I have to say that I am surprised by negativity surrounding this episode because in all honesty it’s completely contrary to everything I think about it. In fact, it’s been a bit uncomfortable for much of this season trying to understand why it is I don’t feel like the show is any different while on other platforms I read comments that the show has got a different vibe.
I mentioned this to the two members of my family that care and they both said they liked it a lot. My daughter was saying that she thought this was the best episode so far. So the other half decided we should do a rewatch and we did. I haven’t changed my mind about my initial impression and in fact the rewatch was a confirmation that this was a good episode almost on par with Episode 5 and I certainly liked it more than Episode 6 which was probably a little too breezy for me.
In all likelihood it boils down to the fact that I enjoy the angst more than most. My ongoing fanfic based on Law School is proof of that. Hospital Playlist S2 is currently right in the middle of the second act and that’s the point in which traditionally in K dramas, things go badly for the lead characters, it is where they come face to face with mountains that they have to overcome. I don’t think it’s all that different from what occurred in S1 when for instance Jeong-won was seriously wrestling with his decision to enter the priesthood especially when he saw Gyeo-ul all made up and getting into another man’s vehicle. He didn’t like it one whit and it shook his certainty about the priesthood.
Recent developments with the WinterGarden couple I don’t think should be considered a step backwards. In fact, it’s a positive development because the fluff can’t go on forever. It’s not only because it’s a K drama and no drama with romance is ever conflict free but because there are issues that need to be discussed between them before they both say “I do”. Fluff can quickly turn into a cocoon that only postpones the inevitable exposure but doesn’t erase it out of existence. If Gyeo-ul does come from a dysfunctional background then the earlier that it dealt with, the better. Surely nobody really believes Jeong-won will change his mind about Gyeo-ul just because she hasn’t been forthcoming. He is completely besotted and the show has been at pains to demonstrate it. If anyone needs reminding he gave up the priesthood for her and her alone. No one else. He is completely devoted to her needs. And he’s left the door open on other occasions for her to be completely open, fully prepared to take whatever comes. As long as he’s in love with her, I see the proposal-that-wasn’t not at all as a hiccup but as a vital step of house cleaning as it were. I’m completely on board with that idea even though I’ve been enjoying the fluff as much as the next person. The other thing that Jeong-won will have to deal with is his mother’s deteriorating memory issues which is comparable to her refusal to accept his application to the priesthood last season leading to her avoiding having to interact with him.
Hence, in the previous season he was the stumbling block but in this, she is holding back something which could potentially cause trust issues between them. Gyeo-ul is naive about relationships but she’s obviously been through a lot and is used to keeping things to herself.
To be fair the characters can’t stay the same especially in a multi-season story. There has to be growth upon growth. Gyeo-ul is going great guns as a doctor as we saw — more confidence, more energy, taking on more responsibilities. But there is still this niggly elephant in the room thing about her family that she doesn’t talk about. Again, the purpose of the WG dynamic here is so that she is finally forced to open up on this very point and they can face whatever it is they need to face together. It is part and parcel of her growth. Otherwise she’s just going to jump at the next domestic abuse offender like she always has.
As far as love lines are concerned, they were always there in S1 and they’re just being given more wings in S2. If there’s anything “different” it is the progression of some of these relationships. I’m not entirely happy with the route taken with bidulgi to be frank and it’s heartbreaking watching Jun-wan wallow in misery, painfully missing Ik-sun. And yet through this “baptism by fire”, he is noticeably becoming a kinder and gentler human being as seen in his ongoing interactions with Jae-hak and the mother who was looking for a second opinion.
With regards to Ik-Song, there seems to be a fair bit of progress. These days they spend a lot of time together because their friends have other interests. They also went on a camping trip together and chatted till quite late on a variety of subjects. She’s been accommodating him and he’s accommodating her. It’s a big step for them considering he’s more an indoors social animal making friends with all manner of staff at work. Gradually they each seem to be drawing the other into their respective domains.
I will reiterate this from what I said in the comment section in my previous post. I don’t think the preemption did the series any favours. It seldom does in my view. All the issues that emerged in this episode were already telegraphed or prefigured in the previous episodes. It was only a matter of time that all of these issues brewing under the surface would see the light of day.
For me I am always in awe of the writer’s abilities here. How she manages the contrasts and parallels in every episode and throughout the whole season. It is so obviously hard work putting together a script like this, trying to connect all the dots and themes with regulars and guest roles alike. If there’s any criticism that could be made of the show it could the fact that there’s a fair bit of repetition in subject matter and yet somehow she manages take a different slant on each occasion.
Anyhow it’s way past my bedtime and I should sign off. Feel free to comment below.