Friday, August 9, 2013

Good Doctor episode 2: Dramatic Review


Welcome back to this week's second installment of Good Doctor.

Before we get started talking about the finer points of this episode, there was something I neglected to mention in my first review.  I need to get something off my chest before we continue.  This drama, like so many other dramas (and non-dramas for that matter) regardless of the genre, doesn't necessarily get everything perfect when it comes to technicalities.  I know that this can sometimes make people (like me) twitchy as you sit there yelling at the screen "that's not what would actually happen!" or "I'm a/an {insert professional fill-in-the-blank} and that is just so wrong the way they are portraying XYZ".  For example, this drama deals with autism in the form of an autistic savant.  I don't know if there's another PC term for this - obviously the old "idiot savant" is out, so I'm sticking with autistic savant.  Now, I am no expert in this field.  I should probably know more than I do considering my mother-in-law has worked with autistic children for years and I have friends and family either somewhere on the spectrum themselves or with children on the spectrum.  To be frank, many times I've suspected one of my own dear children to fall somewhere on this spectrum.  I should know more, but I don't.  I do take issue with one glaring thing mentioned early on in this drama - the idea that autism is "curable".  The vast majority of experts in this field I'm sure would take major issue with this idea of it being curable.  Manageable with different coping techniques?  Yes.  Curable?  No.  Like in any form of entertainment based upon one certain area of expertise whether it be medical, law, or even culinary just to name a few, you're going to have errors.  It's just a fact.  Things that even non-experts would see and say "no way is that possible".  This is one of those examples.  For the sake of sanity, we're just going to have to agree to let those things go as we continue on with this drama together.  I will not be spending time pointing out flaws and misconceptions/inaccuracies.  I just won't.  So if you're looking for that, don't look for it here as you won't find it.  There are a lot of medical terms and things being tossed around willy nilly in this drama.  I will not go into every one of them and verify them for accuracy.  That would be crazy and totally defeat the purpose of what we do here.  I mention the curable autism thing because I have a sneaky suspicion that this will be a major plot point as this drama progresses.  Shi On is supposedly "cured" while still exhibiting symptoms on occasion.  Yes, this notion is ridiculous.  It will continue to be so.  Can we, however, just agree from here on out to acknowledge the obvious ridiculousness and then move on?  I don't want to dwell on it.  Can we, for the sake of non-twitchy drama watching conclude that no, autism in real life is not curable, but in the magical land of dramas it's possible?  If we can accept other fantasy in other dramas, can't we just accept this as well?  I know I'm asking for a lot here and I'm sorry.  I just don't want to feel like I must pick to pieces every episode in which something inaccurate is portrayed.  We'd be here forever.  And no one would leave feeling happy.  So consider this the acknowledgement of errors and inaccuracies and let's move on, shall we?


Now on with the show!

Dongsaeng's Drama Doctoring of Episode 2
As fun as the whole "Joo Won" thing was with the first episode's review, I think from here on out I'll go ahead and switch back to my normal numbered structure, but what number to do?  When I think of doctors, one number that immediately comes to mind is 8, because, as many of you may know, it typically takes 8 years of school in order to become a doctor - 4 in undergrad and 4 in medical school.  So, I've decided that that will be the number we'll use for these recaps.  This appears to be a more complicated drama and I think I'll need the extra two points every week to try and squeeze it all in.

1.  Well, Hello There  *wiggly eyebrows*
Ep 2 starts out where it left off - Yoon Seo has awoken in Shi On's apartment.  We're all wondering how she knew the code to get in.  She reaches for the nearest "weapon", the remote control, and Joo Won fangirls the world over start screaming "don't change the channel!"  (rim shot)  As luck would have it, she ends up switching the TV on just as they are reporting news of rapists bringing women back to their homes.  Poor Shi On just stands there in his boxers, brushing his teeth, wondering what this strange woman is doing in his bed.  Eventually she realizes that she is the one that has entered someone else's apartment uninvited, not the other way around.  Whoops.  The mystery behind the misunderstanding is soon revealed - up until a week ago, it had been her apartment and apparently the code hadn't been changed with the new occupant's arrival.  She now lives upstairs, and in her drunken state, entered the wrong apartment.  Joo Won in boxers and a giggle - not a bad way to start the episode, now is it?

2.  Dr Skeleton Face

It's Shi On's first day on the job.  He and the other residents are making their rounds when Shi On's attention is drawn to another doctor's patient that is sharing the same room.  The boy is not feeling well and begins to vomit bile.  A check of symptoms and the chart and Shi On instantly recognizes that something serious is going on with this boy who is 3 days post-op.  The operating doctor was Dr Skeleton Face, Chief Ko Choong Man, who is away at a "conference" - i.e. he's out schmoozing on the golf course with a drug rep or something (they are talking about a specific med that Dr Skele assures he has already been using).  When the hospital staff finally, after repeated attempts, reaches him, he tells them that he is two hours out and that his patient is not to be touched by anyone else.  Well, this young boy doesn't have 2 hours to wait, everyone agrees on that.  They don't all agree on what to do about it.  Hot Doc Do Han takes the hands-off approach while Shi On opts for the hands-on.  Shi On, with the help of Murse Jo Jung Mi, grabs the patient and rushes him into the operating room, insisting that he'll just have to do the surgery himself.  In the panic and emotion of the moment, he has started exhibiting some serious autistic tendencies and is a disaster, knocking things over and otherwise obviously incapable of performing the surgery under the stress.

3.  Two-fer
When Hot Doc hears of Shi On's bold move, he is forced to make the difficult decision to perform the operation himself.  Problem is is that he's already in surgery with one patient.  So what does he do?  Split the team and do two surgeries at once of course. 

Once surgery starts, it becomes aparent (through help from Shi On who has been kicked out of the OR and is watching from the viewing area) that Chief Skele's patient's problems started with mistakes made during the original surgery as well as this dangerous drug he's been receiving (the one being talked about on the golf course?  Probably).  After some tense moments, both surgeries wrap up successfully, both children out of the woods for now.  Just in time for Chief Skele to show up.  He's ranting and raving, until he drops a golf ball during his tirade.  Ooh -- he's in trou-ble!  Better tuck yer tail between yer legs and slink off like the little weasel you are there buddy. 

4.  You've Got a Friend in Me

His insubordination earns Shi On a punch in the face from a very angry Hot Doc Do Han.  If we're supposed to be reminded of the heartbreaking beatings he received as a child, well then, mission accomplished.  Poor Shi On!  Yoon Seo takes him under her wing and helps patch him up, explaining to him what he did wrong and how he can't be doing things like that.  He is also shown kindness from Murse Jo.  Director Choi, in Shi On's corner as always, takes the opportunity to explain to Hot Doc that Shi On smiled after being hit because that's what autistic people do - react by exhibiting opposite emotional responses in situations which is what earned him even more beatings from his peers as a child.  Is your heart breaking yet?  You'd have to be made of stone to not feel at least a twinge of sympathy for our dear leading man.  Even Hot Doc's anger is somewhat cooled by this bit of information as he ponders and reflects upon it.

5. Autism or Not, Boy's Still Got Moves

You are aware that there's going to be a love interest developed between our two leads, right?  I hope I'm not spoiling it for you by divulging that fact at this early juncture.  It begins already with the innocent confession of Shi On telling Yoon Seo that when she was sleeping at his place he wasn't looking at her half-dressed body but her pretty face instead.  Aww!  Melty!

6.  Cheater?
I'm not 100% on what's going on here, but it would seem that Hot Doc and Dr Yoo here are in a relationship.  Engaged?  Cohabitating?  I dunno for sure.  Earlier we saw her wearing a robe in the same apartment as him.  Either way, there's some sort of serious relationship between the two of them.  What's weird is that she encourages him to cheat on her.  Huh?  Before they're married or something, she wants him to go find another girl and have a fling.  ohhh-kay....  Not even going to touch that one.  Well, it would appear that he may just be willing and ready to take her up on her offer as he seems to have his eyes set on our leading lady.  He calls Yoon Seo one night while she's hanging out with Shi On and seems a little upset that his burdensome underling is answering his hopeful mistress's phone.  Obviously there is going to be a whole lot more later on on this front, which I'm sure is to be complicated further by Dr Yoo being set up to take the spot of the Director when he is ousted by the Brain Trust here...

7.  Trashed
A little snag occurs when Yoo Seon inadvertently tosses out Shi On's treasured green scalpel with the trash while cleaning up a bit at his place as he goes out to get cooking oil for dinner (she's there to cook for him - sweet, huh?).  He panics and rips open trash bags until finally recovering it.  Yoo Seon is learning more and more about this young man and his special challenges.

This scene was so tender - Shi On sleeping while imagining his older brother there to comfort him.  Poor guy's had a rough day and turns to his long-dead brother to be that place of safety for him. 

8.  Politics and CYA Run Rampant

There are a lot of office politics going on here, including an apparent building coup in an effort to oust the Director.  It looks like it's going to be messy.  Additionally, there's some likely CYA going on as well ("cover your *ahem* assets").  We see a very sick baby in the NICU.  Dr Doofus doesn't want to operate because the baby's chance of survival is so small.  The parents are beside themselves with grief.  My gut here tells me that what we see happening is something that I fear happens too often in real life - a surgeon refusing to take a case because it might result in the loss of a patient and the consequent negative effect on his track record.  The ethical problem obviously is that the patient will die without the surgery, so why not try, even if his chance for survival is so low?  Maybe I'm reading the situation wrong, but that was my initial take on the poor little NICU baby.  Speaking of CYA, there's some coverup going on with Chief Skeleton Face's wrongful and dangerous use of the drug that almost killed his young patient.  Politics.  It would be nice if they could stay out of health care, but sadly, there they are.  I'm sure we'll get more into detail in everything that's going on, but for now, I feel that those are the important points to focus on - the impending coup and serious issues being covered up for the sake of protecting positions.  They're leveraging Chief Skele's error against  Shi On's board approval, which is putting the Director in a very precarious position and doesn't please Hot Doc.  What a mess, ay?

Okay, guys, so here we are, the first two episodes are safely tucked under our belts.  Only 18 more to go.  Are we feeling this drama yet?  Is there potential here?  I'm going to level with you, I'm not sure myself.  So far I like it, but I'm curious to see where it's going to go.  I applaud Joo Won's performance thus far.  I like the rest of the cast.  I'm a little concerned about the enormity of the entire cast and trying to keep everyone and all the side stories straight, but that's just me personally panicking because I have to try and make sense of it all enough in order to write about it and sum up the episodes.  I hope the ratings stay nice and high for it and that it continues to lead in its time slot.  Obviously I also hope that it stays good because nothing's worse than reviewing a lame drama that no one is watching anymore.  ;)  I'm hoping I made the right choice here.  I won't lie - after watching Master's Sun last night, I'm a tad envious of Unnie.  I'm fairly convinced she has a real winner there.  I'm sure I do too, but only time will tell.  *wrings hands nervously*

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  Hope you can fit in some dramas if that's your thing :)  And as always, thanks for stopping by!  See you next week!

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