DRAMA CLUB: Doctor Stranger 11-12 (1/2)
Welcome back to the Doctor Stranger Drama Club! This week, once again, we have a difference of opinions on the impressions of episodes 11 and 12. Join us as we discuss Hoon's return to his cheeky self, the despicable Chairman Oh, and Jae Joon's miraculous about face.
Jung-gug-eo Kaenada: Early in Episode 11 of “Doctor Stranger”, super surgeon, Hoon turns on the charm while apologizing to sidekick, Chang Yi for being a jerk of late. By extension, it felt like an apology from the writers to the audience for episodes 9 and 10. Given how satisfying episodes 11 and 12 were, all is forgiven!
Episode 11 returns to comedy starting with the morning after Chief Moon’s alcohol fueled party. Chi Gyu, the womanizing surgeon, wakes up in bed with his virginal nerd colleague, Bong Hyun. Hoon is found cuddling in bed with his boss, Chief Moon. The apartment’s tenant, Soo Hyun is the only one fully clothed and on the floor. Every shocking reveal is hilariously punctuated by Chi Gyu screaming in English, "OH MY GOD!"
Soon after, a mix up results in Soo Hyun becoming roommates with Hoon’s secret girlfriend, Jae Hee. This juicy scenario gifts us with the sight of Soo Hyun denying her attraction towards Hoon like an infatuated girl, and Jae Hee trying to appear impartial while looking completely deflated.
Having debased himself before the Chairman in the name of revenge, Jae Joon continues his descent into villainy. He attempts to bribe Hoon into dropping out of the competition to operate on the Prime Minister, blames Soo Hyun for his jealous behaviour, then gets Hoon arrested in order to pressure him into agreeing to a best two out of three scenario. Meanwhile, Hoon is back to form, cheerfully agreeing to operate on a patient who has unknowingly fallen victim to hospital malpractice.
The reactions are predictable when the Chairman announces that whoever operates on the malpractice victim will instantly lose the second round of the Prime Minister surgery competition. Hoon is ready to take the hit, confident that he will win the third round while Jae Joon is understandably cowed by the prospect of an instant loss.
That is when the story takes an unexpected turn. The North Korean agent threatens to kill Jae Hee if Hoon purposely loses the second round by proceeding with the operation on the malpractice victim. Meanwhile, Jae Joon is haunted by visions of his younger self. Having lost his father to hospital malpractice, Jae Joon cannot stop worrying about the current malpractice victim. Hoon shamefully withdraws from the operation, and Jae Hee decides to sacrifice his plan of revenge in order to save the malpractice patient.
Hoon is in the viewing gallery of Jae Joon’s operating room when the Chairman and an army of doctors descend on the unauthorized procedure. Jae Joon’s surgical team cracks under the Chairman’s threats of career suicide, and the operation starts spiraling out of control. At this critical moment, Hoon enters the operating room in scrubs, asking Jae Joon for permission to join in, which Jae Joon gives.
Hoon rallies his despondent colleagues, telling them that they are the real doctors, unlike the ones who watch them. Hoon, Jae Joon and the rest of the surgical team look up at the glowering Chairman and his cronies with new eyes. Considering the critical condition of the patient, the staring contest is completely inappropriate. Yet, I was too thrilled by the teaming up of a fallible Hoon and a heroic Jae Joon against the forces of evil to be bothered.
Janice: I have a feeling I'm going to be in the minority again this week. Except for the ending of episode 12, I found most of "Doctor Stranger" frustrating in its progress. The drama felt predictable and all over the place for me.
From last week's episodes, I thought we were on an uphill trajectory with the political storyline for "Doctor Stranger" but that plot point got pushed to the side and there was almost no advancement at all. I'm wondering if perhaps trying to marry a medical drama with a political thriller was too much for the writers and so we have this uneven focus from episode to episode.
What we did learn though was that the North Koreans are after money, so there's your motivation for collaborating with the Prime Minister of South Korea, weak as it is, however it doesn't explain why Hoon has to operate on Prime Minister Jang. Interestingly enough, Kim Tae Sool, the bodyguard, does state in his conversation with Cha Jin Soo, that it doesn't necessarily have to be Hoon who operates on Jang, leaving me wondering why Cha is insistent on Hoon when he supposedly wants to kill him.
On the hospital front, after learning that Hoon and Dr. Moon illegally looked at Seung Hee's medical records, Chairman Oh gives Jae Joon a second chance and proposes that the competition be upgraded to a best out of three competition, though he tells Jae Joon that he will be the one who operates on Prime Minister Jang as long as he picks two patients to operate on. I knew Hoon's "win" was going to be undone, somehow, but even so, I sighed at "Doctor Stranger" for not being more clever.
The overarching theme for episode 12 was: Is he or isn't he going to operate on the patient? Applicable to both Hoon and Jae Joon, this episode takes us on a winding journey as we wait for the male leads to decide whether they will defy Chairman Oh and Comrade Cha to operate on Jae Cheol's mom, though we all know that it's going to end up with both Hoon and Jae Joon entering the surgery room. It's the only way that this medical competition can keep going without another u-turn in the future.
The one bright spot in this week's episode was Jae Joon's crisis of conscience. It was supremely satisfying to see the humanity in Jae Joon. One of the reasons why I was apathetic to Jae Joon for the first half of the show was because I always thought his revenge was hypocritical and illogical. Does it make sense for a doctor who is seeking revenge for negligence and malpractice, to do the very same thing and neglect a patient because of his revenge? Or, to try and bring down a hospital where many patients are being treated? Thankfully, Jae Joon chooses his ethics over his revenge and is the one who first steps into the surgery to operate on Jae Cheol's mom. And, when Hoon joins him, that is just icing on the cake. Needless to say, I loved the ending. I knew Jae Joon and Hoon would eventually team up against Chairman Oh and I can't wait to see what next week brings in this new development!
June: It’s another week and we were graced with new episodes of “Doctor Stranger”. I was pleasantly surprised with this week’s episodes! I was so happy that I wasn’t disappointed like I was last week. The episodes still had their flaws but overall, I was happy.
First off, I was happy that we did not have to deal with Jae Hee/Seung Hee situation mess. As I’ve seen many times before, it was just getting dragged out for too long and hopefully they won’t bring it up again but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the writers did bring it up.
I was pretty ok with all the humor that went on in this week’s episodes but it was a little weird with how different the tone of the episodes were for this week and how the tone for the episodes were for last week. It was basically a complete turn around.
I was also pleased with how they showed more to Jae Joon than just his “I’m just here to bring down this hospital and exact my revenge on you all!”. You can see how this patient’s case was similar to his father’s case. I was especially happy that Jae Joon and Hoon are basically teaming up and continuing the surgery despite the Chairman’s orders. Speaking of the Chairman, I honestly cannot stand him! He’s a pretty horrible person. Actually, a lot of the people who work at the hospital are pretty horrible. They should be focusing on the patients instead of being selfish and shady!
I hope that next week doesn't fail me and I look forward to seeing the results of the surgery! I also hope Hoon and Jae Joon continue to work together in more of the episodes to come.
P.S. Did anyone really not recognize Comrade Cha in the hospital at all before these episodes? Like, what even!
What did you all think about Jae Joon's evolution as a character? The medical competition? The humor? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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Episode 11 & 12: [PART 1]