Watching episode 11 of Dr. Stranger immediately makes me think of the phrase now in the urban lexicon of “crack is whack.” That statement is true except sadly the person who said it was excoriating the rock form of cocaine not because it’s an illegal substance but because it’s cheap. So the phrase primarily indicates oblivious ridiculousness in taking what is really obvious and twisting it into something obtuse. Nothing about Dr. Stranger makes sense anymore as episode 11 just stepped off the edge and fallen into a pit of anything goes crazy land. With the last two episodes dragging out the Seung Hee/Jae Hee identity confirmation and tossing in too much spy side development, this episode instead acts like the spy side doesn’t even exist and paddles in the shallow pool of awkward comedic kerfluffles. I don’t even have the energy to say “whut da fuck is this?” anymore. It also returns to the doctor-centric narrative which is much needed before Park Hoon (and all the doctors) forget their day jobs as doctors which is to save lives. But before I could let out a sigh of relief, suddenly all the doctors started bickering and fighting over patients and position once again and I wanted to chuck them all in the nearest landfill.
I thought the battle for PM Jang’s surgery rights was over with Hoon winning the twin surgery showdown, except this drama decided that one battle didn’t isn’t enough and the stakes got raised to best-out-of-three. That is such a blatant way to drag out Jae Joon and Hoon’s operating room dueling which was always one of the worst parts of the story. To see two surgeons use surgery as an exhibition of skill and competing against each other remains such a violation of medical ethics and human decency. Hoon also gets more screen time with Soo Hyun in more pointless fanservice trolling, which is sad because their friendship and easy going camaraderie was lovely until that ship insisted it had to be more and now when I see them together it leaves me cold. Why can’t friends just be friends, ugh. At least this episode had moments of Seung Hee/Hoon cuteness that echo their more idyllic times together in North Korea when they were medical students. Of course none of this episode ought to happen what with spy master Comrade Cha supposedly hovering over everyone but he’s conveniently MIA when the drama needs his jerky face to stop disrupting the more lighthearted moments in the drama. Who cares if anything makes sense anymore, right?
Episode 11 recap:
Jae Joon does the run of pain in suitably dreary weather and has time to model his Samsung Galaxy watch. His run of pain turns all slo-mo to allow his hair to waft so dramatically and he then slows down as he flashes back to pathetically begging on his knees before Chairman Oh for another chance because he doesn’t want to lose Soo Hyun and wants to turn Myung Woo hospital into the best.
Chairman Oh is moved by Jae Joon’s abject begging and brings him inside, even offering him a towel to dry himself. He snipes that he is giving Jae Joon a second chance because of Soo Hyun, and then hands him ammunition to use against Park Hoon in the form of the records of Hoon viewing Seung Hee’s medical records.
Dr. Kim wakes up in his underwear and recollects his drunken singing the night before. He notices a form sleeping beside him and slowly peels back the cover to discover the top half of a mannequin from which he picked up last night in his drunken carousing. Dr. Kim answers a call from Jae Joon who heard about all the drinking last night and wants to make sure Dr. Oh made it home safely. Dr. Kim sees a hand touching him and quickly ends the call with Jae Joon before peeling off the other edge of the blanket to reveal a sleeping Dr. Keom also only in his underwear.
Dr. Kim freaks out screaming OH MY GOD and then both doctors remember drunkenly staggering into Soo Hyun’s apartment last night. They chase each other out in the living room and notice clothes littered all up the stairs. They slowly walk upstairs and gasp to see Dr. Park in bed cuddling another person. Dr. Keom pulls the blankets off and both guys start screaming when they see Dr. Moon in bed with Hoon. Soo Hyun wakes up from sleeping on the ground and chases Dr. Kim out of the bed with the bottom half of the mannequin. Hoon just cuddles Dr. Moon some more and goes back to bed.
Everyone is recovering from their hangover down in the living room and Soo Hyun is shocked to hear that everyone is in her apartment because she dragged them all home with her last night. Soo Hyun tries to push everyone out of her place when suddenly the door opens and moving men arrive with Seung Hee. Seung Hee naturally wonders why everyone is here? Hoon asks why Dr. Han is here and Seung Hee glares at him before explaining that she rented this place. Soo Hyun can’t believe it since she also rented this place.
Soo Hyun and Seung Hee sit with the rental agent who admits both of them rented the same place. Soo Hyun chats with Seung Hee later and offers to move out since Seung Hee rented the place first. Seung Hee asks if that’s okay and Soo Hyun admits being disappointed since the place is close to the hospital and convenient. Seung Hee offers to let Soo Hyun live with her until she gets her own place, especially after Soo Hyun’s mom’s let her stay with her before.
Hoon notices Seung Hee talking with Soo Hyun and hears that Seung Hee is offering to let Soo Hyun stay with her until she finds her own place. Hoon says to not bring Soo Hyun under her wing just like that and Seung Hee asks if Hoon is worried about Soo Hyun? Hoon asks what she means and Seung Hee looks around to make sure the coast is clear before dragging Hoon away by the ear like before. Ahhhhh, they are so cute and this is more like it!
Seung Hee drags Hoon to the stairwell and asks what the heck is going on between them? Hoon doesn’t understand until Seung Hee pulls Soo Hyun’s hair from his forehead. Hoon sheepishly admits he piggybacked her but it was Seung Hee who told him to have fun. She points out he wasn’t the only guy there and Hoon agrees to let other piggyback Soo Hyun in the future. That appeases Seung Hee and she’s about to leave when Hoon stops her and asks why she doesn’t smile like she used to. Seung Hee says “right now the situation makes it so I can’t smile.”
After Seung Hee walks away Hoon looks at Soo Hyun’s hair and says she’s totally dead. He tracks down Soo Hyun to demand that she not leave her hair everywhere just because she’s drunk. Hoon decides to massage her head to prevent her from losing hair and Soo Hyun massages his head back because she can’t stand his horrible hairstyle. They are goofing off and Seung Hee sees all of this and looks very sad.
Hoon abjectly apologizes to Chang Yi for last night and she accepts his apology and takes her truck keys back. Hoon makes sure she’ll keep silent about her suspicion that Seung Hee is a spy. Jae Joon walks up and asks to speak with Hoon.
Dr. Kim asks Soo Hyun if she’s living with Seung Hee and hears they are temporary roomies. Chairman Oh overhears and asks why Soo Hyun has to move out. She wanted so much to please him and living with him to do so but now she knows that he cares about her so she wants to be more independent. Chairman Oh is fine with it and asks Soo Hyun to get engaged to Jae Joon. Soo Hyun’s hand clenches and her dad asks if there is any problem with that? Soo Hyun wonders if Jae Joon will be transferred to the secondary hospital and Chairman Oh wouldn’t do that to his future son-in-law. Soo Hyun leaves her dad’s office and sees Jae Joon and Hoon walk past. She remembers Hoon hugging her and teasing whether she’s his destiny? She then remembers hugging Jae Joon in the elevator.
Jae Joon asks Hoon for a best-out-of-three in order to determine who will represent Myung Woo and operate on the PM. Hoon scoffs at that ridiculous changing of the rules since it was already decided as a one-shot winner takes all. He has no desire to do more battles on patients either. Jae Joon switches tactics and tries to bribe Hoon with money to just give up his shot but he’s not interested. Jae Joon heard Hoon needed lots of money to bring his girlfriend over. Hoon scoffs at how Jae Joon is so into making money but Jae Joon rebuts that he has an even more pressing reason than money. Hoon wants to know what but Jae Joon claims its because the Chairman wants it. Everyone has a reason to live, for Hoon it’s his girlfriend in the North and for Jae Joon it’s to become the head of this hospital. The money he’s offering is a lot to him as well which is why his reason is that important.
Hoon knows it’s all about making Chairman Oh happy because that’s what Dr. Moon is also doing. Unfortunately for Jae Joon, Hoon isn’t going to accept his offer even with this reason. Jae Joon asks if Hoon thinks his reason is insignificant. It isn’t to Hoon but he also has a very important reason to operate on PM Jang. Hoon sincerely apologizes and turns to leave but Jae Joon warns Hoon that he better accept the offer. Hoon asks if that’s a threat? Jae Joon asks again that Hoon step aside from the surgery team for PM Jang but Hoon declines once again.
Jae Joon tells Hoon that he’ll regret it and after Hoon leaves Jae Joon calls the cops. Dr. Moon sits in his office admiring his new name plate when two cops come to take him away. Cops also arrive to take Hoon away for invasion of privacy in viewing medical records. Hoon sees Dr. Moon being taken away and he pins the blame all on Hoon. Hoon storms over to Jae Joon and asks if this is what he means about regretting not taking his offer?
Jae Joon wonders if Hoon is regretting it now? Hoon is a little but this isn’t the end of it. Jae Joon says again that his reason is more important that Hoon getting his girl in the North back. Hoon can see Chairman Oh and Soo Hyun watching this whole thing go down. Dr Moon begs the Chairman to save him but he does nothing and Dr. Moom is dragged off.
Dr. Moon and Hoon are placed in the backseat of a police vehicle together and Hoon teaches Dr. Moon the three rules of being taken away by the cops. One escape, two deny, and three confess. Hoon tries to open the door to the police vehicle and finds it locked. They first deny all allegations to the interviewing officer and when that doesn’t work then Hoon starts crying and admits he did it all but under orders from his master Dr. Moon.
Soo Hyun storms to Jae Joon’s office and asks if he turned in Hoon to the cops? How could he do it when Hoon was just caught up in Seung Hee looking like his girlfriend. Did Jae Joon do this because he lost the surgery battle to Hoon? Jae Joon asks if Soo Hyun thinks he’s such a guy? He did it not because of that, it’s because Soo Hyun always takes that guy’s side. Soo Hyun yells back that Hoon doesn’t have room in his heart for her, his whole heart is filled with that girl named Jae Hee! Jae Joon points out that Soo Hyun is angry about that, angry that Hoon doesn’t have a place in his heart for her?
Jae Joon takes Soo Hyun’s hand and asks her to come back to his team, asks her to come back to his side. Soo Hyun claims to want that as well, but she sees Jae Joon blocking her and pushing her away. Soo Hyun pulls her hand out and leaves.
Soo Hyun finds Seung Hee and asks her to take a trip to the police station to bail out Hoon. Seung Hee eyes twirl like she’s thinking about whether to go or not but ends up going. Chang Yi is delivering water and sees the two ladies walk past and wonders why she’s hiding? She hears Dr. Kim talking about Hoon getting taken away to by the police. Dr. Kim can’t stand Dr. Park and is happy to see him spend a few years in jail. Chang Yi wails him with an empty water bottle and dares him to be mean to her hyung again.
Dr. Moon and Hoon are jailed in adjoining cells when Seung Hee arrives with Soo Hyun. Dr. Moon keeps yelling that he did nothing while Hoon keeps giggling that he was ordered by his master. Soo Hyun wants the charges dismissed because the victim is here and wants to let it go. The cops can’t do that until the complaining witness drops the charges. Said witness is Jae Joon who arrives and wants both doctors to drop out of the PM surgery team otherwise they can rot in here and have their licenses taken away. If they won’t then he’ll allow them to switch the battle to best-out-of-three. Dr. Moon immediately accepts but Hoon still won’t. Jae Joon will let Hoon pick the second patient and Hoon peeks at Seung Hee who nods reluctantly so Hoon also accepts the lame proposal.
Everyone leaves the hospital and Soo Hyun immediately drags Jae Joon off to talk while Dr. Moon chases after the HR guy who ratted him out. Soo Hyun asks why Jae Joon is so underhanded that he changed the rules midway. Jae Joon doesn’t think so because he got both guys out of the hospital. Soo Hyun turns down his offer to drive her back to the hospital and storms off.
Seung Hee pulls over with Hoon in tow and he finally asks why she wants him to operate on PM Jang? Seung Hee will tell him later but for now they need to listen to Comrade Cha. Hoon knows Comrade Cha won’t let them off the hook that easily even if they succeed. Seung Hee smiles that she wants to protect Hoon and she has a plan. She smiles that she has a plan where they can live together happily and not be under surveillance by others. For that to happen, he needs to first operate on PM Jang. Hoon sighs and agrees to go along with it. Seung Hee thanks him and Hoon asks for one thing from her which is a smile. Seung Hee smiles and Hoon just smiles at her and keeps asking her to smile more broadly.
Chang Yi is packing up her water when she sees Hoon and Seung Hee arrive back at the hospital. She’s happy Hoon is out and he notices something off with her face. She confesses a job asked her to get dressed up and all she needs to do is stand by a car. She wants to show him her pretty dress but he pats her on the head and says later.
Chang Yi takes off her jeans and jacket right next to her truck when suddenly Dr. Kim walks out and totally ogles her. Chang Yi smiles at him and then slams him with two empty water bottles while calling him a pervert!
Hoon is almost run over by a taxi pulling up outside the hospital. A sick looking woman gets out and goes to see her husband wheeling her son to meet her. The woman suddenly collapses in pain and Hoon rushes over to do his magic touching diagnoses after he first checks her vitals. He diagnoses that her heart is bleeding out and quickly summons nurses to bring her into the ER. A douchey older doctor rushes in to take the patient from Hoon claiming he called her to the hospital so she’s his patient.
Hoon has to relinquish her when Chairman Oh arrives. He goes to confront Hoon about him being Park Chul’s son and how Park Chul was willing to testify as a witness in a malpractice suit and destroy the hospital then. But the lawsuit was dropped and since then Myung Woo has saved countless lives. Hoon credits that to the doctors and not the hospital staff who are paid by the patients. Chairman Oh orders Hoon to behave and not like rashly like his dad did. He’s warns Hoon that he’s not to be trifled with.
The sick woman’s son and husband ask Hoon how the patient is doing and he admits another doctor took her away. A nurse comes by to bring the two to see the patient who just woke up.
Comrade Cha meets with Secretary Kim and hears about the new best-out-of-three competition for PM Jang’s heart surgery. Comrade Cha wonders if they did everything just for this. Secretary Kim doesn’t think it matters since they just want to get paid. Comrade Cha doesn’t think relying on Jae Joon will pan out so Secretary Kim tells him to pray that Park Hoon will win.
PM Jang is excited about how this game has become more interesting. He wants to bet with Secretary Kim on who wins round two? He’ll bet on Han Jae Joon because that’ll make the game dragged on and more interesting.
Hoon walks up the patient’s room and finds her awake though he’s not convinced she’ll in the clear. Hoon goes to view the x-ray for that patient to look for bleeding but Soo Hyun can’t see any such bleeding. Dr. Moon wants Hoon to stop wasting him time and start strategizing with him about how to beat Jae Joon. Dr. Moon suggests doing the surgery in the dark since Hoon is so good.
The patient’s husband comes looking for Hoon because he doesn’t think the doctors who are treating his wife are right. Hoon believes the wife’s heart stents has one bleeding which caused her to faint. The husband asks if Hoon thinks the bleeding will stop like the internist claimed? Hoon hopes so but if it doesn’t then she’s in even greater danger.
The husband gets a call and freaks out because his wife’s heart has stopped. The incompetent doctors manage to shock her heart back and keeps insisting that it was just temporary bleeding and will stop. My god, this hospital needs to be shut down because of its sheer incompetence. The husband begs Hoon to operate on his wife against the other doctors orders and Hoon agrees to ask his master for permission.
The useless internist keeps insisting the bleeding will stop so won’t let them operate on the patient. Hoon insists on doing it but the internist warns Hoon not to touch their patient because doing so will be severely disciplined by the hospital even up to getting fired. Hoon insists on doing the surgery but Dr. Moon refuses to go along with it.
The two men bicker like an old married couple and Hoon grouses that he’s going to do it no matter what. He runs into the woman’s son with the broken leg who shares his guilt at not being able to help his sick mom because he’s a cripple. Hoon admits he’s an even worse son remembering how his dad got executed before his eyes.
Hoon asks Seung Hee to be his anesthesiologist for this surgery and she agrees. He adorably says “thank you, Dr. Han” and Seung Hee smiles warmly back at him.
Hoon then goes to beg Nurse Min who also agrees to scrub him which earns her a hug for her help. She suggests finding another assistant rather than Dr. Yang so he goes to ask Soo Hyun. She’s still trying to see where the bleeding is when Hoon takes her hand to ask if he can borrow it for surgery for this patient.
The patient is wheeled into surgery against all hospital rules and protocol. When the internist team find their patient missing, he freaks out and storms down to the OR to get her back. Seung Hee sedates the patient while Soo Hyun and Hoon scrub in. Hoon stares at Seung Hee and confirms for Soo Hyun that this surgery is going to be hard.
In the other OR, Dr. Eun notices Hoon and Soo Hyun scrubbing in and hears from Dr. Keom that their current surgery is supposedly the last surgery of the day. Jae Joon finishes up and looks out the window. Dr. Moon is trying to find Hoon when the internist arrives followed by Sang Jin leading his guards. Chairman Oh is also briefed on this unscheduled surgery and is totally surprised.
Hoon thanks Soo Hyun for helping out but before they can enter the OR is when Sang Jin storms in to stop them. Sang Jin touches Hoon’s hands and gets a head butt in return. The internist team storm in and wants to drag the patient back to her hospital room. He punches Hoon in the face for daring to override his diagnosis and when Soo Hyun speaks up he almost smacks her, too.
Jae Joon storms over and drags the rude doctor off Soo Hyun and asks if the hand of an internist is used to strike other? Hoon smiles as all the internists are dragged off and looks inside the OR to smile reassuringly at Seung Hee inside. Jae Joon asks what Hoon is doing and Hoon announces that he found the second patient for their round two battle.
Thoughts of Mine:
I can’t believe how going one round in recapping this drama leaves me stumbling around afterwards like I just took a ride of the carnival whirlytwirl. A little bit nauseous and a tiny smidge regretting I got on the ride in the first place. How come everyone around Hoon can keep changing the rules for him? This drama keeps lowering the stakes because the scary consequences appear to be easily overturned. Jae Joon lost the one-battle-to-rule-them-all match except with some groveling and an serendipitous side-switching by PM Jang, suddenly he gets another shot and Chairman Oh goes from pissed at Jae Joon to being even more pissed at Park Hoon. Soo Hyun also went from being all cuddly with Jae Joon to disappointed in his moral character and finding herself seeking out Hoon’s company while making excuses not to hang out with Jae Joon. There is zero character consistency anymore in this drama, people say, do, and react in order for the story line to head down one path and that feels like such audience manipulation to me. This episode still didn’t openly confirm that Seung Hee is Jae Hee but at least her scenes with Hoon echo so much of her life with her in the past that once again it’s confirmation enough that she can only be Jae Hee. Her vague proclamation that she “has a plan” made me burst into giggles at how far-fetched it’s chances of success likely are, but then this drama will find a way to make shit happen when it needs to. I can’t say the random funny scenes weren’t funny and I did laugh until I realized that I’m mostly in pain for how much this drama hurts my brain. For whatever reason I can’t stop watching still but have to gird myself from likely continued narrative collapse so that I’m not too bummed out by it.
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