Disclaimer: I wasn’t planning to write a kdrama review for Hospital Playlist because I wanted to watch the kdrama purely for entertainment. But this episode really moved my heart and made me decide to write something about it.
I may or may not come back to write the review for Episode 1. If I ever do, please stay tuned to it. And depending on how good episode 3 is or the demand for more reviews, I will consider whether or not to continue writing reviews for the subsequent episodes. Like I said, I’m only writing this episode’s review because it was really really good!
I’ve watched it’s first season last year, so some of the plot in season one is a little hazy to me. So if there are any references in this episode made to season one, I’m afraid I may not capture (or explain it well).
Watch Hospital Playlist 2 HERE
Episode 2 began at this setting — a cafe named “Angel-in-us” located in the hospital. Jang Gyeol-wul was going to buy coffee and she bumped into her intern.
After watching the entire episode and coming back to watching this episode again, I realised how subtle the theme for this episode is being introduced to the audience. The theme of this episode is actually delivered through this cafe — the name of it tells us all — “Angel-in-us.”
Before diving deep to talk about the main theme, I’d want to talk a little about our characters. Though the drama tends to focus on the situations happening around our five main characters — Lee Ik-jun, Ahn Jeong-won, Kim Jun-wan, Yang Seok-hyeong and Chae Song-Hwa — I think the focus in this episode was put on Yang Seok-hyeong more than his friends. This is also evident in the band practice they had, where the production team put the main vocalist for this episode to be Yang Seok-hyeong.
I have no idea what the title of the song they sang is but I’d want to quote some of the lyrics here:
“All the beautiful things in the world, how long will they last?
Like the flowers that withstood the summer rain showers.
And the trees that withstood the snowstorm last winter.
Can everything under the sky stand alone?”Hospital Playlist Episode 2 Lyrics
Aside from the band practice, more focus was also given to Seok-hyung’s interaction with his patient, his fight with his patient to protect the fetus, his interaction and relationship with his ex-wife…
I noticed the subtle link between the song and the flowers Seok-hyeong received by his patient. I think here, his patient referred Seok-hyeong as the flowers. Tying it to the lyrics of the song, I think the production team wanted to show that even though Seok-hyeong failed to save the baby, he would eventually overcome this set-back and come back stronger.
Specifically, I think this episode also took the chance to give the audiences a glimpse to Seok-hyung’s past.
I think the entire episode did well in bringing out who the little angels are in our lives.
I think this does not need much mention. For a drama in the hospital setting, the role of the doctor often referred to that of an angel — the angel who saves lives of the many.
We can see this in Jun-wan’s case, where his patient had a failing heart and needed an operations. Faith and hope is placed from the mother onto Jun-wan in repairing the heart.
Similarly, this was even further portrayed in Song-hwa’s case, where she took care of a VIP patient (a famous violinist) who suffered a tumour in her brain, and her patient repeatedly praised the abilities and reputation of Song-hwa before they have even met.
For Jeong-won, this was also casted out between his conversation with a mother. The mother was concerned when she heard that Jeong-won might be leaving the hospital, quoting her words “The thoughts of you leaving the hospital worries me more than my husband quitting his job.” While this was said as a joke, we can see how much she cherished Jeong-won’s efforts to cure her son that she wouldn’t have minded her husband not bringing in income for the family in exchange for Jeong-won’s consultation. The mother also reiterated a phrase that the audience commonly heard in season 1: “You’re a Catholic. But your nickname is Buddha.” This was to show how understanding Jeong-won was.
As for Seok-hyeong, when his patient trusted her baby in his hands. Though Seok-hyeong eventually failed to protect his patient’s baby, in his patient’s thank-you card to him, his patient mentioned how Seok-hyeong has given her precious moments to interact with her baby during the short duration in the hospital. Over here, Seok-hyeong was portrayed as the “angel” who has given his patient an opportunity to foster a relationship with her child and gained happiness even when her situation was pessimistic.
The production team also took this chance to feature a quote from Seok-hyeong’s OB/GYN texbook:
Using this quote, the production team has also featured the Seok-hyeong, the representation of doctors, to “good people”, embodied by the the the figure of an “angel”. (Perhaps this quote was also to re-emphasis the significance of “flowers” mentioned earlier and hinting that Seok-hyeong will eventually get over this set-back and come back stronger.)
I think the role of motherhood was also magnified in this episode. There were many parent-and-child scenes featured in this episode to show the worries of a mother at different phases of their child’s growth. First was Seok-hyeong and his patient with pregnancy issue. We can see how determined Seok-hyeong’s patient was in protecting her baby and giving birth to it despite the low chances. Here, we see a mother that is an “angel” protecting her child.
Then, in Jeong-won’s cases, we see a mother trying to get her child to overcome his fear of pain as Jeong-won removes the stitches from the child’s back. Her child was throwing tantrum and crying his pain, putting the mother in a difficult position as she knew how her child was making the doctor’s work harder but at the same time could not do anything about it. Here, we see the mother as an “angel” bearing the brunt of her child’s sufferings.
As for Song-hwa, we see a mother asking for the best medical expertise to treat her daughter. We can see in this episode, the mother constantly emphasised on how only the resident doctors have been treating her daughter and kept asking for Song-hwa’s presence. The production team used the mother’s tone in downplaying the abilities of the resident doctors to highlight that the mother only wanted the best for her daughter’s recovery. Here, we see an “angel” seeking for the very best for her child.
I initially did not catch the message of the children being referred to as “angels” until the scene where Seok-hyeong was reading his patient’s message to him.
"If another angel comes to me, I'd like you to protect me and my baby again"
In this message, his patient referred her baby as an “angel” who has brought happiness and taught her (and her husband) to cherish the short-lived moments they’ve had together.
For Ik-jun’s case, he had a patient who had gotten two liver transplant from each of his daughter. His patient returned with high immunosuppressant level, indicating the return of his habitual alcohol consumption. It was shown in this episode that Ik-jun has time and time repeated and warned his patient to avoid drinking after both his live transplantation but his patient did not heed his words. In frustrations, Ik-jun explicitly denied future consultations with this patient. At the same time, he has also highlighted the dangers the donors had to go through during the transplantation surgery and emphasised how much courage and sacrifices the daughters have volunteered to go through just to save their father’s life. Ik-jun has also mentioned how lucky his patient was to have his daughters volunteering to donate their livers. Using this contrast, Ik-jun portrayed the daughters as the “angels” who gave their all in saving their father’s life.
In terms of character interactions, this episode definitely did not forget our main star’s relationship with other characters. In the lift, we saw Seok-hyeong and his ex-wife together. This was also witnessed by Ik-jun and Min-ha. Seok-hyeong was then being questioned by Ik-jun about his current relationship with his ex-wife.
Then, we are brought to a flashback to the dinner conversation between Seok-hyeong and his ex-wife. Well, here, our questions are also being addressed. Seok-hyeong clearly rejected his ex-wife’s attempt to repair their relationship and explicitly told her that he wasn’t comfortable in seeing her too frequent. Within his words, we can also sense a tone of regret and guilt as he also mentioned how he felt bad for not being able to be by her side during her toughest times. Though this episode did not explicitly state what it was, together with the OB/GYN textbook on his table, we can speculate that perhaps his ex-wife experienced a miscarriage while he was away overseas.
Nonetheless, with Seok-hyeong drawing such a clear line with his ex-wife, perhaps our dear Min-ha has a chance to advance. We’ll only know in the later episodes since it’s still too early to tell~
Well, in this episode, we definitely did see improvements in the relationship between Ahn Jeong-won and Jang Gyeo-wul! With the opening scene revealing the slight jealously from Jeong-won when Gyeo-wul mentioned that she had Ik-jun’s staff card to the scene where Jeong-won announced his official relationship to his friends, we can see a set of couple solidifying in this drama!!!
The next couple to look at is Kim Jun-wan and Lee Ik-sun. Not much development in their relationship was revealed in this episode actually, only some snippets of their face-time sessions and telling each other about their daily lives. But I think this is also a development to something more in the subsequent episodes, so I do look forward~
And lastly, (probably?) this entire kdrama’s main couple — Lee Ik-jun and Chae Song-hwa. With Song-hwa’s rejection in episode 1, the interaction between these two characters still appeared normal and natural. But the small interactions between the two characters show otherwise! Some interactions in the episode are hinting their relationship becoming closer.
For instance, in the scene where Song-hwa was taking the noodles from the pot and the noodles she was holding on accidentally slipped back into the pot, causing the soup to splatter onto Ik-jun’s face, Song-hwa naturally took tissue and wiped the soup from Ik-jun’s face. You definitely don’t see this interaction between Song-hwa and the other main characters.
Also, there was another scene featuring the back views of Ik-jun, Song-hwa and Jun-wan walking along the hospital’s main lobby. You can notice that only Ik-jun placed his hands on Song-hwa’s shoulder but not Jun-wan. And the fact that Song-hwa did not reject Ik-jun’s hand hints her acceptance deep down in her heart. So perhaps Ik-jun still has a chance afterall?
Yes!!! I really think episode 2 was very very very well delivered! I think it was really delicate to feature the cafe’s name “Angel-in-us” at the start of this episode as a way to present the angelic figure of the people around us and then panelling into showing the various angels in the hospital and then, in our lives.
I think it was also strategic to end the episode with Song-hwa rushing to the cafe only to find it closed and then to seeing two cups of coffee on her car. Maybe this is a method the production team used to indicate that the episode has ended and they’re wrapping up the theme?
In terms of character relationship, I think this episode did well in creating developments for some characters, at the same time hinting on potential developments in other characters. I think it has done well in creating the anticipation amongst the audience.
And I think it was a good approach to use to wrap up the episode by featuring the two cups of coffee from “Angel-in-us”. A pair of coffee — perhaps to represent a parent and a child — that is from “Angel-in-us”, the name that encompasses this episode’s theme.
There were also other parts of this episode that I haven’t yet figured out: the significance of coffee, the significance of the cake shared by Song-hwa and Heo Sun-Bin –what do they represent? Perhaps if I were to come back and watch this episode again, I might be able to find my answer. But for now, I will look forward to episode 3~
Thanks for reading~ I did this review in a rush and in the middle of the night. I tried my best to put up some links I’ve observed in this episode, but feel free to comment below if you have other thoughts. Thank you~
UPDATE: So apparently I went to write a review for Episode 6. If you’re keen, click here!