While interacting with regular readers here about various aspects of Episode 11, a thought struck me about Jeong-won in his current capacity as a professor of GS/Pediatric Surgery. Prior to him making the decision to stay at Yulje, he believed that he was destined for the priesthood because the belief was that was his calling. But it was clear to his mother, oldest brother and to some of us that pediatrics was his true calling. Regardless of whether he was in love with Jang Gyeo-ul, it was obvious even to Blind Freddy that he was a great pediatric surgeon except for the fact that he was feeling as if he had reached the end of his emotional tether.
It occurred to me as I was thinking about the way he was counselling Kim Geon and Gyeo-ul for that matter that we were witness to the skills he might have employed as a priest. He was listening pastorally and giving the benefit of his experiences from 2 decades of frontline clinical practice. The wisdom that he offered especially to Kim Geon was both a comfort and an encouragement to a younger doctor who is struggling with his haplessness. As someone has mentioned, he must have seen a bit of himself in Kim Geon and prescribed the right remedy for the situation with great precision to Gyeo-ul. It confirmed to me once again how important it was that Jeong-won remained not only in clinical practice but as a mentor to up and coming young doctors. It’s not as if he wouldn’t have done well as a Catholic priest but the loss to the medical profession in South Korea would have been incalculable particularly when we know that pediatric surgeons are a rare breed. Jeong-won must know by now that in his capacity as a professor in his field he has that dual responsibility of treating patients and training doctors. All of his talents as an elder physician (he scarcely looks it) are given full flight at Yulje. By helping others to grow, he is able to flourish and reap the benefits of giving back to the profession what he’d gained through mentoring.
This is one of the reasons why the WinterGarden couple continues to be my favourite among the Hospital Playlist community in terms of its message. The ramifications of their godsend dynamic continues to echo all throughout the narrative as something edifying to the world not just for themselves. I once envisaged them as overseas medical volunteers in a fanfic I wrote a while ago. And while that hasn’t come to be, the spirit of what they represent in that regard is very much alive in their current context. From the time Jeong-won saw Gyeo-ul peeling maggots off the homeless man, they were called to a partnership that would make a difference in Yulje and beyond. These are two people called to a life of service together in a profession that demands excellence. Firstly though she would change his mind and he would change her manner.
It was pleasing to hear him say to Rosa that things between them were better than ever because for them to commit to a lifetime together as many of us eagerly await that eventuality, it seems that Gyeo-ul talking about her family background cleared the air and created a climate of greater honesty between them. Jeong-won is always considerate but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have plans.
In the same way that suffering has given Jun-wan a different perspective on his patients and his job, suffering has been the soil in which the WinterGarden is tilled and seeds are sown. For Dr Winter it is dysfunctional family dynamics and for Dr Garden its in the pain of losing his patients. For him to say that “we can’t save every patient” with such conviction to another doctor undergoing his own trial by fire, is undoubtedly a big step forward from where he was in Episode 1 in Season 1.
I also wanted to talk about Seok-hyeong because I suspect that he convinced himself at one time that he didn’t deserve to be happy because his life has been one long melodrama. He seemed to think he and his mother were poison that affected everything that they touched. But his talk with Song-hwa was the jolt that he needed. Things don’t always have to be what they are — circumstances can change if people are willing, determined to make the changes that would see them flourish. Sure he made mistakes with his first marriage but that doesn’t have to doom him for life. He’s been offered a second chance to do better not just for himself but his mother. Chu Min-ha happens to be that second chance. They don’t have to be slaves to the past but they can unshackle themselves from all that baggage if they really want a bite of the proverbial cherry.
I’ve always said that Min-ha, pushy as she seemed, is exactly what’s needed for Seok-hyeong. Someone who’s upfront about everything, determined and resilient despite been turned down repeatedly. He must have realised it eventually that Min-ha is a different kettle of fish to Yoon-hye who only took it in the chin and let the resentment build up to the point that she was plotting some kind of revenge. The fact that he is thinking ahead and making his move without reservations shows that he is committed to the entire process of making it work.
Besides Chu Chu has got Ik-jun’s approval. :D
One of our readers also noted that the men here are in these relationships for life which is a breath of fresh air. It is certainly the case that they’re in their 40s and messing around with the dating game is at that time in life would not only be a retrograde step but exhausting for a group of busy dedicated doctors with ageing parents for whom time is precious. If they don’t know what they want by the time they’re 40, it’s almost doubtful that they ever will. I have no doubt that it is par for the course when minds are made up, there’s no turning back. Life’s far too short to be wishy washy or fixated with failure.
Hospital Playlist doesn’t do perfect romances just in case someone hasn’t noticed already. :D Few come unblemished and the reality is that there’s always some baggage that comes along with two imperfect human beings making a life together. What’s important isn’t perfection but a wholehearted commitment … for better or for worse.