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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 13

2014/06/18 | Permalink

Alliances shift as the overwrought hospital competition (hopefully) comes to an end. Instead of focusing on the competition and hospital politics, the shows turns a querying eye towards the connection between Hoon's past and Jae-joon's past without serving up the reason as to why Hoon is so important to the "master" plan. What the "master" plan is has yet to be revealed. All the show has given us is that Hoon is important in saving the relationship between North and South Korea.

That is my biggest quibble with this show. While mystery is the fuel of many-a-drama, too much mystery simply breeds confusion. Or, in this case, ill-planned mystery that is revealed at the whim of a sociopathic prime minister. The prime minister manipulates nearly everything that confuses without any clear reason save for the fact that he is crazy. Hoon follows his whim because he blindly listens to Jae-hee; and Jae-hee has somehow been convinced that collaborating with the Prime Minister will save Hoon. Luckily, this episode shows Hoon thinking for himself rather than blindly following his love for Jae-hee. His childhood dream of becoming a doctor and saving people has been rekindled and Jae-hee has been tamping it down with her orders to ignore patients in need. This is the kind of moral dilemma that the show should thrive on. It is the dilemma that Hoon struggled with in the North Korean medical facility and it's quite poetic to parallel those troubles below the thirty-eighth parallel.

Soo-hyeon's character has taken a jaunt into the annoying as she comes to terms with her feelings for Hoon at the expense of others. This particular development seems more a plotted hindrance to Hoon's and Jae-hee's romance than a natural outcome of Soo-hyeon's feelings. Soo-hyeon was initially a strong, decisive woman who has gradually crumbled into an insecure, needy mess. What her character needs is some consistency.

While Soo-hyeon gets some development, Jae-hee has been stuck in a rut, grimacing, keeping secrets, and curbing her temper against Jin-soo's provocation. She finally has an outburst that involved firing a gun very close to Jin-soo's head. While it's good to see her release some pent up energy, it'd be better to have her open up (even if only a little) to Hoon (and to the audience!)

The best part of the how was the tentative friendship budding between Jae-joon and Hoon now that Jae-joon has relinquished his quest. Both men want to be good doctors and respect each other, and the actors have an easy, pleasant rapport. Jae-joon figures out a third commonality between them: Park Cheol, Hoon's father. This could lead to a partnership, or more feuding should Hoon decide to continue to follow orders from Jin-soo and Jae-hee. Hopefully Jae-joon can speed along the divulgence of information I desperately want to know: why is Hoon so important?!

Lastly, Hoon's mommy issues are coming to the fore, which are always wonderful fodder for character exploration. However, Prime Minister Jang also controls when Hoon learns that his mother is housed in the very hospital in which he works. Jang holds much too much power in this show. He's the writer's panacea. If a plot point can't be explained, Jang is used to explain it.

There are a lot of inconsistencies here, but the acting continues to be outstanding. The actors, their chemistry, and the way they light up the screen are the biggest draw for the show. That, and a beautiful soundtrack that makes good use of talented studio musicians.

Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy

Follow on Twitter @raine0211

"Doctor Stranger" is directed by Jin Hyeok, written by Park Jin-wu and features Lee Jong-suk, Jin Se-yeon, Park Hae-jin, Kang So-ra, Jun Gook-hwan, Choi Jung-woo.


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