Doctor Stranger (2014)
Directed By: Jin Hyuk & Hong Jong-chan
As my sister and I continue on this Korean drama phase, we decided to watch Doctor Stranger next.
I already watched this drama before, but my sister didn’t. I thought it would be a good drama to watch, though, after the amount of cheesy, bubbly romantic comedies we have seen lately. Doctor Stranger is an emotional, suspenseful drama that I guarantee will make you cry in some parts.
As a child, Park Hoon (Lee Jong-suk) and his father, Park Cheol (Kim Sang-joong), were tricked into going to North Korea and were denied access back to South Korea. While living in North Korea, Park Hoon trains to become a doctor just like his father. He falls in love with Song Jae-hee (Jin Se-yeon), who ends up in the North Korean camps while he escapes to South Korea. Now in South Korea, Park Hoon works as a doctor at Myungwoo University Hospital. While working there, he finds a girl that looks like Jae-hee, Doctor Han Seung-hee.
Lee Jong-suk brings out the witty and eccentricity in his performance as Park Hoon. He adds the spunk and humor to the hospital setting, which a majority of doctors don’t have in this series because all they care about is money, power, and reputation and they seem to forget the main purpose of being a doctor—to save lives. Park Hoon is light-hearted and truly cares about his patients regardless of their backgrounds or personalities. Once on the operating table, he treats everyone equally.
This is the second time that I watched this drama and I couldn’t help but notice how selfish and annoying the main female lead, Song Jae-hee/Doctor Han Seung-hee, was. There were countless moments where she broke Park Hoon’s heart by using “an excuse,” protecting him by not including him in her plans for the prime minister’s surgery and also trying to push him away from her. Park Hoon went through a lot of heartbreak over the years; hence to why I think he can withstand anything by now, but it’s just annoying that she doesn’t want to accept him. I mean that man literally expressed how much he truly loves her by searching for her everywhere.
Song Jae-hee and Park Hoon exhibit the two types of lovers I notice in Asian dramas. Park Hoon has a pure perspective on love and greatly believes in fate and true love—no matter what obstacle there is in front of them, they can get through it if they are together. His perspective on love causes him to be unable to forget his childhood love; therefore, he rejects the other female doctor’s, Oh Soo-hyun (Kang Sora), feelings. As for Song Jae-hee, she seems to believe in the idea, “If you truly love someone, let them go,” which she does by pushing Park Hoon away because she doesn’t want him to get caught up in a crime/scandal.
For this particular drama, I actually like the supporting characters as oppose to the main characters. I shipped the two supporting cast members together, Han Jae-joon (Park Hae-jin) and Oh Soo-hyun. They have great chemistry and at the end of the drama, there’s a tiny bit of hope that those two will get together. Now, I’ve seen the two in other roles aside these ones and I must say that their roles on this drama really showed how much their acting has matured. For example, I saw Kang Sora in Dream High 2 and I didn’t really like her character on there because she was a bit too gullible, but on Doctor Stranger, I have grown to appreciate her skills because Oh Soo-hyun could be seen as a reflection of Kang Sora’s acting career. Oh Soo-hyun is the Chairman’s daughter and is a young, inexperienced doctor—according to Park Hoon, she’s the “quack doctor”—but she wants to be treated with respect by her colleagues as well as be acknowledged as a real doctor. Similarly, I think this Doctor Stranger role is a testament of Kang Sora breaking out of her teenager idol reputation and into a sophisticated actress. As for Park Hae-jin, I kind of understand why they would cast him as Yoo Jung in Cheese in the Trap. His stoic face is unforgettable and it really helped him for that role due to being a vengeful and stoic person on Doctor Stranger.
Doctor Stranger isn’t a romantic comedy, but more of a thriller drama with some romance mixed in. Its setting is in a hospital, so if you don’t like blood, don’t watch it because they cut open bodies every episode.