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

It’s not hard to see why Song-hwa is content with things as they stand. The show does a fine job in this episode of demonstrating how a professional woman in her 40s who is at the top of her game can live a fulfilling life as a busy single with no regrets. The fact that she’s so much more excited about being in charge of the Daddy Long Legs scheme than she is about being confessed to or match-made seems to point to what makes her tick and gets her out of bed this morning. Work is not everything in life to be sure but for some people work is a calling… a vocation… a belief that you have been endowed with an inclination and a gift to serve others. Not just a job you go to or do to pick up the fortnightly paycheck. Often these sorts of individuals go above and beyond the job description… which is almost obligatory in such occupations where serving people are involved. Song-hwa is a great clinician because she enjoys all aspects of what that entails (including the sometimes complex doctor - patient dynamic) and the fact that she can do a lot of good in it.

That’s also the case with Jeong-won nickname “Buddha” demonstrating patience with his tetchy young patient and his frustrated mother. We also saw this with Seok-hyeong trying to find some way to comfort his patient who lost her baby at 23 weeks. He went out of his comfort zone to send this grieving mother a text telling her that life doesn’t always go the way we plan. For him it’s a big deal because being a doctor doesn’t end just because the medical process has reached an end point. A holistic approach to medicine means that there’s more to giving medical care than prescribing treatments for the physical body.

I found myself siding with Ik-jun as he confronted the post- op liver transplant patient in his office. (Especially because a friend from church recently received a kidney after suffering through dialysis for a long period) It’s another side to the usually jovial, affable, comedic Ik-jun. Non-compliance in such an instance is deadly but perhaps even more importantly the patient has completely disregarded the sacrifices that others have made for him to live. There has been a lack of mindfulness and gratitude on his part for the gift that’s been given to him not just from the wonders of medical science but from his loved ones. The patient has exchanged a possibly longer and fulfilling life for short-term pleasure. The wife’s inner angst were on the money. No wonder Ik-jun who is usually fairly easy-going was hot under the collar.

As promised, Jeong-won’s announcement to his friends about dating Jang Gyeo-ul was perfectly achieved in its simplicity. As it befits the man who makes it. Moreover the responses were also spot on — each a reflection of the person who gives it. There was no ribbing or nose rubbing… just an acceptance that their friend has moved on to another phase of his life and it’s doing him (and the lucky lady) good. Ik-jun’s reaction is especially moving because of his relationship with Gyeo-ul and the fact that he was privy to all her secrets early on. It’s also impressive too that neither Song-hwa or Ik-jun give any indication that they were already in the know to some degree.

Everyone’s relieved that Jeong-won decided to stay. And I mean… everyone. That includes the guardians of his patients as represented by Seung-won’s mother. She must have spoken for all the parents of children (past, present and future) who are overjoyed that he has decided to remain in pediatrics. It would have been a great loss not just to Yulje if he had gone into the priesthood but to patients. That was certainly the emphasis in his interactions with Seung-won’s mum. Jeong-won is so obviously good at what he does especially as he is the master of bedside manners. This goes back to what I was saying before about a vocation. It is a gift in part born out of his personality and he’s using it in the right context for him. Understanding sensitive kids after all is his forte.

That early morning scene at the cafe was, in short, a hoot. It’s literally payback time when Jun-wan demands Ik-jun’s staff card from Gyeo-ul (I checked to see if she was wearing the clip Yeon-u’s mum gave her and yes she did) in order to go hammer and tongs on a spending spree at Ik-jun’s expense. Jeong-won is present too and follows suit threatening to order every drink on the menu for all the nurses in the PICU. Poor Ik-jun gets a text as he stumbles into work with information that he’d just accrued about 185 000 won in his account. Jo Jeong-seok the great actor that he is does a nice wobbly cracked voice when he’s upset.

Jun-wan’s comment tinged with dramatic irony that “love’s in the air at GS” after hearing that Ik-jun loaned out his card to Gyeo-ul was also worth a laugh.

As they say God is in the details and honestly no one does better with details than Hospital Playlist at this point. Everything little thing from words, iconography, interactions and scenes means something if not in the immediate context, makes reference to something in the past or prefigures a future event. The thought that has gone into making this franchise never ceases to amaze me.