“Doctor Stranger” became a chore to recap, but my fellow Drama Club recappers were lovely and dedicated; they readily agreed to get up early before work, and stay up late in order to get posts done. Please check them out:
Janice at www.yangjanice.com
June at www.juneleal.com
DRAMA CLUB: Doctor Stranger 19-20 (1/2)
Well everyone, this is it, this is the last week of the Doctor Stranger Drama Club! We’ve all had a fun time, despite our disappointment with some of this drama. We went through ups and downs, some major disappointments, and not to mention some frustration! Join us for our last week and see if you agree with our thoughts on the drama’s final episodes.
Junggugeo Kaenada: We have finally come to the end of the disappointing and frustrating “Doctor Stranger”. The series became all about an amoral, and ultimately unnecessary, competition to operate on a President who turned out to be just as despicable as the villainous Prime Minister.
Jae Joon’s long march to vengeance ends in a misfire. He destroys his future only to save the life of the Chairman who has been his target, for the love of the Chairman’s daughter, Soo Hyeon. Jae Joon is unceremoniously ushered out of the story at the beginning of episode 19, then conveniently trotted back in towards the end of episode 20.
Soo Hyeon takes over for her father as head of Myoungwoo Hospital, but still ends up looking incompetent. After finding Jae Joon standing over her father, she refuses to give Jae Joon the benefit of the doubt or try to understand him. It takes her father, of all people, to change her mind about Jae Joon. She is left spluttering about not knowing that Jae Joon had saved her father when she might have found out if she bothered to ask questions. Later, she lets the President and Prime Minister run roughshod over the hospital, and is completely ignorant about what is going on in her operating room. Only the presumption of Hoon’s death allows Soo Hyeon to get over him, and she seems to settle for Jae Joon in the end.
Jae Hee is finally honest with Hoon about her feelings, and works with Hoon just as he had proposed early on. Unfortunately, their plan hinges on the President who turns out to be stupid and amoral. He absolves the Prime Minister for trying to murder him, then goes back on his word to protect Hoon and Jae Hee, the very surgeons who saved his life.
Hoon and Jae Hee are at the mercy of the Prime Minister when he is shot by the North Korean agent, back from the dead and finally useful. Hoon and Jae Hee find themselves charged with saving the Prime Minister’s life. Everyone from the spineless President to Jae Hee is ready to allow the Prime Minister to die on the operating table. Everyone except Hoon who has never met a patient he did not want to save.
Hoon’s consistency of character has become an annoying habit, because he is so focused on the small picture (saving whoever is on the operating table) that he is oblivious to the wider scope of political machinations. Jae Hee has had to shoulder the responsibility of looking out for his safety for the majority of the series so that Hoon may maintain his integrity.
However, we can give Hoon credit for not repeating the bridge dangling scene of the very first episode. This time, after escaping from the Prime Minister and being shot by the North Korean agent, Hoon refuses to let go of Jae Hee. They both go tumbling into the water, but no body is found so, of course, Hoon and Jae Hee survived. Hoon seems genuinely happy to be reunited with Jae Hee in the end. It all felt predictable and anticlimactic, but “Doctor Stranger” is finished, and that’s good enough for me.
Janice: The last two episodes of “Doctor Stranger” felt like a mad dash towards the finish line. The upside to all this is that this week’s events unfolded in a relatively straightforward manner.
After bursting into her father’s office and finding Jae Joon standing over her father’s body, Soo Hyun assumes that Jae Joon wants her father dead and tells him to leave and never come back. She also tells Jae Joon that she’ll never forgive him for what he did to her father. Hoon, however, knows the truth and urges Jae Joon to tell Soo Hyun that he gave her father CPR, saving his life. Jae Joon refuses, confessing that he can’t forgive himself for hurting Soo Hyun.
Chairman Oh wakes up and tells Soo Hyun the truth, prompting Soo Hyun to realize her mistake and run out of the hospital after Jae Joon. But, she is too late, much to my disappointment. I wanted Soo Hyun to catch Jae Joon to tell him how wrong she was, and to apologize for not realizing how much he’s been there for her. Their miscommunication is made all the more frustrating because Jae Joon gave up his revenge for her.
Meanwhile, Hoon confronts Jae Hee for lying to him about when she learned the truth about her father’s death. Jae Hee continues to deny her love for Hoon, but Hoon pushes at the truth until Jae Hee breaks down and admits how painful it has been pretending to hate him. These two finally have their moment to be honest with each other and we can finally rejoice that they’re together. It’s sweet and pleasing, especially when Hoon’s mother joins the picture and they all have dinner together. This is the life that Jae Hee and Hoon were supposed to have if Prime Minister Jang hadn’t meddled in their lives and made it so tragic.
In an effort to derail Prime Minister Jang, Hoon and Jae Hee tell the President about the conspiracy around him but get the shock of their lives when the President forgives Prime Minister Jang and allows him to keep his position. I couldn’t believe this was happening. How absurd is it that the President would keep his would-be murderer close to him and then think the informants who told him about the conspiracy would be safe working with that would-be murderer?! It doesn’t make sense at all!
However, a surprise comes in the form of Comrade Cha. The North Korean agent is alive despite being shot, and he surprises Prime Minister Jang and shoots him in his car. The Prime Minister is then rushed into surgery with Hoon at the operating table. Jae Hee and Tae Sool both urge Hoon to consider a table death but Hoon is adamant about his ethics. Hoon saves the Prime Minister and consequently, he and Jae Hee are both on the run for their lives.
Unfortunately, Comrade Cha catches them as they are running over a bridge and shoots Hoon. Like the beginning of the drama, Hoon is again, desperately holding onto Jae Hee while she is dangling over the side of the bridge. This time around however, Hoon decides to jump over the bridge and into the river with Jae Hee. Chang Yi and Soo Hyun arrive at the scene in time to watch them fall into the river and Hoon and Jae Hee are presumed dead.
After a time jump of one year, Chang Yi is warming up to Chee Gyu, Jae Joon is back to apologize to the Chairman for what he did, and Hoon is miraculously alive. We find out that Jae Hee has been in China for the past year and is to be reunited with Hoon through Jae Joon’s help. Their reunion is witnessed by Soo Hyun and Jae Joon, and it seems these two will get their happily ever after too. I’m glad, I’ve been rooting for this couple for forever and I’m happy to see them together at last!
The end of “Doctor Stranger” felt bittersweet. I’ve spent so much time with these characters that it’s sad saying goodbye, but at the same time, this drama was very flawed and the last two episodes were no different. It felt like the writers were rushing us towards a conclusion and I wish they would’ve taken more time in the previous episodes to flesh out the situations in this week’s episodes. However, I’ve enjoyed my time watching and talking about “Doctor Stranger” and I’ll remember it for the episodes that I loved.
June: Well there we have it everyone. The finale of “Doctor Stranger” and honestly, I just couldn’t wait for this mess of a drama to be over. I was so disappointed with how this drama turned out, that I’m probably not going to miss watching this. I felt like this drama had me wanting to throw my computer out of the window so many times! From very shady people to some bad acting, I couldn’t help but wonder with made me more frustrated.
I seriously could not believe that at the end, the President would just go an forgive the Prime Minister. Like are you kidding me right now?! He was almost put into a coma and was going to be killed by that man. Like it makes no sense to me whatsoever that he would just let it go. Another thing I couldn’t fathom was Hoon trying to save the Prime Minister. This man ordered for you to be killed in North Korea, locked you out of the embassy when North Korea was after you AND then tried to kill you back in South Korea. I seriously would be holding a massive, gigantic grudge no that man if he did those things to me. But of course, this is a drama and most dramas don’t have any logic. Plus, I guess it would have made Hoon feel guilty, given the types of things he had to do back when he was at medical school in Pyongyang.
Also, of course Comrade Cha ended up being alive, because you know he won’t go down that easily. If there is one thing that I actually did like about these last few episodes, it was the scene of Jae Hee, Hoon and Comrade Cha at the bridge. It just brought be back to the earlier episodes and it reminded me of how much I had actually liked this drama before it went downhill for me. I also liked that this time Hoon didn’t let go and he went down into the river with Jae Hee. As Jae Joon and Soo Hyun, I was glad she was able to forgive him and it seems like they ended up with their happy end. I’m surprised and kind of glad that they didn’t force Hoon’s affection towards Soo Hyun in the end because that would have just made things way, way too rushed. Also, I’m surprised that Jae Hee actually lived! I had had a feeling that she wasn’t going to make it in the end.
Time flew by while doing this drama club and I sincerely had so much fun with the other drama club members. Even though I was disappointed with this drama, I do look forward for more of Lee Jong Suk’s dramas. Goodbye, Doctor Stranger!
What did you all think of the end? Did you all feel satisfied, why or why not? Comment below and tell us your thoughts.
DRAMA CLUB: Doctor Stranger 19-20 (2/2)
June: Well it’s the final week of “Doctor Stranger”! What did you all think of the ending?
Janice: Oh boy, I am still trying to wrap my head around the last two episodes! It felt so rushed, especially episode 20.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Rushed, and yet, anticlimactic. There were no surprises, except for the fact that the President turned out to be an epic asshole. This whole time, the salvation of Hoon and Jae Hee depended on the President, and after they saved his life, he gave them up to the Prime Minister.
June: To say, I was disappointed is a damn understatement. It was so rushed and flat! I felt like the build up to Jae Joon’s revenge was just blown over and over in like 5 seconds. The President and Prime Minister made me want to throw my computer out of the window. I think everything about the last two episodes irked me! From seeing the President and Prime Minister’s faces to seeing Comrade Cha still alive (Duh, he just had to still be alive), to Jae Hee’s worried, scare face, that we saw throughout the whole drama. I just couldn’t handle this ending. Lol
Janice: You both hit on so many good points. I was also peeved with the President’s reaction to Prime Minister Jang’s assassination attempt. It makes NO sense to forgive someone who is trying to kill you. Doesn’t the President think Jang would try again? And then, the President just all of a sudden turned a new leaf and decided that he couldn’t stomach corruption after all, and put Jang in jail. Supposedly, it was because of what Hoon said but I don’t buy it.
And, when I saw Tae Sool being informed by another agent about not being able to find the body, I was horrified that Comrade Cha was going to come back. I’ve never smacked my head so hard when he did. At least he shot Prime Minister Jang, that was satisfying.
Junggugeo Kaenada: You know, so much about these final two episodes should have been satisfying, because they fulfilled much of what I had hoped for: Hoon and Jae Hee communicating honestly with each other, Soo Hyeon getting over Hoon then giving Jae Joon a second chance, and Hoon stepping up to save Jae Hee. Yet, I could not help but be irritated at how little Hoon has changed otherwise. His stubborn insistence that he save the Prime Minister as he would for any other patient was ridiculously idealistic. Throughout the show, he has been able to maintain his integrity, because the people protecting him have make it possible.
Janice: That scene had me so conflicted. On the one hand, I was like Hoon, why are you saving the man who is trying to kill you and who will kill you, given the chance. But then, I also know that living with the guilt of murdering somebody would be hard on Hoon. I didn’t know whether to side with Hoon or Jae Hee.
June: I was conflicted as well. I think we all know by now that I absolutely despise that damn Prime Minister but I think the guilt would have gotten to Hoon a lot. It reminds me of the beginning when he went to that medical school in North Korea.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Yes, it would have been disturbing if Hoon had decided to allow the Prime Minister to die. I think “Doctor Stranger” would have become darker than the writers wanted. Yet, Hoon has been operating in a safety bubble, while Jae Hee made sacrifices and worried about keeping him safely ignorant. Hoon has not had to make the hard decisions, and that is not a hero that I can get behind.
June: Very true. In the end, this whole drama turned out to be more about Jae Hee protecting Hoon than the other way around. Like, let’s be real now.
Janice: I totally agree with you both. I think this is one of the flaws of this drama and why it has been so unsatisfying for me to watch. I don’t want my heroes to be passive, and Hoon definitely was that. I think the writers didn’t do a good job of balancing agency between Jae Jee and Hoon, they were both so extreme.
Junggugeo Kaenada: What do we think about Jae Joon and Soo Hyeon in the final two episodes?
Janice: I actually liked that Jae Joon’s revenge fell apart. I thought it was fitting that he couldn’t carry through with it because of his love for Soo Hyun. Their story didn’t feel rushed in that Jae Joon has been consistent with his feelings, though I could’ve used more buildup on Soo Hyun’s part, in believing that she could be in love with Jae Joon again. It felt a little too pat in how Jae Joon was brought back at the very end but I’m fine with it.
June: Agreed! I liked that he finally realized how much he actually loved Soo Hyun and that it was enough to stop this whole revenge plot but the way it fell apart left it very anticlimactic, in my opinion. I’m surprised and kind of glad they didn’t have Soo Hyun magically end up with Hoon in the end. Now that would have just added even more of a rushed mess to this rushed ending.
Junggugeo Kaenada: I was also unconvinced about Soo Hyeon’s feelings for Jae Joon. I fear that she only gave up on Hoon, because she thought he was dead. Now, he has magically come back from the dead. I thought I saw longing in Soo Hyeon’s eyes as she held Jae Joon’s hand at the top of the hill, watching Hoon and Jae Hee reunite. Of course, this could just be my evil imagination hoping for more cringeworthy drama.
Janice: Haha! When Soo Hyun tells Jae Joon that she feels embarrassed for confessing her feelings to Hoon when she found out Jae Hee and Hoon’s entire tragic story, that was the point when I believed that she didn’t love Hoon anymore. I wanted a little more convincing that she could love Jae Joon again but I’ll just imagine them dating and getting to know each other again, in future episodes in my head.
Junggugeo Kaenada: What lasting impression will you two have about “Doctor Stranger” now that it is over?
June: I thought about this the whole time after I finished “Doctor Stranger”. “Doctor Stranger”, at first, was like this awesome, new friend that I had made. He had awesome traits, like having one of favorite actors, Lee Jong Suk, and I was just intrigued by the plot. As our friendship began, it was going great and I was excited about seeing him every week. But as time went by, I started to get very annoyed by him. Towards the end, I could feel like our friendship was definitely not as it used to be and I decided to say farewell to a friendship I thought was going to be awesome. But I’m not very sad to see “Doctor Stranger” go. I’ve got a new friend to look forward to and that friend has Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin and her name is “It’s Ok, That’s Love”. So in all, tootles “Doctor Stranger”. It was fun while it lasted, kind of.
Janice: To be honest, I’m a pessimist when it comes to watching dramas. I never expect dramas to maintain their beginning awesomeness throughout their run. When I first started watching “Doctor Stranger,” I loved it, but I was also cautious about my excitement because all dramas are shiny and new in the beginning. “Doctor Stranger” didn’t live up its initial excitement for me but I’m not disappointed by it because there were many memorable moments. I will always hold the scene where Jae Hee grabs Hoon’s ear and marches him out of the gym only to run into Hoon’s father, dear to my heart. And the scene where Hoon’s father gives him flowers for his date with Jae Hee, that was a touching scene for me. Hoon’s obnoxiousness was also endearing. His character wasn’t the perfect male protagonist but I liked how he was able to juxtapose serious moments with funny quips at the drop of a hat. I haven’t seen many main characters like him and I enjoyed the scenes in “Doctor Stranger” where he was displayed to perfection. Jae Joon was wonderful to watch in the last half of the series and he ended up being my favorite for a couple of episodes because his character was the most nuanced out of them all. I’m glad I got to watch “Doctor Stranger” with the drama club, you both made the experience so much more fun. Now, on to the next drama!
Junggugeo Kaenada: From the beginning of “Doctor Stranger”, what I really wanted was for it to turn into a romantic comedy. I am a fan of Lee Jong Suk, and the funny moments in “Doctor Stranger” proved that he is adept at comedy. The problem was that Lee Jong Suk had to be melodramatic, and his overacting was just awful. The writers were also at the worst when they were writing melodramatic story lines. They were obviously uninspired, because they could not get past that damn competition to operate on the Prime Minister. A romantic comedy format would have solved both the cringeworthy acting, and nonsensical drama. So, I’m just going to remember Hoon hanging out with the mob boss, serving bad coffee to Jae Joon, massaging Soo Hyeon’s head to prevent hair loss, and kissing Jae Hee like he means it.
I’ll also remember my Drama Club experience, which was way more satisfying than the drama we covered. Thank you, June and Janice.
Well there you have it everyone! What did you all think of the drama club and the drama? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!
Like reading our thoughts? Check out our individual blogs and Twitter!
Junggugeo Kaenada: Noonas Over Forks | @NoonasOverForks
June: The June Guide | @itsjunemarie
Janice: yangjanice | @yangjanice