone special in her book. A godsend. To be graced with her presence makes thought of being cut up and prodded pale into insignificance.

Gyeo-ul’s cheering presence seems to be infectious in this episode as she also thoughtfully presents herself to the Sun family who are feeling out of sorts about her absence. As soon as their “good luck charm” appears, the pessimism that has descended lifts. The patient eats his dinner and looks forward to his surgery with far greater enthusiasm. It’s a humorous moment of course but it’s also indicative of how hard she’s worked to be much more patient focused. Compared to where she was in S1, she’s in a completely different place.

Yin-Yang couples in general have a lot to navigate. They will have to cover a lot of ground because of those inherent differences. For those who wanted more than just fluff and sugar, well… this is it. It was always on the cards. Needless to say it is a challenge for someone who is used to dealing everything by themselves to think about being completely vulnerable and ask for help. Again this isn’t about romance alone. This is about growing in self-awareness and growing professionally. It’s new to Jeong-won too, never having dated before. While he doesn’t want to put pressure on Gyeo-ul, he might have to be upfront and say that he feels sidelined from that aspect of her life that he wants so desperately to be a part of. There’s no end to the negotiation once the so-called honeymoon period is over.

Also of note in this episode is that what finally pushed Ik-jun to play Cupid to Jun-wan and Ik-sun.Whatever it was he saw on Ik-sun’s phone made him realise that she hadn’t moved on either. Maybe it was a photo on her lock screen. Whatever it was, the show kept faith with us and delivered with regards to giving Jun-wan some kind of resolution after putting him through a period of misery.

There’s no doubt that the WG and bidulgi couples have a lot talk about before they can move into the next phase in their respective relationships — whatever that looks like. Despite being the earliest out of the blocks, bidulgi have a lot of hard work to do and I think they have to go back to square one at the very least and build a better foundation if they both agree to get back together.

I want to be careful about saying this but the reality is none of us know what Shin-Lee have in store for us. A little patience is needed I think because there are so many characters in this each week. There are still 4 more episodes to go. If they are anything like what we got this week, they will probably be big episodes as well and a lot can happen in them. I’m not necessarily onboard with everything that they’ve done in S2 (I wasn’t onboard with everything they did in S1 either) but I think Shin-Lee have earned that kind of respect from their well-received body of work achieved over the years.

I apologize that I haven’t got around to replying to any comments so far but we’re trying our best to enjoy family and friends as much as possible post-lockdown before the axe falls again.

Watched it twice now and the Harry Potter jokes never get old. In all honesty even though I’m not the biggest fan of Episode 6, I haven’t been at all disappointed with Hospital Playlist this season. Maybe I’m more easy to please than I thought.

Thanks for reading.