This series has been so successful that it warranted another season. But does it really live up to the hype?
The titular role of this series belongs to Han Suk-kyu. He portrayed the role of genius surgeon Boo Yong-joo who after a tragic yet awakening moment decided to live in hiding in a countryside hospital. In Doldam Hospital, he found a new identity and purpose as Teacher Kim.
Saying that Han Suk-kyu did well as the central character of this series is an understatement. He was overwhelmingly good. His portrayal was so detailed that I could not think of another actor that could pull off those nuances in his performance. Those slight differences in his tone when talking to his students compared to talking to antagonists were proof of his experience as an actor.
Han Suk-kyu was also well complemented by other talented actors that completed the strong cast ensemble of Romantic Doctor. Seo Hyun-jin, Yoo Yeon-seok, and Yang Se-jong made up the line-up of young actors in this series.
It wasn’t surprising at all that Hyun-jin unnie charmed us all in this series. She’s a well-rounded actress that can do romantic, funny, and emotional scenes. What was surprising though is her character’s lack of spotlight in the latter episodes of the series. Nonetheless, she still aced the scenes were she needed to perform.
Yoo Yeon-seok, on the other hand, was very well ‘utilized’ in this series. I have to admit though that I didn’t like his character in the first few episodes of RDTK. I’m not fond of anti-heroes but the growth of his character was executed quite well. I really like his mentor-student relationship with Teacher Kim. Actually, I really like Teacher Kim’s interaction with his staff and even to Do In-bum, played by Yang Se-jong.
If you’ve read my Still 17 review, I’ve declared there my love for Yang Se-jong’s acting but I must say that his first few scenes as Do In-bum was a bit awkward. The redemption arc for Dr. Do though was his saving grace. One of my favorite scenes of this series is his character’s confrontation with his father. His potential as an actor was highlighted there.
There was no question about this series’ main leads but its external conflict – the hospital politics – was too over-dramatic for my taste. Chairman Do Yoon-wan’s (Choi Jin-ho) evil plotting made some interesting cases in Doldam Hospital but they could have lessened the theatrics. I’ve also noticed that some episodes felt like filler scenes because it didn’t have any effect on the major plot-line.
Nonetheless, I think the series’ strengths way heavier than its weaknesses.
I fully understand why a lot of K-drama fans love this series. Every episode presented new and interesting stories. But the series has some weak sides I could not ignore. The character arcs for each main leads were not equally done correctly. While Kang Dong-joo’s change from vengeful hero to “real” doctor went smoothly the end-result for Yoon Seo-jung fell flat. As the female lead of the series, they could have gone all out for her character but instead, there were potential left unexplored.
However, this series still deserves the applaud it received because it tackled a lot of relevant issues not just in the medical world but in our everyday lives as well. In a world that mocks being an idealist, Dr. Kim reminds us that yes, we can’t save the world on our own but we can contribute in our own way. He taught us that living honorably doesn’t cost a dime.
– I low-key shipped Do In-bum and Woo Yeon-hwa!
– This kiss scene caught me off-guard!