We’ll always have Yulje.
Episode 12 Recap
The finale episode quickly started with Chae Song-hwa getting an emergency call while on her way to Yulje. Yang Seok-hyeong, meanwhile, was already in the hospital and came across the other OB/GYN staff in a crowded elevator. Unlike in the past – where he would skip those crowded places, even using the service elevator to avoid them – Seok-hyeong didn’t hesitate at all and stepped inside the elevator with them.
With Boccherini: Minuet in Major E, Op. 13 No. 5 in the background, another busy day started in Yulje. Song-hwa called Ahn Jeong-won to help park her car for her (a chaebol becoming a valet in his own hospital is something you can only see in Hospital Playlist haha).
At Seok-hyeong’s office, Lee Ik-jun disturbed him to ask for his coffee order. Then Ik-jun heard a familiar tune. He tried to lure Seok-hyeong into a bet, saying he knew the song Seok-hyeong was listening to. Almost falling for his trick, Seok-hyeong asked what it is only to get a wacky answer ala Wangshimni from his ever weirdo friend (whoever organizes SAT should ask Ik-jun as the voice-over talent for the next exam).
Meanwhile, Jeong-won – with a noticeable stubble – is still soundly sleeping at their office’s sofa. Kim Jun-wan had to wake him up since their outpatient appointments would start in ten minutes. Ik-jun barged into their office, delivering their coffee orders. While sipping their drinks, Jeong-won suddenly remembered that he had to do something urgently. Jun-wan had to remind him that he needed to shave (this is the most disheveled look Jeong-won had in the whole two seasons!!!)
Ik-jun’s last coffee delivery stop is at Song-hwa’s. He left her a note saying he has surgeries scheduled later that night and added a cute “see you later~ + *heart*” message (IkSong and coffee are inseparable. Coffee CF juseyo!)
At the outpatient clinic, Jeong-won met his next patient – Seung-chae, who had been practicing her wink for a week. She successfully gave one to our favorite pediatric surgeon. When the conversation turned to the child’s condition, Seung-chae’s mother told Jeong-won that she wants her daughter to undergo a small bowel transplant so that she can live like a normal kid.
Still on the emergency procedure, Song-hwa asked Yong Seok-min to do the clipping in their surgery and he did it one go. When Seok-min successfully finished the task, Song-hwa didn’t hold back with praises for the fellow (this is a nice touch to the NS arc as I can still remember the scene where Song-hwa scolded Seok-min in S1).
Jun-wan arrives at a joint conference between the Pediatrics department and the CS department. It was for Choi Eun-dam’s case, a patient with Marfan syndrome. Attending with him are fellow Do Jae-hak, resident Im Chang-min, and intern Jang Hong-do. Jun-wan handled MR repair of the patient back in Kangwoon Medical Center and apparently, Eun-dam’s mother wants Jun-wan to do his surgery again.
Meanwhile, Seok-hyeong’s next appointment is with Kang Seo-ju, who is almost due for delivery. Seok-hyeong assured them that having an RH negative blood wouldn’t affect the delivery unless they had to do a transfusion, which is a rare case scenario. Patient Kang then insist Seok-hyeong had to deliver her baby no matter what.
Ik-jun, on the other hand, enters the operating room and fellow Jang Gyeo-ul told him that they already took care of the cholecystectomy (removing the gallbladder). Hearing this, Ik-jun is impressed by how Gyeo-ul handled the surgery (another nice touch since we’ve seen Gyeo-ul struggle to perform a surgery on her own at the start of her fellowship. Aw, the students are now all “growing up”).
It’s lunchtime now at Yulje and Seok-hyeong, Jun-wan, and Jeong-won gathered at Song-hwa’s office. Eating convenient store food, Seok-hyeong confirms to Song-hwa if cheapskate Jeong-won really offered to pay for their meal. It wasn’t actually the case but Song-hwa let him be since he did it anyway. Song-hwa then informed them Ik-jun is taking more patient as possible because he made them wait during his leave last month.
Jun-wan then asks everyone if they want to go karaoke on the weekend. Jeong-won declined to say he wants to meet with Gyeo-ul since they couldn’t do that last week. Jun-wan turned to Seok-hyeong and he simply answered “me too” in which Jun-wan asked if he’d meet Gyeo-ul too (which of course is not the case but still. I swear Jun-wan and Seok-hyeong are lowkey the funniest among the five). Seok-hyeong said he has plans this weekend (with Min-ha, of course) but everyone assumed he will accompany his mom to the temple.
Song-hwa then told the three that she and Ik-jun would go on a date on the weekend. The three pabos took it in stride with a nonchalant ‘okays’ and ‘sures’, since they always do that anyway. Jun-wan then shared an incident with his bidulgi – welp, he actually meant Ik-jun’s sister – Lee Ik-sun. He relayed that he, too, almost thought that Ik-jun and Song-hwa are dating. Song-hwa had to repeat that she and Ik-jun are “romantically” dating. But the three don’t believe her again, betting everything they have. Song-hwa pulls out her phone and asked them to repeat their bets so she can record it.
Later that evening, at the GS Medical Office, Kim Geon told Gyeo-ul that he might assist Prof. Ahn with a small bowel transplant. Gyeo-ul recognized the patient’s name and explained to Geon and Jang Yun-bok how complicated the procedure is; recalling that out of the three cases Jeong-won did, only one was successful.
Gyeo-ul then called Jeong-won and the latter decided to meet her at the emergency staircase. There, Gyeo-ul rationalized Jeong-won’s internal turmoil. When Jeong-won aired his concerns, Gyeo-ul answered “if this is a question with one right answer, then you wouldn’t be this torn.” She even told Jeong-won that the surgery itself is enough to make him feel as if his head is about to explode, so he should focus on the surgery and nothing else (we got a lot of references in this episode but this one’s a fave because we all know Jeong-won suffers from headache when he overthinks. This is what I meant when I said these two balance each other’s strength and weakness). Realizing Gyeo-ul made a good point, Jeong-won finally let out a relieved sigh. Gyeo-ul then asked him if they could meet outside the hospital, not in their scrubs but in their plain clothes (s1 reference again!) because she needs to tell him something. Unlike the Yangpyeong scene in s1, Jeong-won readily smiled and agreed to have dinner with her that weekend (a redemption from the Yangpyeong lie finally!!!). The lovebirds embrace only to get disrupted by someone passing at the upper floor (these two are certified experts in secret dating haha). When they were left alone again, Jeong-won pulled Gyeo-ul into a tight hug, with Gyeo-ul patting his back lightly.
At the central garden, Seok-hyeong revealed to Song-hwa that he’s really dating Min-ha. Song-hwa expresses how happy she is for Seok-hyeong, even revealing that she knew about his feelings for the resident. He also mentions that he will tell his mother about Min-ha tonight, saying he prepared an “insurance” just in case but he hopes his mom reacts well with the news. When he was about to leave, Song-hwa said he is still waiting for Ik-jun to finish his work. It finally dawned upon Seok-hyeong that Song-hwa and Ik-jun are indeed dating. Seok-hyeong exclaimed happily for his friends (This is actually one of the good scenes in the finale. It felt like a closure/epilogue to the 1999 storyline).
Song-hwa then went back to her office and sees Ik-jun napping at her sofa. Finally getting their dinner, an idea suddenly crossed Ik-jun’s mind. “Let’s do what other couples do,” he asked. And Song-hwa tried to obliged by feeding him with a piece of sashimi but she ended up laughing – both of them did (we rarely see this awkward stage with other friends-to-lover couples but IkSong really said it is actually an entertaining thing to watch).
The next day in Yulje, the HPB team is making their rounds and resident Hwang Ji-woo informs Ik-jun that their patient Bae Jeong-seop’s condition isn’t looking good. He then informs the patient and his wife that he needs to get a transplant immediately. As they continue their conversation, the patient turns out to have escaped in the past, just before his scheduled transplant, hence getting a nickname from his children “Papillon” or butterfly in French which is the same nickname as a French convict who escaped prison. Going back to his condition, patient Bae asked Ik-jun that he wants to live so that he can repay his wife in the future.
At the outpatient clinic, Jun-wan meets with patient Choi Eun-dam. He tells Choi Eun-dam’s mother that the procedure is a high-risk surgery but they can’t let the child suffer from his condition any longer.
Meanwhile, Ik-jun meets with Mokpo patient Jang Jong-gil and his wife. The elderly who had to go liver transplant and heart surgery in the past are now doing well. They are also living in Seoul near Yulje area because their son got a job in the city (this scene hurts more now after watching the development with this side story later in the episode).
As night falls, Jun-wan then shares Eun-dam’s condition with Jae-hak. He revealed that he asked an expert to do Eun-dam’s valve-sparing operation. Jae-hak was shocked but Jun-wan explained that his patient needs a more experienced surgeon (can I just say I like how even though Jun-wan is an expert himself, he knew when to ask for help because he doesn’t care about pride or anything, he just wants the best for his patient).
In Yangpyeong, meanwhile, Ju Jong-su revealed to Jeong Ro-sa that he resigned as chairman of Yulje Foundation. Ro-sa then offered a discounted rent rate to his now jobless and homeless friend. Jong-su happily shares that he was glad to see his son and grandchildren (correct me if my assumptions are wrong but this meant, Jong-su yielded to his son’s demand of getting his inheritance, right?). In return to the discounted rate, Jong-su is now willing to grant Ro-sa’s lifelong wish of going to a “place” she’d been wishing to go (a quick side note: I wonder if Director Ju Jeon became the chairman because if he is, it’s a shame that we didn’t see that happen. Actually, we didn’t see a lot of things in this episode).
Jo Young-hye later joined them to share a happy piece of news. Seok-hyeong is staying because his girlfriend asked him to stay. Ro-sa feigned ignorance of Seok-hyeong’s dating status while Jong-su sounded like he actually forgot they saw them at the cinema. Young-hye further shared that Seok-hyeong’s girlfriend asked him to stay because said girlfriend wants Seok-hyeong to look after Young-hye since he is her only child. She then says she’s grateful to Seok-hyeong’s girlfriend and promises to treat her well when they meet (so…this is what Seok-hyeong’s faux US plan is all about. My unnie actually pointed it out to me after ep 11 recap and was surprised that I didn’t actually connect the dots haha).
That same weekend, Ik-jun and Song-hwa are having dinner at a Chinese restaurant when Ik-sun called and asked if she can join since she’s just nearby. Apparently, the housewarming party she’s supposed to go to was canceled and the restaurant is just across the street. While devouring their tangsuyuk, Song-hwa got a call from Jun-wan. She informed the Lee-siblings that Jun-wan will join them, which later turned their ordinary date into an accidental double date.
During the accidental double date, Song-hwa asked for Jun-wan’s verdict on the jajangmyeon and Ik-jun answered for him, saying Changwon’s ganjjajang is still better. Ik-sun then butted in and said to her brother that there’s a nice restaurant near her base that serves ganjjajang with two fried eggs. Ik-jun noticed the sulking tone in Ik-sun’s voice and apologized for not being able to visit her. Ik-sun insists that he should at least visit in Changwon, since their parents are there too, even offering to pay for his ganjjajang. Ik-jun then cheekily answered, she should shoot with a gun and not with ganjjajang. And once again, Song-hwa is the only one who laughed at his joke (for context, Ik-sun said 내가 간짜장 쏠게 naega ganjajjang seolge – which literally translate to ‘I’ll shoot ganjjajang’. 쏠게 – solge is an idiomatic expression which is similar to ‘my treat’.)
Since they are already together, Ik-jun invites everyone for a karaoke. At the noraebang, the Lee-sibling performed “Love, Love” by Bijou. It was a whole kind of production that left Jun-wan and Song-hwa in awe (well, especially Jun-wan who watched Ik-sun with a smile on his face).
In another part of Seoul, Jeong-won and Gyeo-ul are having dinner too but in a fancy restaurant instead. Gyeo-ul – who finally wore colored make-up! – tells Jeongwon – who looks dashing in his black coat and button-down white shirt – that her mother will get a job at her aunt’s restaurant. When Jeong-won brought up their upcoming summer vacation, Gyeo-ul asks if Jeong-won could spare her one of his free days. She reveals that her mom wants to meet Jeong-won and have dinner with him. She adds that she told her mom that her daughter has now someone she loves dearly. Jeong-won smiles upon hearing this as he (probably) realized the implication of what just Gyeo-ul said – (1) she’s ready to introduce him to her family; and (2) that she’s in love with her (Because you know, she just said I like you in the past and never used the word love in any way. *cue iconic CINF intro*).
Back at the noreabang, it is time for Chae Song-hwa’s solo. Ik-sun asked excitedly if Song-hwa is a good singer and Ik-jun said yes without hesitation. The truth was revealed to Ik-sun as Song-hwa butchers the first note for Come on baby tonight by Lee Ye-rin. Ik-jun fondly watches Song-hwa’s performance, with the ex-couple beside him left to care for their eardrums on their own.
Somewhere in Seoul that same night, Seok-hyeong is walking Chu Min-ha home. Min-ha reveals that she already told her parents that she’s dating Seok-hyeong. She adds that her mom thinks Seok-hyeong is better than the “polar bear” (hahaha). Seok-hyeong also shared that he already told his mother about Min-ha, saying it made his mom happy. Min-ha asked when she could meet his mother but Seok-hyeong said they should take it slow, adding that the later she meet his mom the better. When they arrived near Min-ha’s home, she realized that people get married because it’s hard to say goodbye to their loved ones. Seok-hyeong then tells him that she should know him better first before going into that route but Min-ha straightforwardly answers that she has been waiting for a long time for this to happen. Seok-hyeong answers her confession with a kiss (Min-ha’s neighborhood is so beautiful that it made the whole scene so picturesque. Also, this is one of the best kiss scenes in ShinLee universe!).
The next working week in Yulje, Jeong-won and Song-hwa are holding a meeting about the DLL program. Update: the program is thriving and they’re getting more surgery support inquiries. Jeong-won brought up asking getting an assistant in answering the support inquiries and suggested Gyeo-ul can probably do that since he thinks she would love to help out (so all this time Gyeo-ul knew about her boyfriend’s philanthropic program eh?). Song-hwa, on the other hand, pointed out that Ik-jun isn’t pulling enough income for the program but Jeong-won reminded her that Ik-jun was on leave the other month. She then praises Seok-hyeong for earning more than expected (lol, she’s so invested in this DLL program that she sees her friend and lover as moneymakers haha). The suspect for their loss of cash arrives and immediately confirms to Jeong-won the reason for Chairman Ju’s resignation (I’m assuming Ik-jun heard this gossip somewhere and needs some confirmation haha). Jeong-won shared that Chairman Ju resigned while he is still healthy to do things he likes such as walking to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage with Ro-sa. The news confuses Ik-jun and Song-hwa who assumed the two are romantically involved. Jeong-won denied it and says, “They’re just friends like the two of you.” The new couple just exchanged meaningful glances after hearing Jeong-won’s remark. Song-hwa then receives an emergency call for a patient who previously got a liver transplant and heart surgery. At the ER, Mokpo patient Jang Jong-gil lies unconscious because of a pontine hemorrhage (bleeding in the pons, the brainstem that connects to the spinal cord).
Meanwhile, Seok-hyeong informs Jae-hak and his wife, Hyo-ju, that their baby is growing well. He reminds her to take care of her health since she’s undergoing chemotherapy too.
Later, Song-hwa talks to the Jang family. She explained the condition of their patriarch and ask for the family to prepare for the worst. The family from Mokpo breaks down in tears outside the operation room after hearing the news from Song-hwa.
At the CS Medical Office, Jae-hak is studying Eun-dam’s procedure when Jun-wan barges in. He declined Jun-wan’s offer to see Eun-dam because he already went there earlier. Jun-wan also asked Jae-hak about her wife’s condition and he gladly shared that Hyo-ju is staying strong. At the ward, Jun-wan arrives and sees the child sleeping in an uncomfortable position.
Tired and leaning at the elevator’s walls for support, the Jang twins converse about their dad, who’s waiting for them to go home. The twins then immediately straighten their backs as Jun-wan steps inside the elevator. Jun-wan suddenly called Hong-do’s name. For a few seconds, the twin nervously waits for another round of difficult medical questions but it turns out Jun-wan only wanted to know where they live so he can offer a ride to them.
Still at Yulje the next day, Ji-woo checks on patient Bae Jeong-seop and reminds his wife to take care of herself before their scheduled surgery.
In Song-hwa’s office, the Seoul boys are lounging when Jeong-won asked Seok-hyeong, if he really is dating Min-ha because Ro-sa told him about it. Seok-hyeong tells him that Song-hwa already knew about it and he’s planning to tell the rest during the band practice – and their song is Jeong-won’s ‘pick’.
At the HPB ward, Ji-woo receives a call that patient Bae is vomiting blood and hit vitals are unstable. Gyeo-ul and Ji-woo attend to a call, only to get shocked by the scene at the ward. Gyeo-ul immediately calls Ik-jun to inform him about their patient’s condition. At the ICU, Ik-jun and Gyeo-ul talk to a senior professor who thinks the patient might not make it through the night. And so, Ik-jun told Gyeo-ul that they should perform the transplant immediately. Everyone at Yulje seems to be dealing with difficult patients as Jun-wan and Song-hwa handle their own department’s cases. Back in the ICU, Ik-jun informs patient Bae’s family that he thinks they should do an emergency transplant immediately. The family agrees including the wife, who would be the donor for her husband.
Inside the OR, things aren’t looking great for Song-hwa’s new patient – an elderly man with an intracerebral hemorrhage. Professor Cheon Myeong-tae, meanwhile, joins the CS team inside the OR and Jun-wan updates him about the patient’s current status. The two CS professors work to save the patient (got shocked with this development tbh! At the start of the series, I wrote in my recap that I’m excited about the dynamic of these two opposite professors now that Jun-wan is the CS Chief. And all those comparisons in the past is for this “redemption” scene for Prof. Cheon! That’s wanjeon daebak real heol development for me).
Back to Song-hwa’s new patient, the NS Professor informs the family – who is wearing funeral clothes – about their father’s condition. Unfortunately, Song-hwa tells them that he might not regain consciousness anymore. She concludes that the patient might have experienced extreme stress due to his wife’s passing.
At Jeong-won’s office, meanwhile, Seok-hyeong asked Jeong-won if he would be in Yangpyeong because his mother would be there. Jeong-won answered he is and asked back if Seok-hyeong is leaving early because of a date. The shy gom said he’s not and he’s just going home early to get some sleep since he has an early symposium the next day. After Jeong-won was left alone, he then receives a call from the organ donor coordinator informing him that they found a donor for Seung-chae. Jeong-won had to think for a while before confirming the operation date to the coordinator.
Inside the OR, the HPB proceeds on the emergency transplant for patient Bae. As Ik-jun checks on the recipient, the anesthesiologist informs him that it would be one difficult procedure. Ik-jun took over and perform “portacaval shunt” on the patient (this has been the longest surgery Ik-jun did in this series. I’m no medical expert but Gyeo-ul and fellow Jong Se-hyeok looked really impressed with the way he handled the surgery).
At the OB/GYN, Seok-hyeong, who went home early, was then called back to the hospital because patient Kang Seo-ju (the RH negative patient) went into labor. After attending to the patient’s condition, Seok-hyeong went home to change and got back to the hospital a few hours later for his symposium.
After a long night, patient Bae’s family finally heard some good news from Ik-jun, informing them the surgery has been successful. At the ICU, meanwhile, Seong-yeong checks on Mokpo patient Jang and informs Song-hwa that he is in a coma. Song-hwa breaks the bad news to his family, informing them that they are suspecting he is currently brain dead. Meanwhile, Seok-hyeong, who is on his way back home, has been called again to the hospital because of another patient.
Tired from their long night, Ik-jun and Song-hwa rest at her office’s sofa. Ik-jun informed her that his patient survive while Song-hwa told him that they might have to declare patient Jang as brain dead. Ik-jun sat up immediately upon hearing the sad news about his previous patient.
Seok-hyeong leaves the OR looking tired. Later at the parking lot, Min-ha heard that Seok-hyeong had to go back to the hospital thrice that day. Having nothing to offer, Min-ha sends her beloved a cute finger heart and an iced coffee – just what Seok-hyeong needed. She then tells him that patient Kang Seo-ju has apologized that her baby couldn’t wait for Seok-hyeong – something that made Seok-hyeong laugh out loud. Before leaving, Seok-hyeong throws a finger heart to Min-ha (urgh, they’re so cute in this scene).
In the ICU, meanwhile, a patient with a similar case to the Mokpo patient has regained consciousness. Song-hwa informs the ICH patient’s family about the progress and the family happily went inside the room to talk to their father. On her way out to the ICU, Song-hwa saw the Mokpo patient’s family in the ICU room beside the ICH patient. The two contrasting situation left Song-hwa speechless (this is one heartbreaking scene for me as we’ve already seen Mr. Jang’s recovery with the help of Jun-wan and Ik-jun. But I guess, the show wanted to stick to being real and showed that yes, the patient recovers but life goes on after that. And the only ultimate ending is death. Grim but true).
Outside the OR, Jeong-won updates Seung-chae’s parents about the donor’s operation, mentioning that the whole procedure might take ten hours long. He promised to them he would do his best despite the difficult surgery. Before proceeding to the operation, Jeong-won prayed in silence.
At Seok-hyeong’s house the next weekend, Jeong-won announced an important news to his friends. He decided to study in the US next year because he wanted to research more about small bowel transplants. He fills them in with the details, telling them that Gyeo-ul would go with him and they would probably stay there for a year. He adds that “If I don’t go, I might regret it later.”
Looking concerned, Ik-jun then asked if they could ask Ro-sa to be their temporary drummer. And everyone laughs for a while until Seok-hyeong drops the looming truth: they can only practice together for a few more times before Jeong-won leaves. As the mood turns melancholic, Jun-wan assures them that a year will pass quickly. But then Ik-jun said, “but why do I get the feeling that this will be our last jam session?” (And that to me, sounded as painful as a breakup line. Watching them sing Loveholic’s Butterfly did felt like a farewell performance by my beloved band who would go into an indefinite hiatus. I’ve experienced that in the past but it didn’t mean this one felt less painful. It was quite the opposite. It was totally heartbreaking.)
Back in Yulje, Jae-hak receives a call from the police, who informs him that the person who scammed him (in s1) wishes to settle the case with him.
At the NS ward, Seok-min and Seong-yeong check on Hwang Du-na who will be discharged that day. Du-na can now slowly complete a sentence and she can even now send texts. A text message is what made Du-na’s mom cry in secret. Her daughter apologized for taking it out on her and told her through the text message that she loves her mom.
In Seok-hyeong’s outpatient clinic, a familiar patient arrives. Kim Su-jeong, who lost her baby in earlier episodes, will finally be able to keep her new baby safe now.
In the ICU, Jun-wan watches Eun-dam who can now, at least, lie on his side. The child gives his doctor an okay sign in return for Jun-wan’s smile.
At the central garden later, Jun-wan finds Jae-hak in shock. He informs his professor that he met with the rental scammer’s family. He settled with the scammer and cries in tears as he tells Jun-wan that he finally got his money back.
One day in Inje, Ik-sun rushes to a waiting Jun-wan outside their base. When asked if he’s there to see her, Jun-wan said he’s not. He’s there to eat jajangmyeon with her. Jun-wan then pulled her into an embrace, finally deciding to take another chance in their relationship.
At camping site B-104, Song-hwa shares a late-night conversation with Ik-jun, with the latter asking for updates on Song-hwa’s health as well as her mother’s. Song-hwa then leaves him to sleep. And after a while, Ik-jun joins her inside their tent (my jaw dropped at this point. They’re sharing a tent together!!!!).
Four months later (which means November 2021 in their timeline). Jae-hak’s wife went into labor. She delivered a healthy baby (I’m so happy for Jae-hak. This character deserves all this happy development!). Seok-hyeong and Min-ha watch as Jae-hak and his wife share “I love you’s” with each other.
At the central garden, Jun-wan receives a call from Jae-hak. The former then share all happy developments with his friends – Ik-jun and Song-hwa. He confessed that he actually teared up when he heard the news.
At the outpatient clinic, we finally discovered what happened to Seung-chae’s surgery. Jeong-won successfully did the transplant! And Seung-chae also successfully give him a wink.
Later in the afternoon at the Yulje central garden, Jeong-won, Seok-hyeong, Jun-wan, and Ik-jun find Song-hwa watching the majestic sunset in awe. They left us with this conversation:
Song-hwa: When I was young, I loved watching the sunrise. But for some reason, I now love when the sun sets.
Ik-jun: You know why? It’s because it’s time for us to go home. You call it a day and go home. That’s why you like it.
It’s time for us to go home now.
The last line of the series is a reality check for me. Yulje, which has been my safe space for the past two years, will never really be my home. It will always felt like one though. But at the end of the day, this is a fictional world that I’m just escaping to. Carrying with me in going back to real life are lessons and stories from Hospital Playlist that I will treasure no matter what.
The finale episode reminds us that the series will always be about the character’s life at the hospital. We’ve met new patients and saw some returning patients as well. I’m happy to know that Kim Su-jeong will have a baby again. Her story is one of those scenes that made me cry in earlier episodes. But a happy ending is not for every patient in Yulje. I’m still reeling from the heartbreak caused by the Mokpo patient. We repeatedly saw them suffer throughout the season and I thought their scene with Ik-jun was just a nice finale appearance but no, it has another purpose. They used that side story to let us know the harsh reality at the hospital. That scene with Song-hwa looking at two contrasting scenarios is a heartbreakingly genius way to make a point without any cliché dialogues/monologues. It was just the character silently looking at two kinds of endings they always experience at the hospital.
And since we got the patient’s ending, we’ve also seen the last appearances of the characters we’ve grown to love.
Let me start with Kim Jun-wan, since he’s my bias wrecker this season. I know Jung Kyung-ho always introduce a nuance/habit to his characters so that it can be different from his other characters but him playing Jun-wan is one of the greatest things that happened in K-dramaland (actually, all the casting in HosPlay is amazing!). If you noticed Jun-wan’s slouched shoulder and arms crossed whenever he is deep in thoughts, then that’s the nuance/habit I’m talking about. He always did that from season 1 and up to this last episode. He is one consistent character. And I’m glad that we got to know him better this season. We knew that he is one lonely man; which explains his past relationships and the so-called clingy behavior towards his friends. And we were also able to see how he toned down his sternness a bit without losing the straightforwardness that I always love about him. Then I fell in love with him more when he asked Prof. Cheon for help. It showed how he deeply care for his patient. This was another reminder that our beloved doctors are no superhuman or perfect doctors like we always see in other medical dramas. They’re not a one-man team. They need others too. Like how Jun-wan needed Prof. Cheon; Ik-jun asking for the opinion of a senior doctor; or Jeong-won leaving to US to become a better doctor. This season actually breaks the notion that the Lacking Five lacks imperfection. They aren’t perfect. They’re humans too – just like the meaning of the song they used in the first teaser. We’ve seen our beloved characters in their highs and their lows and we’ve stayed with them through it all.
When it comes to Jun-wan’s personal life though, I still don’t agree with how they used noble idiocy for his break-up with Ik-sun. When they could have used the same “fall out of love” scenario ala Trash and Na-jung without any faux third party involve (yes, I’m still on this campaign). I knew from the start that a break-up scene would be inevitable in Jun-wan’s arc but I didn’t exactly like how that happened. It doesn’t make the pain of it any lesser though. The car scene where Ik-sun saw Jun-wan entering the ER still is one of the most painful loveline scenes in Hospital Playlist. Their reunion on the bus? A very memorable cliffhanger for this season. And their last scene in episode 12? A nice ending for our couple whose love is as warm as the summer sun.
Seok-hyeong’s arc, meanwhile, really had a good development and pacing from start to finish. In season 1, they explored Seok-hyeong’s family issues and why he keeps everyone (except for his closest friends) at an arm’s length. Season 1 ended with the majority of his family issues resolved so it was apt for season 2 Seok-hyeong to deal with his personal issues. That involves his past marriage. I like how he slowly let his heart mend from his past wounds before really committing to a new love. He let himself be happy again as a single man before opening up to someone again. That’s one healthy progression, be it in fiction or in real life. That’s why I’m so happy to see him “happier” with Chu Min-ha. Our beloved autumn girl deserves that dream-like dating status because we all know she had been in the dating field for so long and she experienced some heartbreaks too. Unlike Seok-hyeong though, Min-ha doesn’t retreat when hurt. She bounces back easily and moves forward with renewed enthusiasm with life and love. And Seok-hyeong needs someone like that. A risk-taker who would push him to take a chance and leave his comfort zone. Because he would have never known that he would really be happier with Min-ha if our girl surrendered after his first rejection. If there would be a continuing season, I think they could explore how they would go into the path of marriage since there’s a tinge of hesitation in Seok-hyeong’s face when Min-ha brought it up.
Speaking of marriage, there were no wedding bells for my beloved Jeong-won and Gyeo-ul. I have to admit that this is one big disappointment since they’ve been hinting at it throughout the season. To be honest, (I think I’ve said this to one of our readers too) I wasn’t really expecting an actual wedding scene. The “extreme” part of my expectation is a proposal but realistically speaking, I just wanted Jeong-won to at least mention he is planning to marry Gyeo-ul in the future in front of Gyeo-ul herself. He said his intentions to other people but never to Gyeo-ul. It could have been just a passing mention like “if ever we get married…” or “I want to marry you in that church someday.” It wouldn’t even consume a minute of the screen time if he said those lines. But alas, we didn’t get any. We didn’t even get to see how Jeong-won asked Gyeo-ul to stay by his side even if he goes to the US. We got robbed of a lot of potentially good Wintergarden moments in the finale. I could have accepted that kind of ending for them if there was a confirmation for season 3. Because then, I would understand that they held back because they need materials for the next season. It’s disappointing at this point because we never know now if we’d ever get that next season. Some may say, we were left with enough canon evidence/hints that they’d eventually get married but I don’t want that to stay as a headcanon. I want to see the showrunners’ version of it. The only consolation I have for my favorite couple are the two good scenes that showed where their relationship is currently at. I think the staircase scene is being undervalued by some. The scene showed that Jeong-won doesn’t have to wallow in his overwhelming thoughts alone. He has Gyeo-ul now. That light pat in his back from Gyeo-ul was really a nice touch since we’ve seen Jeong-won did the same when Gyeo-ul was the one who needs a shoulder to lean on. It’s really nice to know that my favorite fictional characters now have someone who will give them a warm hug when they badly need one. The other Jeong-won/Gyeo-ul moment, meanwhile, could have been better if they actually dropped the m-word there but at least we’ve got Gyeo-ul using the word sarang/love for the first time in their relationship (correct me if I’m wrong with this bit). I felt as happy as Jeong-won when I heard her say that.
As for Jeong-won’s individual arc, the reversal/twist they are talking about is really Jeong-won leaving for the US instead of Seok-hyeong. I actually understand why his character needs to leave. I’ve said this in my watch thread on Twitter and I’ll repeat it here the decision was apt because everything started with Jeong-won bringing his friends to Yulje and everything will end because he will leave. It is the series going full circle. The characters we’ve grown to love have undergone transformations through challenges and even through the happy moments they’ve experienced. With Jeong-won, his individual story started with him wanting to leave because he doesn’t want to be a doctor anymore. But now in this season, he will leave because he wants to become a better doctor. This character development alone is enough for me to still continue to love this series despite some of the disappointment in the finale.
Ik-jun and Song-hwa’s love bloomed at the right time and with the right pacing like how spring flowers bloomed beautifully in their season. I’m not really a fan of FTL tropes but when done right, they could be some of the greatest love stories ever told. Because with FTL, they will have a solid foundation for a relationship. And did IkSong get it right? Yes, they did. I like how season 1 ended with Ik-jun confessing and their ending in season 2 is Song-hwa making a decision about their relationship. And their progression wasn’t abrupt nor too slow. They’ve kept each other company through thick and thin; moments that have clearly change the way they look at each other. This season we’ve seen that Ik-jun was there when Song-hwa learned about her mother’s diagnosis while Song-hwa stayed by his side when Ik-jun got hurt. It’s almost the same dynamic in season 1 where we’ve seen Song-hwa taking care of sick U-ju and Ik-jun accompanying Song-hwa in her medical check-up. The difference is that they are now more aware of their needs and longing for each other. And one thing I like about their moments in episode 12 is how awkward they are when they try to do what normal lovers do. They didn’t magically transform into another person after they kissed. They are still Ik-jun and Song-hwa.
As for their individual arc this season, we’ve seen new sides of Ik-jun. We now know that he can get angry too at a patient. We now know that he struggles too during surgery. But one thing is constant to him. He’s Yulje’s weirdest and funniest professor (soft rant: we didn’t get an Ik-jun and Uju moment in the finale episode. Why?!). For Song-hwa, we’ve seen her get tired. She’s no superwoman. She, too, needs to recharge from time to time. She, too, needs someone she can lean on when life depletes the energy out of her and someone who can cheer her up when she gets sad. I’m glad she allowed herself to have that kind of companionship.
I actually watched episode 12 with a heavy heart; knowing that every moment in this episode is the last made me savor every scene not just of the lacking five but with each character as well. This series really showed that every single character has their own story to tell. And even though I may not agree with how they left some things hanging, I still enjoyed Hospital Playlist’s second season. For now, I’ll be leaving Yulje to find a new comfort space in other places in K-dramaland. If they decide to come back… if Lee Woo-jung writernim finally dare to continue the story she started… if Shin PD gathered the cast again… I would definitely be back too. No matter how many sunsets I’d watch in other K-dramas, the sunsets here will always hold a special place in my heart. Because we will always have Yulje.
– I wonder what kind of scene they cut from the initial 2 hours and 40 minutes running time.
– Can casting deities do their work and get Yoo Yeon-seok and Shin Hyun-been in a romance-genre series ala Lee Dong-wook and Yoo In-na and Jang Hyuk and Jang Na-ra?
-If you’re looking for things to watch post-Hosplay, Love, Lies and Mood of the Day are my go-to movies for Yeonseokie while for Hyunbeenie, I have Sunset in my Hometown (also Mistress is one underrated OCN thriller!). I would most probably watch Hyun-been’s Reflection of You too. For Daemyeung, you have Misaeng if you want another slice of life drama, Sound of Your Heart can also be your next bet. Eun-jin is on More than Friends and her storyline there is better than the main couple but I’m more excited for her upcoming project tho. For Kyung-ho, Prison Playbook – if you haven’t watched this yet – and When the Devil Calls Your Name / Life on Mars. For Jung-seok, Oh My Ghost is one of my classic fave from him but Nokdu Flower is a go-to series if you like something serious. For Mi-do, I can’t wait to see her in Thirty-Nine! Kwak Sun-young’s next drama meanwhile is with Lee Young-ae and Kim Hae-sook so that’s another thing to look forward to.
-I want to end my last recap with this quote from Turtles All The Way Down: “You pick your endings, and your beginnings. You get to pick the frame, you know? Maybe you don’t choose what’s in the picture, but you decide on the frame.”
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 1
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 2
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 3
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 4
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 5
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 6
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 7
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 8
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 9
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 10
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist 2 | Episode 11
K-Drama Reaction: Hospital Playlist | Season 1
Hospital Playlist Wallpapers