Episode 9 starts with all the doctors rushing to the roof top to find the boy vocalist standing on the precipice. Tiger mom pleads with him “Gyu Hyun ah…why are you like this? Hey, mom, you should know, you have a huge part to play in pushing your son to his limits. Gyu Hyun (GH) tells them not to come closer and almost falls over while shouting. Man, he looks so small up there that I am afraid a gust of strong wind might just push him over. Tiger Mom pleads with him again but GH will have none of it. He is actually afraid that if he gets the surgery, he will never be able to sing again. The mother denies it and says he will be fine. And YS pipes in to support her. GH tells them not to lie, he heard it all. That’s probably a shock to his mother and YS. At this moment, SO inches forward.
SO takes tentative steps but slowly he moves closer to GH. He asked GH: “Aren’t you afraid of dying?” GH cries out that he is not and as if to make his point, he moves as if he was going to jump, almost losing his balance in process. SO stutters: “I-I-I…I am afraid. If I die, I end up alone. I don’t like being alone. Even if Rabbit and Hyung ah are in heaven, I don’t think I can go there. I hurt people’s feelings too much.” Oh my gawd..this is so sad. SO actually thinks he is undeserving to go to heaven? We all know how much he misses his hyung. To imagine what he is going through, thinking he might never see his hyung even after death is just too heartbreaking. Si On continues: “Even if people hate me and say I am a dummy, I want to stay alive. Because, even then, I can stay next to people.” How lonely SO must feel? We had thought that the hospital must be one hell of a place for SO but to him, hell was having no one at all beside him. SO’s speech did not just move the boy, it moved all the doctors who were there, including DH. Except for the heartless Dr Woo, everyone must have felt guilty for not treating SO better. SO tells GH that unlike himself, GH has many people who like him. He also has his parents whereas SO had none, so GH must not die. GH looks moved by SO’s words and SO steps closer. He besieges him to come down because it’s too dizzy(for SO, LOL!) “Pali Pali!” SO puts out his hand slowly towards GH and thankfully GH takes it and falls into SO’s arms. Tiger Mom runs up and hugs GH. As with every child he saves, SO thanks GH. DH orders GH to be moved to the emergency room and get his abscess dealt with first. He receives a call from the Chief.
Dr Go has been summoned to a meeting in front of FDA officers to face charges of administering Heta Vizen, the drug which almost caused his patient to die. He deliberates, remembering his brother-in-law’s words to take the heat because the latter is sure Chief will let it slide and brother-in-law promises him a seat in the foundation board. I would not trust that pair of shifty eyes though. True enough, Dr Go denies administering the drug. The officers asked DH and then Chief who seemed to deliberate longer than I thought he should. Just then, KHT steps in and calls the officer out for not carrying out the procedure in a rightful manner and not having the evidence. The officers are actually speechless, quite unbelievable. In any case, Dr Go (Lizard) lives to see another day.
While YS is treating GH for the abscess on his neck, SO is talking to Tiger Mom outside. SO tells mom that GH is actually blocking out noise when he plugs in his earphones. He is not even listening to music on his MP3 player. Tiger Mom refuses to believe it. SO relates it to his own experience. When he was young, he did not like to hear the sounds of his friends making fun of him, so he too blocked out the sound. SO demonstrates by plugging his fingers into his ears, so cute. SO asks mom if she will let GH have his surgery and Tiger Mom adamantly refuses. SO shakes his head, knowing that this will not be good for GH.
DH and Chief leave the meeting with DH exhorting Chief to stay strong. Chief seems deflated as he says he has betrayed his conscience. DH puts it to protecting SO but Chief says that’s just an excuse. DH tells him to leave it to KHT. Chief tells DH not to crumble like his foolish teacher and walks off.
SO checks on GH who is sleeping after getting his abscess removed. Meanwhile, Nurse Jo, Nurse Nam and YS are complaining about Tiger Mom. And Nurse Jo begins to talk about the legendary Sim Bong who sold his daughter for merely 300 seoks(measurement) of rice offered to Buddha. And who should walk up but SO who immediately pounced on the word “merely” of all things, LOL. He goes into this whole spin of how 1 seok is converted into today’s kilos to tons to sacks of rice and the ultimate value in today’s dollars 86 million won. That’s why he disagree it’s merely 300 seoks, bwaaaah… Everyone of course looks at him flabbergasted.
DH is thinking of Chief’s words about having SO to remain. He summons YS and YS is worried that DH will tell SO to leave. She pleads DH to give the matter more thought and supports her case saying that SO has already learnt to suppressed himself. Earlier, SO had wanted to push GH into the operating room very much like what he did to the other little boy but this time, SO stopped himself. DH thinks it is not enough but a surgeon has to take into account many things and make a lot more decisions in an instant, something which he thinks is beyond SO. DH says that he has merely improved in one area but can he make a judgment call? Even if he can, how long will he take? One year or 10 years? YS is exasperated, she says there is undeniably hope to which DH retorts that he will send SO to another department to preserve the hope. Gahhh…
Dr Lizard is sitting on a bench in the hospital garden, sunning his scaly skin. His phone rings but he doesn’t pick up. Suddenly, SO plonks into the empty space beside him, giving Dr Lizard a fright. SO offers Dr Lizard an ice cream to which the reptile shrieks: “I don’t want to eat it. Go away!” SO baby, you might as well feed it to the pigs, huh? SO insists that this being an ice popsicle that can be split into two, it’s meant to be shared. Awww…what an endearing theory! The popsicle doesn’t divide equally and SO takes a split second before offering Dr Lizard the smaller piece, LOL! Dr Lizard gets more annoyed and raises his hand as if to strike SO. Instead, SO gets distracted by the calluses on his hand. What! Has he been scaling too many political hills? Turns out that SO admires hands with a lot of scars and calluses because it is a sign that the doctor has done a lot of surgeries. In this aspect, SO deduces that Dr Lizard has done more surgeries than DH and Chief. Is there a story in this? Perhaps there was a time Dr Lizard was hardworking surgeon but along the way, he took the easy route, riding on the coat tails of his brother in law? In any case, Dr Lizard is totally taken aback by SO’s unrestrained admiration and SO even says he aspires to be a surgeon like Dr Lizard. It must be refreshing after years of scorn by colleagues and even subordinates. Unsure of how to react, Dr Lizard raises his hand again only to have SO place the popsicle in it, then scurries away. He looks at the melting ice cream and the scars on his hand. Finally he eats it, looks in the direction SO ran off and sigh.
KHT talks to his chairman about the MD’s cover up for Dr Go and the FDA.
The residents are sitting around and Dr Woo asked why is Dr Hong staring blankly. Dr Hong says he is still thinking about what SO has said earlier. He finds it pitiful. He has never hated SO but it is sad because SO thinks people hate him. Intern Kim concurs. Dr Woo is the only one who has no heart. He asks why are they suddenly behaving like this, don’t they know SO’s condition? Dr Hong says it has nothing to do with his condition, even an animal knows who dislikes it. Opffft…. Dr Hong says SO is not a bad guy although they find it hard to communicate with him and he had caused some small troubles. It sure took a long time for you guys to figure that, huh? Dr Woo refuses to budge, pointing out that causing trouble means that SO is a bad guy. What kind of jackass theory is that? Dr Hong asks if he has never cause trouble. Dr Woo should have shriveled up by now with his conscience eating him whole but of course, he sat there looking as if he knows nothing.
KHT tells Chief that he will settle the FDA matter. Chief says that’s enough and ask him to not to get involved in the hospital matters. KHT makes a compelling case that if Chief quits, it would be a loss. Think of the achievements he has built over the years, his students and especially SO who sees him like a father. Chief does not buy it, in fact he says he will use his departure as a final lesson to his students. KHT is so shocked that he looks away uncomfortably. Chief tells KHT to take his plans with him and leave the hospital. KHT threatens that there will be huge issues if Chief insist on his way. Chief is not moved, he says he will leave after making sure that KHT does.
YS is nervously pacing outside DH’s room as DH talks to SO. DH wants SO to go to Clinical Pathology after treating Gyu Hyun. DH hands SO a recommendation letter to give to the other professor but SO refuses to take it. He insists that he is going to be a pediatric surgeon. DH asks if he is rebelling. SO denies it saying he is only pursuing his dream to which DH rebuts that it’s an unrealistic one, it’s just not possible. SO says he does not understand things like this and points out that he knows DH is doing this because he hates SO. He is prepared to let DH hate him even more. No matter what it takes, he has to be a pediatric surgeon. DH gets more exasperated as he thinks SO is not hearing him and shouts at him. YS cannot bear it longer and budges in. DH tells SO that he does not need to be a surgeon to be a real doctor and he is doing this for SO’s benefit. YS intervenes and tells DH she will talk to SO and quickly ushers him out of the room.
YS tells SO that DH is not sending him away because he hates SO but SO insist that DH hates him and that’s the reason why he is sending him away. He storms off and while he is walking on the bridge, the sound of Chopin being played in the atrium. SO stands still and admire the beautiful music. He looks at a patient on a wheelchair and a child patient playing with her father on the ground floor. He manages that small awkward smile which breaks my heart. He must be already missing the interactions with his patients, something which he will never have in the Clinical Pathology Department. As he walks on, he turns his attention to a young pregnant woman sitting on bench, crying. I think this must be the in-vitro case which was mentioned in an early synopsis of the drama.
SO goes to find Chief who is sitting at his desk, holding his resignation letter in hand. I think he has arranged to leave some instructions to SO before leaving. He asks SO if he is no longer around in the hospital, can SO work well? SO does not know what to say and upon Chief’s urging, SO ask if Chief is going somewhere? Chief lies and says no, he is just asking hypothetically. Don’t do that, Chief. SO is scarred enough by people leaving throughout his life. At least, give him more notice. SO says he will be very sad if Chief is no longer around and emphasize the word “very much”. This is making me cry. Chief tells SO that he is old enough to take care of himself without needing Chief. SO shakes his head and says he is still young. Why does Joo Won make SO so adorable? I usually cannot stand men who can’t grow up but I’m so loving this one. Chief tells SO that he is more mature than he knows. He is able to care for his patients from his heart and Chief has learnt a lot from SO. SO knows that this is not looking good. He nervously scratches his fingers and looks distraught. Chief notices it and instinctively reaches out his hand to calm SO as he often did but stops himself this time. He is probably starting to cut the apron strings. He assures SO that whether he is around or not, it will not be a big problem for SO. But his eyes welled up when he tells SO to treat the children like how Chief did with him. Gosh, I always cry at Chief and SO’s scenes. SO says he promises to be like friends with the children but in return he would like Chief not to leave him. Chief can only smile silently at him, barely holding his tears in.
SO is treating GH’s wound, he tells GH to say if he still hurts. After some silence, SO asks if GH is still sad, GH doesn’t look at SO but his voice starts to shake. He says he is no longer sad but he still wants to die. All his life, he has only known singing. He has never been to school nor made any friends and never even played games. Therefore, if he is unable to sing, he is nothing. How sad! A child to have his self-worth tied to his ability to excel in one area. Maybe he even thinks his parents love him only because he can sing. No wonder he feels as if it’s the end of the world. SO tells him he might be able to understand how he feels because he might not be able to become a doctor. That caught GH’s attention, he wonders why. SO says it’s because he is a little different from other people and that makes him stupid. He does not understand people and causes trouble. GH says at least SO has hope, he can keep trying to become a doctor. For GH, once he gets the surgery, he can’t go to Germany. Meanwhile, DH and YS are discussing about GH’s condition with Tiger Mom. Tiger Mom insists that she will pull GH out of the hospital the next day and proceed to Germany as planned. DH and YS tell her about the gravity of GH’s condition. Tiger stands firm on her decision and walks out. DH bows his head while YS runs out chasing after mom. I wonder if on his own, would DH persist on persuading a mother like Tiger Mom, maybe not.
YS catches up with Tiger Mom and tells her point blank that she knows mom will not get GH surgery in Germany. She even questions the mom’s ability to provide stable mental support when she does not have her son’s health as a priority. Feisty one, Dr Cha! Tiger Mom is unperturbed and asked if doctors have the right to interfere and insists that she does worry about her son’s health. Dr Cha doesn’t let up and tells her to take a leaf from the other mothers in the ward. Tiger Mom coolly tells her off and says Dr Cha cannot do anything to stop her from leaving. Before she can react further, Dr Cha gets a call to an emergency. A boy has been seriously hurt and DH, YS and team are working furiously to save him. At a critical stage, YS seems to have déjà vu of her first operation which had her patient dying on the operating theater. DH notices it but orders YS to continue. Thankfully, she pulls herself together and completes the surgery.
The children from the pediatric ward are gathered for some television and singing session. GH cuts a lonely figure, sitting outside. SO comes along and asks why is he not joining the rest. GH tells SO that his mother does not know his real dream. His dream is not to be in some famous choir but to use his gift to heal people’s heart. Just like doctors heal patients. SO is impressed and lets out his cute “Wow”. SO says that’s a really cool dream. Because of who he is, SO is accepted by the children. He does not talk to him condescendingly nor say things just to humor them. He means what he says all the time. GH says he is not interested in singing in Germany, he wants to sing for people who really needs it. SO brings GH to see Eun Ok. SO introduces EO to GH. Gosh, EO is 2 years younger than GH? Possible as girls normally mature faster. I find it cute that EO was holding to a tablet like a pro when SO and GH walks in. Well, I have seen babies holding mini ipads and swiping them with their weeny teeny fingers so I am not surprised. Turns out EO has been listening to GH’s song and thinking of her late mother who’s gone to heaven. EO takes to GH so well that SO remarks that EO likes GH more than him, LOL. SO makes the two youngsters who never had friends hold hands with each other. Just then, Nurse Jo comes and tells SO that EO’s evil aunt has given up her guardianship rights and they are wondering what to do with EO. Hey, isn’t that a good thing? An orphanage is better than the kennel, no? Anyway, GH overhears it and feels sad for EO who is oblivious. Maybe Tiger Mom is better than orphanage? That’s a more difficult question.
DH and YS scrubs down after the operation and clearly YS still looks off so DH probes. YS denies and walks off. However, DH finds her sitting alone outside and tells her that he hates mistakes, excuses and lies. YS pleads with him to leave her alone and just let it slide but DH is adamant. DH knows what the problem is and asks YS to guess how he reacted when his patient died while he was heading his first surgery. YS replied that she would imagine him to have been collected and calm in his usual style. DH laughs and says he had thought so too but in actual fact, he could not take in anything more than water for a week. He then points out that YS could still eat after that incident so she is way better than him. YS laughs. Sigh, DH, if you could just be more like this instead of giving us that cold hard exterior! DH tells YS that it is fine not to look like she has overcome it but just take some time to wander and come back. YS happily says she does not need that. To which, DH immediately assigns her a surgery the following week. YS is taken aback at his sudden change, hah! Apparently, this will be considered her first official surgery, the previous two were temporary? Whatever. DH walks off, but not before taunting her to aim for professorship if she doesn’t like taking orders from him, LOL.
YS finds SO outsides EO’s room. SO is feeling sad that EO has to go to the orphanage because she cannot speak and the kids will make fun of her, just like what happened to him. YS asks if he thinks everyone dislikes him. SO says that in the past, he didn’t know what anger is but now he thinks he knows. He wants to get angry with people who dislike him but like a dummy, he just can’t. YS gets upset with him calling himself stupid. She lists the people who like him – Nurse Jo, Nurse Nam, Dr Han, In Hae and herself. Don’t they count? She continues that he is stupid if he thinks everyone dislikes him. SO nods his head tentatively to what YS said but YS holds his cheeks in his hands and make him nod more. Though there is no romantic feelings from YS yet, these two are just so cute. At the moment, YS treats SO like her little dongsaeng, let’s see how this feeling will be transformed.
YS and SO eats together and YS tells she will try her best to block DH’s sending SO away. SO nods and offers to give the beef kimbap to YS and he will take the vegetable one. Knowing SO, that’s a huge sacrifice, heh. YS asks if he is getting sick of kimbap and surprising SO says yes. However, he likes to eat triangle kimbap because he feels as if he is eating the top of the mountain! Bwaaahh…..Seriously, I will have a compilation consisting gems of wisdom from Si On by the time this drama ends.
DH and KHT are talking over a meal by the roadside. KHT leads DH by asking what does he think of SO continuing to work in the hospital? DH says SO lacks the ability to be a surgeon. KHT goes along and agree with every word he says and says they should make SO the best clinical pathologist and a specialist at pediatric diagnosis. Now, DH looks up wondering where is all this heading? KHT butters DH further by saying when he heard that DH has already planned for SO to go to the Clinical Pathology Dept, he was struck by his brilliant foresight. KHT says that SO is a very charismatic figure and one whose story people will be fascinated with, he ends off mentioning that the press will have a huge interest. By now DH sees what KHT is aiming at and tells KHT off, saying that a doctor is not a celebrity. KHT tells him that times have changed. Afterwards, when DH is by himself, he recollects all those times, SO got the diagnosis pat down.
Meanwhile, YS and SO are sitting outside their apartment. YS tells SO that DH has made arrangement for her first surgery and confides in him her apprehensions. SO looks at her in silence but is telling her words of encouragement in his head. YS ask for affirmation from SO that she will do well, right? SO answers in his head and is shocked when YS thanks him. SO wonders how did YS read his mind? YS says she knows everything he is saying in his head. SO is totally awed at her mind reading ability, LOL. He cannot fathom how anyone does it. Such child-like innocence, ha. YS puts her head on SO’s shoulder. She tells him that she wants him to be present in the operating theatre so that if she does something incorrectly, he can say: “There is a problem. We’ll have to do it, Pali Pali!” Gosh, this is beyond cute, YS imitating Dr Pali Pali! The only answer she gets from SO is a hiccup. She says that it’s about time he gets a sonar check on this problem. She tells him to show his stomach to see where it hurts and since he takes everything literally, our boy goes into frantic bout of hiccupping. YS pretends to touch SO’s tummy and SO protest that she can’t and tries to stop her hands. Then she tricks him by pointing to the moon and he actually looks up, gawwd my stomach is aching. And so, poor SO gets a wild night of tummy tickling and hiccupping.
YS sees GH singing to EO and chats with him outside EO’s room. GH has this habit of not looking at people when he talks and he looks straight ahead even as YS is talking to him. GH tells YS that EO makes him happy and she always smiles when she sees him. YS tells him his mom smiles too but GH says she only does when he wins awards. He cannot even remember when was the last time he laughed. YS tells him that as much as she likes to hear his voice, she wants to hear him laugh more. But he must be healthy in order to laugh. She then assures him that his mother will be happier to hear him laugh than sing. What I love about YS is that despite her differences with Tiger Mom, she never puts her down in front of GH. GH tears up hearing all this and YS wipes his cheeks tenderly and hugs him. She assures him that the surgery will turn out fine.
Director Lee is called up for a meeting by President, CK and KHT. Apparently he was the snitch who leaked the information to the FDA about the Hepta Vizen. They want him to step down on his own accord. He storms off in a huff and straightway blast Dr Lizard, telling him that he has washed his hands off him and not to show up in front of his house.
Dr Hong is really treating SO differently and even helps to make him look tidier, getting a look of approval from Dr Han.
GH finally tells Tiger Mom that he is not going to Germany. He wants to get the surgery. He is even fine if he can’t sing after the operation, he just wants to live a happy life. He wants to go to school. make new friends and eat whatever he wants. Tiger Mom gets upset as she was not expecting this. GH insists on getting his surgery and Tiger Mom insists he goes Germany. SO pleads with her to listen to GH. As she shows no sign of heeding his advice and starts to pack up, he grows more desperate. SO blurts out: “We will perform the surgery so that GH will be able to si…” Tiger Mom and GH caught on to his words and look at him. SO realizes he should not have said it and excuses himself, rushing out of the room. He slaps his face to stop his compulsion and remembers DH words about not giving vague hopes and possibilities.
Later, SO and Tiger Mom is talking outside the ward. Tiger Mom berates that the doctors here make people tired and SO tells her a story about his puppy. I just love that SO always likes to tell stories which seem so inane to his listeners but actually packs very interesting insights. This one is about a puppy he had in his childhood. When it snowed, the puppy jumped a lot and SO had thought the puppy liked the snow. However, that wasn’t the case. It was because the snow was too cold. GH is like the puppy. He is not singing because he loves it. However being a child, he will do it because he is forced even though he hates it. SO hates it too when he is forced to do something he doesn’t like and how he wished he had his own mother beside him. GH pleads with Tiger Mom again and this time, she looks like she is really listening to him. He tells her he wants to get surgery to make her happy because he figures when he is happy so will she. Guess it’s take heart of stone to fight that kind of logic. Mom and son hugs, YS and SO looks happily at them from the doorway.
SO surprises YS by telling her that he wants her to perform the surgery for GH. Not because he doubts DH’s abilities but because he feels YS can protect GH’s dream. That’s food for thought. YS says she doesn’t have that kind of capabilities.SO says he will help. YS approaches DH with the idea and he is surprised. It’s a surgery which DH himself has never done before. YS thinks that’s another way to look at it since whoever does it will be doing it for the first time. DH agrees.
DH briefs the team on GH’s case before the surgery. He tells them that though he is not the type who likes to mix the patient’s personal situation with the surgery but this is one surgery which will affect GH’s whole life. Well, we are seeing the ice caps melting slowly but surely, aren’t we? YS then asks DH to let SO be her first assistant which he flatly refuses. YS tries to go after him but SO stops her, saying he will try to persuade him instead. He pleads with DH saying that it’s his last time before his transfer. Just like GH, it’s his last chance . DH can only concede to an observation role but SO is adamant. He points out that DH hates him not when he make mistakes but when he is afraid he will make mistakes. Awesome, SO! He assures DH he will not make a mistake this time. DH finally relents but if SO gets another seizure, he will be out immediately. SO agrees and thanks him. YS who was observing all this while outside, claps her hands in excitement.
SO sits on the bench in the hospital ground and is again scratching his fingers on his hand. He is nervous and tells his hyung to help him.
Meanwhile the resident doctors are gathered, no doubt abuzz about the latest development. Dr Woo asks if Dr Han is upset that YS chose SO over him. Dr Han says that he isn’t, in fact, SO might be better than him. They all look surprised(because Dr Han is the more senior than them and SO). Dr Han tells them to get their facts right, it was SO who was instrumental in saving Hyun Woo, Sung Ho and Dong Soo, he was also the one who got EO talking. He made his case and even Dr Woo is speechless because everything he says is true but they just ignored the facts that were staring at them blatantly and chose to focus on how SO made them upset.
SO and YS is working late, eating cup noodles while discussing GH’s case. YS asks if SO can save GH’s dream and SO says he can but he did not tell GH because of DH’s words. YS is very pleased and tells him she is thrilled to see him grow. She offers him more noodles and pushes her bowl over, SO helps himself to a whole chunk of it while YS shoots him a dagger stare and takes her bowl back. Don’t you know he takes everything literally? Well, you did say you are thrilled to see him grow, LOL! So cute!
SO goes to the observation deck in the operating theatre and looks down, imagining how the operation will be like. SO brings EO to see GH but EO wants GH to sing which he can’t strain his vocals right now. GH has an idea and they end up in a broadcast studio where GH sings his famous song. His beautiful vocals is heard all over the hospital.
SO and YS walks into the OT in slow mo, which is kind of cool. SO surprisingly raises his fist in a fist bump ,something he learned from Nurse Jo and YS raises her fist to meet his. This is just so awesome by itself. All the rest are already waiting in the OT. As everyone takes their positions, DH walks in. I tell you that OT door is beginning to look like some door of doom or glory. Depending on the outcome of the surgery. DH says he is just to observe, not to participate.
As So takes the first order from YS, he looks as if he is going into paroxysm, he blinks his eyes hard and this does not go unnoticed by YS or DH. YS reaches out and steadies SO’s trembling hand and nods her head assuringly. Thank goodness DH did not shout at SO to get out. The surgery progresses well and SO gets an inspiration of how he can make GH’s dream alive. He sees in his mind exactly what needs to be done, having mapped out the insides of GH’s throat. He announces it to the team and DH and YS look up at him in surprise.
screencap credits: Joo Won Baidu
This episode takes a big step forward in terms of how the pediatric team sees SO. When SO was telling Gyu Hyun to come down from the precipice, he revealed how he has been feeling all this while. His team mates all look visibly shocked, even DH was not unmoved. You see, they thought they just ignored him, ostracized him and laughed at him. Nothing amounting to hate but to the person at the receiving end, it is entirely different. What made it more gut wrenching is that SO thinks he is not worthy of going to heaven. We all know he believes his rabbit and hyung are now in heaven and that he misses them so much. Can you imagine how he is suffering thinking of all the wrong things he has done and not being able to join them in death?
The good thing that came out from this is the team’s realization that they have wronged SO. With the exception of Dr Woo, everyone is starting to treat SO truly as a team mate. Dr Woo’s biggest problem is inferiority, he knows he is lacking and got his place by pulling strings. He gets his self-worth only by stepping on SO and making him look bad. He does not realize his enemy is himself, not SO or anyone else.
I also find the scene where SO offers Dr Lizard ice cream, an interesting one. Besides being downright hilarious, is there a possibility that Dr Lizard might turn over a new leaf? I have always thought of him as being inept. So far, we have only seen him making decisions in his own interest and riding on the coat tails of his brother-in-law, the Managing Director. If what SO said is true, Dr Lizard must have done more than his fair share of operations as a surgeon. So, he was not entirely inept but rather greed or fear led him down the slippery road of decline to this present state.
There have been numerous criticisms on the amount of politics in this drama and the extent of it. Now that the plot have progressed, things are looking more interesting. I find KHT’s arguments quite compelling from a business point of view but yet I see the integrity and principles held by people like Chief Choi and DH. In real life, takeovers or attempts at takeovers happen not infrequently and board in-fighting can be nastier than what is portrayed here.
The patient at the center of this episode is Gyu Hyun, the gifted boy singer. This drama has been criticized for dragging out every social issue and making a statement out from it. I agree it does seem so but I think viewers are for the better watching it than watching some senseless show about things that don’t exist in reality. Gyu Hyun’s mother is in a way, a personification of Tiger Mother, a moniker made famous by Amy Chua who wrote the book “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”. In it, Amy Chua, an American Chinese, writes about how she drives and pushes her two daughters to excel academically and also in the arts like piano. Although many parents may not risk their child’s health like in Gyu Hyun’s case, Asian parents do drive their kids much harder in their studies. And if the child is gifted in arts, the pressure to excel is just as great if not greater, often killing the child’s interest. Thus, it is a social issue that is very real. Incidentally South Korea has the highest suicide rate and also the highest suicide rate for children in the OECD. I do not know if it’s related but there is a possibility that stress and the pressure to excel led to such numbers.
In this episode, SO has made much progress. Instead of cowering in fear of DH or depending on YS to fight for him, he finally stands up for himself. Perhaps, when he realizes his dream to be a surgeon is at stake, he overcomes his own instincts to fight for what he strongly believes in. He still has the compulsion but manages to fight it off like how he stopped himself from promising GH and Mom that he can still sing after the surgery. It is not true that autistic people cannot control their behavior. The high functioning ones especially those who have gone through therapy are able to recognize certain situations and make themselves respond appropriately to them.
Yet, despite his improvement in these areas, SO shows how unique his mind works in little things and I find them totally adorable. Like how he still takes everything literally. An ice cream that has two sticks is meant to be split and shared. It is that pure and simple in SO’s mind. When he says “wow” in the cutest voice, his awe is sincere. I think SO will always suffer from YS’s teasing because he cannot tell when she is pulling his leg. When she pointed to the sky, he just looks up at it, earning a round of rib tickling. There was also an interesting insight in this episode of how an autistic person’s senses differ from normal. SO revealed that he liked triangle onigiri(kimbap) not because it was delicious but that he feels as if he is eating the top of the mountain when he eats them. I came across this video where an autistic girl tells of how various alphabets gave her the sensation of touch and color, like for example, the letter “A” is prickly and yellow. It does not make sense to me but I can tell it certainly does to her.
When I watch this show without too much pre-conceived notions of what autism is and how an autistic person should behave, think or feel, I open my mind and take away lessons far more valuable. Now, that SO is gaining more understanding, acceptance and love from his patients, colleagues and people around him, I am looking forward to witness his growth and journey to be a pediatric surgeon. Storms, there surely will be. But at least, I know now that he will not be facing them alone.