jb: So if you’ve got a question along the lines of “Why do dramas do that?” feel free to ask us now, and we’ll see if we can work it into the panel. […] Basically, if you’re wondering it, we wanna hear it. ‘Cause sometimes you don’t know if a drama is crazy because you’re missing something in the translation, or if it’s crazy because it’s just crazy.
gf: Except Doctor Stranger. That was just crazy.
Ahaha, so that’s the verdict? That it’s crazy indeed? And i persisted and watched the show till the very end? I don’t even know where the tolerance came from. I was definitely not staying put because of the pretty — i dropped Personal Taste early into the series and Lee Min-ho was in it. Somehow i just did, fully aware that drama didn’t do me any good, neither did it excite or engage me in any way. There’s Heirs, then Golden Rainbow, and now Doctor Stranger.
Well, at least Golden Rainbow‘s middle third was cute and breezy to watch (can’t un-see the ending tho’ x_x), whereas the other two… (Negating my statement three sentences back) In retrospect, i think i did follow Heirs to the very end solely due to the pretty, ‘cuz the story was going nowhere. It is 20-episode long, arguably star-studded, but it never went anywhere near interesting even in the romance department. Nearly all 20-episode dramas i watched lately don’t have enough content to warrant the ‘extra’ four hours.
As for Doctor Stranger… i watched the finale days before a recap of which was up. I jumped straight to comments section looking to be enlightened. I felt like i was missing something as i wasn’t getting it. And i did wonder if it was due to mistranslation, unintentional omittance, me leaving my brain out while watching it or because it was simply unfathomable. Suffice to say, i didn’t find the answer i was after. Not because the recapper didn’t explain it, the drama didn’t. I think my head’s gonna explode trying to make sense of it all that’s why my brain was tuning out during the runtime.
Halfway through the series, i still had hope — that it’d make sense, that the puzzle pieces would eventually fit. It has begun going in circles by then, but i was sticking around for the hospital scenes (especially the surgeries). I still regard it as the show’s most compelling aspect. Although Hoon was highly unlikely to fail — a genius but he isn’t touted as the never-fail doctor to begin with — every single time he held a scalpel, i was on my seat’s edge.
That’s it. Nothing else matters. The rest are noisy-nosy passersby.
First off, i still don’t get the need for Jae-hee to take on new persona. Even if she wasn’t, she could just fake being her and Hoon would swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Then they could get off with the so-called grand mission and get through it in record time, no dilly dallying. The show spent an awful lot of time on it, holding indefinite rounds of (pointless) competition to decide who the better doctor is when the involved parties has singled Hoon out — BEFORE they became wishy-washy and changed their minds over and over again.
Next, character inconsistency. Hoon’s contrasting personality inside and outside operating theater made him an interesting character to follow, but he was a hopeless case when it comes to his love interest. Jae-hee had a cheery disposition that matches Hoon’s — they made a cute couple back in DPRK — but Seung-hee was lifeless. You can have a stoic impassive character and still bring it to life (case in point, see You from Another Star‘s Do Min-joon).
Soo-hyun aka Dolpari was likable in the beginning, but at midway point, she’s reduced to be someone haplessly pining for Hoon… all while Jae-joon was still her official boyfriend. And there’s Jae-joon, whom i thought would be the most consistent of all. He had been building the castle for 20 freaking years, but when he’s finally there he had a change of heart? He didn’t get the apology he’s after, Myeongwoo didn’t suffer a backlash it deserves, yet he dropped it just like that? I dun geddit.
And… what happened to Director Choi? Yunno, the ahjussi that sent little Hoon to DPRK? Last thing i saw him, he’s going to China and then help to find Jae-hee, or something… and he never reappeared.
Lastly, the ending of course. Is it really necessary to reprise the oh-so-dramatic bridge scene? It wasn’t that gripping the first time, the second time all tension evaporated; even Lee Jong-seok didn’t look like he’s exerting any energy towards holding Jin Se-yeon’s hanging body. Why must anyone who’s shot fall over the railing? It’s possible in Cha Jin-soo’s case since he stood by waist-high railing, or in Jae-hee’s case in episode 2 as she staggered towards it, but in the finale, the railing was (her) chest-high! And she shielded Hoon in the middle of the bridge’s decks! And didn’t Hoon get shot before he jumped off the railing? Wasn’t the mission accomplished that way? So why must Cha Jin-soo commit suicide?
Somehow i’m also not liking how dramas tend to end the series with an epilogue led in by a time jump. It is more anticlimactic than whatnot. ‘Cuz i knew it’s a fakeout; nobody’s gon’ die. We’ve seen how nobody in this drama dies due to gunshot and then falling to the body of water. Plus, i am not a fan of pairing off side characters with just anybody. Soo-hyun-Jae-joon’s last-minute reunion felt so much a rebound to me. And Chang-yi ended up with that playboy doctor? Nononono…
Director: Jin Hyuk
Production: SBS, 2014
Cast: Lee Jong-seok, Jin Se-yeon, Park Hae-jin, Kang So-ra, Park Hae-joon
Genre: Medical, Spy, Romance, Melo K-drama (20 Episodes)