TV / Movies

K-Drama Premiere: “Life” Spiritlessly Begins The Story Of Problem Laden Hospital Struggling With Capitalism

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With expected stellar portrayals from the veteran actor roster, Life takes a serious route that looks to challenge your patience.

I fell asleep, emotionally spent with its heavy plot, right after watching the first two episodes of Life. This is a true story.


A looming organization undergoing restructuring is in motion for a fictional hospital after the death of the director, who valiantly stands on the core function of the institution of prioritizing medical treatments over profits.

Told in the perspective of the hero and the villain in its first week, the first two chapters strode a languid pace made even more lackluster by the big cast moving in the story.

READ: Netflix To Stream Lee Dong Wook & Jo Seung Woo’s “Life”


Pilot Week Recap

Sangkook University Hospital is in chaos after the director fails to survive a fall that caused his death when he had a drink with the deputy director. With the growing woes on the reorganization ordered by the newly-appointed president Goo Seung Hyo (Jo Seung Woo), the doctor staff members strongly disapprove of the proposed plan for three essential departments to be transferred to a provincial hospital, to cover the lack of medical practitioners in the rural areas.

ER doctor Ye Jin Woo (Lee Dong Wook), who has close relationship with the deceased hospital doctor, learns through his brother about the former’s embezzled fund, which was resolved internally, and has been beating himself up – thinking he caused the director’s death when he confronted him about the embezzled money. Only the deputy director and Jin Woo know of the truth which will ruin the reputation of the dead hospital director.



After attending a board meeting of the conglomerate company to which Sangkook Hospital is affiliated, Seung Hyo is tasked to buy a land and spearhead projects to raise revenues for the hospital he leads. It compels him to push for the ongoing plans he has advised deputy director to spread across the hospital people.

He crashes to the caucus called by deputy director, and ultimately shuts down the verbal revolts spewed by the doctors.

The next day, Jin Woo uses the dead director’s access to post some statistics, as Seung Hyo takes it as a war officially waged by the staff, who do not want the restructuring program he devised.



Life is definitely not for casual K-drama watchers. It does not focus on patient stories, but more specifically – the power struggle happening in the hospital management.

I struggle to fathom the connection of Jin Woo’s brother, who was inserted in frames of Jin Woo’s thoughts, like he is an alter ego, because his lame brother was also introduced as a character in the narrative.

The emotionless approach and the bare storyline depiction based on its overview is officially the most challenging task I had to write this year, given my fondness towards the lead actors of this jTBC series. I refuse to dwell on how it is a far cry on how the writer penned last year’s brilliant drama Stranger. Hopefully, the next few episodes will fill the gaps, and build a stimulating momentum that the premiere episodes were, unfortunately, unable to capture.

Life airs on jTBC every Monday and Tuesday, and is also streamed via Netflix.

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