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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 4

2014/05/15 | Permalink

Jae-hee plays a bigger role this episode while still managing to remain a complete mystery. Hoon, on the other hand, continues to walk his own path, skirting the rules and following the lead of his volatile emotions. However, his walk is given pause in the face of Soo-hyeon's pain.

Hoon seems intent on doing whatever it takes to find Jae-hee, including operating on a patient who is in pain and will most likely not make it. The patient is Soo-hyeon's mother who is in the last, painful stages of lung cancer and it is on her wrist that Hoon finds the bracelet he gave to Jae-hee when they were children. It incites him to do whatever it takes to save Soo-hyeon's mother to get his answers. Quite a few CGI dollars were spent on a wonderfully detailed scene where Hoon imagines Soo-hyeon's mother's surgery. This imagining, plus nightmares of losing Jae-hee, convince Hoon that performing surgery on a patient in pain isn't right. It's a huge step for Hoon because up until now, he was willing to do anything to find Jae-hee. Now he has checked his reckless forward motion.

Part of what convinced him to stop was Soo-hyeon pointing out that her mother didn't want to live. She had signed a DNR. Soo-hyeon had also wanted to honor it, especially since she didn't have fond memories of her mother who had left her. The episode focused a lot on this dilemma and gave us insight into Soo-hyeon's character. Kang So-ra was exceptionally nuanced  in her performance. It's good to see a second lead so well developed. The turn that the episode took towards the end, having Soo-hyeon beg Hoon to save her mother, was poignant for both of them. He is moved by her pleading and by the fact that she desperately asks him to accept the 500 won coin in her pocket - the same coin the girl from the last episode used to ask him to save her father. That coin symbolizes the "Doctor" in Hoon, the sympathetic caregiver that his father had asked him to be. The same moment allows Soo-hyeon to admit to herself that she still loves her mother.

The show is finally settling into a rhythm now that it is staying in one locale, Myung Woo University Hospital. Hoon is settling into a pattern, the characters based in the hospital are being explored, and North Korean Agent Cha Jin-soo has even made a shifty appearance. Jae-joon has proven himself an interesting character because while he seems willing to cut corners to stay at the top, he also seems to genuinely care for his fiancee, Soo-hyeon. He has an intriguing mix of of deceptive, earnest, and ambitious in him.

One thing I really appreciate is that the hospital politics that bog down many-a-medical-drama have not weilded a heavy hand - at least not yet. Jae-joon's surgical team has been pitted against Hoon's (which is morally reprehensible because they're playing with lives here), but that has been the largest political interference. In terms of government politics, Prime Minister Jang continues to skirt what is right in order to seem like an upstanding politician. He's in the episode just long enough to remind us that he exists and that he will be making more unpleasant appearances in the future.

"Doctor Stranger" has solidly set itself up in these first two weeks. The set up was brisque and full of material, but it managed to avoid being tedious. I hope that it proceeds in the same, fast-paced, high action, beautifully filmed way that began its run.

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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