It's time for Park Hoon to take stock of his place in life. This episode forced him to consider his path forward and take a hard look at his past. Up until now, he's skirted issues concerning himself and focused on his search for Jae-hee. Other characters have agendas for Hoon to follow, but whether he chooses to follow is his decision. He's always been a wild card.
Hoon is so volatile because of how he grew up. He was kidnapped to the north, grew up in fear, and then forced to perform surgeries that often lead to the deaths of perfectly healthy people. Those surgeries and subsequent deaths were not done by the doctor he, nor his father, wanted to be and he finds himself unworthy of his doctor's coat. It's difficult for him to reconcile his path with his desires and efforts of the present. Hoon's path to learning to be and feel like a real doctor again, to redefine himself, is part of this story. He treats everything like a joke because he feels like a joke: he saves people now when he killed them before. It's a great character dichotomy, especially when couples with Hoon's peculiar attitude.
Jae-hee (or the woman who may or may not be Jae-hee) seems to soften this episode after Hoon hugs her. She pays special attention to him, jarred when Jin-soo calls her, and respecting the work he does as a doctor on the patient's behalf. It may be a ruse, but her acknowledgement of his true doctor's heart is what convinces Hoon not to give up his path as a real doctor, one who saves. That motivation allows him to manipulate Director Oh into giving financial support for twin babies who would die without it. The manipulation is very much Hoon, but so is the heart behind wanting to save the babies.
Also, Hoon is a political pawn for many characters, but intentions are unclear and the mystery is scintillating. The reason some of these mysteries continue to have fuel is because "Doctor Stranger" has revealed a few secrets about Hoon, and Jae-joon, to satisfy curiosity. Prime Minister Jang wants Hoon to do his surgery with full knowledge that Hoon would rather kill him. Jang's motivations are the most interesting by far. What is the plan behind such a twisted move? Because Jang has very few moral boundaries, the plan could be nearly anything. After all, he did leave Hoon and his father in North Korea to better his own career.
As for Jae-joon, he is still a mystery. Why does he want the hospital and fear loving Soo-heyon? He tries to harden himself around her, but only manages to truly harden when looking at his model castles or around Director Oh, her father. There was a hint dropped that he may be the victim of the neglected lawsuit Hoon's father was working on before he was sent to the North.
Soo-hyeon was mostly reactionary this episode as the last few saw her growing through the tragedy of her mother's death. We do see that she is very strong and able of standing up to her cruel half-brother. We also see that she truly is beginning to like Hoon, which should spark Jae-joon's jealousy and make everything even more complicated. What I like about her feelings is that they're unexpected and she does genuinely like Jae-joon. Also, her crush doesn't mean she caters to everything Hoon does. The opposite in fact: she has her feet firmly on the ground and always fights for what she believes in. She is similar to Hoon in that way.
There were a few other great moments in the episode. Dr. Moon has been a pleasant presence on screen. He is comedic relief, but actor Choi Jung-woo brings an extra spark to him. Beyond the levity, is a man who has a goal, which we learn this episode. Then, in a scene between Hoon and (maybe?) Jae-hee, the camera captures the reflection of each person in the others' eyes as they stare at each other. It's the moment they truly begin to see each other in the situation they are currently in. It's the moment (maybe?) Jae-hee wavers and Hoon sees she's not the woman he used to know, either in that she's a different woman entirely, or has been forcibly changed by experience.
"Doctor Stranger" does not have the most airtight plot around, but it makes up for it in the writing and portrayal of its characters. Lee Jong-suk makes Park Hoon a raw, damaged, passionate character who is easy to root for even when he makes mistakes. Park Hae-jin's Jae-joon is pitiable because of the vulnerability behind the stony facade. Kang So-ra makes Soo-hyeon a powerful woman who has understandable moments of weakness. These actors and the beauty of the camera work help me forget the inconsistencies in plot and focus on the emotions of the moment I am watching.
Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy
Follow on Twitter @raine0211
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 7"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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