This is a strong start for a series!
Right off the bat, we’re introduced to the setting for this series, the Hospital Ship. Composed of internal medicine, Korean medicine, and dental section, the ship travels to remote islands and treat people. These episodes also introduced us to the people working on the ship: the medical team and the team in charge of operating the ship. This series’ setting is really making it different from previous Korean medical dramas. It’s also a plus that the way the story was introduced made the characters intriguing.
I didn’t expect the Hospital Ship has a bad reputation among public health doctors until I saw the reaction on the faces of Kim Jae-gul (Lee Seo-won) and Cha Joon-young (Kim In-sik) when they draw the Hospital Ship as their military assignment. Jae-gul, a Korean medicine doctor, and Joon-young, a dentist, were the newest part of the team. I was glad they were actually there to give some comic relief to an intense series.
Unlike those two doctors, Kwak Hyun (Kang Min-hyuk) actually volunteered as the doctor in charge of the ship’s internal medicine section. This made Jae-gul and Joon-young suspicious of him. They immediately concluded that it was his famous father, Kwak Sung from Doctors Without Borders, who forced him to go to the ship. He denied it but didn’t exactly explain his reasons. I agree that he wasn’t forced but I think his familial conflict is a factor on his decision. Kwak Hyung’s interaction with his mother, Lee Soo-gyung (Nam Ki-ae), suggests that he is not in good terms with his family. Also, I was a tiny bit disappointed that Kwak Hyung came from the usual troubled rich family. I mean, I think his character is mysterious but I was just expecting everyone to come from a somewhat normal background. Anyway, it is just my opinion and it really didn’t affect the rest of the series.
The series introduced its main character, Song Eun-jae (Ha Ji-won), as a skilled doctor who wants to become the youngest female Chief Surgeon of Seoul Daehan Hospital. To do that, she has to work hard and do everything to please the current Chief Surgeon and her mentor. When everything seems going well, she was told by the Chief Surgeon to take care of her reputation after she asked a favor for a patient. It wasn’t the first time, Oh Hye-jung (Cha Hwa-yeon) sent sick people from their island to her daughter’s hospital. Eun-jae seems to have issues with her family as well as Hye-jung live on a remote island with her sister, Oh Mi-jung (Kim Sun-young). Hye-jung also doesn’t want to disturb Eun-jae with her stomach pain and instead opted to go to the Hospital Ship where she met Kwak Hyung. Her check-up was a good foreshadowing to a life changing moment for Eun-jae.
Seeing Eun-jae declare the death of her mother broke my heart into a million pieces. She saves lives. She said it was as natural as breathing. But she couldn’t save her mother’s life. She was a second too late. The scene where Eun-jae fell down on her knees outside the hospital made me realize I really miss watching a heavy drama. And I’m hoping this series would give me all the tension-filled and heartbreaking moments I am craving for. Good thing, Ha Ji-won is a trusted actress when it comes to such melodramas.
It has been awhile since the last time I’ve watched a medical drama (Yong Pal or Descendants of the Sun, if that is even considered a medical drama) so I didn’t expect the beginning to be this intense. The pilot episode was fast paced and it’s thrilling to watch. The story taking place in a quite unique environment also made the series refreshing to watch. This is a good start for Ha Ji-won’s comeback drama.