Doctor Stranger continues to impress me with its interesting characters and well developed backstory. After an action-packed conclusion to Hoon’s trip in Hungry, we’ve made our way to present day where Park Hoon’s dedication to finding his lost love remains as strong as ever. I can’t wait to see what’s next for this genius.
Dramatic Rescue Attempt in Hungry
Episode 1 left off with Park Hoon witnessing the death of his father. The very next day he proceeds with his trip to Hungry and his long lost girlfriend Song Jae Hee comes along for the journey in order for North Korea to prove that her operation was a success.
Lucky for Park Hoon, the Hungarian doctor is an old friend of his dad’s. He provides Hoon with the needed tools to fake Jae Hee’s death and even helps him apply for political asylum. Now all Hoon needs to do is escape.
He uses eye drops to ensure Jae Hee’s eyes won’t respond to light and injects her with medicine that her heart will stop. Once she is declared dead by the Hungarian doctor, it’s up to Hoon to get her to a safe place to restart her heart within five minutes.
Hoon may be a medical genius, but his defense skills aren’t much of a match for the North Korean bodyguards.
Thankfully he is able to escape just in time, restarting Jae Hee’s heart after some very tense movements.
A car was ready for their getaway, but Plan B quickly takes over when he crashes the car within 5 seconds of driving. Know what that means? It’s time for the motorcycle chase scene through the streets of Hungry!
After lots of action, beautiful views of the city, and a very close capture, Hoon and Jae Hee lose the North Koreans and make their way to the South Korean embassy.
Just when you think everything is going to be alright, Hoon’s political asylum is denied at the last second, forcing him and Jae Hee to continue to flee for their lives. Guess who’s beyond the decision? The very same South Korean politician that sentenced Park Hoon and his father to death in North Korea. He took all the credit for stopping the war and now he can’t have Park Hoon exposing the truth.
Our hero and his love are ultimately cornered, and try as Hoon might, he doesn’t stand a chance against a group of armed North Korean hit men.
Jae Hee gets shot first, and after some slow motion camera work, she tumbles over the side of the bridge.
Hoon grasps onto her hand, holding on for dear life. Just as the North Koreans close in to finish off their task, sniper shots are fired and the North Koreans are picked off one by one.
Despite this unexpected backup, Hoon’s hold can only last so long, especially after getting shot in the back by a North Korean gunman. Jae Hee finally reaches up and lets go of Hoon’s hand, causing herself to plunge into the river below. Before Hoon can jump after her, the police show up and bring an end to the shoot out.
It was a painful scene, not only for Park Hoon but also for us viewers who had to witness the heartbreaking rescue attempt.
2 Years Later – What Has Become Of Park Hoon?
Two years may have passed, but Park Hoon remains obsessed with being reunited with Jae Hee. (Surprise! Apparently she survived her fall into the river) We first see Hoon being released from jail, something that seems to be an regular consequence from failed attempts to reenter North Korea.
To earn money, Hoon puts his doctor skills to use at his own run-down “hospital”. Here, he specializes in treating patients who may not be willing or able to go see a proper doctor. We see this comically played out when a mob boss comes down with appendicitis.
Hoon knows exactly how to squeeze every last penny (500 won coin) from his client’s pocket!
Money is particularly important for Hoon because this is his only tool to find Jae Hee.
Hoon’s Quirkiness Shines Through
We’ve already seen a number of sides to Hoon’s character and I’m loving his more relaxed and carefree moments.
An adorable scene occurred when Hoon has a showdown with a little girl over a 500 won coin (about 50 cents).
As I mentioned, every penny counts!
These two argue and the girl wins by unknowingly taking advantage of Hoon’s North Koren upbringing. Poor Hoon couldn’t tell the difference between heads and tails on the coin.
Despite being upset, Hoon quickly snaps into doctor mood when he notices that the girl’s finger is broken. He makes a split (after stealing and eating a boy’s ice cream) and advises her to go to the hospital. Hoom sure knows how to play doctor in style!
Medical Dream Team
We don’t know too much about this epic team of elite doctors, but it’s pretty clear they are quite the badass bunch. When a doctor makes a mistake, these guys step in to save the day and reputation of the hospital. Han Jae Joon is the clear leader and I’m excited to find out more about this meticulous character.
500 won to the person who can guess what team Hoon will be joining in the future…
The Prime Minister’s Upcoming Heart Surgery
During the past two years, the ambitious politician that sentenced Hoon to die has now become the Prime Minister of South Korea. Being the number two man in the country was not his goal, but Jang Seok Joo had to settle for it after being defeated in the presidential election.
The plot thickens when we find out that he was a dire heart problem that requires a complicated surgery. The hospital with the Dream Team of doctors will be performing the surgery, but the Prime Minsister is convinced that he needs to have Park Hoon as his doctor. From what I can tell, his next step is to convince (trick?) Hoon into doing the surgery. Who could be better than the best heart doctor in North Korea? I admit, this logic is rather shaky. South Korea has some pretty fantastic doctors (cue above-mentioned Dream Team), why all the trouble to get Park Hoon?
After Park Hoon, This Guy’s Already My Favorite Character
The secretary/hitman by the Prime Minster’s side is awesome. He may be ordered to do horrible things for his boss, but you can tell his morals still hold strong. He’s the one who fired the sniper shots during Hoon’s attempt escape in Hungry. He also harbors an addition to lollipops, a nod to the candy that Hoon gave him before he first left for North Korea as a child. This stoic guy is highly intriguing and I can’t help but look forward to his future involvement in the story.
Bora’s Acting Debut
Bora from the girl group SISTAR made her acting debut in this episode playing Hoon’s North Korean friend. They are united in their goal to be reunited with their loved ones. For Bora’s character, she longs to see her mother again.
Bora made an strong impression, especially with her opening scene where she gets a block of tofu shoved in her face!
As the episode goes on, we find out she paid more than $30,000 to get her mom extracted from North Korea. Hoon can’t help but watch in awe and jealousy when he witnesses their reunion.
The very end of episode 2 shows Hoon receiving a video with footage of Jae Hee in a prison camp. Looks like the Prime Minster has started his plan to get Doctor Hoon on his side!
This was another strong episode to round out Doctor Stranger’s first week. I feel that the backstory has been well set up and I am excited to see what comes next for our hero. While the show has it’s suspenseful moments, I’m also glad to see the inclusion of more lighthearted anecdotes. Lee Jong Suk continues to impress me in his portrayal of Park Hoon. I’m already highly attached to this show!
Are you enjoying Doctor Stranger? What’s been your favorite part thus far? Please share your thoughts below!
Thanks for reading!
Categories: Korean Dramas, Reviews
Thanks for your recap. I wanted to love this episode but the time jumps just have me going crazy. I understand the need for them, it is just so hard for my film major brain to ignore how badly done they are. Lee Jong Suk’s acting is more than making up for that, though!
Yes, I agree. This episode wasn’t as strong as the first, but I think once we get into the groove of present day it should have better pacing. Is it Monday yet? I can’t wait for more Lee Jong Suk!
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