K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 3

February has arrived and the status of our favorite doctors’ hearts was shown. One is happily single while the other is totally in love but both of them are sure of their feelings. The remaining three, however, are having a hard time diagnosing their hearts. 

Episode 3 Recap

The episode starts with a very angry Chu Min-ha. She is arguing with a patient’s mother-in-law and husband outside the delivery room at dawn. The cause of her frustration? The guardians are insisting on a natural birth despite the critical situation they’re in. Min-ha was almost losing her patience when Yang Seok-hyeong arrived. After listening to the nonsense argument of the mother-in-law, he sternly said that their goal is to ensure that the delivery is safe for both the mother and the baby. Both of them entered the delivery room, effectively ending the debate.

In the morning, patients and guardians once again filled the hallways of Yulje, awaiting their turn. Jang Gyeo-ul is assisting Lee Ik-jun with his outpatient appointments. Ik-jun, the genius he is, remembered a detail about his next patient Kim Hyeong-jin, mentioning that he is a “quiz champion” like in the Janghak Quiz. But the reference is lost on her because she grew up watching The Golden Bell Challenge (lol at their generational gap). During the check-up, Mr. Kim pointed out that Ik-jun doesn’t look good, and Ik-jun revealed he was actually on duty the night before (which effectively sets up the theme for Ik-jun’s character this week: tired, booked, and busy).

On the third floor, patient Ha-yul cutely proudly enumerated flavors of her candies: strawberry, orange, and toasted rice to a nurse at the elevator, but she forgets the third one while talking to Ahn Jeong-won (take note of the use of number ‘3’ in Jeong-won’s scenes, okay?). To distract Ha-yul while he talks to her mother, Jeong-won gave her a stick with a cute drawing of her only to get it back with a stick figure that apparently is his version (haha).

At the CS clinic, Professor Cheon Myeong-tae talked to his patient about his test results in a very apathetic manner. As the patient leaves, he received a call and was shocked to hear a name being mentioned. On the other hand, Kim Jun-wan reminds a leaving patient to take care and exercise with his usual stone-cold face (I wanted to point this one out because he always looks angry, but he definitely takes care of his patient). As Jun-wan’s next patient sat in front of him, the first few things told her are all good news before he proceeded to explain in detail (just like how Jae-hak suggested him to do last season).

The call Professor Cheon received is apparently for an assemblyman who got rushed to the ER. Fellow Kang So-ye suggested that a resident attended to the patient, but they insisted on waiting for Professor Cheon, which shocked Dr. Bong Kwang-hyeon and nurse Sunwoo Hui-su. Like a foreshadowing of some sort, Dr. Bong said it had been years since the last time Prof. Cheon did a tube thoracostomy at the ER. In the next scene, Prof. Cheon is having a hard time doing what is supposed to be a basic task for medical practitioners.

The night comes in, and Ik-jun is still at the hospital, talking to his last patient for the day. Like a reward after a long day, Chae Song-hwa arrives and asks him to join her for a meal. Meanwhile, at the PICU, Eun-ji’s mom asks Min-chan’s mom to eat dinner with her. A similar scene ensues between Jun-wan and Jeong-won but the latter declines and boasts he’s going on a date. Jun-wan went to his next target: Seok-hyeong, but he declines as well because he’s having dinner with his mom. Jun-wan’s only hope is Ik-jun, but he’s not answering. He then crosses the path with his “uri/dear” Jae-hak-ie, and the two converse on their way to the cafeteria.

At the cafeteria, Eun-jin’s mom shares her packed side dishes with Min-chan’s mom, reminding the latter they need to stay healthy to run in their life’s marathon. She effectively comforted Min-chan’s mom, who has a lot of worries in mind. At the other table, Ik-jun notices Song-hwa isn’t eating well, so he asks her without ado: “what is it?” which perks up Song-hwa, who apparently has a proposal for Ik-jun. She needs him to check a DLL beneficiary at a hospital in Mokpo. After agreeing to Song-hwa’s favor, Ik-jun intuitively guesses that Song-hwa knows the attending doctor for the patient in Mokpo. She reveals that their batchmate and Ik-jun’s ‘rival’ Baek Hyeong-do is the hospital director in Mokpo. Ik-jun denies the rival thing, but all of his friends think otherwise (I like that he acknowledges he is a quiz champion but not worthy of a rival, hahaha).

Outside the ER, Gyeo-ul’s blow-dried hair got messed up by the strong winds (the weather is pranking her, poor Gyeo-ulie). Arriving with the wind is Jeong-won in an old car. Jeong-won opens the door for Gyeo-ul, who is shocked by how exposed they are at the moment (can I just point out how Jeong-won covered her head with his hand as she enters the car and how he put her seatbelt for her? Boyfriend Jeong-won is definitely a romantic male lead worthy). Jeong-won dismisses Gyeo-ul’s worry of getting caught, saying no one was there anyway. Well, a well-represented group of hospital people was there watching the whole chivalrous act. The breakdown of the witnesses is as follows: Choi Sung-young and Jang Yoon-bok (interns), Ham Deok-ju (nurse), Yong Seok-min (now representing the senior students), and Heo Sun-bin (resident). They were baffled by this sight they just witnessed but dismissed the act as Jeong-won being a “gentleman.” (I actually think all of them are hesitating to conclude a romantic thing is going on between the two, but they agreed with Seok-min because he voiced out a much more “real” thing than Jeong-won being in a relationship).

On their way to their date, Jeong-won revealed the car is a hand-me-down from Song-hwa (this cheapskate haha). When Jeong-won notices Gyeo-ul rubbing her hands to warm them up, he wordlessly offers his hand for her. The sweet holding hands moment got cut abruptly, and in the next scene, Jo Young-hye asks Seok-hyeong if he’s not seeing anyone.

Seok-hyeong: I just really like how things are now. I mean it. I love being single.
Young-hye eomonim: It is nice to be single. It’s comfortable, and you don’t need to worry about anyone else. But you see, it’s nothing compared to the joy of being with someone you love. Even New Journey to the West would be much more enjoyable then.

Going back to the lovers having their moment (at the Gyeonggui Railway Forest Park), Jeong-won is whining because Gyeo-ul keeps calling him “gyosunim” but Gyeo-ul argues that he’s a ticking bomb ready to expose their relationship to everyone. Jeong-won (the denial king that he is) is confused why Gyeo-ul thought of him that way.

Flashback to a scene in Medical Office 1 where the whole GS department gathered: Ik-jun joined the rest of the professors in a meeting about the video and certificate of merit for Professor Kim Jin-mo’s retirement symposium. Jeong-won was the last to arrive. As the meeting starts, Jeong-won reached for a bottle of barley tea, opened it, and casually gave it to Gyeo-ul. In front of all the GS professors. Baffled faces looked at the nervous trio. The tension was palpable until Professor Hwang Bae-jin and Professor Lee Ji-hoon pointed out that Jeong-won was, again, a gentleman. When the two thought the coast was clear, Ik-jun tried to dismiss any other notion other than Jeong-won being kind to his resident, but he only made things more awkward by saying, “people would think that he is Dr. Jang’s boyfriend.” The GS professors laughed it off while Gyeo-ul and Jeong-won glared at Ik-jun (who was ready to get immigration documents because he knew Jeong-won wouldn’t let his slip-up pass, lol).

Back at the park, Jeong-won and Gyeo-ul say their good night with each other through a kiss (with Twice OST as the bgm. There’s nothing to recap in this part but I just want to point out how happy they are in this kiss at a garden as compared to their emotional first kiss last winter.) 

In the next scene, Jeong-won wakes up early to go to Yangpyeong. Jeong Rosa and her maknae share a bountiful meal together before Ju Jong-su arrives. Chairman Ju shares his frustration about his children with Rosa. Apparently, his sons want to divide their inheritance while he is senile to avoid any conflicts in the future. Rosa comforts by saying it was not probably easy for his son to bring up the topic. Jong-su rebuts that his son is not like Jeong-won because Jeong-won is one of a kind. They test his theory by asking Rosa’s precious maknae about a property that he could inherit. The Buddha that he is, Jeong-won asks why she would give the property when he doesn’t need it. Jeong-won’s answer almost touches Rosa’s heart until the former mentioned taking out a loan (lol). Rosa walks out, annoyed at why his doctor’s son is so broke. Jong-su comforts him by sending finger heart his way.

The following week at Ik-jun’s office, Ik-jun calls Song-hwa to confirm that Jang Jong-gil’s case, the Mokpo patient, is doable. After the call, U-ju then arrives with his newly washed hands. In their house, while eating their ordered-in meal, Ik-jun received a call for an emergency situation at the hospital. He is worried about U-ju but his son says he understands that he needs to go saying, “You want to spend time with me, your universe. But you’re busy saving the bigger universe out there.” (Uju-ya!!!!)

At the hospital, Ik-jun successfully finishes the liver resection surgery of Chief Kwon Soon-jung’s brother. Chief Kwon is thankful for Ik-jun’s help, mentioning that Ik-jun can ask him for a favour anytime. Still, in Yulje, Song-hwa opens the window at her office only to drink a cup of hot coffee after a while because it’s still cold outside (haha). Sun-bin arrives, mentioning he and Seok-min are in a cold war. She then asks Song-hwa about the attempts of Yoo Gyeong-jin’s mother to set up a blind date. Sun-bin suggests Song-hwa should just pick one of her friends and says he is her boyfriend. Sun-bin mentioned she could ask her chaebol friend to do it. As if being summoned, Jeong-won arrives, asking about their song for the next band practice. After Jeong-won leaves, Song-hwa clears up that Jeong-won doesn’t own the hospital. Sun-bin went on to suggest using his best friend, who always makes her laugh. She insists that Ik-jun won’t mind doing it for her. Song-hwa, once again, dismisses the suggestion, saying both of them are busy.

And they really are. Ik-jun talks to Hyeong-do on the phone, revealing how tight his schedule is. Hyeong-do mentions that he will also do a transplant on Friday, the same schedule as the surgery of the Mokpo patient. Later, Ik-jun talks to Mr. Jang and his family, assuring them that it’ll be a painless surgery. 

Meanwhile, at the PICU, Jun-wan gives an update on Min-chan’s condition to the mother, who still worries a lot. After attending to a patient in the ICU, Jun-wan is greeted by Jang Hong-do, who blurted out the answers with Jun-wan’s questions from the last episode. Jun-wan gave him a curt “good,” and ask him a simple question, but Hong-do took a while to answer, which he says is “not good” but still leaves with a smile on his face. Im Chang-min advises Hong-do to study a lot since the difficulty level of Jun-wan’s question is all over the place (haha). Chang-min then wonders if Jun-wan is aware that he is now a fixed intern at the CS department.

On their way to grab a meal, Jae-hak tells Jun-wan about Professor Cheon’s patient who is an orphan and might end up a quadriplegic. Meanwhile, Eun-ji’s mom assures Min-chan’s mom that everything will be alright and that Eun-ji also overcomes a pleural effusion in the past. 

The day before the Mokpo patient’s surgery, Ik-jun visited them in their room and assured them they will do their best on the surgery. Later at the cafeteria, Jeong-won, Ik-jun, and Song-hwa talk about the DLL patient. Ik-jun then calls Hyeong-do to give Mr. Jang’s message. Hyeong-do then says his current predicament, the fellow that will assist him fell sick. Ik-jun left his friends to call someone. 

At the other table, Min-chan’s mom nervously accepts a call from the PICU nurse. They have a donor for her child! She rushes off to the PICU, leaving Eun-ji’s mom alone at the cafeteria. After talking to Min-chan’s parents, Jun-wan and Jae-hak walk in silence. Jae-hak then asks Jun-wan if Eun-ji will also get her turn. Jun-wan pauses for a while before assuring his resident that Eun-ji’s turn will come too.

Alone at his office, Jun-wan receives a call from Ik-sun. Jun-wan tries to look cheerful as Ik-sun tells her about her upcoming trip with her friend Se-gyeong. After the call, he looks so exhausted and Jae-hak arrives in time to ask him for a walk. Just as they are about to go outside, Jun-wan sees Eun-ji’s mom crying out loud at the central garden. The two let her be.

Song-hwa, with Sun-bin in tow, arrives at VIP room 1. Yoo Gyeong-jin’s mom happily welcomes her and introduces Song-hwa to her son. When she tries to ask Song-hwa for a photo with them, Gyeong-jin’s brother saves her by asking her for a coffee. 

At the consulting room, Jun-wan arrives after Min-chan’s surgery with an assuring smile on his face. The first thing he says as he sat down in from of them is that “the surgery went well” before going into details (this character development tho!!!). Similarly, Ik-jun has just finished the surgery and announce the good news to his patient’s wife.

At the second-floor café, meanwhile, Gyeong-jin’s brother apologizes for her mother’s intrusion. He then revealed he actually has a girlfriend and that they are long-time friends before realizing their feelings for each other (the story sounds familiar right, Song-hwa?). He went on to say, “I realized I hadn’t really answered her question. She told me she liked me, but I told her I didn’t want our relationship to get awkward. My answer didn’t make sense… when I’m with her, I feel so happy. When I’m with her, I feel great. Do you have a friend like that too?” And before Song-hwa can answer, she finally notices Ik-jun with his takeout coffee cups at hand. He left them to be but not before making Song-hwa laugh with his silly antics.

Ik-jun then receives a call from Hyeong-do who revealed Ik-jun sent Chief Kwon to assist him for his transplant. Ik-jun just laughs it off, remembering how he asks Chief Kwon to go to Mokpo for the surgery (haha, the only doctor who can do this at Yulje is the great Lee Ik-jun).

Episode 3 ends with Jun-wan receiving a piece of news that Ik-sun got into an accident. And that Se-gyeong, her friend in London, is actually a male friend. 

Maknae’s Verdict

This episode makes use of contrasting narratives to show the different situations of its character. And I love it. Such style is always effective especially for a show with an ensemble cast like Hospital Playlist. The dialogues are well-written and are all connected to each other. Now let’s zoom in to each narrative presented.

Seok-hyeong has very little screen time for this episode, but his scenes have a lot of impacts. First is how stern and resolute he is at dealing with the illogical request of his patient’s guardian. I can’t believe this still happens now. Why would people sacrifice a woman’s life just because of a myth that natural birth is healthier for the baby? A very outdated way of thinking, and I can totally see why Min-ha is so frustrated dealing with them. But Seok-hyeong, a soft-hearted gom, is not having it. The only thing that matters is his patient’s consent, which they already have, so there’s no point in dealing with backward-thinking people. In his other scene, Seok-hyeong once again disproves the unprogressive idea that he needs to be in a relationship to be happy. He is genuinely happy with his singlehood. But I also appreciate and understand his eomma’s advice, which is somewhat similar to Ik-jun’s advice in Season 1 Episode 12. I know both of them meant well, but as of the moment, I think Seok-hyeong isn’t aiming to be “happier.” Some might think his life is dull without a romantic partner, but Seok-hyeong knows what makes him happy and what doesn’t.

Speaking of Ik-jun, of course, they didn’t go to the fake dating trope that I mentioned the other week (haha). BUT they did use the ‘enlightenment’ scenes commonly found on the friends-to-lovers trope. The realization look on Song-hwa’s face is so apparent when Han-nyang shared his story with her. Song-hwa’s “gobaek hajima” answer to Ik-jun doesn’t make sense. I pointed this one in my Episode 1 recap: If she doesn’t consider Ik-jun as a romantic partner at all, then she should have rejected him the day he confessed and told him straightforwardly that she doesn’t like him just like what she did to Chi-hong. And Han-nyang unconsciously pointed out the same to Song-hwa. This got me excited for them because now, Song-hwa realized why she felt so bothered after her supposed rejection to Ik-jun. Not wanting to break the status quo is a cliché conflict for the FTL trope, but I like how it was executed here. They used Han-nyang as a plot device for Song-hwa to compare her own narrative to his. For someone as rationale as Song-hwa, she needs clear proof that being in a romantic relationship with a long-time friend can actually work. And YES, I’m declaring (not quite humbly) that Ik-jun and Song-hwa will sail this season.

Now with the currently sailing ship, Jeong-won and Gyeo-ul’s romantic moments are unstoppable. They’ve become the light-hearted relief we need when things in the hospital become relatively dramatic. I’ve said in the previous recap that I don’t think they’re deliberately hiding or keeping their relationship a secret. I use the word ‘discreet’ because I don’t think they will deny they’re in a relationship once confronted. I’m standing by my headcanon that they just don’t want to broadcast it to the world. However, these two are being so obvious, haha. The little gestures are leaving trails for people to wonder what was going on with them. The Yulje crew are in shock to see them like that. And no, it’s not because Jeong-won treats everyone like that. I think otherwise. They are curious because Jeong-won doesn’t just treat anyone like that. But at the same time, they also can’t fathom the idea of Jeong-won doing it in a romantic context. So both groups just settle on the second-best logical conclusion for them – he’s just being kind. Aside from how they will confirm their relationship, I’m actually more curious about what kind of conflict these two will face this season. Theirs is a developing relationship, so internal conflict is much more suitable to shake their status quo instead of an external one. I’m not totally sure about this but what I’m sure of is that these two are an already established pairing in this series. They might face some storms in the future, but I doubt Lee-writernim would be cruel to sink a ship she carefully built. It’s nonsense to think she would change Jeong-won’s track when it was clear from the start that Gyeo-ul will always be part of his narrative. I also want to emphasize that Gyeo-ul isn’t a mere plot device on his character arc. Gyeo-ul’s own narrative is intertwined with his, and separating their stories is impossible. It’s like untangling a braided rope; you will only be left with two weak strands instead of a strong, effective one.

And currently, the character on shaky ground is Jun-wan. I pointed out last week how he could effortlessly notice Ik-sun’s moods, but she, on another end, couldn’t. I won’t totally blame her because Jun-wan actually chose not to show his emotions to her. Probably because Jun-wan doesn’t want to worry her when she’s in a foreign city alone. It’s one of the struggles those in a long-distance relationship face. It’s hard to show your weakness when you are oceans apart. And it’s harder for someone like Jun-wan, who always has to look tough to everyone around him. He is the eldest child and breadwinner of his family. He is the chief of the CS department. He is the most straightforward and logical among their friends. That’s why I will always have a soft spot for Jun-wan. He’s always misunderstood because people forget he always has to be strong for their sake. If ever things get worse in his case, I hope someone will be there for him (which I think is Ik-jun!). Anyway, I don’t think they will go with a full-on jealousy trope with him. They will probably talk it out like real adults, just like what they did during one of their dates last season. In that scene, Ik-sun received a text with aegyo from a male friend. Ik-sun just had to explain that her male friend texts everyone like that, and Jun-wan understood it clearly. I’m still curious, though, about how they’ll resolve this in the coming episode.

Afterthoughts

-There’s a lot of parallels from season 1 and I’m loving it because now we have a reliable comparison to the HosPlay universe. The “parallels” we saw with HP and Reply series are, for me, mere resemblance in style. So, at least now, we can cross-examine the two seasons because they are from the same universe.

-A mutual on Twitter pointed out that the showrunners are somehow deliberately hiding some scenes of Jeong-won and Gyeo-ul because there could be possible conflicts there. I agree with her to some extent. I’m preparing my heart for any possible pains but as I’ve said, I think WG is already an established pairing in this series. We need to see them grow so they would most probably face conflicts along the way. The second is that, maybe some things are not fully shown because that’s not how the narrative of HosPlay works. I always think of their narrating style as “snippets to lives” of the characters. And that they’re just showing “special” moments in the seemingly “ordinary days” of our favorite character.

-I created a calendar of events in Yulje haha. Please free to add scenes where you know the exact dates or at least a good assumption of when it happened.

-Jang Beom-jun singing a Hospital Playlist OST!!!!!! And a Twice OST next!!!!

-Jeong-won noticed Ha-yul’s hairpin, I wonder if he also noticed Gyeo-ul’s pen and clip hairpin? And since we’re talking about them. I just wanted to share what @grumpyahjumma told me the other day. GA-unnie isn’t a WG shipper but she pointed out how comfortable Jeong-won is to Gyeo-ul. The means of verification? The way Jeong-won talks and acts to Gyeo-ul is similar to how he talks and acts with important people in his life; the people who witness his “real self” 

-“There’s magic in details, the tender small gestures of love. And the way they all add up…”

-“Take my hand, you’re the cause of my Euphoria” or “Take my hand… take my whole life too.”

-Me in every WinterGarden scene:

-One more about WG, the only two things we saw Jeong-won gave Gyeo-ul are two choco pies and one bottle of barley tea. Both of which are office snacks/supply. This chaebol lol. 

-U-ju requested to go camping with his dad. Can Song-hwa join them too?

-Another thing I’m thinking about these days is whether Hospital Playlist will tackle the pandemic. At the scene where Ik-jun talked to the patient, they are all wearing a mask. If my assumptions are right, it’s around the end of February – the days when South Korea deals with a spike in their cases.  

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