Given that so many things happen in each episode, I’m going to change the way I review the episodes by writing about moments I liked and what I didn’t like.
What I liked
1. The camaraderie between the five friends
The five are always such a riot when they are together. The scene with them in the car grilling Jung-Wan about who he is dating was just hilarious, especially when Ik-Joon mentioned that the car smells like “nature”, which means the girlfriend works in outside of the city or a job that makes her sweat. Immediately, Jung-Wan’s phone rings and “My love” appears. I suspect Ik-Joon already knows and is just giving Jung-wan a hard time, but it’s so much fun watching it.
At dinner, we once again witness how tight these friends are as they take turns to offer Seok-Hyung advice regarding his mum’s situation. As all close friends do, they tell him what he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear. He resists and is still uncertain when the guys tell him to let his mum know, but finally agrees when Song-hwa also agrees that his mum needs to know. The scenes are edited really well, with the necessary reaction shots to show the flow of conversation and gradual softening of Seok-Hyung’s refusal. It’s a really simple scene, but it says so much.
2. Doctors relating to their parents as humans
While we have seen the doctors consoling and supporting their patients emotionally, this episode really showed how doctors helped their patients by relating their personal pain to them. I thought the two instances of these in the episode were really well done.
The first was Chi-hong’s sharing with the police officer during his brain surgery about that he left the military due to an injury, but is now still living well and leading a meaningful life. We can see the hope reawakening in the patient as he ends the conversation by wishing Chi-hong good luck.
Following that, we have a scene between Ik-joon and a patient who refuses to take care of herself because she is convinced her husband donated his liver to her out of guilt. It is so significant that he goes to see her not in his scrubs, but in his regular clothes, showing that he is relating to her not as a doctor, but a fellow human. We have not really seen Ik-joon sharing about his divorce so far, but his heartfelt sharing about how he decided not to waste his own life wins over our hearts and the patient’s heart.
3. Song-hwa and Chi-hong
I’m really enjoying the dynamic between Song-hwa and Chi-hong and how their friendship still has space to develop meaningfully even though Song-hwa does not like him. After Chi-hong shares with the patient about him quitting the military, we find out that Song-hwa already knew about it and she knew about it much earlier when Chi-hong could not do the lead surgery well. Yet, she assures him that she trusts him, because she knows he works hard and tries to understand his patients. At the end of their conversation, she also clearly establishes that she cares for him as a friend. It’s really nice to see that both their working relationship and friendship can still grow, even after the awkward encounter.
What I did not like
1. Joon-Wan and Gyu-Wool
I’m finding most of their scenes so painful to watch because Gyu-Wool keeps putting herself out there despite Joon-Wan being so aloof and cold towards her. I was already rather displeased when he refused to credit her for running after the abusive father, but in today’s episode, him turning down her offer when he has been kind to others just seemed hurtful. Unfortunately, this is also causing my opinion of Joon-Wan to dip, hence I hope the show gives us some clear indication of how Joon-Wan feels very soon. Is he deliberately shunning her because he likes her, but knows that it interferes with his desire to become a priest? Or does he really not like her and is unaware of how to express it? If it is the latter, then I hope the show also explains why.
2. Seok-Hyung’s dad and his mistress
I find it problematic the way Seok-Hyung’s dad in particular is being portrayed as being so downright terrible – not only does he cheat on his wife, he also checks into a VIP suite to avoid the law and asks the medical personnel to bring him an IV drip. The splashing of dirty water on the mistress felt unnecessary and I personally do not enjoy seeing people being humiliated as such.
In spite of the above two minor things, it was yet another enjoyable episode as the show weaved together its medical cases meaningfully with the different character’s personal journeys. We did not go back in time this episode, but there is plenty for us to look forward to as we see relationships growing and the strong friendship shared. Hospital Playlist is truly one of the few shows that makes full use of its one and a half hour run time to draw us into the lives of its characters. I’m loving it!