K-Drama Review: “Dr. Romantic 2” Soothingly Heals With Emancipating Warmth
Finding one’s purpose is what Dr. Romantic 2 wishes to impart
Set in the fictional world of Doldam Hospital, the stories of the characters featured in the series display a microcosm of the real world that anyone is familiar with. Tinged with harrowing moment, it shifts to a vibrantly colored memory at a swift turn.
Title: Dr. Romantic 2
Theme: Drama, Medical
Length: 33 Episodes (Back-to-Back)
Broadcast Date: 06 Jan 2020 – 25 Feb 2020
Main Leads: Han Suk Kyu | Ahn Hyo Seop | Lee Sung Kyung | Kim Joo Hun | Kim Min Jae | So Joo Yeon
Highlights: Thought-provoking life lessons | Han Suk Kyu | Polished Narrative
Related Dramas: Dr. Romantic, Yongpal, Doctors
Dr. Romantic 2 carries on with its distinct reputation of polished screenplay and trademark Han Suk Kyu charm.
Consistent in notching double-digit ratings, it scored an average nationwide viewership rating of 18.3% according to Nielsen. So far, it holds the honor of the highest-rated episode in Korean dramas aired this season after it registered 25.4% and 27.1% in the last two parts of its finale week.
Familiar and new faces greeted K-Drama patrons in the famed SBS series. Settling to his titular role, Han Suk Kyu delivers expected prominence to his character. He also blends with his new recruits as he teaches them with tough love and wisdom.
Quick Plot Roundup
Picking up from the heroic win of Doldam Hospital underdogs, Master Kim’s students from the first season have ventured to new projects. Hence, the lack of doctors in the hospital led him to scout new recruits.
The returning season 1 villain Do Yun Wan emerges as the CEO of Goedae foundation after the death of Chairman Shin. He has tapped a formidable doctor team from the main hospital to trouble Master Kim. Replacing President Yeo Woon Young, skilled surgeon Park Min Guk works with Do Yun Wan to shut down the hospital operation.
Through the help of his new protégés and trusted people, Master Kim works to survive his own medical problems and the external troubles thrown to make Doldam Hospital crumble.
Familiar Yet Engrossing Narrative Structure
Utilizing the established medical cases functioning as sub-conflicts to the series, Dr. Romantic 2 delineated the individual sketches of the main cast members. Divided in heroes and villains camps, the interaction between Doldam Hospital’s resident staff members and intruding doctors from the main hospital spinned the engrossing flow of the story.
Bringing in new staff members, Master Kim tackled a new villain who possessed unimaginable level of hubris that refuses to back down no matter what. The outsmarting game with new villain Dr. Park who collaborated with remorseless villain CEO Do provided the contrast balance highlighting the “good prevails over evil” flavor of the story.
Notably, the series featured medical cases that were depicted in well-executed episodes. Despite brimming with poignant scenes derived from the patient stories, it did not fall short in capturing the development of the characters who overcame their weak inhibitions as the story moved.
From the defense minister car crash, to the bus accident, and to President Yeo’s peaceful passing; the structure of the narration has always let the viewers feel like being an invisible employee of Doldam Hospital. It was such an exceptional strength given how medical dramas tend to overwhelm with paraded surgeries often layered with unethical medical practice or people taking advantage of their irrefutable rights as patients.
Conflicts Neatly Tied Up To Resolutions
Associating encouraging messages to Dr. Romantic 2 is imminent. In fact, for its second serving, the series paid attention to presenting those lessons in the individual back stories of the main characters.
Touching on sensitive issues that involve the medical field, the series provided thought-provoking nudges on concerns regarding profit-driven or patient-care motivated stand of a medical facility. It also sheds light on responsibly owning up to commited medical negligence.
Interestingly, the bulk of several memorable lines in the series came from Head Nurse Oh (Jin Kyung).
Here are some noteworthy lines from the series.
“Lines are drawn just for having different opinions.” – Episode 5
Facing contending parties that are unreasonably arrogant, Master Kim left a reminder how the first step to an argument often springs from diverse opinions. It is not something unusual and it can never be avoided. Having pride and personal belief at stake, it is a firm reminder how acting sharp is different from acting without conscience.
“Life can be mostly unreasonable. But knowing the answers you want makes it easier.” – Episode 16
Dr. Romantic 2 introduced the character of Seo Woo Jin (Ahn Hyo Seop). Running away from loan sharks, he worked his way to medical school through endless part-time jobs. His money problems tainted his young career. In his most desperate moment, Master Kim gives him an opportunity to turn the table of his life.
Marked as a traitor for his sense of justice, he liberated himself from that burden. He found home at Doldam Hospital. He also met virtuous seniors who provided him the warmth that was never present in his life.
“We all should know what we’re working hard for.” – Episode 30
Having the smarts, Master Kim’s other student, Cha Eun Jae (Lee Sung Kyung) has not been able to move forward with her career. Often creating mishap in the operating room, her relationship with the eccentric doctor also took doses of tough love servings.
But it eventually paid off. Against her will, she embraced a career to please her mother. Under the guidance of Master Kim, she began to live a life that is entirely her own. Ultimately, she exploded to an emotional outburst to protect Woo Jin from her mother’s selfish request.
Her road to empowering herself has had her succumbed to being tagged as a push over. But, so what?! Slowly but surely, she nurtured her strength – she found love and her inner peace.
Still the life of the party at Doldam Hospital, Master Kim bravely confronted the problems thrown at the hospital he treasures. Being the heart of the hospital, he even mischievously taunted the antagonists in the series.
Nevertheless, the bulk of fun still went to him as he switched from bringing the comic notes and emotional castigating moments to his rivals and students.
Along with pushing his new students to embrace their identities as doctors, Master Kim pushed for his ultimate plan of establishing a trauma center. A medical place that would not discriminate and will be powered by capable doctors who genuinely understand their calling as life savers.
Han Suk Kyu has established an iconic character that would go down to the history of Korean dramas. His role conclusively bound the story’s magic to extend its growth to more seasons.
Amidst the numerous inspiring lessons you can get from Dr. Romantic 2, conveying the strength to not give up on asking why we live and what we live for left a lingering impression for me.
The series was cut to be enjoyed by adults whose problems mostly circled to the emotionally draining problems in their careers and personal lives. From the outside, the drama felt deceptively trite. However, its lingering imprint was deeply satisfying.
Faintly present, the romantic line drawn by Ahn Hyo Seop and Lee Sung Kyung was not as endearing as what Kim Min Jae and So Joo Yeon delivered. Nevertheless, challenging the weight of their characters and how they transformed from barely-felt to evidently perceived was a feat already worth acknowledging.
Leaving a deep-seated impression has always been the case for stories in the hospital setting. More so, because the themes often cover life and death. Not to mention building and breaking of relationships.
Dr. Romantic 2 is a healthy dose of adulting concoction with lessons that you can freely share to your loved ones.
*All Images and OST MV from SBS