This final stretch of episodes thus far have been doing a decent job of moving the plot forward while also building our characters and their relationships. However, I felt that the show faltered in this episode as nothing much really happens and frankly, what we learn about Master Kim and Jang Hyun Joo did not go deep enough.
The main thing that happened in this episode was Chairman Shin waking up, which was expected anyway given how the odds kept getting stacked against Doldam Hospital. I personally found the shutting down of Doldam Hospital storyline a rather pointless narrative detour. I couldn’t understand why Chairman Shin’s daughter kept being persuaded by President Do’s fear-mongering when Master Kim had more than proven himself in the past and also completed a very complicated surgery on her dad, which nobody thought could be done. Furthermore, it also didn’t make sense for President Do to insist on transporting Chairman Shin to Geodae Hospital, where he would arguably be under greater media scrutiny, and transporting him over a long distance posed such great risks. Also, the whole notion of shutting down a hospital within one day doesn’t even seem possible – what would happen to all the patients? Wouldn’t there need to be an extended period to at least ensure proper care is provided? At this point, the show just seems to be making President Do take increasingly evil actions to take down Master Kim without really thinking through whether these really make sense.
I also found the characters’ reactions to the news of Doldam shutting down rather strange too. We’ve seen how the team at Doldam can rally together during tough times and how they are generally a steel-willed bunch. Why wasn’t there any resistance against this decision to shut down the hospital, given that it came so suddenly – and especially after they had completed such a difficult surgery? Why did the whole team all of a sudden become so deflated?
The whole decision to shut down the hospital becomes moot, of course, after Chairman Shin wakes up. His daughter claims the decision will be put on hold while Chairman Shin is at the hospital, but of course we know that Doldam will never be shut down. President Do’s next move then is to sow doubt in Dong Joo by pointing him to the fact that Master Kim was the one who indirectly caused his dad’s death. While I can see how that would affect Dong Joo personally, I fail to see how this would have any significant impact in the big scheme of things. What’s the worst that can emerge out of this? Dong Joo hates Master Kim and leaves Doldam? Even if he does so, it is unlikely that he will return to Geodae, especially after witnessing all of President Do’s evil actions. This was yet another strange turn of events.
On the Master Kim front, I was hoping the show would pick up immediately upon the ending of last week and start revealing the truth that Reporter Oh is so willing to tell. However, that whole issue gets sidetracked and only returned to at the end when Reporter Oh finds Dong Joo’s mum. We get more insight into what happened between Master Kim and Jang Hyun Joo, but honestly, I couldn’t really see what was so unique and special about their relationship, besides her being inquisitive. Given Doctor Boo Yong Joo’s status back then, I’m pretty sure there would be many medical students or even doctors idolising him. I was hoping we’d see more conversations between him and Hyun Joo and clearer explanations about why he became so emotionally attached to her. Also, it would have been good if we got to see his personality when he was at Geodae, to see how all that had happened there affected him. What we got of Master Kim’s backstory was emotionally poignant, and I did find her note and cassette tape to him touching, but it just didn’t go deep enough to really help us understand Master Kim or rather, Boo Yong Joo better.
The only bright spot in this episode for me was the growing friendship between In-Beom and Dong Joo and Dong Joo telling In-Beom that while they can’t stand President Do, they certainly do not hate In-Beom. I’ve commented previously about how In-Beom seems to be outside of the core family at Doldam and perhaps that’s an intentional decision on his part, given how he knows everyone hates his dad.
Perhaps this relatively disappointing episode was to ensure all the meaty stuff is kept for the last two episodes. It looks like Master Kim is planning to go on the offensive and take down President Do in the final two episodes. The outcome of the whole confrontation is unfortunately predictable because Master Kim has thus far been completely undefeated by any of President Do’s plans; in fact, President Do’s plans have barely even ruffled Master Kim’s feathers. Nonetheless, even if the outcome is already a foregone conclusion, my hope is that this confrontation will be used as a vehicle for all our characters to display the growth and bond that they’ve developed. It would also be great if we had one or two more medical cases, because I really enjoyed how the show explored complex medical, ethical and legal issues in its earlier episodes before Chairman Shin’s operation took over the narrative. The show has had a good run so far – rooting for the show to really end with a bang!