Upon further reflection the various spotlighted patients do in fact have some relation to the personal stories of the main doctors in "Doctors". It's just hard to tell because the timing is always so disjointed, and the doctors don't show any indication that the patients' stories have relevance to their own lives until pretty much the last possible minute. I was with Hye-jeong when Ji-hong was making the big announcement. Sure, I can appreciate the thought, but from Hye-jeong's perspective it really did come out of nowhere.
Another storyline that comes out of nowhere- Kang-soo (played by Kim Min-suk) apparently suffers from a chronic untreated illness. Strictly speaking this was foreshadowed, I don't know, maybe ten episodes ago at the party. While I remember thinking at the time that Kang-soo's collapsing like that was a pretty big deal, none of the medical professionals nearby acted like it was a big deal so I pretty much entirely forgot about the event.
That's among the bigger issues with "Doctors" is simply the weird pacing. Pretty much every plot in this drama is a shaggy dog story- they're horribly long-winded to no apparent purpose, and barely even seem to be in the same continuity except that references to past plots keep popping up long after they've been relevant. It would be nice if writer Ha Myeong-hee would just pick a story and follow it through to conclusion every once in awhile.
Well, all right, to be fair that's probably less her fault than it is director Oh Choong-hwan. As Namgoong Min demonstrated, "Doctors" is perfectly capable of packing an emotional punch provided it's edited in such a way that events follow up on each other logically. The cliffhanger, for example, would be pretty dramatic except that it has been a really, really long time since anyone ever credibly questioned Hye-jeong's medical expertise.
The Yeong-gook storyline evades these problem precisely because his character arc has never had a false ending. Granted, this is mostly because Yeong-gook is such a minor character that he's never gotten that much exposition but even so. I like the way Yeong-gook and Seo-woo talk to each other. Yeong-gook's enigmatic, indirect speaking style is a much better form of communication than anything else we've seen in "Doctors". Like cell phones. I was under the impression that hospital rooms (and a VIP room especially) would just have an emergency buzzer to summon whichever doctor happens to be closest.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctors" Episode 16"
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