It’s been over a week since I sat down to watch the last 4 episodes of this drama and I’m only now getting around to writing this review. I know that’s kind of lame but I wanted to take some time to ruminate over the way things ended, just to be sure I properly processed things before I sat down to rage against all the nonsense that filled these final episodes. I can’t say that I’m any more at peace with the way this drama wrapped up but maybe, just maybe, I’m a little less emotional than I was a week ago. Here’s hoping anyway…
When I sit here and think about it, there really isn’t any reason why I ought to be as upset as I was over this ending. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, everyone got some version of “happily ever after” and the whole drama wrapped with a rosy-posy picture of life on the newly re-commissioned hospital ship. However, no matter how hard I try to be happy with that peach of an ending, I just can’t bring myself to walk away satisfied. Probably because things really didn’t end all that peachy. Or maybe not as peachy as I’d have liked them to??? It’s still kinda hard for me to tell.
For one thing, take a look at all the crap Hyun had to deal with in these last 4 episodes. Not only did he have to suffer through all of that stupid lawsuit nonsense, but he also had to treat the woman suing him and her son (which was probably the most adorable moment in Dramaland history), while also dealing with all of that ridiculous telemedicine idiocy and an extremely sick grandma, and on top of all of that, he also had to suffer through all of the stress and worry that came with the ship’s manager’s sick wife. Call me crazy, but that’s a lot to try to deal with at once! What’s even worse than having to deal with all of that nonsense, was having to be a source of strength, support and encouragement for Eun Jae, as she was fighting for the chance to save a dying woman while simultaneously fighting to save her career. I know that Hyun was more than happy to be the one supporting Eun Jae through all of this but still, with everything else going on, that poor man had to be on the brink of a total breakdown. I mean, who wouldn’t? It’s not like Hyun is Superman. (Though he may be awfully close…) But even so, as a human, there’s only so much stress a person can deal with before they crack. At the same time, this is Dramaland we’re talking about here and as such, Hyun the superhero, manages to carry all of that weight on his own and he does it beautifully! But instead of getting the “happily ever after” he deserves, he gets a girlfriend diagnosed with a potentially fatal cancer… Again! (I can’t even begin to tell you how hard my eyes were rolling at that point. Just know, it was bad.)
I fail to see how giving Eun Jae cancer in the final episodes of this drama qualifies as good script writing. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive here but aren’t the last few hours of a drama supposed to be when things wrap up? So why would the writers throw in something as ridiculous as cancer and then make our leading lady run away? It just doesn’t make sense! It’s not like Hyun hasn’t already experienced the pain of having a girlfriend diagnosed with the disease, so why make him suffer through all of that again? Was it because he never got a chance to really suffer when Artist Choi told him she had cancer, or what? Why make our precious OTP go through something so ridiculous in the final flipping episode? What on earth did Hyun do to deserve such crap treatment from Eun Jae? I mean he’s only ever been there for her throughout this entire drama… He’s stood up to thugs for her, saved her father’s life, taken care of her brother, taken an actual freaking bullet for her… And what does he get in return? A girlfriend who decides to run away from him during her most desperate hour because she doesn’t want to be an ugly burden in his life. WHAT KIND OF FREAKING NONSENSE IS THIS!?! THIS IS NOT HOW LOVE WORKS!!!
I understand that Eun Jae has spent this entire drama trying to run away from pretty much anyone in her life who might actually care for her. She’s an expert at ignoring her own feelings and disregarding the feelings of others. I’m pretty sure she has a doctorate in pushing people away and yet, when she finally gave into her feelings for Hyun, I was stupid enough to believe that she might actually change. But no. Change is not something that comes easily to Eun Jae. Sure, she’s learned how to care for others, she’s even learned how to accept that other people might actually care for her. She’s found herself a new family and a place where she really feels like she belongs, but even after finding all that, she can’t seem to find a way to be comfortable in Hyun’s arms. (Which totally blows my mind because those arms seem to be the best darn place in the whole entire world!) I’ve spent this entire past week trying to understand why Eun Jae would feel that running away from everyone at the moment she needs them the most, would solve anything. Why would anyone in her position want to try to deal with life on her own? It just doesn’t make any sense! I get wanting to fight some battles on your own. I can understand why Eun Jae would want to try to carry the weight of the lawsuit against her on her own. I can understand why she’d want to fight for the chance to perform surgery on Manager Choo’s wife on her own. But I can’t, for the life of me, understand why she’d try to deal with cancer on her own. As one who’s heard the words “it’s cancer” come out of a doctor’s mouth, I know just how hard it is to go on after such a diagnosis. I also know that it’s not a burden you can carry on your own. No matter how tough you might be.
So why would Eun Jae push Hyun away at a time when she needed him more than ever? Why would a woman who claims to love a man be so adamant about running away when what she should have been doing was run to him? Is it pride? Is it selfishness? Is it plain old stupidity? I really don’t know. Out of all the things that haven’t made sense in this drama, this is the thing that I really can’t bring myself to understand. Which is why it took me so long to write this final review. In all honesty, I was simply too mad to write. I was mad at my OTP for bailing on me like they did. I was mad at Eun Jae for thinking so little of Hyun that she couldn’t bring herself to tell him she might be dying. I know she said it was all because she didn’t want to be a burden on him but did she ever stop to think about how much her actions hurt him? As a cancer patient, she couldn’t have been a burden to Hyun in any way (he loved her too much to even let such a thought enter his mind) but her disappearance… That pain had to have felt like a knife in the chest to poor Hyun. So why couldn’t have Eun Jae realized that? She’s a smart woman, she shouldn’t have been able to figure that one out! And knowing that this was the second time a woman Hyun’s cared about was diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease… That just make this whole thing that much worse! What in the world did this poor man do to deserve this sort of treatment, not just from his girlfriend but from the universe in general? I mean seriously! Can any one character be more sad and pathetic than Hyun? And yet, through this whole ordeal, he manages to have a friggin’ heart of gold. I think this man may actually be a saint because I don’t think any ordinary human could put up with so much and stay so kind. He really is the best of the best which is probably why I’m so bothered by the way things went in these last few episodes. I feel like Hyun got seriously shafted and no one seems to care. Well, I’m pretty sure there are lots of us who care, we just don’t matter much in the Dramaverse…
Aside from Hyun and Eun Jae and all of the things that went wonky between them, there were some pretty bum deals handed out all around. Take Nurse Pyo for example. This saintly woman donated half her liver to save the wife of the man she loves and in return, she gets to watch that man go back to his wife and she’s left alone and liver-less for the rest of her life. Well, half liver-less anyway. I’m pretty sure from where Nurse Pyo is sitting, the ending to this story is anything but happy. Now, I know that I could be looking at this whole relationship between Nurse Pyo and Manager Choo the wrong way. I could have misunderstood the relationship between them and been looking at things all wrong from the very beginning. But it’s always seemed to me that Manager Choo’s marriage was long over and that he and Nurse Pyo had this unspoken thing between them. Maybe neither of them were willing to step into an actual relationship but there always seemed to be some pretty strong feelings between them. With this as my understanding, I felt my heart break into a thousand pieces when Nurse Pyo and Manager Choo had their final conversation. The look in Nurse Pyo’s eyes as she asked Choo if he’d be going back to his wife now that she was better was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen in my life. I felt so bad for her I wanted to reach through my TV screen and give the poor woman a hug. She was a saint, selflessly donating her liver to a woman she didn’t even know and what did she get in return? Permanently friend-zoned without even the ability to drink her sorrows away. Gosh darn it, Dramaverse! Why do you have to be so cruel?
I’d like to believe that the rest of the hospital ship’s crew and staff got a much better deal out of this ending than any of our main characters. We didn’t really get much in the way of endings for our beloved side characters but I choose to believe that they, at least, made out all right in the end. In my own little world, I’m choosing to believe that Boatswain Yang and Nurse Jo get to spend the rest of their lives together, as happy and adorable as any cute side-couple could be. I’m also choosing to believe that Dr. Cha and Nurse Yoo eventually become a couple, though whether or not they end up together is something not even my own imagination can decide. Maybe they end up dating for a while but amicably drift apart as she goes on to pursue her dream of becoming a scrub nurse and he goes on to run a successful dental clinic in Gangnam or something. If I’m dreaming up my own endings, I might as well allow myself to hope that Nurse Pyo and Manager Choo do eventually end up together. I can see the trauma of recent events eventually wearing off and once life goes back to normal, I think Manager Choo and his wife will return to their disgruntled ways. Eventually (though probably not until after their kids are grown) they’ll end up splitting for good and maybe then Manager Choo and Nurse Pyo will be free to develop whatever relationship they like. Though I think it might be nice if Nurse Pyo got to have a little fun of her own while Manager Choo attempts to get his act together. I’d love for a dashing, successful, maybe mid-30 something doctor to show up on the hospital ship (maybe after Dr. Cha moves on) and does a little wooing of his own. It’d be quite satisfying to watch Manager Choo squirm with jealousy as Nurse Pyo and this new doctor get chummy. I think this saintly woman deserves to be truly loved and even if their relationship didn’t last forever, it’d be nice to have someone around who could truly appreciate how amazing this woman is. As for Jae Gul, I think he’s the one I’m least worried about. Now that he and his family have started down this path towards reconciliation, I think it’s only a matter of time before he finds his own version of “happily ever after.” With parents who love and support him, he’s really in a position to take on the world and I think he’s going to be just fine. I can’t say that I see a woman coming into his life anytime in the near future but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen someday. I think for now Jae Gul is content being as he is and I can see he and Dr. Kang becoming really good buddies. They could be the handsome, slightly rough around the edges, no-nonsense and kind of mysterious doctors that every female patient in the area hopes to be treated by someday. I can see them making a name for themselves that way but I can also see them stepping in to run the hospital when Jae Gul’s father eventually steps down from his position as director. I think they’d make a very good team and would lead the hospital well. Who knows? Maybe they could find a way to set up an Oriental medicine clinic at the hospital and the money made from that would be enough to keep the ER open? It’s hard to say for sure but I think wherever things go from here, Jae Gul will find himself happy and that makes me happy.
As for Hyun and Eun Jae, we all know they’ll spend the rest of their lives together. But I wonder, how happy Hyun will really be? Will Eun Jae ever learn just how much she means to him? Will she ever break down the walls she’s built around herself and really let this man in? I’d like to believe that she will but I think it’s going to take a very, very long time. How much will Hyun suffer until that time comes? You know he’s going to be happy to wait for as long as it takes for Eun Jae to really let him in, but how much heartache will he have to endure in the meantime? You would think this bout with cancer would help speed along that process but it’s hard to know for sure if it did or not. As much as I love the progress Eun Jae made over the course of this drama, she really has a long way to go before she ends her reign as the ice queen. I guess maybe that’s why Hyun is such a warmhearted person, because he has to be the one to melt Eun Jae’s frozen heart. I suppose this sounds a bit cold but when you think about it, how many times did we see Eun Jae actually melt into Hyun’s warm embrace? It’d be nice to believe that someday she’ll actually revel in the warmness of Hyun’s embrace. You know that when that day comes, Hyun will be the happiest man of the face of the planet. Oh, I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it! *happy sigh*
As indifferent as I am to this drama’s ending, I really did enjoy the story overall. I had a lot of fun watching the relationship develop between our OTP and I really loved that I was so easily drawn into the stories of the supporting characters as well. It’s always nice when you can walk away from a drama knowing the characters you’ve grown to love have been set on a path that will lead them to ultimate happiness. Maybe that happiness isn’t as sharply defined as we would like but at least we’re left feel satisfied enough to say that this journey has been an enjoyable one. Really, that’s all I need from a drama and in that respect, Hospital Ship didn’t disappoint. But what about you? What did you think of they way this drama wrapped up? Were you satisfied with the way things went? Are there things you would have liked to see done differently? You know I always love hearing from you so be sure to let me know what you’re thinking in the comments below!
You can catch up on all my Hospital Ship reviews here: