So I was about to write up a nice philosophic review on this series (because there was a lot to talk about) and then I realized I wanted to start my mostly spoiler free review with this:
That’s cheating! You can’t end a series like that!! Not only was it a cliffhanger, I really wanted Master Kim to officially end up with Nurse Oh!
So I decided a rant would really be better. ^^ Because I really did love this show. And yes, I really did want Master Kim to end up with Nurse Oh. So be warned, there will be spoilers. And I realize there’s a bonus episode, but I won’t be covering that here. Because I want him together with Nurse Oh, so I’m avoiding watching it.
Rant List (for my own sake, to keep track–but you can search for what you’re interested in, I headed them)):
- Our lead OTP, as characters and together
- Doctor Kim
- Doldam Hospital
- Medical Philosophy
- Parting Thoughts.
Ooh, boy. It’s been a while since I saw a couple with chemistry like there’s. From the first episode (do you remember that kiss?!) I was riveted every scene they had together. And I knew he was immature and often selfish and she was traumatized and heavens that didn’t matter if they could just stand next to each other for a bit longer. Even the angst was delicious–and I never say that! I usually hate angst buckets! But they just made it so… sexy. Is that a word that can describe a kdrama? But they were. See?
And I loved that they were so cute together once the angst buckets were over. His scenes saying “I love you” in a dozen languages while she just gets redder and redder and more embarrassed? I totally watched those all the time. And I love that he kept doing it, too, because it got a rise out of her. And he really did–does–love her. It was the perfect way to add closure to their relationship in the last episode.
All my gushing over the OTP isn’t to say I didn’t love them individually, either. I loved that Dong-joo was such a rough diamond for so long. Nobody’s perfect, and this show didn’t shy away from making our hero tread the hard path. But his teacher had a lot to learn too–and I loved that they both had at their heart a desire to treat their patients right. And I love that he was treated as a human first, but also a doctor. That he had a job to do even when it was hard and he’d rather not do it. That he had bad work days like anybody.
As for Seo-Jung, I loved what she did with her character. It’s an easy one to get wrong in my eyes–enough adulation of one person can do that. And while she really put Master Kim on a pedestal, I could see enough of her that I was actually ok with it by the end. They had become such fast friends and she had relied on him so much over the years that he had earned that trust. And I love that she had such a strong will to live, even when it was hard. And that she had such a love for people.
And the sparks. Those were good too.
What a character. What a performance. What a doctor. From the first, I loved Master Kim’s persona as a cranky, slightly wacky doctor. I thought it was perfect: the harried, no-nonsense man who was totally nonsensical. It helps that I have a manager just like him. She’s super good at her job, super prickly if you rub her the wrong way, and the biggest marshmallow I’ve ever met. And she has the biggest love and mama bear concern for her cashiers. That’s how I see Master Kim, with an added dose of crafty and a double shot of sexy while we’re at it.
I love that he wasn’t perfect, for all his romantic ideals. I love that his mistakes didn’t stay in the past, that they came back and he fought them. I love that when they tried to bring the hospital politics to him, his solution was to ignore them. To focus on the patients and let them just do whatever. And then I love that when he realized they needed to pay for their wrongs, he handled it skillfully and with flair (there’s those glory shots again). And that he was a total prankster, a bit irreverent at times. Basically, I really liked Master Kim, and my hat goes way off to Han Suk-Kyu. That Ahjusshi just earned himself another fan.
I can’t give every character a rant, even though I’d like too. So I’ll just mention them here and hope that suffices. Know that they each have a special place in my heart. Nurse Oh, you were the loudest, sassiest, best mama bear of a nurse. I’ll miss your rebel fashion and your no-nonsense attitude and you massive heart. In-Beom, I’d date you. Actually I wouldn’t, but I’d sure be your friend. You still had a long way to go at the end of the series, but the best part is that Doldam is the best place to learn. I love the director, too, for his quiet leadership and care over the hospital. It wouldn’t have been the same without him, and his presence added a sort of authority, a sanctioning to the craziness that went on.
I love Doldam as a setting for the drama too. There’s just something about the place–a hospital tucked away in the middle of nowhere, with a hardworking and at times mysterious staff, working on emergency patients and playing hard in their off time. It feels very… romantic. This show really lived up to its name in all the subtlties and I loved that.
So I’m not a doctor, and I don’t want to totally slaughter this. So the first thing I’ll say is to go to Michykdrama‘s blog if you want real medical philosophy. But I love that they had lessons in every episode and that they managed to keep their impact without being too overdone or didactic. I counted episodes dealing with: money and treatment, terminal illness and treatment, medical god-complexes, treatment of hoobaes in the field, doctor knows best vs. patient’s in charge, order of treatment (severity vs. fastest vs. first come), honesty in gaining experience, working for money and working for the people (lots of interesting thoughts on this, I’m glad they found a middle ground), PTSD, and lots more. There was also a bucketload I learned of actual medical information (again thank you, Michykdrama!). I googled terms, diseases and treatments and had the time of my life learning something new about a field I know little about. Definitely recommended for the philosophy.
Gaaaah, it’s over. I won’t say I was always begging for the next episode, because it wasn’t quite like that. But I was always riveted when I watched, bar one week where I just couldn’t take the angst and skipped through (I had a lot of real life that week, so I’m giving mself a pass). And I think it really met the definition of a solid watch: the writer, the actors, the editors and producer and filmographer all came together in their vision to create a great show.
As a show they dwelled in the angst a lot of the time–it reveled in it, raising the tension and the stakes. But the chemistry between all of the characters made it worth it–and not just romantically. You could feel the weight of each moment, and so when there was a breakthrough it really made you shout for joy. Have I mentioned the glory shots yet? Totally worth it. The last two episodes had the glory shots I had wanted all series, and by this time I felt like they really deserved them. So yeah, I’ll miss spending my Mon-Tues with the Doldam hospital team. But they’ll get their trauma center, and they’ll keep helping people and falling in love and fighting and… I’ll miss them. Thanks, Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim, you were great!