Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim Episode 13: The Art of Turmoil

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We start moving into the key event that’s driving the entire series, the heart surgery of CEO Shin, and if that’s not enough to keep our characters occupied, we have potential MERS patients which causes the whole ER to be quarantined, a child with lacerations and a patient with appendicitis – all stuck within the quarantined emergency room.

If there’s one thing this show is fond of, it’s with the piling on of intense and challenging medical situations. I’ve always felt that the series would be better if there was more room for the characters to breathe and process what has happened, rather than rushing on immediately to the next set of cases. To the credit of the show, it has created a world with many lovable, fascinating characters, all of whom have potentially interesting back stories. I’d be keen to see them interact more and get to know each other better, rather than simply focusing on cases each week. Nonetheless, I’ve come to appreciate too that what distinguishes this show is its powerful use of medical situations to explore ethical and emotional issues, hence something has to give.

I do admire how the show is unafraid to go into the details of its medical procedures and treats the whole craft of medicine with such affection. Our doctors and surgeons go into lengthy explanations with medical jargon and terminology, yet none of it is boring and they speak of it with such passion and familiarity. The medical jargon being used never sounds forced or fake, and they deliver it so naturally as if it’s part of their everyday language.

This week, we go into the intricate details of the processes involved in artificial heart transplant and surgery with a very beautiful scene between Seo-Jung and Dong Joo. I appreciated all the precise shots that captured the intricate purse string suture process and the focus on both Dong Joo’s and Seo-jung’s hands as they engaged in the practice surgery. It’s so apt that it’s their passion and dedication to medicine that draws them closer together and kudos to the series for not allowing the romance to detract from its medical focus.

What I love about the show is how it also exalts the medical profession and the important work they do. Seo Jung once again shines as she stands firm against the intimidation of Chairman Shin who is adamant about not having a female doctor and insists on seeing Master Kim. She stands up to him not just because of her spunky, courageous nature, but also because of the pride she has in her role as a doctor and her dedication to doing the best for her patients. She knows what she has to do and will give her patients what they need, instead of what they want – regardless of who they are. She’s unafraid to turn off the TV when CEO Shin chooses to ignore her and tells him straight-up that he may have pneumonia.

If that’s not amazing enough, she even stands up to Master Kim at the end of the episode and tells him that she should be the one in the ER treating Dong Joo and not him, because he is a surgeon with a triple board and should be focusing on Chairman Shin’s case. She takes things into her own hands and even does a handover to In Bum, without seeking Master Kim’s prior approval. What’s great about this decision of hers is that it’s not just because she cares Dong Joo, but it’s because she’s thinking about what’s best for hospital overall as Director Yeo also mentions that Master Kim is critical to Doldam’s operations. She makes that decision knowing that it will mean she will give up the chance to operate on Chairman Shin – something she has been preparing for for ages. Seo Jung truly represents someone who’s not focused on being the best doctor who gets all the best patients, but just wants to be a good doctor to meet the needs of her patients.

The other characters unfortunately don’t get as much attention in this episode and I would have liked to see more of their emotional journey. We’ve lost focus a little on In Bum and he’s been rather undeveloped as a character lately. I would have liked to see what was going through his mind when he was not selected by Master Kim, or when he was brought in to see Chairman Shin by Dr. Song, or when Seo Jung handed over the position of first assistant to him. Even Dong Joo gets little attention this week, development-wise, though we do see his tireless dedication and devotion to ensuring everything goes smoothly, to the detriment of his own health. Nurse Oh does get a touching moment with Master Kim as we see her fearless exterior breaking down when she talks to Master Kim on the phone.

There’s so much depth of emotion that this show can explore and delve into, especially for its key characters, and it’s such a waste that it’s not doing so. Nonetheless, what it offers is an episode with lots to keep us engaged and several good character moments here and there.

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