This week brought us the finale of one of the most interesting and frustrating dramas I’ve watched in quite a while. Chock full of spies and double agents, miracle-working doctors, dirty politicians, plots to rule the world and long-lost love, Doctor Stranger was certainly one of the most complicated dramas I’ve ever watched and one that hooked me right away so it’s only natural for me to feature it as this weekend’s drama to marathon.
Taking over the God’s Gift-14 Days time slot on SBS, Doctor Stranger was toted as a medical romance but the truth is, it was so much more than that. The story follows Park Hoon (Lee Jong Suk), the son of an incredibly skilled doctor and surgeon, Park Cheol (Kim Sang Joong), who is shipped off to North Korea in a secret mission to save their glorious leader. What was supposed to be an in-and-out operation, carried out in the strictest of secrecy, turns into something much more desperate as Park Cheol learns that his son has been brought along to provide him the “motivation” needed to succeed in this surgery. Things quickly go from bad to worse as Park Cheol and Hoon soon realize their dream of returning to South Korea will never come true. So much happens between the time Park Cheol and Hoon arrive in North Korea and the time Hoon can finally escape that I can’t even begin to go into it all here, just know that things happen and eventually (as in about twenty years later) we find Hoon living in South Korea, desperately searching for a way to rescue the love of his life, Song Jae Hee (Jin Se Yun), from the prison camp she’s been a prisoner in for years.
Using the extraordinary medical skills he learned from his father, Hoon becomes a surgeon at a prestigious hospital in Seoul where he quickly finds an anesthesiologist who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jae Hee. Through more twists and turns than an amusement park roller-coaster, Hoon finds himself in so many unpredictable places there really isn’t any way to recap what happens without giving things away. Let me just say that this is one of those dramas that you really need to watch for yourself, just so you can understand the level of crazy that happens in every stinking episode. Believe me when I tell you, there is rarely a dull moment in Doctor Stranger.
So, with a drama so full of action, mystery, suspense and yes, even love, you would think that there would be enough to keep me satisfied and if you’d talked to me during the first half of this drama, I would have wholeheartedly agreed with you but, something happened as the second half of this drama unfolded that left me flipping tables and bawling my eyes out, all at the same time. For the sake of those of you who haven’t watched this drama yet, I won’t go into details but let me just say that I suffered a severe case of second lead syndrome here and seriously, I think I’ve been scarred for life. Oh Soo Hyun (Kang So Ra) plays Hoon’s second and she is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing female characters ever in the history of Drama Land. Seriously. She is everything a female lead in a drama should be but never is and somehow manages to attain a level of awesome that most characters could never even dream of reaching. She’s really that amazing and she certainly overshadows our female lead which is why I suffered as much as I did. There’s only so much I can handle when it comes to seconds and Doctor Stranger eventually crossed the line.
That being said, if you’re looking for a drama with action, suspense, a healthy dose of romance and a bunch of political shenanigans and medical drama thrown in, just to keep things interesting, then Doctor Stranger is probably the drama for you. I thoroughly enjoyed the way this drama kept me on my toes as I could never accurately predict what was going to happen next. (I don’t know how things are for you but for me, this unpredictability was a rare treat.) To be fair, there were also moments that had me scratching my head, wondering how on earth that could ever possibly happen and also moments when I just wanted to throw things because everyone was being an idiot (usually while patients bled out on the table in front of them) but I was willing to overlook a lot because I loved the overall plot of the story, harbored a massive soft spot for Hoon and thoroughly enjoyed the abundance of amazing side characters. After all, Kim Tae Sool (Jung In Ki), aka Sunglasses, was pretty much the most amazing character in this entire drama and Han Jae Joon (Park Hae Jin) was this fantastic enigma of good and evil that left me wondering whether I should hate him, love him or just drool over him. (Pretty sure I did all three at some point, sometimes all at the same time…)
However, this drama also has some pretty big flaws, most of which I won’t get into because I absolutely hate spoilers myself and refuse to inflict them on others but I will say that things do kind of fall apart at the end. I made many predictions about the way this drama would resolve itself and I have to say, very few, if any, actually came to pass and it’s not because I’m a horrible predictor of the future. Mostly there were a whole lot of plot holes and characters who did a complete 180 for no reason whatsoever which, you have to admit, is pretty darn frustrating, especially if you’ve been hating them for oh, say, twenty episodes… If that weren’t frustrating enough, there’s also the whole second lead thing which, I will warn you now, if you find yourself prone to suffering from second lead syndrome, chances are you’re going to want to run as far away from this drama as you possibly can because this one will most likely shatter your heart into a zillion tiny pieces. (Hope that doesn’t spoil things too much for those of you who haven’t watched this drama yet. If it did, I’m sorry!)
Plot holes and craziness aside, I did enjoy this drama (for the most part anyway) but I know I’m not the only one who watched it so now it’s your turn to tell me what you thought of Doctor Stranger. Did you like it? Did you hate it? Were you a Quack Couple shipper like I was or were you shipping the OTP? I want to know it all so be sure to leave me a comment below. Oh, and if you’d really like to dig into the ins and outs of the drama as you watch, be sure to check out the review Hallyu Tanya and I did of Doctor Stranger here.